Wednesday, December 31, 2014

[Taipei] Toutouan (燈燈庵)

Another fine Japanese restaurant hidden in my stash.  I first heard of Toutouan for their afternoon tea.  A quick look at their website led me to discover their kaiseki dinner.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

[Taipei] Gu Xiang Restaurant (故鄉餐廳)

Good food generally happens when I am least expecting.  The beautiful sceneries at Bamboo Lake made us craved for traditional food (農家菜), dishes that were made with the freshest local ingredients!  Gu Xiang (故鄉) seems to fit the bill perfectly when we were checking out their menu.  Perhaps it's a popular restaurant among the locals but I wouldn't know.


[Taipei] L'apres Midi Cafe (立裴米提)

When everyone in Hong Kong still still trying to get in line for Coffee Alley's strawberries / salted caramel waffles, Taiwan is already on the next craze: mochi waffles!  Although less commonly found compared to the regular waffles, there are a good number of cafes already serving mocha waffles.  One of them is L'apres Midi Cafe (立裴米提) in Zhongshan (中山) District.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hotel Double One (倆人旅館)

I want to switch gears and tell you about a hotel I stayed in Xin Beitou last February 2014.  Again, apologize for the untimely update but if you follow me on Instagram (@letstalkfoodandetc), you will know I have been quite busy these days... hahaha!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

[Taipei] Good Cho (好.丘)

Good Cho is known for it's bagels.  As a lover of bagels, I was excited to come and try.  The area where the cafe is located is also worth a visit.  It is located inside a redeveloped military dependents' village commonly known as 眷村.   This particular one is called the 四四南村 (Four Four South Village) and is the first one to be built by Republic of China in Taipei in 1948.  If you want to find out more, you can click this link.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

[Taipei] Mingyue Tangbao (明月湯包)

When it comes to soup dumplings (aka tangbao, xiaolongbao, XLB, 小籠包), the name that comes to your mind immediately is perhaps Ding Tai Fung (鼎泰豐).  I have been to DTF a few times myself and I like their XLB.  However, I just hate waiting in line and it's available almost worldwide these days... so why go to DTF in Taiwan? All their shops follow the same process when making their XLB anyways (unless your city doesn't have it I guess).

Well, that brings me to Mingyue Tangbao (明月湯包).  I was introduced to this place in 2009 by my friend and we had such a great time.  I have wanted to come back for their XLB since.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

[Taipei] Du Xiao Yue (度小月)

Du Xiao Yue (度小月) is most well-known for its noodles (擔仔麵).  The brand has been around since 1895 and considered one of the most recognized Taiwanese restaurants among tourists.  Second to Ding Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) perhaps?


[Taipei] Tian Yuan Taiwanese Seafood Restaurant (田園台菜海鮮)

Tian Yuan Taiwanese Seafood Restaurant (田園台菜海鮮) is one of those traditional Taiwanese restaurants I have been looking forward to visiting after reading the stellar reviews on other Taiwanese food blogs.  So when my local friends suggested to bring me there I was pretty excited.  Unfortunately, it was one of those places where fame was louder than the food itself.  I have to say I was pretty disappointed.  Maybe we didn't order the right dishes?  Maybe we didn't come with a regular?  I don't know but I know I will not return.

[Taipei] Al Cicchetto (義麵坊 小酒館)

In my recent trip to Taipei, I made it a point to check out Eslite Living (Xinyi) (誠品生活松菸店), which was opened in August 2013.  I simply adore that place and can easily spend a whole day there.  Since I went after work, I was hunting for food and I found Al Cicchetto (義麵坊 小酒館), which is located right across from the popular Wu Pao Chun Bakery (吳寶春麥方店).


[Taipei] Fika Fika

Fika Fika is a Nordic inspired café within Zhongshan District in Taipei.  In fact, the word "fika" is both a Swedish verb and noun that basically implies "drinking coffee".  I went there for the first time while I was waiting for my turn at Chan Chi Hot Pots Lab (詹記麻辣火鍋).


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

[Taipei] Nomura Sushi (のむら 野村鮨)

This is my current favorite sushi-ya in Taipei.  You will need a reservation for this one.  Lunch has the best CP (cost / performance) value but it's a place for quality and not quantity.  (Warning: You might leave hungry if you don't order additional pieces.)  This post has been hiding in my archive for so long simply because I didn't want to share it.  But then again, there are so many blogpost out there already so I guess the cat is long out of the bag.


[Hong Kong] Matsuichiya (ラーメン松壱家)

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you might know I am not a big fan of Japanese ramen.  I love Japanese food but I am just not a ramen enthusiast.  If given the choice, I would rather eat udon / soba (not a fan of somen either).  Yet, I would still visit ramen places once in a while to give myself another chance to have a change of heart.  This time, I chose Matsuichiya.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lawry's The Prime Rib

Believe it or not, this is my first time to go to Lawry's even though I lived in the states for many years.  I have had prime rib in the past but not sure why I never went to Lawry's. 


Arirang Korean BBQ Restaurant (阿里郎)

Compared to Hong Kong, the choices for a decent Korean BBQ restaurant in Macau is next to none.  Whenever my friends and I are craving for Korean BBQ in Macau, this is our default choice (but even then, quality deteriorated recently...).  The restaurant is located in Taipa, so that says a lot for us - the "peninsula" folks. 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sichuan House (霸王川莊)

These photos are brought to you by my friends from Kuwait~  Thank Sunoj (for carrying the camera) and Smitha (for taking the photos)!

My friends love spicy food so I thought it will only be fitting if I take them to a local Sichuan restaurant to experience some authentic Sichuan food before they return to Kuwait.  Sichuan House is a fairly new restaurant in LKF.  I have heard some good reviews and saw some mouth-watering photos, so I decide to give it a try.

Fist Fillets in Hot Chili Oil

Pang Pang Korean BBQ Restaurant

To Kwa Wan (土瓜灣) is not a popular destination of choice when it comes to dining out because there is no subway!  A station is proposed but I think it will be a while before it will be completed.  So we are here one night under a friend's recommendation.  He lives in the area so he knows the hole-in-the-wall eateries in the neighborhood.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ATUM desserant

ATUM attracted a lot of eyeballs when it first opened.  The concept is fun, and the creations are colorful and appeasing to the eyes.  I don't think there is any other place like it in Hong Kong, yet.  I definitely "liked" a lot of posts on my Instagram feed before coming here myself.  Yet, I have been warned it's one of those places where once is enough.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Yakiniku Futago HK (大阪燒肉)

Following on my barbecue train, it's only fitting that I post my latest yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) adventure in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.  I have been wanting to come here ever since it opened its doors in April 2014 and the whole experience has exceeded my expectations!  This place takes reservations, has a very fun atmosphere, delicious food, well trained staff, and reasonable price.  I can't really ask for more!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Honey Pig Gooldaegee Korean Grill (Ellicott City)

So what the hell is going on with all these old posts...  I am looking for this.  I have been posting about Asian barbecue and I just can't stop myself from thinking of this place.  Honey Pig is one of my all time favorites.  So I was actually trying to dig up photos at this restaurant so I can blog this and share with you all.

Heaven on earth
(to me anyway)

Bistro Jeanty

Another gem found hidden in my stash of old photos... (I know... there are so many of them actually... Hopefully I will be able to finish all those I wanted to post about this year then I can go back and sought through my old ones...)  These would be places I wanted to return if I were given the opportunity to go to these places again, God willing.  But then there are also plenty of uncharted territories in my plan... Life is too short!!!


Friday, November 7, 2014


I almost forgot all about this place until I was digging through my old photos last night!  Couldn't think of the name of the restaurant but I remember I enjoyed the food.  I only vaguely remembered something about Frederick and Maryland.  Luckily I found it on my Urbanspoon profile :) (Since I no longer lives in the states, I rarely update it... plus, I wasn't as active a blogger I was back then.)

The restaurant is very beautiful - both inside and out.  So it really left an impression in my mind.

Volt Restaurant in Frederick, MD
Photo courtesy of Webworld Technologies.
(Back in the day, I don't take pictures of the restaurant itself.
It's good enough if I took pictures of the food.
Now, of course I am at another level... haha...)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Oatmeal Porridge

If you have been following my Instagram, you will notice I ate a lot the past month and a half.  In fact, I checked my schedule today and realized there were more days I am eating out than days that I were not.  Honestly, I shouldn't be complaining but then, I know I don't want to spend hours on the treadmill so I really have to cut back.


[Taipei] Kanpai (Tamsui) (乾杯) (淡水店)

2015 update:  This location is now closed.

Kanpai (乾杯) is a popular Taiwanese BBQ place.  I became aware of it from the Taiwanese soap "My Queen" (敗犬女王), which is still one of my all-time favorite soap operas by the way.  All of my friends who have been there loved it so I am happy I finally had the chance to check it out!  (You can't really eat BBQ alone so I have to come with friends.)


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Huton #1 (胡同燒肉) (1號店)

(11/5/2014 update:  They accept online reservations now!!!)

In addition to spicy hot pots, Taiwanese BBQ is another must-eat when traveling to Taiwan (along with traditional Taiwanese food, sushi, and night markets, etc.).  In fact, I always carry digestive enzymes with me whenever I travel to Taiwan because I always ate too much. 


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Addiction Aquatic Development: La Mer (上引水產之煮海)

Seeing that AAD (上引水產) is one of my most popular posts ever, I am going to do a follow up on their restaurant next door: La Mer (煮海).  The two places is located right next to each other but as you are probably aware, at AAD, you stand while you eat... at La Mer, you finally get to sit down and enjoy a proper meal.

La Mer's Sashimi Platter for Two (NT$1,280)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mala Hotpot (Zhongxiao) (馬辣頂級麻辣鴛鴦鍋) (忠孝店)

Here's another post on hot pot restaurants I have been to in Taipei, Taiwan.  I went there last year but didn't blog about it originally because I did not particularly enjoyed my experience.  (It's actually quite popular among both tourists and locals...)

"International Travelers Requested Restaurant"
I did request it after all...
My friends, after seeing I was sorely disappointed, said,
"Don't worry, we will take you to better places next time."

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Qiao Tou Spicy Hotpot (橋頭麻辣鍋)

Qiaotou Spicy Hotpot (橋頭麻辣鍋) was a spicy hotpot restaurant I went a few years ago (2009) with my friends.  I haven't returned since so this post may not be as relevant now.  Yet I recalled it was good and became my memory of how spicy hotpot should be in Taiwan.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Tai Ho Dien (Taipei Flagship) (太和殿) (台北總店)

Tai Ho Dien (太和殿) is the most well-known amongst the three Taiwanese hotpot restaurants I went this trip.  Rumor has it that even Aaron Kwok (the well-known Hong Kong artist) is a fan.  (A few of my friends recommended it too!)  I had high hopes going in, even brought my co-worker's boss, who love spicy food, there and promised him a spicy, good meal. 


Needless to say, they higher the expectations, the higher the disappointment.  If Chan Chi set the standards on the food and Elixir Health Pot set the standards on service, Tai Ho Dian failed both miserably.  There is only one thing they exceled - the price.

Elixir Health Pot (Civic) (無老鍋) (市民店)

Elixir Health Pot (無老鍋) is actually a restaurant owned by the same group that owns Tripod King (鼎王).  As mentioned in my previous post, 鼎王 gained tabloid spotlights during my stay in Taipei for their food quality problems and has been banned from my trip.   Yet, I still went to 無老鍋 as there were various guarantees that they did not use the same supplies as 鼎王 and they do not share the same issues.  (You believe that?  Oh well... I figured it's probably the safest time to go anyway...)


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chan Chi Hot Pots Lab (詹記麻辣火鍋 南京店)

I am going to make tonight a hotpot night... on my blog that is...  If you followed me on Instagram, you might remember I was in Taipei earlier this year.  Although I was there for work, work never stops me from satisfying my food cravings.  Luckily, my co-worker is a foodie as well so we had a lot of foodie excursions together. (Yes, the Taipei write-up is soon to follow... so if you are planning a trip to Taipei soon, stay tuned~)


Shing Kee Noodles (盛記盆菜&盛記麵家)

I was super sleeping (just drank my third latte) and feeling cold at the office (I even wrapped myself in one of the many scarfs I owned) and then I remembered, today is the first day of Autumn (立秋). What's better than hotpot on such a day?  (I love myself some spicy Sichuan hotpot!!!)  I actually went to Shing Kee earlier this year... before my friend had her baby... now the baby is born and so is my blog post... LOL!!!

Shing Kee has the most interesting decor.
IT was hard to believe it was actually located
at a food center inside a wet market.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Morimoto (Napa)

I have my fair share of celebrity chef dining experiences and I thought it would be a good time to share my experiences at Morimoto (Napa) a few years ago.  I was vacationing with a friend in Napa Valley then.  Because of the positive experience I had at Morimoto (Philadelphia), we were glad to try his Napa location!  Morimoto Philadelphia was my first omakase experience and I must say I am a convert since!  It also cured my dislike for aji (mackerel)... in fact, I love this fish so much now all thanks to Morimoto!


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kyoto-ya (京都屋)

July 29, 2014 was doyō-no ushi-no-hi (土用の丑の日) or the midsummer day for the ox, a day dedicated to eating eel.  It is believed that you should eat anything started with "u" for good health, and "u"nagi (freshwater eel) fit the bill perfectly.  What actually started off as a marketing campaign ended up being a custom.  I must say this was a very successful marketing campaign...

Unajuu @ Kyoto-ya
鰻重 @京都屋

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tim Ho Wan (添好運)

Tonight's posts are basically the few over-rated places in my opinion that's getting a lot of media attention...  I understand as foodies, we all have the "不到黃河心不死" (until all hope is lost) mind-set, but I still felt the urge to post my opinion about these places so it's more balanced.


This place should be nothing new to most locals and the negative review should not come as a surprise to most.  I just don't think the dim sum here is honestly that good.  It's cheap but I cannot justify the long wait, I'd rather go somewhere else.

Dazzling Café Kiwi

I was in Taipei for work in February 2014 and came here with two (2) of my male co-workers during lunch time.  Since we were working in the same building, it seems a natural choice.

Again, this post jumped my usual chronological queue order because they recently opened a shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong and a ridiculous queue has formed even though they had a strict 90-minutes limit.  So what the hell are these poeple queueing in line for hours eating?  Honey toasts... I am not kidding.

Matcha & Azuki Honey Toast

Jamie's Italian (Singapore)

I was in Singapore for work in April 2014 and came here for dinner on a late Sunday night.  I knew they are going to open a restaurant in Hong Kong later in the year but didn't want to risk my luck trying to get a table when it opens in Hong Kong.


As a matter of fact, the restaurant opened in Hong Kong today and I felt I cannot delay any longer.  (This is why this review jumped the queue...)  A few of my friends are already asking when are we going... and my response was "N-O!".

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Via Tokyo

One of the hottest desserts place in town serving Japanese soft serve.  Most locals who have a sweet tooth have most likely been here.  For those who haven't been yet, what are you waiting for?  (These places are the reasons why I have the itch to move to Hong Kong island sometimes...)


Hung's Delicacies (阿鴻小吃)

There are only 2 ways to get me to write about a restaurant I tried immediately: (1) I was really impressed; (2) I was really disappointed.  Both under the condition that I had time.  Hung's Delicacies is definitely the former.

Look for the shop with the biggest crowd.
That's them.  Guaranteed.

The Chairman (大班樓)

Instagram is dangerous.  When you see fellow foodies posting pictures of delicious food, you immediately want to pick up the phone and call the restaurants for reservations and IM your friends all at the same time. 

Braised Spare Ribs with Preserved Plums in Caramelized Black Vinegar

Friday, July 18, 2014

Afternoon Tea - The Lobby @ The Peninsula

So after all these years, I finally went for the afternoon tea at the Peninsula. (What took you so long?)  I'd say it's more about the experience than the food itself and I can finally say I have crossed it out of my bucket list.


Little Bao

If you want to find unique fusion food in Hong Kong, Little Bao is the place.  (However, Soho is expensive I wouldn't lie!)


Friday, July 11, 2014

[Hong Kong] NUR

I think NUR has earned it spot to kick off 2014 for me!  (Yes, I am all caught up with all my 2013 posts and I am fully aware that it is July 2014 already...)


We went in May 2014 after the restaurant is opened to the public for just about a month.  We tried to go earlier but that's the first weekend my friends and I were all in town and available.  It wasn't until we had confirmed everything that we remembered it was mother's day weekend!  I am so glad it worked out in the end...  

(Side note: we even ran into Fanny Sieh (薛芷倫) and her daughter who were enjoying her mother's day dinner.  She is very pretty in person.  She did look like she had a plastic surgery but I did some research online and found out it was a side-effect from a drug she had to take when she was battling cancer.)


NUR is unique as it presents an interesting dining concept - nourishing gastronomy - that not many restaurants in Hong Kong has explored.  To read NUR's vision, click here.  All of us were very impressed with all our dishes.  Thank you Chef Nurdin Topham for a wonderful meal.  We can't wait to return (probably in the fall)!


The interior décor is simple and bright.  There is even an outdoor sitting area.  I can totally see patrons requesting those seats when the weather gets cooler.

We were there pretty early but as the night progresses,
the restaurant is packed!
The outdoor seating area

There are two (2) tasting menus offered - the "Light" and the "Feast".  I was really worried that I will still be hungry if I choose "Light" but our server recommended the "Light" menu since it's our first visit.  There is also a wine menu for wine lovers :)  The price isn't really that bad for dinner in Central at a reaturant this caliber.  (If you need more convincing, Chef Topham did R&D at NOMA’s Nordic Food Lab and spent years honing his culinary skills at the various outposts of Michelin-starred Chef Raymond Blanc.)

I heard the "Tomatoes" dish is to die for... time

Our amuse bouche "wow" us immediately.  How can vegetables taste so good?  My favorite was the carrot.  It was very, very sweet and slightly crunchy.  I have no idea how the tiny carrot can packed in so much flavor!  (and I am not even a carrot person to begin with)  The beet root chip is outstanding as well.  Again, it's crispy and full of flavor.  My only complain: why is there only one piece for each of us!??  The cucumber was the least memorable of all but still refreshing to the palete~

(Right to Left) Beetroot crisp with watercress emulsion,
Carrots with cumin yoghurt and carrot powder,
Nasi pear and cucumber
One of our friends does not eat cucumber
He was given a green apple instead
Nasi Pear and Cucumber

We were also presented a shot glass of konbucha infused with Jasmine.  Although I have heard quite a bit about this hipster drink lately, it's my first time drinking it.  It's a little bit sour and bubbly.  You can smell a hint of Jasmine.  Overall, I like the taste but I probably won't be brewing this at home... LOL!

One of my friends got all hyped up when it was brought to us.
Click here to find out why.

(Don't deny, you totally over-reacted... LOL!)

Our first course was the Oyster.  It's a Gillardeau with a warm cucumber and wasabi form. It - was - so - delicious!  Packed with flavor and yet so delicate.  The foam brought out the umami of the oyster and I keep salivating just thinking about it.  Although it was only one bite, the flavor was so strong that it lingered in my mouth for a while~ 

What I failed to take a picture of is the cucumber pearls hidden beneath the oyster
So clever!  
We had some really picky eaters for the night.

We told our friend he TOTALLY missed out on the oyster!

Good thing we have told the restaurant the long list of the "NG"
ahead of time and everyone is happy :)

I have forgotten what he had.
I had a bite of it but it paled in comparison to the Oyster.

Next up was the Salmon.  When the menu said "smoked", they meant it!  It pairs very well with the salmon, which was poached (?) very gently.  It reminded a dish I ate at a French restaurant where the chef called it "minute of salmon", only this one was smoother and more flavorful.  The salmon really did melt in my mouth.  Bravo!  The plating of this dish is very simple.  I wish they can do something different though.


The Salad came next.  The menu simply labeled it as "Zen garden vegetables".  What it didn't say is that it came with 22 different vegetables!  Everything is edible including the silk of the baby corn, and the flower.  Every ingredient seemed to be treated separately - some cooked and some raw - before it was tossed together so the flavor is unique.  You can enjoy every separately or combine it at your will for a different flavor combination.  In addition to the corn, I found the fennel and the parmesan crisp most memorable.


Although this next course is called the "Egg", I am not sure if the "Mushrooms" should really be the star of the show. The aroma of the mushrooms filled the room before it was even brought to our table.  I love mushrooms but I never knew they can smell so good.  (We think the aroma was from porcini.) I also love they have a variety of mushrooms in the dish.  My favorite is the Shitake mushroom (花菇).  The creaminess of the Japanese Taiyouran egg worked really well with the whole grains and the garlic chives sauce was a good accent.

A perfectly sous vide egg

If I had any thought on dinner #2, it vanished after the sour dough is brought to our table.  Sour dough is difficult to make as a start.  It's even harder to make in the humid Hong Kong weather.  So we were very pleased with this sour dough.  Perhaps the mushroom in the Egg dish was so intensed, I couldn't take the mushroom in the butter.  It wasn't a big deal for me though as I was mopping the eggs with the bread.


Chicken was next.  I really love this dish.  Everything worked for me.  The chicken is juicy yet crispy.  Very tender and perfectly seasoned.  I especially loved the seaweed coating in between the roulade.  The cauliflower is the best I had since Girl & the Goat. The black dallop of sauce was so good I wish I had a bottle of it.


Unfortunately, the dessert was a let down. I guess after having a series of dishes that was packed with flavor, I was looking to end with something either very light or very heavy.  Part of it is probably my fault.  When I see a chocolate dessert, I usually expect it to be heavy.  Although I love the orange and chocolate combination, the sorbet was too light for me.


On the other hand, I think my friends who don't eat chocolate lucked out on their desserts.  This dessert was a great palate cleanser.  I only stole a bite and it was very refreshing.  If I was offered the choice again, I would have totally gone for this one instead.


3rd Floor, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2871 9333
Hours: Mon-Sun 6:00 pm - 12:00 am
Attire: Dressy
Reservations Required.


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