Insiders Only!

If you think of Hong Kong and all you can think about eating is dim sum or lo mein, you're absolutely wrong! Well, I would agree that afternoon tea dim sum plays a huge role in Hong Kong/Cantonese culture, but that's not it to its gastronomy. What I'm about to share is really exclusive in which only the true local Hong Kongers know: Dai Pai Dong. Even if you know about it, you might not know what to order. Don't worry, we're about to share some details and offer you guys some advice! ;)
Pig Intestines with Garlic and Black Bean Sauce

Before we share some tips on what to order and what to try, let us give you quick history lesson on dai pai dong. The term "dai pai dong" literally means a "vender with a big license" because at one point in time, these vendors could only sell food if they had a license and they would have to display their license in front of their stalls. Dai pai dongs started as individual, open-air food stalls that offer cheap everyday food, such as noodles, congee, desserts, and snacks to the general public in Hong Kong. Later (in the 1975), these dai pai dongs were moved from the Hong Kong streets and alleys to central markets, similar to NYC's Broadway Bites. Now, dai pai dongs are very different due to the strict governmental laws on food hygiene, so many have either closed down or moved into an enclosed store leaving only 25 dai pai dongs in Hong Kong.

Stir-fried Clams with Garlic and Black Bean Sauce
Now, what to get? Even though there are different types of dai pai dongs, such as seafood, desserts, and congees, we visited a local Cantonese and seafood one for dinner! Make sure to order a few stir-fry dishes because these dishes have great "wok-hei." Wok hei is very dynamic idea. Some would describe it as "the breath of the wok," in which the food is stirred and tossed quickly in a seasoned wok over a high flame and that energy creates a unique and distinct flavor, taste, and aroma to the overall dish. It's an experience! Not all food cooked in a wok has that "wok hei." 

For our dinner, we ordered seven dishes and beer summing up to about $150 HKD per person! It's a MUST to drink a few glasses of beer while chowing down your food! They offered 16 types of beer!

For food, we ordered the following:

  • Clams with garlic and black bean sauce. It was the BEST we've had in a while! Once the plate arrived to the table, we felt that wok hei! Woah, it was great! Like good vibes. The clams tasted fresh and pure while the sauce was tasty and flavorful! We love garlic, and they were very generous with garlic in every dish. 

Chinese Water Spinach aka Morning Glory with Garlic
  • Chinese water spinach. Balance is key. Even though we LOVE seafood and meat, a plate of veggies must be ordered. Water spinach is very popular Chinese vegetable, so we chose it! It wasn't our favorite type of vegetables because of its soft, wilty texture, but it was still cooked very well!
  • Pig intestines with garlic and black bean sauce. The pig (large) intestines were first deep fried and then stir-fried giving it a light crisp on the outside and chewy texture in the inside. While getting stirred and tossed in the wok, the intestines were well-seasoned allowing them to absorb delicious flavors and fragrances in the cooking process. Very exquisite!

Fresh Scallops topped with Enoki, Garlic, and Scallions
  • Scallops topped with enoki, garlic, and scallions. The scallop was meaty, succulent, and fresh with a hint of sweetness! Also, the sauce was simple, which did not overshadow the pure sweetness of the scallops.

Steamed Prawns with Garlic
  • Steamed prawns with garlic. The shrimps were very bouncy and were matched with simple soy sauce. The sauteed garlic and enoki enhanced the flavors and textures of the shrimps offering a dynamic and complex taste.
Deep Fired Calamari
  • Deep fried calamari. Love calamaris! These HK-style calamaris are so different from the American ones! The ratio between the crispy batter and calamari meat is perfect! Just the right amount of crispiness and chewiness.
Chicken in Claypot
  • Chicken in claypot. Yes, seafood is excellent here, but the chicken is very delicious too! In Hong Kong, the chickens are killed, placed in fridge, and delivered to the restaurants, so the chickens are never frozen in the process. They are so tasty, tender, and soft! The chickens in Hong Kong actually have chicken flavors (if you know that I mean). Also, the sauce is very rich and flavorful with the caramelized onions and seasonings.
Overall, we had an amazing time, and every dish was very tasty in its own way! The service was surprisingly very good too, and the owners gave us some great recommendations for beer and food choices.
Ming Kee Restaurant
Address: G/F, 27-28 Bowington Road,Wan Chai 灣仔寶靈頓道27-28號地下, map
Phone: +852-2574-1929, Openrice: link

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