The Pirata Group is at it again, this time with a modern Chinese concept called Madame Ching. Madame Ching Hong Kong is located on Star Street on the Northern section of Wan Chai not too far from Admiralty. The concept is Chinese food with a “surprising twist”, inspired by the powerful pirate Madame Ching Shih who terrorized the China Seas during the Qing Dynasty (commanding over 300 junk boats!).
Madame Ching focuses on various types of roast meats, a Hong Kong specialty. The head chef, Chef Son, trained under Cantonese celebrity chef Suser Lee (whom I’ve met before!) before coming to Hong Kong to oversee this restaurant.
The menu has several fun cocktails made with interesting Asian-esque ingredients like galangal, umeshu, dragon fruit, and kaffir lime leaves.
This fun cocktail is called Thick Soul [HKD110] and includes infused fresh figs, bitters, umeshu, and sake. Love the smoke!
All Pirata Group restaurants offer a family-style “tasting” menu for HKD350 a person that allows a diner to sample some of the restaurant’s best signature dishes. In general, we enjoy doing these tastings at Pirata Group restaurants, so we decided to do it here at Madame Ching as well.
General Son’s Chicken [HKD 95] is clearly a nod to the traditional “General Gau” or “General Tso” chicken that graces every single Chinese restaurant in America.
This version – presumably named after Chef Son – has a slight twist in that it’s seasoned with sansho pepper. Furthermore, the chicken is just slightly glazed and very crispy, yet not the least bit greasy or soggy.Frankly, I think it is worlds better than the typical restaurant version of this dish. The flavors are excellent.
Pork Wontons [HKD 100] served with a mala vinaigrette and crispy garlic were pleasant though not that spicy.
Typhoon Shelter Tofu HKD [HKD 90] is clearly inspired by the famous Hong Kong classic typhoon shelter crabs which are showered with a mound of fried garlic, chili, and scallions. This version uses lightly deep fried tofu instead. I really enjoyed the texture of the tofu (reminded me of Japanese agedashi tofu texture).
However, I thought the crispy garlic was less fragrant than the ones I’ve enjoyed on the original crab version. These garlic “crunchies” were harder in texture, reminding me almost of something other than garlic (I did wonder whether they were some sort of hybrid breadcrumb/cereal/garlic mixture). They were less fragrant, but also less greasy. The dish was still enjoyable, but if you’ve had the real thing, you might feel like something’s lacking.
Next we had Roasted Chicken [HKD 170] with pickled daikon (likely inspired from Korean food). The chicken was tender and juicy.
Burnt Ends Fried Rice [HKD 95] included roast pork, eggs, and pickled vegetable topped with deep fried onion strings.
Brussels Sprouts [HKD 85] roast jus were fine but nothing particularly special. They came with just the slightest char on the edge. I am a huge fan of properly charred Brussels Sprouts (they give off such a nice aromatic flavor!). Alas, these were more like sauteed or steamed Brussels Sprouts.
I was excited about the Brown Sugar Steamed Cake because that is one of my favorite desserts at Tim Ho Wan. This version came with an ovaltine ice cream. Unfortunately, the steamed cake was terribly dry, nothing like the beautiful moist brown sugar steamed cake that I was imagining. Eating it with the ice cream helped, but overall I was disappointed.
General Thoughts – Madame Ching Hong Kong
We came here a day after the biggest typhoon of the year (Typhoon Mangkhut) hit Hong Kong. Most restaurants had closed the day of the typhoon, so most restaurants were just getting back on their feet.
I have mixed feelings about this restaurant. On the one hand, I really enjoyed some of the dishes we had at the beginning, such as the General Son’s chicken (fantastic!), roast chicken, and pork dumplings. The fried rice and even the typhoon shelter tofu was good, even if it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. On the other hand, I really didn’t love the Brussels Sprouts, and I was quite disappointed with the dessert.
In general, I like the concept again that I would go back to try more dishes. My guess is that they play a pretty strong meat game, and I should try some of their other roast meats, like roast goose or roast pork. It’s probably worth coming back and just ordering a la carte next time to focus in on specific dishes I really want to try.
Madame Ching Hong Kong
5 Star St, Wan Chai
This is the thirtieth post in the updated #50Postsin50Days – Take 2 Challenge. Other posts in this series will be added to the bottom of the original post.