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Food Critic for Table For 4

Feeling like a VIP, was how I felt when I was invited for lunch as a Food Critic for The New Paper @ Old Hong Kong Legend; one of the new kids on the block @ #02-18 Raffles City Shopping Centre. This Cantonese restaurant is the grand dame of the Old HK Group.

While the tableware & settings like the mini wine cups & double-layed tea “glasses”  were impressive (pix below), especially with 2 pairs of chopsticks on the table (one personal & the other, for picking up food), I’m afraid I can’t say the same about the food. However, I like the clever use of Chinese herbs in the Hong Kong cuisine but the overall meal was just average for me.

I was allowed to bring 2 guests but we needed a commitment of at least 2hrs. With most of my friends working full-time, I decided to only invite one to join me. As the theme is ‘Table For 4’, with me at the lunch were Cherie Lim, journalist for The New Paper; Geraldine, a part-time Lecturer & my good friend Juliet, a homemaker; forming a panel of 4 food critics. Then we also had Kelvin, the photographer & Desmond, Operations Director of the restaurant. The vivacious Victoria, who gave birth to Old HK, joined us occasionally, patiently introducing to us the concept of each dish.

Briefly, we started the lunch with the Peking Duck. Juliet likes the Peking Duck, as she was busy helping herself with it. I was afraid that she may feel out of place initially, so I was happy to see her enjoying herself. I felt at ease.

The highlight of this duck lies in the sauces. Besides the traditional sauce, the restaurant came up with a creamy fruity sauce & a XO with Foie Gras sauce. I personally prefer the fruity sauce. It’s tangy & refreshing & helps kill the oiliness in the duck. Of course, if they do improve the FG sauce by using less XO sauce which was too overwhelming & add more Foie Gras, my vote may go to the FG sauce. Putting so much attention on the Peking Duck & the wrap, it was a total let-down for me. The skin wasn’t as crispy as it should be & the wrap wasn’t as thin as it had claimed.

This Longan Red Dates Tea was invigorating. Besides, it promotes blood circulation. I like the pretty cup in the 2-layered glass as you can hold the hot tea without feeling the heat on your hands.

Can you guess what the white mousse in the center is? That was also the question that Victoria popped up.
It’s Chinese Yam Paste (淮山) with Blueberry Sauce! Huai Shan is a Chinese Herb that’s beneficial for the health. It’s commonly used for soup preparation. I like it & I’m gonna kiv this for my experimental list.

The generous Victoria offered us her home-brewed Chinese wine. It’s not on the menu & only served to special guests. All of us love this sweet wine. The danger is, you keep popping them & there’s no limitation. You’ll never know when you get knocked off. FYI, the alcohol content is about 30%!

I cook a lot of this Shark’s Fin Melon (鱼翅瓜) Soup at home. I learnt of this melon many years ago at a cooking show. This melon is popularly used to “replace” the real Shark’s Fin because of its thread-like texture. This flavoursome soup reminded us of home-cook food. But of course, it’s nothing compared to the real stuff.

The Flaming Kurobuta (Black Pig) had certainly caught our attention. We were busy chatting when the hot flame was ignited. The pork was cooked with Aangelica Root (当归). For the Chinese, Danggui is believed to regulate menstruation & relieve the pain. The ladies like the tender pork but I found it too sweet. Again, there was an absence in taste.

Juliet & I liked this Soon Hock best.

A common sight in restaurants, the Mango Puree paired with Coconut Ice Cream was a sweet ending. You can also find this kind of dry-ice presentation in restaurants such as the Si Chuan Dou Hua @ the TOP of the UOB Plaza.

Marks should be awarded for the overall presentation of food @ Old HK & the warm hospitality by the hosts. On the whole, it was a good experience. You can read all about it in The New Paper, dated 16 Jan 2011. If you’d like to be a Food Critic for a day, why not try writing in to The New Paper, then keep your fingers crossed?


  1. What a lovely experience and a beautiful spread.... nom nom!

  2. Yo! Surely this is a good experience and i'll be looking out for your successful experiment with your "KIV TO TRY" list. i'll be glad to be your guinea pig if you need one. LOL

  3. Hi Shirley,

    The presentation of the dishes and the tableware sure have a 10 out of 10 from me, too bad the tastes weren't to your liking. I love the idea of that double layered tea cup. This is the first time I've heard of Chinese yam paste, how interesting. I've had it in soup many times, but never as a paste. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  4. It must have been a wonderful experience. That was quite a feast. I think my favorite must be the Peking Duck. All the best for 2011, dear Shirley. Looks like you have a great start :)

  5. Hy Shirley,
    fascinating space you have..first time here..lovely presentation..
    do visit mine sometime..
    Tasty appetite

  6. Penny, it was a good experience indeed.

    Doris, I'll definitely put u in my food tasting list. Hahaha!

    Lequan, I'd love to have the tea cups too. The Chinese Yam mousse has a very light & pleasing taste. Makes a wonderful starter.

    Rosidah, good to see u again, my friend. I like Peking Duck too but unfortunately, this place won't be my first choice.

    Jay, thks for visiting! I'm hopping over to your blog now :)

  7. Shirley, next time take me along ! haha.... For me, a perfect restaurant must have a perfect Peking duck. It rather sad to know that the skin isn't as crispy because I also expecting very crispy skin. But the fish looks great. Lucky you! :o)
    Cheers, Kristy

  8. Can I be in your waiting list too? Hahaha! Lucky u, always getting freebies.

    I've tried Shark's Fin Melon & I like it. Are you going to give us the recipe soon? Don't make me wait too long.........

  9. Wow!! You're a celebrity food critic now!!!

    Everything looks wonderful - pity the taste was lacking. Personally I don't like savoury food that tastes too sweet either...

    The teacup is adorable, and that wine is REALLY strong!!

  10. Kristy, I'll add u on to the long waiting list. Hahaha! Totally agree with u. Peking Duck has to be real crispy to meet the basic requirement.

    Babel, hahaha! Will KIV u in the list. Ok, ok, will put up the recipe one of these days :) Thks for following my recipes!

    Denise, it gives me an eerie feeling when savoury items are too sweet. Looks like we've got the same taste too. Good to see u back on track!


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