Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Old School Feast

Lin Heung Tea House is decorated with birdcages and fake birds in them
Tonight I had a taste of some traditional Chinese dishes at the famous Lin Heung Tea House on Wellington Street. My relatives invited me to come along and as the restaurant is known for serving large portions, the more the merrier.

The (large and) healthful pig lung soup!
Our reservation was for 8.15pm and the place was bustling, with every table occupied. There are bird cages hung around with fake birds in them; makes you wonder why they bother, but perhaps they think empty ones are even more depressing?

No one seemed to notice and preferred focusing on their dining companions and of course the food.

Lin Heung is known for preparing dishes that many other places in town don't make any more, mostly because they are labour intensive, not because they are expensive ingredients.

We started off with the pig lung soup that was served in a giant tureen -- so large that nine of us almost had three bowls each. This soup is tedious to prepare, mostly because the lung needs to be cleaned thoroughly before it is put in the soup otherwise it spoils the taste.

The fried crispy chicken was quickly devoured...
The soup also has lots of ground almond, making it milky white, with lots powdery residue, and enhances the taste, along with lean pork. The lung was cut into chunks and dipped in soy sauce had a soft texture.

It's said that drinking this soup helps get rid of coughs, or any respiratory ailments, so we made sure we each had an extra bowl.

Next came deep-fried chicken and it had a gorgeous dark crispy skin, juicy meat underneath. This was no lean bird either, with lots of meat that was very tender.

Another highlight dish was braised pork knuckle that arrived in a massive deep platter, with large chunks of lotus root. The pork knuckle was chopped into large pieces and quite a bit to chew on, but we all loved the sauce and started thinking of how it could be used in leftovers as a sauce with noodles, and adding dried tofu to it to soak up the flavour.

Another excellent dish of pork knuckle with lotus root
This dish was impossible to finish and luckily relatives brought some food containers to take the rest home.

The stir-fried glutinous rice was very good too, just the right stickiness and softness, and included chopped lap cheung, mushrooms dried shrimps topped with stringy fried egg and scallions.

Another highlight was a very large, relatively flat fish that was smoked with tea leaves and served with mayonnaise. Fish this large are hard to find in the markets these days and so this was a treat.

The server removes the bones of the tea-smoked fish
It was cooked perfectly, and had the lingering smoky flavour. It was a big portion, but since it was so good, we managed to polish it off literally from head to tail.

There were also two vegetable dishes, one of pea shoots with Chinese ham, another of Chinese cabbage braised with mushrooms and goose webs.

Finally it was time for dessert, the restaurant's signature baked pudding -- sago with lotus seed paste, that came out more runny than thick. It was very much on the sweet side, but the taste was comforting and old school.

By the time we waddled out at 10pm more than half the place had already cleared out. Another memorable meal sitting comfortably in our stomachs!

Baked sago pudding with lotus seed paste inside
Lin Heung Tea House
160-164 Wellington Street
2544 4556

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