Hong Kong, China,
tasted on December 12, 2005 — We've already established that
some of the best food in countries outside of the United States is
located in high end hotels - especially in Asia. And while we had
fantastic Chinese food in Bangkok we
still needed to have world class dim sum. Enter Spring Moon. Located
at the gorgeous Peninsula hotel in Kowloon (a short and cool ferry
ride from the Central district to Kowloon). I had some time to kill
so I checked out all the cool modern and ancient art at the
Hong Kong Museum of Art. I am nothing if not cultured. (Like
Spring Moon is famous not only for its dim sum but
for its amazing tea service. Since tea is not my thing I figured I
was the wrong person to report on the joys of tea. I went for dim
sum. There is something about taking an ethnic cuisine, a cultural
gem that's been honed and polished for thousands of years, and
refining it with the best ingredients and most delicate preparation
so that it is a simple perfect example of that culinary tradition.
This is the kind of food that I personally respond to the most. And
this is what I ate at Spring Moon.
Things started off with the (by now I realized)
Sesame Covered Candied Walnuts. These were light and delicious
with their smooth sugary coating. My first dish was
Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns. These were perfect. The sweet pork
in the center was excellent but the texture of the bun was among the
best I've ever had. The thing that really put this over the top was
the ratio of meat to the bun. Usually I've had these classic dim sum
with way more bun vs. meat. This example had a higher meat to bun
ratio than I've had in the past and it really made it super
Next up was
Har Gow - also known as Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with Bamboo Shoot.
The casing was not overly glutenous unlike some examples I've had,
and it stayed close to the wonderfully steamed shrimp ball inside.
Yummy. I grabbed one of these beauties with my hands and I noticed
the waitress almost imperceptibly wince. She was at my table in a
flash with a fork and a knife. Not wanting to be seem that uncool I
saw how others were eating their dumplings. I ended up using a
combination of chopsticks and a spoon to both steady and transport
the dumpling to my mouth and hold on to its remainder as I bite
chunks off of it. My fork and knife remained untouched. And my
wounded pride recovered a little bit.
I followed this with another shrimp dumpling,
Steamed Green Chive Dumplings with Minced Shrimp to be exact.
These were not stringy like other examples I've had in the past.
They were quite good and a beautiful color. I also got some
Shanghai Style Steamed Pork Dumplings with Scallops. These were
made with a thicker dough than the other dumplings I'd had. This
dough was also not rice-based. But it was quite tasty nonetheless.
These dumplings also came with a vinegar based sauce with shredded
ginger. The pork filling was subtle, savory, and good.
It was at this point that one of the management
staff came over and asked me to stop taking pictures of my food. I
had only one more dish coming so I begged to just take one more shot
of my upcoming soup. I don't want to make any cultural
generalizations but it seemed to me that rules aren't broken very
often in Hong Kong. So when I didn't immediately cave, the manager
wasn't entirely sure what to do. I then just told him that I would
take only one more picture. I said it very positively and as a
statement instead of a question. He nodded and went away. I think he
took the tone of my voice and structure of my sentence for
acquiescence. Again, I'm not sure he'd had people say no before.
Needless to say I took one more picture and got yelled at. I'm not
comparing my rule breaking to some sort of political defiance of the
Chinese government. But I would like to point out the risks I'm
taking to bring back this important documentation to all of you
Needless to say, it was worth it. The
Noodles in Soup Szechwan style were like a refined peanut soup
(or a soup version of Dan Dan noodles). The dish had the barest
gentle spiciness. It was soothing and tasty. I really fell in love
with it and finished every last drop.
Despite me making the staff uncomfortable Spring
Moon was really a superlative experience. It's a gorgeously designed
and detailed environment and the food fits in perfectly. The items on the menu
are not exactly cheap but for a real world class parade of dim sum
you can't miss Spring Moon.