Sunday, May 17, 2015

芬記燒臘 Fan Kei Roast Shop (Macau) - Elusive Charsiu Pork was Totally Worth the Wait

 I won’t claim to be the first discoverer of this Roasting Shop that is revered by many locals as the ultimate best of the best in Macau,  especially for their Char Siu Pork.  One of the major obstacles is that this shop closes by around 12:30pm max already and usually when I come to Macau my schedule is fully packed for the day to really explore too much, or must remain within a Hotel complex due to Invitation events.   Particularly around this peak hour time when I just can’t walk away.   Despite having travelled past this shop’s location at least 50 times before it folds its gate and never leaving a trace as a signage,  I never even knew it was so close and right next to another great noodles shop Luen Kee I have also eaten at.  You can see how elusive it is when it barely opens for a few hours a day..



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This Queue doesn’t look too long by 11:20am at first sight,  I was like the 7th Person only -
But everyone of these people are ordering 5 to 10 Roast Lunch Boxes for their colleagues,   and then equally the endless Phone Calls from regulars also ordered many Take-Aways for their friends.  I saw at least more than 1 transaction which was over MOP 1,000 just for Lunch Boxes alone.  So you can imagine that being the 7th person in line is just equal to being the 50th in line.



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Finally My Char Siu Rice – MOP $41
After 1 hours wait with my heavy laptop and other things dragging me down with a sore back,  and you might think it’s just a Line after all.  But let me assure you no one in the queue were even ascertain if we will ever get our lunches.  I and others in the line had an interesting conversation,   having been waiting patiently inline for at least 1 hour despite only 7 people’s short of reaching the counter,  only to see so much of the Pork Knuckles,  Char Siu,  or Soy Sauce Poached Chicken being loaded off before our eyes by the Kgs.  This was being ordered by both people in front of us in the line,  or more of those who pre-ordered with the phone in advance.   No one could guarantee we will ever get our shares.  Not a great feeling at all until that last minute of relief.  I am sure someone at the end of the queue didn’t quite make it.


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My Char Siu Pork finally – MOP 41
The lady charging me said if I gave her HKD 500 instead of Macau MOP 500,  I will be losing out on currency change if she gave me back Macau MOP Currency as change.  (It’s only going to be a few dollars difference). In the end she decided to charge me only MOP 40 equivalent with a $1 dollar discount as a gesture. This was so thoughtful & moving to me.  I can’t imagine this still even exists in this world!  Funny thing is that this same Money Lady was micro-arguing with the Hard-at-Work Chef Guy who might just be her husband,  who was so careful to cut away all the End Charred bits in every piece of his Char Siu pork to make sure everyone gets only the best cuts of the meat.  And he also kept apologising to customers endlessly that his pork supplier today gave him leaner cuts of pork than as usual…   To me this was good enough already to warrant a ~ 9.5/10 



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芬記燒臘 -
The Char Shiu Pork from here is so meticulously amazing.  It took a lot of effort to butcher down every piece of Chicken, Knuckle and Pork meat during peak hour single-handedly whilst he was also watching out for the Roasting procedure at the back.  My Char Siu in the end had the right Macau only Smokiness, the balanced Texture, is Slightly Charred outside, Half Fatty, even the Marinade is like a Master stock very sophisticated and carrying Multiple Spices.   For $41, it beats almost all of the sophisticated $225-295 versions out there for me.   The Cashier Lady and the Chef’s insistence on only giving out the best parts and not ever over-charging you,  it is all part of humanity to me.   After finishing my meal,  I waited for the right moment to walk up to the Chef and said  “The Char Siu Pork was superbly excellent in every aspect and very satisfying..  Thank you Chef!  ”.   I had no need to say that to him but I wholeheartedly really appreciated their approach.  He greeted me back and said “Thanks so much and glad you enjoyed it!”    I really wanted him to feel someone does care and hopefully can keep them motivated everyday despite being overly busy!




Price:  MOP or HKD $41
Food:   ♕♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address:  新馬路新埗頭街
Ph:  2892 1539
Opening Hours: Around 10:30am to 12:30pm

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bakudan Ya Hiroshima - 廣島沾麵本舖爆彈屋

 We came to Bakudan Ya after my friends were cleaning up their own day time restaurant and simultaneously prepping the food for the next day,  and by the time it finished it was already 10:30pm.  Pretty shocking to be working in the hospitality industry actually,  the worse are Pastry Chefs who get up so early to bake.   Anyway by this time we were deliberating where to go now for what is essentially Supper.  Last time we went to Doraya,  which is lovely too and owned by the same Japanese guy in Hong Kong.   Anyway since we were thinking left and right,  I am not really into Kozy,  and Konpachi is stretching the supper budget a little,   and Hidden Kitchen I just went, so let’s test out this relocated shop.   Bakudan Ya has now also opened a Fried Chicken outlet literally beneath my house in Fortress Hill..  You should totally visit there as their Japanese Fried Chicken are the best I have tried in HK so far.



Specials Menu -
With a few Oysters and other Daily Items

Small Bar Counter -
The shop surprisingly was tight.  I guess it could maximum fit 20 people?   But this is such a lovely hide-out with more than reasonable prices for supper.



Draught Suntory Malt and Dark Stout Beers - $49 and $55 respectively.
Actually I think they were not cold enough for me, even if the glasses were typically refrigerated beforehand already.





Iwashi Nanban Zuke イワシの南蛮漬け - Fried Sardines in Nanban pickled sauce
In my mind I keep thinking this is related to a Spanish/Greek/Persian/Italian Escabeche as the recipe is almost the same with the pickling.  This was nicely done accurate and only $30.  8/10




Chili Miso Tsukemen ‘Ramen’ from Hiroshima – Large $84
This is a famous tsukemen from Japan’s same named shop,  well known for its spiciness and unlimited sesame add-ons.  This was alright decent,  the dipping soup was a little thin but this is one of the rare ramen styles I am unfamiliar with so I won’t judge it.   The Pork however seemed to be layered with miso solution too,  very similar to Kitakata style ramen and may be some others.   ~ 7/10



Hot Potato Salad with Gratinated Cheese – $48
Come to think about it this was my idea to order!  However it was just ok,  not enough potato taste for me although the cheese kind of made up!   The best cold/hot potato salad in Hong Kong I have tried is easily Futago HK’s 3 textured Potato Salad.  That is so amazingly good it’s not funny!  Here  ~  6/10

Grilled Mentaiko – $50
The portion was smallish but in hindsight this almost half-sized dish was adequate to its lowish price tag.   I personally think it could be grilled less,  and plus believe me or not,  Mentaiko eaten in Kyushu is wayyyy more spicier and fishy.  Last year visiting Okinawa and eating some batch confirmed my tastebud hasn’t got haywire.   Mentaiko in Southern Japan is way more powerful addictive!   ~ 7/10


Fried Kara-age Chicken – $15 a Piece
As mentioned above,  they have now opened up a separate shop selling just these Fried Chickens from Hiroshima near my house.  You should totally go there or here to eat them, it was everyone’s favourite dish.   Crispy with an inundated batter coating,  the chicken taste was good too and so juicy!    It’s not cheap but this is the best Fried Chicken we have eaten in HK,  no matter if Japanese,  Korean, American or KFC.   ~ 10/10




Bachi Maguro Bigeye Tuna Tataki (Salt Tare) – $70
This was a generous portion and knowing Doraya the sister shop is a tuna supplier,  I expected a lot.  Somehow the marination was accurate,  but this batch was too sinewy relative to a normal Bigeye Tuna’s expectation.  However considering the price this was ok.  ~ 6.9/10



Kaku Highball – $49
This to me is better value for money than the beer.  Good Japanese Suntory whisky base.

Otafuku no Tonpei-yaki – $60
The eggs were a bit thin and inside,  there’s some…  but not too much pork or cheese.  Overall this was just ok.   The best Tonpei-yaki I have ever tried in Hong Kong is surprisingly at Watami 和民,  which seriously is way way better than all alternatives I have tried and right up there with Japan Kansai’s standards.   Come to think of it tomorrow I will be going to Watami -  YES !   Overall this place is nicely priced for Supper however,  don’t ask me what time it closes…  Oh look I feel nice tonight so let me have a look.   It closes at 2am Mon to Sat !   Sunday closed.




Price:  $240 Per Person including Drinks
Food:   ♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Shop 1103, 11/F., United Success Commercial Centre, 508 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay
Opening Hours:  Mon to Sat 18:00 to 02:00am

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

MX - New Fast Food Concept

 The new MX concept is like an upscale Family Fast Food restaurant,  and surprisingly the new menu has items such as steamed whole fish,  double boiled soups and a very high quality Hainanese Chicken Rice set for only $48.   I wanted to check out this place because as you might have discovered,  many of the sister restaurants and concepts are actually very smart and it was for me as a food lover and observer,  interesting to see what they plan for Hong Kong with their marketing sense.


MX –
Take,  Eat,  Easy



The Barbeque and Carvery Station -
Looking pretty professional and more like a kitchen than just a fast food counter nowadays.



USB Chargers -
This is what’s required in recent restaurant trends,  well almost.
I have seen them in places like Bao Wow,  Caliburger and perhaps a few other places too,  even at Snooker or Pool Table clubs.




Beeping Red -
My food is ready finally!



Sauces and Water Dispenser -
This is so appreciated and MX is really nailing it finally.. 
We can choose either Hot or Cold filtered water.  So many places make you uncomfortable when you ask for an additional glass of water,  not here because you can do it yourself and refill anytime!




Iced Green Tea with Honey and Jelly -
This is part of the Meal’s options.  It was refreshing and with low sugar,  just the way I like it..




Citrus and Preserved Plum Iced Drink -
This is a very traditional Cantonese-Chinese drink,  but good to see it appear here as a HK concept.




Chilled Tomato with Sesame Sauce – $10 Add On Price
The plate beneath was a little too slippery to cut this.  Overall it was good but I expected it to be pre-sliced for some reason,  although I don’t mind playing with knives myself at all.  ~ 7.5/10



Beef and Cheese Teppan Rice – $50
Actually we didn’t know what to order from the choices but this seems like a good offering because we both love beef and cheese and teppan.   With plenty of cheese it’s always going to be likable,  the separate sauce was good too.   Beef was sliced thicker than the immediate competitors ~  7/10



Daily Veggies – $10 Add On Price
Comes with some Goji berries and Fungus.  Pretty good value and considering this could be your daily healthy meal..  Thinking back this was top values !  Most places nowadays will charge you $20 – $27 upwards for this same amount of veggies  ~ 9/10




Hainanese Chicken Rice Set with Soup and Rice – $48
The chicken thigh requires $8 more, normal to many shops.   Personally I think the performance of Dark Thigh meat and Breast meat only depends on the cooking methods,  but thigh is always a safer bet from kitchens.  The chicken meat was very good and the skin was fresh chicken obviously.  At this price this was rather excellent and in fact the Rice and Soup beats a certain Grand Hotel’s version for me at 5 times the price.   The Soy Sauce and Chili sauce here were also more accurate and Hainan/Singaporean like.   I have no idea why people rave about a certain $280 Chicken Rice in town when it is just expected at that price and their sauces and soup are not as good as here!  And its just street food in Singapore/Malaysia  ~ 8/10


The Chicken was excellent -
Very surprised at the random ordering to get a great Hainanese chicken.   The oil rice was also flavourful in HK context.  Coming from MX too…




Steamed Fish with Double Boiled Soup and Rice – $62
It was good to find this here at MX,  if only one opened near my house I will be a regular.  So homely.  Comes with the double boiled soup as a set.  Great value for money ~ 8/10





Daily Soup – with Carrots,  Chicken Feet,  Chicken Bones, Pork, etc
Boiled well and again so homely.  I think their concept is spot-on right. 
This is comfort food.   This is precisely the food I want to eat 3-4 days a week..




Green Tea and Red Beans Pudding – Add On Price $8.5
We are always happy to order one to try.  It was a bit too sweet but the green tea aftertaste was very Japan-like.   With a bit of Green Tea aftertaste which lingers on.   ~ 7/10   Come to think about it I actually really enjoyed our meal here,  it is considerate and from the ordering concept using a ‘Flashing beeper’,  to the USB phone chargers,  all the way to the Water Dispenser and also the Final Food that arrived.   It was a rather convincing package and thoughtful.   I wonder if they also sell beers here 1 day!




Price:  $43 to $68 plus Drinks
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address:  Shop 18, G/F, Site 1, Whampoa Garden, Hung Hom, HK
Ph:  2620 0180

Thursday, May 7, 2015

粵來順 Yuet Lai Shun - Affordable Cantonese Restaurant by Chef Tam & Chef Chan from Michelin 1* Dong Lai Shun

 The Michelin 1* Dong Lai Shun from Royal Garden Hotel has recently opened up a separate 2nd outlet in Causeway Bay.  This restaurant 粵來順 Yuet Lai Shun however is another 3rd restaurant,  which carries a similar name and sells instead mostly Cantonese dishes.   The similarities between the 3 shops’ names (not including the ones in Beijing),  is that Chef Chan has externally opened up his own new Cantonese venture with Chef Tam in the outskirts of Mongkok area.   Despite having been opened for only a few months,  this place is jam packed every night and since it opens until 2:00am daily,  apparently it has become the supper canteen of many other local Chefs who finally came off-duty and needed a comfort meal with quality. 



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Master Stock Platter 滷水拼盤 – $158
Cantonese sub-region Chiu Chow style in spirit,  this comes with Large Intestines,  Tofu,  Calamari and Red Sausage.  The marination was done alright and balanced.  The cooking was spot on this time.  ~ 7.5/10


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Almond Soup with Pig’s Lungs and Chicken Feet 杏汁燉白肺 – $208
Both this and the above dish are Chiu Chow cuisine based,  but both have since been incorporated into Cantonese cuisine in general as geographical,  Chiu Chow is a part of Canton.   Talk about micro-regions within China and it opens up the Pandora’s Box!   This almond soup was sweet but for some of us slightly not sweet almond-y enough and got over powered by both Pork Meat and Chicken Feet stock.  Viscosity was correct though.   This is one soup dish that many places are happy to serve,  but even some as strong calibre as The Chairman or HKU Alumni Restaurant can’t make it correct.  From my memory,  only Luk Yu Tea House and Queen’s College Chinese Restaurant have nailed it right.   ~ 6/10




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Honeyed Soy Sauce Poached Chicken 蜂蜜豉油皇雞 – $98
Now this was great, I can’t remember a better version except mine  (Subjective haha but not boasting,  who wants to try mine!  Ok no one lol forget it hehe).   The fault with most versions in town is that the chicken is over-poached tough,  and the marinating sauce is 1 dimensional.   Here even the chicken breast was still silken smooth,  the skin and meat have absorbed in the poaching liquid flavours adequately.  Something you assume is easily done,  but rarely do you find any good balance.  If I was to nitpick,  I think it could handle slightly more spice and Chinese wine but it was definitely present.   ~ 9/10



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Fried Kataifi Pastry with Minced Prawns and Cheese  千絲芝心球 – $98
A smart combination.   The pastry was expectedly nice,  the middle prawn mince was also beaten to have that elastic texture. The cheese was ok but overall this was a very enjoyable Signature Dish.  If only they could change to an artisanal cheese as the flavour discrepancy is quite apparent when most commercial cheese ain’t even real cheese.   ~ 8.5/10




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Prawns Paste and Stir-Fried Beef with Kai Lan Veggies 蝦醬牛肉炒芥蘭 – $78
The ingredients independently are expected,  but this trio of combination is actually quite rare.  Usually it’s done with a different veggie like Kangkong/Water Spinach/Morning Glory and minus the beef meat.  Still familiar.  Re-invented and probably the Chef has re-invented a homey dish without himself knowing.   ~ 9/10



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Black Pepper Sauce with Fried Pork Knuckle 黑椒脆豬髀 – $128
This has always baffled me as a recipe.  Is it considered German?  However it is sort of a staple in many Cantonese restaurants.  The Black Pepper sauce however has always been a part of Cha Chaan Teng culture,  which in itself is kind of fusionized in concept.  The meat was tender but the skin could be more crispier in some parts.  ~ 7/10



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Dried Plum Pork Knuckle 話梅豬手 – $98
2 Knuckle dishes in a row,  this won my heart hands down!   My fellow foodie friend said this could have a more sour plummy note – I also agree.  However this was rather appetizing already and as it is I will give it an 8/10. If it had more plum and some acidity layering,  this could be potentially a 12/10 dish for me.


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Preserved Olives and Soy Bean Pork Spare Ribs 欖豉骨 – $78
It was more honeyed coated than I imagined.   With the menu description I somehow expected this to be more on the savoury side.   The meat itself was however fried then coated with sauce to perfection.   Just needed more of the Olives and Soy Bean influence.  ~ 6/10




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Cast Iron Pot of Abalone with Tofu Puffs 啫啫鮑魚加豆卜 – $168
Great price.  Taste was as expected,  at least executed decently.  Good price though. ~ 7/10


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Vermicelli with Dried Shrimps,  Shrimp Roes,  Dried Conpoy 金勾銀柳 – $88
Said to be an award-winning dish was turned out to be more aesthetics than the taste.   I can’t taste much of the dried shrimps or the prawn roes,  nor the Conpoy.   I am pretty sure performance does fluctuate depending on costs or seasons,  but to me it is unacceptable if a hyped-about dish is this flat.  Even giving it benefit of doubts for fluctuation.   ~ 5//10



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Sticky Rice Freshly Steamed with Male Roe Crab 糯米蒸蟹 – $440
Male crabs give it the silken tomalley/roe texture and melts into the rice.  This was done really well and the watery crab meat sweetness melted into the rice.   Many versions in town are under-performing and yawn.  Not this one here,  even the rice was steamed perfectly and there wasn’t too much pungent garlic input like everywhere else.  ~ 8/10



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Eggs and Water Chestnuts Soup 蛋花馬蹄露 -
A traditional Cantonese dessert soup,  which I grew up with but lately is not as popular.  Compared to the past I found this to have too much crunchy Water Chestnuts,  but other than that the taste was accurate.  ~ 7/10


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Almond and Egg White Tea Soup 蛋白杏仁茶 -
No tea involved, it’s just a name in Chinese to indicate it’s texture.  This was ok but like the above savoury Almond Pigs Lung’s Soup,  could be more thicker and pronounced in the different types of Almond Flavours.  

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Yuet Lai Shun -
A new partnership restaurant between Michelin 1* famed Chef Chan and Head Chef Tam.  (Soothsayers will say a Michelin star is only awarded to the Restaurant not the Chef,  yawn.  Well the Head and Executive Chef is a major part of the whole Kitchen Team isn’t it.  Bored to death explaining this to people with bias.).   To me the biggest attraction about here is the overall mid-high quality vs affordable pricing point.  Also the fact that it opens until late til 2am.   I will be happy to dine here any time again but not expecting any miracles of course.  Michelin Bib Gourmand quality for me however personally especially when I need a meal at 1am..



Price:  $200 + 10% plus Drinks
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address:  2-8 Dundas Street,  10-12 Po Hung Building,  Mongkok
旺角登打士街2-8號寶亨大廈地舖10-12號   (About 10 minutes walk from Mongkok towards Olympus Station direction.)
Ph:  2788 3078

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Agave Tequila Y Comida ( Wanchai ) – Celebrating Mexican Cinco de Mayo with Special Tacos

 The month of May is normally synonymous with Le French Gourmay.  Ironically, the Mexican’s during the same month Celebrate their defeat against the French during a war battle on the 5th of May every year.   Agave in Wanchai celebrates ‘Cinco de Mayo’ every year as far as I remember,  sometimes with a Buffet of All You Can Eat.   It was befitting that we arrived on the actual day on May 5th,  although this Special Menu will last for the rest of May month.



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Margarita on Rocks – $75
To me and some friends,  the best Margarita in town and they have Happy Hour Buy-1-Get-1 Free from 5pm onwards until I think 9pm.   It’s pretty strong so watch out…  I have had it here so many times its not remotely funny.  Such great value for money and nicely tuned,  lemony and salty.   ~ 9/10



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‘Machos’ – $132
Tortilla Nacho Chips topped with Beans,  Tomato Salsa,  Serrano Pepper,  Melted Cheese, Avocado Guacamole and Cilantro.  We ordered extra Chili Chicken for $32.  This was so huge and superb value for money.  Even 3 people couldn’t polish it off!  I think the tortilla chips were a bit flat crispy commercialized unlike the Freshly Fried Tortilla/Tostada texture.  Good news is that every layer had plenty of melted cheese and there’s plenty of salsa and chicken too.   Great value for money!  ~ 7/10




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Cinco de Mayo Special – Duck Confit with Sweet Piparra Yellow Peppers,
Red Radish and Tomatillo Sauce – $172 for 3 Soft Tacos
The slow cooked duck had a good marinade,  although this batch was slightly on the stringy side.  The Piparra peppers are my favourite as always because its the same as Spanish-Basque Guindilla Peppers,  which is slightly pickled and more sour than spicy. Overall this was a nice concept.  I add in plenty of Chili sauce myself.   ~ 7/10




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Cinco de Mayo Special #2 – Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Tacos,  Red Cabbage,  Apple Slaw and a slightly spicy Aioli $158 for 3 Tacos
This was my favourite tonight and because the pork was cooked to really tender and not stringy,  the marination and braising sauce was pretty spot on albeit can carry a more fiery kick.   Guys would love this more I reckon !   ~  9/10



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Cinco de Mayo Special #3 – Tempura Soft Shell Crab,  Green Mango,
Grilled Pineapple Salsa $178 for 3 Soft Tacos

This was fried really well and for Value-for-Money wise,  I think this is the choice!  Tonight’s version however had some slightly undercooked and thickly brunoised Green Mangoes (yes they need to be slightly cooked unless in thinly julienned Thai Green Mango or Green Papaya Salads).   Overall this was a good exotic concept and although not sure if this is still Mexican in spirit,  it remained exotic.   The pineapple and green mango could be more tuned.  ~ 7/10



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Queso Fundido ‘Mexican Cheese Fondue’ with Dried Chorizo Sausage and Oaxaca Cheese, Garlic Butter – $128
Basically the must order Mexican dish here if you like thick gooey cheese. Amazing stuff! It comes with Tortilla, but if you have access to some Nacho Chips, they work well too!  Can’t believe this is only $128 as the cheese and chorizo alone would have nearly costed that.  Very authentic although without the flambee on top for flair.  Can this be requested as extra?   ~ 9/10

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Unlike a Traditional French/Swiss/Italian/Spanish Fondue all using Different Local Cheeses -
The Mexican version uses mostly Oaxaca Cheese and is served in a Cast Iron pot minus the flame beneath.   Which means you should eat it whilst it stays warm!   I personally don’t mind colder sticky gooey cheese,  I find it fun even when it turns gummy.   So good!!!  Unlike the above Cinco de Mayo specialty Tacos,  this Queso Fundido will always be waiting for you.




Price:  $300 + 10% plus Drinks
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: Shop C & D,  93 Lockhart Road,  Wan Chai,  Hong Kong
Ph:  2866 3228


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