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Thursday, October 13, 2011

[Hong Kong] Hung Kee Seafood Restaurant (洪記海鮮酒家)

Hung Kee Seafood Restaurant (洪記海鮮酒家)
Shop 6; 9-10, G/F, Siu Yat Building, Sai Kung Hoi Pong Square, Sai Kung

Sai Kung is an well known area for having seafood. Sai Kung Town was once a fishing village, and despite the fact it's more modernized now, the harbour is still a place where much of the seafood served at near by restaurants are caught. The restaurants are situated on a street all along the harbour, and due to the proximity, the street definitely reeks of fish and salt water. But that's a small price to pay for the delicacies that are served. Amongst the many restaurants, we end up going to Hung Kee Seafood Restaurant based on friend referral. I love walking by each restaurant and just gazing at their gigantic tanks of seafood on display. It makes ordering easy too; you can literally point to the specific one you want and specify how you want it cooked. Since you're picking ingredients on a hungry stomach, you can bet you'll more than likely over order -everything looks so tasty!

Fish tanks outside the restaurant

Seating inside the restaurant

Mantis Shrimp (攋尿蝦)

For those unfamiliar with this specimen, the name will probably strike you to surprise. The literal translation from chinese is peeing shrimp, which I find it a bit misleading because its neither a shrimp nor does it pee. I can only reason that it's because it looks somewhat like a shrimp, and has a tendency to shooting out water when it's scared and lifted out of the water. In my opinion, I think it has the body of a lobster, and a head a preying mantis. The shell was very hard to crack, so I had some difficulty getting to the meat. But once you do, its delicious! Tastes almost identical to lobster.

I noticed while walking around several seafood stalls, that some of them have it sitting in a waterbottle, some tied up, and some roaming freely in the tank. Turns out, these mantis shrimp have a claw that accelerates at a speed of a bullet which helps it eat things like clams and crabs. Though it doesn't happen often, these shrimp can break through the tank! More often than not, the mantis shrimp seen swimming freely will have their claws taken away. Sorry to go all national geographic on you guys, but this crustacean was not only tasty, but extremely fascinating!

Razor Clam (蟶子)
The razor clam is my ultimate favourite specimen to order at seafood places. Why? I'm not quite sure. I find it tastes very similar to regular clams, but has a springier, bouncier texture. Described in chinese it's more 爽 ("soong"). The oblongular shape of the clam definitely makes it easier to eat, and able to be pick up the garnishings and sauces that it's cooked in. I like these clams in bean sauce the most, but garlic was nice and clean.

Squid Sashimi
This was an interesting item that I didn't know you could order. I was always under the presumption that everything chosen from the fish tanks had to be cooked. Who knew they could serve up sashimi too? They slice it thinly and placed over a chunk of ice. You can actually tell a big difference in texture of this fresh squid as opposed to frozen or longer stored ones. It wasn't at all chewy, and had a mucky almost goopy texture.  Almost the feeling you get when you eat peanut butter and it sticks all over.

Stir Fried Crab with green onion and ginger (薑蔥蟹)
This is one of my favourite ways to have crab cooked. The spiciness of the ginger brings out the sweetness of the crab. I have to admit though, I didn't enjoy eating this dish all that much. There was a lack of meat, and ended up being a lot of work to dismantle and crack the crab.

Lobster and Cheese Yee Mien (芝士龍蝦伊麵)
I can't count the number of times I've had lobster yee mein, but never with cheese! Who knew it would taste so good? This is a very heavy dish, and being served later in the dinner, there was only so much I could eat. Creamy and rich, its good for the decadent eater. You'll also notice that this lobster doesn't look like anything you can get from Canada. That's because it's a spotted lobster! Not quite sure what it's nationality is, but seeing it alive the tank outside with all it's patterning was such a funky sight.

Garlic and Vermicelli Fan Clams (蒜蓉粉絲蒸扇貝)
Just like the razor clams, these clams were cooked in simple ingredients and a light soya sauce that didn't overpower the clam's sweetness. Arranged conveniently on a half-shell, I took one big slurp and consumed everything on the shell. It's a mouthful, but it all works. I guess you don't need much to make fresh seafood taste good.

Deep Fried Salt and Pepper Squid
Compared to the rest of the dinner, I wasn't a big fan of this dish. Not that it wasn't fresh or taste great, but it was just very underachieving. The batter got soggy real quick, causing it to be less than enjoyable after some point.

Clams in Black Bean Sauce

Stir Fried Tung Choi with Garlic (蒜蓉通菜)
And of course the standalone veggie dish to ensure all the food groups are covered. If you've never had tung choi, it's one of the few vegetables that is hollow. It's stem is almost like a straw. The reason being is because tung choi is actually a water spinach, meaning it's grown in water. The hollow stems allows the plant to float and absorb sunlight.

I always get some much pleasure out of having fresh seafood. Aside from being lip-smackingly delicious, it's also an experience that you can't get in Canada. There is just a certain satisfaction with picking and choosing your own live seafood straight out of the tank. If you enjoy seafood of any type, I most definitely recommend hitting up a pier-side seafood restaurant.