|#AMBERxBENU bamboo shoot with black truffle bao|
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Monday, December 21, 2015
|Cèpes at Amber|
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
|Vegetarian rou zao (肉燥), in danzai noodles|
I looked up how to make southern Taiwanese meat sauce*, rou zao (肉燥) when I was craving dan zai mian (擔仔麵), an old-school noodles classic usually with a prawny-porky broth, prawns, some egg and this meat sauce.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
|Tong Chong Street Market|
Friday, November 06, 2015
|Caramel, chocolate & hazelnut choux at Burch & Purchese|
|Michelin Hong Kong and Macau is letting our cities down|
It's been 8 years of the Michelin Hong Kong and Macau, and every year, people who are truly interested in food are disappointed by the overall results. Sure, there are amazing restaurants listed in the Guide - the hard work of these restaurateurs must not be ignored - but systematically missing restaurants that everyone in HK's food scene appreciates? I don't get it.
Not that there can ever be any objectivity in restaurant reviewing, and especially in the case of guides and lists, but any guide or list will have a clear set of criteria and rationales for their various rankings and awards - but Michelin has strangely flouted all their own guidelines for HK, and that's my gripe.
I said there is no objectivity in restaurant reviewing, but there are some things you can actually verify as facts, and see with your own eyes - quality of ingredients, service staff training, atmosphere. For some strange reason, Michelin in HK seems blind to these. Example: Can anyone tell me why, aside from foul play, all of Peninsula Hong Kong's outlets are omitted, wholesale, from the starred lists, year after year? Surely even judging by things we can see, physically, the quality of Spring Moon can not be less than that of Lei Garden Kwun Tong.
The new street food category in the guide this year is a bit of a joke - why are there only a couple dozen street food eateries in the whole of HK that made the list? And where is the delineation between the street food list and Bib Gourmands, and hell, even one-starred restaurants? Why Tim Ho Wan is not under BG has baffled me since the beginning. Thing is, I get the distinct sense that it's all just ammunition for buzzy marketing. "Cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world!", "First ever street food list in a Michelin guide!" - great headlines and soundbites that will spread far and wide, don't you think?
Visitors who appreciate food will read these soundbites (unhelpfully regurgitated by lazy news outlets as headlines), try these lists, and then turn around and say, "Whatever, it wasn't that great". Expectations matter - expectations probably matter the most in experiences like eating. And when such a well-known brand like Michelin says something, people listen, and a lot of the time, if it doesn't deliver on the expectations that the Michelin has set, the bad feelings end up being directed at the restaurant, which is incredibly unfair, because most of the time, it's not the restaurant that went all out and shouted, "we're the best, like EVER!". And when the Michelin, often inexplicably, takes away a star, or removes it from the guide, it's the restaurant that suffers too.
When the guide was first introduced in HK, a lot of people in the industry were excited, because it kind of put us on the map - it felt like we were on the global foodie circuit now; the big leagues. But 8 years on, the gimmicks and the inexplicable ups and downs (where else has a restaurant gone jumped from 1* to 3* in a year?#) have made the Michelin here a joke more than anything, and its usefulness to international travellers in search of a good meal is in rapid decline.
As a business, Michelin Guides are not doing well, and haven't done so in a long time. It gives them every reason to make noise and create buzz, but after 8 years, I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's at the expense of our city's restaurateurs and our reputation as a whole.
One of the reasons I started writing about food in Hong Kong is because there used to be so much drivel out there - visiting friends would tell me they had read some list in a magazine that had been written by someone who had dropped in for a couple of days and knew very little about the context of the food. Fortunately, the scene has changed dramatically - voices of people who know their stuff have increasingly been heard, and research has become so much easier and faster, but these voices are forever living under this cloud that is Michelin HK. I'm incredibly proud of the food we have in Hong Kong, and I want people to go to the right places for the right reasons (armed with good information and well managed expectations) and have great meals here, and if you ask me, Michelin HK is not helping.
# Edit: Indeed, EMP in New York did too, and since the post went up, it's funny how many people have told me that these sentiments apply to the U.S. guides too.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
|Sitting at the tempura counter at Tenmasa, Macau|
Tenmasa serves a range of Japanese cuisines but its main focus is tempura, and appropriately, we were seated at the tempura counter.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
|Roasted pigeon, artichokes, baby spinach & lemon chutney at On Dining|
I'd read a couple of times on my friend's blog Diary of Growing Boy about ON's pigeon, so that's basically why we were here. Oh, that, and we were celebrating a birthday.
Sunday, August 30, 2015
|Lambs blood ganache rolled in maple oats, native apple jam and riberry pepper|
Sunday, July 26, 2015
|Jade Dragon signature fried rice with prawn, Sakura shrimp, conpoy and roasted goose|
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
|Around Lakselvbukt, near Tromsø, Northern Norway|
Sunday, May 24, 2015
|Sushi counter at Shinji by Kanesaka, Macau|
Saturday, May 23, 2015
|The Clever Dripper is an awesome way to make a consistent cup of coffee at home|
As usual, I have a written an intro that's way too long before saying what I really want to say - I think I have found my coffee-at-home utopia. It's the Clever Dripper.
At home, I just want a decent cup that won't be much trouble nor take much skill. Sure, I've learned to do pourovers, but I'll never be as skilled and as well-trained as the baristas who make 50 a day. But I like the clean, expressive flavours that pourovers provide (I like espressos (okay, espressi, whatever, I need a bloody style guide for myself) but I kind of see them as a different drink - I guess an analogy might be juice vs nectar or something).
While away from home this past winter, I brought the current "standard" travel coffee kit with me - Aeropress and Porlex grinder. They're easy to pack and numerous Instagram flatlays have made it look so sexy. I'm not a huge Aeropress fan because of the grit, but I can live with it. But then on the same trip, I moved around a bit and sometimes only packed an overnight bag that wouldn't fit my coffee gear. I arrived at my sister-in-law's house and found something that most households have - a French press. Now, I'd never used a French press before because it'd had such bad, er, press, but I needed coffee so I asked Google god, and it gave me this. (In short: coarse grind, longer brew time, agitation.)
It's an amazing method for the flavours etc. but still, there was the problem of grit. When I got home, I even thought about using a French press then pouring it through a V60 - then I thought - wait a minute, didn't someone invent that already? Yep. It's the Clever Dripper. You get all the cupping-like soaking of the "new" French press method to which I linked above, and none of the grit because it has a paper filter*, thanks to the simple valve at the bottom of the dripper. GENIUUUUUUS.
*Although what would be more genius is if someone could invent a filter as good as paper, but was reusable. I've tried all sorts of metal disks, the ABLE cone etc. but none are as good as paper grit-wise. I'm sorry, world. Please, science, invent something and save me from my daily sinning.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
|Daily Meat - Roast Chicken at Neighborhood|
As the name suggests, the format is that of a neighbourhood bistro, and is the kind of ideal bistro I wish I had within walking distance of my house. (I'll even excuse the American spelling). Neighborhood can be summed up thus: A menu that changes weekly, ingredients that are sourced thoughtfully, well priced, with small surprises here and there, but mostly it's about well-executed favourites.
Friday, April 10, 2015
|Turkish Breakfast at Boundary Espresso|
Working on a project in Melbourne for the past two months has allowed me to be reacquainted with my city, especially the northern suburbs, which my relatives would have told me was a "danger zone" (plus other marginally racist comments people say behind closed doors that I won't repeat here). In short, as a little girl in Melbourne, we basically never ventured north of Fitzroy.
Friday, January 30, 2015
|Follow @natgeopeopleasia for my posts this week!|
Various fun and helpful food shows are becoming available to Hong Kong and Asia Pacific on the NatGeo channel, and I'll be helping to spread the word mostly via their Instagram @natgeopeopleasia.
I'll be posting "food things" like I already do on my own Instagram account @e_ting, and as I'm currently travelling, you'll see (hopefully) yummy, fun and thought-provoking things from both Hong Kong and Australia.
Thursday, January 01, 2015
|Moon Under Water, at Builders Arms Hotel|
And pretty much as I was getting ready to leave Melbourne, the name Andrew McConnell started popping up everywhere, initially in relation to Cumulus Inc, which I didn't visit until I returned to the city on a work trip. I was blown away - to me, McConnell's restaurants - Cumulus Inc, Cumulus Up, Moon Under Water, in particular* - are the very definition of the hard-to-define (some say problematic) genre called Modern Australian.