Liu Yuan Pavilion on Lockhart Road, Hong Kong


“Mom, who are your friends and how do they drink so much and still party on?” cried a 29 year-old girl to her mom as we made plans, after a fantastic dinner at Liu Yuan Pavilion, to visit dragon-i.

We were on vacation and, taking advantage of the “no duty on wines” in Hong Kong, we brought some good shit. Someone even took the opportunity to ship a case of Champagne magnums from the UK.

Truth be told, after 2 days of Hong Kong’s predominantly Cantonese cuisine, we were tired of it. To be sure, it’s all good, in fact you’d have to go very far to find a street-side cafe or restaurant that’s not very good. However, we needed a change.

Glazed Pork Ribs

Glazed vinegared pork ribs

Liu Yuan Pavilion is a very famous Shanghainese restaurant in Hong Kong. It’s on Wan Chai and walking there from the MTR brought back memories of national service on R&R in Thailand (“No miss, I not G.I., I Hock Kian Peng. Love me long time got discount or not?”) with all its open bars on the street.

Moving along, what I like about Shanghainese restaurants is their array of small appetizers which I would happily eat lots of for dinner. Of note would be their Jellied Pig Trotters which is more savory than the Teochew version and the “Cold Herb Salad” which Florence and I spent a lot of time deconstructing (coriander, garlic and one unidentifiable veg with sugar and some rice vinegar and wine) because it was very good. And all I will say about the Tea-smoked Chicken is that it was devoured in a twinkling of an eye.

Tea-smoked Chicken

Very good Tea-smoked Chicken

But I would have to say that the Cold Baby Prawns were the hit of the dinner based on the way people were gobbling up the fingernail-sized prawns by the spoonful. “Crunchy and sweet” were the two comments I could pry out of my friends.

Personally, I wondered how they peeled those prawns.

Baby Prawns

I have no idea how they peeled these prawns…

My personal favorite of the evening was the Sugar Peas or the Hong Kongers prefer to call the “Holland Peas”. I was blown away by this simple dish that was bursting with sweetness that was counterbalanced by the bitter Ginko Nuts. Definitely one of the highlights of the dinner because we’re still talking about the Sugar Peas, which, at the end of the day when everything is considered and weighed, I’m sure everyone would agree that it’s a great name for a girl band.

Snow Or Sugar Peas (Holland Peas)

The most outstanding course for the night would have to be the Chicken Soup. The simple name belies the complexity of the ingredients which included, to my absolute delight, a whole Yunan Ham.

It is said that dishes that use a multitude of ingredients have something to hide, this proved to be an exception where the salty, sweet and bitter merged into a harmonious taste that rings as clear as a bell from the depths of your warmed soul. A truly wonderful experience.

Chicken Soup

So good that it should substitute Shark’s Fin Soup

And early on, we were warned to leave room for dessert. Jeff seems to love this dessert as he kept mentioning it. I have to agree with him that the Babao Fan (Eight Treasures Rice) was the best I’ve ever tasted. Pan-toasted (crispy!) glutinous rice topped with dried berries and powdered sugar may seem simple but I assure you it hit the sweet spot, especially with a Doisy-Vedrines 2001.

I love this dessert with its dried berries and powered sugar.

Liu Yuan Pavilion has been operating in Hong Kong for close to 40 years; given the high standards and intense competition in Hong Kong, this says a lot.

It is a very small (about 7 tables) but very elegant restaurant that features charmingly old school service. That being said, we made our reservations a month ahead and were granted only 2 tables.

The food features standard Shanghainese fare and so exceptional that I’ve not experienced any Shanghainese restaurant, even in Shanghai, that comes close to Liu Yuan Pavilion.

Finally, to answer my friend’s daughter’s question, we only need to look at the gospel according to John and Paul: “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

Liu Yuan Pavilion is at 3/F, The Broadway, 54-62 Lockhart Road, Wanchai (A short walk from exit C of MTR Wanchai), Tel: +852 2804 2000. Reservations way in advance is required.

Huge Soup Bowl


Jellied Pig Trotters (Hand)

Jellied Pork Trotters


Cold Salad

Cold herb salad


Cold Jellyfish

Cold jellyfish


Pork Thigh

Quiveringly good Pork Tigh



Chicken Soup for the Chicken Soup Lover’s Soul










Posted on 1st Jun 2010 in Food and Drink, Makankaki, Old School, Shanghainese


There Are 2 Comments


Nicholas commented on June 3, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Ah! Glad to see you posting about food again.

So… I’m actually headed to HK in a couple of weeks (anything you’re holding out on?)


ivan commented on June 4, 2010 at 10:54 am

@Nicholas: I’ll dig something up. In the meantime check out Dim Sum Dolly ( and ChaXiuBao ( for the best of HK eats.

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