Fu Rong Hua will only hold a booked table for 10 minutes — that’s how busy and popular this Hong Kong-style eatery has become since opening late last year.
This is partly thanks to the excellent location at Hoan Kiem Lake; but mostly it’s because of the quality of the dim sum and other Hong Kong specialities on offer.
There is an air of quality as soon as you step into Fu Rong Hua; something which says that no corners were cut in its design. The large, glass front which stretches across two floors invites lots of natural light, and offers a commanding view of the bustling street below.
The furniture, solid dark wood, sits on a well-polished wooden floor, while the surrounding walls feature stylish black and grey bricks, below panels of tiles featuring embossed Chinese lettering.
Despite sitting in a building shared by multiple businesses, Fu Rong Hua has a dedicated entrance lobby, where staff wait to greet patrons. Just be sure to book and arrive on time, or expect a fair wait for a table, especially in the evenings and on weekends.
Even though staff were faced with serving a full capacity restaurant (including people eating on the awkwardly-positioned tables intended for waiting), our order arrived swiftly. Only getting the bill was an uphill struggle that I don’t look forward to repeating.
The menu is a hardback glossy affair, full of tempting photos and even more tempting prices. Ordering is done by ticking boxes and writing quantities on a sheet of paper, which is checked and whisked away to the kitchen when ready.
Although the menu has a variety of noodle and rice dishes, as well as some Hong Kong specialities such as BBQ pork (VND145,000) and roasted duck (VND165,000), our order was dominated by dim sum.
It’s always a pleasant surprise to find a drinks menu which doesn’t feel like an afterthought. From the selection of speciality teas and juices, we chose an iced Earl Grey tea with lemon (VND49,000), and a fresh coconut juice (VND55,000); they were both as refreshing as they were sweet.
Similarly, there are some genuinely very interesting vegetable options to add something green to the meal. We opted for the wok-fried asparagus with garlic (VND65,000), as it’s one of those hard-to-find vegetables. It was crunchy, full of flavour and generously topped with garlic crumbs.
There were four types of dumplings in our feast.
First up, the special Teochew-style meat and vegetable (VND55,000 / 3pcs). There was a creaminess to the minced meat filling, with a strong meaty flavour punctuated by the crunch of some finely diced vegetables.
The second batch, a basket of striking green parcels, were the clear highlight. Shrimp and pork dumplings with spinach (VND110,000 / 6pcs), which contained a thick, tender chunk of prawn, tightly tucked in with some lean pork; the spinach-imbued casings had a recognisable spinach flavour, and weren’t just for show.
The scallop and prawn with coriander dumplings (VND65,000 / 3pcs) were more mild, but ideal for dipping in the complimentary condiments. The pork and cabbage dumplings (VND60,000), mysteriously categorised as buns, were extra meaty — they resembled well-seasoned sausages wrapped in cabbage. Very tasty.
To add a bit of variety, we also got a plate of wok-fried beef and mushrooms in oyster sauce (VND170,000). The meat was magical; very tender, with a great stickiness and flavour coming from the savoury sauce.
The food was faultless, and the drinks impressed just as much; service could have been a bit more personal, though that’s not doing much to dissuade the queues of people trying to get in during lunch and dinner.
Find Fu Rong Hua at 9 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Open daily from 10am until 11pm. For bookings and more information, call (024) 3936 9797
Food, Decor and Service are each rated on a scale of 0 to 15.
13 — 15 extraordinary to perfection
10 — 12.5 very good to excellent
8 — 9.5 good to very good
5 — 7.5 fair to good
0 — 4.5 poor to fair
The Word reviews anonymously and pays for all meals.
Photos by Teigue John Blokpoel