Koon Bo is one of those Chinese restaurants that you would like to go with a bigger group of, at least 8 or 10 people. The dishes here are of great quality and big portion, but also on the pricier side. So it makes sense to have more people in order to try more different dishes.
This time my university buddies took me and LoLo to Koon Bo for our birthdays, which were only a couple days apart. The place is known for a few dishes that you have to order 24 hours in advance, such as the Winter Melon Soup, which is labour intensive, and the Fried Squab, as they only use the freshest birds that are somewhat limited in quantity.
The restaurant was super packed, and it seemed even more crowded as they had tried to jam as many big tables in their dining room as possible. But people of smaller parties didn’t seem to mind sharing a large 10-person table. They just sat in their own corner of the table, quietly enjoying the dishes in front of them. We were thankful that we booked this table a week ago.
The food was just simply amazing.
The little birds in the Fried Squab was perfectly cooked, with a shiny crispy skin of sexy caramel colour. The meat was so juicy and tender. Each quarter of a bird would give one satisfying meaty bite, but I just kept chewing, sucking out every single bit of that wonderful flavour , and savouring forever.
The Winter Melon Soup was the masterpiece of the evening. The soup was slow-cooked inside a winter melon with chicken, fresh scallops, dried scallops, prawns and shiitake. The blonde coloured broth was clear and full of flavours from all the ingredients, as well as the natural sweetness from winter melon. A extra slice of BBQ duck breast came with each serving, and adding extra umami to this whole bowl of soup holiness. This soup cost us a whopping $88, but I think it was well worth it.
The Shredded Chicken and Fried Wonton Salad is another signature dish here. In Cantonese we called it “hand pulled chicken” because the meat is supposed to be pulled and shredded by hands. A little labour intensive, don’t you think? The texture combination of soft chicken and crunchy fried wonton was the winner here. And I also enjoyed the final touch of sesame oil – the taste was divine.
For Cantonese folks, there has to be a noodle dish for a birthday dinner. The long noodle symbolizes a long life of prosperity. We carried on the cliche and ordered the Pan Fried “Yi Mein” Noodles. The soft noodles had soaked up all the flavours from mushrooms and vegetables, very yummy.
The Honey Ribs and Fried Milk was practically 2 dishes in one. The ribs were breaded and deep fried, and finished with a honey sauce. To me those ribs were perfect with the right amount of sweetness. And the fried milk was similar to fried cheese curd, each little fried ball ball has a sweet, creamy and slightly gluey filling. I had a better version of the fried milk dish in China a while ago, where they made the dough much thinner. But I still recommend it as it is quite authentic.
The Winter Mushroom with Oyster Sauce was the veggie fix after the meat dishes. Winter mushroom is just another name for shiitake. It is probably the most common dish at any type of Cantonese banquet. They certainly did a great here picking the big succulent mushrooms and shined them with the oyster sauce.
Although the Black Cod & BBQ Pork Belly Hot Pot sounded super delicious, it turned out to be the least successful dish. There was too much batter on the fish and the whole dish was slightly under seasoned.
The Sago Pudding was another dish that we had to pre-order. It looked like a giant creme brulee. The flavour combination of coconut and taro is always a crowd pleaser. This is a very unique Hong Kong style dessert and not a lot of places carry it.
The 3 pre-ordered dishes, the Fried Squab, the Winter Melon Soup and the Sago Pudding were all up to their formidable reputation. Yes it is crowded and noisy here, and the dishes are not cheap. But the quality of the food definitely has made up for it.