Food in Hong Kong – Sunning Restaurant

The evening I arrived in Hong Kong, I joined fellow Xangans Gary and Rudy for dinner at Sunning Restaurant in Causeway Bay. Sunning is a long-time favorite of locals, dating to 1948, and specializes in Western food. It is the type of place where local families go for special events or weekly Sunday dinners, a chance for “fancy” food that today feels reminiscent of the era of Julia Child. 

Despite its lengthy history, the restaurant moved not long ago to Lee Theatre Plaza, a modern building in Causeway Bay. The new interior is tasteful, clean, and modern. The white linens are starched. The waiters dress in tuxedos. It is easy to imagine that you have entered a time warp and landed in the 1960s Hong Kong celebrated in director Wong Kar Wai’s film In the Mood for Love.

Gary ordered (and shared, thankfully) a dish of escargot. Unlike all the other escargot I have eaten, this dish wasn’t drowned in butter and garlic. Instead, the snails were served with a rich brown sauce and rested on a layer of broiled, molten mashed potatoes. They were tender and scrumptious.

I ordered foie gras on toast, a very basic pate that was tasty but not fancy. The taste of the foie gras reminded me of the Oscar Mayer liverwurst my grandfather used to serve me for lunch on Triscuit crackers.

As the main courses arrived (Rudy had the lamb chops and Gary had the sirloin steak), the waiter brought a plate with baked potato toppings: sour cream, bacon, and chives. Classic!

I ordered the Spanish Kurobuta pork served with the special house sauce – same the was on Gary’s steak. All of our dishes were garnished identically: baked potato, half a roasted tomato, and a floret of cauliflower. The simple presentation reminds me of the food at Uncle John’s in Bangkok, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where a former hotel chef turns out Western classics in distinctly hotel banquet style. The Sunning version was tasty, well-cooked, and completely unimaginative. That isn’t a complaint, though, because the restaurant serves exactly what is promised at a reasonable price. No molecular gastronomy is needed here.

The three of us shared two desserts. The first to arrive was a lemon soufflé, perfectly spongy and light with a dry middle.

The second dessert was a Baked Alaska. This Betty Crocker classic is something I haven’t seen in a long time and was eager to try. It was the expected show-stopper, a meringue covered Mount Vesuvius with two maraschino cherry nipples served en flambé. 

Here’s a brief video showing the flaming dessert in all its glory:

The inside of the dessert was different than I had previously had. In addition to the yellow cake base and ice cream, there was fruit cocktail. While unexpected, it lent additional retro credibility to the dessert and I’ve decided that I will have to prepare Baked Alaska one of these days soon.

(For a more complete review with better pictures, visit Gary’s entry about the restaurant.)

0 thoughts on “Food in Hong Kong – Sunning Restaurant

  1. Looks like a decent place. If what I get is what is advertised on the menu – that is a plus. Add a little twist and better – like the Baked Alaska.

  2. “Retro” is the right word for this place! I realized there are a couple of other similar restaurants which are quite good too, until next time perhaps? ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. Hmm. Retro hotel ballroom-style fare isn’t my cup of tea (at least not to go out for), but this stuff looks like it has its points.In the Mood for Love was a fantastic movie. I’m going to have to try to see that one again sometime.

  4. if you’re still in HK, you can visit the restaurant where In the Mood for Love was filmed at, The Goldenfinch Restaurant. They also serve Western style cuisine, like steak at moderate prices.

  5. So good to see Rudy exposed here. I love baked Alaska, but have had it only once. I wish I could find it somewhere in the vicinity of Quincy. Not sure if I can make it.

  6. Looks like the lighting was disappointing for good pictures. Still I got the general thing about the food.Having food on fire I suppose is second best to having a fire stove at the table. Burning alcohol is a cool flame though.

  7. @SherryAngeLMysteriez – Thanks for the recommendation and a happy new year’s to you, too.@kunhuo42 – Really, not a meringue person? Hmmm… and here I thought we’d get along so well if we cooked together! @agmhkg – Will definitely return next time.@Toro69 – @amygwen –  Happy new year to you, too.@BlissfulRedemption – Nooooo! Don’t turn!  LOL@grannykaren – @murisopsis – The classics are often classic for a reason, right?@PPhilip – Yes, my camera does okay in low light but it has its limits.@ElusiveWords – Exactly, “fancy” food from when we were children.@ZSA_MD – A baked Quincy, perhaps? @Soapie – Thanks for the recommendation. I actually left HKG on the 30th but am just slow to get my entries posted. Will make a note for the next visit, though.@n_e_i_l – Always worth a watch, isn’t it? A friend of mine managed to buy one of the lamps they had used as a set piece. Lovely lamp.@mizz_chan – Best schedule a return trip to Hong Kong, huh?@maniacsicko – That’s the mystery…@armnatmom – Not even sure if these are American or vaguely “Continental”… kind of reminds me of classic French food.@HisDownAzzChick – While it wasn’t fancy, it sure was tasty.@CurryPuffy – Honestly, I feel like I skimped a bit on Chinese food this trip.@rudyhou – On your next visit here, I’ll cook a souffle for you.@Fatcat723 – They delivered as promised, which is always a good start.

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