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Sha Tin 18 – the best Peking duck in Hong Kong?

Since the start of 2013, I have been craving Peking duck – but word has it that the best duck in town isn’t actually “in town”, but all the way out in…. Sha Tin! So on our latest foodie quest, Rach and I headed to Sha Tin 18, the Hyatt Regency’s authentic Dongguan and northern Chinese restaurant, to see if their famous Peking duck could live up to its reputation!

The MTR ride there is a mere 45 minutes from Admiralty (you thought it’d take hours, didn’t you?!) and the Hyatt itself was literally a minute’s walk away from the MTR exit – not bad (just remember, it’s closer to the University station rather than Sha Tin itself)! If you need even more of an incentive to head over to Sha Tin 18, then keep in mind that their Pearl River Cuisine Promotion is running from 20 May-9 June 2013, featuring three guest chefs from Hyatt hotels throughout China (plus Sha Tin 18’s own resident Chef Ngai), who are showcasing a series of delicious Asian dishes that I’ve yet to find elsewhere in HK!

We started with an appetizer combo; starting clockwise from the top, we began with the marinated salsify, a beige-white root veggie covered in osmanthus syrup. I loved the crisp refreshing bite of the salsify, but it’s probably an acquired taste. The marinated winter melon preserved in plum was a delight – the sweet yet bitter tang of plum perfectly infused into the melon. The pork tripe (on the left) was similar to a crunchy salad but the final two appetizers were our favourites; the marinated cod oozed with the sharp pungent flavour of black beans, whilst the poached pork belly doused in a garlic-chilli oil sauce was sinfully delicious!

Onto the main event and the reason why we ventured out to Sha Tin in the first place – the Peking duck! In case you didn’t know, there is so much hard work that goes into preparing this dish. The duck is coated in syrup, hung dry, then roasted for hours before being sliced thinly and presented to you on several plates.

First of all, the smell that wafted towards us as the duck was being sliced up by the chefs was just remarkable – all that delicious fattiness in the air was heavenly! The duck is cut three ways: expect one plate of just crispy golden skin (yummmmmm), one plate of just tender meat, and then a final plate of skin-meat combo from the duck leg. My words of advice: be sure to get your chopsticks on that glistening irresistible duck skin before everyone else snaps it up! Wrapped up in a thin pancake with sliced cucumbers, spring onions, a sprinkle of sugar, a sweet bean sauce and the special addition of minced garlic sauce, this was absolutely amazing. Reputation well deserved!

After the duck, we tried the wok-fried garoupa atop a bed of asparagus and fungus. The fish was firm fresh and light, taking on some of the bitter medicinal flavour of the gingko nuts. We preferred the other fish dish of steamed cod, served with preserved cabbage and Chinese basil – the basil was slightly overpowering (another acquired taste but one that we loved!), but the fish was perfectly cooked and it was nice to see an original take on cod.

For all you pork lovers out there, make sure you order the crispy pork belly. It’s deliciously fatty and melt-in-mouth good; slathered with some intense soya bean paste plus the irresistible crunch of that crackling, you get a wonderfully salty, rich and amazing taste sensation! After such a flavourful dish, the simmered sweet potato leaf with lotus seeds was a great palate cleanser and provided a much-needed dose of veggie nutrition before the sweets.

Dessert came in a platter of four sweet treats – the pan fried glutinous rice cake was quite heavy, so even though I adored the tart apricot sauce drizzled on top, remember a little goes a long way. For chestnut lovers, you’ll find a sweet surprise of chestnut wrapped up in a pan-fried pancake. However, our favourites were the chewy sesame-filled traditional glutinous dumplings rolled in a mixture of sugar, peanut and desiccated coconut – sweetness, chewiness and crunch all in one bite! The sweet potato brown sugar ice cream was also a hit; the kick of ginger lingering at the back of your throat was just the perfect taste to end the meal.

So for Peking duck that is guaranteed to be amazing – trust us, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the Hyatt Regency! Whilst the duck is (thankfully!) available all year round, many of the other delicious dishes are here only for the Pearl River Promotion so now’s the perfect time to pay Sha Tin 18 a visit and make the most of these lip smacking Chinese delights!

We promise you, Sha Tin isn’t really that far away – a short MTR ride and you can indulge in juicy, crispy, fatty, gorgeous duck that may just be the best you can get in HK. So take a quack at convincing your friends and family to make special trip to Sha Tin 18 for this very special dish!

The Pearl River Promotion runs from 20 May-9 June, 2013.

Sha Tin 18 4/F, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Sha Tin, 18 Chak Cheung Street, Sha Tin
3723 7932 hongkong.shatin.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/ShaTin18.html?itemDesc=fboutlet&itemId=1004345

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