Forgotten recipes: Where to go for a taste of classic Chinese dishes

Updated on May 17 2017

In a food culture obsessed with everything new and modern, it’s not often that chef’s turn to the dust-covered recipes of the past to get inspiration for new menu offerings. Hong Kong has tens of thousands of Chinese restaurants, but many old classic dishes are hard to come by these days, supplanted by mainstream food culture and modernist-style cooking.

In an effort to preserve the culinary traditions of the past, some of Hong Kong’s top Chinese restaurants are offering up nostalgic menus to shine a spotlight on forgotten recipes and ingredients. Here’s where to go for a trip down memory lane, and revisit some of the dishes from your childhood (or your parents’ childhood, for that matter).

Nostalgic Hong Kong Menu at Greater China Club

Post image Related: 10 new Hong Kong restaurants to try this May

Greater China Club
Rediscover forgotten Hong Kong recipes at the art deco-inspired Greater China Club in Lai Chi Kok.

Greater China Club’s glamorous throwback art deco dining room is the perfect setting for a menu evoking iconic dishes of the past. This month, you can dine on dishes from Executive Chef Chan Wai-Teng’s childhood, with a menu meant to “rediscover the soul of Cantonese cuisine”. With this menu, chef Chan and his team are hoping to bring back into the mainstream some of the beloved dishes from the past 50 or so years.

The “Nostalgic Hong Kong” menu spotlights once-familiar dishes such as double-boiled pork lung soup with almonds (HK$388); barbecued chicken liver, pork and lard with honey sauce (HK$48), known as “Golden Coin Chicken”; and barbecued duck feet wrapped with pork and chicken liver in honey sauce (HK$48). You’ll also find a plethora of seafood dishes such as baked fish intestine with egg, minced pork and dried mandarin peel (HK$188); and braised fish maw with ginger and spring onion (HK$178).

And let’s not forget dim sum: Head back in time to rediscover dim sum dishes such as steamed pork dumplings with chicken and pork tripe (HK$58), steamed buns with chicken, black mushroom, barbecued pork, shrimps and salty egg yolk (HK$58); and steamed pork dumplings with dried olive seeds and yam beans (HK$48).

The Nostalgic Hong Kong menu is available through 31 May. Enjoy a special Mother’s Day set menu for 6 persons from 13-14 May, priced at HK$3,388 for the “Devotion” menu, and HK$4,388 for the “Luxurious”. 

Greater China Club, Unit A, 10/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street, Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong, +852 2743 8055

Forgotten Recipes Menu at Ming Court 

Ming Court
Ming Court’s Forgotten Recipes menu highlights underused ingredients such as daylily, angelica and Chinese black fungus.

For the spring season, Ming Court’s Executive Chef, Mango Tsang Chiu Lit, is rooting around in his old recipe chest to present nostalgic dishes from the 60s and 70s in a special “Forgotten Recipes” menu. Whisking guests back to the golden era of Hong Kong, these were the dishes once dined on by Hong Kong’s rich tycoons and social elites, marking the emergence of luxury Cantonese fine dining.

“I hope to revive the collective memories of the older generations, and at the same time educate the young about our traditional Cantonese cuisine, as a way of preserving our precious local dining culture,” said Chef Mango.

The Forgotten Recipes menu includes claypot chicken in glutinous rice wine with wolfberries and Chinese black fungus (HK$438); double-boiled soup with eel and preserved vegetable leaf wrap with plum and Chinese celery (each HK$138 per person); and sauteed mandarin fish roll with Yunnan ham and bamboo shoots (HK$268). There’s also a lighter take on roast goose, with the bird stuffed and simmered with angelica, daylily and other Chinese herbs to bring out a lovely, herbal and aromatic taste (HK$388 half portion); as well as tofu that’s been golden-fried and doused in a salted egg and minced pork sauce (HK$68 per person).

Ming Court, 6/F, Cordis, 555 Shanghai Street, Mongkok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3552 3028 

Old Beijing Menu at Dong Lai Shun

Dong Lai Shun
Green pea puffs studded with sakura shrimps are a refreshing taste of spring in Dong Lai Shun’s Beijing-style menu.

Situated in the basement of The Royal Garden hotel, Dong Lai Shun is a long-established brand that’s been offering up a taste of authentic Beijing cuisine for much longer than most of us have been around. This month, Executive Chef Sze brings back his “Old Beijing” menu, offering dishes with a focus on fresh fish and seafood, along with signatures such as his famous “Shuan Yan Rou” mutton hotpot.

Based on Dong Lai Shun’s traditional recipe book, the Old Beijing menu offers a number of spring-themed dishes including green pea puffs with sakura shrimps; chilled mandarin fish fillet with egg custard; and sauteed river shrimps with bread croutons. You can also enjoy the mandarin fish fillet in a deep-fried version with sweet and sour sauce, a classic old Beijing-style preparation. For a lighter fix, seasonal vegetable dishes include marinated black garlic with purple yam, and poached vegetables with green peas. To end the meal, scoop up another Beijing favourite: chilled puddings available in watermelon, orange or milk flavours.  

The “Old Beijing” menu is available during lunch and dinner through 31 May.

Dong Lai Shun, Basement 2, The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2733 2020

“Taste of JW” at Man Ho Chinese Restaurant 

Jw Marriott
Try JW Marriott’s deep-fried Kagoshima pork roll, awarded the “Best of the Best Culinary Gold Award (Pork Category)” by the Hong Kong Tourism Board in 2016.

JW Marriott’s celebrated Chinese restaurant Man Ho steps back in time this month with the Hong Kong leg of “Taste of JW“, a pan-Asia culinary event spotlighting the talented chefs and unique culinary experiences to be discovered at JW Marriott hotels around the world. The spotlight is on Executive Chef Jayson Tang this month, who will lead guests down memory lane with a nostalgic menu featuring ingredients and techniques that trace back to old Hong Kong.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, chef Jayson is showing off the deep roots of his culinary upbringing with Chinese delicacies made with local, seasonal ingredients. Guests can expect to dine on dishes such as sauteed crab claw with egg yolk sauce (HK$210 per person); morel mushroom stuffed with shrimp mousse and crab meat (HK$480); and sauteed garoupa slice with Chinese glazed ham (HK$280 per person). Another item not to miss is deep-fried Kagoshima pork roll stuffed with foie gras, red onion and ginger (HK$330), a dish awarded the “Best of the Best Culinary Gold Award (Pork Category)” by the Hong Kong Tourism Board in 2016. End the meal on a sweet note with two beloved Cantonese desserts: fried taro dumplings and crispy fried milk.

The “Taste of JW” menu is available at Man Ho through 30 June. For more information, visit tasteofjw.com

Man Ho Chinese Restaurant, 3/F, JW Marriott Hotel Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 2810 8366