Sherman's Food Adventures: Ren Ren Heping Restaurant

Ren Ren Heping Restaurant

Roast Goose.  This is something that is totally inaccessible in Vancouver.  The only place I know that consistency (well, at least somewhat consistently) has it available is Parker Place BBQ & Meat.  However, in Hong Kong, it is not only readily available in restaurants, it is right there for the taking (well, you have to pay for it) at many of the BBQ stalls in and around town.  I considered heading out to Tai Po for some of the best roast goose in town, but figured that was just too far.  Then there was Yung Kee, yet a recent family squabble has left the kitchen in disarray.  So we ended up at a lesser known spot in Ren Ren Heping Restaurant that serves up its award-winning roast goose as well.

To start things off, we got the Watercress, Almond Seeds and Pork Soup which also had some lung and gizzards.  The result was a naturally sweet broth that was not heavy on the seasoning.  There was a meatiness to it while not being heavy nor too rich.  For the main event, we ended up getting a half-order of the Roast Goose which arrived with house-made fresh miu choy.  Sporting a uniformly lacquered deep red hue, the rendered skin was firmly crispy with only a few softer portions.  Underneath, the dark meat was juicy and tender while the even the breast meat was moist.  Flavours were subtle and not salty while nicely complimented by the sweet red plum sauce on the side.

Other than the goose, we also sampled the BBQ Pork which was also nicely lacquered and glazed.  The piece we got was half-fat which meant it was buttery and tender.  With that being said, the meat was still a touch chewy.  Sweet and meaty, the marinade had penetrated mostly all the way through.  This went well with white rice.  Now for a completely different take on pork, we had the Sauteed Pork Spareribs with Pomelo Marmalade and Black Olives.  This resulted in intensely sweet and syrupy ribs with a slight saltiness from the olives.  Texturally, the ribs were firm, yet completely tender with a slight rebound.  This was again went well with rice due to the impactful flavours.

For our one dedicated veggie dish, we had the standard Wok-Fried Pea Shoots with Garlic.  This was well-executed with plenty of wok heat as evidenced by the minimal amount of moisture on the bottom of the plate.  It wasn't too greasy though and there was enough garlic to be noticeable.  The pea shoots were cooked through while retaining a slight crunch.  For the kiddies, we got their favourite being the Stir-Fried Shrimp with Scrambled Free-Range Eggs.  This wasn't as silky as I would've liked, but it wasn't overdone by any stretch of the imagination.  It was still fluffy while mildly seasoned.  There was a bevy of large shrimp which were buttery with a snap.

Arriving super hot and sizzling, the Sauteed Fish Head with Bean Curd Skin and Tofu Hot Pot was quite flavourful.  Since it was the head and bones of the fish, there wasn't exactly a lot of meat to be had.  When we got some, it was relatively flaky and moist.  I loved the tofu as it was silky and the bean curd skin was appealingly chewy and soaked up the sauce.  Something quite interesting was the Stir-Fried Fine Soy Sauce Noodles with Sergestid Shrimp.  Covered with a boat load of dried and briny shrimp, the noodles themselves were chewy and caramelized by the wok fry.  Loved the crunchy sprouts that gave some needed texture to the dish.

One dish that was a bit hit and miss was the Chinese Style Stir Fried Beef.  There was nothing wrong with the sauce as it was tangy, sweet and evenly savoury (there was a bit much of it though).  The problem was the beef as some pieces were tender enough with a caramelized sear while others were chewy and didn't seemed seared enough.  Sporting a light and crispy tempura batter, the Soft Shell Crabs were quite good.  They were decent in size, hence being hearty enough, while still not be heavy at the same time.  There was enough seasoning to provide a salty and slight spice to each bite.

Our last dish was the Stewed Ox-Tail with Red Wine Hot Pot.  It was also bubbling hot when it arrived and at first didn't seem very substantial.  However, after digging around, there was plenty to go around and the meat was tender and moist with some chew left.  Flavours were mostly sweet and even though we saw the tomatoes, there wasn't much tang to the dish. So we came here specifically for the roast goose and it certainly was a solid offering.  As for the  other dishes, it was a bit hit and miss, yet at the same time was decent.  We thought the service was pretty good too.

The Good:
- Solid roast goose
- Decent service

The Bad:
- A bit hit and miss


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