Hong Kong's modern Huaiyang restaurant
Located in the basement of Hong Kong’s premier Royal Garden hotel, the heralded Dong Lai Shun restaurant easily fits in at the luxury property. The design is far more modern and stark than the rest of the hotel, with oversized black and white chandeliers welcoming you in and red-tiled walls flanking the white-linen-clad tables.
Inspired by the original Dong La Shun in Beijing, the menu offers some similarities, like paper-thin slices of Mongolian black-headed mutton, savory and succulent hot pots filled with suckling pig and melt-in-your-mouth Peking duck.
The service reflects the establishment’s strong reputation, with an attentive waitstaff, wine sommeliers at your beck and call and a chef who deeply understands the beauty and complexity of Huaiyang cuisine.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• The décor adds some life and spunk. Think bright red walls and accent napkins, towering chandeliers decorated in an almost zebra-esque black and white pattern and a marble water fountain that gives off the feeling of alfresco dining.
• Order the hot pot, which is served bubbling with delicious additions mixed in, like thinly sliced mutton, deluxe marble beef, housemade shrimp meatballs and very hearty additions of Asian spices, like sesame, scallions and spicy chilies.
• The service is another highlight. The waiters are trained extensively on the menu, and they anticipate questions and concerns before you do.
• Specializing in Haiyang Chinese cuisine, the menu offers a variety of both traditional and innovative dishes inspired by local ingredients, as well as those flown in from neighboring countries, like Japan, Malaysia and even Mongolia.
Things to Know
• Although the Hong Kong restaurant is known universally for its hot pots, you’d be remiss if you didn’t at least sample the roasted Beijing Peking duck, a succulent specialty that made the original Dong Lai Shun, a Beijing institution.
• If you’re planning on indulging in the Beijing Peking duck, roasted chicken with wild mushrooms and black truffles or the baked beggar’s chicken (the poultry is stuffed, encased in clay and then roasted), you need to pre-order them before you sit down.
• If you opt for the set menu, which gives you a sampling of the Huiyang cuisine it’s known for, expect to spend at least three-plus hours enjoying it. The set menus often come with an assortment of appetizers, a few main dishes and a couple desserts.
• There are two main ways to order at Dong Lai Shun: with a set menu or à la carte. The set menu gives you the opportunity to taste the highlights of the restaurant, with a guaranteed selection of its top-selling appetizers (like foie gras stuffed lobster rolls), a hot pot filled to the brim with liver, thin slices of mutton and a bubbly broth and a dessert. If you’ve never experienced this type of cuisine or aren’t sure how much or what you’d like, this offers a great sampling to get your feet wet, so to speak.
• If you’re more familiar with this type of fare or just appreciate rich, high-end dishes, order à la carte. You’ll be able to try a wider variety of dishes.
• Not a restaurant for vegetarians, the menu is carnivorous, with heavy meat-forward dishes like mutton and chive dumplings wrapped in soft dough pillows, sliced waygu beef served carpaccio style, tender beef brisket that falls apart with just a touch or lobster balls stuffed with foie gras (which are as decadently sinful as they sound).
• There are menu changes throughout the year, but you’ll always see at least one variety of beef marrow (which is served more gelatinous and not in the actual marrow), hot pots with mutton, smoked duck eggs and soft mutton dumplings, to name a few.
• The cheese-stuffed squid balls and mutton roll-ups are crowd favorites, which means you’ll see them more often than not.
• In a place more known for savory and succulent dishes, the desserts are actually quite creative, like pretty-in-pink rice balls stuffed with custard and dusted with dried coconut or the less sweet but equally as indulgent hasselback chestnut pastry that’s fried and filled to the brim with chestnut paste. The chilled lychee with rose pudding is also a heavenly option, especially when paired with a tangy ice wine.
• Although the wine menu boasts international varietals, your meal may pair best with a cocktail made with baijiu, a local Chinese liquor that’s not readily available in the United States.
• If you’re unsure about which sake best accompanies your entrée, simply ask the onsite sake sommelier for a few tasty suggestions.
• If you want libations to continue flowing after you’ve finished dessert, head over to the hotel’s Martini Bar to keep the party going a little longer.