Vegan fine dining at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
Can we all just stop for a minute so we can talk about our vegan fine dining experience at the highest hotel in the world? You can probably tell it was exciting for us, right? Being anywhere that is the highest, tallest, biggest, hottest, smallest etc in the whole entire world always makes us a little excitable. When that experience involves awesome vegan food, then we practically lose our minds. We are of course talking about The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong where every element of what they offer is amongst the finest in the world.
Occupying the top 16 floors (102nd to 118th) of the Hong Kong International Commerce Centre, The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong claimed the title of highest hotel in the world when it opened it’s doors in 2011. The service is impeccable, the views are unrivalled (as you might expect) and you also get to lay claim to swimming in the highest pool in the world (situated on the 116th floor with futuristic LED screens on the ceiling and an outside hot tub where you are literally taking a bath in the clouds).
You can also sip cocktails in OZONE (which is the highest bar in the world); one of the things we did on our first stay at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. It’s well worth booking a Club Level room that includes access to the Club Lounge; the views are pretty special, but it’s the “six extraordinary food and beverage presentations daily” that are served with fine wines, cocktails and Champagne that set this Club Lounge apart from many of their competitors. The team at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong were happy to adapt things for us, their vegan guests, which made us very happy indeed.
Here is our detailed review from The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong.
But we digress, we’re supposed to be telling you about our vegan fine dining experience at the highest hotel in the word aren’t we.
The magic all happened at Tin Lung Heen, The Ritz-Carlton’s award winning 2 Michelin starred Cantonese restaurant. The floor to ceiling windows give a spectacular and unique view over Hong Kong Harbour and the decor inside is classical Chinese with modern touches like beautiful glass sculptures and an dazzling (literally) glass and mirrored corridor.
Here you can read about when we previously dined at Tin Lung Heen but this time was even better because they used some really interesting ingredients and we had a delicious double-boiled soup (more on that later).
We really love Cantonese fine-dining because it often challenges your perceptions as the presentation is usually very simple and understated. The focus seems to be on quality ingredients, their benefits and of course the taste.
The low down on the vegan food….
After being shown to our table we were presented with a vegan degustation menu comprising of 8 courses. An amuse bouche of sweet and sour mustard leaf made us sit up and pay attention with its tart aroma, wonderfully strong taste and crunchy texture.
Tastebuds awakened, we were ready to eat.
First up was ‘Steamed vegetable dumpling with morel mushroom, bamboo fungus and chilled celtuce’. This was the perfect start to our meal because we love dumplings and it was totally delicious. Sadly there was only one and it was gone in a single mouthful, but what a tasty mouthful it was. The outside was soft, the filling flavoursome and the chilled celtuce provided a crisp and refreshing pairing.
Celtuce is a type of lettuce sometimes called Chinese stem lettuce or asparagus lettuce, where you eat the stem not the leaf. It turns out is a good source of vitamin C and potassium too.
Next up was ‘Sautéed fresh black fungus with lily bulbs and green vegetable’, the star of the dish being the lily bulbs. They were delightfully nutty and crunchy whilst also offering an element of sweetness. If you’ve never eaten lily bulbs then make a plan to get some now; they are one of the tastiest new ingredients we have fallen in love with on our travels.
We’ve also come to love double-boiled soup and our ‘Double-boiled Matsutake mushroom soup with red date and vegetable’ was exceptional. This traditional method of preparing soups creates remarkable flavours and this particular soup oozed with a rich deliciousness. Ingredients are prepared in a special double-boiling pot which is sealed shut before being sunk into boiling water. All the flavours and nutrients stay locked into the soup and you’re left with an intensely tasty dish.
The broth was light and full of earthy mushroom flavours with a tiny sweet fruitiness at the end. It was a soothing pleasure to eat with lingering flavours, much like drinking a fine wine.
Braised assorted vegetables with sea moss’ and provided us another chance to enjoy red dates. Red dates are a Chinese superfood and have been called “the healthiest fruit on Earth”. In the previous dish they helped to create a complex flavour in the soup, but this time we were able to experience the natural sweetness and unique texture of this nutritionally packed fruit.
With 70 times more Vitamin C than apples and plenty of Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium, we only have one question. How to introduce more of these into our diet?!
Course number 5 was ‘Pan-fried bean curd with Matsutake mushroom’. It was a real favourite of ours; generous cubes of bean curd, lightly fried in a sauce which offered warmth and sweetness (but not too much). The coating was satisfyingly chewy and the middle melted away. Mmmmm…
The next dish of ‘Braised bamboo fungus with spinach and black truffle’ had an addictive, delicate aroma from the truffle. The bamboo fungus (sometimes called bamboo pith) was stuffed with an iron rich green vegetable filling. This balanced nicely with the crunchy and spongy texture of the bamboo pith and the freshness from the tiny ‘cabbage flowers’ on the side.
The final savoury dish was ‘Fried rice with assorted vegetables wrapped in lotus leaf’ (it’s tradition in most Cantonese meals to serve the rice at the end); a simple rice dish with the subtle earthy flavours from the lotus leaf.
Our meal was completed with a fruit platter which was fresh, tasty and a perfect end to our vegan fine dining experience at the highest hotel in the world.
All you need to do now is call ahead and make a reservation to have your own vegan fine dining experience (the menu changes regularly and costs HK$788 per person).
We’d happily eat it all over again so maybe you’ll see us there.