VIC­TO­RIA CITY SEAFOOD

Hong Kong

Esquire (UK) - - CULTURE - eas­t­o­cean.com.hk

‘ISAAN-STYLE CHICKEN IS SO FIERCE THAT CROWDS GATHER TO WATCH YOU EAT. IT’S THE ED­I­BLE EQUIV­A­LENT OF NIP­PLE CLAMPS’

Un­flat­ter­ing light­ing of in­dus­trial strength, hideous, over­wrought dé­cor and curt Can­tonese ser­vice, in a restau­rant half­way up a tower block. What’s not to love? I was first taken to Vic­to­ria

City Seafood (now known as the East Ocean Seav­iew Restau­rant) by the late, great Sir David Tang, as he reck­oned it one of the finest Can­tonese places in Hong Kong. That’s some praise. I fell in lust with the steamed flower crabs, im­pos­si­bly sub­tle and silken, in Chi­nese wine sauce, and whole lac­quered chicken, cut into pieces and dipped in lemon juice and salt; clas­sic slow-cooked pork, the skin brit­tle, the flesh softly se­duc­tive. Milky soups with noo­dle and spring onion, flaw­less dim sum, and steamed fish of sub­lime fresh­ness. This is true Can­tonese food, the best, most sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents, al­lowed to shine.

One of the more mem­o­rable din­ners (of many) was with another late great, Esquire’s

AA Gill, for­merly of this par­ish, and his­to­rian David Starkey and pub­lish­ing chair­man Ni­cholas Co­leridge. We were sit­ting in the pri­vate room pick­ing on steamed clams and crab and lob­ster, when my wife, Sara, dis­agreed with some­thing both Adrian and David were say­ing. About women, at a guess. And told them so, in no un­cer­tain terms. Now th­ese two men make a for­mi­da­ble, opin­ion­ated pair. Nick and I shrunk down in our seats. Even Tang went quiet. But Sara ar­gued her point, elo­quently and el­e­gantly, and won. She then car­ried on tak­ing apart her flower crab, al­beit with the faintest of smiles. It will be odd go­ing there

with­out David, but his spirit will dwell there still.

Esquire | April 2018

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