Siu Mei are left to hang in a restaurant’s window to show the quality of the produce on offer, to draw people in through the sheen on a duck or the snap on the pork belly. In some places in Hong Kong, they haven’t been the most enticing calling card imaginable, with congealed pools of waxen grease, meat shrapnel and a questionable hygiene quotient.
Tai Hing Roast Meats have a few shops across town. Make that 55, in fact, since opening their first in 1989. So it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. Their honey roast pork – apologies goose fans but I always and only order the char siu pork – is that balance of sticky and sweet, the hoi sin, soy, vinegar, oyster sauce, ground bean sauce, honey (or often maltose) along with five spice, star anise and others. The point being, preparing it and cooking it takes serious time and knowhow. You always want a couple of slightly charred or caramelized bits, mahogany in colour.
Of course no meal is complete without the sensational ginger, garlic, onion and oil mix:
If you want to make it at home, this is a great recipe option, if you can’t be arsed with the trial and error approach:
All of which doesn’t telll you much about Tai Hing, other than the fact that they do roast meats well, consistently and for $60, a price that includes a cup of tea that will remove the enamel from your teeth. And sometimes that’s all you need to know.