December 24, 2017
Fried rice w/egg whites & baby shrimp:
Served next was a delectable offering of fried rice. I spent a minute combing through the dish with the serving spoon trying to locate the baby shrimp when I finally realized they were the tiny brown creatures that simply looked like long grains of rice. The dish barely had a trace of oil and came out with a wonderful aroma of ginger, something I usually only come across in the better places in Chinatown and Flushing in NYC. The balance was perfect; too much ginger and the dish smells and tastes perfumy. Nothing sticky throughout, the grains just fell nicely to the plate and into my mouth.
Braised sea cucumber w/whole abalone in oyster sauce:
My third dish was undoubtedly the most memorable. The abalone is the circular item that looks like a pitted apricot half while the sea cucumber is the thing that looks like a section of large intestine. I guess the broccoli was thrown in as window dressing. The abalone was excellent for what it is, but what it is is always chewy and bouncy. I've had it sliced thin and served tempura-style, making it easier to eat, but also a lot more hidden. Last night's is probably the classic presentation of this relatively rare shellfish. The sea cucumber had a very soft texture; though chewy as well, it was easy to break apart. The oyster sauce was fine, not adding anything extra to the dish except that savory brininess most of us like. I give it three human tongues, but with an asterisk; if textures like marshmallow or oyster mushrooms aren't your thing, you might wanna avoid the dish.
Scallop congee w/lotus root, scallion, ginger:
I finished up at the Whenever Eatery with a bowl of scallop congee. The thinly-cut protein was rather bland, probably because they were barely cooked. That turned out fine because the dish clearly took on the flavor profiles of the wonderfully vibrant combination of fresh ginger and scallion along with white pepper (hotter and usually more finely ground than black pepper) brought to the table when the bowl was served. The piping hot rice was much more soupy than I've had back home, and I kind of prefer it this way because it didn't feel very heavy.
Whole sauteed prawn:
My meal started off with this pair of behemoths. Visually stunning, I think these things actually defeated Godzilla in the mid-60's. They were served in a very tasty sweet garlic sauce, and it was a real treat to rip off the heads and suck on them long and hard. If you've never tried prawn or shrimp heads, the liquid's got a nice, briny flavor. And when removing the body shell, the orange color you usually see was actually the deep red you find on lobster meat. Unfortunately, and maybe it was because of their sheer size and that they weren't young prawns, the meat tasted parboiled, so they were a tad overcooked and chewy. Overall, still a great way to start a meal.
After a long, 15.5-hour direct flight from NYC to Hong Hong, I got to my hotel pretty quickly here in Kowloon, the part of the city just across Victoria Harbor. There's plenty of shopping, plenty of tourists, plenty of restaurants. Turning into the small streets, I noticed many of the eateries serve Korean cuisine; I might dig into some of that later in my stay. But on Christmas Eve, my first night here, I thought I'd try to find some good Chinese food. I think I did just that at the Whenever Eatery...my kinda title for a joint. Here's what I had, all washed down with some jasmine tea and a bottle of Tsing Tao.