The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 24 June 2011

Yum Cha @ Federal Palace (Citygate), Hong Kong

My mother-in-law and her friend are visiting Hong Kong for a few days, and we had grand plans to spend a day each at Disneyland and Ocean Park. Unfortunately, being the not-so-lovely rainy season in Hong Kong, we also had TC Haima dropping by and ruining our plans for outdoors. So we spent Wednesday indoors, shopping at Citygate Outlet and then visiting the HK Museum of History. Really, what else can you do on a rainy day but shop and check out the museum? (Actually, I can think of many things I could do, but that wouldn't be very sociable of me when we have overseas guests.)

The large interior of Federal Palace, as viewed from the window tables on a slightly raised platform. The high ceiling was quite lavishly decked with glass chandeliers, and it looks like this restaurant is multi-level:

We'd previously been to Citygate Outlet only twice previously, and both times we saw long lines of people waiting for a table at the entrance to Federal Palace, a Cantonese restaurant on the second floor that serves dim sum during the day. Rob's aunt said that the dim sum at Federal Palace was pretty good (she has been a HK resident for many years, and have brought overseas guests to Citygate for shopping), and we were hungry for lunch, so we stopped for lunch there. While no line had formed yet when we entered the restaurant around 12:30pm, the large dining hall was already almost full of lunchers. By the time we were done with lunch about an hour later, there was that long queue of Chinese people waiting for a table outside the restaurant. The food was pretty good, quite the standard quality you'd expect from a restaurant like this. I didn't hear any complaints from hubby who can be quite critical when it comes to dim sum. The restaurant also does a-la-carte and banquet-style courses, and had aquariums near the restaurant's entrance displaying the live seafood doomed for the kitchen. The 2.5-year-old was fascinated by the large lobsters in the tanks. Dim sum dishes are ordered off the menu, the norm for most yum cha restaurants in HK these days (I only know of one that still serves dim sum from the traditional carts, but it is a touristy place and the dim sum quality is not that great for the expensive price). Being the only Chinese in the group, the responsibility of ordering fell upon me. I got the standard dim sum items, starting out with six savoury items, which surprisingly turned out to be sufficient for five adults. Mind you, the other ladies are tiny eaters, and Rob is on the cutting phase of his fitness regime, otherwise you'd be seeing more food photos in this post.

First set of dishes to arrive - Har gow (shrimp dumpling), Lor mai gai (glutinous rice with chicken in lotus leaf) and Charsiu bao (bbq pork buns):

Fried radish cake, which more closely resembled chai tau kueh than the radish cake typically found in yum cha meals. This plate was really good, and highlighted just how much I miss eating chai tau kueh:

Yau yu sou aka crispy fried squid. Lovely but evil at the same time (for both health and the waistline!):

Rob's all-time favourite dim sum, Har cheong (shrimp rice noodle roll). This one was delicious, and I didn't hear Rob criticise it, so it must've been good:

Usually we end a yum cha meal with several sweet dishes, including the yummy egg tart, but unfortunately most didn't want sweets (Rob is very disciplined when he puts his mind to restricting his food intake, unlike me). Rob's aunt has a weakness for Sesame Balls, and was dismayed when she saw there were three in one order because she clearly wasn't going to be able to eat all three. In the end everyone had a taste, except for the diabetic (MIL's friend) and the allergic (the toddler) in our group so not much was wasted.

Jin dui aka Sesame balls - delicious with a sweet black sesame filling. Usually the sesame balls are filled with either lotus paste or bean paste, but it was nice having black sesame filling and white sesame coating:

It was an enjoyable experience, with great company!

Federal Palace
Shop 226, 2/F Citygate Outlets
20 Tat Tung Road
Lantau, Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2626 0181

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