Friday, March 21, 2014

Seventh Son - Cantonese Perfection

Dim sum at Seventh Son is perfection
Cantonese food is what I grew up on, and as I get older, I find myself appreciating it more and more, and having less tolerance for bad versions (am I going to end up one of those grumpy old people?).

I've been to Seventh Son about a dozen times since they opened last year, mostly for lunch (dim sum), but a few times for dinner too, and it has quickly become a firm favourite. There have been so few Chinese openings of note recently and I'm only too happy to have found a new, reliable standby.

Crispy skinned chicken, zha zi gaai 炸子雞
Hong Kong is full of stories about bad blood in extended families, especially when it comes to power and shareholding in family businesses. (Everyone in Hong Kong knows about Yung Kee, for example), and pretty much the same happened to decades-old Cantonese classic Fook Lam Moon (known as a "tycoon's canteen"). The Chui family, who I knew as the family running FLM, recently left the company. They took FLM's top chefs and staff and opened Seventh Son, a cosier and less conspicuous restaurant in Wanchai, serving a very similar style of food - meticulously made Cantonese.

Scrambled eggs with shrimps, ha yan chau daan 蝦仁炒蛋
The above is a very bad picture of one of my absolute favourite dishes at Seventh Son. A simple dish of scrambled eggs with shrimps and spring onion. The soft eggy curds are rich (more yolks? duck eggs? I don't know why) and it has just the right proportion of shrimps and spring onion, and the most amazing thing, I reckon, is that it has wok hei. How can such delicate, tender, eggy folds have have wok hei (usually possible, I thought, only by using extremely high heat and brought on by browning - I thought it was more or less the Maillard reaction)? Stunning.

Barbecued pork, char siu 叉燒
I've yet to try the faous suckling pig (also a specialty back at FLM), but I can safely say that their char siu is excellent, plus it doesn't have that garish red colour that comes from an over-zealous use of food dye.

Glutinous rice dumpling, cha gwo 茶果
The dim sum is very well made and uses excellent ingredients. I particularly appreciate their siu mai 燒賣 - for a lot of dim sum places, siu mai is just a cheap lump of pork mince, with a little bit of shrimp and it's almost always dense, dry and overcooked. The siu mai at Seventh Son has always been intensely juicy and full of (good) porky flavour.

Steamed brown sugar sponge cake, ma lai goh 馬拉糕
The sad thing is, I've gotten all excited about Seventh Son just because they're doing things the right, responsible, no-BS, no-shortcut way. Since when did shortcuts (pre-made sauces, or pre-cut, pre-mixed ingredients) become the norm?

Seventh Son 家全七福 [map]
5/F & 6/F Kwan Chart Building
6 Tonnochy Road
Hong Kong
+852 2892 2888
Lunch & dinner daily

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