CLOSED - Restaurant review: Wu Fang Zhai in Hung Hom serves Shanghainese with a difference
Wu Fang Zhai has more than 300 branches in Asia, including one in Macau, but it was not until October that the restaurant chain opened its first shop in Hong Kong. Younger generations may not have heard of the Zhejiang-based company, but it is apparently a household name for our grannies, which might explain why it is located in a neighbourhood where many of them reside.
Clumsy service and the weirdly eclectic menu aside – what are shaved ice, toast and waffles doing in a Shanghainese restaurant? – most of the classic dishes we sampled were tasty and worth a revisit.
One of our favourite dishes was the steamed shepherd’s purse bun (HK$28 for three pieces). It was a simple treat – the crunchy, fragrant vegetable went really well with the sweet, fluffy white bun.
We also liked the noodle soups. Silky, delicate and great at absorbing any type of broth, the noodles were delicious, whether they were topped with the flavourful brined fish (HK$45) or served with hot and sour soup (HK$50), which had a touch of Sichuan influence from the peppercorns. Wu Fang fried rice (HK$56) was another simple dish done well with meat, vegetables and plenty of wok hei, while with the stir-fried shredded eel (HK$90), we only wished the portion was bigger.
Wu Fang Zhai is most famous for its rice dumplings so it would be a crime not to try some. Unfortunately all the savoury ones were sold out, so we went for the black glutinous rice and chestnut dumpling (HK$20). The rice was gooey and had a pleasant scent from the bamboo leaf it was steamed in, but was otherwise a bit bland.
Drunken chicken in huadiao wine (HK$60) had a nice tang from the wine, but the meat was mushy and sloppily chopped and had lots of tiny bones. Both the pumpkin cake (HK$26 for three pieces) and pan-fried red bean cake (HK$26 for three pieces) were on the oily side, but otherwise they were a nice way to end the meal.
Wu Fang Zhai, Hotel Sav, 83 Wuhu Street, Hung Hom, tel: 2682 5518. Open: 11.30am-10pm