The Teochew restaurant of Chiuchow Chamber of Commerce in Sheung Wan was once closed to public. But since July 2018, it finally succumbed to commercial pressure to allow its first paying customers. But they stuck to their no-menu private dining.
The restaurant is part of Chiuchow Chamber of Commerce whose members include Mr Lee Ka Shing, the richest Chinese (and Teochew) in the world. So one would wonder what the richest men and women of Hong Kong (many of whom are Teochew) eat normally.
Dinner Set Menu (June 2019)
The restaurant only offers Omakase-type set menu – the only decisions that one would have to make are how much (ranging from HKD 600 per head upwards) and how many (persons). And there’s a minimum cover for 4 persons. This evening we had one less diner due to last minute commitments. Since it’s a slow week, we were lucky that they broke their own rules and allowed a 7-course set menu for three (usually 8 course, minus one course).
1/ 清燉荷包鱔湯 Doubled-boil conger eel wrapped in cabbage
This is a course that require high culinary techniques, what we termed as 功夫菜 Kungfu dish. Sections of the conger eel 大海鰻 is wrapped in preserved Chinese cabbage 大白菜干 with Chinese ham 金華火腿 and lean pork. The bundle is then double-boiled in a stock prepared with head and tail of the eel and pork bones.
The bundled did not disintegrate with the cooking. The soup remained clear but flavourful. All the ingredients have contributed to the complex yet soothing broth. This is the third most laborious soup that Teochew cuisine would present in a banquet, after shark’s fin and sea whelk.
2/ 鹵水鵝拌鵝肝 Braised Teochew-style goose and liver
The legendary lion-head goose 獅頭鵝 is used for the quintessential Teochew dish. Four parts of the goose were served – the breast meat, the thigh, the drumstick and liver. Teochew goose liver is different from how the French prepare foie gras. It’s naturally taken from the goose so it is of decent and normal size. It is usually braised/stewed, and it requires a lot of skill to make sure it is still soft, creamy and fatty.
Also important in this dish are the two non-goose accompliments – the Puning beancurd 普寧豆腐 and the garlic-chilli vinegar 蒜泥醋. The first adsorbed all the braising liquid and provide another texture profile to enjoy the savoury braise. The second is a dipping sauce to eliminate the fatty mouth taste from the rich liver and strong tasting goose meat. They have nailed this dish, although I had better examples to present.
Sea prawn with superior soy sauce on rice cracker
I suspected that this may not be of Teochew origin, but Shuntak 顺德. Oil-fried large sea prawn 蝦烙 is quickly coated with superior soy sauce 豉油皇 and served on a piece of rice cracker. It used to be served on burnt rice sticking to the bottom of a rice pot 锅巴, but these are hard to find as rice cookers are usually non-stick these days.
This was the only course for the evening that I didn’t like. The shell of the prawn stuck to the flesh even though the flavours have permeated throughout the crustacean. The rice cracker was a bit too hard and there wasn’t any sauce for the cracker so the effect of a soften cracker with sauce was not achieved.
Stir-fry pomfret fillet with spicy black beans and Thai basil
Instead of the usual Teochew-style steamed pomfret, we were served with a stir-fried pomfret fillet. Great taste with Thai basil 金不换 and spicy black bean, reminded me of the Filipino adobo.
And the bones of the pomfret was not wasted. They coated it with flour, deep fried it, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and then quick stir-fry in deep fried garlic and chilli. There wasn’t much flesh left on the bones, but “sucking the marrow out of life” was what came to mind.
5/ 潮州炒蠔爽（生菜包）Teochew oyster crunch
This is an improved version of the classic Teochew oyster omelette. The traditional style required a lot of cooking oil to make the potato starch crispy and chewy. This improvised version by the chefs of the club was invented to cater to the aging club members who need a simpler, healthier version of their favourite dish.
You take a scope of the oysters and chopped scallions, wrap it with the lettuce and add tomato and cucumber as you like. Eat it like an oyster taco. Yummy.
6/ 方魚翠玉荷塘豆腐 Soft tofu with HK kailan and dried fish
A very simple course but shows a lot of thought into the flavours. Tofu is bland and requires the condiments and other ingredients to bring out the flavour. The main supply of umami and satisfaction comes from the dried fish 方鱼, deep fried and pounded to dust for sprinkling over the tofu. HK kailan provides the crunch and slight bitterness. It is all bonded together with the sauce from thickened stock.
The colour for the course is really pretty too. White, green, orange and golden.
潮州粥 Teochew porridge
And for filler, unlimited supply of porridge 🙂 It is eaten with preserved and salted vegetables, like the salted olive vine 橄榄菜 and preserved mustard greens 咸芥菜. This was what every Teochew would agree to be their comfort food. When I was a child, I did not appreciate it. Now, I would have it at home at least once a week.
7/ 薑薯綠豆爽 合時生果 Tau suan and fruits
Chinese dinners are usually weak in the dessert section. This is no difference. Just cut fruits and a bowl of tau suan.
Hong Kong Chiu Chow Chamber of Commerce
Hong Kong Chiu Chow Chamber of Commerce was established in 1921. It is the oldest and the most reputable Chiu Chow business organization in Hong Kong. On the front entrance of the restaurant is the signpost of the club that featured the calligraphy by the late Mr Rao Zong Yi 饒宗頤先生. Mr Rao is a Teochew Nang and considered one of the leading scholar of Chinese culture 國學大師. His calligraphy can also be found on the Guangji Gate 廣濟門 in Chaozhou.
The food has been great this evening. As it is only omakase, one can only wish that you would taste as good tonight as the next time we visit. And visit we must again!
Hong Kong Chiu Chow C.O.C. Members’ Club
81 Des Voeux Rd W, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Tel : +852 2549 9399
Date Visited : Jun 2019
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