Have you ever seen a plate of sliced beef this beautiful? You probably have, just like me. Normally, I'd gawk and drool at all the beautifully packed, gorgeously marbled, brightly colored, super expensive rows upon rows of beef in perfectly chilled shelves of luxury supermarkets. But this time, honey, I had the opportunity to taste some.
In Hong Kong, hot pot is a very popular dining activity we do in winter. I've gushed about why I love hot pot before...and now I will explain why I love this particular hot pot joint and why I should not visit it again in the near future.
Normally, I love doing hot pot at home, as I get to purchase which exact food that I like, in exact portions I can handle (that is A LOT), and of course we've previously agreed on the benefits of dining in your pajamas at home, feet on the dining table and things like that. So, If we decided to go out for hot pot, it'd better be freaking special.
Fortunately, this particular joint is pretty amazing.
Ngau Wong Sing (牛皇星) - Jordan
(Star of Emperial Beef - or something to that effect :p)
Quite a boastful name, eh? Let's see if they lived up to it. Soup base is important for hotpot, it enhances the flavors of the ingredients being cooked in it. The most popular soup base is the two-in-one satay and clear soup base, but this place has some unusual sounding soup bases, and of course, following sous chef's principals, "when it sounds weird, order it". We ordered a seabed of coconut soup base, which tasted and smelt rich, sweet, creamy, simply heavenly, and mixed mushroom soup base, which was very deliciously earthy.
The beef, oh the beef. They tasted every bit as good as what the restaurant name promised. Rich beef flavor, tender, juicy, ah-freaking-mazing. The sliced beef and beef cubes were equally fantastic, we immediately sang our songs of praise then and there (luckily the guests seated next to us were involved in an extra loud discussion, so we weren't so conspicuous).
This plate of wonder is the other star of the night. It's officially the best fried fish skin I've ever had in Hong Kong! Light, super crunchy, yet tasty. I like dipping my fried fish skin into the soup base to get it softened a bit. Oh boy, these were so worth the potential sore throat I was risking.
We generally go crazy ordering whatever we like in hotpot joints, but this time, there weren't so many choices. So we ordered something filling, such as these pork and mushroom dumplings.
I am not a big eel fan, but my friends are, and these ones weren't bad at all. I hate it when there were tiny bones poking my gums, but the bones of these babies were so fine, I didn't get poked that night (in this case, this is a good thing *grin*)
Tell me what you felt when you saw this plate, honestly. Did you say ew, yuck, blegh, or all of the above? So did I. To me, they look like a plateful of sluggish, squirmy, slimy, spit-like (all bad things starting with s) innards of an alien. Close enough. They were indeed innards of some sea creatures, but surprisingly, they weren't slimy, they taste like the sea in all its freshness, slightly sweet and crunchy. Looks is deceptive, eh?
After getting all beefed up, we wanted something leafy. We ordered this basket of the grandest vegetable of all, the emperor vegetable. They are fresh, fragrant and they absorb the deliciousness of the soup base well.
I mentioned that I should not visit this place in the near future. You were probably wondering why, as the food sounded so amazing. Ehm, it's the price. It's not exactly economic crisis friendly, we spent more than HK$300 (around US$38) per person for this meal (wow!), but considering how delicious it was, it's worth it. ^_^
Let us all sing our praises unto the beef star emperor, or emperor of star beef, or beefy emperial star...or whatever it is.
Ngau Wong Sing (牛皇星)
(Jordan district, around Temple street)
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 2199 7933