Monday, January 20, 2014

Yuet Wah Hui Seafood Restaurant (越華會海鮮小館)… and a Side Ramble About Bitter Melon

 Last night, I met up with some friends for a delicious Cantonese style dinner at Yuet Wah Hui, a seafood restaurant that styles itself as a "society" or a "meeting".  I can get behind a seafood eating society... 
 They had large tanks in their windows, mesmerizing with the variety of (dare I say it? delicious) creatures.

It was really tasty.  I was heartened to see how local it was - not one gweilo (foreigner) in sight!  It came out to approximately HK$150 per person for five dishes, 3 bowls of rice and unlimited hot tea, which I thought was very reasonable.

My favorite dish was the scallops with vermicelli topped with fried garlic and spring onions.  The scallops were the long and skinny kind.  I thought they were razor clams at first, but I guess scallops come in many sizes shapes and forms.  I am more used to the fat rotund ones.

I loved the dipping sauce that came with the salt and pepper squid.  The squid was prepared very well.  I liked that they used firm full parts of the squid, rather than just the wispy parts - so you received a very good proportion of squid to batter.  I mean, I'm not sure you can really ever go THAT wrong with fried squid, but I quite liked this one.

The crispy fried tofu was served piping hot and very tender, with a sweet and sour chili sauce on the side.

The kale with salted fish (yes, vegetables stir fried in dried, salted fish bits!) was delicious and shockingly tender.  I couldn't get over how tender the kale was.  Still thinking about it, actually…

And finally, the fish was very well done as well - steamed and served up with big chunks of bitter melon.  (Side ramble: I love bitter melon.  I know a lot of people hate it.  Suffice it to say it is a divisive vegetable - maybe like the durian of vegetables.  Bitter melon belongs in the category of "vegetables Allison used to hate but has grown to looooove".  Into this venerable category also go brussels sprouts, cabbage, pumpkin, okra…and probably a few others I can't even recall right now.   Bitter melon is kind of inescapable in a Chinese family.  It was the dish I avoided while growing up.  My mom prepares it with sliced beef and black bean sauce.  My nainai has an awesome way of roasting it, essentially, with pork stuffed in the middle. The trick to bitter melon, for me, is cooking it until it is meltingly tender - usually achieved with some fatty meat (sorry vegetarians).  I find that then the bitterness kind of melts away / becomes bearable and the vegetable is just awesome.  Unless, of course, you are one of those crazy people who LIKE to eat it bitter - as bitter as possible (and they do exist) - in which case I have nothing more to say because our taste buds may just not be compatible...)
Pardon the blurriness.  I wanted to get out of everyone's way so we could just dig in already!

I had a great time and would definitely consider going back to this spot.

405-419 Lockhart Road, Wanchai

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