Doing the hongkie-pokie.

Ah, Hong Kong. The Oriental Hollywood with known superstars like Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Tony Leung and the late Leslie Cheung, and probably a gazillion more TV series than America can ever spawn.

And when you speak of Hong Kong, you can never miss out on their mouthwatering cuisine. Dim sum, Da Been Lo, Tan Tong, Tong Shui… It is every food lovers’ must visit spot, and by food lover, believe you me, it is every Chinese you meet on the street.

As much as Mecca is the rite-of-passage destination for all Muslims, Hong Kong is such to every breathing Chinese. While the former is kept away from pork, the latter says ‘Bring it on!’ and would very much execute you if you don’t.

But as much of an avid food lover as you are, there is only so much you can stomach during your stint to Hong Kong. So, would it not be good news if you could savour your favourite Hong Kong cuisine in your very hometown without forking out thousands to the country?

Of course it would.

From the people who brought you the juice-squirting Xiao Long Bao and the slurpy La Mian at Dragon-i comes Canton-i, out to become the best in offering authentic Hong Kong delicacies.

Every time I pass by Dragon-i and Canton-i at 1 Utama especially on weekends, without avail, there will be a line waiting outside the restaurant to get a table. (One of the perks catering to constant eaters like Chinese). Even the Dragon-i outlet at Queensbay Mall had chairs set up outside for diners, very much like in a clinic.

I have only tried out Dragon-i twice, so when Canton-i set dock a new outlet at The Gardens, Mid Valley City, I decided it was time to go try out some food from my ‘motherland’ and see what the fuss was all about.

I have always been a fan of tea, so it is nice to order one with an Oriental flavour as opposed to the conventional Earl Grey and English Breakfast. Instead of having tea leaves, they practically rooted the entire plant and plop it into your glass. As you watch, the flower actually bloom. Perfect choice of drink to heat up your body in preparation of the main courses.

There are a few flavours to choose from:  Seven Belle, Jasmine Faery, Flowering Red Amaranth and more.

Japanese stew pork rib wonton noodles.

My favourite dish would be the Japanese stew pork rib wonton noodles. Veggies aside, the pork ribs are absolutely succulent. Just when you think a piece is enough for the day, the tender meat drenched in sauce and crunchy joints just scream out ‘Eat me! Eat me, dammit!’ and every part of you just plead ‘Just one more, one more.’ I could have a bowl of these pork ribs and call it a day, really.

Another signature dish in Canton-i would be the Signature prawn wonton noodles. Aptly named, the perfectly wrapped wonton prawns squirt in delight with every bite and the steamy bowl of soup makes perfect company as comfort food during time out at lunch breaks.

On the sides to share with your friends and family – or just an extra dish all to yourself, if you may – you can try out their assorted roast meat with any combination of your choice, among them include the religious Roast pork belly and Honey-glazed roast pork.

Granted I tend to leave out the ‘best part’ of the roast pork belly, but I enjoy it when my teeth sink into the salty meat and when the sweet sauce of the honey-glazed roast pork lap across my tongue. Not having them on the table would be like going to work naked.

Now that we have settled with the main dishes, we have come to the best part: the desserts.

The Double-boiled fresh milk with ginger sauce is said to soothen your tummy after a hearty meal. So far, I have not seen that happening. Perhaps it was because I had a hard time stomaching the overwhelming ginger taste. There is always this unyielding bitter taste that I seem to frown at. However, it is probably something to have to get used to. By the time I had my second bowl at my second visit, I could already chow down a few more spoonful. Not the entire bowl, however, as I was already quite full from the other dishes. Who knows, third time is a charm after all, I might finish up the entire bowl.

And who could omit trying out the household Egg tarts whenever they visit a dim sum restaurant? Nothing to shout about really, but I will always love the layered pastry crumbling around my mouth and lips as the yellow filling burn my tongue for eating them while they are hot, which is probably the only best time to enjoy the tarts.

Also to try out is their Egg Yolk and Custard Bun. Take one bite and surrender to the oozing custard escaping from the inside. It is a must to eat while they are hot because when they cool, the fillings would have hardened and that is not very fun anymore.

However, for some reasons unbeknowst to me, Canton-i did not set itself right in my heart. Maybe I am one to enjoy Chinese food at a round table with a bunch of a la carte dishes coming simmultaneously and a bowl of steamy rice to eat with chopsticks. Or have dim sum in a dingy shoplot, where you scream for your plates of char siew bao, har kao, siew mai and lou mai kai, and you pay your meal to a Mrs Boss walking around with a calculator and a pouch full of bills. So, to dine in a clean cut environment for a change seems a little different from the usual, I suppose.

Yet, it is always nice to treat yourself to something nice once in a while. Good ambiance, good food and service, it is your next best thing to travelling all the way to Hong Kong just for a bowl of kuai leng kou.

The Gardens
LG.202 & 203A
Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra
59200 Kuala Lumpur
T: +6 03 2284 6888


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