Clas­sic cui­sine is a fond fam­ily favourite

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Ming Han has been run­ning Mem­o­ries of Hong Kong in Queen­stown for as long as I re­mem­ber. We first be­came reg­u­lar cus­tomers when he was at the Steamer Wharf. He shifted premises to Strat­ton House a few years back and al­though we stopped by for a cou­ple of feeds we were unim­pressed to no­tice a sig­nif­i­cant shrink in meal sizes, de­spite the cui­sine re­main­ing prob­a­bly the best Chi­nese in town. With his lease up he has re­cently made the move into an up­stairs premises in the Mall and we were in­ter­ested to pop along and see how busi­ness was go­ing.

At­mos­phere:

It was a bit dif­fi­cult to spot the sin­gle door en­trance, pos­si­bly be­cause there is more sig­nage to come es­pe­cially given the space down­stairs is also un­der­go­ing ren­o­va­tion. Once lo­cated, we headed up the stairs to be greeted by large tanks at the door with cray­fish, paua and crabs to se­lect for our meals. We weren’t feel­ing quite so ex­trav­a­gant but it pro­vided great en­ter­tain­ment for the kids.

There was only one other full ta­ble and not a lot on the walls so there was a bit of an empty feel. The out­side bal­cony looked per­fect for sum­mer­time din­ing.

Food:

The first page of the menu lists the Tong Lok deluxe ban­quet. At $238 per per­son it was a lit­tle be­yond our reach but looked divine, in­clud­ing spe­cial­ties such as shark fin and crab meat soup, spe­cial baked cray­fish in clear soup, fresh abalone in oys­ter sauce, siz­zling veni­son with gin­ger and spring onion, scal­lops, whole fish etc. Wow. There were sev­eral other ban­quet of­fer­ings start­ing at $48 per per­son and all would make fan­tas­tic meals.

With noth­ing on the menu specif­i­cally for the kids (though a bowl of com­pli­men­tary prawn crack­ers ap­peared) we or­dered a few dishes to share in the hope ev­ery­one would find some­thing they liked. While con­tem­plat­ing our or­der we re­quested the Tong Lok spe­cial mixed en­tree ($36 for four people). When it ar­rived (more of that later) we were de­lighted with our help­ing of dumplings, king prawns, won­tons and de­li­cious chunks of pork belly.

For lunch we or­dered the spicy fried squid (medium $23), an old favourite which we re­quested with less spice than nor­mal in the hope the kids would en­joy it. A bril­liant tac­tic. Madam 4 – Miss Fish and Chips, reg­u­lar read­ers will re­call - couldn’t get enough of it.

Karl’s favourite sweet and sour pork (medium $22), as pro­duced at Mem­o­ries of Hong Kong, should be held up as an ex­am­ple to all Chi­nese restaurants. It is fresh, flavour­some and ten­der. Fi­nally, we or­dered an­other Kiwi sta­ple, the chicken and cashew nuts (medium $22). Again, among the best I’ve had. And the kids even ate some. A medium bowl of steamed rice ($8) was more than enough for our four adults and two chil­dren. It was all hap­pily washed down with a round of Coronas for the adults ($9 each) and fruit juices for the kids ($5.50 each).

Ser­vice:

It was nice to have a visit and chat with the owner as we ar­rived and wait staff were happy to ex­plain and make sug­ges­tions. It was a bit strange that our mains ar­rived be­fore the en­tree, de­spite the en­tree be­ing or­dered about ten min­utes ear­lier.

Ver­dict:

A while ago I read that it was one of Josh Emett’s favourites and it seems to at­tract a steady flow of Chi­nese vis­i­tors, which must say a bit about its of­fer­ings. For our fam­ily it worked out sur­pris­ingly well – given the lack of fish and chips. We all en­joyed the fresh in­gre­di­ents and clas­sic flavours.

Im­pe­rial taste: Chicken and cashew nuts from Mem­o­ries of Hong Kong

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