Hong Kong – Sichuan Da Ping Huo Restaurant (Private Kitchen)

Restaurant: Sichuan Da Ping Huo Restaurant (Private Kitchen)
Cuisine: Sichuan/Szechuan/Chinese
Last visited: April 20, 2010
Location: Metro: Central stationCentral, Hong Kong
Address: L/G, Hilltop Plaza, 49 Hollywood Rd., Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 2559 1317
Price Range: $280HKD/person+10% service charge. Drinks extra. (About $37CAD)

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5
Service: 5
Ambiance: 6
Overall: 6
Additional comments:

  • Private kitchen in restaurant setting
  • Specializes in authentic Sichuan/Szechuan cuisine
  • Famous in Hong Kong
  • Local gem/hidden gem
  • 12 year old menu
  • Husband and wife team
  • Reservations only
  • Dinner service only – 1st seating 6pm, 2nd seating 9pm…I think?
  • Set 12 course menu, no choice
  • Drink/Wine menu available
  • LIVE Chinese opera singing entertainment – Video
  • Secret location
  • Casual fine dining

**Recommendations: MUST try/eat in Hong Kong.

Sichuan Da Ping Guo Restaurant is a famous private kitchen in Hong Kong. It has a 12 year old menu and the restaurant is at full capacity every night. It has a secret location and from the outside it looks like a hole in the wall. However go inside and you’ll notice a gorgeous restaurant that’s set up to look like contemporary underground fine dining. I got goosebumps walking in. This is one of my most memorable and favourite experiences in Hong Kong. It’s definitely a must try and the experience is totally worth it.

Ambiance/Atmosphere

The owners are artists in the greatest sense. The husband runs the front of the house and is a painter and photographer. His paintings are displayed inside the restaurant. His wife is the executive chef and everything is home made with her authentic and traditional Sichuan recipes. They’re the friendliest and quirkiest characters who march to the beat of their own drum.

The wife is also the live entertainment for the night and sings Chinese opera at the end of your meal. (To see the video clip click here) Together this husband and wife team are unstoppable.

This is all you can see of the kitchen…it’s very secretive and mysterious. You feel like you’re in a cave. They do a great job on creating an unforgettable atmosphere.

A close-up into the secret hole of the private kitchen. They’re preparing the appetizers of the night. The kitchen is only run by about 2-3 people.

I had to get a photo of the chef in action! I was very curious! I couldn’t bare to leave without catching a glimpse of the master of the kitchen and the major success of this restaurant – the wife.

The awesome owners at Da Ping Huo!

The appetizers – First 3 courses of the night.

Food

If you can’t handle the heat… get out of this kitchen! Literally. Authentic Sichuan food is very spicy and it’s the spicy where if you’re not used to it you probably won’t be able to sleep that night.

The menu is standard and everyone is served the same 12 courses and they adjust the portions accordingly. They alternate each course with one spicy and one mild so that there’s a balance. You’ll be extremely full after this meal especially after all the sour plum juice/water you’ll be consuming.

The only menu is this wine list.

On the table:

Sour Plum Juice  – 3/6

  • Extra charge.
  • Start off with a sour plum/prune drink. It’s an acquired taste and you either like it or you don’t. I’ll drink it if it’s there, but I wouldn’t normally order it. (It’s a traditional drink to have with hot pot too)
  • It’s served chilled and it’s sour and sweet at the same time.
  • It’s the perfect match with the spicy Sichuan food because it breaks up the spiciness and makes everything taste more mild. This does the trick…water – not so much.

Chilled Cucumber Appetizer5/6

  • Crunchy raw cucumbers in a sweet and tangy soy sauce syrup.
  • They warm you up with the appetizers starting with a non-spicy dish.
  • This is more or less a salad and the sauce is syrupy. The cucumbers are almost pickled because the sauce is sweet and sour.

**Spicy Sichuan Salad 5/6

  • Shredded raw celery, carrots and bean sprout salad in a spicy sesame sauce.
  • This is the 2nd appetizer – the medium level spicy dish.
  • It’s a chilled raw salad with nice and crunchy vegetables and it’s very refreshing.
  • It’s very oily with lots of sesame oil and chillies. It’s very aromatic though and not just spicy.

**Sichuan Glass Noodles with Soy Nut Appetizer6/6

  • Thick glass noodles, minced vegetables, green onions, chili sauce and crispy soy nuts. Served chilled.
  • This is the 3rd appetizer and it’s the very spicy one!
  • It was my favourite of the 3. Loaded with crispy soy nuts (similar to peanuts but crunchier), it’s a very crunchy dish and you almost get tired of chewing.
  • There will be a lot of sauce left over and it’s common to ask for that to be packed up because it’s freaking amazing sauce!

  • There’s also some Sichuan thick glass noodles underneath that are absolutely delicious. They’re chewy and flat – everyone loves them.
  • The sauce is very spicy, but sweet at the same time with again lots of sesame oil.

Mouth Watering Chicken – 4/6

  • Sweet soy sauce and ginger marinated chicken with charcoal roasted peanuts.
  • The name of the dish is actually “mouth watering chicken”.
  • The chicken is served cold with the skin on and the bones – Chinese style. Since it’s cold the flavour on the chicken solidifies and turns into jelly.
  • It’s spicy at first and then becomes sweet.
  • It’s very well marinated and flavourful, but also quite oily.

Minced Chicken & Vegetable Soup3.5/6

  • Minced chicken, Siu Choy (Napa Cabbage), oyster mushrooms and tofu soup.
  • The minced chicken is the texture of tofu or soft cheese. It’s very tender and soft with a gentle white pepper flavour.
  • It’s pretty much cabbage soup with a white pepper chicken broth.
  • It was a nice break from the spiciness – not my favourite dish, but still good.

Chili Beef – 3.5/6

  • Beef brisket with red hot chili peppers.
  • This dish is almost like a stew but thinner and quite soupy.
  • The spiciness definitely catches up. Initially I didn’t think it was too spicy even though there are 2 different kinds of whole chilies in it.
  • It’s a pretty big bowl and it’s loaded with beef. However the beef was inconsistent – I found some pieces were very tender with very marbleized fat, and some pieces were very chewy.
  • Everyone thought this was the spiciest dish – I was okay though, but I do have a slightly higher tolerance (I was trained by eating Indian food with Indian people…) If you bite into a pepper or eat the seeds then yes – it probably is the spiciest dish!

Chili Prawns (Sichuan Prawns)3.5/6

  • Sichuan prawns with minced vegetables.
  • The prawns were crunchy and butterflied so they absorbed flavour well. However I expected the flavour to be sweet and spicy, but it wasn’t.
  • It’s actually a non-spicy dish and the sauce tastes like celery because they make it with a lot of celery, cilantro and green onions.
  • It was just a bit overboard with the celery and cilantro (even though I love those).

Jasmine Rice

  • This is the part where you’re served your white rice. I kind of wish it came a bit earlier because I wanted something to soak up the delicious sauces.

**Sticky Rice with Pork & Pumpkin6/6

  • Sticky rice with steamed pumpkin pieces and pork.
  • This dish actually seemed more Chinese Cantonese than Sichuan to me.
  • It was a non-spicy dish and I thought it was awkward to have it served after the Jasmine rice. It is delicious though! One of my favourites of the night.

  • The sticky rice is incredibly moist and packed full of flavour. The whole dish just tastes very creamy in texture. Great execution!
  • There’s super creamy steamed sweet pumpkin pieces underneath.

  • In the centre of the sticky rice there’s a nice piece of pork roast (butt or shoulder) and it was perfectly tender. It tasted like pulled pork and it was literally falling off the bone. There’s actually not much sticky rice as there is pork.

**Ma Po Tofu5.5/6

  • Tofu with marinated ground beef in spicy chili sauce and green onions.
  • I think this is the most authentic Ma Po Tofu I’m ever going to get – unless I travel to the Sichuan province in China…hmm
  • Ma Po Tofu is traditionally Sichuan food and the Cantonese version usually uses ground pork, veggies, black bean sauce and is much less spicy and sweeter.
  • This is the real authentic one and it’s spicy! I found it the spiciest and also the most oily. It was swimming in sauce and almost like a soup again – but if you drink the sauce you’ll probably be on the toilet later that night…for longer than you want.
  • This one you have to eat with rice. I found the ground bean a little crumbly and dry though.

Vegetable Soup2/6

  • Iceberg lettuce soup.
  • If you’re a vegetarian you can pretty much start eating now…
  • I was so full at this point, so I couldn’t really enjoy the soup – but after all the strong flavours I just had this was very blah. It was a very light and simple soup.
  • It reminded me of the 1st soup with the same white pepper taste. I think they soup base was made from soybean paste and it was almost like Miso soup, but not as good and bold in flavour.

Sichuan Dumplings3.5/6

  • Home made dumplings served in spicy sauce.
  • Each person is served 2.
  • These dumplings are good but they have a very thick skin. It’s very chewy and doughy and I’m not sure if that’s a characteristic of Sichuan dumplings.
  • They’re really filling because the skin is so thick.

  • I couldn’t really get a good image of the filling but it’s stuffed with minced pork meat. It’s very minced and tender.
  • The sauce is the real winner of this dish. It’s a nutty sweet chili sauce that was similar to the sauce from the chicken dish – except spicy.

Tofu & White Fungus Sweet Soup Dessert3/6

  • Tofu, white fungus, palm hearts, diced apple and pears served in a sweetened soup. Served chilled.
  • I’m not a fan of Chinese dessert – especially ones like this. However if you like it it’s probably a 4/6, but for me it was a 1.5/6.
  • The white fungus is a type of Chinese mushroom that looks like big clouds of thin clear jelly. It’s slimy and slightly crunchy and the texture of saliva.
  • It’s naturally sweetened with the fruits as well as some sugar but it’s not that sweet either.
  • It is a perfect dessert to end the meal though. It’s quite cooling and refreshing so it suits the spicy menu we just had. So it works in a traditional sense.
  • It’s just slimy and stick in texture – I needed dessert somewhere else…and as full as I was I still went for dessert after this…I need real dessert 😉

To complete the evening you also get live entertainment! The lady of the house/restaurant, and also the owner and executive chef, sings Chinese opera. She’s amazing too! Check out the video here!

[geotag]

19 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *