Sunday, September 29, 2013

School Food - (Hong Kong)

  I heard from a few people that I don’t post much of foods like Korean or Indian cuisines in Hong Kong.  But take a guess why?   Most Indian foods in HK I have tried taste a little blehhh… many can’t even make the Naan or the rice right,  much like Spanish food as well but that is gradually changing.   I also grew up eating loads of Malaysian,  Vietnamese, Lebanese, Jewish or Greek food but these have also proven to be elusive or ho-hum locally as well.     As for Korean food,  I have tried a few good places although not all of them yet,  it’s just that most of them are found in Tsim Sha Tsui area and as an Islander,  I need to think twice before taking a boat or MTR ride over the harbor just to have a Korean meal after work.  I am really glad that HK Island is finally seeing an increase in offering of Korean ‘casual’ restaurants.  By casual I mean it is down to earth and affordable, and can be eaten any given day.   Albeit they can become modernized and universally sweetened and more simple.



This was refreshing with the fruits,  though I couldn’t taste any of the marshmallows or cotton candy. 




Interior is kinda Modernized -
It feels almost like Greyhound Café just that it’s Korean themed this time.  Apparently,  School Food is quite famous in South Korea.   It’s becoming a chain but I don’t discriminate…  After all it did advertised itself to be fun,  casual and it is priced very reasonably unlike a lot of Korean restaurants in town.




Naengmyeon -  Cold Noodles $70
This is the spiceless version,  one of 2 varieties of this dish.  The broth actually had ‘icy bits’,  which is pretty cool  (no pun intended).   Although this broth was simultaneously a little generic weak.   At least the noodles were chewy and uncut and the pears were sliced thin enough.  ~  6/10




Spam Luncheon Meat and Egg Roll – $62
This Spam version was amongst one of my favorites that night.   Daring but different...  However the egg crepe wrapping around it was deemed so weak in taste.  ~  7/10





Squid Ink Mari – $68
This was good actually.  The squid pieces had good bity texture,  and some pieces had some crunchy pickles inside.   So addictive indeed,  especially when considering this to be casual Korean food and executed alright.  ~  8/10



Beef Bulgogi Mari roll – $62
Quite narrow as well just like all the above.  It came with some marinated beef slices and pickled radish,  and also sesame leaves.   I quite liked this although I can distinctly remember having better versions elsewhere in town such as at K-Roll.  But this was still likeable.   ~  7/10


Fried Cajun Chicken Salad -
Chicken pieces were a bit dry and had a thickish over-fried crust.   The sauce was so cliché and characterless though.   May be it’s personal opinion,  but for a salad this had too much fried stuff and meat as well?!  ~  6.9/10



Soy Carbonara Toppoki ‘rice cakes’ -
This is so new school Korean food and Toppoki is actually a Japanese name,  it seemed almost like they formulated the whole concept to be modern and steering away from the trusted rustic stuff.
  The soy flavour influence was apparent and digging into the dish,  you find more vermicelli on top of the bacon.  It’s creative although not resembling much of the true Italian Carbonara dish.   A little too sweet in balance for me but actually I ended up liking it,  especially the sweated onions which soaked up the acquired sweet tasting sauce.   It’s not exceptional but it was a new experience,  and we wished the Tteokbokki rice cakes were more evenly cooked.  ~  7/10





Price:   $165 per Person 
Ease of Access:  5/5
Food:  ♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun  12:00 to 22:30pm

Address :  銅鑼灣勿地臣街1號時代廣場13樓1302
13th Floor,  Times Square, Matheson Street,  Causeway Bay,  Hong Kong.
Ph: 2480 3666

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Café Neo - (Hong Kong)

 Thanks for the Invitation from a well acquainted friend at her new post at Regal Oriental Hotel in Kowloon City – the old Hong Kong Airport district!    Kowloon City is without doubt a local foodie’s paradise destination especially for good Thai,  Desserts and Chiu Chow style food.    Although it is smacked in the middle of the city,   it is also one of the very rare areas in Hong Kong where one cannot directly access here by MTR Trains.   For a HK Islander myself I had to search for a right bus to arrive here but don’t let that serendipitous experience intimidate you,  since some of the best foods in Hong Kong are enclosed right within this very famous labyrinth part of town..   It’s almost like they have a food culture here all by their own accord.  (They might be too bored in this enclosed area haha and decided to concentrate on cooking better food!) 



Regal Hotel’s own House Red Wine -
From Chile.  This was mostly New World like and is a crowd pleaser.




Crab in Puff Pastry, 
Tuna something -
Sorry I really can’t remember the total description but I did noticed that I couldn’t taste much crabs and the puff pastry wasn’t too crispy.  The tuna was cooked better and more pink than my photo and better received though.    That is buffet food in general -  some try to impress more by visual but taste can be another matter.  Which do you value better ?  ~  6/10




Sashimi Platter -
Part of the buffet, with Salmon,  Octopus,  Snapper,  Tuna and Kanpachi. 
All pretty decent for buffet style eating.  They were kept in the right cooler conditions although it is obviously missing the more expensive options such as the fattier tuna parts or sea urchins.  To me I don’t expect too much from buffets when they need to watch out for costs and profit margins too especially when it is so affordable here.  It’s like asking whether the chicken or the egg is willing to come 1st!   I think this was decent enough by buffet standards.     ~  7/10




Crab Legs & Claws,  Prawns,  Shelled Scallops,  Mussels,  Crawfishes -
Unlimited servings.   I actually really liked their crawfish here as they were briny and had a lot of good tomalley in the heads.   Unfortunately there are no Oysters here but others make up for them   ~  7/10




The Raw and Cooked Seafood Bar -
Normal in Hong Kong buffet restaurants nowadays,
it still returns to their margins in the end. 




Salad Bar -
Within expectations.   I like how they have purple cabbage here.





Teppanyaki grilled Goose Foie Gras with Apple Compote and Balsamic Vinegar -
This is almost too cliched.  The apples to me were quite over-powering.  The balsamic in the meanwhile was judicially added.  The 1st batch of goose gras were good but more on the cooked side,  upon a 2nd request they were much more better seasoned and cooked.  You can experiment all night long though as it is part of the unlimited buffet.   ~  5/10 to 7.5/10 





Lamb Chops and Truffled Foie Gras Burgers -
Both were done moist enough by buffet standards…  




The Truffled Foie Gras Burgers -
Sounded just like the 22 Ships version,  but here available for unlimited refills.
These were actually quite decent and not far behind the other places offering similar..   I had a couple.





Truffled Seafood Pasta -
I heard this was good but I ended up forgetting to trying them out when I got distracted by other food.   It will be more truffle paste based by visual.   It is not fine-dining afterall ..



Australian Organic Chicken with stuffing and Truffle Paste -
This was my favourite dish of the night.  It was slow cooked and was very flavourful yet tender.  As someone who has lived in Australia for decades I can’t help but think the best Australians chickens are exported nowadays.  Great local chickens there must be sourced at the farm by yourself but the supermarket versions are pretty ordinary.  The best chickens are commanding price premiums overseas indeed ..  Aust Beef is also better in export quality than those available locally,  unless you are well acquainted with the local wholesalers.    ~  9/10





Black Truffle Flame Drunkard Prawns -
This platter also contained a few shellfishes and crustaceans thrown in.  The thickish sauce could be eaten with the bread or naans that they provide as a side..  Slightly lemon-grassy too.  ~  8/10




Chicken Curry -
I took this photo but didn’t get to try it out.  Looks legit enough.




Fish Cakes with Truffle Sauce -
They looked good but at the end of the day were a little too dense and fishy for yours truly to appreicate.  ~  N/A




Noodles Station -
It seems like Buffets are incomplete without a proper noodles station when you’re in Asia,  and overseas it will be replaced by a Pasta station.   




Dessert Train -


Bread and Butter Pudding -
At least they attempted to try making one!





Mini Portuguese Tarts -
Not bad either and cuteness aside..  Done decently




DIY Waffle Machine -
I was surprised to find this here, which gives the customers more freedom with making their own food.  The waffle batter mix was already mixed for your convenience,  so one cannot change the recipe easily on the fly.  It certainly won’t be one of those doughy Liege Waffles from Belgium made from a dough.   But this ended up better than expected..




DIY Waffles with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Spread -
Their waffle batter was decent,  and me insisting them to be cooked to my own degree worked out to be fine too. Wished I had more of this as it was so fun… particularly if you don’t have a cast iron waffle machine at home.  ~  8/10


Mango Mille-Feuille -
Pastry was a little stale to me,  but the mango slices were good.  Sorry for being frank.  ~  6/10




Chocolate Ganache Cake -
This is so expected nowadays in buffet restaurants,  but the version here was dense enough and not too sweet.   Just right and all shiny.   Everyone has their own interpretation of what they expect of such a cake,  let’s not concentrate on that but I personally was happy with this version.



Children’s Area -
On Quality and Quantity of food alone I think this was ok.  But upon learning about their 50% to 35% discounts to HSBC Cardholders or those who register through their Facebook accounts…  I did think a middle-tier buffet from only around $178 + 10% here is definitely representing very good value for money indeed.   I was told this would last until October 31st..  This really is a bargain in any sense and I miss playing around with their waffles machine and the well cooked Organic chicken.




Price:   $360 per Person   (Meal was by invitation by the Hotel, thanks!)
Ease of Access:  4/5
Food:  ♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕

Address :  九龍城沙浦道30-38號富豪東方酒店地下1樓
B1, Regal Oriental Hotel, 30-38 Sa Po Road Kowloon City

Ph:  2132 3502

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tsui Hang Village 翠亨邨 - (Hong Kong)

 Tsui Hang Village is steeped in history.  It might not be as old school as the oldest Hong Kong restaurants but their legacy stretches back for a couple of decades.  Many years ago this was sitting in a 1st floor space opposite at the Mira Hotel,  a place I have visited so many times when young and their dishes were always very well balanced and executed…  Nowadays they opened up shop just on the opposite side in Mira shopping mall.  To me I am actually surprised that the quality was still being maintained so well after all these decades under the radar of modern foodies.      



Charsiu Pork -
This was more on the savoury side than expected.   Very tender and marbled.   
Very high standards,  although I like mine a little more charry and the marinade sauce a little more pronounced.  But no doubt this is right up there with the best in town.   ~  8/10




OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAComes with Oyster Sauce and Honeyed Beans -
Just like the old days.  Not many shops do this in Hong Kong nowadays,  and this restaurant proves that it is maintaining it’s standards all these years.   I have been visiting this restaurant for like 30 odd years and it remains the same!




OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMilk and Yunnan Ham Toasts,  Carp Fish Cakes and Fermented Clams sauce -  鍋貼牛奶併均安魚餅
This is said to be a signature dish now at Tsui Hang Village,  but it must be quite recent because this wasn’t on the menu before.  Borrowing from the Shunde province concept,  I was pleasantly surprised when the carp fish came as fish cakes and not fish ball shaped – as this is more accurately portraying the real version in China’s Shunde which I get to visit once in a while for work.  Done very well here and even the sauce was fishy-umami packed in the right way and not toned down.  ~  9/10




Duo Lemon Sauce Chicken - 西檸煎軟雞
This shop was super famous for their Lemon Chicken back in the days,  it probably spawned the whole ‘lemon chicken’ movement in the world when it comes to Chinese-Cantonese food!
  The sauce is made from both a Chinese lemon sauce as well as a normal Western lemon sauce and with lemon zests.   The older version in this restaurant had a different batter from my memory and was served more flatter like a pancake.   But this modern version had the sauce served separately but surprisingly still tasted very similar!    The best lemon chicken in the world if you ask me,  this is so sophisticated with the complexity in the sauce and everyone else just couldn’t copy from their proprietary formula   ~  10/10




Two Sides Fried Noodles with Shredded Pork & Bean Sprouts - 銀芽肉絲兩麵黃炒麵  $138
This dish is Chiu Chow style in inspiration,  although in HK there has been a large misinterpretation of this dish because the original version was only fried on 1 side!  Nevertheless this carried a more Cantonese sauce and execution,  the noodles were so flakily crispy and very eggy.   This is probably one of the best noodles dishes I have eaten locally as I can’t recall a more unique and better version.  It’s like they reinvented this dish all over again…  ~  12/10




Almond Tea and Egg Whites – $38
This was smooth and not too sweetened like most versions.  There wasn’t much egg whites and there could be more almonds taste,  but in reality this was balanced very well and already one of the better versions in town.  ~  8/10





This visit back to the good old Tsui Hang Village was rather random and impromptu - 
But the food was still really impressive and as I mentioned above,  the food standard has been maintained throughout all these years and they have even improved on the micro scale.   Definitely one of the most impressive Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong and carrying the traditional taste still.  If you want to taste the real old Hong Kong style food,  this is highly recommended for you.  It’s one of the very rare restaurants in town which has retained the traditional recipes and more.  I was actually quite moved by my revisit of this nostalgic experience …




Price:   $360 per Person
Ease of Access:  4/5
Food:  ♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun 11:30am to 23:30pm

Address: 尖沙咀彌敦道132號美麗華商場5樓
5/F, Miramar Shopping Centre, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ph: 2376 2882

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tapagria - (Hong Kong)

 Spanish food is may be a little late to hit the Hong Kong shores,  but once it arrives on the food scene there is no stopping the movement and which is not unlike ramens!    New does not necessarily mean better either.  Places like Ole and Fadango are pretty solid,  and Estudio is off it’s prime quality but still remains one of the most traditional Spanish places available in town...  I personally think Tapeo,  22 Ships and Mesa 15 or Fofo by El Willy to be slightly avant garde and deviating from Spanish food.  Boqueria was good once but a later visit was a little underwhelming.  And I haven’t had a chance to visit Catalunya yet.   And truth be told way less than half of these shops will be as good as the food I had experienced in Spain,  more on execution than lack of available ingredients..



Almeria ‘Carabineros’ Prawns -
They are $48 a piece added on top of your seafood paella.
A bargain if you ask me,  as I know their final supplier prices as well..  Don’t think they will be making money on these prawns.



Chef is cooking a Paella on a very large Dish -
He is very experienced with cooking up large pans of paella from his experiences cooking overseas and more recently in Macau hotel restaurants..




48 Months ‘Joselito’ Jamon de Iberico -  $255
Served with Pan con Tomate,  garlicky and tomato and olive oil toasts.   The toasts in my honest opinion needed better aromatic bread as a base,  and could do with more aromatic components,  I think I have had enough Spanish food before to be able to judge fairly!  Smile with tongue out  On the other hand the Joselito jamon were decent but not marbled enough,  but correctly ruby red from the aging.  ~  6.9/10




Joselito Jamon de Iberico on Pan con Tomate -
Could really be better.. but not far off.





Sangrias -  Half $250,  Full $430
They have many versions of Sangrias here,  apparently up to 65 types!
  That’s where half of this shop’s name also derived from.   Having sampled a few versions I think  they were more on the fruitier side and to me could have more wine or gin or even vermouth input.   They were enjoyable but to me a little on the pricier side too!   ~  7/10




Seafood Cocktail in Olive Oil –
I didn’t really catch the idea behind this at all.   It is obviously easy enough to criticize a shop but for some reason I was expecting more fish or octopus taste.  It looked pretty enough though!  ~  5/10




Crispy Toasts with Anchovies and Roasted Vegetables – $75
The anchovies are very surprising to me.  They were rawer than the salty Anchoas fillets, or the vinegar brined Boquerones.  These were more like freshly cured sardines!   I liked it enough and I think the round toasts can be more crispier though.   This dish was interesting as it wasn’t Spanish in taste but was Spanish enough in spirit.  ~  6.9/10



Chicken and Cheese Croquetas – $16 per piece
I overheard a few people saying that this was pretty good.   I know I might be sounding a bit alienated here as usual but croquetas in my mind are usually more sticky and gooey.  I guess the version here is more clean and approachable!   ~  7/10




Andalusian style Deep Fried Squids – $195
This looked decent but most probably didn’t follow up with the fresh seafood taste I had come to expect.  The pricing of this dish was a bit too much,  whereas other dishes are opposite and can be considered cheap by local context.  I think this was too thick in the batter and slightly over-fried,  an issue that could be fixed.  But looking at the price…… ?   ~  6.9/10



Morcilla Blood Sausage and Fried Eggs on Potato Nest – $65
I make this myself too.  The morcilla blood sausages are fried separately from the eggs initially,  before being combined.   The colors are not murky due to this due process.  However I did found the potato fries to be slightly limpy under-fried,  plus the really pureed blood sausage to be over-powered by both eggs and potatoes.   But this is only my personal opinion because apparently,  others on the night found the Morcilla to be too bloody in taste.  But I love morcilla and other black puddings so it could well be just me but from my viewpoint,  I think this was a little weak anyhow.   ~  7/10





Clams in Seafood Sauce – $145
My 2nd favourite dish of the night from the Paella below..  The clams were barely cooked and carried sweetness as well as the slightly wine-like aroma from the sauce beneath.  Really enjoyable for once.   ~  9/10




Mixed Seafood and Pork Paella,  with Almeria ‘Carabineros’ Prawn – $158
Red Spanish Prawns are $48 each here.  The rice was filled with the squid ink and other seafoods broth taste.    Eat this whilst it’s hot as it loses flavour when it cools down,  and on a side note,  I wish their Red Prawns retained their trimmed prawn legs -  it’s where much of the red crustacean flavours remain.   ~  9/10




Slow Cooked Suckling Pig with Caramelized Apple and Honey Mustard Sauce – $95
Our instant feedback was that the pork was both sliced too thick and also lacking pork taste,  and also not seeping up the pork jus beneath it.  The skin part was also slightly lacking a crunchy-crispiness.      ~  6/10





Mango Mousse Cake with Mango Cubes and Blueberry Sauce -
I liked this and it seemed slightly compressed.  It reminded me more of peaches in taste.  I can’t find the blueberry sauce but at the end of the day,  this was refreshing enough.  If not too Spanish.  ~  7.5/10



Chocolate Mousse with Banana,  and Passionfruit and Sorbet – $65
Again well priced.   The chocolate mousse was slightly too sweet but the rest of the package was decent,  although I couldn’t taste enough of the Passionfruit.  ~  6/10





Nice View from Tapagria -
So amazing indeed,  this is Hong Kong.  My hometown.
I as always try to be as objective and as fair as possible.   Tapagria has potential,  and some dishes such as their Paella and Clams were excellent.  On the other hand some dishes on this night can see improvements especially the slightly soft Suckling Pig,  which is naturally loved by many in town and people carry high expectations.  At the end of the day they were priced right for the majority of food,  if not for the jugs of 65 Sangrias which is their signatures here too but a little aggressive...   




Price:   HKD $300  (Meal was by Invitation by Tapagria, thanks.)
Ease of Access:  2/5
Food:  ♕♕♕♕

Address: 尖沙咀彌敦道100號The ONE 18樓
100 Nathan Road,  Tsim Sha Tsui,  The One,  18th Floor
Ph:  +852 2147 0111


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...