Restaurant review: Choi’s Kitchen in Tin Hau – a trip back to Hong Kong’s piquant past
Recalling restaurants from a bygone Hong Kong, Choi’s Kitchen serves great meals made with TLC that sate your appetite but won’t break the bank
Choi’s Kitchen is the kind of place that many neighbourhoods in Hong Kong used to have, but which are being pushed aside for large, glittery restaurants that are long on style and short on substance. It’s a small shop that serves up food that is made with care, at reasonable prices for the quality, and with friendly service. The menu isn’t extensive, but we had a hard time deciding what to order because we wanted to try a lot.
Pan-fried salted fish and minced pork patties (HK$148 for eight pieces) were thick and succulent, made with fresh-tasting meat that had the texture of being hand-minced. Supreme beef brisket with radish soup (HK$258) – one of their specialities – was fantastic. It was a generous serving of tender, slightly fatty chunks of meat, with sweet white radish in a delicately flavoured broth.
Sweet and sour pork (HK$138) wasn’t the usual sauce-laden version made with canned pineapple and tomato ketchup. The featured chunks of moist meat had a thin, crisp batter in a subtle but balanced sauce.
Another of the restaurant’s specialities is clay pot rice, which is available only after 7.30pm. We tried two and both were excellent. The eel version with black beans and chillies (HK$148) had thick pieces of eel that were tender and fatty while the one with “Chinese charcuterie” (also known as laap mei, HK$138) had good quality Chinese sausage, liver sausage, bacon and salted duck. The rice crust on both versions was almost perfect: it lifted out of the pot in one piece, and had a well-browned bottom. The rice went deliciously with juicy, sweet stalks of mustard green with a pungent but light sauce flavoured with shrimp paste, pork and dried shrimp (HK$88).
Pig’s liver in casserole with ginger and onion (HK$138) had great flavour, but this cooking method allowed the liver to become overcooked and therefore was tough and hard.
Choi’s Kitchen, Hoi Kok Mansion, 9 Whitfield Road, Tin Hau, tel: 3485 0501. About HK$210 without drinks or the service charge