Food paradise hooks the best

| Siu Sai-wo 14 May 2018

Many high-end restaurants have emerged in the mainland as the country's economy soars, and some of these shops are coming to Hong Kong because we are a world-renowned "Foodies' Paradise."

A well-known one is Howard's Gourmet, which specializes in Chiu Chow cuisine. Gourmands are also talking about Xin Rong Ji, which opened an outlet here early in the year.

Xin Rong Ji serves the cuisine of Taizhou, which is in Zhejiang, where sea produce is abundant. Its menu has a predominantly Zhejiang flavor, with new elements injected.

I have been to the shop's Beijing branch. Now that it has come to Hong Kong, I visited it to see if there are any differences.

Like the Beijing shop, Hong Kong's Xin Rong Ji has a non-flashy exterior design. Inside, shop space is devoted mostly to guest rooms - there are seven - and its open area has only six tables.

The shop's most famous dish is wild yellow croaker fish, which has seasonal prices.

Yellow croakers used to be a common family dish, but its population has fallen over the years, and sizable ones are becoming harder to get.

Xin Rong Ji has the source to get them and imports them by air, which is one of its major selling points.

The shop serves the fish in sauce with a hearty quantity of ginger and garlic, which has a strong flavor but does not overwhelm the aroma of the fish. The sauce is rich but not too thick, which goes perfectly with rice.

Apart from this famed dish, the shop's shuang jiang luo bo - frosty tulip, and green cake dessert - are also delightful.

Pricey establishments place as much attention to service.

The local Xin Rong Ji employs Hong Kong chefs and send them for training in the mainland to ensure strict adherence to the shop's recipe.

The shop's manager told me she used to work at the Eagle's Nest club at the former Hilton Hotel. She's steeped in the five-star hotel service culture of bygone days, a heritage of the local catering industry that I think we should try hard to preserve.

Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily

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