No Gold, No Coins, and Sometimes No Chicken

Janice Leung, our Little Adventures in Hong Kong colleague and host extraordinaire, is also a food writer and a walking database of information on Hong Kong, Cantonese, and regional Guangdong cuisines (among other things!). We learn something new and insightful about Hong Kong’s food and culinary culture every time we go out walking the markets with her.

Janice has just published a superb, authoritative article in the Australian magazine, Gourmet Traveller, about one of our favorite subjects: the classic old Hong Kong Cantonese dishes that have almost disappeared from restaurant menus. Not only does Janice track down and find modern-day versions of these great, rich, labor-intensive masterpieces of the Hong Kong culinary lexicon–she gives a terrific cultural history of these lost foods through her own research and interviews with top Hong Kong chefs. It’s a great read, and we highly recommend you take a look at it.

One of our favorite “lost” old Hong Kong dishes is pictured in Janice’s photo, above: Gam Chin Gai, or Golden Coin Chicken.  In her article Janice describes it beautifully:

individual sliders made up of pork-belly fat, char siu, and chicken liver, all squished together in a steamed bun. The fat and liver are barbecued the same way as the char siu: marinated in a combination of Chinese rosé and at The Chairman – a Cantonese restaurant that champions the locavore ethic – the sifu’s barbecue sauce, and finished with a maltose glaze. Although they go through the same cooking method, each layer has its own distinct flavour. It’s a textural rollercoaster

Of all the old school dishes Janice mentions in her article, Golden Coin Chicken is our favorite. We love the fact that it is not golden, not a coin, and sometimes doesn’t even have chicken in it either. (The yummy version at Tak Lung restaurant in Kowloon subs goose liver for the cheaper fowl innard).

Gam Chin Gai is staging a comeback here in Hong Kong, with more and more restaurants including it on their dinner or dim sum menus. If you come to Hong Kong for one of our custom food walks, and want a taste of this signature Hong Kong dish, just let Janice or Daisann know. We’ll make sure that Golden Coin Chicken is on your menu.