Serving a Great Neighbourhood Taste -- Mui Fa Chuen Restaurant

Situated in a residential neighbourhood in North Point, Mui Fa Chuen Restaurant is an old school restaurant that serves mainly Chiuchow food, and a mix of Hakka and Guangdong cuisine. Established some thirty years ago, the restaurant retains its original decor and vintage wall paintings alongside marble-top tables, and chairs with dark wood frames. The owner of the restaurant, Mr. TSE (also known as “Fourth Brother”), has a long-term rapport with his customers. According to him, some customers who now live overseas even continue to visit the restaurant from time to time.

Mr. TSE Yuen-kwan, is of Hakka origin. He joined the catering industry in 1991 and took over Mui Fa Chuen Restaurant in 1997. All these two decades he has insisted on cooking with a passion and sticking to his principles, and his hands-on style of working never fails. For all these he has won accolade from both colleagues and customers.

Having been in the business for many years, Mr. TSE still enjoys getting his hands wet in the kitchen. In order to buy the freshest ingredients, he visits the district’s wet market every day. His signature Chiuchow marinade is made with stock and a blend of over 10 Chinese herbs and spices. He uses quality pork even for a simple dish like “rice with creamy corn and pork”; the result is a dish that is succulent and tasty.

Although the Cantonese cuisine involves many cooking methods, the most widely used techniques remain steaming, stir-frying and braising. Mr. TSE explains, however, that the cooking time and temperature must be adjusted according to the characteristics of the ingredients, portion, and sizes. “The key to a smooth and creamy steamed egg is to beat the eggs with a mixture of hot and cool water, and to steam it over very hot water. Also, remove the cover briefly during steaming to allow the air to escape. What’s more, blanch vegetables in broth before stir-frying them, as this adds flavour and crispness to them and cuts down on the use of oil.”

In addition to expert techniques, good ethics are essential to a successful chef, says Mr. TSE. “Simply imagine you are preparing a meal for yourself. Then you will give your best and leave your customers satisfied.” In just a few words, Mr. TSE sums up the secret of his success.

Extract from CookSmart, Issue 21