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Lai Ching Heen: Is this the best Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong?

Lai Ching Heen: Is this the best Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong?

We sample the finest of Cantonese delicacies at Lai Ching Heen at the newly reimagined, Regent Hong Kong.

June 22nd, 2023

Regent Hong Kong Hotel recently reopened after their most extensive renovations in three decades. Their prime location on the Victoria Harbour waterfront has always meant it is a beloved institution by locals and tourists alike. It is the perfect location to catch the daily light and sound show, 'A Symphony of Lights' or the New Year's Eve fireworks. It was always regarded as one of the big three hotels in Hong Kong along with The Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental.

Their in-house Cantonese restaurant which stayed open during the renovation, Lai Ching Heen is a world-class institution that has been showered with countless accolades from two Michelin stars to two diamonds in the Black Pearl Restaurant Guide. The dishes they offer are often Cantonese culinary treasures given a contemporary update. The decor is the definition of refined elegance. There are touches of gold and jade throughout the restaurant down to your place settings but the designs are never garish or forceful. Most guests will be more distracted by the floor-to-ceiling window showcasing a dynamic view of Victoria Harbour.

Executive Chef Lau Yiu Fai has over three decades of experience working with the hotel. Whilst head chef, Cheng Man Sang has worked with the executive chef for over two decades. What you get with their kitchen team is expertise married with innovation. The hotel has given them the platform to evolve the cuisine and always bring new ideas to the dining table.

Their 'Premier Delicacy' dinner menu is the showcase offering where you can taste their greatest hits and the immense variety of Cantonese cuisine. You'll get to try Hokkaido scallops which are very much akin to their Orkney counterpart known for their clean, sweet taste. Their barbecue pork 'char siu' with honey is arguably the best version you'll find in Hong Kong with the perfect ratio of meat to fat served up with an irresistible sweetness. Their clear Chinese soup offering is something you rarely encounter in the UK or Europe. Double-boiled fish maw with sea whelk and russula mushroom soup might sound exotic, but the ingredients provide countless benefits. For example, russula is used in Chinese medicine to treat liver and eye conditions.

The eye-catchers on their menu are undoubtedly the steamed lobster with tofu and crabmeat roe and braised whole abalone in oyster jus. The former is one of the most perfectly executed dishes on their menu. The tender, firm, succulent lobster meat injects the silky smooth tofu with both sweet and umami flavours. Any element that is over or undercooked would significantly impact the dish. Abalone is the definition of luxury in Cantonese restaurants and it's still very much a delicacy waiting to be discovered by the Western world. Their version at the restaurant is a Japanese fresh abalone that has been braised and served in an oyster jus.

At Lai Ching Heen, you get to sample the finest of wagyu beef. Their set menu offers beef from Kagoshima, which produces more wagyu than any other prefecture in Japan. It is the epicentre of the country's beef industry. Their wok-fried Kagoshima wagyu has a firm appearance on the outside, but a buttery soft tenderness on the inside. It is presented with an onion ring, peppers, lily bulbs and garlic. It is ideally paired with their fried rice wrapped in a lotus leaf to offer extra fragrant aromas.

Cantonese desserts are a hugely underrated gem. When executed well, they are more than a match with the finest crème brûlées and pastel de natas of this world. Their baked sago and custard cream pudding is similar to a rice pudding but littered with addictively chewy sago pearls. And their taro paste with black and white sesame roll is the perfect way to end a meal with subtle nuttiness and sweetness that will send you away from the restaurant with a satisfied grin.

Please note, they do have a dress code - smart elegant: closed-toed shoes, sleeved shirts and long trousers are required for gentlemen.


Baldwin Ho

Baldwin Ho

An intrepid adventurer and foodie, Baldwin is always on the lookout for latest trends on the culinary scene as well as pushing himself out of his comfort zone in trying out new activities. He has a particularly keen interest in food and travel photography.

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