My Hong Kong/China vacation took place on April 29 – May 10, 2009. As you might know, I post at a very slow pace, so please bear with me. This is a summary of my two dinners at Sportful Garden Restaurant.
During the evenings of my second and fourth days of vacation, my aunt and uncle planned dinners at Sportful Garden Restaurant to celebrate my cousin’s (their daughter) wedding. (In case you don’t know, there’s a lot of food involved in Chinese wedding traditions.)
My aunt was the mastermind behind these dinners – one was to try it out with us six (me, my aunt, my uncle, my cousin, Samuel, and her in-law’s) before the massive invite of relatives.
For this restaurant, they offer a prix-fixe, family-style meal as well as the typical a la carte. I don’t really recall the pricing of the dinner but I believe came out roughly about $40-50 (USD) per person for a menu that can feed a typical banquet table. Here’s the menu:
Most of the appetizers contain at least a portion of crispy suckling pig, fried dried bean curd stuffed with black trumpet mushrooms, and cold jelly fish. The obvious differences between the two dinners is the portion size but both times, the appetizers were delicious – fresh, balanced flavors and it’s delicious.
Sweet & sour pork nubs and Five-spice braised beef shank
The other appetizers, from the larger group dinner, the restaurant provided were grilled fish, sweet and sour pork and five-spice braised beef shank. The grilled fish taste like eel. Since my limited understanding of Cantonese, I can’t tell you for sure if it was eel or another fish that has a similar texture. It just tastes good and crisp on the outside. The sweet and sour pork was good but I’m not too fond of having pineapples in any savory courses; it’s just a preference of mine. As for the five-spice braised beef shank, it’s quite potent in terms of the spicing, especially the star anise but it’s not overbearing.
Raw shark fin, boiled chicken (from the soup) and Shark fin soup
On the first dinner, my aunt ordered shark fin soup. This particular bowl was very memorable. I never tasted chicken soup that’s so rich, silky and well, intensely chicken-y. The shark fin was fresh and played along with the silkiness of the chicken soup. To those of you who never eaten shark fin, it technically doesn’t have much flavor but parts the luscious, velvety texture to the soup because of the cartilage.
On the second dinner, my aunt arranged shark fin and crab soup instead of the one above. This one isn’t as awesome as the chicken soup based. I loved the lusciousness of the prior. This particular soup was tasty and it contained a lot of flaked crab meat.
Braised abalone, chicken feet and broccoli
Moving on to more Chinese delicacies, we had braised abalone, chicken feet and broccoli. Weird combination in a way but it wasn’t bad. I don’t like chicken feet, as I’ve noted before, so I skipped around that part of the dish. The abalone was very meaty (it’s the whole snail), though a bit tough and tasted sort of like chicken but sea-like.
The stuffed lobster that appeared on the second dinner was quite good. The topping tasted like a white sauce that’s barely accented with cheese (possibly Parmesan?) that’s been baked on top of the sweet lobster meat. It’s on the small side (like a half pound serving) but it’s sufficient given to the many courses of this dinner.
We finally get to eat some roughage, as in stir fried sugar snap peas with enoki mushrooms, and red bell peppers.
The stuffed broad beans were quite tasty. The crunchy beans meet ground pork stuffing. It bordered sweet and salty but I don’t remember what’s in the stuffing exactly except my mind thought “Nomnomnom…”
One would know that we’re nearing the end of dinner when you see whole steamed fish placed on your table. The first time for dinner, as you see the photo above, is grouper. (The second dinner was possibly red snapper or rouget; I don’t know exactly because they portioned it off during service).
Also, they serve chicken of either type – soy sauced or crispy (roasted and possibly fried) with your fish. Both styles are delicious – it’s all juicy, flavorful chicken. If you’re wondering what are the deep golden bits on top of the crispy chicken, it’s fried minced garlic.
Then we moved to the carbohydrates. Most restaurants serve stir fried noodles or rice, which my aunt ordered the latter during the first dinner (we opted not to eat any starch on the second dinner because it’s way too much food). I ate a few spoons of this as I remembered back then I felt like my stomach was about to explode. It was good. Not too salty, not too dry or wet, and it was delicately flavored with garlic and scallion.
Finally, dessert. It seems like the default of dessert here would be the coconut jellies. These delicate diamonds of coconut jello were barely sweet that doesn’t weigh you down after eating six or so courses.
And as any normal Chinese restaurant would finish a meal, there’s always a platter of fresh fruit, namely slices of juicy (and some sweeter than others) watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.
So that’s the end of me talking about Sportful Garden Restaurant. Probably you’re sick of me talking about it (though it’s just two posts) and wanting to know other stuff I ate in Hong Kong. Well, that will be up…soon.
To see the photos of the two dinners, here’s dinner #1 and dinner #2 (with more people)
Sportful Garden Restaurant
Tai Tung Bldg, 1/F
8 Fleming Rd, Wan Chai
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
I think that’s duck feet with the abalone, not chicken feet. Everything looks delicious though, I haven’t been to HK in over 10 years, I think it’s time to go! -=)
wonders: Ah, I think you’re right. I will make the correction.
You should go back to HK! It changed a lot ever since I went there when I was 6 years old (that’s 17 years).
Besides the duck feet correction, the stir-fried vegetable dish actually had an expensive seafood called (direct translation) “coral clams”. Those orange pieces were the clams.
The chicken wasn’t just fried or roasted. but cooked by continuous “flash-frying”. The chicken is held vertically by the chef and hot oil is poured continuously over the meat until it is cooked. This cooking method allows the chicken skin to become very crispy without the meat inside being overcooked. Classic technique in Chinese cooking
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