Friday, July 31, 2015

Jade Dragon 譽瓏軒 - [ Macau ]

Michelin 1 Stars_thumb

 The Jade Dragon if memory serves me right,  already received the coveted Michelin 1 Star status just a little over after it’s 1st year of opening.   Although we were only coming for a quick lunch meet-up,  we were certainly quite impressed by the thoughtfulness and effort put into the restaurant’s overall set-up and attention to details in every component possible.   My own prediction is that this place will get elevated to 2 Star status end of 2015,  I mean it totally deserves it and to me,  helps to re-define Chinese and Cantonese Cuisine in the region.



Jade Dragon -
The same as Indian Naga Serpent and in Chinese mythology became a Dragon,  just like in Greek Mythology,  Germany,  Latin America, etc

Jade ware -
Looking impressive and thoughtful already. 
Reminds me of 2* Yan Toh Heen in Hong Kong somewhat.



Two Different Teas prepared & brewed Table-side and Always Well Looked After -
This is what I call service and I feel sorry for the server,  as I drink a lot when I eat.   Usually I am not too picky about service as long as the food is good,  but this I do appreciate so much with attention to the finest details here.



Amuse Bouche,  to borrow from the French Term -
This is Fried Turnip Cake with a Dried Prawn on the side,  also a molecular Corn Raviolo with Popping candy.  Interesting already for a Cantonese-Chinese restaurant..



Green Prawn Dumplings -
This seasonal version used Chives to colour the skin and it was bigger than initially thought.  Sometimes they change this to use Spinach to flavour the skin.   Topped with some Gold bling bling.  Definitely very neat and of utmost precision quality,  just look at those pleating skills.  Rarely do I praise a restaurant for their prawn dumplings but this was done so right yet innovative and attractive ~ 10/10



桂花蚌 Sea Cucumber Mussels with XO Sauce Spring Rolls -
This sounded better than it tasted,  as we could barely taste the fillings.   We were saying perhaps its because these spring rolls are too narrow in proportion naturally,  so you could only taste more of the fried pastry skin than the content within..  Interesting recipe anyway  ~ 7/10




Black Pepper Wagyu Pastry Puffs -
One can’t help but instantly compare this to the almost same formula at equally 1* Man Wah at Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Hong Kong.  (One of the many reviews for comparison: )   The version here has a pastry which is good but probably not as memorable although it was definitely done well.  One can taste the Wagyu beef somehow and its all balanced up.  ~ 8/10



Purple Rice Cheung Fan Skin,  with 3 Different Fillings -
Scallion & Wagyu Beef,  Grouper Fish,  Prawns.   This looked very appetising from an aesthetics and concepts viewpoint.  However truth be told for some reason we think we couldn’t detect much of the tastes within.  Not claiming that we have a super palette or the other way around,  but when you can’t taste much of the wagyu,  fish or prawns,  we were quite disappointed.   Nice concept that could be improved by better execution.   ~ 6.9/10




Whole Organic Honeycomb -
Wow!!  Just to make their Signature BBQ Charsiu Pork.

BBQ Iberico Charsiu Served on a 4,000 Year old New Zealand Kauru Wood plank -
Roasted with Lychee and Red Dates Wood.  The Thousands Year old NZ wood plank gave it a stronger tree aroma than the Charsiu received from the burning Lychee/Red Dates wood itself.   The marination also tasted like it had Osmanthus flower.  Overall this was excellent and one of the best Charsiu dishes I have eaten,  but is it perfect?   I think not yet.  The smokiness came more from the NZ serving plank than the actual smoking by the 2 woods itself,  and as thoughtful as it tried to be in all details,   the marination technique could be more sophisticated in layering.   I sound like Food Snob I know.  ~ 9/10  

Spanish Iberico Pork Loin nearer the Rump side -
A great cut indeed.  Very nearly perfect.

Oh,  Cornets of Roselle Flowers and Lime Sorbets as Pre-desserts -
Cute presentation in a Clay Tea Pot.  Thoughtful again…  as was the whole meal so far.



Mignardises  - Ginger Candy,  Peanuts Crunch,  Eggs Cake and Almond Roll
These were good and so Chinese-Cantonese traditional.   They might be borrowing from a French presentation technique but the spirit totally remains within the Cantonese camp and nostalgic.   You can notice the mini Canele mould used to make the Eggy cake too but taste was also Chinese.  ~ 9/10

Lychee and Red Dates Wood Brick Oven -
Very serious here about their food and presentation.
In my opinion,  this is just awaiting to be upgraded to Michelin 2* Quality sooner than later.  Very thoughtful down to every little detail.   The Wood stove and the Organic Honey Comb for the Barbeque Charsiu Pork remains within my mind to this date,  despite this meal being a while ago with a friend.



Price:  MOP $310 + 10 %
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to  ♕♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: 氹城連貫公路新濠天地新濠大道2樓
Ph:  +853 8868 2822



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

T’ang Court 唐閣 – [ Hong Kong ]


 T’ang Court inside The Langham Hotel has gained back their two Michelin Stars status,  and since they have designed a new Signature Tasting Menu with Biodynamic Slovenian Wines,  they invited us over to sample this pairing and help spread the word.   Tonight we will be drinking from Slovia’s Movia Winery.  The winemaker Aleš has worked in famous wineries in Bordeaux and Burgundy and sticks to family tradition in respecting nature,  hence grapes and farming viticulture conform to bio dynamic principles using Lunar cycle and even alignment of Stars.  Even the Vine trees have a bull’s horn buried nearby as per tradition.   This Special Menu requires a minimum table of 10 pax and is HKD $1988 /person + 10%.  




T’ang Court -
Back to 2 Stars nowadays,  which it already got by the first year of HK Michelin Guide






Sparkling Puro Rose,  Movia,  Brda Appellation, Slovenia -  2006
To be popped open upside-down under water as some lees are deliberately kept inside the bottle so the wines have to be stored upside down,  with the lees sitting at the bottle neck.  This is then ‘Disgorged’ under water with the bottom’s up,   then quickly turned around and clap clap – this method keeping the wine’s clarity. 
Paired with the below Trio of Appetisers.



Sliced Cod Fish with Lemon & Honey sauce,
Chilled Abalone with Jelly fish,
BBQ Char Siu Pork -
The other items are done well,  but the BBQ Char Siu was very impressive with the marination,  marbling,  flavour and overall roasting.     A lot of places these days say their’s is the best and I have heard this prob just less than 100 times and tried all the famous ones a few times.   This one here was really outstanding but surprisingly they were not waxing lyrical about it on the night,  but may be they totally should about their Charsiu..   ~  8 to 10/10



Sauvignon,  Movia,  Brda Appellation, Slovenia -  2012
This Sauvignon is surprisingly quite different to the New Zealand green vegetal or French types without generalizing.  This was just heavier bodied,  more yellow and more of a chrysanthemum/honey suckle type,  with a hint of saltiness.

Stir-Fried Lobster with Spring Onion,  Red Onion & Shallots -
This is their Award Winning dish,  the mixture of different onions imparting a sweetly pungent flavour to enhance the 青龍蝦 lobster meat.   This is usually served as a family sized plate with shells on but apparently the Server plated them before we knew.   ~ 8/10



Modri Pinot Noir,  Movia,  Brda Appellation, Slovenia -  2009
This was initially white peppery spicy on the nose,  with a heavy dose of cherry and a floral bouquet.  Slightly different from what I expected knowing the Winemaker has worked in DRC.  It was equally elegant just slanted towards more savoury spicy note,  and perhaps this reflects the soil and terroir of the Pinot Noir.

Merlot, Movia, Brda Appellation, Slovenia -  2007
The final wine not pictured here,  was a Merlot and reflecting the Winemaker’s stint in the Bordeaux North Bank.  It was a heavier style of merlot with blackcurrants and cassis, vanilla and a green peppery note.  Lovely stuff and one could tell it will develop after hours of opening.


Stir-Fried Sliced Pigeon with Goose Liver pate,  Fried Chinese Cruller and Chestnut -
This is an interesting combination,  all the ingredients are in traditional Cantonese cuisine,  yet combined together in a new way.  I liked the pigeon but I think with its natural gaminess it could handle even more goose liver taste or small chunks of it as an alternative!    ~ 7/10

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Baked Blue Point Oysters with Port Wine -
This recipe is very Hong Kong-Cantonese,  it’s another Signature Dish here and the US Oysters used here are extra huge and creamy inside yet crunchy outside.  The external sauce coating seems slightly more savoury than my previous tries here.  Thinking about it,  I wonder if it can handle some pickled olive leaves.. just a thought.  ~ 8/10  


Stewed Alaskan King Crab with TianJian Cabbage and Yunnan Ham -
The crab texture is definitely the ‘fresh’ and not pre-cooked then QF on board type,  the latter sometimes understandable if fishing boats head out for days.  But this fresh variety is just so much more appreciated.   The TianJian cabbage was there to support its crab sweetness.   ~ 8.5/10



Stewed Noodles with Shredded Chicken,  Fish Maw,  Ginger & Scallion -
This was probably one dish I expected more.  The fish maw pieces were a little too sliced up for us to detect and the noodles could be more careful with cooking time and perhaps scallions fried more for fragrance?   The base stock for stewing was good though   ~ 5.5/10


unnamed (2)
Baked Sago Pudding with Chestnut Puree -
A fairly traditional Shunde-Cantonese dish,  some use lotus seed paste.  The one here had a nice eggy aroma and was served caramelized on top and very hot inside too,  one of the requisites of passing this Cantonese dessert dish!   ~ 10/10


Price:  HKD  $1988 + 10% for Wine and Food Pairing all inclusive above
Ease of Access:  4/5  (Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station)

Address:  尖沙咀北京道8號香港朗廷酒店1樓
1/F, The Langham Hong Kong, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ph: +852 2132 7898

Monday, July 20, 2015

舒蔡記 - Fried Pork Buns, Vegetable Rice, Curry Beef Soup, Traditional Shanghainese

 This shop was recommended by a wine and sake teacher friend who is a regular up here in Shanghai,  and it happens to be up along the same street stretch as what we wanted to visit many shops afterwards.  My memories of Shanghai are fading such is the development up here.   The fried Vegetables Rice here with Salted Pork and Lard Oil was totally what I grew up having but nowadays most shops make them too healthy and without the right taste.   But not here and glad to rediscover that old taste again!   I miss here so much! 



P1420947_editedThe Old School shopfront -
Apparently many people care about a classy decoration.  But for a real foodie,  its only the food which I crave.  I mean I have been to many Michelin 2-3* places in Europe which requires a dress code too lol.  It’s only the food which matters these days



The Salted Pork & Vegetables Fried Rice -




Fried Veggies Rice with Salted Pork,  Mushrooms and Lard Oil -
This was amazing.   The pork flavour really penetrated the rice grains and the veggies were the fresher green rather than pre-cooked type.   Sad to see this is not available in Hong Kong nowadays…  That was the whole spirit of original Shanghainese 菜飯 in my memory.    ~ 10/10



The Pork Buns being fried -
They are fried on a slanted angle…   Just to get rid of the oil sliding down to the other side of the pan instead of having them buns absorb all the oil.  Smart!



Fried Pork Buns 清水 生煎包 -
These were fried upside-down with the pleat side down,  the way I prefer it too and it really depends on the shops.    The pork jus literally exploded in your face but the sauce was a little thin here as it doesn’t use Gelatin from chicken feet or pork,  just like Xiao Loong Bao has many styles and hence they promote the 清水生煎包 here with a clearer soup base.  Quite good indeed but the above Salted Pork Veggies rice kicked ass even more.  ~ 7.5/10



Curried Beef Soup with Coriander and Vermicelli Noodles -
Another staple food in Shanghai but as my foodie friend pointed out,  this recipe can’t be nominally Shanghainese by default…  Pork and Seafood are the predominate diet here in Shanghai,  and curry isn’t that local a concept.  Logical deduction using Occam’s Razor theory made us think this must be a Muslim-Islamic Halal concept coming from Lanzhou 蘭州 or elsewhere nearby with a Muslim culture,  which is also popular here in Shanghai overall..! 



The Menu -
In hingsight it was rather farking cheap!   Especially for the high food quality presented overall : )





Dinner Price:  RMB $20
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to  ♕♕♕♕♕

Address:  黃浦區雲南中路142-146號
+86 21 6361 1917

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

雍颐庭 Yong Yi Ting - Mandarin Oriental Shanghai, Pudong

 Yong Yi Ting inside new Mandarin Oriental Hotel Shanghai was our 1st official meal in Shanghai together as a group of traveling Foodies/Media/Bloggers.   It is headed by Chef Tony Lu,  who also runs Fu 1015,  the No. 16 Top Best Asia Restaurant on the Top 50 Pellegrino’s list.  His other ventures are at Fu1088,  Fu1039 and Fu He Hui,  which some of us later on decided to split the decision and went on to try another two of them side by side.   The food here at Yong Yi Ting is mostly based on local regional food from Shanghai and neighbouring provinces,  Jiangsu,  Zhejiang, Jiang Nan cuisine of Southern Yangtze River region.   Although these regional foods are usually grouped into one nowadays,  they do all have their minor regional differences and are transitional…



Wine Pairing tonight too -
Mostly French but appropriate.   This meal we look forward to so much for its regional tastes nearby.   Yet hard to distinguish sometimes due to the micro-regions. 



The Chinese Name is Kind of Poetic -
But don’t let this deter you from trying out here.   It was re-defining Shanghainese and surrounding Regional food stuff good.

Fried Lychee with Grapes -
Appetizer or like an Amuse Bouche.  Wasn’t expecting this summery variation dish as an opening starter…   Smart but it’s calculative.   ~ 8.5/10 



Crispy Pomfret Fish in Sweet Soy Sauce, 
Drunken Duck Foie Gras with Green Beans and Gorgon Fruit,
Wax Apple filled Truss Tomato in Sour Plum Sauce,
Vietnamese Vegetables Rice Roll with Sliced Spicy Lobster & Caviar -
My menu description is slightly different from the official version because I think this describes the recipes better.  All done pretty decently,  look I have high expectations with Hotel Food and I think this was meaningful,  I mean how many chefs in this world could think of stuffing wax apples into truss tomatoes and then soak it in sour plum sauce?   In comparison the pomfret fish was more expectable and normal.   ~  8/10



Minced Chicken Congee Soup with Bird’s Nest,  Yin-Yang Herbs,  Fried Dough Twist -
To me this is actually a very local Shanghainese dish,  but up-scaled to include Birds Nest and that Tai-Chi white on green look which is probably Chiu Chow cuisine inspired.   Although I am not Shanghainese,  this is actually the food I grew up with when back then everything in HK was Shanghainese or Chiu Chow before they one by one closed down.  I even attended a JiangSu Zhejiang school and learned Mandarin when young.   Even the narrower fried dough tonight is the correct style up here.  So Nostalgic.   Very well done dish…  ~ 9/10 





Crystal King Prawn with Sea Urchin Sauce and Fried Spanish Jamon Ham -
Totally a clap.  The prawn was sliced to maximize it’s crunchiness,  and this cooking method is also prevalent in Cantonese cooking where the prawn must be washed with running water for a long time -  in Hong Kong Tim’s Kitchen is also famous for this prawn dish.  Here it upgraded it with a sea urchins sauce and a Spanish ham to replace the normal Yunnan Chinese ham.   I wouldn’t call this fusion,  it just realized Spanish ham is really better for the purpose.   ~ 10/10



Braised Baby White Eel with Sauteed Baby Lotus Root -
To me this reminded me of the above Pomfret Appetizer fish dish too.  I think I might be biased as a Cantonese person when this is chopped horizontally rather than thinly sliced.   The Baby Lotus roots are cute and what you find in Vietnamese/Thai cuisine too.    For me this was a bit 1 Dimensional and perhaps can handle some more garlic,  alcohol,  chives, etc.   ~ 6.5/10



Stewed Pork Lion Head with Fresh Cattail veggies,  Yangzhou style -
This is a recipe usually associated with Shanghai but it’s actually from Yangzhou nearby.  I love both the clear-soup or red-braised versions,  here it was done with flying colours with many layering from broth to lion head taste plus pillowy texture.   ~ 9/10



Mandarin Fish 2 Way -
Sauteed Slice with Pickled Cucumber,
Fried Fish Roll with Almond Slivers coating and Melon stuffing..



2nd Course -
Fried Fish Roll with Almond coating and Melon stuffing.   Both dishes were executed well knowing this is a local fish variety,  although more bred than wild-caught these days..   ~ 7.5/10




Soy Braised Water Bamboo,  Shrimp Roes and Green Peas -
This has always been one of my favourite dishes but this time it differed in that it was a much Thicker rather than the Thinner Water Bamboo Stems I am used to.   I thought the Prawn Roes taste could be even more prominent or toasted,  but it was still a very local dish done Classy.  ~ 8/10




Red Amaranth Mushrooms Dumplings,  Black Truffle Shanghainese style Sumai, 
Hairy Crab Meat Puff -

These to me are all Shanghainese influenced but with a micro smart twist to the recipes.   In Hong Kong side slightly similar but not totally the same recipes can be found -  as I have always said along,  there is a Shanghai-Hong Kong Bank existing for a reason but semi-controlled by the British Shareholders.  A lot of what is available in Hong Kong nowadays were shaped by the influx of migrants down South in HK during the post WWII Days from Shanghai and Cantonese regional regions,  plus many more.   This to me was done very loyal yet inventive to Shanghainese and nearby cuisine.   ~ 9/10      


Glutinous Rice Dumplings with Red Date Ginger Syrup (Top Left),
Lotus Seed Pastry Puff (Top Right),   Walnut Shaped Puff (Bottom Left),  
Chrysanthemum Shaped Spring Roll (Bottom Left) -

This was rather technical and precise.   Look,  some people found this to be a bit expected as I asked around but from a Pastry Chef’s point of view I think these were done quite precise and also locally inspired.  ~ 9/10


Glutinous Rice Dumplings with Red Date Ginger Syrup -
The skin was a little too thick to my liking,  but they did tried to add in stripes.   It did split a bit in the end and fillings were leaking out… But that all happens when you try to push the edge and try to re-define the next stage of Shanghainese and nearby cuisine.  ~ 7/10


The Night View -
Good Night beside the Bund and the Pearl Tower.  Nice bed and room to rest finally.  It was only like 11pm. 




Dinner Price:  RMB $1380 with Wine
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to  ♕♕♕♕♕ 1/2

111 Pudong Road (South), Pudong, Shanghai 200120, China
Ph:  +86 (21) 2082 9888



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