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Celestial Court

September 20, 2013

The second day we were in Hong Kong, my husband mentioned that he wanted to have some authentic Chinese cuisine.  After all, we were in Hong Kong, right?  But, in this culinary mecca, where should we go to get Chinese food?  Truthfully, we spent the entire day out and about in the city.  After having just flown in the day before, and not having slept fully through the night, we were up and out the door, having already eaten breakfast, by 8:30 am.  We boarded metro trains, a 6 km long sky gondola with a glass bottom, walked a bunch, rode a couple of buses, rode a ferry, walked some more, rode what seemed to be a never-ending series of escalators up into the residential parts of Hong Kong Island, rode a minibus back down the hill, rode another ferry, and then walked back to our hotel, all in what felt like 90 degree weather and 90% humidity.  By the time we got back to the hotel, we decided we’d eat at the Chinese restaurant at the hotel.  It was a bit of a cop out since we were tired, but we soon learned that we probably ate one of the best Chinese restaurants in the city.

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Celestial Court was the name of the restaurant and I had to Yelp! it as soon as I got back to the hotel room.  According to the ratings, it is considered one of the city’s top restaurants by locals and tourists alike.  Now, you know if you go to a Chinese restaurant located in a hotel that is a favorite amongst locals as well, they must be doing something right.  What we didn’t realize about the restaurant is that it specialized in mushrooms.  Out front, at the entrance, there’s a display of a variety of different mushrooms.  Inside, the menu, which was more like a tome, had at least 20 pages devoted to mushroom-based dishes.  And right as you walk into the dining room, there was a main display table with two large heads of mushrooms displayed under a glass case.  My guess is that this was the special mushroom of the day.  The table next to us actually ordered one of the two mushrooms, which was then simply sliced and then grilled with some salt and pepper.  They all seemed to enjoy it.  Unfortunately, I’m not a mushroom fan at all, so that aspect of the restaurant was lost on me.  Luckily, the menu is literally a book with page after page after page of wonderful sounding dishes.  So, there was much more than just mushroom dishes to choose from.  Unfortunately, with such an extensive menu, this was also a case of probably having too many options we didn’t know what to choose.  What we did instead was picked out a couple of small appetizer dishes we knew we wanted to enjoy, and then we each ordered the set menu for one person that came with an appetizer, soup, rice and main entrée as well as dessert.  That kind of takes the decision making out of our hands.

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The first dish brought to our table was one that wasn’t part of the set menu we ordered.  According to what we had read about the restaurant, one of their most popular and tasty dishes was the roasted suckling pig.  Normally, this isn’t something we’d order at a Chinese restaurant back home, but as they say, “when in Rome…” or in Hong Kong, as the case may be, you’ve got to go for it.  The preparation of the roasted suckling pig is almost in the same fashion as what you’d expect for Peking duck.  The suckling pig is roasted over an open flame until the meat is tender and juicy and the skin is golden and crispy.  It’s then sliced into bite-sized pieces and served along side thin, almost tortilla-like wrappers, its like the Chinese bao that comes with Peking duck.  Also served is sweet hoisin sauce.  You take a wrapper, grab some of the suckling pig, including the meat and the crispy skin, drizzle some hoisin sauce over it and pop it into your mouth.  The meat of the suckling pig is so tender and moist and juicy and delicious and the crispy skin is the perfect complement.  The hoisin sauce brings it all together.  What a terrific dish.

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Next up came the appetizers that came with our set menu.  We started with 2 vegetable egg rolls.  I’m not the biggest fan of vegetable spring rolls, but this one was quite good.  Deep fried to a perfect crispiness it was a great start to the set menu.

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We followed up the egg rolls with a dim sum sampler with 2 pieces of har gow, dumplings with shrimp, and shu mai, pork dumplings with shrimp atop them.  The dim sum was delicious, and just enough of a taste to make us want for more.

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Our next dish up was the second of the extra dishes we ordered.  As soon as we saw this on the menu, we knew we had to give it a try.  The dish is crab meat baked with cheese and served inside the crab shell in a crab-shaped dish.  The dish looked spectacular on the plate, and tasted even more gloriously.  The cheese baked into the meat just made the dish creamy and rich, and the crab meat was plentiful and sweet.  Just fantastic.

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The next course was soup.  We had a choice of sweet corn soup or hot and sour.  I chose the sweet corn and my husband chose the hot and sour.  The sweet corn soup was perfect and just what I was looking for, a little bit of corn, and sweetness and a little bit of egg drop in it.  My husband’s hot and sour was actually a seafood hot and sour so he had calamari and jellyfish in it and a lot of tofu.  What he liked the best though was that huge chili sitting in his bowl of soup when it was brought out to him.

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As if we hadn’t yet been served a ton of food, next up came our entrees.  The entrée consisted of a spicy Szechuan shrimp dish with mushrooms and a tender beef filet with asparagus.  The beef was super tender, like cut it with a fort tender and delicious.  The Szechuan shrimp was spicy as advertised.  And being a person that can’t handle spice that well, after going through most of the shrimp, my mouth was on fire.

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Along with the entrees came shrimp and Chinese sausage fried rice.  With the shrimp and the Chinese sausage, this was more like a third entrée rather than a side of rice to eat with the entrees.  It was tasty and yummy and my stomach was full from all of the food we had been fed.

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But we weren’t done yet since the set menu also came with dessert.  The dessert was a chilled mango pudding.  Though, it was more like a jello or a custard than a pudding.  But whatever it was, so it was awesome!  What was brought to the table was a chilled bowl of mango-colored custard, and then once it was set down in front of us a creamy syrup sort of resembling condensed milk was poured over the top.  Once you dipped a spoon into the bowl and scooped up the mango pudding and the creamy sauce, it was like heaven in your mouth.  The pudding carried the subtle flavor of mango, and there were actual mango pieces in the pudding as well.  It was one of the most unique, but delicious desserts I’ve ever enjoyed.

Celestial Court was a wonderful dining experience in Hong Kong, even though, we didn’t sample any of their mushroom specialty items.  We were treated to a whole Chinese cuisine experience from dim sum to soup to spicy Szechuan shrimp to an incredible dessert.  This was exactly the kind of meal we were looking to experience in Hong Kong.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2013 1:28 pm

    I was laughing reading this. I wish I could’ve seen all the mushrooms. Only because I know you to not be a big fan of the fungus. Also, I think vegetable spring rolls are the bomb.

    • September 20, 2013 2:36 pm

      Yeah, I just kept flipping pages over and over hoping that there would be food that I could actually eat that didn’t have mushrooms in it! Close call!

  2. leumas permalink
    September 20, 2013 9:11 pm

    Best restaurant service I’ve ever had

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