Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chop to it - For Kee

Nostalgic eating
For Kee is a family business nestled in one of my favourite neighbourhoods, among miniature temples, funeral homes and coffin makers (and increasingly, galleries and arty shops). It was opened by a man who was a Chinese medicine practitioner - in fact, his certificate is still displayed at the back of the shop (under the specials whiteboard). He opened the For Kee to give people a healthier alternative to msg-laden fast food and the gloopy sauces every other cha chaan teng around town was serving. But he clearly has a thing for pork chop - I've never been able to ask him (or the other staff, most of whom are family) why, because they're always so busy, but I suppose it's not so surprising given the Cantonese obsession with all things porcine.

Pork chop bun
For Kee serves pork chop one way, and one way only. It's marinated in a classic soy and sugar combo and shallow-fried. It's home style at its best. Apparently (say my parents and their friends) this was how pork chop was served everywhere when they were young. They didn't have things like tonkatsu, and besides, western bread, even in the form of crumbs, were fancy. (Just check out a that favourite of Chinese banquets, the baked crab shell - always capped with a golden crust of bread crumbs.)

Macaroni in tomato soup with pork chop served on the side
You can have the pork chop served on rice, with instant noodles (health, what health?) or the classic elbow macaroni in soup (tomato or clear 'dish water'). If you do get it with anything soupy, I'd suggest getting the pork chop on the side, lest you lose the crispness in the soup.

One of their best dishes (of which I sadly have no photographic evidence) is the "Boss's fried rice" - a huge mountain of rice fried with roughly diced pork chop (making it extra crunchy), veg (e.g. choi sum) and spring onions. It's about double the price of everything else on the menu, but really, it serves 2 hungry people.

Pork chop & vegetable rice, with an extra egg, sunny side up
When I go alone, which is about 50% of the time, I get their pork chop and vegetable rice, with a sunny side up for a bit of sauce. I love that they give you enough vegetables to feed my carnivorous boyfriend for an entire week, and they're always cooked perfectly - crisp but not 'grass-ily' undercooked. Some people also like the tomato and pork chop on rice, which, despite my preference for sauce, is a bit too watery for me.

They also serve two non-pork chop lunch options, which change daily and are again more home-cooking than corn starch-laden cha chaan teng gloop. People clearly love them - these always sell out before 1pm, as does the soup of the day. Their milk tea is pretty good too - the tea is pretty strong and a bit tannic, I prefer that to overly milky and smooth (at the expense of strength). They add quite a bit of sugar, so be sure to state your preference when ordering.

If you go after 2pm (or before noon), they also serve pork chop buns, which is basically the same chop served between a soft fast food-style bun with a slice of tomato (fresh, thank goodness) and mayo. The tomato isn't going to be your hydroponic heirloom doodah - actually it's usually the tasteless, mass-produced variety - but it makes a damn good snack or light lunch. I'd say skip the mayo too (it's synthetic stuff out of a tub). With a pork chop like that, you really don't need a thing.

For Kee
200 Hollywood Rd (entrance on the corner of Pound Lane and Tai Ping Shan St)
Sheung Wan
Hong Kong
+852 2546 8947
Closed Sun & public holidays

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  1. writing down this address for the next time I found myself in that neighborhood!.

  2. do! :) it's a great nabe - i think you'll like it (and will surely take some fabulous photos!)

  3. I need to munch those pork chop buns. Nice tip of after 2pm and I would guess it is much more relaxed then as well!

    I had the pork chop/ tomato but I think the winner was Jen with plain pork chop/ egg and grease flavoured rice.


  4. Tom, have you had the Boss's fried rice? Now, THAT is grease. But such good grease... mm... And yes, much more relaxed after 2pm, the young one's still a bit shouty but the old ones calm down hehe

  5. Anonymous12:12 pm

    if u read the magazine which manage to interview them after begging for months... the boss actually was the boss of a trading company before going bankrupt when his partner passed away suddenly. so the wife decided to open this shop to make a living instead... she cooks. he counts money and slowly learns to make teas.

  6. thanks anon! would you happen to know which magazine or approx when it came out? would love to read it! the chinese medicine practitioner certificate/license is displayed clearly in the shop though, i wonder what the connection is there?