Sherman's Food Adventures: Hong Kong Flavor

Hong Kong Flavor

For all the Chinese restaurants we have in the Lower Mainland, it is really surprising that there aren't that many Hong Kong-style cafes.  Yes, we have a decent selection, but if you really think about it, they are poorly represented when looking at the ratio compared to say, Dim Sum joints.  So whenever we find a new one opening up, it usually gets slammed in terms of people wanting to check it out.  One of the newest is Hong Kong Flavor out in an area of Richmond not known for these types of spots.  I checked it out recently with Mijune and came back again with my family.

Since eating with Mijune is a sport, we ended up ordering 4 items with 3 of them including choice of soup and beverage.  We tried the Cream of Mushroom, Chinese Carrot Soup and Borscht.  These were pretty typical with the cream soup being thickened rather than using much cream.  It was still tasty though being balanced.  The Chinese soup was a bit sweet from the root veggies and mildly seasoned.  I found the borscht to be tangy and sweet.  The most impressive dish visually was the 3-Item Combo consisting of ox tongue, chicken steak and baked half lobster with cheese.  Both the ox tongue and lobster carried a surcharge that bumped the price up quite a bit.  I thought the chicken was juicy and the tongue was tender.  The lobster was a bit overdone, but still bouncy with plenty of cheese.

We ended up with 2 classics in the Baked Spaghetti Bolognese and Baked Pork Chop Rice.  Although a bit on the sweeter side, the spaghetti was pretty good.  I found the pasta to be not mushy (like many other HK-style cafes) and in fact almost al dente.  There was more than enough meat sauce for the amount of noodles as well as melted cheese.  Even though the sauce was sweet, there was enough savoury elements and a light tang to create layers of flavour.  As for the pork chop rice, the sauce was also sweet, but at the same time, the fresh tomatoes provided tang.  Underneath the sauce, there was a large pork chop that was lean and tender.  It was coated with just enough panko for a bit of crunch.  Once again, there was plenty of sauce for both the pork chop and the fried rice.

It was suggested we give the Hand-Shredded Chicken Salad a try and it was indeed an impressive dish visually.  All of the usual elements were there including crisp cucumber, crunchy pickled greens, wonton crisps and shredded free range gelatinized chicken.  So in terms of texture, it was on point and the sesame oil really came through.  However, there was far too much chicken skin for us to enjoy this dish.  Yes, the gelatinzed texture was good, but there wasn't enough meat.  On my second visit, we ordered the half Hainanese Chicken which basically made up for the lack of meat in the previous dish.  As such, I was able to enjoy the tender and lean free-range chicken meat.  It was beautifully gelatinized where the meat and skin was seasoned enough to stand on its own.  But of course, the ginger and green onion condiment is a must with the chicken.

Although we enjoyed the Ox-Tongue Spaghetti as it sported almost al dente noodles coated with a sweet and tangy sauce, the amount of ox tongue was meager.  Instead of serving it as full slices, they had small slivers of tongue mixed in the sauce with tomato and onion.  Therefore, it didn't feel like we were eating a ox tongue dish.  Furthermore, the portion size on this was not very large.  Normally, when we get Seafood Fried Noodles at any other Chinese restaurant, one would not find fresh clams, New Zealand mussels, imitation crab stick and enoki mushrooms.  Yes, this was very different, yet good at the same time.  The noodles were crunchy and nutty while not being greasy.  The combination of ingredients on top made for a different flavour profile and eating experience.

Lastly, the Curry Beef Brisket was pretty darn good.  The ample amount of thickened curry was flavourful without being too spicy.  It had the right viscosity and was perfect with white rice.  The best part of the dish was the super tender beef brisket.  It practically didn't need any effort to chew where it melted in our mouths.  One thing that could've been better was the potatoes as they were fried too much and had a weird texture.  From these 2 visits, it is clear that Hong Kong Flavor is a serious competitor amongst the selection of HK-style cafes in town.  Their lobster offerings are pretty impressive and their overall execution is spot on.

The Good:
- Generally tastes like it should with proper textures
- Decent service
- Proteins on point

The Bad:
- Portion sizes vary
- A bit sweet
- Some dishes could use more meat

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