Hong Kong: Lee Lo Mei

Interrupting the California posts (one more to go) to write this before I forget dinner at Lee Lo Mei and well, Rach had also asked me why there was so few Hong Kong posts considering I visit it almost every year. So here I am.

We only found Lee Lo Mei because of Onyee’s great googling skills; LLM is a Chinese fusion place near Tai Cheong at Lyndhurst Terrace. While the décor is meant to be reminiscent of cha chaan tengs of the yesteryear – old school – it never came across as old fashioned. Hipster old school, to be precise.

Crispy taro roll with taro-coconut stuffing (HK$98): ordered this for the sesame and coconut – must say this was really quite a unique rendition of a traditional dish. I don’t know why they included a taro dusted mochi and white goop; at the price I was paying I’d rather have 2 more rolls on my plate!Ox tongue with cucumber pickles (HK$118): Again the portion was small, but the ox tongue had a good texture and the accompanying spicy numb sauce made an otherwise meh dish pretty good. Wow, doing the conversion on this again and the cost of this is staggering..XO Turnip Cake (HK$98): Not your usual noodle pastry used here, this is kataifi pastry, so there was a bit of a ~Middle Eastern~ feel. This was turnip cake on steroids and was my favourite for the night. It is literally a very good XO turnip cake (with chunks of taiwanese sausage and pork) wrapped in kataifi pastry. So simple but so smart. Ho Fun in HK Style (HK$258). Man, this hor fun was legit. I liked how the hor fun seemed to be fried in the same glaze as the beef (or maybe we mixed it well), and this was actually the most popular dish at the table that night. We all agreed that there wasn’t anything fusion-y about this but was made great due to the cut of the beef. Everything about this dish was great, save for the price. I would order this again. Full of Rice Chicken (HK$268): This chicken came recommended by food bloggers and the restaurant so we naturally had to order it! The Taiwanese sausage was great; the abalone, superfluous (I’m beginning to notice a pattern here). The highlight for me was the glutinous rice, and not the chicken because there was just too little chicken to go around for me to remember how it tasted like. There was also a 20min wait for this glutinous stuffed chicken to cook. Order this for the experience I suppose. This is marketed as the dish to order at LLM, but I think the hor fun is better.

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Cos we were still frkn hungry at this point, we ordered the Crispy Noodle Rolls (HK$268). It’s a modern rendition of a sheng mian (or sang meen, if you prefer), with luxury ingredients of king crab, uni and prawn roe. Definitely drench the fried noodle rolls in the silky egg sauce lest the dish will taste like a glorified mamee snack. The seafood was  abundant, and the egg sauce was legit. But part of me is aching because good king crab, uni and prawn roe should be eaten raw and not drenched in sauce.

Will I come back to LLM? Maybe, if I really can’t think of anywhere else to go. It’s fun and it’s good fusion but at that price point, I do not expect to leave the restaurant hungry – we went to Macs after and Hysan got 2 burgers.. I was in a group of 4 and we got 3 big plates and 3 small plates, which on hindsight, should really be named 3 medium sized plates and 3 mini plates. While the cooking is great, the food innovative and delicious, it seems that the restaurant is charging such disproportionately exorbitant prices because of the premium ingredients used (ok and it’s in Central). I am tempted to say that this is a cheap trick to up the prices on the menu, but I really could taste the difference.. it seems that my discomfort stems from the fact that I don’t expect to pay these sort of prices for Chinese food, which has always been synonymous with being cheap and filling. This was neither cheap nor filling. That said, there were some dishes that stood out (the XO turnip cake, taro rolls and hor fun) and were really special — Chinese food is being reinvented and reinterpreted at LLM and this must surely be a small step in the right direction for the future of Chinese food.

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