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, 27 July 2012

Chinese @ Modern China Restaurant (Sunshine City), Hong Kong

For the past few months, hubby and I have been searching for a new place in Hong Kong to call home. Our main motivation is our little boy's health, as the air quality in HK isn't great at all. We've checked out several areas, and the most recent one was Ma On Shan (MOS) out in the New Territories. MOS has quite a number of expatriates, but it is still quite local - perhaps too local for many foreigners. There were plenty of English signage around but you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who could communicate in English (language barrier is not new to us, having lived in Japan for 4 years before). Unfortunately the long commute time for hubby means that MOS is not a possible option because he needs to be in the office in Central by 6:30am in the winter, and the first MTR and bus services don't start early enough.

We looked mainly around inside Sunshine City Plaza on top of the MTR station, and we were pleased to find a fairly nice shopping mall well-equipped with good quality shops, restaurants and a big local supermarket. To be honest, it took us almost all morning to get to MOS, and it was lunchtime by the time we arrived. Modern China Restaurant was already packed full with a queue (I was there only 15 minutes after it opened for business), but it seemed to be our best bet for lunch. Table seating worked on a ticketing system, with four different coloured tickets handed out after registering at the front desk. Each coloured ticket corresponded to the style of dining requested, and this is my guess as to what the four types corresponded to: sharing with other patrons, get your own table for small groups, for large groups, and private dining. The wait for a table was long (we waited at least 40 minutes), but those willing to share didn't have to wait long. Listening to the girl call out the numbers for the different colours in Cantonese made my head spin, and I'd still missed it when she called out our ticket colour and number. Thankfully she knew to look for the white guy and kid (because I blend in too easily with the local crowd) so we didn't miss our turn.

The inner half of the section we were seated in:

Modern China Restaurant has a large dining area, partitioned into two areas. In the side that we were seated at, tables were placed close to each other, and most tables were square, designed to fit small groups. The other side of the partition seemed less crowded, and with bigger round tables to suit larger groups. There were also a couple of private rooms with big banquet tables. I thought the restaurant was fairly nicely decorated, and it could have passed off for a higher grade if not for the two television screens. The televisions weren't loud and I didn't notice anyone paying attention to the screens.

The partition separating the two sections of the restaurant, and the television screens:

Service was fine and the dishes were served out in good time. As typical of Chinese restaurants, there were hundreds of dishes to choose from, with specialties from Beijing, Sichuan and Shanghai. The menu was in English, which I suppose is one of the reasons why the Modern China Restaurants are certified by the Hong Kong Tourism Board as QTS-accredited under the Quality Tourism Services Scheme. We didn't stray far from the chef's recommendations as indicated on the menu.

Chef's Special Fried Rice (HK$88), with a sprinkling of flying fish roe on top. Hubby thought this was too salty, but I thought it wasn't too bad. Perhaps the seasoning wasn't evenly distributed in the rice. No complaints from the boy:

Dry Fried String Beans (HK$68) - perfectly enjoyable, but I found that it wasn't as nice as another one we had. Perhaps it needed more chilli:

Fried River Shrimps ($140) - tasty, fresh and juicy. Perhaps not as nice as ye shanghai's version, but still pretty good:

Xiao Long Bao, or "Mouthful Small Steamed Meat Buns" as it was called in the menu ($46 for 8 pieces). Not a bad version, and in fact hubby really enjoyed it, but I've had better. I must admit that it's hard to beat the price, given its quality:

At the end of the meal, the table was cleared and we were served complimentary bowls of Black Glutinous Rice Soup. Not as nice as our Malaysian favourite "bubur pulut hitam" mostly due to the absence of coconut cream, but we didn't pay for it so I'm not complaining:

We enjoyed the meal, in spite of the initial long wait for a table. It is easy to see why Modern China Restaurant is so popular with the locals - it offers prompt service in a nice setting and tasty but affordable food. We weren't charged the 10% service charge that most Hong Kong restaurants charge, so either it is already included in the menu prices, or there really isn't any service charge.

Modern China Restaurant (Sunshine City)
Shop 2105, 2nd floor, Sunshine City Plaza
18 On Luk Street
Ma On Shan, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2338 0200

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