Friday, December 31, 2010

My favourite Hong Kong food posts of 2010

Pugsley, my first roast suckling at Manor, April 2010

Obviously I would have liked to read every single HK (and Macau) blog post about food, but I'm only human (damnit) - I'd love to know what your faves were!

Third time, but still no charm - Diary of a Growing Boy
Everything by Wok with Nana (ok, it's not a single post - so I cheated, bite me)
My Weird Noodle Habit - Shin Ramyun, Egg, Cheese & Potato Chips - Mochachocolata Rita
Ta Pantry: J'adore - Eat Love Write
Cafe y Taberna - Food of Hong Kong & Macau
KC隨想﹝II﹞:談吃 - KC賞味隨筆
Duecento Otto 208 - Life as a Bon Vivant
Sun Tung Lok Chinese restaurant - an expensive pile of abalone (3*) - TomEatsJenCooks
Bistecca *** - Sher.eats (pictorial - this post from Feb is sadly the last post on this eye candy buffet of a blog!)
Lactose intolerant - Back on the Boat
Four-hour rhapsody at Yin Yang - Back on the Boat
our weekend in pictures: fish tails and a fish tale - aroma y sabores

Monday, December 20, 2010

The good junk - Lan Fong Yuen

Think Chinese Nando's
Lan Fong Yuen is/was one of Hong Kong's most famous daipaidongs - I say was because it's now spawned two permanent stores*, and only a couple tables occasionally on the street. The classic green cart is still there though, complete with stools on which people used to squeeze themselves for a 3.15pm milk tea. (I don't know why exactly but 3.15pm (or "3-o'clock-3" - 3 o'clock and the long hand on the '3') was always known as afternoon tea time in HK).

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Queue and eh? - Butao Ramen

Let's start with the good:
How beautiful is this onsen egg?
Gooey but set yolk, like thick, wet clay; whites cooked and not runny... It could have been good.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Boo Boo Bo - Bo Innovation

Alvin Leung's (in)famous molecular xiaolongbao

Does Alvin Leung or his restaurant Bo Innovation need any introduction? Well if he/it does, I'm not going to do it here. Just Google him or something.

Despite being one of Hong Kong's most famous chefs (especially on the international stage), it wasn't till recently that I mustered up the courage to throw some good money at one of his meals. I'd read enough about his molecular doo-da and frankly, was ambivalent. But of course I was curious.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Taichung - Hassen (Ba Qian) medicinal spicy hotpot

Pretty snazzy sauce station, hey?
This post is from my trip to Taichung, so it's way way way overdue, but I have to get it up because it's one of those things that no-one's really heard of but I think everyone needs to try.

Mala, the numbing spices common in Sichuan and central China, and loved in Taiwan, is pretty common in hotpots. You've probably had it before. But mala hotpot with medicinal herbs? That's definitely news to me. So when we saw it on the menu at this super sleek hotpot restaurant, Hassen (or in Mandarin, Ba Qian), we just had to try it.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

More on dai pai dong

Dai Pai Dong / photo from RTHK
Right after my previous post on municipal cooked food centres (where I kind of tell you to forget dai pai dongs for a second), guess what I'm going to talk about? Yep. Dai pai dongs. It just so happens that as I was asked earlier today about when the Central dai pai dongs (currently closed as the area is under refurbishment) would reopen, I came across this pretty good TV documentary on the revitalisation of dai pai dongs and hawker centres in public housing estates (another semi-alfresco HK dining phenomenon). Unfortunately it's all in Cantonese (with subtitles in Traditional Chinese), but here are some interesting 'did you knows'.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Time Out Dining Awards 2010

This year, there were 20 categories - Brunch, Burger, Cafe/Coffee shop, Cheap eats, Chinese, Curry, Date, Desserts & Sweets, Dim Sum, Japanese, Pizza, Southeast Asian, Splurge, Star Chef/Creativity, Steak, Vegetarian, View, Wine selection, Best new restaurant, Restaurant of the Year - each with a winner, an "almost famous" award and a peoples' choice.

I was lucky enough to be part of the panel of judges - so whaddya think of the list?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

North Point Markets - Clay Pot Indian and Tung Po

Tandoori Chicken at Clay Pot

We in Hong Kong have recently been talking a lot about heritage and 'collective nostalgia'. In the world of food, that's meant age-old recipes, classic restaurants and possibly above all, dai pai dong. The Wiki link on dai pai dong gives a pretty good overview of what it's all about. They're called "dai pai" (lit. big sign) because, back in the day, they graduated from illegal hawkering to getting a proper licence (a "big sign" that they would display in the stall). Fast forward to 2010, and most of these have disappeared. Even the ones near Graham Street market in Central, which have probably had more press than all the others combined, have temporarily closed for refurbishment - after which they'll probably look like botoxed concrete. No doubt an idea from that bright bunch we call our government. Anyway, I digress (again). What I wanted to get to was, apart from dai pai dongs on the street, many DPDs had, at some stage in the past 30 years, been moved into what we call "Civic Centres". These are municipal buildings that often include a wet market, municipal offices, theatres, a public library (sometimes) and a cooked food centre. The wet market and cooked food centre components were moved into such buildings for better/easier sanitary (and possibly administrative) control. Prior to their moves, they were street markets, and - you guessed it - dai pai dongs. However, as more of these buildings were built, there were simply more spaces for eateries, hence this common, but less-talked-about proliferation of market restaurants. There are tons, and I've blogged about one of the most buzzed about of late, ABC Kitchen, so here are two more - one petite and relatively unknown (Clay Pot Indian), and the other, a market superstar (Tung Po), both in North Point.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Not so shining - Spring Moon

This used to be one of the finest dim sum experiences in HK. Nowadays, the food doesn't seem to be the focus - don't get me wrong, it's still ok, but for the price, I'd go to Fook Lam Moon any day. (If we paired FLM food with Spring Moon service, I'd be in dim sum heaven!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fettucine, Chinese style - Yat Woon Min

Pork cartilage braised in soy and grapefruit/yuzu sauce on wide noodles

The title says it all. These al dente ribbons are about 2cm wide and go awesomely with a range of rich sauces/toppings, from the classic zhajiang mian (spicy mince, or what I call Chinese spag bol) to pork cartilage cooked in yuzu sauce (think yuzu marmalade). For offal fans, there's plenty of that too. If you're looking for comfort food, this is it. In case you think it's a bit "dry" (us Cantonese often like our noodles in soup), they're always served with a bowl of slightly milky-coloured, peppery pork soup - more like a light consommé, though it's not to everyone's taste.

Friday, August 13, 2010

e_ting's Hong Kong list

I'm now keeping this list updated on the e_ting in Hong Kong page - check there!

If you've ever called/emailed/tweeted me about where to eat in Hong Kong, here's more or less the list you would've seen. I've copied and pasted it here, with a little more detail added. I'll try to update as often as possible/relevant. Note that I've tried to keep my notes short to keep it an easy to read 'list', but if you want more details, just ask. Links will take you to addresses either in Openrice, one of my previous posts, or to my Facebook photos (usually with notes of some sort). (And I haven't had time to link everything, so please do a search on Openrice).

As this list is intended for visitors, most places are easy to get to, though not all are on an average visitor's trail. One day I will split them up into "easy/not so easy to get to", but until then...

To reiterate: this is a work in progress. Am I an idiot for having left something out? Tell me - comment away!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Taichung - biking (or fooding?!) in Fengyuan

The purpose of the trip was to go biking, so in case you were wondering whether I came close to a pedal at all - I did, and it wasn't when I stood next to one of the many bike racks in town. Actually we went on a proper bike trail in Fengyuan (豐園), a small township about 30 mins out of Taichung city by train.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Short and sweet - Riquiqui

For what seemed like the longest time, Hong Kong had only one dessert bar, Sift, that served "western" desserts - i.e. not HK-style mango puddings, black sesame sweet soup, tofu fa, or even Hokkaido milk puddings etc., but it seems this year is seeing a couple of new contenders to Sift's monopoly. Recently opened are private dessert kitchens Riquiqui and Club Palette, the former offering a three-course dessert-only prix fixe, and the latter, wine pairings.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Alfresco, Hong Kong style - Sing Heung Yuen

Beef and macaroni in tomato soup

People ask why us Hong Kongers eat tinned tomato, instant macaroni and bicarb-marinated beef together. Like yuen yeung (coffee + tea + milk), it's an acquired taste, but it's just so Hong Kong - it's a feeling, a collective nostalgia that even the most talented wordsmith would be hard-pressed to describe.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Taichung - Chun Shui Tang, the birthplace of Bubble Tea

Of course, when we were planning this trip, the task of researching places to eat fell into my hands, and after some digging, I came across 春水堂 Chun Shui Tang (nb. this is standard pingyin/romanisation, not the pingyin they use in Taiwan), said to be the teashop that invented bubble tea (or boba). Who would've thought?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Taichung - Caffeine Fix at Orsir

The Taiwanese are passionate about their caffeine - there are tea shops every three steps, and coffee shops probably on every second street corner, some of which are sadly Starbucks, but there are treasures like Orsir amid the blah.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Taichung - Street Eats

Lu shui from Da Lu Tong, Fengjia night market

Before I left on this trip to Taiwan, it had been around 4 months since I'd left Hong Kong. Now, Hong Kong is a fabulous place, but for an incorrigible plane hopper, it'd been too long. When friends asked if I wanted to go to Taichung to go cycling, I immediately said yes. (Cycling? Me? Yes. I was that desperate to get away, I would have said yes to a marathon... well, maybe not, but you get the point).

For me, Taiwan's all about the street food. I know there's Taiwanese cuisine, and nouveau kaiseki-style eateries popping up all over, but eating streetside - that's what it's about to me.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's all in the family - My dad's Beijing tips

While I was stuffing my face and consequently trying to work it off on a bike in Taichung (<< click on Taichung for more on that...), my dad and one of my uncles joined Facebook and both decided to add me. I guess that's what long weekends do to people.

So finally today I checked out my dad's profile page. He actually posted status updates... about food! One of which I shall post here - I'm sure he's happy to share...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hot coals, hot pots - Tai Fung Lau

I have a thing for tradition and old-school. Recently I've been trying to visit more classic dining establishments in Hong Kong - the kind that in-the-know families have been going to for decades, but would never even consider if you asked them for a recommendation. It seems weird, but of my favourite sources to ask is one of my aunts who works in the film industry. By no means is she the oldest of my aunts (in fact, she's probably on the young side), but possibly because she's always on the lookout for innovative places to film, and is a bit of a foodie (runs in the family), she knows a lot of tucked away nooks and crannies.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Safe, but not always sound - TBLS

Probably one of the hottest private kitchens in Hong Kong right now is TBLS (or Tablespoon), opened by Que Vinh Dang, ex of Duke's Burger. I had to book about a month in advance to nab this Thursday night booking, and I hear its popularity still hasn't quite waned. Is it worth the hype?

Amuse bouche - pork rillette

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Milky Way - Farm Milk

No, there isn't a farm on the moon (yet, as far as I know), but it's certainly far out. Past the Chinese army barracks in Shek Kong, Yuen Long (which are a bit of a spectacle in themselves, though none of us dared to take photos!) is a dairy farm, where fresh milk is produced, right in Hong Kong. (Found thanks to @coffeemeow's tip). We didn't see any milking, but did spot some goats...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Market French - ABC Kitchen

French onion soup

I have to thank my lucky stars that I met Eat Love Write's ever so clued in author, who brought me to ABC Kitchen, a French food stand in Sheung Wan's Queen St. Market. Prior to this I'd never even known this market existed, let alone that ex-chefs of M on the Fringe (now temporarily closed while they find a new location) had opened an eatery here.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Keep it simple - Fusion Gourmet

Back in the day when Hong Kong magazines were still considered part of a relatively healthy media diet, I read an article by the celeb Singaporean Chinese food authority-slash-writer-slash-notorious old flirt Chua Lam, who said that his ideal restaurant would be one that served high quality fresh produce cooked simply, but expertly and without fuss - perfectly grilled steaks, skillful stir-fries, controlled pan sears etc., in a utilitarian environment of marble-topped tables (chosen for their easy-wipeness and durability rather than 'prestige' as a material - much like the marble-topped tables in kopitiams in Malaysia/Singapore), decent lighting and so on.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

All hail - The Chairman

Chairman, a new-ish Cantonese restaurant in Kau U Fong (in "NoHo", where you'll also find this), dishes out old-school, high-end food with a modern day 'Chinese gourmet' twist. It's quickly become the Chinese hotspot of late, and hence extremely hard to book - try calling 2-3 weeks ahead - but it's worth it. I'd go back just for the shao xing crab in an instant.