Chuan Palace: Deliciously bold takes on Sichuan classics
20 Aug 2019
Address Shop 501, MOKO, 193 Prince Edward Road West, Mong Kok
Of the regional Chinese cuisines beyond Cantonese, Hong Kongers have a particular soft spot for Sichuan. From cheap and cheerful to the high-end variety, there’s no shortage of places around town to get your spice on.
New kid on the block Chuan Palace, located in Mong Kok’s seriously underrated Moko Mall, comes with some serious credentials. Heading up the kitchen is chef Lee Chi Kwong, whose CV includes stints at celebrated Sichuan restaurants San Xi Lou and Golden Valley. While the focus here is Sichuan, there is also a very considered dim sum programme at lunch overseen by chef Chan Sai Fai, whose four decades of experience includes his most recent role as dim sum executive chef of Wynn Palace’s Wing Lei Palace.
Sliced pork with mashed garlic
Chuan Palace’s extensive menu is, perhaps not surprisingly, all about the classics. But it’s the execution that sets this place apart. The sliced pork appetiser with mashed garlic (HK$118), for example, sees meat from the back of the beast topped with rich, robust Shandong garlic, resulting in an all around heartier interpretation. The chilled poached chicken (whole HK$388, half HK$268) is another faithful interpretation of a favourite, with perfectly cooked Qingyuan free-range chicken lifted by generous amounts of well-balanced, house-made chilli oil dressing which consists of ingredients mainly sourced from the Sichuan province. The deep-fried duck blood (HK$108), chef Lee’s own creation, is another must-try starter, with a thin layer of crispy golden batter, finished with Sichuan peppercorn powder, salt and pepper, giving way to deliciously silky morsels of the curd within.
Fried prawn with pepper in casserole
Larger dishes were also well received. The fried prawn with pepper in casserole (HK$328) comprises Hainan white peppercorn, known for its brightness, as well as freshwater prawns and finished with Shaoxing wine that showcases the freshness of the star ingredients. The wok-fried pig intestines (HK$188) are also expertly prepared, with the incredibly fresh offal retaining plenty of its naturally meaty and fatty flavour while being lifted by the accompanying spices. It’s clever stuff, the work of a chef who has plenty of confidence, as well as the skills to back it up. We also loved the Sichuan-style stewed ox tongue (HK$348), a deliciously intelligent take on the classic chilli oil pot. This new creation by chef Lee sees generous slices of tender ox tongue swimming in a fiery, house-made chilli oil sauce, in a large dish that also includes fresh cucumber, oblongs of silken duck blood, and peanut buds that add an intriguing layer of nuttiness to the dish.
Sichuan-style stewed ox tongue
The deep-fried honeydew milk (HK$178) was a great way to end (and, importantly, cool the tongue down), with house-made honeydew milk adding just the right amount of sweetness to the generously sized package.
Chef Lee Chi Kwong has built up an impressive resume.
The Sichuan scene in Hong Kong certainly isn’t lacking in quality or quantity. But this progressive, clever newcomer might just force the competition to step it up a notch or two.
Tl;dr: Delicious Sichuan dishes showcasing fresh ingredients and intelligent takes on classics.