Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hong Kong: Old School Passion

Long time readers of this blog (bless you for your patience) will know that I have a soft spot for perfectly cooked rice. It was for this reason that I made it a personal mission to seek out the famous Hong Kong dish of Claypot Rice (煲仔飯) on a recent trip there to attend a close friend's wedding.

Wing Hup Sing (永和成) in Sheung Wan has made quite a name for itself for its interpretation of this dish. This family run restaurant is as old school as they come - and helmed by the grandfather of the family who first developed the technique of baking his claypot rice in a baker's oven (given his background as a Chinese pastry chef).

The most popular dish at this humble restaurant is the shredded beef and raw egg claypot rice... and it is good. Piping hot with perfectly cooked grains - the heat from the rice cooks the egg which is mixed through. But claypot rice purists be warned - because this version is not cooked on a charcoal stove but is instead baked, there is no charred burnt crust at the bottom of the pot which some may find disappointing.

But regardless of which school you come from, you will be impressed by this establishment's dedication to perfectly cooked rice. The founder of the restaurant is known to request patrons not to use a spoon when they first dig into their meal as he feels that just cooked rice is slightly moist and may become mushy if eaten with a spoon straight away.

On my visit, a regular customer was overheard to be discussing with the owner at what point sauce should be added to the rice during the cooking process. This may not be the best claypot rice that I've ever tasted - but as far as passion and dedication goes - its one place I'll definitely be coming back to whenever I'm back in Hong Kong.

Wing Hup Sing
G/F, 113-115 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan
(Closed on Sundays)


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