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 January 2012

Mini-reunion meal @ Yè Shanghai (Kowloon), Hong Kong

One of the most important occasions in the Chinese culture is Chúxī (Lunar New Year's eve), when families gather together for Tuan Yuan Fan (family reunion dinner). As I mentioned previously, most Chinese will make the effort to travel back to their homeland to be reunited with their families for this festive period. My extended family in Malaysia usually organises an annual reunion for a double celebration - to usher in the new lunar year and celebrate my maternal grandmother's birthday. We unfortunately couldn't make it this year (the last one we attended was four years ago), but we still made the effort to have a small celebratory meal here in Hong Kong.

When I was searching for Chinese restaurants for our new year's eve meal, I came to the realisation that we haven't eaten very much Shanghainese food. In fact, I don't think we'd eaten any Shanghainese food at all since coming to HK more than a year ago. There are a few Shanghainese restaurants here, and I heard that yè shanghai in Kowloon was awarded their second Michelin star for 2012. That was good enough for me, and I made reservations.

An empty dining area that filled up quickly with hungry people:

I liked the decor, which was distinctly Chinese, but sleek and modern. Service was a little patchy - the maître d' who greeted us and sat us at our table was unfriendly, abrupt and cold - not quite up to the standard we've come to expect from a Michelin 2-star restaurant. Other than that, the waitstaff were great and efficient at their job. We arrived at the beginning of lunch service, and we saw the tables fill up to the brim with mostly Chinese people (there were only two non-Chinese in the whole room, and hubby was one). The full a-la-carte menu, dim sum menu booklet and a festive banquet menu were all available, and I enjoyed flipping through the pages, feasting with my eyes on the beautiful food photos. The dishes were quite reasonably priced for a Michelin-starred restaurant, and the quality of the all the dishes we ordered were consistently good.

Chrysanthemum tea in a contemporary teacup:

Crispy Rice with Beef - yummy and fun to eat. We requested this to be soy-free, nut-free and sesame-free so that our boy could eat it too:

Sauteed Minced Chicken with Pine Nuts, served with Sesame Pastry Pockets. The chicken was nicely seasoned, and the pine nuts added a nice crunch:

A sesame pastry parcel stuffed with the chicken and pine nuts. This was another fun dish to eat:

Stirfried String Beans with Bamboo Shoots - this was a chef's recommended dish, and probably the most expensive vegetable dish on the menu. It was lovely but not mind-blowingly so:

Chicken with Bean Jelly in Peanut Sauce (served cold) - ordered from the dim sum menu (but a full-sized version is also available from the a-la-carte menu). I loved the chewy bean noodles and the peanut sauce:

Thousand Year Eggs and Beancurd (also served cold) - also ordered from the dim sum menu (bigger version is available from the a-la-carte menu). I adore century eggs, and the flavour carried nicely with the tofu:

Hubby couldn't resist having a little sweet at the end of the meal, and the Dessert Platter was the perfect selection for him. For HK$110, he could choose three of the yè shanghai's signature desserts - a good value considering one dessert can cost up to HK$48. We realised after placing our order that neither of the desserts were suitable for the boy.

Hua Diao Wine Ice Cream - quite pleasant to the palate, and the alcohol taste wasn't overpowering:

Chestnut Tiramisu with Chocolate Sorbet - this fusion dessert sounded promising with a lovely presentation, but we thought it was only okay. I think replacing the sorbet with a richer and denser chocolate gelato would be an improvement:

Black Sesame Crème Brûlée with Peanut Ice Cream. We liked this one the best out of the three desserts. Sesame pairs well with peanut, and the crunchy caramel topping gave a nice textural contrast:

We enjoyed our lunch at yè shanghai, though we think that the maître d' should work on improving her attitude. Shanghai cuisine is delicious, and I must make more effort to try out more Shanghainese food.

yè shanghai Kowloon
6/F, The Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel
3 Canton Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Tel. +85 2 2376 3322

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