In trying to process it all, I am having a hard time deciding where to start in terms of posts! I think I will start with CHE'S Cantonese Restaurant, opened by long time local celebrity Che Yuan Yuan's family, as it's a place that's not too well known even to locals.
My uncle had a client that introduced him to the place, hidden away on the fourth floor of an office building in Wan Chai, and he's been hooked ever since. Celebrity ventures in the culinary world are often at risk of having its status as a star-driven vehicle overshadow its credibility as a legitimate culinary destination - it is typically perceived as 'guilty until proven innocent' of hype that is not necessarily merited by the quality of its food offerings (e.g. Planet Hollywood, Beso Las Vegas etc.). However, CHE'S truly stands out in a class of its own from the start - its creative menu and flavors are so impressive that its fans really go for the food. The celebrity connection becomes a bonus, "gravy" on top of it being a great place to eat - and on the night we were there, local superstar Ekin Cheng and a mix of old timey and more recent singers and actresses I didn't know were there to attend a birthday party in the private room.
Once upon a time, back in high school (yes I am totally dating myself now) - like every other school girl in Hong Kong, I fantasized about marrying Ekin Cheng, tall, looking brooding and rebellious with his long hair yet funny and an upstanding, good guy your mom would love. All of a sudden I felt like a teen again when he walked in mere feet from us!
The first item to arrive is Pig's Lung Soup with Lean Pork and Vegetables - Chinese people believe that eating specific parts of animals will nourish the corresponding part of the human body. So Pig's Lung is supposed to be good for your lungs, or respiratory system. The broth was incredibly clear and grease free, no strange flavors - and I thought it was a good way to start the meal.
All in all, one of my favorite meals on this trip - not because I got to see my childhood idol, but because I got to see my childhood idol and got to taste and learn about some totally new dishes.
[Can't wait til I have time to find a decent Cantonese cookbook so I can figure out how / what other seafoods I can make with port and Shaoxing wine!!!]
CHE'S will most definitely be on my request list for the next time I visit.
On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 6 bites
Presentation - 5.5 bites
Originality - 6 bites
Ambience - 5.5 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $$ (2 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 100%
CHE'S Cantonese Restaurant
4/F, The Broadway, 54-62 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong