May 25, 2015

Food Review: More & More Restaurant (Hong Kong)

This spot, was the very first place I went to for roast meats when I first travelled to Hong Kong.

I used to stay at a hotel nearby, which is built on this slope which is near the wet market which is near the gigantic Times Square Mall. When I exit the wet market, this restaurant is in plain view, with its many customers packing food, particularly for festivities such as Chinese New Year (any occasion in Hong Kong is a reason for a feast). In hindsight, it was a great hotel in a great location, but the hotel gave me bed bugs once and we have also since decided that staying away from Hong Kong Island is a good idea to get away from the crowd. 

You should know, that despite its reputation, it's entirely possible to stay in Hong Kong and not be swarmed by people.

This rule, however, does not apply to restaurants in Hong Kong.

I am familiar with this eatery. I am familiar with the concept of shuffling my way to the front of the entrance so the waitress will notice me waiting for a table. I am familiar with being ushered to a table by an overbearing waitress speaking putonghua until she realises we can speak Cantonese and her face finally breaks into a smile as she excitedly gestures while recommending all the best and most expensive cuts of the day to us.

I am familiar with the loud slam of cutlery presented to us, that comes with a large bowl of hot water and tea, which is decidedly not for drinking, as its for you to give said cutlery a final rinse yourself.

I am familiar with the concept of ordering within the five minutes you sit down, because a menu is not needed when they hang their meats like trophies.

In a way, perhaps this is one of the many reasons why Hong Kong remains close to my heart. There is a familiarity in her customs and her food, and even her language is familiar to me as a Singaporean. It may not make sense all the time, but enough words are caught for me to fathom an understanding of tea from coffee. Additionally, I may not be completely well-versed in Cantonese, but I know how to order food in the language which is sufficient for most my travels.

This establishment has had an increase of price, as well as customers. Its location is a prime spot for tourists and hungry stall workers from the wet market (even when the wet market's third floor holds an entire level of restaurants). This, surprisingly, does not bother me. They deserve a pay rise, and they deserve the additional customers, and most of the time, the price hike doesn't bother me as a tourist.

My parents order quickly, and the waitress scribbles it all down in her thick wad of papers, occasionally muttering and nodding as she pushes cups of tea to us and shouts at the counter to stop shouting, the guests are not waiting for a table, it's a takeaway without barely a flinch from us, or any other guests inhaling bowls of rice and spitting out geese bones in the crowded eatery. There is a silence in the noise, a small peace from the streets as you sit amongst shuffling, sniffling diners, respite from the wet and cold, and pleasant scents of cooking meats. 

Like I mentioned many times before, one always starts their meal with soup. Hong Kong restaurants take their daily soups very seriously so you're a shoe-in with the cook once you order up a serving of some delicious, good-for-you daily soup. I mean it, it's delicious as well as good for you. Their soup is not just meant to taste good it's nourishing, heartwarming, tummy-soothing soup.

We had a huge bowl of the soup of the day, sweetened by lotus roots, tomatoes, sour plums, fatty pork and dry squid. It helps to whet the appetite and also, warm you up if you happen to be in Hong Kong on a wintry, wet, breezy day.

The hot soup also makes you feel better about the impending meal, almost cleansing you for the impending meal of meats, such as the salty roast pork and sweet char siew, arranged out on the plate like a greasy, delicious, meaty, edible fan. Our waitress returns to shove us the bowls of rice, dishes of mustard and packets of sour plum sauces arrive, further escalating and acting as a prelude to the other meats that are due to arrive. 

(It's a lot of meat), but let's start with the roast pork with char siew.

The roast pork (siew yoke) will be diced into even slabs, with each chunk garnished with a single, crisp pig crackling. The meat is clearly divided into a few segments, from a melt-in-your-mouth fat layer, the moist meaty middle, and a saltier last layer of just pure, concentrated flavour and magic. It almost doesn't need sauce. Almost.

This top layer of roast pork also carpets its hoard of sweet barbeque pork, slices of sweet-savoury and amazing char siew again with its distinct layers of fat to meat ratio, with a softer texture achieved through the cooking method. 

Goose. Bigger, fatter, meatier and more delicious than its smaller counterpart, roasted and only served by the chef wielding the main knife (the chopper knife) in the kitchen. Just learning how to cut the meat in the kitchen takes years of practise, before one can be deemed qualified for the position behind the wooden block of grease and meats. Glistening almost unnaturally from its honey-brown skin, dropping goose fat from its darkened, succulent meat.

This is what the people order. Duck meat may be flavoursome and easy to eat, but goose meat is what drives people crazy, especially when the bird is at its fattest in the winter months, providing a heightened quality of meat and fat. Roasted goose, when done right, will have its fat rendered just so, falling off the bone easily without losing moisture in the flesh, with the thinnest sliver of white fat still trapped under the crisp, savoury roasted skin. 

Delicious on rice, since it can run on the salty side after a final dip in sour plum and brown jus.

If by coincidence, you, like me, tend to hate yourself after scarfing down almost half a dead bird and a disproportionate amount of pig meats cooked several ways with rice and soup, there's always the option of some healthy vegetables to make yourself feel better. 

In winter, the kai lan (Chinese kale/broccoli) is in season, and the Hong Kong chefs do this crunchy, bitter-stemmed and sweet-leaves vegetable a lot of justice with very little effort, a quick stir fry with garlic, oil, water and the very important wok-hei (wok fragrance), a mythical remnant of the blackened frying wok, aromatic and impossible to recreate without time and experience, using the same wok over years to achieve.

A short entry, but nonetheless, satisfying for me. 

Remember, always start with soup, end with vegetables. Get in and out of the restaurant as fast as you can, or risk losing your table. Hong Kong people don't have time to indulge your social media updates, they serve you your meal, expect you to love it and then get out for the next customer. 


Hong Kong, 銅鑼灣堅拿道西10號1號舖
+852 2591 5362

More and More Restaurant
10 Canal Rd W Bowrington
Hong Kong
(Left of Times Square shopping mall, head straight and cross the public bus tunnel.)

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