During our stay at the Intercontinental in Hong Kong we went for an impressive lunch at the 2 Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant Yan Toh Heen, which has been called one of the finest Chinese restaurants in the world. At the helm of the kitchen is Executive Chef Lau Yiu Fai who uses refined, traditional cooking methods with the best ingredients and fresh seasonal products from around the world to create Cantonese specialties served in a contemporary style. We spent a fantastic couple of hours sharing dishes and sipping Perrier-Jouët Champagne overlooking Victoria Harbour.
We started with a little selection of dim sum each, which included a steamed prawn and bamboo shoot (ha gau) dumpling, steamed mushrooms with fungus and vegetable dumpling and a baked roasted duck and taro bun. We tasted plenty of dishes but the highlights were the hot and sour soup - there's a massive choice of specialty soups, made with lots of dried seafood and herbs for intensity - and the signature dim sum: braised whole abalone - tasty edible sea snails popular in Asia which I'd never had before - and seafood in crispy taro net, served with the special house soy sauce created exclusively for the restaurant.
The light garoupa fish fillet came with ginger and spring onion, served in a bamboo basket and the juicy prawns were some of the biggest I'd ever had (the photo doesn't do them justice). We shared a side of fried crunchy vegetables served in a crispy wheat flower basket and wok-fried Wagyu beef with green peppers, mushrooms and garlic, which was outstanding.
To finish we tried another local delicacy: mini egg custard tarts topped with bird's nest jelly, which is - wait for it - solidified saliva collected from swifts' nests. Gulp. It's a prized ingredient used in Chinese cuisine for centuries due to its nutritional value and is supposedly very good for the skin. Not really my cup of tea, but it's good to try these things! We left after our three hour feast full and raving about the whole experience - it's a must if you're in HK.
Yan Toh Heen, 18 Salisbury Rd, Hong Kong