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.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Inner Mongolia: The Experience (5): The Food

Finally, no post from me is complete without talking about the food.  (You really think I would miss this, huh?)

I miss the milk, the blueberry soft serve, fresh lamb meat, and all the local dishes I tried there.  I will never look at lamb and mutton the same ever again.

If I can choose one thing and one thing only from this trip (food-wise),
this would be what I missed the most.

Inner Mongolia: The Experience (4): Meeting the Locals

We met a lot of great locals during our trip.  First and foremost, our drivers and guides on this trip. They took great care of us during our entire stay in Inner Mongolia.  We didn't have to worry about a thing.  I can't say it enough that a good driver is very important when you are planning a trip to Inner Mongolia.  Not only they are your driver and guide, they also pick your accommodations, restaurants, etc.  They are your person when you are there. Without them, we probably won't end up in Qi Qian and we probably won't enjoy ourselves as much in Inner Mongolia.  Thank you!

Mr. and Mrs. Cheong
If you want to contact Mr. Cheong for his service, click here!
(Sorry, his website is Chinese only but his wife can assist.)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Inner Mongolia: The Experience (3): The Picturesque Mongolia

During my one week trip in Inner Mongolia, we have definitely see a lot of beautiful places.  Basically, you pull out your camera, take a shot, and it will be postcard ready.

One of the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my life

Seorae (喜來稀肉)

This is one of my most frequented restaurants in the past 3 months.  I have to admit the food is good and service is decent.  You come out smelling like barbeque yourself every single time yet every one of my friends seemed to love it.  (Nevertheless, I would appreciate if I can take a break from Korean BBQ...)


Shrimp Paste Chicken (Har Cheong Gai / 蝦醬雞)

It is World Cup season and what's better to watch the games with some deep fried chicken wings and frozen beer! 



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