G/F, 69 Tai Mei Tuk Village,Ting Kok Rd., Tai Po
AKA The Best Thai Restaurant In Hong Kong
Today was a stupidly sunny day in Hong Kong for a Tuesday. While many were unfortunately stuck in the office, the boyfriend was on his annual leave and I am – for all intents and purposes – on holiday, making it the perfect time to hit one of our favourite spots in the New Territories, Chung Shing Thai.
I’ve been to this place too many times to count, but to be perfectly honest I never knew the name of this restaurant till I decided to write a review. I never needed to! If I’m arranging a dinner with friends in Tai Mei Tuk, it is presumed it will be Chung Shing Thai. ‘Thai in Tai Mei Tuk’ has become synonymous with this restaurant, and only this restaurant. I always pass the Papaya joint directly adjacent and feel a little sorry for them, especially on a weekend night when you see people lined up waiting to be seated at Chung Shing even when hardly anyone is sitting in the place beside it.. But that’s just how good this place is. You will not be disappointed!
We decided to try a couple of different items on the menu. Having been going here for many years, I usually go for the same ‘staples’ if you like: the green curry has a luscious silky sauce with authentic Thai ingredients; the morning glory (tung choi) with garlic, soybeans and chili is so addictive (which is frustrating sometimes because it’s usually the first thing to come out and then you’re just craving more); the whole grilled squid is an absolute treat – tender with a slight char that is so satisfying when you dip the pieces into the standard spicy-sour Thai chili sauce; and other notable mentions are the soft shell crab, the grilled pork slices with the decadent chili sauce, the naan, the skewers… I could go on. The only thing I was never too keen on was the pineapple fried rice – but I think that could just be because of my aversion to pineapples, pineapples on anything savoury… I can’t, I don’t know, (I’ll rant about this later I’m sure.)
More recently, since Andrew and I have been going to Tai Mei Tuk, he’s been really keen on this deep fried fish 筍殼魚. It has quickly become a regular on our TMT lunches/dinners. The whole fish is deep fried so that you can crunch and munch on all the small bones, skin, etc – tastes like chips. You can soak it in the accompanied dark, sweet soy-based sauce, which is not too tart, not too salty, (juuust right), and I love it when all the small white soft flesh gets lost and soaked up in there. Definitely a must try.
We strayed from the standard morning glory choice this time and went for, under Andrew’s firm assurance it was going to be ‘bomb ting’, the cabbage sprouts with salted fish 椰菜苗. I don’t think I’ve ever had cabbage sprouts before (or maybe they were never as memorable), but I loved this dish. The sprouts were crunchy but had soft and slippery leaves that were sauced up by the salted fish supremely well. Incredibly moreish, especially considering how small the sprouts are that they just plop into your mouth with no fuss – I was sticking my chopsticks into this dish the most!
If you like the sweet and sour pork kind of taste, this is something to try. The glazed duck with lime sauce is really filling and mostly well done – although we did find a few parts of the duck meat were way overcooked, making it too tough to eat. Each piece has a sugar glaze cum caramelized crust that gives it a great crunch even when plunged into the lime sauce. Sweet, sour, satisfying.
The pad thai is arguably nothing special, but all too often you see those artificially orange excuses for pad thai noodles in restaurants, which is why – although it doesn’t come close to pad thai on the streets of Bangkok – I am a fan of this pad thai. I apologise for the photo, we were eating most of it before we realised I didn’t take a photo. But! It is flavourful, not grossly oversweetened or salted, and has lots of fried tofu, prawns, egg, baby shrimps, doused with crushed peanuts and lime. Not complaining one bit – we finished the whole thing, as well as everything else.