The Alabang Group, most all of us were friends and gang-mates since freshman year in college, all friends for many years, so close that we are the godparents of each others’ children. We’ve been making annual eating trips to Hong Kong for many years, billeting ourselves at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Central, HK until it closed. We miss that hotel. This year, we were 5 couples in all; just 4 days and 3 nights in HK this time since none of us can eat as much as we used to.
Plans were simple, we’d eat at our old favorite restaurants and the girls would shop in between meals. Lunch was reserved for hitting the dimsum, while dinner was lauriat time. Listing and recounting each meal being too much of a chore, I’m limiting my posts to only a handful of meals.
Day 1, 6th July 2009, Dinner: Victoria City Seafood Restaurant (5th Floor, Citic Tower, # 1 Tim Mei Avenue, Central, HK) has been a favorite of the group ever since we tried it around 5 or 6 years ago. Though they are known to specialize in seafood, their xiao long bao is also very famous and their Peking Duck and Roast Suckling Pig are pretty darn good too. We ordered all our old favorites except, this time, no sharks’ fin (one or two of the group object to eating sharks’ fin, the bleeding hearts), no Suckling Pig (cholesterol and digestion issues) and the abalone was sliced with ham instead of one whole piece each (barely half of us actually like abalone). We were only 9 persons at this dinner since Willy was flying in late as he had afternoon meetings to attend in Manila.
An unlikely delight, free appetizers of this crunchy “dilis”-like fish with nuts. We finished two plates of this in a trice and asked for two more. No wine this trip, Tsing Taos and tea washed this and the rest of the meal down.
Naturally, we started off with their famous Xiao Long Bao. As good as it ever was, Johnson immediately noted that they were mixing more crab in the filling than usual.
The second course was Lobster Sashimi served on a bed of crushed ice (bottom left). Actually, the dish was Live Lobster 2 Ways, the second way being fried with garlic and chilis. The lobster sashimi was impeccably fresh, clean and the texture of the flesh just firm enough to bite down on, its essence bursting with its lobster-ness mixed with whispers of the sea.
Roast Pork with Mustard & Sugar was the third course - a discovery of Johnson in this restaurant around 3-4 years ago, it became an immediate favorite of the group. Dipping the crunchy-skinned pork belly in a bit of mustard then sugar may sound a little strange to some, but, believe me, it is wonderful.
First Way Peking Duck (skin and Chinese pancake) was our fourth course: delectably rich, but not too oily.
The following were served in quick succession, so I’ve forgotten the exact order thereof.
Peking Duck 2nd Way (minced served in lettuce leaves).
Lobster 2nd Way (Deep Fried with Chili & Garlic).
Steamed Broccoli with Garlic (a concession to assuage eating guilt).
Steamed Red Garupa in Light Soy Sauce, always a treat, and I got to eat the head.
Sliced Abalone with Ham and Vegetables.
A house specialty of Lettuce in Fish Sauce Hot Pot.
The meal was terrific as usual; we were all too stuffed for any dessert.