Sunday, 28 August 2011

Impromptu Dining

Delicious braised short ribs that taste homemade

 Three years ago I went to Tin Hau to watch an incense dragon dance up and down Tai Hang Road. It was the first time I had ever been in that neighbourhood.

Roast pork neck
Things looked familiar when on Friday a friend took us to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in that area -- a Thai and Shanghainese eatery.

What's even more strange is that the place is called New York Club but the strange combination of cuisines work. People usually sit outside at makeshift tables and plastic stools scattered along the street. But since we were a big party of eight, they put us upstairs -- in someone's flat.

While you don't get the atmosphere of the street, we had some visitors who preferred to dine with air conditioning instead.

On the first floor we walked into a room that had tables lined with plastic and off to the side was a bed and bathroom. This was real see fong choi or private kitchen dining.

We felt bad for the staff who had to constantly go up and down the stairs to either serve us dishes or take away empty platters, but they didn't seem to mind as business is business.
Vegetarian dumplings in broth

We started off with roasted pork neck that tasted slightly different from most restaurants but still good, and fantastic braised short ribs that tasted just like the ones my mom makes, full of flavour and practically all the fat melted off. We also had dumplings in soup, both vegetarian and meat, though the former tasted better. There was also vinegar-marinated cucumber and jellyfish that reminded me of my Beijing days, and juicy chicken with a flavourful rice.

Vegetarian curry that was choc full of ingredients
The Shanghainese dishes are cooked by the owner's mother who is Shanghainese making it quite authentic. Also if you get a hold of the menu ahead of time there are some dishes that can be ordered in advance.

Then there were the Thai dishes. We had an excellent vegetarian curry with lots of coconut milk in it, stir-fried morning glory with chillis and also pea sprouts with zucchini. The deep-fried shrimp cakes were very good with a sweet chilli sauce that tasted like those at other Thai restaurants; but we were disappointed with the prawn toast that didn't have much taste.

The slow-burning green papaya salad
We also had green papaya salad that had a slow-burning spiciness to it -- it seduced you with its refreshing taste and so you'd put more in your mouth before realizing that it was too hot for your tastebuds and you needed a drink. Fast.

By the way the lime soda is great using soda water from Thailand, and they also have young coconuts, wine and beer.

We also had a juicy stir-fried crab in tons of minced garlic that was later poured into a simple vermicelli soup. A mudfish that was served as a steak didn't work too well and had many bones in it.

Overall we did pretty well finishing pretty much everything and had to get up from our plastic stools to stretch our legs in the small room.

Crab stir-fried with lots and lots of minced garlic
When we came back downstairs the street was buzzing with tables everywhere filled with diners -- one even had a small cushy chair for a corgi to sit in and pant waiting for its owner to finish his dinner.

We promised ourselves to go back to the area again when it's a bit cooler and eat outside this time just like a local.

In the end the bill came to about HK$1,400 for eight and it was a memorable meal for all.

New York Club
20 Brown Street
Tai Hang
6530 0288

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