Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pak Loh Chiu Chow Restaurant 百樂潮州酒樓 - (Hong Kong)

 This Chiu Chow institution has been a major pillar in Hong Kong’s higher end Chiu Chow food scene for many glorious decades.   The youth generation in Hong Kong should appreciate that such traditional places still remain operating as I find that older generation shops are closing down one by one.   Pak Loh recently opened up a new branch on the 5th floor of Mongkok’s recently revamped Century Plaza 新世紀廣場.    1 day I received an Invitation by this restaurant group to try out a new Sake and Chiu Chow food pairing, along with new signature dishes.   Although the original Causeway Bay store still houses the Head chef in charge,  over at this location they are allowed more freedom and delegated the task of re-inventing new Chiu Chow signature dishes, often not available at the original store.



Golden Entrance -
A lot of the rich families in Hong Kong are of Chiu Chow descent.  This restaurant group was once famous for their birds nest and shark fin and the prestigious flower crab.  




Chiu Chow Pickled Mustard Leaf - 潮州酸菜
I am pretty sure this is the modernised elegant version,  as back in the days they didn’t chop it up and arrived as much bigger pieces.   At certain places they also pile on a good sprinkle of dried fish floss.  This has a refreshing sourness,  apparently a trait in Chiu Chow cuisine but has been toned down in Hong Kong versions.



Japanese Sake today,  Nanbu Bijin and Dassai   -
Since rice wines go well with Chinese food,  someone suggested that we could definitely try it out with some Rice Sakes from Japan for elegance.   This Sake food pairing was done by a Japanese Sake Sommelier working for CitySuper Supermarket.




Inside a Private Room -




Kung Fu Tea.   A must before any meal before and after a Chiu Chow dinner -
When I looked this up on English Wikipedia the information is quite misleading.   There was absolutely no mention of Chiu Chow/Chaozhoue/TeoChew as being it’s original inventor,  whereas the Chinese Wikipedia was much more clearer in explaining this fact.          




Cold Flower Crab - 凍花蟹 $1040
This was huge.    The meat was really sweet although I think crabs back in the days had even stronger crab flavour and was more ‘green’ colored inside,  it might have to do with the modern farming process.  You can opt to dip this into black vinegar.    ~  8/10


Goose Neck Meat, Goose Breast, Goose Gras liver,  Tofu -  $230
The Goose Neck Meat and Goose Back Meats are usually treated as delicacies,  since they are fewer in proportion.  The master stock here was quite sophisticated,  by itself it’s quite salty but it didn’t penetrate too much into the meats so it’s balanced.  I like the goose,  but the foie gras could be a little more silkier   ~  7/10




Pig’s Leg Tendons - 鹵水豬腳筋 $88
Only available at this branch of Pak Loh.   This was my favourite dish as it had the perfect balance in texture and the master stock coated it just enough.   ~  9/10



Fresh Chicken,  Cooked in Soy Paste Sauce - 豆醬龍崗雞煲  $320
The chicken was fork tender,  and although the soy paste taste was weaker than what I predicted reading the menu,  the overall balance was appreciated.   The thick chicken sauce with the soy paste was scooped onto rice together with chicken meat.  So heavenly and a must order.    ~  8/10




Pig Ears,  Goose Intestine,  Pig’s Large Intestine,  Goose Wing Webs in Master Stock -
Quite similar to a dish above but with different components this time,  all braised in Chiu Chow master stock.   I am starting to think the master stock can have more of that crucial spice component.  The Pig’s Chitterling Intestine was everyone’s favourite.  ~  7.5/10 




兩麵黄,  or 潮州糖醋麵
Traditional Chiu Chow noodles are usually fried on 1 side only.  The crispier side then dotted with sugar,  the un-fried side dipped into vinegar.   In Hong Kong most places fry both sides nowadays by default.  This was excellent and one of the best I have eaten in Hong Kong,  as beneath the grease-free crispy layer,  you can still bite into individual noodles beneath it.  Gorgeous here!    ~  9/10



Steamed Glutinous Rice Dumplings with Custard and Red Beans - 雙色甜水晶包 $42
A perennial favourite at Chiu Chow restaurant within Hong Kong,  although I also have a few other favourite items.  In fact within all of the Chinese cuisines I have so far eaten,  Chiu Chow easily has the most versatile and excellent range of desserts,  you can make a meal out of them!   This was a little too sweet for me but executed well otherwise.  ~  6.9/10




Mung Bean Soup with Water Chestnut -
This dessert soup normally comes with 清心丸,  a chewy translucent and bitey starchy dumpling to complete the experience.   The version today was too sweet and not balanced.    4/10




Taro with Steamed Milk and Eggs -  芋荔蒸奶同蛋
The Taro mud is very traditional Chiu Chow.  but the steam eggs and milk was more like a central Cantonese dessert from Shunde.   This new dessert was created by the Pak Loh kitchen and received a round of applause from the whole table.  The taro was less dense and greasy than the original version,  and mixing it into the well steamed milk pudding was a winning combo.  Another highlight and a must-order here…  ~  10/10 



Come here for both old and newer exploratory Chiu Chow Food -
They have pedigree in history as a group and within this outlet they are eager to explore some new ideas and to re-invent Chiu Chow food to keep up to the dining trend.  Prices remain reasonable,  they are taking baby steps at a time sensibly and what we tried tonight worked.  Since some of the best Chiu Chow food in town are found in really run-down places,   I enjoyed the cleaner dining space of their renovated shops and think this might just become my to-go Chiu Chow place from now on when dining with the family.



Price:   Around HKD $250 – $350
Food:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2
Ease of Access:  3/5 (above KCR Mongkok Station)

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -  11:00am – 23:00pm

Address: 旺角太子道西193號新世紀廣場5樓523號舖
Shop 523, 5/F, Grand Century Place, 193 Prince Edward Road , Mong Kok
Ph: 2390 0834




No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...