So it was my first visit to Pang’s Kitchen, one of the latest additions to Michelin Star Restaurants 2013. I have been told by fellow foodies and neighbours that Pang’s Kitchen is one of the best eats in Happy Valley. But since most of the time I eat out alone, and that the restaurant is packed to the brim almost every night, I didn’t venture in until tonight.
Was it because the the Michelin award? Truth to be told, I was more intrigued by how the owner of the restaurant, Pang Pak-sheung said when he learned that Pang’s Kitchen has received one star in the 2013 Michelin Guide. According to SCMP, his reaction was “Keep me out of this”.
Putting aside the folly of the Michelin star system in Hong Kong, I was there for a special dinner with my better half. After asking fellow foodies from #HKFoodBloggers, we ordered some of the crowd favorite.
Strawberry Pork Ribs (HK$98)
Recommended by almost everyone I spoke to, it is easy to understand why. Though this dish is rather common in Cantonese restaurants, cooking it in strawberry was certainly a first for me. Usually, “gou lou yook” is cooked with pineapples. To use strawberry instead seems like a good choice, especially for those of us who doesn’t like their meat dish too sweet. The pork was lean, deep fried with a light batter that made it quite a delight to savour. I can see why almost every table in Pang Kitchen’s had the same dish for the night.
Broccoli with Broth (HK$98)
A simple vegetable dish cooked in some of the most delicious broth imaginable. The healthy portion of greens was balanced in some way with the slightly-salty broth – which boast a taste of sesame oil and garlic – which made for a refreshing contrast with the rest of the meatier dishes we ordered for the night. Though for the life of me I can’t see why it should be priced the same as the pork ribs.
Claypot Oysters With Spring Onion & Ginger (HK$140 for four pieces)
Certainly the star of the night. We can smell the claypot from a mile away, and the sizzling deep-fried oysters were expertly stir fried with thick slices of ginger and fragrant spring onion. The end result was some tasty fried oysters with gravy which went perfectly well with a bowl of white rice.
A word of the restaurant. It was certainly a busy night and though the wait staff was unfailingly polite, we felt the stress of dining in a famous Chinese restaurant. The dim light used was quite misplaced in a Chinese setting. If it was meant to make the patrons feel cosy, I don’t think Pang’s Kitchen did a very good job. Since a quick turnover is essential to its success – let’s just blame the high rent – they’ll do better with a more conventional Hong Kong restaurant ambiance (read: bright, noisy, rowdy).
So was it worth the $400+ dinner? Like what my friend said: “There isn’t really any must-try dishes because it’s not really a must-try restaurant”, perhaps Pang’s Kitchen, although still a decent place, is a little overrated. The Michelin star won’t help.
25 Yik Yam Street