Old local delicacies have already been consigned to the past by many, but this summer Greater China Club attempts to bring back the taste of old Hong Kong. Junior Reporters Katniss Tsang, Vivian Chan and Bakhita Fung hopped into a time machine and tried out a bunch of dim sum.
Deep-fried Shrimp Dumplings served with Superior Soup
I was really surprised by the shrimp dumplings served with soup. Shrimp dumplings are normally steamed, but I found that the taste and look of these deep-fried dumplings were far more appealing. The crispy golden skin was thin, soft, slightly chewy and tasted perfect. We followed the chef’s suggestion to dip the dumplings into the superior soup (which is made with jinhua ham) and found that the saltiness of the soup enhanced the richness of the dumplings.
Steamed Pork Dumplings with Pork Liver
I was pretty worried when I heard the name of this dish – I’ve had pork liver before and found the smell of blood too strong to enjoy eating it. The pork liver in this dish was very smooth though, and didn’t smell or taste of anything unusual. The steamed pork dumplings did not taste like the usual kind that you can find in a Chinese restaurant, as it wasn’t fatty or oily like a lot of pork dumplings can be. I actually found the taste very similar to the dim sum dish “siu mai”. The executive chef, Chan Wai-Teng, told me that the addition of pork liver in the dumplings is actually fairly traditional but it isn’t often included these days. I can see why this dish was added onto the Taste of Old Hong Kong menu as it will probably bring back a lot of memories for older generations.
Baked Fish Intestines with Egg and Mandarin Peel
This complex dish requires various cooking techniques to make. Chan told me that it’s quite difficult to buy fish intestines in wet markets now, and that the intestines need to be thoroughly cleaned before they can be used. For every bowl of baked fish intestines that he makes, two hours of work must be put into washing the ingredients before they can be cooked. I found the dish to be well-balanced in flavours, and the distinctive smell of the egg was not overpowered by the mandarin peel.
Steamed Jumbo Bun with Chicken, Mushrooms and Salty Egg Yolk
Dim sum normally consists of small bite-sized portions of food, but that’s not the case when you choose this dish. Instead of three small buns, you get one huge bun filled with chicken, mushrooms and salty egg yolk. This traditional dim sum bun is filled to the brim with fresh ingredients – the salty egg yolk practically melts in your mouth, the chicken is perfectly cooked and the mushrooms add a subtle taste to the bun. The outside is just as delicious too, and is light and fluffy.
“The bun is best when it is fresh,” Chan said, and went on to tell us that the buns do not store well, as they will become tough quite quickly. Don’t worry about having to share this dish – it can get pretty messy when you try to split it, so feel free to keep this one all to yourself.
Deep-fried Milk Pudding
You don’t normally expect to see “fried” and “milk” in the same sentence to describe a dish, but that’s the case with the deep-fried milk pudding on the Vintage Taste of Old Hong Kong menu. Fresh milk was historically far too expensive to be used often in Asia, and this tasty treat used to be made with a powder mix instead of milk. Chan explains that the dish takes a lot of time and effort to create.
“You need to freeze the Hokkaido milk with butter, cornstarch and sugar – but it must be smooth, not gloopy.” Chefs must then carefully roll the sticks of milk custard in bread and deep fry them. This means that the outside is crisp and crunchy, but the pudding remains sweet, rich and creamy. This deep-fried milk pudding dish takes over four hours to prepare and make and is best eaten fresh; hurry over to Greater China Club before it runs out!
Sweetened Black Sesame Rolls
Though this traditional dish bears a striking resemblance to a film reel, it is actually a refrigerated dim sum dessert. Although it used to be a popular dish in Hong Kong, the sweetened black sesame rolls aren’t commonly sold now as it takes a highly skilled chef to be able to roll the sesame sheets perfectly. Chan added that the dessert must be made fresh on a daily basis, as once it hardens the rolls lose the distinctive chewy texture they are known for. When making this dessert, the sesame must be fried before adding cornstarch, sugar and oil to it to form a paste. The paste must then be laid out and frozen before it can be carefully rolled. Though the rolls are soft and smooth like cheung fan (rice noodle rolls), this dish is both sugary and filling, so be sure to save room for this dish at the end of the meal.