Sunday, 17 April 2016

Shanghainese Lands in Kennedy Town

According to this promo image, the noodles at Shanghai Lao Lao are handmade
A new Chinese restaurant has appeared in Kennedy Town and already it's a hit with residents.

On Friday my mom and I wanted to try Shanghai Lao Lao, but by the time we got there around 7.30pm, there was a crowd milling around the entrance and we were told it would be at least a half hour wait.

We gave up and hit the wet market across the street at closing time and got a good deal on fresh fish we steamed up around the time we would have waited for a table.

Braised wheat gluten, pork knuckle and drunken chicken
Then today after visiting the Chi Lin Nunnery and the Lian Nian Garden across the street (oh yes and a bit of shopping at Uniqlo too!) we headed home and decided to give it a shot.

Again there were people standing outside at 2pm, but not as many. We waited about 15, 20 minutes and then were finally allowed inside.

The store that used to be in the space was 759, and I remember it being quite a deep area, but it was completely unrecognizable now as a restaurant. We were shown a small narrow area in the back where we sat on stools by the dish washing station.

We had studied the menu while waiting for our table. There's a choice of three appetizers in small portions for HK$88, and we particularly enjoyed the cold pork knuckle marinated in Chinese wine, munching on the crunchy cartilage, followed by the drunken chicken that was fully immersed in wine, and the braised wheat gluten with wood ear fungus, bamboo shoots and Chinese mushrooms.

A trio of potstickers that had quite thick skins
Next came the cabbage and pork potstickers which were probably the weakest dish of the meal because the skins were so thick, but had a nice crunch to them. Soon after the xiaolongbao (HK$32) arrived and they were not bad, though the pork filling inside seemed flat and needed the ginger and vinegar for a pick-me-up.

One main dish was the claypot with diced salted pork, tofu skin wrapped in knots, bamboo shoots and vegetables in a cloudy fish soup. We had been forewarned it would be a large portion, and so we tried to eat as much of it as we could before being able to put almost all of it into a plastic box -- including the broth) to take home.

This one would have been even better with noodles to soak up the seasoning in the soup, but it was still delicious nonetheless. The fresh bamboo shoots were crunchy, though some pork pieces were a bit on the tough side.

The xiaolongbao had thin wrappers, the fillings were bland
But what can you expect when the bill comes to HK$254 for two?

I've since found out that Shanghai Lao Lao is owned by Cafe de Coral, which explains why it's next door to the fast food chain; they probably got some deal with the landlord.

Nevertheless when we came out around 3pm, we were surprised to see a handful of people outside waiting to eat.

Maybe everyone in Kennedy Town is craving Shanghainese...

Shanghai Lao Lao
G/F, Kin Liong Mansion
16-30 North Street, Kennedy Town
 




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