If you want a change from traditional old-fashioned Chinese restaurants, why not give Nanhai No. 1 a try? It’s contemporary and cool – with its mile-high ceilings, stellar harbour views, porthole windows and servers dressed in nautical stripes, get ready to set sail on a culinary adventure!
Before you start asking about the name, let me just pre-empt you and tell you that Nanhai is named after the ship of Chinese naval explorer Zheng He, who commandeered voyages across the seven seas (or near enough!) back in the times of the Ming Dynasty. On his travels, he sampled many different foods from the culinary worlds of China and the South Seas and this is reflected in the menu here at Nanhai – expect lots of fresh seafood and cuisine from all corners of China!
To start off the meal, we went with two of Nanhai’s signature dishes. The first was the crispy pork belly; the skin was cooked just right – crispy with a satisfying crunch, leaving only a hint of fatty goodness. The meat itself was moist and tender, and for those who want a little bit of heat, dip away in the Chinese mustard sauce!
The crispy shredded yam was definitely a surprise hit. Personally, I think yam is an underappreciated root veggie, and I loved that Nanhai chose to showcase it! Served thinly shredded, these yam chips were crunchy with that distinctive nutty, starchy flavour – the drizzle of honey on top gave a great sweet and salty contrast to each bite.
Rach and I, both being huge fans of scallops, were super excited when the pan-fried giant scallop with fried mushrooms came along. There certainly was no exaggeration when Nanhai says giant scallop – it was literally the size of my palm! Fresh and oh-so-delicious, this alone could have made my meal (even if the mushrooms didn’t add much to the dish)!
The pan-fried rice with shrimps and cheese sounded slightly strange – whoever heard of cheese and rice, right? But never judge a dish by its name! The prawns were sweet and succulent, and the rice only had a slight milky-cheese richness to it; it’s probably not for everyone, but if you’re ever feeling adventurous, you know what to order!
And onto the star of the meal – the mighty Siam hot and sour crab. If you’re a bit helpless with getting at the crabmeat (like us), then ask the servers nicely and they’ll help you get cracking! Once we’d snapped the shell off, the crabmeat inside was sweet and juicy with just a kick of fire from the peppers… And for those who love Chinese fried dough, you’ll be savouring the fried batter pieces that have soaked up all the goodness of that hot and sour sauce. It’s absolutely delish, finger lickin’ good and seasoned to perfection – messy but absolutely worth it!
We were already feeling quite full, but still managed to fit in two desserts to share. The sesame seed balls looked absolutely adorable – all airy and puffy but wonderfully chewy and sticky once you bit in, an addictive deep-fried delight. Meanwhile, the rather unconventional choice of a chilled blueberry pudding was just the opposite – it was almost like a yogurt with a touch of blueberry goodness, light and totally guilt-free (we hope!).
If you can’t make it for a full-on feast, don’t forget Nanhai’s neighbour, Eye Bar. Consider yourself super lucky if you manage to snag a table on the outdoor patio; the view is stunning and you’ll love sipping on cocktails while keeping your Eye on the whole of Victoria Harbour spread before you!
Prices at Nanhai are extremely reasonable for a Chinese feast; the average cost per head for a group dinner is around $3-400, and we especially loved the killer panoramic view of the Island (although there is a minimum charge of $500 per person for the window seats, you can pretty much appreciate the view from wherever you sit)! If you work around TST during the day, be sure to stop by for their lunch dim sum lunch buffet, which includes soup and a variety of mains for only $120 per person.
So for some contemporary Chinese cuisine done in significant style, get on board Nanhai No.1 for your own culinary adventure!
Nanhai No. 1 Shop 3001, 30/F, iSquare, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
2487 3688 www.elite-concepts.com/