Our friend Big Michael is a yoga instructor for Pure Yoga, a Hong Kong based chain. He’s been teaching for several years, primarily at the Langham Place location in Mongkok, Kowloon. As Tawn is an active yoga practitioner and has even considered becoming an instructor, he wanted to attend numerous classes during our vacation. Michael arranged for Tawn to have a guest pass and so Langham Place became a frequent destination during our trip.
Mongkok used to be the heart of the dark underbelly (mixed biological metaphors) of Hong Kong, home to the red light district, gambling dens, and the base of the Triads’ operations. In Hong Kong popular culture, movies such as Portland Street Blues immortalized the nefarious underworld of Mongkok, where the allegiance of gang members and police officers was always suspect and subject to double- and triple-switches.
These days, however, Mongkok is much cleaned up. The building of Langham Place, a large office, mall, and hotel complex, has transformed the neighborhood into a seemingly respectable district with bright lights, clean sidewalks, and plenty of legitimate business. Of course, “cleaned up” is as much a cosmetic matter as a systemic one. Walking back to Langham Place from Yau Ma Tei just before dinnertime one evening, Michael and I were accosted by a number of touts trying to sell us women from a range of nationalities: Thai, Filipina, Indonesian, Chinese… I will say, though, that these activities were much more subtle than, say, Soi Cowboy in Bangkok, even if we were just a block away from the mall.
After Tawn completed yoga one evening, Big Michael suggested we try Shang Shang, a Shanghai Cuisine located on the fourth floor of Langham Place. There is actually a very decent food court there, both with sit-down restaurants as well as the typical food court take-away places. Shang Shang is a bright and modern restaurant with attentive waiters and a reasonable price. Oh, and tasty food, too!
Fried prawns with spicy sauce. Delicious and not as spicy as you might expect.
Braised string beans with minced pork – always a favorite of mine!
“La Mian” noodle in spicy and sour soup.
Sauteed chicken in spicy sauce with cashew nuts.
Shanghai style steamed pork dumplings – the Xiao Long Bau that we enjoyed so much in Taipei.
Wontons in hot chili sauce. Again, similar to a dish we had at Din Tai Fung in Taipei while there with Andy and Sugi last November.
For dessert, a feather-light bun filled with black bean paste. Almost felt like meringue, the dough was so light.
A gelatine dessert made from an aromatic flower similar to chrysanthemum. I didn’t catch the name. This is made with rock sugar and agar agar (which is made from seaweed).
Above, Michael serves the noodles to Tawn. All in all, this was a really tasty restaurant. Total price for three persons was HK$400 – about US$51. Worth a visit.
We’re concluding our holiday today, taking the ferry back to Macau and connecting to our flight back to Krungthep. I’ll continue posting HK meals over the next few days as there are at least four more I need to cover. I’ll also get these listed on a Google Map so you can reference them in the future if you so desire. Remember, these suggestions primarily came from Gary, a foodie who really should blog more frequently. (Hint, hint…)