Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Urban Eats @ Summer Palace - Hong Kong

Summer Palace is a two-star Michelin rated restaurant (2013-14) and one of the most anticipated meals of our trip to Hong Kong. Chef Ip Chi Cheung presents authentic regional Cantonese cuisine in an extensive and diverse menu that includes items like frog legs, pigeon, bird's nest and abalone. I wish I could say we were the more adventurous types and ordered all the crazy stuff - but we stuck with classic Chinese dishes that we love back home, but wanted to try what it was like in Hong Kong.
Our breath was taken away by the ornate gold decor, the plush red chairs and the Chinese artwork on the walls. The service is above and beyond what you would expect at a fine dining establishment. Our server was attentive, made lots of suggestions and answered all our questions patiently about preparation.
Barbecued Meat Combination - We decided to start with a combo platter of sliced suckling pig and barbecued pork. The golden crispy skin of the suckling pig beckoned to us first with big juicy pieces of pork that we dipped in homemade hot sauce and spicy mustard. The barbecued pork had a nice crust and colour and was not overly sweet, that the flavour of the pork could shine through.
Spinach Cooked in Broth - After days of eating fried noodles, greasy dim sum and big meals, we decided something green was in order. The spinach cooked in broth was the perfect thing to balance ourselves out again before we dived in again for more. If you're not big into spinach, there are other greens (like Chinese broccoli) that the kitchen can make you and you can specify how you would like them cooked.

Stir-Fried Beef in a Crispy Nest - I saw this dish float by our table and immediately inquired about it. The beef was cooked perfectly and tender to bite. It paired perfectly with the sliced almonds, crisp asparagus and carrots. I loved breaking up the crispy edible bowl for a satisfying crunch to contrast the tender beef.
Fried Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf - Our server was nice enough to ask the chef to create two smaller portions for my husband and I which came in these two cute little lotus leaf pouches. The regular size feeds around 6-8 people family style, so we were quite happy with our mini version. The fried rice was full of flavour, but was still very moist having been steamed inside a leaf. It's sort of a mix between fried rice and sticky rice (without the sticky part). The dish requires 30 minutes of preparation time, so be sure to order this at the start of your meal.
Chilled Sago Cream with Fresh Mango Juice and Pomelo - This was the most MEMORABLE dessert from my entire trip to Hong Kong and Japan. It's quite possibly one of the best desserts I have ever tasted. We didn't know what to order for dessert, so we asked our server to pick his favourite. Sago beads (like tapioca) float away in a creamy mango puree with bits of pomelo adding a tartness to this sweet creamy dish. The combination is what I imagine dessert heaven to taste like. I would make a special trip again to Summer Palace, just for this dessert.

Our dinner at Summer Palace was the perfect early Christmas dinner and didn't have us missing turkey or stuffing for one delicious second. I highly recommend a visit to this restaurant if you're looking for some of the finest authentic Cantonese cuisine Hong Kong has to offer, all within a luxurious red and gold dining room. Reservations are a must.

Summer Palace Restaurant
Island Shangri-La Hotel, Hong Kong
Supreme Court Rd, Hong Kong
Phone: 852 2877 3838

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