Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Tuesday Juxtapose - 13082013 Oyster

Reference Number: 13082013HKG
Dish: Deep fried oyster (Japanese style)
Venue: 丼吉日本吉列專門店餐廳 Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood
Address: 銅鑼灣告士打道280號世貿中心4樓412號鋪
Price: HK$138

I was given the mammoth (and daunting) task of scouting nice oysters in Hong Kong.  The topic of the week, was handed down (or is it up?) from someone living down under.  It seems almost unfair, considering the options they have there.   Good raw oysters here in Hong Kong, are hard to come by and frequently exclusively flown in.

So essentially, I had three choices:
1. Something raw and named after a foreign location.  I would have to pretend that the restaurant contributed anything to the dish, aside from opening the oyster and marking the price up by 300%.
2. Sample some big fat juicy bivalves freshly recovered from the Pearl delta and forget about the trillions of tons of waste and toxins being dumped into the said area.
3. Sit down at a hawker's stall, and have a bowl of traditional oyster congee made with something cultured in South China Sea. Delicious and safe, as it is thoroughly cooked.  The only problem being the weather: 38 degrees Celsius.

Hmmm ... so I resorted to cheating improvisation.  Having a little bit of oyster and a lot of other stuff.

Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood is gloriously air-conditioned.  I would recommend making a reservation or be prepared for a long wait during peak hours.  For this week, I visited their Causeway Bay branch.

They are famous for their Japanese style fried pork chop.  Having been here plenty of times before, I knew they also served Hiroshima oysters.  The radiation dose from these are probably safer, than what you'd get from eating something taken out of the water from around Tokyo.  Today, I decided to have a bit of everything - deep fried oysters, pork chop and prawns.

From top to bottom: Deep fried prawns, pork chop and oyster

There are a few things I look for when savouring deep fried food.  The tenderness of the flesh inside, the crispness of the batter and the overall umami. Since the topic of today is oyster, let's take a closer look:

Zoom shot of the deep fried oyster

Nope, I didn't cut that with a knife, nor did I bite into it. A gentle squeeze with my pair of chopsticks had the oyster separated with ease - proof of how tender it is. What's better? Not a single drop of juice dripped. As confirmed by my first bite, the oyster was extremely fresh and fried to the optimum.  The slight bitter aftertaste left on your tongue creates the perfect background for the overall sweet flavour of the oyster.

Some people may complain about the relatively small size of the oyster.  However, one would only utter such a comment if they had not personally tried deep frying themselves. There are only three things you can adjust to make a difference to the the final fried product: the size of your cut, temperature of the oil and duration the piece spends in it.  In this instance, I would side with "bigger is not always better".

The rest of the set was of equally high standard.

One great thing I forgot to mention earlier is the myriad of dips and condiments on offer.  Plum sauce with sesame is my favourite. The set also comes with an unlimited supply of rice and cabbage.  Three bowls of each for me during this visit.   A truly satisfying and filling lunch.

The myriad of dips and condiments

Best consumed ... after a cholesterol test

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