For a little over twenty years now, Hai Shin Lou has existed as one of the “old reliable” dining spots when one is looking for an old-school, authentic Cantonese cuisine. Chef Ben Chong is the steady presence at this well-established Arnaiz Ave. eatery that brings fond memories to each of my three sons, who will have personal favorites from the Hai Shin menu. So it was ready smiles when I informed them that we’d be previewing the slew of “lucky” dishes that Hai Shin would be recommending for this coming Chinese New Year.
Ben personally put together our dinner menu, and I was ready to stray away from our go-to dishes, to explore these new “lucky” ones. My sons readily agreed that if the first course of Shredded Fish Mao Soup with Sea Cucumber was a foretaste of things to come, we would be having a gourmet Chinese feast. I wouldn’t call it a light soup, but it’s rich in flavors and well worth the selection with a broth that’s reminiscent of Shark’s Fin, but with no endangered species in this soup.
Of the four main dishes we tried, the consensual favorite was the Panfried Rock Lobster with Honey BBQ Sauce, the sauce truly being a novel addition to the traditional lobster dish you’d get in any quality fresh seafood Chinese restaurant. You’d be tempted to call this an East meets West recipe, but somehow, it stayed true to its Cantonese provenance.
The Steamed Garoupa with Pork and Japanese Miso was your true fusion experience, with the inclusion of a Japanese flavor. We loved the freshness of the tender Garoupa meat. And the Sliced Abalone with Sea Moss and Lettuce is admittedly an acquired taste. I’m fine with abalone; not so much with my boys, even when I told them about how high a value Chinese cuisine puts on this ingredient of abalone.
The Minced Shrimp, Beancurd, with Fresh Scallop were ready favorites among all of us partaking in this dinner. I loved how the chopped greens accentuated this dish that was already comprised of two distinct types of seafood, the shrimp and the scallops. The beancurd added to the protein, and health benefits of this dish.
Upon the suggestion of Ben, we got to try Hai Shin’s Fried Rice with Seafood and Dried Olive Leaf for the very first time, and trust me, if you haven’t tried this yet, make sure you order this the next time you’re indulging in Hai Shin’s dishes. It is excellent, and my boys agreed, calling this a new favorite. For the Chinese New Year, Ben recommends the Lucky Tikoy as the closer to your lunch or dinner.
In light of the uptick in COVID cases, Hai Shin continues to do steady business via restaurant pick-up/take-out, and deliveries. One can call their tel. no. at (02) 7752 7433 or head to their Instagram page. If the ongoing situation persists, Hai Shin is one of the most trusted of names, as you plan for your Chinese New Year meals from the comfort and safety of your home.