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Dinner @ Da Ping Huo

Before coming to Hong Kong, my family gave me a list of places or food that they would like to eat. On the list was a private kitchen – they have heard about it from their friends and was keen to try, so after much researching, I thought we should give Da Ping Huo a go. It’s a Sichuan restaurant and considering how I went to Sichuan province last weekend, I knew what I was getting myself into! They all knew that Sichuan cuisine is known to be dangerously spicy and oily, however, they did not expect that they will have a gastronomic experience, one in which they will never forget!

This little restaurant can be found in Central, at the intersection of Hollywood, Graham and Lyndhurst Terrace. I won’t go into details on how I got all of us lost! In my defense, it was HARD TO FIND! There are 2 sittings, one at 6.30pm and one at 9.15pm – well 9.15pm is just way too late, especially to eat a 12 – course meal! Its run by a husband and wife, place is modern, small and I love the feel of the place when you walk in. The host (i.e husband) was extremely friendly, gracious, always smiling and reminds me a little bit of John Lennon!

We were ALL hungry and were looking forward to the feast ahead.

Course 1: sliced cucumbers in vinegar. This was refreshing, the cucumber fresh and crisp, the sauce consisted of soy, vinegar and an obscene amount of sugar! This dish was incredibly sweet but yet sour at the same time – the combination of flavours worked well together.

Course 2: shredded jelly fish with carrot and celery: this dish was also refreshing but extremely hot! Spicy hot that is. The soup was just undrinkable but it was tasty.

Course 3: noodle dish in a spicy sauce with soybeans, sesame, diced fresh peppers and scallions. This dish was amazing – it was full of flavour. The crunchiness from the fried soybeans, toasted sesame, peppers and scallions were just unbelievable! It was spicy but delightful.

Course 4: chicken with sesame, peanuts, and lots of chili. I really enjoyed this dish – the chicken was succulent, it wasn’t as spicy as the previous dish but there was still a hint of chili. It was delicious but I think by this stage, all our mouths were on fire!

Course 5: after 3 spicy dishes in a row, we got a breather and were presented with a small bowl of soup – chicken soup with vegetables. It was refreshing but a little disappointing. It lacked flavour I thought, after the previous spicy dishes, I thought the soup was a little bland.

Course 6: back to spicy dish: braised beef and potatoes in a spicy beef broth. The beef was tender but a little fatty, nevertheless, it made the dish even better. The broth was spicy but incredible. I wanted to take the beef broth home! Add some noodles and voila – it was THAT good!

Course 7: prawns with scallions, and lots and lots of chili. The prawns were fresh and full of flavour. I am not a huge prawn eater, but this wasn’t too bad. I think others enjoyed this dish more than I did.

Course 8: braised pork with sweet potato. This dish was different to the rest thus far, it was simple but yet tasty. The pork was tender, the sweet potato cooked to perfection. It wasn’t spicy at all, I think it would have been better if there was a little bit of spice ‘kick’ to it.

Course 9: ma po tofu – now this dish was insanely spicy! It was good but my goodness – you probably couldn’t eat this on its own without some rice or noodles. The tofu was soft and flavoursome – it was seriously fiery! The spiciest dish of the night!

Course 10: cabbage soup – this was unbelievably boring! I understand why they served this to us – as a refresher, to clean our palate but seriously boring. It had no flavour and more bland than the previous soup.

Course 11: we were getting full by this stage, but these dumplings were incredible. These dumplings were more voluptuous, dipped into a combination of hot and sweet oily sauce. Everyone had one dumpling each, which means there were 8 left over for me to take home for lunch the next day! It was fantastic!

Course 12: Dessert: silken tofu similar to tofu hua. It was refreshing and a great way to end the meal. Anything heavier we would have been way too full, but it was nice.

After dessert was served, the female hostess (i.e. the wife) emerged from the kitchen and took her place at the front of the room. She held her hand together and sang for all of us. My aunty who dined with us used to be a singer and said that she was fantastic.

It was a great meal at Da Ping Hou. I think we all agreed the soup was a little so so – not their strongest points, but the rest were amazing and tasty. I think the chicken, pork and beef dish were the favourites amongst the diners. Dad loved it – he has never really been to anything quite like it he said.

I would definitely recommend Da Ping Huo, especially if you like spicy food. Be prepared to be blown away by the spiciness.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 /10

Da Ping Huo

L/G 49 Hollywood Road

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2559 1317

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Yellow Door Kitchen….

For our 2nd year anniversary, we thought we would go to a private kitchen to celebrate this special day. I was told that the Yellow Door Kitchen (YDK) is Hong Kong’s first private kitchen which started back in the late 90s and has turned legit by getting their license because they were tired of being hassled by cops.

We got to the restaurant and for those who have been, is quite small – max 30 ppl, and possibly someone’s home. The front door was ‘yellow’ – as the name of the restaurant suggests. We were greeted by a lovely hostess who took our coats and then to our table. The restaurant was extremely cosy and the tables were spread out enough so that you didn’t have to hear your neighbours conversations.

Degustation menu serving combination of Sichuan and Beijing cuisine. It consists of 8 entrees, 6 main courses, 1 ‘dim sum’ and 1 dessert. It’s a lot of food but we (especially me) was truly looking forward to the feast!

8 small plates was placed on our table… starting from the top and going clock wise – pickled cucumber, stirfry beef fillet in spicy sauce, boiled shanghai beans in distilled liquor dregs, pickled arrowroot, sliced pork with spicy garlic sauce, deep fried shrimp with bread crumbs, bamboo shoots with red oil and last but not least dried tofu with sesame oil. I have to say, my favourite was the sliced pork with spicy garlic sauce – pork was thinly sliced, cooked with ginger and chilli sauce – it was utterly amazing. Stirfry beef with spicy sauce was probably my next favourite – again the beef was thinly sliced and it was tender and fell apart as you chew through it.

1st Main: soup of scallop and flowering Chinese. I have to admit, my first thoughts were ‘what is this? It’s green.. I have never had green soup before’. I was pleasantly surprised, the soup was creamy (not in the milky kind of way) and not watery at all. It had tiny pieces of scallops and shredded flowering Chinese cabbage (which is also known as you cai). It was quite tasty! It reminded me a little bit of shark fin soup but of course without the shark fin.

2nd main: chicken and shredded leek with spicy sauce topped with minced peanut sauce. It was similar to Hainan chicken but without the traditional sauce, severd with shredded leek and chilli oil topped with minced peanut sauce. The chicken was served hot and from the picture you can see the ‘redness’ of the dish – it was indeed spicy! Tasty and spicy – I think I must have drank at least half a dozen cups of tea!

3rd main: smoked pork rib with honey and tea leave… this had to be my favourite dish for the evening! The pork rib was so tender that it fell right off the bone. It was so tender and moist and juicy and you can taste the sweetness of honey through the pork. I think Hubby knew how much I liked this dish that he offered to give me half of his…. I know .. I know.. such a guts! But it was truly sensational!

4th main: fried prawn in Sichuan sour and spicy sauce. I didn’t really enjoy this dish as much. I think sour and spicy pork would probably have been better. The prawn was lightly battered aka tempura style, however, the sauce I found was just ordinary.

5th main: winter melon braised with Yunnan ham and Chinese Wolfberry. This dish was truly weird! For one, I am not a big fan of winter melon at all – so this was a FAIL in my books, and Yunnan ham? As you can see from the picture – what Yunnan ham? There were in total 2 tiny pieces of ham and some wolfberry. 

6th main: Shanghai stuffed duck. I have to say, they did redeem themselves again with this duck! Duck was tender and moist – similar to the pork dish, however it had sticky rice stuffing. I am not a fan of sticky rice, so gave that to Hubby who happily ate it.

‘dim sum’ was Sichuan ‘dan dan’ noodles – I was getting pretty full by this stage, so only had a mouthful. The noodles were definitely soft, served in a peanut sauce base with sesame seeds.

Dessert: sweet soup of papaya and snow fungus – this was a hot dessert and was pretty tasty and sweet. Snow fungus is a white, nearly translucent “trembling” fungus that grows on a great variety of trees throughout Asia. Its jelly like and tasteless eaten on its own. This dish reminds me of my childhood and how mum used to make a dish similar to this.

All in all – it was a great experience. My only gripe would have to be that it was way too much for both Hubby and I. I would have been satisfied if they omitted both the winter melon braised with Yunnan ham and Chinese Wolfberry and the fried prawn in Sichuan sour and spicy sauce. I think the dessert could have been a little more exciting but nevertheless, it was a great place to eat for our wedding anniversary.

GA’s ratings: 6.5 – 7/10

Yellow Door Kitchen

37 Cochrane Street,

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2858 6555