Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nam Ah Restaurant 南亞 1964

Someone told me recently that when one has a craving for certain types of food / cuisine, it means one lacked the certain nutrition that can be found from that particular food or cuisine. Your body somehow stimulated your brain to have certain food craving for your own good. I think it is true to a certain extend. The main concern I have is that I am always craving for various types of food and cuisines, sometimes the range can be quick extreme as in one moment I want Indian curry with Naan and then soon after I would crave for a salad followed by ice cream! Does it mean I am in a really bad shape in terms of a balance diet? In lack of various nutriments? humm ....

After getting my haircut, I wandered around the Causeway Bay area in search for something quick for dinner. When I passed by the the Brunch and Supper Club, I really had the urge to go up for some egg Benedict but after recalling my previous visits here, I decided to continue my search. The mere thought of the egg Benedict reminded me of chicken and suddenly I had a craving for chicken. The first thing that came to my mind at that moment was Nam Ah Restaurant and its Hainan Chicken which they are famous for. It was a good time to give it try. The last time I visited was almost 2 years ago, also after my haircut session. Without spending much time on the menu, I ordered my craving item, chicken, Hainan Chicken Rice. The environment is causal and decor is fairly contemporary in a sense. It was bright and fairly cozy but a bit noisy even when it was only half full.

(1) Hainan Chicken
From the slightly chewy texture of the meat, it seemed to me it was of free range chicken but lack the strong chicken flavor I wanted. The same applies to the rice but it was soft and moist which was good. The sauce was a bit of a disappointment because the "ginger onion" lacked a lot of minced ginger!!! I heart this type of sauce and I can literally have a bowl of plain rice to go along with it. However, not the sauce here; not only did it lacked the amount of minced ginger, it had an excessive amount of oil and the green onion was chopped too big in my opinion. I remember cooking my own "ginger onion" sauce to go along with a simple steamed chicken back at university years when I was the so-called "chef" of the house. My housemates finished the whole chicken and all the sauce, I guess that was a sign of it being fairly decent right? or maybe they were just too hungry after waiting the whole evening for me to finish cooking. The soup that accompanied the set was alright, with "dried vegetables" and pig's kidney and live, fairly traditional in terms of ingredients but not of taste because it was rather light in flavor in my opinion. When the set was being served, it reminded me of my childhood days because the whole set was placed on a plastic tray with handles on the two sides like you find in some canteens or school cafeterias.

I wish my Singapore trip can come sooner so I can enjoy some wonderful Hainan Chicken Rice there!!!!

  • Free Range Chicken (I assumed)
  • Causal and relax environment for a quick meal
  • "Ginger Onion" sauce - not enough minced ginger
  • not enough chicken flavor for the chicken
Avg Spending: Below HKD 100 per person

Nam Ah Restaurant
G/F, 17-19 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay
Tel: 2187 3487


KK said...

The last time I was at Nam Ah was before they moved, around 2002. I did not even know about this place when I was living in Hong Kong! Didn't know they have been around for that long.

And I will have to say their Hainan Chicken rice easily outperformed the US$12++ high end version I had at Chatterbox Cafe at the Marina Mandarin Hotel in Singapore (where some locals say that is the best or most high end chicken rice you can get). Perhaps I am more used to the HK version...

Jason said...

@KK: you are right, I think it really depends on the many factors for the whole dining experience. I am sure the Hainan Chicken rice at Chatterbox Cafe is good but it can be equally enjoyable if the Hainan Chicken rice is offered from a shop at a Hawker center. A totally difference experience in my opinion. :) ... come visit HK again soon!!!!

KK said...


Actually I also had Hainan Chicken Rice at a hawker center...although it was Newton and super touristy. But still Newton + Chatterbox still could not beat Nam Ah. Then again I didn't have time to try the non tourist places in Singapore.

Nam Ah will be one of the places to re-try when I can come back.

Jason said...

@KK: yeah, I long to try Hainan Chicken Rice at various hawker centers in Singapore, perhaps I should make an effort to visit Singapore soon and do a series of reviews called Battle of the Hainan chicken Rice :)

Jodi said...

I also don't think the Hainan Chicken Rice at Chatterbox is that good. From my knowledge, there is no fresh chicken in Singapore, so actually one should be able to find better Hainan Chicken Rice in HK. In the far west(western district) there is a small restaurant serving only fresh chicken. May be we should all give it a try, but the place is really far. It is close to the tram terminal in Western!

Jodi said...

Forgot to mention, although I don't know where to find the best Hainan Chicken Rice, I do know where to get the worst. That's Yat Kwan (don't know the correct spelling, but that's how it sound) in Singapore, close to the Raffles Hotel. Amazing that Mr. Chua Lan, the famous gourmet in HK, rave about it. He even feature this place in one of his show on TV. I never watch his show (they are so silly and stupid!), but that's what I heard. I am really not sure if he actually knows that much about food. Anyway, the chicken rice was so awful (both in taste and presentation) that you can get much better chicken at any roast meat shop in HK. Stay away from this place at all cost!

Jason said...

@Jodi: Sometimes I think those food shows are not that reliable because many are pre-arranged visits. Once it is pre-arranged, of course the food would be very good, ingredients would be very fresh and presentation would be of perfection; hence the many rave reviews. I believe in consistency of food quality and whether the quality can remain relative the same on few random visits.

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