Lung King Heen

The best of the best?

Boasting three Michelin stars, Lung King Heen is another proof that the local Michelin guide is not without fault

Lung King Heen is located in a hotel run by a Western group, the Four Seasons Hong Kong, so it won’t come as a surprise  to see that a large share of the diners are of Western origin. Far more unusual is the fact that Lung King Heen was the very first Chinese restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars.

To this day, the three stars awarded to Lung King Heen must be the most widely discussed rating that the Michelin guide has given out in recent years. Some criticise the product quality, as it does not match that of some Japanese, American or European restaurants, whilst others see Cantonese cuisine as a rather lowly representative of Chinese cooking. Whatever reasons there are to question Lung King Heen, one thing is certain: the restaurant interior is gorgeous and has a breathtaking view over Hong Kong harbour. The dining room is both elegant and comfortable, and gives the diner the feeling that no penny has been spared to make this experience unique.

As in most of the better restaurants in Hong Kong, the service is phenomenal. Friendly and efficient, the professional service brigade does a terrific job that lets you fully appreciate the food. Yet, somehow, the standard of the food seems incoherent. It’s as if two kitchen brigades are at work here: one at lunch, the other for dinner. The lunch menu, mainly dim sum, is far better than the normal dinner menu. Reasonably priced compared to Western restaurants, the dim sum are magnificent quality.

No matter what you choose, you will be presented with bite-sized parcels of happiness. Each one not only has the perfect texture, but it is also perfectly full of flavour. One of the best is lobster and scallop combined. Here, the fine dough coats the creamy scallop meat, given a counterpoint by the lobster. Another classic is the Shanghainese Xia Long Bao. Filled with pork and crabmeat and stock, this dumpling is marvellous. Again, it is light, bursting with flavour and has an amazing texture. It has to be tried to be believed. However, the food gets even better with the abalone and chicken puff, possibly the most interesting and technically perfect creation by chef Chan Yan Tak. It has superb texture and even the abalone, which is often relatively mild, is full of flavour. If you don’t know this dish, it’s the ideal introduction, as it shows just how great abalone can be. To finish, a dessert of mysterious bird’s nest, coconut milk, almond cream and crystal sugar is a rare and expensive treat with a clean taste that just shines through.

The better part of the Lung King Heen cuisine makes you realize how good dim sum can be. Yet, if you look at the normal a la carte menu, it is hard to see how this restaurant earned its three stars. Certainly, the room is great and the service is great, but the food is so variable, depending on when you come, that it makes the superlative rating seem a little bizarre.

Lung King Heen

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