Sunday, November 28, 2010

Islang Tang (港島廳) - ♕♕♕♕

Michelin 1 Stars

  Recently opened and during 2010/2011 being crowned as a Michelin 1 Star worthy restaurant,  Islang Tang (港島廳港島廳) is apparently related to Shanghai Tang (上海灘), a famous upscale Traditional Chinese apparel chain.  Part of the directors/owners here also own other high end restaurants within Hong Kong, including the only Michelin 1 Star Japanese restaurant Wagyu Kaiseki Den.

The menu at Island Tang is exactly the same during both Lunch and Dinner session, which is pretty rare to spot in a Cantonese restaurant.  Another one which springs up instantly in my mind is Man Wah (文華廳) on the top floor of Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Therefore if you are looking for a mixture of yum cha or a la carte dishes for composing your meal, you could still order dim sums during night time here, provided they still have any of these items remaining by evening time.



A little MORE Shanghai than old Hong Kong Colonial Chinese style in design..

Shou Mei (壽眉茶) tea is quite good here..

Appertizer of slightly spicy Pickled Radish, Peanuts, Capsicum and Beancurds -
Great for whetting your palate ~ 9/10

BBQ Roast Char Siu (秘製叉燒) -
Apparently, the muscle used here is a very rare muscle called 豬青肉, which is a round muscle found between the neck and the head, almost like a cow’s Flat-Iron equivalent but minus the fat. 
Its quite tender, but marination was a bit too simple compared to others ~ 7/10

There was a lack of natural pork meat taste, compared to say West Villa, and it was also a bit artificially soft and grilled to be a bit under-charred.  Having said that, this is definitely an ELEGANT version of a Char Siu, which is also eaten in 3 Star Lung King Heen and 2 Star Fook Lam Moon.  The one here performed better than the above two versions indeed…

Baked Puff Pastry with Wagyu Beef in Teriyaki Sauce (燒汁和牛酥) -
This is done quite well, in a Cantonese–Japanese way.  The pastry was great and hot,
lighter than the lard-filled versions elsewhere.  Wagyu slightly spoiled by heavy sauce ~

Pan Fried Beancurd Sheet with Shrimp and Seaweed Wrapping (紫菜鮮蝦腐皮卷) -
This was very oily, properly because its shallow fried. Oil was dripping down my mouth,
but the taste was pretty good overall ~

Steamed Spanner Crab & Egg White Dumpling (西施蟹肉餃) -
This didn’t have much crab taste, but the skin was quite spot on ~

Deep Fried Crispy ‘Fresh’ Chicken (炸子雞 新鮮雞) -
They have 2 types of fresh chickens available in Island Tang - the bigger yellow chicken with more fat is used in this deep fried dish.  This was pretty good.  I have had better on occasions, even taking into account of ordering only Half-a-Bird rather than as a whole, but this is right up there ~

The Breast Meat was a bit dry on this particular day, but the skin was crispy,
seasoning was pretty much perfect!

Mini Lotus Leaf Wrapped Rice  (鴨汁荷葉飯) -
This was very bland and had no Lotus Leaf aroma infused at all ~

Surprisingly, there were some pickles inside,
aside from the conpoy and some seafood pieces.
This was a disappointing finish as this was so ordinary..

Chilled Sago Cream with Pomelo and Mango  (楊枝柑露) -
Rather than using Grapefruit, they used the sweeter Pomelo in this version. Despite the mention of cream, there wasn’t any or coconut cream here, an essential ingredient of this famous HK Dessert.  Having said that, this was enjoyable for what it is – just don’t expect it to taste like a normal 楊枝柑露 ~ 6.5/10


Price:  $330 + 10%
Score:  ★★★★☆☆

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sat - 12:00pm - 23:00pm
Sun            -  10:30am - 23:00pm

Address: 中環皇后大道中9號嘉軒廣場2樓
(2/F, The Galleria Plaza, 9 Queen's Road Central, Central)

Ph: 2526 8798


Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Phoenix (新鳳凰麵包店) – ♕♕♕♕♕ 1/2

The 2 shops belonging to New Phoenix Cake and Bread Shop lie just 100m from one another, and this review is on the 2nd newer outlet, right next to Exit C of Quarry Bay MRT Station.  The main store can be found here:  New Phoenix 新鳳凰麵包店 (Main Store).  Both sells slightly different items.  The outlet here is slightly more modernised, but relative to the Year 2010 it still carries quite a few memorable items which are fast disappearing off the scene!   The brand has operated for over 40 years in this suburb, and some of their signature items are traditional Ancient Styled Biscuits, Sponge Cakes, HK style Napolean cakes, Coconut filled bread, as well as their famous overnight-infused Egg Tart Custard and pastry.

However, it is their Chicken Pie in their newer store, which I highly recommend to be tried to be believed…!

Fresh hot items are released every hour.
Fresh Egg Tarts and Chicken Pie are still being baked up until around 6pm.

Chicken Pie -
This Chicken pie and its golden pastry is so good and crumbly, also full of butteriness, I can ascertain you it won’t lose out to the best of the pies from around anywhere in the world  ~  9.5/10

The filling deviates slightly from the HK Norm, where chicken pies are normally filled with a creamy mix of ham and chicken filling, with too much flour as filler.  In this shop’s version, its mostly of Chicken and its gravy, Sweetish onion and a right amount of seasoning.   Although different, this puts the equally well known Wanchai Kam Fung’s version into oblivion.   (My Previous Review @:  金鳳茶餐廳)

Other Traditional Cakes are also available…

Price: $3.00 per person
Score:  ★★★★★☆
Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun - 05:00am - 21:00pm

Address: 北角七姊妹道206號地下
(G/F, 206 Tsat Tsz Mui Road, North Point.  *Despite the address, its actually on No. 1 Model’s Lane, right next to Quarry Bay MTR Station, C Exit)
Ph: 9833 8758


Friday, November 26, 2010

Siu Wa Kitchen (紹華小廚) –♕♕♕♕♕

  Ever since returning to Hong Kong, some of my experiences with local Claypot Rice has been slightly disappointing on each occasion! They used to be better in the past but seems to have deteriorated!   Some either aren’t cooked properly to retain the almighty grainy bite, or have little to no rice taste, and on most occasions the ingredients inside just somehow seem to live a life of its own from the bed of rice underneath.  They just can’t seem to integrate together peacefully somehow and compliment each other!  


  Local Hong Kongers have all imprinted into their minds the 3-4 main shops which does respectable Charcoal Grilled Claypot Rice, namely 新翠華小廚, 四季煲仔飯, 坤記煲仔小菜, etc, with a couple more lesser known shops which also utilise charcoals but with too little media or foodies coverage (which might also be good too, who knows!!).  Only 1 other non charcoal-grill edClaypot Rice Specialist 永合成餐廳餅店 is equally respected and ever mentioned.    Siu Wa Kitchen (紹華小廚) is one of the late comers as the boss and the cook Ar Dee used to work at 新翠華小廚 before it’d moved premise, before that also became sold to a new owner.    Let’s face it, Hot Pot Claypot Rice is not the most sophisticated dish on earth, but once you start exploring this Hong Kong Specialty Dish with its specialty toppings, the possibilities become almost endless as long as you respect general basic rules.   The exact measurement and timing required needs to be spot on, it probably leaves enough room for a Molecular-Wannabe Chef to explore this area in finer details and making it a precise science 1 day!  And surprisingly, here at  Siu Wa Kitchen (紹華小廚) they pulled off the feat much better than its predecessor 新翠華小廚  in every single aspect..   Only 坤記煲仔小菜 comes close in the final result.

Real Charcoal,
not just normal Coal pretending to be charcoal used here…

The Charcoal induced fire and aroma here,
is much more intense than 新翠華小廚..

Daily Soup -
Of Lotus Root, Pone Bones and Black Eyed Pea (眉豆) included for free.
No MSG influence, very good. 

Iced Lemon Tea -
Good and flavourful.  Encore ~ 8/10

Beer, Claypot Rice’s best friend -

Once you receive the Claypot, Pour in some Thickened Soy Sauce and please let it sit a few more minutes.. this method really works.

Taro Mash, Minced Mushrooms and Pork with additional Liver Sausage Claypot Rice -
芋茸肉碎膶腸飯 ($53). Done very well, with the rice absorbing the sauce from the mince and integrating together like a good marriage.  The Liver sausage was also of good quality.  Even though I had EXACTLY the same dish in its previous shop, this was just so much more better than that version!! ~ 9.5/10

Rice grains were al dente, well defined..

飯焦 (Dried Rice Layer, like a Socarrat),
was formed perfectly without being too wet or too nastily burnt.  Highly aromatic.

This thickened soy-sauce is addictive.
Add some in early on, to give it that extra caramelised taste and aroma!

Beef and Raw Egg Rice with Added Lap Cheung Sausage -
渦蛋滑牛肉臘腸飯 is one of 2 alternatives here, the other being minced rather than sliced beef.  The version at 永合成 has better beef taste, but the egg here was still runny and the rice was again superb.  Lap Cheung was a bit too fatty/chewy to my liking ~ 7.5/10

Cheese Pork Neck Noodles -
A carbon copy of the famous dish at Sun Kee (新記), this equally lacked any cheesiness in the base sauce, it was just cream as well, disappointing.  The Pork Neck even more so, as it lacked the char-grilled aroma of its competitor. There’s also too much dried Westernised herbs on top which spoiled the balance even more.  Why can’t any shop do a perfect version of this dish? 
Is it really that difficult to achieve?  ~  4/10


Surprisingly, this food stall on its own takes up the whole floor
within this Cooked Food Centre. No competitors within range.


Price: $60 per person
Score:  ★★★★★☆
Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun - 06:30pm - 22:00pm

Address: 筲箕灣愛秩序灣愛東邨熟食中心CF3店
(3 Minutes walk from Shau Kei Wan Station B3 or D2 Exit: 
Shop CF3, Oi Tung Market, Aldrich Bay, Shau Kei Wan)
Ph: 8199 8188


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nameless Charcoal Grill Eggettes (大坑炭爐伯伯雞蛋仔) - ♕♕♕♕♕

The scarce Charcoal-Grilled Eggette (aka 雞蛋仔, Gai Dan Jai) stalls left remaining in Hong Kong can be counted on just one hand, as the majority of shops followed the much easier way and began quietly selling electric-grilled versions.  At last count, there’s only 2-3 Charcoal stalls left within the whole of Hong Kong, and one is located on a far away remote island... the irony being that these are all operating as illegal stalls awaiting to be caught and towed away!!  How ridiculous is that?    Unfortunately, little street stalls like these have never gone through proper processing via the official passage and acquiring proper licences, much like those equally rare issuances required for operating Hawker stalls or Dai Pai Dong on the Street.   My immediate suggestion was to follow in the Macanese and Singaporean Government’s food steps and migrating these into some sort of refuge cooked food centres – but as I penned this review, a fellow foodie friend stressed that while this may be the easier next-best solution, only by letting these carts thrive on the streets where they really belong can we retain their original street-stall attractiveness and nostalgical experience  (rather than measuring them purely from as a food quality rating!).   And this makes a lot of inherent sense.  

He has developed a 6th sense to look out for authorities,
about to come confiscate his earning assets…

Afterall it is not easy to implement and satisfy the strict Fire Safety Hazard Requirements for selling Charcoal-Grilled food inside a food centre, and not everybody can afford it.  Most pertinently, these ‘illegitimate’ food stalls have already existed in our city’s history for many decades and had become a large part of our culture after World War II.  And if you think authorities might let off this little old man’s stall lightly, pleasse think again – as during my singular visit waiting patiently for my cake of Hong Kong Style Eggettes, I witnessed him running away with his kart once in a hurry as he had accidentally spotted the Hawker Control Team (小販管理隊) coming his way to handcuff him away (and I was thinking woops there goes my chance to eat my share today, damn!)…  only for him to return after some minutes as he realised his blooper and over-reaction, before he finished selling his last order of $10 Eggette to me. 

Apparently, he has already grown accustomed to this panicking daily life, and he would rather stop taking customers orders around 2:50pm and make less profit than increasing his chances of being caught out as deadline looms before him.   Its a stressful job indeed – need to keep a 3rd eye out for the imminent threat that might take away your cart and all your investment…  And if the HK Government is listening, may we urge you to reconsider the matter and weigh up the Pro’s and Con’s and start planning into the future, by not only conserving, but to promote our existing HK Culture and attractions, rather than killing them off using a blanket, single dimensional bureaucratic viewpoint -  asking real people around may be a good start and I am pretty sure the majority of us will try our hardest to keep these rare historical stalls on our streets, just as Beijing and Shanghai are doing up North.  As long as they remain hygienic that is, and it will be for the benefit of any Mainland/Overseas tourists as well as of our future generations to come…!


Real Charcoal used for Baking. 
Only 3-4 stalls left within the whole of Hong Kong.

The Bamboo fan helps to crisp it up at the last minute..

Eggette, aka 雞蛋仔 (Gai Dan Jai) -
Amazing.  Simply astonishing the amount of charcoal flavour & custardy egginess infused, together with an externally crisp coating and internally spongy soft centre.  None of any other existing stalls comes remotely close..

This is what a properly cooked Eggette should Look, Taste and Smell like!
Eggy and Spongy in the centre, Crisp on the outside, with a devily aroma to accompany it all..


Price: $10 per person
Score:  ★★★★★☆

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun - 12:00pm - 15:00pm (Arrive early)

Address:  大坑銅鑼灣道尾
(5 Minutes walk from Tin Hau Station, along Causeway Bay Road.  Often found near Metro Park Hotel’s entrance.)
Ph: 2527 5181


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hong Kong Novotel: International Blogger’s Event

Sincere thanks to Novotel Hotel of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Tourism Board for inviting me to participate in the 2010 Hong Kong International Bloggers Event, which was scheduled to coincide with the Hong Kong Food and Wine Festival during late October 2010…  I normally strive to remain low-profile whenever it is possible for a multitude of reasons, only sporadically making an occasional appearance, yet at the same time I am always keen to meet up with overseas bloggers and friends for that rare opportunity to share knowledge on one another’s cities and discussing about upcoming global trends.  This event fully suited my purpose of intent for running this blog site. 

The activity took place at the conveniently located Wanchai Novotel beside the Pool Side - it provided for an entertaining night as we indulged in conversations of various topics with subjects ranging from cultural to personal, as the bloggers ranged from the Professional Media field to Food or Art bloggers during the meet up.. Food served were mostly prepared by the Novotel’s upstairs Italian Restaurant Pepino Cucina Italiana during the night.  It was certainly an eventful day, disregarding the slightly gusty wind and the low lighting conditions on the night, which somehow made it all the more interesting.   It was my pleasure to meet up with my few fellow Local and International Bloggers, their individual blog sites can be accessed as follows: 

1) Razlan (Hong Kong)
2) (Malaysia) 
3) Minh (Australia)
Jason bon Vivant (Hong Kong) 
Yan (Hong Kong)
Deborah (New Zealand & Australia)
Fabrice L (Hong Kong)
Lady Iron Chef (Singapore)


By the Pool Side, with Live Music.
Reminds me of exotic Bali..

Our Table

German Pretzel and French Epi Bread -
Bread selection

Beef Carpaccio -
Served with Mix Lettuce & Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Seafood Carpaccio with Salmon, Seared Scallops and Snapper -
served with lemon-pepper olive oil. Inside the lime sat some Dry Ice,
but the effect wasn’t very apparent as it was a bit too dark !

Side Dish 1:  Mixed Salad

Side Dish 2:  French beans and Broccoli

Side Dish 3: Herbed Roast Potatoes

BBQ Cod Fillet Marinated with Dill Oil -
served on a bed of Fenouil, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Asparagus and Aioli

BBQ Angus Tenderloin -
Grilled mushrooms and new potatoes. Whole grain mustard Hollandaise.

Cooked to around Rare-Plus perfectly, and full of beefiness for a tenderloin..

Chocolate Heaven -
Rich Chocolate Mousse encased in light sponge Biscuit,
served with Raspberry Coulis.  Nice and light !

Macarons -
A little too crunchy for my liking

Coffee -
What is essentially, an Americano..  intense and giving you a jolt,
just when you need it!

Novotel Hotels Hong Kong 

Address: 灣仔謝斐道238號世紀香港酒店1樓
(1/F, Novotel Century Hong Kong, 238 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai)
電話 : 2598 4599



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...