Monday, May 25, 2009

Reposting...


I'll be doing a few reposts from my old blog - not everything, but just things that I particularly enjoyed and/or are a bit different and still relevant. If you've been reading my old blog, thank you so much for your support and please bear with me, and if you're haven't, welcome, and enjoy.

Sheung Wan "Secret" Noodle Corner


N.B. This is an post from June 2008 from my old blog - thought I'd repost here as I keep recommending it to people. I went the week after I had some amazing ramen in Tokyo and it certainly measures up. It's really no secret anymore, especially to those who live/work around here.

Well it won't be a secret much longer, because the ramen here is seriously good, but hopefully it won't become too packed, because the location is kind of obscure - but still close to another noodle-haunt, Kau Kee.

I've been here a few times now, and have stuck with the basic shoyu and 'salt' soup bases, both milky and fairly opaque, with no additions to the basic cha shyu (the Japanese variety), egg etc, apart from wakame (seaweed). All have been great, no msg in the soups (if you've been in HK long enough you'll know what a relief this is), bouncy noodles with an almost elastic quality, and tender + tasty char shyu. the cold ramen is great for summer days too. They don't do takeout because they say that the quality won't be as good if you let it sit around for too long - which I get, and I like that attention to detail - but maybe they could just separate the soup and the noodles? Just a thought, coz I don't like lining up... But I will anyway, because I dare say that this is the best ramen I've ever had in HK. (Apparently their tofu ice cream (if i remember correctly) is a winner too, but I've always been too full to have dessert...)


Yachiyo
8 On Wo Lane (down the steps from Homeless on Gough St, or just up from Kau U Fong)
Sheung Wan Moved
3/F Soho Square
21 Lyndhurst Terrace
Central
Hong Kong
+852 2815 5766

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Swine, pig, H1N1, it's all tonkatsu to me: Part II

While waiting to go to the famed Tonkichi, my tonkatsu cravings brought be to another place about 300m away, also in Causeway Bay, called Butagumi. It's been called a cheaper, but worthy contender of Tonkichi. I gave them a call about an hour before I intended to arrive and was told that they were fully booked, but that I could try and walk in, because they usually have a few seats reserved for last minute people like me, yay.

Got there and was told the dining tables were full, so would I mind a bar seat? Nope - it looked comfortable enough.

The customary sesame


Swine, pig, H1N1, it's all tonkatsu to me: Part I


So we finally made it to the place that probably tops the "Days to book ahead" restaurants list. We booked around two months ago for a weekday booking. If you're the spur of the moment type, fear not, you can still get in if you line up for like, an hour. They have a branch in Tsim Sha Tsui which isn't as bad booking-wise, but this is the one people rave about so here we were.

On an (almost) summer's day...


Post Art Fair, we went to the new-ish Vero Chocolate Lounge, hidden on the first floor the Servicemen's Guides Association at Fenwick Pier, better known for its pier-side restaurant, The Quarterdeck Club. (Seriously there were no signs until you get to the miniscule lift)

It must've been like 30 degrees C, and we took a bit of a detour because there weren't pedestrian crossings and we had to find all those confusing overpasses - in short, there was a lot of walking in the humid Hong Kong heat.

The lounge looks great - huge windows overlooking the harbour (though there's a lot of reclamation work going on, sigh), see-through kitchen where you can see the chefs at work, and tables a comfortable distance apart, which meant there weren't many of them. By the time we got there we had the choice of an outdoor table (noooooo!), a park bench lookalike or the white marble bar. We took the latter (marble was nice and cool to lean against haha) and ordered a cold chocolate each. Food-wise there isn't much, except some chocolate tasting platters and muffins.


3 basic layers: 'normal' hot chocolate (still warm if you don't mix it around), topped with slushie-like choc granita, topped again with whipped cream. The raspberry cold chocolate (which I had, right) was really no different from the normal one (left) except for the intensely sour raspberry sprinkles on the top, which cut through the richness nicely. Though the normal cold choc was more fun with popping candy on top, hehe.

A little note about Vero: they've been around for quite a few years and were, as far as I know, the first artisan chocolate makers in Hong Kong. They started off as an online business, selling their collection as well as doing personalised/corporate/bespoke orders. They are now sold in a few physical retail spaces as well, including Lane Crawford, Hong Kong's (arguably hipper) version of Barney's/BG.


Vero's 5th anniversary limited edition chocs - very cut up (forgot to take a pic before, sorry), with flavours by chefs from various high-profile restaurants in Hong Kong, courtesy of my good friend :)

Vero Chocolate Lounge
1/F Servicemen's Guides Association (enter from Fenwick Pier St, go straight in the little door beside the stairs and take the lift on your left, you should see a sign there that says "Vero")
Fenwick Pier, 1 Lung King Street
Wanchai
Hong Kong
+852 2559 5882
closes at 6pm

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Little Sweet Valley - Xiao Tian Gu

That is, by literal translation, the name of the dessert place I went to last night, Xiao Tian Gu. It's actually named after the owners, whose last names are Ku, which can mean valley. A couple of them are in the movie/entertainment business and are, for lack of a better word, famous, which would be the lazy and easy way to explain the fact that it was busy on a Tuesday night, but there's another reason - a lot of the dishes were actually good.

A quick disclaimer - my aunt, who I went with, knows the owners and we got a hefty discount, but since I didn't have to pay either way (my aunt would have been paying even if we didn't have the discount), there was no financial incentive for me - as there never is in this blog anyway.

Ok, so a quick word about Hong Kong-style desserts. As with a lot of local food, it's low-brow fusion. There are traditional Cantonese-style sweet soups, then there are western & Japanese influences, all of which are evident at this little place in burgeoning foodie desti Tai Hang/Tin Hau.


Tofu fa with Japanese red bean - nice and light, and although the Japanese red bean wasn't of the highest quality, it tasted just fine - not too sweet, and were still a little firm to the bite, unlike Chinese-style red bean that would be cooked to a paste.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dining with views


Qantas's Travel Blog included my tweet in their 'Dining with views' feature. Aw, thanks guys, glad you liked my tip.

The article was based on a question they sent out on Twitter:
@qftravelinsider it's that delicious time again... question: your restaurant pick with the best views? (can be anywhere) #foodfriday

to which I replied:
@e_ting imo HK's skyline is one of the best views in the world - Lobby Lounge @ InterCon or Aqua Luna junk boat (or a private one).

I felt I had to reply because 1. I love Hong Kong's skyline (as you can tell from the picture to your left) and am really proud of it despite the light pollution; 2. too many people would automatically suggest Hutong, which to me, is utterly overpriced and has unforgivably bad service (though Aqua Luna also belongs to the same owner - I think the junk at least makes it a more unique experience); 3. visitors to Hong Kong aren't often aware that the best (and most iconic) view of Hong Kong is looking at Hong Kong island from Kowloon side.

That's a lot of justification for a little tweet, but anyway, thanks again Qantas. Nice for an ex-Melburnian to be quoted on an Aussie website :)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Burgers in my living room


You know how people usually have a big landscape print/painting above the sofa in their living room?

I want this to be my picture:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Pretty picture



My first plate of the 'morning' (read: 1pm) - dessert
Sunday brunch buffet at Kitchen, W Hotel Hong Kong

Fabulous photo courtesy of my dear friend

Monday, May 04, 2009

Hunan Part II


Between Zhangjiajie (see Hunan Part I) and Disney-fied ancient town Fenghuang lies another town named Furong (芙蓉), less crowded, and less "glam", but still touristy. But among the tacky silver and machine embroidered purses they try to pass off as hand-embroidered, there's a good reason for stopping by, and that's for their not-so-humbly named restaurant, which I'll go on about below. But for now, here are some street snacks we had...


Friday, May 01, 2009

The Drawing Room reviewed by Time Out HK


Time Out Hong Kong
are extremely efficient when it comes to reviewing new restaurants. I still remember looking at their Island Tang cover in dismay - the day the magazine came out the restaurant had only been officially opened for one day (or something like that). Though not quite as quick as I thought, but still pretty speedy, is their review of what is probably the hottest restaurant opening in town since Cepage - The Drawing Room, replacing Opia at JIA boutique hotel in Causeway Bay.

No real comments from me re their review, as I haven't been yet (will be going later this month - woot woot!), but as an exec summary, they gave it 4 out of 6 stars (same as what they gave Cepage), loved the decor and the reasonable wine mark-ups, but weren't wowed by any one dish, though all were above par and not disimilar to Aspasia's repetoire. Curiously Kay (the writer) calls Aspasia "one of Schuller's old stomping grounds" - I was under the impression that he was exec cheffing in both locations - perhaps they know otherwise?

Since the opening was announced, bookings filled at lightening speed, cluey bloggers got to it, and there was talk on Chowhound in no time. Someone (handle MWJTJ) has already reported having tried their trial menu and thought it was "really really good", and Siu Yeh has given it a 10/10!

The review is here and a previous blog post about it is here.