Mar 26, 2012

Happy Hong Kong 港欣

Happy Hong Kong is a modern canto style cafe located on the third floor of the Neo 19 building. They offer all sorts of cantonese fare you could expect from a cafe, but they do it with more class and innovation. The prices are around 250 NT per entree. That is not exactly cheap, but you get what you pay for. The entrees are prepared very well and presented in immaculate porcelain tableware. The service is very prompt, fast, and thorough. If you have a hankering for Hong Kong cafe style food, this could be a good option.
Phone #: 02-2720-0222
Business Hours: 11:30-22:00
Accepts Credit Cards: yes
Price Range: $$$
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating: no
Alcohol: no

Food Quality: 4 out of 5
Decor:  4 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5
Final Thought: Quality Canto cafe food in modern setting

As you can tell, the interior is very spacious and can accomodate groups of all sorts. There are plenty of booths and tables spread around their dining space. Their interior design emphasizes their modern theme by keeping things sleek and simple. They are marketing themselves as an innovative and modern cantonese cafe, so they tried to look like one. I'd say it is an interesting design, making things seem clean and classy in a modern way. Each area is staffed with one to two servers, so the customers are effectively taken care of. I did not have to wait long to get the attention of the staff, so this is a big plus for me because I hate waiting too long just to get their attentino. Thus, They get high marks for decor and service. For this meal, we got a 2 item bbq item appetizer, beef chow fun, wonton in lobster bisque, cabbage baked with cheese, and topped everything off with egg tarts.
The 2 item combo bbq appetizer plate goes for 280 NT. You can order any two items in their HK style bbq section besides the roasted goose. We got the Cha siu and the salted chicken. These items were tender and flavorful, but nothing particularly unique. It seems like items you can get for cheap at other hong kong bbq stores around Taipei, but platted on a porcelain dish. This item is definitely over priced here. I don't think i'll go for this item again.
 My favorite cantonese cafe item is the beef chow fun. It's basically pieces of beef stir fried with onions garlic, heavy soy sauce, oil, and flat wide rice noodes. They did it very well at Happy Hong Kong. The sauce was not too overwhelming and deep, and the pieces of meat were soft, retained its flavor, and the noodles were evenly seasoned with the sauce. For 220 NT, I would recommend this item as a filler entree as you try other dishes that may be more intricate and dainty.
 An example of an intricate and dainty dish would be this wonton in lobster dish. It was not very astonishing. It was not much of a bisque, but more like a sauce. The "bisque" was to thin, tangy, and not suffused with lobsterness as I had imagined. I'm sure a western lobster bisque with wontons dumped into it would result in a better entree, but it is what it is. Hearty soups and bisques are few and far between in Taiwan, so I should have not let my imagination raise my expectations too much. The wonton itself had only a little bit of meat. The shrimp inside was of good quality. Not super fresh, but at least it had the shrimp snappiness and flavor there. I would not spend 250 NT on this thing again.
 You got to have your vegetables, so I ordered the cabbage baked with a layer of cheese. The cabbage was tender and palatable and was complemented by the stringy tangy layer of cheese. You gotta comsume this speedily because once the cheese solidifies it looses its ability to wrap around the cabbage and then you're left with nibbling on pieces of almost flavorless cabbage and cold sheets of cheese. I'd say you got 5 minutes. The other greens on this menu didn't seem worth the effort.

What dessert could be more cantonese than the egg tart? So for 60 NT, I had to get a couple of em. They didn't go with the traditional hong kong style cakey tart, or the portuguese style flakey tart, but they fused it into a cakey and flakey egg tart with a liquidy filling. Actually, we got the first batch of freshly baked tarts, so i'm not sure if the filling is mornally so fluid, but ours was able to swirl around in its shortcrust cup. They are not bad, and for that price I would say it is a fair item.

All in all, this is an interesting restaurant to go to and a unique spot amongst your choices in the Xin Yi district. I would return and try some more interesting items like their  "Black and White Layer Cake" and their "Carmalized Duck Breast with mango & lychee jelly." These are two items that i regretfully could not order at the time, but will return and post on. Check the menu on their website to see the pictures. The black and white layer cake is interesting because it is the tofu & thousand year egg dish reinvented into the form of a layered cake. At first glance it looks like a creamy, chocolately, cake, but in reality its tofu and salty duck egg topped with dried minced pork. The item seems delightfully cheeky and enigmatic. It is a great appetizer for only 150 NT. I will have to order it next time. The duck breast is slightly more expensive at 280 NT for 4 servings, but it just looks and sounds so good.

Happy Hong Kong is a special restaurant in Taipei and offers stylized cantonese food in a classy and modern setting. If you are tired of small dirty cantonese restaurants with people shouting in cantonese or drinking questionable tea from a dirty stainless steal kettle and muggy looking tea cups, then you should pay Happy Hong Kong a visit soon. But don't expect to fill yourself up with just 80 NT.

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