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

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Lacklustre lunch @ Wong Chi Kei, Hong Kong

I love a good bowl of congee, and my mum and sisters all share my common love for congee with preserved egg, however both hubby and the boy are not too keen on congee. I have a favourite congee shop in Hong Kong where I go on my own to enjoy a bowl of preserved egg and beef/pork congee with some you tiao (Chinese cruller/doughnut). However, this congee joint is as local and no-frills as it gets in HK - sharing a table with strangers is expected, and it is definitely not ideal for a leisurely meal with little kids who has multiple food allergies. At HK$17 or less for a tasty bowl of congee, it is popular with the locals and this expat here. When I first read about the crab congee at Wong Chi Kei (also known as Wong Chi Kee on the internet), it went on my list of things to eat in Hong Kong. We were in Central on Sunday, heading towards our favourite teahouse for some yum cha lunch, when we walked past Wong Chi Kei on the same road. I proposed to hubby that we try some place new for lunch, to which he agreed, and we walked down the steps with our 5-year-old boy in tow into Wong Chi Kei.

Wong Chi Kei specialises in noodles and congee, and it is quite nicely presented for such a restaurant. The location is convenient, and the service we got was professional enough. There was a wide variety of dishes on the menu to suit all tastes and diet requirements, and prices were reasonable. After a brief flick through the menu, we settled on three items that we thought would make up a fairly balanced meal.

Yung chow fried rice (HK$69) for the boy who requested rice over noodles that day. I liked the fried rice, which was tasty with a good amount of shrimps. The boy ate at least half of the generous serving:

Meat and Vegetable Platter (HK$200). We ordered this mostly for hubby who wanted a protein-rich dish, but unfortunately he did not like anything on it. The dumplings were floppy and barely warm and the mushrooms were just edible (but cold). The braised pork trotters and stewed pork tasted good enough, but hubby is not a big fan of the gelatinous texture, and he literally only took one bite (my dad would have cleaned off the trotters if he was here). I think this platter could be vastly improved if everything was served piping hot:

Fresh Crab Congee (HK$90). The congee texture was good and not watery, but I thought flavour was lacking. The crab itself wasn't that great - not much flavour and definitely lacked the sweetness usually found in good crabs - which would explain the lackluster congee. Perhaps the addition of a preserved egg could have improved the congee, but hubby isn't a fan of the green egg:

I am loath to write a not-so-positive review, especially when the restaurant is highly favoured by a blogger who I regard as a discerning foodie. In all fairness, our different experiences could be put down to the fact that the kitchen staff on duty on the day we visited were not great at food preparation, or that we just ordered the wrong dishes for a first-time visit, or that the quality was just bad on our visit. Or perhaps a combination of all three. I would be reluctant to come back for a second try.

[Prices quoted above excludes the 10% service charge.]

Wong Chi Kei
Basement Level
10-12 Stanley Street
Central, Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2869 1331

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