All in the swim at Ocean Park

| Siu Sai-wo 8 Nov 2019

The two local theme parks are facing operational challenges as fewer mainland tour groups are coming.

As a gesture of support, someone from the political-commercial sector picked the Ocean Park's Neptune Restaurant as venue to host a gathering last week.

I arrived after 7 pm, and park visitors were already leaving. But in the open space next to the aquarium, performers and musicians were still busy rehearsing for programs to be put on later at Christmas.

These days, both the management and the general staff are striving to do their best as everyone hopes for an early improvement in the operating environment.

Neptune has changed its focus from Western to Chinese cuisine, and I only learned at the gathering that the park has invited Michelin-starred chef Chan Kwok-keung to craft new innovative menus.

One of the new dishes is the soup we had that evening - Kamei chicken consomme with black wolfberries and Yunnan ham in a whole young coconut, which was made with meticulously sourced ingredients.

The aroma of the young coconuts filled the room when their tops were removed. The manager told us such an impressive effect can only be achieved if fresh young coconuts are used. Ours, he said, arrived only the same morning.

Ocean Park emphasizes conservation, so it does not have live fish on its menu.

There was a "fish" dish for us though. It was, amazingly, a dessert - Kiwi fruit sweet soup with fruit jelly and glutinous rice balls, with the jelly made in the shape of a koi. It is both beautiful and delicious.

The biggest attraction of the dining experience at the Neptune is, of course, its giant viewing panel which looks into the undersea-scape of the giant aquarium.

We were told many of the marine life there are "long-time residents," like two of the groupers that have been there for nearly 40 years. As they swam close to the glass panel, I found that they are adorable and interesting to watch.

There were quite a few gourmets among the guests, but I believe they would agree that the love of seafood should not preclude the pursuit of conservation.

Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily

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