When I think of Hong Kong cafe-restaurants (茶餐厅), I think of instant noodles with luncheon meat and fried egg, baked rice, fancy tea-tails, and a whole lot of confused recipes passing off as fusion food (I think of them as ‘confusion food’).
So when I received a dinner invitation to sample the menu at Tang Hong Kong Gourmet, I was expecting confusion cuisine. But what me and my friends had was a great no-frills dining experience with Asian tastes not trying to pretend to be something else. In other words, good ‘ol traditional Cantonese and Asian fare that’s full on flavour and big on character!
Located along Neil Road, Tang HK Gourmet sits within one of the most historical parts of Singapore.
Walk this way to Tang-o with authentic Chinese home-cooked recipes that's been passed down for generations.
The ever cordial and smiley Benson Tong, chef and propreitor of Tang. Benson is quite a celebrity chef with a guest spot on 100.3FM's Mr Simple (好吃小计划) every Tuesday at 10:30pm and he's won the Successful Entrepreneur 2010, Singapore 100 Special Commendation 2008, and placings in TV cooking shows as well as competitions. With such credentials, I can't wait for him to start wok-ing on my dinner!
I'm in the company of big talents. Here's Eg Yik Fan with Benson. Yik Fan is the Chief Producer for Money Week (财经追击) and he was nominated for the Best Current Affairs Story (最佳时事报道) in this year's Star Awards (红星大奖 2012).
Top 3 recommended dishes by Mediacorp Channel 8's food variety show, Buzzing Cashier. Best thing is, the prices won't leave the wallet hungry after we are full.
Any 茶餐厅 experience would not be complete without an order special beverages and tea. We ordered the Plum drink, Home-Boiled Sugar Cane drink and Chrysanthemum with Wolfberry tea. The drinks were full of flavour and didn't taste like some watered down syrupy disasters.
Best way to start a dinner is with soup to 'lubricate' the appetite. This Pork Ribs with Buddha's Hand Fruit tastes as wonderful as it is exotic. Never had soup made from the fruit before as it is not commonly sold in the markets.
Black Chicken Herbal Soup... simply superb with just the right herbal note without being overpoweringly bitter.
Tang Special Spicy Coconut Prawn.
Steam Fishhead with Chili and Garlic Sauce. Fish is fresh and cooked just right so the meat is slippery and soft. But the sauce was a little too strong for my preference.
I call this the black orgasm! I'm a HUGE fan of Vinegared Pork Trotters and Tang's version is pure culinary rhapsody. Very seldom do I get to taste this dish done to perfection. The vinegaric sourness and sweetness of this dish were in harmony with the meaty flavour and the pork was cotton. And I've never eaten old ginger cooked till so soft. Two thumbs up!
Roast Duck. Meat was firm and moist.
Stir-Fried Dou Miao (pea shoots) with Oyster Sauce. Love the generous sprinkling of fried garlic bits that brings out the crispness of greens when eaten together with the veggie.
Another of my fave at Tang... Pear with White Fungus Dessert, Red Dates and Apricot Kernels.
There were still many salivicous-sounding dishes I didn’t get to taste during the dinner. A big thank you to Benson for inviting me and graciously extending the food tasting session to my 3 friends.
It’s so very, very rare that I get a food tasting invite where I can bring friends and order anything we desired on the menu. This just shows the generosity of the chef and judging from what we had, Tang Hong Kong Gourmet definitely doesn’t skim on taste and great service! Will definitely go back again as a paying customer