Once in a while you need to break out from your normal routine to discover new experience and enjoy different food. Thanks to my relentless colleagues who were out to get me for lunch every Friday (I swear, they timed it with their calendar), I found myself surrounded by the lovely ladies from the marketing department for some great Cantonese fare at the Fullka Restaurant.
Never heard of Fullka before? Well, neither did I, until that afternoon. Apparently this place was off-radar for most foodies, which was apparent by how not full it was during lunchtime on a working weekday. Further investigation revealed that this restaurant was previously named Home Wanchai (does that sound familiar?) and was helmed by Chef Lee Yue Ching of ‘Ah Yat Abalone’ fame. The set lunch was a steal at HK$88, where you get soup, one main course with rice, and a dessert. Since the main course is rather large in portion, you can go with a few friends so that you can mix and match from its extensive menu of true Cantonese food.
And so on to the lunch.
Pig Stomach Soup
Hand’s down, the best starter soup I have ever tried in Hong Kong (and that’s saying something). The soup was intense with peppery taste and was well balanced with the meaty goodness of the excellent pig stomach. The soup burns down as you drink it, in a very comforting way. It was such a perfect, fiery soup for a cold winter day.
Sweet & Sour Shrimp Balls
This was like “gou look yuk“ (sweet and sour pork rib), but with shrimps. The dish itself was not outstanding per say, but the prawns were crunchy to the bite and goes pretty well with the sweet and (more) sour sauce. Personally I would have preferred a slightly dinner batter, but the succulent prawns more than made up for it.
Stir Fried Minced Pork With Bittergourd & Preserved Olives
This dish of Cantonese delight was a crowd pleaser. The ladies couldn’t get enough of it. Whenever I think of a bittergourd dish, I always imagined big slices of bittergourd that would have looked rather vulgar with meat, not to mention the overpowering bitterness it brings to the dish. The chef at Fullka cleverly selected the smaller baby bittergourd (that would explain the tiny, cute slices of it) to balance it with preserved olives and minced meat. The end result was a refreshingly bittersweet meaty creation – bitter with gourd and sweet with olives. Thumbs up!
Signature Soy Chicken
If the chickens in the photo don’t look appetising, I don’t blame you. The layer of oil and gooey soy sauce are enough to make anyone shudder, but this was one dish which tasted much, much better than it looks. The chicken was nicely marinated with sesame oil and soy sauce, and with just enough layer of fat to make you want just another piece. And then another. And then you will drench your white rice with the rice. You have been warned.
Claypot Eggplants With Salted Fish
This is quite a standard Cantonese fare and Fullka didn’t disappoint. Though the eggplants were a bit too mashed for us to appreciate the minced meat, it goes well when consumed in small portions. Never make it a main for yourself, folks. It would be way too starchy for lone consumption.
Braised Fish Belly With Garlic Cloves
For some reason, this dish was disappointing. After all the previous delightful dishes, this fish paled in comparison. The gravy tasted more like starch, and the fish – as far as I could tell – was far from fresh. Cantonese cuisine is quite famous for their fresh, sweet fish dishes, so this represents the best of Fullka quite badly. Avoid at all cost.
A word about the restaurant. I really like how… how… oriental the whole place is set up. The staff was rowdy without being rude, friendly without being overwhelming. As I said, it was during lunchtime when we visited but the restaurant wasn’t full despite only having a few tables. Apparently, my colleagues can walk into the restaurant on any day and still will get a table. Well, with any luck after this post the situation will change. For the good of the restaurant.
Verdict? Fullka is like the unsung hero of Cantonese cuisine in Causeway Bay. The restaurant deserves bigger crowd to appreciate the good food and great value it has to offer.
Fullka Cantonese Cuisine
1/F, 39 Morrison Hill Road (same building as Butterfly on Morrison Hotel)
Causeway Bay / Wanchai