The journey to find brilliant local food in Hong Kong is never ending. My HK foodie friend recommends Tai Chung Wah in Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon. If Central is dazzling and cosmopolitan, Cheung Sha Wan is the exact opposite. Besides, it shares none of the allure that local districts like Chai Wan has through the invasion of hipsters and posers alike. Ultimately, Cheung Sha Wan is like your down and dirty, lackluster redheaded stepchild.
But like most things in life, when we look through the facade and the obvious, it is when the good stuff comes along.
As we are getting closer to Tai Chung Wah restaurant, I notice a large group of diners waiting outside. Mind you it is 8:30 pm on a Wednesday. Luckily my friend made a reservation a few days in advance so we don’t have to join the anxious and hungry crowd.
I am happy to find the menu filled with photos but less thrilled about the fact that we need to write our own orders. (What spoiled waiters!?) So make sure to find someone who can write Chinese should you decide to go there.
This is called the Bandit Chicken. Its petite size is perfect for roasting. As we cut into the chicken, the juices ooze from the tender meat and fall off the bone effortlessly.
These steamed clams are fresh. I let the sweetness of the clam linger in my mouth before washing it down with some cold Tsing Tao beer. Instant joy hits me and reminds me of how much I love yummy food.
The Stir-Fried Razor Clams with Black Bean Sauce is a staple Cantonese seafood dish. These razor clams are smaller in size, the texture is chewy but firm, and the black bean based sauce is lightened up with a hint of sugar. It is perfectly done.
I cannot find the Clay Pot Rice on the menu, but it is not something you should miss! Our rice arrives in a large Clay Pot (hence the name), and is cooked with chives and eel. There is so much flavor in this dish, I could just order this alone and be happily satisfied. If you don’t like eel, they also offer another option with Chinese sausages.
The Squid Cake is another pleasant dish. The texture is aerated and soft, it’s lightly salted and fried.
I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Tai Chung Wah Restaurant. The dishes are straightforward Cantonese without pretense, as it is reflected in the price. I will definitely be back soon!
Address: G/F, 539 Fok Wing Street, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon
Phone: (852) 9045 4863
Reservation is recommended
UPDATE on July 2013: I initially gave this restaurant four out of five forks based on the great experience I had there. A recent visit however had greatly disappointed me. Almost every dish we had was unbearably oily and overcooked. The essence is lost, and now it is only mediocre.