One thing that I've always found mind-boggling, is that despite the countless number of Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong, many of which boast superb quality food, it is so rare to find one that is able to serve up a good cup of tea. For some unfathomable reason, most Chinese restaurants around town refuse to place any emphasis on their teas, despite knowing full well that we Hong Kongers love our tea. Hell, our most renowned dining experience is dedicated to tea appreciation. What's yum cha without a good pot of "cha"?
We recently had the chance to try out the craft of Man Ho Restaurant at JW Marriott's new executive chef, Jayson Tang. Prior to helming Man Ho, he was a veteran at restaurants such as Cuisine Cusine at Mira, Ritz Carlton's Tin Lung Heen and Nanhai No.1. The experience turned out to be one of the few where a delicious meal was matched with equally impressive tea.
We had a taste of some of the original inventions of the new chef. The sautéed crab claw with egg yolk sauce for example, had fresh crab claw submerged in a flavourful sauce made by simmering a range of crustacean shells and garoupa bones, and then mixed with egg yolk. The result is an extremely aromatic dish that had us licking the bowl clean.
The deep-fried pork roll stuffed with foie gras and raspberry was an intricate creation, with foie gras, purple onion and shredded young ginger rolled inside slices of pork and then deep fried together, and finally topped with dried raspberries and dried pig skin along with a homemade marinade sauce. It's the sort of dish that toys with your taste buds with its complex, multiple levels of flavours and textures. We loved every aspect of the dish but couldn't put our fingers on what it was we liked the most.
The poached abalone in chicken broth and aged mandarin peel was one of the simpler dishes of the meal, but no less impressive. Rather than the abalone, the soup was what won us over. The chicken broth was thoroughly infused with the flavour and aroma of the aged mandarin peel, making it extremely hearty and nourishing, the perfect remedy if you happen to have the sniffles.
For dessert, we had the deep-fried milk with purple sweet potato, with smooth and soft milk encapsulated by a layer of purple sweet potato and further wrapped in a crunchy shell. A delectable invention that balanced well with the fresher, lighter flavours of the chilled sago drink.
We finished off the decadent meal with a cup of pu-erh tea, the only right way to do it. A little-known life hack, tried and tested, is that if a Chinese restaurant is meticulous enough to make sure their tea is of good quality, their food can't possibly be bad. If their tea is marvelous, chances are their food will be top-notch too. And yes, the tea at Man Ho was amazing, so smooth it slinks down your throat and so soothing it hugs your belly.
Man Ho Chinese Restaurant
Web or Tel: 2810 8366