5.204 11d/5c/9l (8) Hong Kong: Stir-Fried Spotted Garoupa with Vegetables

-Cycle 5, Item 204-
28 (Mon) July 2014

Stir-Fried Spotted Garoupa with Vegetables


at Maxim's Jade Garden (Hong Kong International Airport)

-Hong Kong-


11d/5c/9l.  For 11 days -- 5-day conference + 2-day holiday in Spain, airport layovers before and after -- my itinerary will take me through 5 countries, 9 locales, more-or-less at dinnertime, providing me an opportunity to have dinner in all of them.

This is Day 10 (see previously 5.203 München: Vesper).

The People's Republic of China is Country 4. 

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is Locale 8.  Just in the airport for a few hours before catching a flight to Manila.

Maxim's Jade Garden is a Chinese restaurant.  Located in the main concourse of Hong Kong International Airport.  Part of Maxim's food & beverage empire, founded in 1956 as a single restaurant, now owning or operating over 840 outlets of various types, restaurants and bars and coffee shops and bakeries, Chinese and Japanese and Thai and Vietnamese and European and American, in Hong Kong, Macau, mainland China, and Viet Nam.  Jade Garden is one of the company's flagship operations, high profile location, leaving a final impression of Cantonese cuisine for those leaving the city.  The food is traditional/mainstream Cantonese, including various dim sum options, roast meats, and seafood dishes.  

While Tsingtao has developed an export version--packaged in green, presumably formulated to suit a wider global consumer base--the original white local version remains far superior.

Although I did have enough time to go out into the city for dinner, as I'd done the last time flying through Hong Kong (see previously 16/11-16/11 Hong Kong: Har Gao), I decided to stay put.  First, I was tired.  Second, I hadn't done any research on potential dining locations, so I didn't have anywhere in particular to go.  Finally, I wanted to try Maxim's again (see previously 3.142 Roasted Goose) to confirm whether the memories of my prior experience are accurate.

Roasted Duck (3.75)--best duck that I've had in years, juicy and tender and savory...

...with beans!

Har Gao (3.0).

Shrimp Wonton Noodle Soup (1.5)--noodles had a floury aftertaste, broth was salty, wontons okay.

Lobster Dumpling (2.5)--pretty much a giant har gao, with big chunks of shrimp bound together with what may have been minced lobster paste.

The food was indeed as good as I remembered.  Initially, I made the mistake of ordering too many similar kinds of dumplings.  Full but unsatisfied, I ordered another dish, which turned out to be the best of the bunch: fresh garoupa (grouper) and gailan (Chinese broccoli), delicately stir-fried, lightly seasoned, perfectly balanced flavors, classically Cantonese.  In the end, I was very happy.

I may do this, staying in the airport, every time that I fly through Hong Kong, which I anticipate will be quite frequently.

After an empyrean week of feasting on the most exquisite foods, I was brought back to down to earth by the processed crap served, ironically enough, on the flight to Manila--welcome home.


  1. I'm actually going on vacation to Hong Kong in december (for a week, then over to Thailand for an additional 3 weeks). I will have to tank this blog for tips good places to eat at/dishes I must try... So far my only experience with HK food was in London at a dim sum restaurant in Chinatown, and that was awesome...

    Once again this blog gives me inspiration for my own travels... Being the cheapstake I am, my flight back to Stockholm from Bangkok will have 3 (!) stop-overs... Bangkok-Hong Kong-Singapore-London-Stockholm. I could have gotten a flight back with less stops but that would have costed me much more...

    But after reading this post, I realize it will give me the opportunity to eat at 3 different locations on my way back, 2 of which have some of the best foods in the world (I'll let you guess which ones..)

  2. 1. it's "cheapskate," not "stake" (u made that mistake before, and I thought it was a typo, but i guess not).

    2. i have a dutch colleague who takes such pride in being cheap, and says that the dutch generally consider it a virtue. another colleague (australian) lived in amsterdam for several years, and he said that it actually gets to be quite liberating living in a land where every last euro is counted, for example in a group dinner setting, u never have to worry about overpaying because everyone pays exactly and only for what he ate/drank (i.e., "going dutch"), and it's okay to cut down prices in stores, etc.

    3. i've found that stop-overs these days tend to be more expensive, like direct flights to/from MNL/ICN are much cheaper than having a stop-over in, say, Taiwan. Believe me, otherwise, I'd do it all the time, if only just to get a quick meal. i thought it was because airlines have figured out that travellers like me these days take advantage of stop-overs in that way, so the airlines want to cash in on it.

    another thing, and this really pisses me off, when I have to fly thru Seoul, e.g., when I flew from MNL via ICN to Fiji, and I left MNL on Friday, just to have a day at home, and departed for Fiji on Sunday, they charged me an extra $100.

    4. Dude, all of your destinations/stop-overs have awesome food!! Yes, even London. Be sure to maximize the time in Singapore. Maybe 40 min on the train into the city, then you have a world of hawker centres at your disposal, perfect for a cheapwad like you (perfect for anyone, really). As for HK, I dunno, I'm liking it less and less these days, I think because it's become so chinese. I still think the food is the best, but as described in the post above, I may just stay in the airport now.

  3. 1. Oh. Thanks for pointing that out. Otherwise I would have continued saying (and writing) "cheapstake"......

    2. Actually, I would consider it kind of a virtue as well. Not living above your means. Not spending money on useless shit. Saving up money for worse times if you have the opportunity to do so etc. It's definitely better than the Greek (or American?) way: buying lots of stuff (you don't really need) with money you don't really have...

    I wouldn't consider all Swedes cheapskates though.. Usually, if you're out with a Swede, or with a group of Swedish friends, one would often offer to buy a round (of beer). But the unspoken agreement would be that the other person(s) would then buy the next round(s). So it would even out in the end. And the others would be quick to do so, since we don't like being "in debt" to other people....

    I also think you have to find a compromise when it comes to being cheap.... In Swedish we have an expression/term called "dumsnål", which translates to "dumb-cheap"... E.g. when you buy the cheapest phone/car/whatever you can find, only to see it break down in a matter of months, instead of spending slightly more and getting something that you actually can use...

    4. Oh, I realize I must have mixed up the flight I bought with one of the other flights I looked at. I'm actually only stopping in HK and London. Looking forward to trying the airport food in HK, in any case....

  4. 1. "cheapwad" is another good one.

    2. I agree that frugality is a virtue. then again, i've never embraced it. my mother lives by the philosophy that spending money compels one to keep making money, which doesn't not make sense.

    I love the concept of "dumsnäl." in a kind of twisted way, it justifies why i sometimes buy the absolute best of something, because i know that if i buy the cheaper one, i'll eventually regret it, and buy the best anyway, so why waste the money.

    4. HK airport has at least 2 great restaurants: Maxim's and Crystal Jade. But conversations with the sales staff in various stores suggest that the food court is just as good, and way cheaper.

  5. 2. That. does. not. make. a. lick. of. sense....
    Actually it's "dumsnål", but yeah, I think it is a pretty good idea to try to avoid being like that... I can recall several times when I'm been "dumsnål"...

    4. I will make sure to try at least one of either Maxim's and Crystal Jade then!

  6. 2. i did say that my interpretation is twisted.

    4. go for the duck or goose or dim sum at Maxims, or xiao long bao or la mian noodles at Crystal Jade.