3 out of 4 Stars (Excellent)
Washington retreats, and Hong Kong receives whoever crosses the threshold of this Blagden Alley gem, the closest thing the region has to an Asian night market. Need a lift? Eight O’Clock Light Show claims to combat fatigue with rum, yuzu, ginseng and a cinnamon stick that’s lit on one end before becoming a swizzle stick. The drink is one of many liquid draws, some relying on Chinese medicinals, offered at the convivial front bar.
The dim interior finds brick walls painted over with dragons and lions, and balloon lights floating over chunky tables. Chef Irvin Van Oordt’s open kitchen, set off with red lights, comes with a message for the cooks in Chinese script: “Talk doesn’t cook the rice.” Speaking of which, the fried rice with pearly shrimp, chunks of white fish, sweet omelet and a dusting of minced fried garlic is sensational, worth haggling over who gets any leftovers.
Every table seems to have a plate of cheung fun on it, and here’s why: Steamed rice noodles rising from a chile-fired sauce of black beans and sesame seeds are awesome. But the one dish I never fail to get is the barbecue plate — crisp-fatty pork belly, sweet-edged pork shoulder, succulent soya chicken — dropped off with condiments (green hot sauce, pickled vegetables, sweet scallion sauce) every bit as wonderful as what they kiss.