Friday, December 05, 2014

25 Plus Plus: Sun Wah Cafe

Egg tart at Sun Wah Cafe
If you want to know what 25 Plus Plus is about, click here.

I don't get out to Cheung Sha Wan much, but if I needed a reason, Sun Wah Cafe 新華茶餐廳 would be a good one. Their egg tart is one of the best flaky ones I've had in Hong Kong. Baked in-house, the trays sell out almost as soon as they reach the front of the shop, so you're almost always assured of a warm one.

Friday, November 21, 2014

25 Plus Plus: Cheung Hing Coffee Shop

As you might know, I've been writing a column called 25+ for the South China Morning Post's 48 Hours Magazine for a while now. The column features one restaurant a week that's over 25 years old. Basically I go in and ask old-timers (where possible), or second, third generation operators about the past, present and maybe future of the restaurant.

The column is pretty short, and sometimes I get really interesting stories and details from the interviewees that won't all fit into the column, so I thought I'd share my notes here, instead of having them sit in my notebook as illegible scribbles... Hope you enjoy them as much I enjoy speaking to these folks. I'm filing these posts under 25 Plus Plus.

This is an extension of the 25+ column about Cheung Hing Coffee Shop.

The lovely refurbished Cheung Hing Coffee Shop, on the ground floor of a beautiful building built in 1950; expensive car illegally parked outside. So Hong Kong.
Just a couple of years ago, Cheung Hing Coffee Shop 祥興咖啡室 was a rundown cha chaan teng that people wanted to love but just couldn't, because the food was awful and the place was falling apart. When I called to schedule an interview, the lady in charge wanted to make sure I knew it was under new ownership now - indeed I did, and I was desperate to know the story. Some of my favourite stories for 25+ have been small businesses taken over by people with a vision - it's heartening to know that Hong Kong's heritage will not die out completely in my lifetime.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Don't Trust Food Blog Reviews (and Reviews in general)

Oh hey, look, a sensationalist title. (Edit 21/11/2014: If you read it and went, "oh yeah, of course, I agree" and can't be bothered to read the rest of this post, shame on you for not realising the obvious issue in my use of the title (ie. you are reading a food blog) and I beg of you, save yourself some embarrassment and jump to "media literacy" issues below).

Let's take a step back from that title - I don't mean all media and all bloggers - I just needed your attention*.

If you're reading this post, I'm guessing you spend some time on the internet. Perhaps you read blogs, follow some folks on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. No? Well, at least you Google right?

Some websites/blogs/magazines are now "reviewing" almost exclusively about free meals. I have a problem with that. In Buzzfeed/Huffingpost/2014 internet style, let me make a listicle. (Yes, a rant is coming. Reader beware.)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

NUR - More Than Bearable Lightness of Being

Oyster - NUR Feast menu, June 2014
(Sorry about the punny title. I couldn't help it... #notsorry)

This is going to be another one of those posts with photos collated from several meals at NUR, which I currently have a restaurant crush on.

NUR is completely different to anything that's available in HK. It's not solely "organic" for the sake of it, and although often touted as "new Nordic", it's not a wholesale import, or carbon copy (thank goodness) of nouveau Scandinavian/Noma-esque cuisine.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Ho Lee Fook - Where is Chinese Food Going?

Wagyu shortrib with green shallot kimchi, jalapeno puree, at Ho Lee Fook
Yes, yes, the restaurant's name is intentional.

That's basically what Ho Lee Fook is about - tongue in cheek, not too serious, funky Chinese food. It's not a throwback to Chinatown Chinese (like Fu Lu Shou), but I'd say its an example of the evolution of Chinese cuisine.

#crazyhashtag40HKDaDay and an easy way to be a food volunteer in Hong Kong

#crazyhashtag40HKD dinner, $20
A few of us food-loving people who like to call ourselves #crazyhashtagfoodies decided to try spending no more than HK$40 a day on food. This is around the amount that those below the poverty line have to spend daily.

Us "foodies" are the type of people who spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about what to eat for our next meal, rather than worrying about if we'll have a next meal at all. I'm saying this not to boast, but to emphasise that we're the fortunate ones. Hong Kong has the greatest gap between rich and poor in the world, and that fact does not make me proud of the city I was born in.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Introducing the Sizzle & Fry Show


Just a quick one to say that I'm hosting a brand new web TV show with chef, F&B pro and Empire Media CEO Jason Black, called the Sizzle and Fry Show. The show looks at issues in the F&B industry in Hong Kong, from reviewer's ethics, the point of organic certification, to staff shortages and more. We have some fun bits like prank calls, cooking and "Up Close and Personal" chats with HK's top chefs too. It's not like most F&B shows where people eat stuff and say "Mmm, yum!" because you need pretty models to do that, and I'm clearly not a pretty model.

Here's the first episode on reviews and reviewers, where we have Adele Wong (HK Magazine), Johannes Pong (fabulous freelance reviewer & more), Susan Jung (SCMP) and Kelvin Ho (HK Epicurus blog) answer our questions about how they review, what it's like in HK and how they think it should be done. One of my favourite topics as you might have noticed.

You'll find the rest of the episodes (full shows) on Empire Media's website or on the Youtube channel. You can also keep up to date with new uploads (every Thursday) and other news on the Facebook Page. Feel free to comment and send us feedback!

A HUGE thank you to wonderful ethical, sustainable clothing e-retailer A Boy Named Sue for my amazing outfits and Hollywood Hair for my hair and make-up!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Carbone - Old School Birthday Feast

Veal parmesan at Carbone
The jetsetters among you will know that Carbone is a cult New York restaurant. There, it's had mixed reviews, and when I tweeted about it opening in Hong Kong, I immediately got replies about how expensive it's perceived to be. Plus, I've learned to be wary of "big name" restaurant imports into HK these days, so I didn't expect much of Carbone, until some trusty pals went to check it out - in general they had pretty good things to say, so I put it on my to-try list.