Word around town is that some of the best char siu in Hong Kong is to be found at Dynasty, the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel’s award-winning Cantonese restaurant. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock all this time, char siu is Hong Kong’s favorite “siu mei” (roast meat) – a finger-licking good piece of pork marinated in a honey BBQ sauce and roasted until charred to a state of sticky sweet perfection. Yum!
So Rach and I set off to find this heavenly dish! The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into Dynasty are the tall ceiling-to-floor windows offering stunning harbour views. Sadly, it was quite polluted on the day we visited, but the view of the TST skyline and boats crossing by was still lovely to see! Unlike many hotel Chinese restaurants that over-egg things on the grandeur front, Dynasty’s decor is simple, spacious and comfortable – and all the better for it.
We ordered a bunch of things to eat and share between us. First, a trio of dim sum – har gao (shrimp dumplings), shu mai (pork and mushroom dumpling) and fan guo (steamed dumplings with veggies and peanuts). My favourite was the har gao – the skin was not tough but slightly chewy, with perfectly cooked shrimp inside. I don’t know if there’s a trend occurring, but lately I’ve been finding myself at dim sum restaurants being served with dumplings the size of my face! But the dim sum at Dynasty were a perfect bite-sized portion – just like it should be!
Next up was the chilled marinated Bai Ling mushroom (冰鎮白靈菇). Let me put it out there, this dish looked really weird! We were taught to eat it just like you would with sashimi (ie. served cold), so after heaping on the wasabi, I took a bite of this mushroom “sashimi”, which turned out to be unexpectedly refreshing. It didn’t quite capture the texture of sashimi, but I can definitely see it being a cooling summer appetiser.
But onto the reason why we came – the char siu! Served alongside some roast suckling pig, we all went straight for the char siu… and indeed, just as everyone had said, it was fabulous. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth good – juicy, tender and perfectly charred in the right places with just a hint of honey-sweetness from the glaze.
Even though the char siu was delicious, my favourite part of the meal was Dynasty’s hidden treasure – a fresh crab claw steamed with parsley and preserved egg. It sounds (and looks) strange, but the use of egg white gave the dish an incredibly airy, light texture, which perfectly set off the delicate, sweet taste of fresh crab. The crab claw itself was huge, and I happily scraped off all the succulent crab meat to mix in with the egg!
For our carb-intake of the day, we had the pork and preserved vegetables claypot rice. For me, claypot rice is a total Cantonese comfort food – a steamy pot of rice and toppings to warm you up from the inside on a cold winter’s day! The rice here at Dynasty didn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies I was hoping for, instead just being minced pork and preserved veggies on rice. Oh well.
Before we finished, we ordered two desserts – simple egg tarts and lai wong bau (steamed buns with salted egg yolk and custard). The egg tart was not very memorable for me, and the custard in the buns was a little too heavy on the salted egg yolk for our taste. Hopefully we’ll choose better desserts next time around!
So the next time you want some traditional Cantonese cuisine that’s great for either a comfortable business lunch in Wan Chai (there are six private rooms!) or a cheerful family gathering right by the harbour, think of Dynasty! The char siu and the fresh crab claw were enough to convince me to make another trip there soon, and if you don’t believe me, book yourself a table and be prepared to be dazzled by some of the best char siu in town!
Dynasty, 3/F, Renaissance Harbour View Hotel, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2584 6971