Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Little Sweet Valley - Xiao Tian Gu

That is, by literal translation, the name of the dessert place I went to last night, Xiao Tian Gu. It's actually named after the owners, whose last names are Ku, which can mean valley. A couple of them are in the movie/entertainment business and are, for lack of a better word, famous, which would be the lazy and easy way to explain the fact that it was busy on a Tuesday night, but there's another reason - a lot of the dishes were actually good.

A quick disclaimer - my aunt, who I went with, knows the owners and we got a hefty discount, but since I didn't have to pay either way (my aunt would have been paying even if we didn't have the discount), there was no financial incentive for me - as there never is in this blog anyway.

Ok, so a quick word about Hong Kong-style desserts. As with a lot of local food, it's low-brow fusion. There are traditional Cantonese-style sweet soups, then there are western & Japanese influences, all of which are evident at this little place in burgeoning foodie desti Tai Hang/Tin Hau.

Tofu fa with Japanese red bean - nice and light, and although the Japanese red bean wasn't of the highest quality, it tasted just fine - not too sweet, and were still a little firm to the bite, unlike Chinese-style red bean that would be cooked to a paste.

Typical Chinese sweet soup, with herbs that are supposedly good for your voice/respiratory system.

Highlight of the night, a must-order - lychee pannacotta/pudding/mousse thing (the Chinese term for it is just 奶凍 - milk made/rendered cold), made with milk from Hokkaido - super smooth, creamy and fragrant - from both the milk and lychee.

Steamed egg white - very light, perhaps too light and a little watery if I had to be really picky, but I quite liked it actually. Better than places famous for this, like Yi Shun, whose puddings all taste of milk powder.

Another typical Canto sweet soup, made with the skin formed when boiling soy milk (called "tofu skin" in Chinese) and gingko. The result is like a richer, deeper tasting warm soy milk.

Almond milk and egg white sweet soup - great consistency (thick like molten chocolate), but would've been better (and more consistent with the viscosity) if it tasted of almonds even more.

Goji berry and sweet osmanthus (桂花) jelly - cool, refreshing and great for summer

The tiny shop - the tables actually spill out into the alley (where I was sitting and took the picture from).

Xiao Tian Gu
10-11B School Street
Tai Hang/Tin Hau
Hong Kong
+852 2882 6133

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