Ming Court Restaurant, Hong Kong

Mong Kok, in Chinese means ‘prosperous corner’. It is situated in the heart of Kowloon and said to be the most densely populated area in the world. Over the years, food scenes in Mong Kok have evolved from a cheap street food to an upmarket culinary destination. Ming Court at Langham Place Hotel has risen from 1 Michelin starred restaurant to 2 star in 2010 Michelin Guide to Hong Kong & Macau. It is now the only 2-starred eatery in Mong Kok.

Ming Court serves up exquisite Cantonese cuisine, which occasionally drifts into Canto-European fusion. The executive Chef, Tsang Chiu-King, says “The achievement of two Michelin stars is actually a bonus to me. Regardless of whether the Michelin star is awarded, we will continue to try our best to keep our standard and seek improvement.

The menu covers from dim sum to set lunch. The tea list is extensive, from normal to deluxe Chinese tea up for your selection.

The atmosphere was calm and relaxing. Large families were enjoying their dim sum on a typical weekend afternoon. Everything was cleaned and polished. Waiters and waitresses were taking care of the patrons’ needs as best as they could; pouring tea and keeping an eye on what to be served next.

Deep-fried foie gras and beancurd wrapped with angel hair 鵝肝豆腐千絲酥 sounds like a fantastic twist to the dim sum. I never thought that this combo will make such great impact in the mouth – the crunchiness of the angel hair that wrapped around the rich and smooth foie gras in the middle, was absolutely a great lift to any classic dim sum I have tried.

Next was steamed rice pasta/rice rolls with barbecued pork in honey sauce 蜜汁叉燒腸粉. A simple dish like this just has to be kept to minimalist like what the chef has done – well marinated pork pieces rolled up in a soft-texture rice rolls, served in a rich and not too overpowering soy and honey sauce.

What about a tiny bit of taste from the sea?  Steamed dumplings with crabmeat, egg white 螃蟹餃. As simple as it sounds, it is big in flavours. The dumpling wrapper was silkily smooth, translucent and rolled at the right thickness. The jewel inside was nicely seasoned and juicy crabmeat that raptured into big flavours upon a tiny bite.

Deep-fried shrimp ball with grapefruit and honey 柚子蜜脆蝦丸 makes a good addition to the small dishes section. Beautifully glazed shrimp ball that has got its ‘bounce’ to the bite, was definitely a pleasure to eat. However, it was to my slight disappointed that the sauce was probably a bit too much and too sweet for my liking.

Baked spinach with crabmeat and black truffle in cheese 芝士蟹肉黑松露南瓜焗波菜 was probably the least Cantonese-looking dish amongst all other dishes. Having said that, spinach and crabmeat are two common ingredients used in Chinese cooking. This dish was really well executed. It has a very unusual combination – the saltiness of the cheese and sweetness of the crabmeat and pumpkin work!

I usually finish off dim sum with sweet bites of egg tarts or mango pudding. At Ming Court, I was stunned with the most beautiful and amazingly presented ever dessert – Sharks Fin Extravagance. By the name itself, it sounds pretty grand. Never would I thought that shark’s fin could be used in dessert.

Shark’s fin is a delicacy for the Chinese. I am not encouraging everyone to try shark’s fin. However, it is an ingredient where it is used for special occasions. Whether it is right or wrong to consume shark’s fin, I would leave it to the individuals. It is just like the question of consuming the almost endangered yellow fin tuna and whales.

Anyway, shark’s fin extravagance is mango pudding served in a shape of cube topped with a layer of shark’s fin jelly. Presented on a tray in an oblong box that stored with dry ice. When hot water poured, the mist was created. Never have I seen a dessert served in a way of such elegance! I like the idea – a totally reconstructed mango pudding!

As a foodie, I am always curious to know what makes a restaurant worth 2 Michelin star as a 2 Michelin starred restaurant means ‘‘excellent cooking, worth a detour’. Now, it comes to my realisation that Michelin has awarded an additional to Ming Court, simply because of the amazing, well-executed cooking skills and out of expectation of a Cantonese cuisine. Service is impeccably top-notch, there are no flaws in making the customers feel right at home.