Sunday, 29 March 2015

Fook Lam Moon - Michelin Stars in Wan Chai

Sometimes in Hong Kong you just want to eat something local (and I'm not talking about dumplings either).  There are only so many burgers, chips, burritos, steak, pizza and bowls of pasta that can be consumed before your stomach says "Enough!  For heaven's sake, you're in Hong Kong, have some fried rice and crispy chicken!!".  So with that, about two weeks after arriving in Hong Kong, we decided to take the short MTR ride after work to Wan Chai to try Fook Lam Moon, and continue our 'baby-steps' exploration of the local Cantonese cuisine. 

We were a little early, but also had no idea where the restaurant was in relation to the MTR station, so headed off for a little stroll to get our bearings.  As luck would have it, we had headed in the right direction and shortly found ourselves outside Fook Lam Moon, where the front of house staff member was ready to greet us and usher us up in the lift.

Fook Lam Moon prides itself on its Cantonese food, adhering to the principle that the ingredients should speak for themselves.  There are two restaurants, however only the flagship Wan Chai establishment has retained its Michelin star this year.  Fook Lam Moon is a very large restaurant, offering four levels of dining, and while we had made a reservation (to be on the safe side), once at the restaurant we could see that it would take a lot of people to cause you not to be able to grab a table.  There were a couple of larger groups, one clearly celebrating something special, and a few tables like us of just couples. 

One thing to be said at the outset - this is not a restaurant for a cheap Cantonese meal.  The restaurant  offered a number of set and banquet menus, ranging from $2,000 HKD per person for one of the VIP set menus, to $29,800 HKD per person for one of the banquet menus.  Of course for this amount of cash you can get shark fin soup, braised bird's nest in bamboo fungus, 25 heads of abalone and steamed garoupa and other traditional dishes.  Being a little bit of bleeding heart liberals, and not having (or wanting to drop) that much cash, we opted for just choosing a few dishes from the ordinary menu.   

By "ordinary" menu, I mean not the expensive set menus, as the menu is really not that "ordinary".  Pages and pages of options, including many for the aforementioned shark fin, bird's nest and abalone.  Even the rice and noodle options are not that ordinary - rather than just steamed or basic fried rice, you can get fried rice with meat and conpoy wrapped in lotus leaf (a house specialty), fried rice Yeung Chow style with Kei Wai prawns or fried rice with octopus, diced chicken and abalone.  

Our first dish was a beef dish, the sauteed slices of beef with spicy conpoy cause.  The beef was thinly sliced and incredibly tender, the dish also included chilli slices  and some cooling pineapple. This was not as hot as we were expecting, but it was really full of flavour, and I think even if we weren't as hungry as we were, we would have still devoured it in quick time.

The sautéed beef - consumed in quick time
The Fook Lam Moon Famous Crispy Chicken was served next, and to the uninitiated gweilo (and gweipoh) eyes this was certainly a sight!  It may have looked like the poor chicken had been run over a few times, once you got past that and started to eat it, you could see how this was a signature dish of the restaurant.  The skin was, as advertised, very crispy but light, and the chicken flesh was succulent and even had a bit of a creamy flavour.  Looking at it you would think it needed some kind of sauce, but really it didn't need any accompaniment.  Definitely one to try if you are heading to the restaurant.

Not the most appetising presentation!
I chose the fried rice Fukien style, mainly to see what Fukien style actually was.  This was a wet version of the fried rice, with shrimp, mushrooms and egg.  FMUS found the rice to be too wet for his liking, preferring his fried rice to be a little more fried and a little less mushy, but I liked the flavours. We had ordered the larger size, thinking that a smaller serving would not be enough, but, as I've now come to learn, generally the smaller serving is enough for two people.  I felt obliged to eat as much of it as possible - for rice it was pretty expensive and I wanted to get our money's worth!

Rice and that poor chicken
The final dish was the deep fried dumplings shrimp dumplings with garlic and chilli.  Big deep fried balls of shrimp were presented, but we thought perhaps they were a little lacking in flavour. With the stated combination of garlic and chilli, I was expecting something with a little more punch, but was left a little disappointed.  And also, at that stage of the meal, was starting to get very full, so we did not try to finish them.  

Not what we were expecting, and lacked a little flavour
For one of Hong Kong's most famous Chinese restaurants, a restaurant that could potentially break the bank for the unwary, Fook Lam Moon is definitely a place to try.  There is a feeling of opulence in the restaurant, from the quality chairs and tables to the fish tanks built into the walls. It's probably not a restaurant that is going to become a regular spot, not unless you're prepared to take out a new line of credit!

Overall I was impressed with Fook Lam Moon, the service was flawless, and, apart from the dumplings, I enjoyed the flavours of the dishes we ordered.  If I returned I would still steer clear of the shark fin and bird's nest dishes out of opposition to the concepts (and who wants to eat bird's spit anyway??), but there are other dishes I would try.  Of course I would have to make sure there was plenty of cash in my wallet, this is one place you don't want to be visiting on a budget, and we didn't even have any wine!


Quiet night, but the service was excellent
You know you're in an expensive Chinese restaurant when the chopsticks have silver ends

The entrance  
Very fresh seafood

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks very much for your comment, I really love and appreciate feedback and your thoughts


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...