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Guava is getting crushed, again





Updated: 2018-03-06T05:18:45.279+11:00

 



Lake House, Daylesford

2010-07-22T13:37:22.496+10:00

Over the recent holidays, we rented a car and drove down to Ballarat, and then took a further 45 minute drive to Daylesford, where we quite possibly had our best meal in Melbourne yet. Lake House Restaurant is part of the Lake House Hotel, which is a luxury hotel/spa (accommodation costs about 500 bucks a night there). The restaurant is run by Alla Wolf Tasker, whom some of you may know from the recent episode of Masterchef. The hotel has numerous awards, including Regional Accommodation of the Year, Australia’s Best Spa Restaurant, Best Hotel/Resort Dining, Best of Award for Excellence, and also most importantly, The Age Good Food Guide’s Two Chefs Hats. We got there early for our 630 booking, and hung around the lobby. The hotel manager was also kind enough to let us know the password for the hotel’s wi-fi access. We studied the menu while waiting. Our options were either a 2 course meal for $69, a 3 course meal for $85, or a degustation 12 course for $125. We decided that we’ll go with 2 courses first with the option of getting dessert later depending on how things were going. We were eventually seated and found the restaurant to be very warm and cozy. On to the food! Now, we’ve been to fine dining restaurants a couple of times before, and understand that the amount that we usually get isn’t too much, but Lake House blew us away in terms of the amount that was served to us. Before our entree appeared, we got a complementary amuse-bouche. This is a mini cup. It may look like a normal sized teacup, but it is not. Which is an appropriate size for an amuse-bouche. The soup was creamy and silky, and tasted a bit like dhal (the ones you get in roti canai). It also warmed our souls up, which was especially good for the cold day that it was. And then the entrees. For her: 5 Tastes from the Sea. From left to right, Kinkawooka Mussels Mariniere, Oyster Jelly, Tuna Sashimi with Pickled Cucumber and an Asian Salad, Snapper Ceviche, and Crystal Bay Prawns Tempura Style with a Chilli Aioli. I had the Oyster Jelly all to myself. It was a fresh oyster embedded in jelly, and really tasted as if it were from the sea. Nibbled a bit on the tempura as well, and certainly way better than the food court tempura prawns. I also had a bit of the snapper ceviche (fresh fish marinated in citrus juice – the acid cooks the fish), which was also excellent (Denise said it was awesome!). For me: Lake House Charcuterie Plate: ‘Birds of a Feather’. I sort of knew what a charcuterie plate was – bits of ham and pate on a plate, but the amount that I got astounded me And for an entree as well! My dish came in 2 separate plates! The container on the right was a Duck Parfait, which was the only thing I didn’t like about the dish. It was sweet and too sour, and it didn’t appeal to me. The container on the right was Duck Rillette in an Elderberry Jelly.  This was really good. Just like pate (I love pate), it went really well with the toasted brioche (the slices of bread in the middle). And there was quite a lot of pate as well (about as much as a tin of tuna, which is actually quite a lot!) And the other part of the dish. From the top, and moving clockwise: Boudin Blanc with a Lentil Vinaigrette, Chicken Galantine with some Remoulade underneath it, and a Quail Egg Salad with a confit of Gizzard.  Every individual component of the dish was really good and really satisfied me. This is truly a dish for any meaty person. For the amount that I got, it could very easily have been a platter to share for 2 people. Next, the mains. For her: Pork. This came to the table with a cover on it, containing a ‘light smoke’ i.e. steam with the multiple scents of the dish infused into it, and when the cover was removed, you could smell all the different tastes of the dish. The 2 chunks of meat on top is the Brined Loin, underneath them which you [...]



Shira Nui

2010-07-15T15:35:05.932+10:00

I went to Shira Nui sometime in February, using my birthday as an excuse to spend some money on omakase, which I have had been waiting to try for a long long time. We had to take a 40 minute train ride to Glen Waverly to get to the restaurant. Basically, omakase means that you let the chef decide what to serve you. It also means that you have to be prepared to pay a lot. You get 2 pieces of sushi each serve, and each sushi is about $4.50. Up to about 9 courses in total, depending on the time. There are 2 options for dining in Shira Nui. You either choose to sit at the counter, which means you’ll be having omakase, or you sit in the dining tables, where you can order a la carte. Unfortunately, because this was a while ago, I have forgotten the names of all the sushi that I was served. I did keep a record of the names, but then lost the record when my phone had to be reformatted. Thus, all I have are pictures and some vague impressions of how the meal was like. So the first course was this. Some form of white fish on sushi rice, with a sprinkle of sea salt and a dash of lemon juice. You will notice that I put there ‘no soy’. What this means is that the chef will decide whether we are supposed to add soy to the sushi or not. This course, being the starter, does not require soy.  To be honest, I think this sushi tasted rather bland to me, and would like to have put some soy onto it. This is the seared salmon, which was totally awesome. I think it was a ‘no soy’ sushi, but I cannot be certain. Seared on the outside, rare in the middle. Really really good. This might have been a ‘soy’ sushi. I loved the taste of mackerel, and it went very well with the sushi rice. Seared wagyu beef. I did not think that this was very spectacular. The seared beef tasted like good seared beef, but it didn’t work for me on the sushi rice. No soy. Soy. One of the more interesting selections of the night. Not sure what ark shell is, but this was quite good as well. The star of the show. Seared maguro steak. As you can see, just like the salmon, seared on the outside, perfectly pink in on the inside. Delectable. I liked this one as well, but can’t really remember much about it. Oyster with mayonnaise. I loved the oyster, but remembered that the mayonnaise had a funny texture to it that I did not quite like. The last course, and my absolute favourite. Also the most expensive as well I think ($9 per piece). And a complimentary dessert. Fruit with fruit sorbet. A nice way to round off the meal. Final thoughts: The food wasn’t the most spectacular I have had before (I think more than half of the sushi were excellent, however, I’d have hoped that everything was excellent), however, the experience was certainly worth it (especially having watched episodes of Anthony Bourdain having omakase in Japan and New York). Sitting at the bar and watching the chefs make sushi from scratch (not only ours, but for the a la carte tables as well) was an experience to savour. I would like to say that I’d love to go back again, but I don’t think I’m willing to pay that much for this meal again. I’d return for the a la carte, however. [...]



Horoki Casual Dining/Bar

2010-03-08T20:42:07.814+11:00

This place is severely (with emphasis added) recommended to those people that like to try a lot of different dishes and share food between small groups people. This quirky little restaurant is located on Liverpool Street, and is not that big (only seats 27 people), so groups of 2, 3, or 4 would be perfect. Anymore would be pushing it because you won’t have enough to share between everyone anyway. The dishes are semi tapas-like, but the dishes are slightly larger.   There were only 2 other people in the restaurant when we got there, so the atmosphere was excellent. Comfy, cozy, quiet, comfortable. On to the food. This daikon salad was yummay (aye!)! The daikon had a potato chip texture (crunch!), and although it certainly didn’t taste like potato chips (in fact, by itself it didn’t taste of anything at all!), the sesame seed and soy dressing perfectly married together the daikon, seaweed, and the sashimi. Then we had a scotch fillet steak. The specks of green that you can just make out (not the bok choy) are wasabi. There’s also some fried onion there as well. The meat was tender and succulent, and I loved the mushrooms. The mushrooms just go ‘pop’ in your mouth and you get a huge flavour explosion of mushroom. Another excellent dish. Octopus in garlic butter. Eaten with the bread on the side. The dish was sizzling when it came, and garlic butter sauce went very well with the bread, which was toasted to perfection. And then we had some stuffed chicken wings. Looks like normal chicken wings, but they have been deboned and stuffed with gyoza, like a dumpling. A very very interesting combination, and works very well with the soy dip provided on the side. It was like eating a chicken wing and a dumpling together. And finally dessert. Green tea ice cream was very good. 2 big scoops of it in a cup with a strawberry on top. And I loved the panna cotta, except for the fact that there could have been more of it. As you can see, it’s barely half the cup. Still, it tasted very good, especially with the jam. Pricewise, slightly pricey, but not too bad. The dishes were on average about $14 each, each chicken wing was $3.50, dessert was $4.50 each, and in total came up to about $30 each for the 2 of us. In terms of amount, I could have eaten more though. Perhaps if I had the foresight to order a bowl of rice (which I’m not even sure whether they have or not) I would have been much better off. Horoki is truly a gem of a find and I cannot believe that I’ve never heard about it before. [...]



6-Minute Egg

2010-03-07T01:26:11.113+11:00

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This was my breakfast today, consisting of kabana, half a loaf of garlic bread, salad, and a 6-minute egg, with some cracked black pepper sprinkled on top.

What’s a 6-minute egg? It’s an egg with the white part near the shell firm (but not hard), and the closer you get to the yolk, the white gets softer and softer until you get to the soft and runny yolk. Its technique is described here, on the Voltaggio Brothers’ website.

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At first, I thought I had failed and had obtained a hard boiled egg, but lo and behold, just like the description, the white was firm on the outside, but softer and softer as you get closer to the middle. The yolk flowed out like a golden river once I cut into it. Its texture was almost silky and it went extremely well with the garlic bread.

This was definitely a success story, unlike my previous attempts with poached eggs, and I will surely make it again.




Lin Heung

2010-02-14T14:02:09.439+11:00

This will be my final Hong Kong post. It is also written in 2 parts; the 2nd part came about because I actually went back to this place again on the day before I left Hong Kong. Part 1: Lin Heung is another restaurant that Anthony Bourdain went to but I only found that out after going to it. My friend (from London) said that her guidebook recommended this traditional tea house and we could go and try it out. Sure, I replied, expecting just another random dim sum/yum cha place. How wrong was I. The first thing that struck when we got in was the hubbub and the clicking of teacups and teapots (watch Anthony Bourdain and this statement will mean even more to you). My friend immediately declared, “Okay Jian Wey, you’re in charge here!”. The first thing I did was to order tea. The guy rattled off the names of a number of different teas, and I randomly picked out one of them. There’s a story to tell with the tea here but I forgot to take a picture of it and it is very hard to describe without the picture. Suffice to say I didn’t want to show my ignorance and just agreed to whatever the waiter said but ended up drinking the tea out of the cup using the wrong method. I asked the waiter whether we should just wait for the lady to push the cart by us, or to actually go and get it ourselves. He said that we could wait, but I could just go straight to the source and get it (which I did, thankfully, because by the time everyone was done getting what they want, anything that gets pushed by us had only things that people didn’t want). The ladies wheel their carts right to the door of the kitchen, and the guy stacks up a number of baskets onto the carts, and then the lady wheels them out again. The moment she gets a new batch, a lot of customers get up from their seats and surround the lady to get first pick at whatever they wanted. I had to randomly open those dim sum baskets to look in them and pick what I wanted, as the ladies just shout out the names of the dishes in chinese and I had no idea what they were. I remembered that in the show (even though I didn’t know that this was the same place at that time), Anthony Bourdain’s guide went straight to the kitchen to get some har gao. Thus, I decided to head over there too, and happened upon a lady who was receiving a fresh batch of dim sum baskets. I ended up getting shouted at by the lady because I was taking too long deciding what I wanted and kept asking her what each individual thing was. When I turned around to go back to the table I realised I was blocking 4 other carts behind me and nobody else could get to the food. Haha. Not many pictures of food though. The situation was too stressful, but eventually I recovered my wits to take a few pictures. I took this because this was familiar to me. Spare ribs are spare ribs. I took this because this was unfamiliar to me. I still have no idea what it was. Had the consistency of fat, but I didn’t think it was fat. My friend didn’t dare try this though. Still, I thought it was very good (because felt like fat). This is not a char siew pao, but a pork and yam bun. Its a bun with a slice of yam and a slice of pork (which, thankfully, isn’t 70% fat) in it. Like a sandwich. I randomly picked this from the dessert trolley. We decided that it had toffee in it, but it literally just had a tiny miniscule drop inside the bun, and the rest of the bun was just, bun. More toffee (or whatever it was) would have been very welcome. Other things that we had were char siew pao and siew mai (their siew mai was very good). Didn’t see any har gao (actually, my friend commented that we didn’t see a single prawn based dim sum), which was quite unfortunate. The food here was certainly very good. Other people also ordered dishes in addition to their dim sum. I’d say the quality of the dim sum is nearly (only nearly) that of Tim Ho Wan, [...]



Hui Lau Shan Healthy Dessert

2010-02-08T17:22:18.993+11:00

This is where I get what I call ‘dessert in a cup’ (it didn’t sound too impressive to my friends at first).

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This is also a shop that you can find everywhere around Hong Kong city. You might even find 2 shops in the same locale.

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They sell a number of different drinks which are all variations of combinations of mango, coconut milk, sago, crystal jelly, aloe, and other things. The main ones would be mango, coconut, and sago.

An example would be this.

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Compared to this.

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And this.

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I liked the mango in mango juice best.

The mangoes very fresh and sweet, and the drinks are extremely refreshing after a good meal, or perhaps on a very hot day.

Highly recommended.




Hong Kong Street Food

2010-02-07T18:36:01.897+11:00

This is a compilation of the street food I had in Hong Kong. Usually, most of these can be obtained from the same stall, which is around nearly every corner around the city area, which all nearly sells the same thing. However, there are variations. This is ‘siew mai’. Not the kind you get in yumcha/dimsum places, but the street food kind. Apparently its made from fish (not pork). They dip it into soy sauce before giving you the skewer. It was very tasty, but I was not impressed (don’t like processed fish meat). A skewer of ‘ngau zhap’, which basically means ‘a mix and match of pork stuff’. I got this during my first week in Hong Kong, and I think this was during one of my first adventures looking for food alone in the busy city of Hong Kong. Was very pleased with myself. This is basically flour batter (like waffles). Translated into baby chicken eggs. You eat it just as it is. No toppings. Tasty, yet, plain. Not my kind of thing. Fills you up but leaves you unsatisfied. Still, very popular in HK though. The above 3 items you can find at any random street stall that sells these kinds of things. An example of variations that I mentioned would be here, where they only sell the innards, but don’t sell gai dan zhai and other stuff. Another variation would be at this other stall in Jordan. The popular dish at this stall seems to be the chee cheong fun. Its basically the same thing as this, except without the filling (although, in that picture, the quality of that dish is way above the average version of that same dish elsewhere). This version of the dish is eaten with peanut sauce, sweet sauce, and soy sauce, with a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top. In KL, we have a very similar version as well, except in KL they don’t give the peanut sauce and the soy sauce. This was very good (I came back later at 9.30pm and they were sold out on this). I normally don’t (never) order this in KL, but being in HK, this was very very satisfying and yummy. The chee cheong fun above can be eaten alone, or with accompaniments such as deep fried tofu, brinjal (aka eggplant and aubergine) , and other things as well. Supposedly, the deep fried vegetables should be stuffed with processed fish (what we call Yong Tau Fu in KL), but this shop sells it as it is (without the fish). It was still very good though. They also had deep fried dumplings. I came back the next day looking for more chee cheong fun, but they were sold out as well. I then left HK the day after that. If there is one regret that I had in HK, it’s that I didn’t get my second serving of chee cheong fun. [...]



Da Bin Lou (Steamboat)

2010-01-30T23:56:34.742+11:00

I had a steamboat dinner with my relatives one night in Causeway Bay. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the name of the restaurant as I took this picture in a haste (there was a lift full of people waiting for me to get on). Steamboat in Hong Kong is really different from that you get in KL. For one, its held indoors in an air-conditioned restaurant (there could be air-conditioned ones in KL that I don’t know about, but I don’t eat steamboat much). Before you start, you have to choose from an array of sauces. This is placed on the table, and you have to scoop up whatever you want into your own bowl before they bring the hot pot to you. So I grabbed whatever I could recognise and scooped them into my bowl. And because it’s my first time having a HK style da bin lou, I also opted to have the soy sauce separate (people just mix everything together into the bowl) because I thought I’d like to enjoy some of the food without having too many sauces interfering with the flavour. I eventually mixed them up anyway. Self-explanatory soup base (this particular one cost HKD30 more than the others I think). Fish skin to be eaten on its own, or to be dipped into the soup before eating. Didn’t sound like it would work, but surprisingly it does. I preferred it dipped into the soup. Chicken in wine. Served cold, but can be dumped into the soup to warm it up/cook it more. Make small scoops of this and drop it into the soup, and you’ll get squid balls. “What happens if I put the whole thing into the soup?” I asked. One of my favourites. Very nearly my favourite. Needs more colour. Fish head was good. To be put into the soup to enhance the flavour of the soup, and can also be eaten afterwards.   Not a fan of liver. Also needs more colour. Self explanatory. Ah. Fish paste on a plate. You squeeze it out into the soup and you’ll get noodles. Ah. Tongue. My favourite. Had 2 plates of this when I eventually discovered that the entire meal was a buffet. Quite enjoyed this, especially when dipped into the sauce (the one at the beginning). Would like to have actually tasted this, but it takes a while to cook even in the hot soup, and it shrinks, so by the time you want to (and can) eat it you can’t find it anymore. Char siew pao! Now this is different. They actually have char siew inside those mini buns (not really buns) which have to be cooked in the soup as well. Not too nice though, didn’t think there was enough char siew. Self explanatory.   I like fish. I think that’s about all we had. We had multiple of some dishes though. A very good experience. [...]



Mak Mun Kee

2010-01-30T09:21:54.847+11:00

This is my vote for the best meal I’ve had in Hong Kong (Australian Dairy Co. would be a close second). It also happens to be right beside Australian Dairy Co. as well. Which means you can get 2 spectacular meals with only 1 bus ride without the need to walk at all. Mak Mun Kee is a similar shop to Mak’s Noodle Ltd (but they are not the same shop), i.e. they are famous for their wonton noodles. Both places also have other things such as beef brisket noodles and the like. What’s different is Mak Mun Kee is also famous for their pork trotters. I actually read about this place about 2 weeks ago, when I was looking up Australian Dairy Co., and although it had good reviews as well, I dismissed it because it was ‘just another noodle place’. The decision to come to this place came about when I was rewatching that episode of Anthony Bourdain (and discovering all the things about Wong Chi Kee and Lin Heung (post yet to come) after I went to those places) and one of the places he went was to have beef brisket noodles (Long Kee in Mongkok). So I was trying to look up that place on the net and I read one comment that said that the best beef brisket noodle that that person had ever had was in Mak Mun Kee. (Anthony Bourdain actually came to Hong Kong twice. He went to Mak’s Noodle Ltd on his first trip here (as I mentioned in that post), but on his second trip here, he went to Long Kee.) And since I still haven’t actually had proper beef brisket noodles in Hong Kong yet (the one from Mak’s Noodle Ltd was unspectacular), I decided that I had to try out both Mak Mun Kee and Lung Kee. I asked for their english menu just to be safe, but I already knew what I wanted. Beef brisket noodles and pork trotters. I read somewhere else that they use nam yue sauce to make this (something grandmother also uses), so the taste wasn’t unfamiliar to me, but it was just damn good! It was not too tender yet not too tough or tendony (I’ve had those where the tendons get stuck in between your teeth). There were 4 fairly large pieces in the bowl, and I shared it with the guy who’s jumper you can see peeking out above the trotters. And their beef brisket noodles (we each had one bowl). Wah. So good! And they even have some tendon in it as well. SO GOOD! The tendons were so tender, and the beef was very good as well. “This made my day,” my friend declared. Mak’s Noodle Ltd can’t hold a candle to this. And neither can Long Kee, for that matter. No fight. I take back my statement that the sauce from the beef brisket interferes with the clear soup of the noodles. The noodles need the beef brisket in them to make them spectacular. Being the greedy guy that I am, I came back another day, and polished off the same whole bowl of pork trotters by myself, had a bowl of beef brisket noodles (damn good!), and because I liked the tendon so much, I ordered another bowl of beef tendon noodle. This time, its all tendon and noodles. You can also see the other (finished) bowl of noodles at the top corner. Absolutely amazing. Worth flying all the way to Hong Kong for. [...]



Long Kee

2010-01-30T01:42:26.784+11:00

This is the shop in which Anthony Bourdain had his beef brisket and tendon noodles in his programme. My friend and I did the long trek from Jordan (after Mak Mun Kee, which you’ll hear about next) all the way to Mongkok looking for this shop.

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It’s run by the 3 bodybuilder brothers, one of whom you can see walking towards the front of the shop in the picture there.

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I looked through the menu looking to order what Anthony Bourdain did (I think he had some spicy beef brisket and tendon noodles), but the only spicy thing on their menu was the spicy beef tendon noodle (no brisket), and there wasn’t a brisket and tendon option (well, at least not on their english menu).

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I ordered the spicy beef tendon noodle in the end while my friend had the beef brisket noodle (no picture of that).

Maybe we were just too full, but this wasn’t spectacular like Mak Mun Kee at all. Oh granted, the tendon was good, firmer than Mak Mun Kee, but I prefer the less firm version. The soup was also a tad spicy (the kind that doesn’t actually taste spicy at the beginning but you are very likely to choke on it) for my liking.

A celebration of muscle and tendon?

Maybe not.




4 Season Pot Rice

2010-01-28T19:28:48.398+11:00

When it comes to food, if I like something a lot, I’ll have to go back to it again at least once (this is evidenced so far by Australian Dairy Co.).

So I liked the rice pot a lot, and thus I had to go back to it again. This time however, I (we) went to the shop right beside Hing Kee.

4 Season Pot Rice (this is the name of the restaurant, and this is the one that Anthony Bourdain actually went to (yes yes, him again)).

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This restaurant has a long line of people waiting to get in.

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This time, I had salted fish and chicken. The chicken was good, but I didn’t particularly like salted fish.

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Vegetables.

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And oyster pancake again. This was way better than the one from Hing Kee. But its still not fantastic though.

Note to self: don’t order oyster pancake anymore, but do go back and eat claypot rice again and again and again and again.




Wong Chi Kee

2010-01-28T11:12:18.110+11:00

I shall write this post from 2 perspectives. The first one will be what I felt and thought when I was there at that time, and the second will be what I feel and think now that I have more information about the place. PERSPECTIVE 1: The final meal that my friend from Melbourne and I had together, after the roast goose, milk tea and kaya toast, some Teochew kuihs that he had, the fish head and tomato soup, and some egg tarts, was in Wong Chi Kee, which is opposite Yung Kee where we got the roast goose from. From the menu, I gathered that this place is famous for its noodles. The menu outside was promoting their Fried E Fu noodle heavily, and, wondering what ‘E Fu Noodles’ was, I decided that I was going to order that (it was more expensive than their other noodles. My friend was deciding between their wonton noodles, and some other thing, before settling on their noodles with shrimp roe. This tasted good and everything, but its just ‘Yee Mee’. We get plenty of ‘Yee Mee’ in KL. I don’t like ‘Yee Mee’. I almost never order it. Why did they have to charge more for it? Nothing too special. And this is what my friend had. I think his guidebook said that this was the dish to get. The noodles were a bit different from your usual noodles that you get in the wonton noodles, and the shrimp roe provided an interesting flavour to it. I preferred it the way it was, but my friend thought it was a bit dry so he mixed it with the clear soup that came together with the dish. Would I have ordered this? Not really. Nothing too special. PERSPECTIVE 2: ARGH! The handmade noodles with shrimp roe was the exact same dish that Anthony Bourdain had in his episode (except that he had it at the shop of the guy who actually makes the noodles)! He also described this as the ‘perfect noodle’, as handmaking noodles is a dying art (that particular scene is one of the most moving scenes in the whole episode). And he had the noodles mixed with LARD! Not clear soup! LARD! ARGH! To think that I had the perfect noodle without even knowing it was perfect, and thinking it was just a ‘nothing too special’ dish! ARGH! Apparently, this shops buys the noodles from the guy who makes it (his restaurant is in Tai Po, called Ping Kee, I think). Would I have ordered that dish if I had know about it? YES! I would also have asked for the bowl of lard as well. ARGH! [...]



Sing Kee Dai Pai Dong

2010-01-27T23:37:59.569+11:00

One of the places that I wanted to eat at in Hong Kong was in some dai pai dong. I heard Anthony Bourdain say that in his programme (yes, I keep referring to him because his Hong Kong episode is the only guidebook that I have) that word, so I came here wanting to go to a dai pai dong without really knowing what the word actually means. It actually just means ‘hawker stall’ and we get plenty of that in Malaysia. Oh well. I was fortunate that one of the people that works in the hall where I’m living now agreed to bring me to this dai pai dong in Central. I certainly would not have dared to go to it myself as I wouldn’t know (can’t) what to order there. This is one of the last few dai pai dong’s available in Hong Kong as most of the places have been relocated into market complexes. This place is also recommended by the white bearded guy, Choi Lan, that I mentioned before here. I think that rectangular sign below the shop’s signboard says something about him. The both of us had 3 dishes with rice. The moment I tasted it, I knew that I was in for a treat. Good honest food. Very tasty. It’s like good home cooked food, with more oil. None of this dishes are new to me, but its just that being in Melbourne for nearly one whole year and not having decent chinese food was a bit of a pain. This place reminded me of what good chinese food is supposed to be. We had all 3 dishes with rice, which was hot and fluffy, and as close to perfect as you can get, but my camera refused to focus on the rice, for whatever reason, so I don’t have a picture of it. I came back another day with my friend from Melbourne, who actually had a proper guidebook (I think he even had Choi Lan’s personal guidebook), and we shared this bowl of fish soup with rice. He was saying “Oh my parents will be so jealous that I got to come here and they didn’t!”. This is basically a very similar soup to the Fish Head Beehoon dish, except without the noodles. Again, the one thing that struck me when I first tasted this dish was how honest it is. That was the exact word that popped into my head. Oh, and I just found out that Sing Kee was voted Best Dai Pai Dong by Time Out, a local magazine. They didn’t give it a high rating for cleanliness though. Which, I suppose was deserved. There was a rat just a metre away from me as I was waiting for the soup. [...]



Tsim Chai Kee

2010-01-27T12:41:33.042+11:00

I did eventually go back to Mak’s Noodle Ltd for their proper wonton noodle (because I said that the beef brisket that I had with the noodles the first time I was there interfered with the noodles too much).

However, there was this shop directly opposite Mak’s that caught my eye.

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Tsim Chai Kee is also a restaurant that’s been heavily reviewed on the net.

It’s a restaurant similar to Mak’s, except with a better looking interior decor, and they sell their noodles for half the price, and twice the size of Mak’s (seriously). This fact alone put’s it above Mak’s for me.

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Trust me, even though it looks exactly the same size than Mak’s, its bigger. The wonton was also bigger, and had succulent prawns.

If I had to compare between the 2, then Tsim Chai Kee gets my vote for its price and size.

But in conclusion, I think that wonton noodles in its pure form (i.e. the yellowy egg noodle in clear soup with wontons) just doesn’t do it for me. Its just too bland. I need something like roast pork or roast duck in it to provide the flavour. Something like this. I guess the beef brisket noodle that I had in Mak’s was the better choice after all.

I don’t think I’ll be having wonton noodles (in its pure form) anymore during my time in Hong Kong.

Oh, I now (after having gone to Mak’s twice and Tsim Chai Kee once) also think that both Tsim Chai Kee and Mak’s is overrated.




Lan Fong Yuen

2010-01-27T00:13:12.717+11:00

After our roast goose with rice, my friend wanted to go to this place famous for its milk tea.

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As you can see, they have a lot of newspaper and magazine reviews on display there for people to see.

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One of the pictures there features Choi Lan. Choi Lan (I call him the white bearded guy) is a celebrity food critic that appears on TVB (I think). He’s very popular, and even has his own food guidebook(s). My grandma watches his programmes, and on my first night in Hong Kong when I was at my grandaunt’s place, she was watching his program as well. I guess he’s like the chinese Anthony Bourdain. Except Anthony Bourdain lets other people bring him to restaurants, but Choi Lan recommends restaurants to others. If you go to a place and you see a picture of the white bearded guy, then it must be good (because if it wasn’t good then he wouldn’t have gone there in the first place).

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Now, this milk tea is supposed to be different because the make it in a stocking (hence the word ‘mut’), and my friend said that it was much smoother than normal milk tea. I couldn’t really tell the difference. And the stocking is what people at home in KL make teh tarik with anyway.

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Unfortunately, I was attracted by the picture of the kaya toast that they had on display and ordered that as well. Its like french toast, with butter and kaya in between. I thought there was more butter (I got rid of one whole chunk to the side as well) and I could hardly taste the kaya.

Conclusion. Ok ok only. So so. ~ ~




Roast Goose at Yung Kee

2010-01-26T14:08:52.052+11:00

Goose was one thing I needed to have in Hong Kong. So I was sitting in my room on a Saturday morning, wondering what to do with myself till the afternoon (I was going to meet up with a different friend), when my friend from Melbourne who’s in Hong Kong at the moment as well messaged me on MSN and said “Oh you’re online! I’m going for goose in central. Do you want to come?”

Of course I did.

You don’t search for the great meals in life. You put yourself in a position, and in places, where they may be more likely to happen to you.

So said Anthony Bourdain (no he didn’t come to Yung Kee).

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I don’t know what Yung Kee is famous for. It’s in my friends’ guidebook(s). Apparently they serve dishes whose (is this the right usage of the word ‘whose’?) recipes’ are long forgotten.

If you eat inside the restaurant, you have to order at least half a goose for a very expensive price. But you can get a takeaway box for HKD35, which is what we did.

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We found some steps near the restaurant and ate there instead.

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And how was it? Forgettable. Not nice and boring. Meat was tough.

Certainly not as good as the goose that Bourdain had in his show. That was “worth flying all the way to Hong Kong for”.

This isn’t.




Lamma Mandarin, Lamma Island

2010-01-26T01:48:49.003+11:00

Basically, the purpose of my trip to Hong Kong for my electives was for food. Thankfully, there are another 2 elective students here (from London) who came here to travel and sightsee. All I had to do was to tag along with them for the travel and sightseeing bit, and just eat whatever that comes along. So last weekend we took a ferry to Lamma Island (Hong Kong has a number of outlying islands and Lamma Island was one of them). We landed at one pier, then did the 1.5 hour walk to the other pier and had a seafood dinner there. The walk was pretty interesting (up the mountain and down again), and we dragged it over 3 hours so that we'd reach the other side in time for dinner then ferry back to the main Hong Kong Island. It was good because I did not have to make any travel plans; all I did was just follow along like an obedient puppy. =) Lamma Mandarin is one (actually I think it might be the only one) of the restaurants recommended in my friend’s guidebook, so of course we had to go there. We did a set meal for 3 for a total of HKD330 (it was actually a set meal for 4 for HKD380, but they were quite flexible). No photo of the restaurant, unfortunately. =( Fresh steamed prawns. Supposed to be dipped in chilli and soy sauce. Neither of them ate prawn heads so I had them all. Steamed scallops with lots of garlic, spring onions, and flavour. Very tasty. Yes, I also ordered a bowl of rice to go with it, and no they did not take my rice away before the fish arrived (inside joke). The fish. It looks dead but is actually steamed. They did not fancy the head, so I had that too. Deep fried squid. Anything deep fried is generally very good. Fried rice with fairly large prawns in them. To make you full if you’re not already. And the vegetables. I love stir fried veges. Very good food and very good company. It was the perfect ending to a very well planned trip. I do have some pictures of the island walk, but that might or might not appear somewhere some other time. [...]



Australian Diary Co.

2010-01-25T11:52:25.242+11:00

Australian Diary Co. (not sure if its really from Australia) looks to be one of your typical char chan teng’s around Hong Kong that serve their Hong Kong style breakfast all day. Basically a variety of eggs cooked different ways with some form of toast and some form of meat (ham luncheon meant, sausage, etc), macaroni in soup with meat as well, milk teas, coffee, stuff like that. What’s so atypical about Australian Diary Co. is that its really famous for its scrambled eggs and even has a facebook group dedicated to their eggs as well. And I love eggs. This place was recommended to me by my friend who said that its a very popular place amongst the locals and there always is a queue lining up into the place. A quick look on the internet confirmed what she said, and also mentioned that due to the long queues, the waiters in the restaurant are actually quite rude and chase you away as soon as you finish your meal. So feeling slightly apprehensive (the menus were all in chinese as well), I took a bus to Jordan, got off and quickly found Parkes Street, and walked to the restaurant, prepared to line up and wait. Surprisingly there wasn’t a queue at all, and I got a place immediately (sharing with 2 other individuals who were there each by themselves as well). The waiter was also quite friendly and I’m pretty sure was telling me a joke, but as I did not understand what he saying, I nodded and gave him a smile. Looking around me, I could see a variety of dishes that people were having, from sunny side up eggs with sausages, fried eggs (not sunny side up) and ham, scrambled eggs and ham sandwiches, to macaroni soups with luncheon meat. I described to the waiter that I wanted scrambled eggs (chao dan) in between 2 slices of bread in cantonese, and he took that to mean that I wanted a scambled egg sandwich, which is exactly what I wanted. I also asked for some form of milk, which they were apparently famous for, and thankfully he knew what I was referring to immediately. Hot or cold, he asked. Hot, I replied. The milk arrived first. Its like steamed eggs, except that its milk. Like the texture of the egg in egg tarts. It was a new thing for me, and was fairly good as well. And then the star of the show arrived; their scrambled eggs. This picture just does not do the eggs justice. It was soft and fluffy eggs, perfectly seasoned (maybe a tad bit saltier; but just a tiny tiny tiny bit, which is the way I like it!) cradled in between 2 slices of pillow soft bread. Deelicious! Yummmmm. Just look at the eggs. A bit yellowy, but blame my camera for that. The milk and the sandwich came up to HKD31. I also found out that at different times of the day, the eggs comes with different forms of bread. Later in the afternoon/evening, you get the eggs in a sandwich, like what you see above. Earlier in the day (breakfast/lunch), they come with a slice of toast. I liked the place so much that I went back a week later and got the eggs with toast. It was so good that I had 2 of these. HKD13 each. If you are an egg lover, then you simply have to come to this place. [...]



Squid balls and seaweed hor fun

2010-01-25T02:19:14.492+11:00

I met up with my friends in Causeway Bay 2 weekends ago, and had dinner at this stall that was famous for their hor fun with squid balls and seaweed. I don’t have a picture of the shop, and I also don’t know the name of the shop.

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There were actually a lot of other options up on the wall, but everything was written in chinese, and although they had pictures I had no idea what they were. All 6 of my friends ordered this so I ordered this as well (I’m not usually a fan of hor fun soup).

It looks pretty bland, and actually tasted pretty bland (even the soup; I expected the soup to have more taste, but it was actually quite tasteless) that I was looking for soy sauce to go with it (there was no soy sauce available, only vinegar, chilli oil, and sesame oil).

And then I dug around in the bowl a bit and found that there was quite a lot of seaweed in it.

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Eaten with the seaweed, the noodles tasted way better. I guess it was probably intended to be this way though. Also, the squid balls tasted very fresh as well. Much better than the squid balls that I buy from the Asian grocery in Melbourne.

I didn’t like it very much, but I would actually go back again if given the chance (probably not though).

I don’t think I appreciated it enough the first time round, and a second go would probably do it more justice.




Lap Mei Fan

2010-01-24T16:32:57.592+11:00

I enjoyed the Rice Pot at Temple Street Market so much, that when I met up with my friends (from Australia) the next day in Causeway Bay, and they ate in some Hong Kong restaurant that sold steak with supermarket french fries and mixed veges (peas, carrots, and corn), that I decided to not eat there and went by myself to this other restaurant that I walked past earlier in the day instead.

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I cannot read chinese, so I don’t know what its called.

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Basically, they sold rice in pots as well, but steamed (rather than cooked over charcoal, I think).

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And I got this for HKD38. Not that cheap, but way cheaper than the steak at HKD90.

That’s random preserved meat on the rice. The 2 different kinds of chinese sausage. and the 3rd meat is pork I think, not too sure. Again, soy sauce on top (but no lid to cover it with this time).

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It also comes with a bowl of soup.

A very excellent meal again. Way better than crappy steak.

I love rice in pots (just not in KL).




Insides of cows and pigs, Temple Street Market

2010-01-23T23:29:21.459+11:00

This is the other part of the meal that I mentioned in the Rice Pot post at Hing Kee Restaurant. Basically, as we were walking into the restaurant, on the opposite side of the road, I noticed that there was a crowd gathering around a small lighted area in the generally quite dark alleyway that the restaurant was in. I thus walked closer to have a look at what was going on. Now, there are plenty of similar places in Hong Kong that sells these things. Cow and pig organs on skewers, boiled in either hot water or some soy sauce broth/stock thing. This was the first one though, that actually had a crowd gathering around it and also a queue lining up for it. Therefore, it must be good. Even my friend and her family confirmed that this stall is generally better than the other stalls out there, although they could not give me a reason why. Maybe because its situated in a dark unlighted alleyway, in a stall that has no signboards whatsoever. Either way, I love this stuff. And thankfully, my friend’s family did too. Many people look at it and go “Eww”, but I can assure you that its good, albeit and acquired taste. I don’t really understand why pomelo skins come together with the pork skins. Not that you can tell them apart by looking at them anyway. Maybe they want to cheat buyers. So I ate quite a bit of this before the Rice Pots arrived, and it did get quite yucky after a while. I don’t think I’ll have anymore organs while I’m in Hong Kong. [...]



Hing Kee Restaurant, Temple Street Market

2010-01-22T13:33:43.955+11:00

Anthony Bourdain’s programme, No Reservations, had an episode on Hong Kong, and one of the places he went to in that episode was Temple Street Market for claypot rice. Therefore, claypot rice at Temple Street Market was a must go for me. Going alone was a bit of a problem though, as there are a lot of shops selling claypot rice there, and I didnt’ know which was good. Fortunately, last week I able to meet up with my friend and her family who happened to be going there anyway for, you guessed it, claypot rice. Turns out that this Hing Kee Restaurant has about 5 or more branches around that Temple Street area, and they all have the same menu and sell the same things. There was also another bigger restaurant that was beside this particular Hing Kee, that already had a huge queue outside it. When I do go back the next time, I’m going to try that other restaurant. There’s plenty of choices for you to pick from with regards to what you actually want in the with the claypot rice, ranging from HKD18 for some basic things like Beef with Rice Pot to HKD45 for things like frog legs and eel. I went for one of the more basic ones. Beef and Spare Ribs with Rice Pot for HKD23. As you can see, I had already put some soy sauce onto the dish. According to Anthony Bourdain’s guide in that episode, you put the soy sauce, then close the lid to let it steam for a bit before eating it, which is what I did, and which is what none of my friend’s family did. Ah, I felt so much more knowledgeable than them then. Just kidding. Because her whole family was there, we also had oyster pancake and some vegetables. As you can see, its actually oyster egg fried so that it comes out in pieces. But its not so good. Oily and greasy. The vegetables were not too bad. I like vegetables. There is also another part to the meal which shall come in a separate post. For now, I must declare that it was an excellent dinner, and I love the Rice Pot, although I generally don’t like the KL style Claypot Rice. I plan to go back again for more Rice Pots before I leave. I must also thank my friend and her family. Good bye. [...]



Wang Fu

2010-01-21T01:32:35.493+11:00

So I went back to Mak’s Noodle Ltd on Monday and had the proper noodles with the wonton. It was better than the first time there, I must say.

Anyway, after that we decided to go to Wang Fu, a dumpling place that was just a few shops away from Mak’s, after reading a review on the net saying how good the place was. The review recommended the Mutton Dumplings, and also the Tomato and Egg Dumplings, which I would not have ordered had I not read that review. So we ordered 5 each of those 2, and also 5 Pork and Chives Dumplings.

And the conclusion? Not so good.

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This was okay. Good, but boring.

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This was also not too bad. The mutton flavour really came through.

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This was not good. It wasn’t bad actually, but just uninspiring and lacking in flavour. The tomato was just diced tomato, and the egg was like bits and pieces of random scrambled eggs. The reviewer had no idea what he/she was talking about. Fail.

I won’t come to this place again. Not because its bad but because its boring.




Mak’s Noodle Ltd

2010-01-17T00:17:04.520+11:00

One week ago, on my first Saturday in Hong Kong (my posts aren’t exactly in chronological order), and with nothing to do, I decided that I needed to go to the city area a bit and look for food. Considering that the purpose of my visit is for food, I had to have something that was unique to Hong Kong, and not just some chain or franchise. A random search on the net had me reading some reviews of this place called Mak’s Noodle Ltd. So off I went, after consulting Google Maps. I took the bus to Central, then had to look for Wellington Street without a map. Eventually I found it, after walking one whole circle, when I could’ve got there a full 15 minutes earlier. Mak’s Noodle Ltd has been reviewed quite a bit on the net, and has its own wikipedia page. It’s famous for its noodles served in small bowls (the same bowls that you eat rice out of). Apparently, the small bowls keep the noodles from going soggy. It’s name in chinese literally. means ‘Mak’s stingy noodles’. Most of the reviews describe this as the best (or very good) noodles that they have ever tasted. The place also appeared in the Times magazine for being one of the top 3 best ‘hole-in-the-wall’ restaurants in Hong Kong. Most importantly, Anthony Bourdain came here the first time he was in Hong Kong. I actually only found this out today, in a different branch of Mak’s Noodle in Causeway Bay (instead on Central). They displayed this in front of their shop. The address given for the one that Anthony Bourdain went to is the one in Central (which was the one that I went to), but his description in the article about the place talked about ‘jah-jiang noodles’ and noodles being served in plates. Which made me confused. They certainly didn’t have any noodles in plates, nor black bean noodles. Either they had a different menu a couple of years ago, or he didn’t actually come to this restaurant, or he got himself confused with some other restaurant. He did talk about won ton’s though, which is what they do have. So I went in and said I couldn’t read their chinese menu and asked for recommendations and they presented me with an english menu. Ultimately, this is what I ordered. Beef Brisket Noodles, and a bowl of Wantan. Were they the best noodles I’ve ever tasted? Probably not. Would I go back? Actually, yes. In retrospect, I probably should have had the noodles with the wantan, and the beef brisket by itself. The way I did it, the sauce of the brisket messed around with the flavour of the noodles and the soup. The wantan was pretty good actually. Juicy and succulent. But the amount was quite little though. =(. Two bowls of that was just about right for me. Thing is, each bowl costs as much as a bigger bowl in another restaurant. My meal came up to HKD 55. Or was it 58? Can’t remember. [...]



Tim Ho Wan

2010-01-18T00:04:26.477+11:00

I keep getting asked the question “Why did you choose Hong Kong for your elective?” And my reply is “For the food.” Usually I get a blank stare in response, the other person probably waiting for me to come up with a punch line of some sort. But no, really, I came here for the food. Anyway, when I read that the cheapest Michelin star restaurant is located in Hong Kong, I knew I had to go there during my 4 weeks here. The problem was, the restaurant only sits 20 people, and on our first try there, there was a crowd waiting outside the restaurant, and there happened to be a TV crew as well. Oh yes, this is a Dim Sum restaurant. I’ve also recently declared that I’m sick of Dim Sum, and don’t want to go eat Dim Sum anymore, but this was a must-try, and if I had to eat Dim Sum to get to eat in a Michelin star restaurant, then so be it. This was at 7.30 pm on a Wednesday night. We were told to come back in 2 hours time or something, so we did not bother (we ended up eating some steak which cost me HKD 140 (that’s RM 70) that wasn’t very good anyway). So, a week later, I came again with 2 other people, prepared to wait for 2 hours. Arrived at 6. Took a ticket that said 260, and the then current number was 210. The 2 girls went off shopping somewhere while I waited. A lot of people didn’t bother waiting so quite a few numbers were skipped. By 6.50 I gave the girls a call and they came back. If you’re wondering whether it was fair that I stood there for an hour while they shopped, well, all things considered, I didn’t mind actually. The original plan was for them to walk around Mongkok for 15 minutes then come back and I walk around for 15 minutes and just take turns, but I was afraid that they would not have the patience to wait had they come back after 15 minutes. If they weren’t willing to wait, then I would not have been able to eat here. Turns out they found a nice dress shop and I didn’t hear from them until I called them 50 minutes later, so it all worked out well in the end. Plus, waiting to collect my passport in KL was infinitely more excruciating than this. This is a picture of their kitchen. Didn’t get a picture of the seating area, but it was quite cozy and comfortable, considering the amount of people that were packed in the restaurant. Everything is in Chinese so I don’t know which was what. You can also see a smiley face which I drew on the top left corner while I was standing outside waiting. The food did not take long to come. Apparently, everything is made to order. And everything was so good! Also, part of the enjoyment was that I knew that I was eating in a Michelin star establishment, and I was also pretty pleased with myself for being willing to wait an hour to get it. As a result, every dishes’ taste, flavour, and enjoyment was enhanced multiple times. So the enjoyment that I felt is a few times better than the how I am going to describe each dish. For each description that I make, imagine that the food tasted 3 times as good. This came first. As I was preparing to take a picture and was wondering what it was, the congee then appeared. The quality of the dim sum here is really just that much better than most you get outside. As you can see in the picture, the skin is quite thin, and the each ingredient could be tasted individually. Comparing this to the places where you get dim sums with thick skinned, t[...]