One of my favorite things at this seafood restaurant is the chicken, but more on that in a moment.
If you’ve been to Tung Po Seafood, in the Java road municipal building, you’ve probably met Robby, the mohawk-sporting manager who has cut the top of his rubber boots into spiky fins. If you’ve been to Tung Po many times, you’ve probably gotten drunk with him. You may have also watched Robby open bottles of beer with a chopstick, and then, thinking it looks both fun and easy, tried it yourself. It hurts.
This is a raucous place, almost always packed, almost always a party. It can get very, very loud, especially when the music starts. And it will, inevitably, a terrible medley that begins with We Will Rock You and (sadly) doesn’t end with that horrendous dance remake of Time of My Life. What, that doesn’t sound fun?
And out of a kitchen I both want and don’t want to see with equal urgency, some fantastic food arrives. I happily make a mess of the crispy shrimp, showered in garlic. Razor clams with black bean sauce could use some heat, but are otherwise delicious. I can take or leave salt and pepper squid or anything else, but the last time I was there, Robby pushed a whole steamed fish on us, stuffed and fragrant with lemongrass, that was perfect.
And then there is the the “Wind Sand” chicken, the crisp skin encasing tender, juicy chicken that both tastes strongly of itself but has an almost pretty, aromatic quality, which I think comes from wine and five spice. I asked Robby, and he told me the chickens are hung to dry and twice fried, but wouldn’t divulge any more than that. Is it five spice? Ginger? Anyone? Bueller? And speaking of ginger, it’s what elevates the fried rice from a filler to something worth saving room for. It arrives shimmering with the heat of the wok.
As for the bill, the final tally is sometimes surprisingly cheap, other times a little higher than expected, and always difficult to verify. Figure about HK$200 or so a head, beer and entertainment included.
Or maybe the “entertainment” is part of the price. I’m not sure.
Tung Po Seafood Java Rd Municipal Services Bldg., 99 Java Rd., North Point +852 2880 5224 Reservations are highly recommended, and it’s a good idea to order the chicken in advance, too.