HK 2013 – Tai Ping Koon’s Roast Pigeon & Swiss Chicken WingsDecember 16, 2013 | 8,088 views
The legendary roast pigeon of Tai Ping Koon; a good 153 years in the making. It’s that old.
If you want to read a slice of history, which your grandfather has probably hinted you about back in the heydays; read up about Tai Ping Koon’s (TPK) story HERE. Started in 1860 in Guangzhou, the Chui family excelled in the first Western-inspired restaurant in Tai Ping Sha. Until this very day, Tai Ping Koon is still being run by the same Chui generations. A case of history well-preserved indeed.
Although it did not cross my mind to try roast pigeon in Hong Kong the first two times, this time around I was taken in by the thought of crispy skin roasted pigeon and a somewhat peculiar dish named Swiss chicken wings which has no origins whatsoever from Switzerland. Really.
This place still oozes quality and charm, an obvious throwback to the golden years preserved through the use of warm lighting, yellow table clothes draping the square tables and comfortable cushioned seats.
There are 3 Tai Ping Koon outlets in Hong Kong; namely this branch in Tsim Sha Tsui, another at Yau Ma Tei and the third in Causeway Bay. Their signature items include the must-try roasted young pigeon, Swiss chicken wings, smoked pomfret and baked soufflé.
Bear in mind though, that the prices of the food here ain’t cheap like the common ‘cha chaan teng’ like Tsui Wah, but definitely meant to be shared. Come in 4’s, at least, so that you can sample their signature items and yet won’t walk out bloated like balloons.
Or wallets deflated like punctured ones.
Swiss Chicken Wings – It was actually the mispronunciation of the word ‘sweet’ that lent this dish its endearing name Swiss chicken wings. Or at least, this was depicted in the menu itself. Basked in a sweetish-based soy sauce marinade, you might wonder why should you pay so much for chicken wings. This is legacy, my dear.
We were there at around 7pm or so, half expecting the place to be half empty. After all, at this time and age, who would still crave for roasted pigeon and soy sauce chicken wings right? WRONG.
The queue extended beyond the staircase up to the dining hall at their Tsim Sha Tsui area. Yes, people literally were standing on the staircase waiting for seats. Thankfully, the two of us squeezed in to a vacant table by the side and proceeded to order. However, the aged waiters warned us not to be greedy. And stopped us at the baked soufflé. Although slightly stunned, but we understood why.
When the baked soufflé is bigger than your face, you know you have to exert some restraint.
The baked soufflé was bigger than your face. And the roasted pigeon and Swiss chicken wings were more than enough for two. And this was the first of the two dinners that evening; the next being the Sun Kee cheese noodles with grilled pork neck. The meal came to HKD320/RM134/USD42 for the above and Chinese tea. Not cheap by a long shot, but worthy of the experience at least once.
And yeah, the roasted pigeon was tasty with the addition of the sweetish soy sauce at the side (almost similar to the chicken wing’s), though you really need to squeeze that wedge of lemon to counter that naturally gamey flavour.
Make it a point to visit TPK if you haven’t tasted roasted pigeon before. Apparently, Sha Tin is also famous for that. But we haven’t got the luxury of time to find out. Have you?
TAI PING KOON RESTAURANT
Granville Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Phone: (852) 2721 3559
Business Hour: 11:00am – midnight 12:00 (Close at Chinese New Year)
Google Map to all the Hong Kong places reviewed
Exit at Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station at B2 exit and walk eastbound towards Granville road.