Sometimes I just love being a VIP eater. I am often left wondering whether we, in fact, receive special treatment because of our status as professional eaters. There are times when I guarantee we receive the same treatment as “normal” guests. I wondered whether our dim sum lunch at Dynasty Hong Kong at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong was the result of our blogger status. But, I feel confident in stating that our treatment was just as special as everyone else in the room.
Dynasty Hong Kong is an award winning Cantonese restaurant with fabulous views over Victoria Harbour. The interior, with high ceilings, exudes Chinese heritage, in shades of beige and gold. It seemed like a luxury version of traditional Chinese shop houses. The architetucre of the restaurant is pretty stunning, but their reputation is for offering high quality, authentic Cantonese cuisine prepared by Chef Benson Fok.
When we arrived for our dim sum and Cantonese lunch, the dining room already had a buzz to it. Plenty of local businessmen crowded large tables, with lazy susans loaded with beautifully prepared dishes.
The hostess sat us promptly at a large table near the window, where we could enjoy the view over Victoria Harbour. The service was prompt and professional, as they immediately tried to seat us and place our napkins in our laps. They obviously were not used to hosting food travel bloggers.
A Luxury Dining Experience as Food Travel Bloggers
I protested immediately as we had to take pictures of the table. And the table setting. And the view. The china pattern at Dynasty Hong Kong was stunning and bright. Everything looked like it was perfectly laid out with extreme precision. As we adjusted the perfect placement of the plates and chopsticks to try to grab a photo, I am sure the staff looked on, thinking that we were, indeed, strange.
The other thing that made us look strange, as food travel bloggers, not as foreigners: our new GoPro. We delayed purchasing a GoPro for the longest time, thinking that we were not adventure travelers. There was no way we would be taking it with us hiking or mountain biking or diving. Instead, we purchased a GoPro for our Adventures in Food. And, we tested it out at Dynasty Hong Kong.
Let me set the scene. An immense dining room, with impeccably dressed staff at every turn. Local businessmen and ladies who lunch surrounding tables laid out with historic china and beautifully prepared dishes. Sipping tea and wine. Picking up bits of food delicately with fancy chop sticks.
Enter: the food travel bloggers. Although we dressed up for the lunch, there we were setting up our GoPro across the table from us, to photograph and video our luxury lunch at Dynasty Hong Kong. I am sure the staff all thought we were odd, but being trained well, they knew exactly how to handle us. They allowed me to take photos of each dish before serving. They laid the dishes perfectly to help me get a great shot. And, they didn’t snicker when we took a video of ourselves eating three delicious dim sum dishes. At least if they did, we didn’t see it.
Despite our documentation of our meal, the lunch itself was delicious and enjoyable. And, after ten courses, left me in such a food coma.
The Best Damn Pork in Hong Kong at Dynasty
The night before our lunch at Dynasty, we attended a grand champagne tasting in the lobby of the Renaissance. We met some of the management of the hotel, while sipping champagne. One of the managers, who knew we would be eating at Dynasty the following day, promised that Dynasty had the “best damn pork in Hong Kong.”
In a city famed for char siew, the Hong Kong style barbecued pork, this was quite a proclamation. The first plate that arrived for our tasting menu was the char siew, along side a roasted crispy pork belly.
Eric loves crispy pork belly, tender pork, a little layer of fat, and crispy pork skin. It was delicious.
But, for me, the bbq pork is what I crave. And, this was, in fact, the best damn pork in Hong Kong. It was tender and juicy, with little fat. Most important, the outer layer was perfectly caramelized and sweet. I fought Eric for the last bite. Frankly, I wanted to skip the rest of our meal and just order another plate of char siew. That’s how good it was.
The Rest of our Meal at Dynasty Hong Kong
We didn’t stop at the best damn pork in Hong Kong. We ate an endless stream of perfectly prepared Cantonese dishes, starting with a trio of dim sum.
The first dish included a classically prepared steamed shrimp dumpling, along with a minced pork, spring onion, and mushroom baked in a Chinese puff. These two dishes offset each other perfectly, with the lightness of the shrimp offset by the sweetness of the puff pastry.
The last of the dim sum dishes included a fresh rice roll, filled with dried scallops and vegetables. When we first started eating dim sum, the fresh rice rolls were one of the hardest for us to try. Just looking at it, they appear to have an almost slimy texture. But, I am so glad we starting adding this to our list of dim sum dishes. The rice rolls were soft, and so flavorful and the dried scallops offered a crispness.
Another beautiful dish included a baked crab shell stuffed with crab meat and onions. This was a hard dish for me. I sometimes feel ill after eating crab, and did not want to push it. Also, I don’t eat onions. This is not a reflection on the dish at all. It’s not you; it’s me.
Next was a selection of seasonal vegetables with mushrooms and tomatoes in a fish broth. It was tangy and light, and not too fishy at all, but I was starting to fill up. I looked at our tasting menu and noticed we still had a couple of hefty courses ahead of us.
The main course included an ox tail braised with turnip in imperial sauce. The ox tail was rich, as it should be. But, it was perhaps a bit too much for me after the rest of the meal. During our first course of the best damn pork in Hong Kong, all I wanted was to request another plate of char siew as dessert. But this point, all I wanted was to curl up in a ball in my comfy bed on the 40th floor and take a nap.
The oxtail was accompanied by fried rice with crabmeat, egg white, and dried scallops. It gave me a chance to try XO sauce, apparently, for the first time. I’ve heard the name XO sauce many times before. Frankly, I guess I wasn’t sure what it was. I assumed that I had tried it before. I was very wrong.
When the general manager of the Renaissance Hong Kong stopped by our table to see how we were doing, he asked if we had tried their famous XO sauce. We hadn’t. He fixed that situation. XO Sauce is made from chili peppers, garlic, oil, and dried shrimp and scallop.
It was invented in Hong Kong about twenty years ago. Considering it’s ingredients, I expected it to be a lot more fishy than it was. Instead, it was also a lot more spicy than I expected. I would like to try it again, perhaps on a meat dish, when I am not already stuffed to the brim.
Desserts at Dynasty Hong Kong
I continued to fade. It’s one of the occupational hazards of being a food travel blogger. Not only to you look silly when trying to record a video of yourself eating dim sum, but I often get way too full, too quickly. The server brought a series of desserts, which, of course, made me perk back up.
First, deep fried sesame dumplings served warm and filled with black sesame paste. I love black sesame paste. I’ve only had it a handful of times since we first tried it on a Bangkok street food tour. I love the sweetness of it.
Second, we ate egg fritters glazed with honey sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I’d never tried fritters like this before. They were light and airy, and sweet from the honey.
Last, we enjoyed a chilled mango sago cream with pomelo. Mango is one of my favorite fruits. Pomelo is currently coming in as a close second. It is similar to a grapefruit, but a lot less better. We have been purchasing it, already cut up, from fruit markets in Thailand and Vietnam. We’ve also had an amazing pomelo salad while staying at our luxury villa in Koh Samui.
But, this mango sago was the perfect ending to this decadent meal, particularly after the richness of the ox tail. It was cool and sweet, and layered with chunks of mango and bits of pomelo. I’ve only had sago, a tapioca based dessert, a couple of times before this. I think it is easily becoming one of my favorites. It is so light, that it just glides down the throat, and acts as a cooling agent after a fabulous meal.
And, this was a fabulous meal. Starting with the best pork in Hong Kong, and ending with a cool mango sago, with dim sum and braised oxtail in between. It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon eating Cantonese food in Hong Kong. Even if we did look strange taking way too many food photos along with way.
One thing I can say for certain, though, is that the staff’s attention to detail was not solely showered on us because we are food “celebrities.” It was a top notch team, which made our luxury lunch at Dynasty that much more special.
We were hosted by the Renaissance Harbour View Hong Kong, but all opinions, and yummy sounds, are my own. A full dinner at Dynasty Hong Kong will run approximately $70 a person, but less for lunch and dim sum.
To book the Renaissance Hong Kong, I recommend using Hotels Combined!
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.