Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Taste of Two Rivers

We all loved the mapo tofu which included Sichuan peppercorns

Last night I had dinner with a group of friends, one of whom is visiting from the United States. I took them to He Jiang, a relatively new restaurant that opened a few months ago in the Cosmopolitan Hotel on Queen's Road East, not far from the Xinhua office.

He Jiang (合江) means "two rivers" in Chinese, and here it's referring to the Yangtze and the Chishui rivers which link Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces. And so the restaurant presents Sichuan and Huiyang cuisines in a contemporary setting.

Rolls of sliced pork in chilli and garlic sauce
We started off with a roundup of appetizers, including thin slices of pork that were rolled up and stood in a garlic and chilli sauce (HK$68) that was pungent and a touch spicy, and we also liked the mound of minced bean curd with Shanghainese wild vegetables (HK$48) though it was a bit on the dry side and could have had a bit more sesame oil mixed in it.

Another starter was the mock goose ($HK58), though the bean curd skin was a tad tough, along with slices of Nanjing salted duck (HK$78) that were seasoned just right.

The mains soon came fast and furious, starting with pan-fried yellow fish with garlic (HK$48 each). The headless fish are good for two people to share and had a crunchy skin with tender meat inside. Just be careful eating it as there are many bones inside.

Braised "lion's head" presented in a clay pot
A definite favourite at the table was the mapo tofu (HK$78). This one not only had chillis, but also a dose of Sichuan peppercorns for another layer of spiciness that was deemed quite authentic. We also loved the silken texture of the tofu that you can't find in many restaurants.

The braised "lion's head" with vegetables (HK$88) was a touch too salty, but was very moist and meaty, and another star was the deep-fried spare ribs with minced garlic (HK$88) that was flavourful. We also had sauteed string beans (HK$78) and a must-try was the steamed pork dumplings or xiaolongbao (HK$44). The quartet of dumplings was quite large and though the skin was just slightly thick, the inside was juicy and deliciously meaty.

Delicious xiaolongbao or steamed pork dumplings
By the time we'd gone through all those dishes and washed them down with draft Qingdao, we were pretty much full. But dessert was arranged and for a sweet finish, we had the osmanthus jelly which is very popular in Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong and this one was a tad too saccharine, while the deep-fried egg white stuffed with mashed red bean paste was crispy on the outside, and the filling not too sweet.

With a discount using an American Express credit card, the bill came to just over HK$1,000 for five.

To help the digestion going I walked almost all the way home to Central. I think my stomach was relieved to have some exercise after such a wonderful feast with good company.

He Jiang
1/F, Cosmopolitan Hotel
387-398 Queen's Road East
3167 7833

1 comment:

  1. the portion of the dishes looked small. how can you share among 5 people.