Sunday, November 19, 2006

a hong kong visit . xi yan sweets

Xi Yan Sweets
Shop 1, G/F
8 Wing Fung Street
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: 852 2833 6299

It’s been slightly over a month since I’ve got back from Hong Kong. I mentioned in my previous entry that I had a fantastic lunch on one of my days there. I’m still thinking about it actually cos I truly enjoyed my dining experience, so much so that I’m trying to arrange a dinner at their sister restaurant, Xi Yan, this time in Singapore.

I read about Xi Yan Sweets from HK Foodie’s blog some time ago. When I decided to visit Hong Kong, I told myself that I HAD TO visit that place. It was more within reach anyway since Xi Yan Sweets operates like a café unlike its larger siblings. Moreover, I thought that D might like the place so Xi Yan Sweets became one of those ‘must-go’ highlights on the trip.

Xi Yan Sweets is located at the end of Wan Chai. For those who are not familiar with Hong Kong, Wan Chai is a pretty old town on its own. Xi Yan Sweets however, is located in a posh corner of Wan Chai where the landscape is totally different. D & I liked the décor in the restaurant quite a bit. Along with Xi Yan’s official colour of red, there were black and white pictures randomly placed against the wall and mosaic tiles on certain walls. It made the whole café look modern but at the same time, comfy.

At Xi Yan Sweets, a lot of their famous dishes are replicated but made into smaller portions. You’ll see their specialities such as the Japanese tomatoes with a sesame sauce, the ‘Saliva’ Chicken and Glutinous Rice Dumplings in Ginger Soup. Anyways, that’s almost what we ended up ordering anyways since we couldn’t leave without trying the food that people had been raving about.

Japanese Tomatoes with Wasabi Sesame Sauce
D & I loved this dish a whole lot. The tomatoes were crunchy and sweet (they tasted expensive by the way). The sesame sauce with a tinge of wasabi drizzled onto the chilled tomatoes made it a refreshing and truly enjoyable appetiser. I finally understood why this was a mainstay on Xi Yan’s menu and why people kept raving about something as simple as tomatoes. It was simply fantastic.

‘Saliva’ ‘Mouth-watering’ Chicken
Naming is ‘saliva’ chicken sounds a bit gross I know. It’s actually directly translated from the Chinese pharse ‘kou shui’. I have no idea how that name came about. If someone could enlighten me, please do. This dish originates from Szechuan and is usually served with century eggs, chunks of cucumber and la mian. Xi Yan Sweets does it a little differently by serving the usual suspects with fen pi instead. I’ve tried this dish at Crystal Jade in Singapore before but I much prefer it served with fen pi instead of la mian. You can choose between 3 levels of spiciness at Xi Yan Sweets. We chose the mild version but D was complaining that it was still too spicy for him. I thought it was ok though. This dish is also one of the mainstays on the regular Xi Yan menu and it was without saying that this was delicious as well.

Dan Dan Noodles
Dan Dan Noodles served at Xi Yan Sweets seems to have a modern twist to it. Although it was delicious, it tasted somewhat different from others I’ve tried. The good thing about it is that it’s not drowned in peanut sauce where you could feel sick after eating too much. I loved the minced meat and crunchy peanuts in the dish as well. A rather enjoyable dish.

Glutinous Rice Dumpling in a Ginger Soup and Banana Pudding
This is by far the most interesting rice dumpling that I’ve ever tasted. The filling totally blew me away. Unlike the usual black sesame or peanut filling, there were chopped peanuts, some custardy thing and sweet melon all wrapped up in a little ball. The sweet dumplings went well with the hot ginger soup. Got a feeling that my dad will love this dessert. The banana pudding was D’s choice. It was good but a tad too sweet for me because of the caramelized top.

Lime Soda & Pomelo Soda
Refreshing and delicious. Pomelo Soda scored with the generous amount of pomelo sacs in the drink. Did I mention that pomelo’s one of my favourite fruits??

Just thinking of my coming dinner at Xi Yan next month (hopefully!) excites me although it received less than raving reviews from Ivan recently. Hopefully, I’d be leaving with a smiling face and a satisfied tummy, just as how it was in Hong Kong.

P/S: As it turns out, an anonymous reader just alerted me that 'koushui' doesn't mean 'saliva' but means 'mouth-watering'! How come I didn't know that!! As you can tell, my Chinese ain't that good. Hope the anonymous reader didn't smack his or her head too hard when he found out about my atrocious lack of knowledge and the ignorance of the Chinese language. HA!


  1. Koushui ji 口水鸡 doesn't mean "saliva chicken", it means "mouth-watering" chicken!

  2. hahah... kou shui really does mean saliva... but the thing is, in HK, pple say "lau hao shui" (sorry, i cant do hanyu pinyin for cantonese accurately), when they say something is gastronomic.. so i guess maybe that's how the name came abt..