Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chowmeet at Hong Zhou (no, not Hangzhou in China)

Cold starters (left-right, top to bottom): blanched pig's kidney; drunken quail; soy (etc.) marinated duck; "chinagreen"; Hangzhou-style 'vegetarian goose'; marinated jellyfish and cucumber; lotus root stuffed with glutinous rice with a honey glaze; tossed black fungus
Pre-Twitter (and sort of pre-Facebook), I stalked foodies on the foodie forum Chowhound, especially on the Hong Kong/China board. Of late, Twitter has stolen more and more of my time, but I was fortunate enough to make some foodie buds back on Chow. Some live in Hong Kong, while others are frequent travellers, and once a year, they'd meet here for some good, er, chow. These meetings were dubbed Chowmeets, and even though I was invited to one last year, I couldn't make it (darned flu), so I have my immune system as well as the gracious organiser to thank for this year's meetup.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eat to Support Japan - Sushi Fuku-suke

Sake and sashimi. Two things people in Hong Kong have suddenly become afraid of after the unfortunate events of Tohoku. The least we can do is help by continuing to consume safe Japanese produce. A blanket "no" is just dumb. I can't believe one of Hong Kong's most 'prominent' food show hosts, Ah So (So-sze Wong 蘇施黃), blatently wrote in her column in popular local magazine Eat & Travel Weekly that people shouldn't eat Japanese seafood at all, because it's just "too dangerous". What utterly irresponsible behaviour.

So I was more than grateful when some knowledgable foodies found out about Sushi Fuku-suke in Causeway Bay, whose owner/chef is from Sendai (and who, as we sadly discovered later, had lost his brother in the disaster), and counted me in for this exquisite and meaningful (on top of the usual curious and gluttonous) night of eating and drinking.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Miele Guide 2011 - Public Voting Opens & Why you should vote

The Miele Guide - Vote Now
Click me!
If you're an Asian foodie, you've no doubt heard of The Miele Guide. And if you're like me, you'd think that this guide, launched back in 2008, isn't quite as representative as it should be, with Singapore's Iggy's and Hong Kong's L'Atelier de Robuchon alternating between top 2 since the guide's inception (remember, that means top 2 in the whole of Asia).

So, a day or two after the whole World's 50 Best thang, you're thinking, "another day, another award". Yes, and no. The difference is, you get to vote for this one. You also get to add to the list of restaurants if the "panel" hasn't included them already. I don't know the stats but I think it's been heavy with votes from un certain démographique*, y'know, plus, I think native votes from Hong Kong have been wildly under-represented. It's time we tipped the scales and ruffled this guide's feathers a little.

There is a selfish ulterior motive though (not so ulterior now that I'm telling you I suppose?). Supposedly they will 'reward' the blog with the most click-throughs some interviews the winning chefs, and there's a gala dinner involved too (where the chefs are supposed to cook for you - but I thought they'd get to take a rest and receive their awards all dolled up and stuff?).

I've done a fair number of chefs' interviews, but they've all been for 'serious' publications and never this blog (where I can - and have - gone crazy and said stuff no editor would ever want to publish). I would love to ask the chefs some really ludicrous questions (ok, the kind PR peeps are probably not going to let me win now... not that I was going to anyway...)

To vote, click the Miele pic in this post, or the banner on the right hand side. Voting closes 16 May [edit] 30 June 2011.

Look, I'm not going to win this click-thru thing, but I'd like to think that we can shake things up, and your 10 votes might just do that.

P.S. Suggestions for ludicrous questions very welcome. If I don't get the chance this time, I might wrangle a few out of someone/somewhere later ;)

P.P.S. Do you find it disturbing that I'm doing this? It's not like Miele's paying me or anything (just to be clear...) 

* The Miele Guide is published by Ate Media, and one of its founders is Aun Koh, aka the blogger Chubby Hubby, and we all know how much they love Iggy's, and Singapore in general... 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Second time (still) lucky - Amber

This is a repost from my old blog, back from Nov 2008. I thought it appropriate to add it today, seeing that Amber has finally made it onto The World's 50 Best list (ranked 37). Oh, it's also Michelin 2-starred - not that rankings and guides mean much. Many people don't feel the same way as I do about this restaurant, but hey, food is personal and I happen have loved it long time.

Amber, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental's signature restaurant, has always suffered from a bad rep. Food and service have been substandard for everyone I've spoken to who's eaten there. I, on the other hand, have been twice in the space of perhaps 1.5 years and have always left wondering why no-one likes it.

Memories of my first time there are now quite faded, but I remember my main course of roast pork was beautifully executed - tender, juicy, in perfectly cooked light pink cubes, served with a syringe of red berry sauce that was more like a freshly pressed puree. A magical combination. From then on I subconsciously labelled Amber as a modern European restaurant with signature berry use (yes, these were the exact words that came to mind that day).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pleasures of the Caribbean - Mandy's Private Kitchen

Fish broth
What do I know about the Caribbean? Precisely nothing, unless you count the stock photo-style images of perfect beaches that are floating around in my head. I don't think I even finished watching Pirates of the Caribbean. So after I met Mandy (thanks to @3starbackpacker's first private kitchen meetup 'series', and we met once again for Taiwan Yiping Huadiao Chicken) and heard about the the food she was making at Mandy's Private Kitchen, set in her (actual!) home in Sai Kung, I was pretty intrigued. (Oh the rum cake she kept giving me helped too, more on that later.) People seem to come to HK thinking private kitchens are in real people's homes - well, they're not, hence my excitement.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Baking class at Coup Kitchen

Chef's demo chocolate cake
I don't usually go to baking classes in Hong Kong because I don't trust people who use portable ovens that look like toasters. But I made an exception for my dear friend and fellow foodie & vinophile @par_lor as she'd booked a private class only to be ditched last minute by the people who were supposed to go (who shall remain unnamed...).