Saturday, April 30, 2016

Matcha Green Tea Promotion at Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel [ Kowloon, HK ] - Kyoto Matcha Themed Food & Drinks, from now until 18th of June 2016. Kyoto Tea Ceremony.

 Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel and many of its Umbrella restaurants and the Lobby Lounge,  ranging from Michelin 2* Shang Palace ( ) to Nadaman Japanese Restaurant of Japan's Michelin 2* fame,  are currently promoting a Kyoto Uji Matcha themed food and Tea pairing with some creative new entrances in recipe.   We were at the opening announcement as Media/Bloggers tables and came quickly to try out a few quick Matcha samplings.  I am personally a Matcha fan,  so I made sure I tried to capture as many photos as reference and this Matcha Promotion ends before 18th June,  2016.

It's All Matcha Green Tea related - 
Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel will be serving Matcha Green Tea items across their restaurants and lounge until 18th June 2016.  Including their Michelin 2* Shang Palace, Nadaman (of 2* fame in Japan original shop), The Lounge, and Deli Kool the Buffet.

Our Fine Japanese Lady performing Matcha 茶道 -  From Nadaman
Available at The Lounge also until June 18th.   She makes a Kyoto thinner Usu-Cha (薄茶) style as proper in Tea Ceremonies, using Matcha from Koyamasa-KoYamaen (山政小山園) 

A Trio of Matcha Japanese & Chinese Appetizers -
The Front Dish is the Matcha infused River Prawns done by Michelin 2* Shang Palace,  Chef Mok.  Very crunchy morsels with crystal translucent like colors.

Zuwaigani Crab Meat with Matcha Yuba Soy Bean Skin - 
ズワイガニと自家製抹茶湯葉 - 雪埸蟹肉配抹茶腐竹  Wonderful combination of flavors, with the correct amount of dashi jelly input onto the matcha flavored soy bean skin made in house, and plenty of Snow Crab meat on top.

Matcha Green Tea Soy Tofu with Sea Urchin & Grated Wasabi - 抹茶豆腐伴海贍
Also part of the Japanese Nadaman Restaurant promotion, but apparently I heard this can be enjoyed at other places also within the same Kowloon Shangri-la Hotel Restaurants until 18th June 2016,  as a cross-over.

Grilled Isaki Fish with Matcha & Foam, Japanese Sweet Potatoes and Hajikami Ginger Pickle -
宇治抹茶燒日本伊佐木魚, はじかみ, 薩摩芋
This was cooked well and so Kyoto-esque like. It's silkily smooth and reminds me of Saikyo-miso marinated Cod. The presence of a Pickled Ginger was reassuring, as many places in the World copy the grilled marinated Nobu fish concept but doesn't understand about the other smallest balance details!  The sweet potato was so ripe tasting, if it sounds cliched, but it was the perfect season for them as an addition. Lovely !

抹茶多士片皮雞 - Crispy Skin Chicken with Matcha Green Tea Mousse, on Fried Toast Bread.  Sided by Hand Pulled Chicken with Jelly Fish & Shredded Ginger in a Crispy Nest 
New Matcha themed dining and created by Michelin 2* 香宮 Shang Palace's Chef Mok.  Also lasting until 18th June 2016, this is a Tasting Portion and I over heard many became a high fan of this very smart yet well balanced dish. To me personally I also find this historically significant, since Green Tea Culture in Japan sort of picked up from China side.  Well done job.

Matcha Tea Smoked Beef Filet with Wasabi Miso Dressing -
A pretty smart Concept in ideology, but somehow I thought both Matcha or Beef Marbling or Flavor could be improved slightly. I personally have my own philosophy about beef - it works best with Salt, so why not a sprinkle of Matcha Salt too?

Some Matcha Scones and Cheese Cakes,  Jelly with Shiratama Balls,  Roll Cake with Red Beans to finish off with -
These will be presented in various formats in The Lobby Lounge,  other Restaurants or Deli Kool Buffet Restaurant for the 'Matcha Promotion',     If you are more a Savory person like me, there are also Matcha Salmon, Grilled Mushrooms with Matcha Mayo dip, Chawanmushi Egg Custard with Crab Meat and Matcha to choose from.

We made a Matcha Roll Cake with Red Adzuki Beans, Cream & Matcha Macaron with Chocolate Garnish and Printed Chocolate -
Pastry Chef Thomas Broger already prepared all the components from scratch for us, so we just basically assembled them together to streamline things,  and it was certainly a very fun and yummy exercise.  It reminds me of the equally intriguing Scone Making session we had with London's Chef Nicolas Patterson in 2015, who came from London to HK side Island Shangri-La Hotel. (Which I didn't posted that website review but mostly on Instagram,  because it lasted only for a few Days in HK.  Hence its called Instagram I suppose.).  I still remember being astonished that the The London version Scones used high gluten flour and no self-raising flour,  also double cream on top of milk according to Chef Nicolas.  Believe it or not it actually worked a treat,  especially with the addition of Bergamot to the Earl Grey infusion.  For me the Shangri-la Hotels make the best scones overall in my many experiences, also Four Seasons too.  Yet I am always open to a new Scones Competition tasting to improve the Scones Scene : )

The Usu-Matcha Ceremony Cup to finish,  You Pick Your Own Hand Crafted Cup -
It is so Kyoto like and bubbly thin in viscosity,  not too astringent bitter.   The Water Temperature and Water to Powder ratio was spot on combined with the super prestigious above-mentioned Koyamasa-KoYamaen (山政小山園) Powder.  There are a few types of Schools on preparing Matcha,  but according to many Purists,  this balanced act totally reflects Kyoto's heritage and subtle and polite culture.  Job well-done and after asking,  it can be had at The Lounge for $80 daily until mid-June 2016.

Price: A Media/Blogger Preview of the Combination of Their Different Restaurant's Matcha Green Tea Promotion, until 18th June 2016.   For more details,  do Visit for clarification individually

Address: 尖沙咀麼地道64號九龍香格里拉大酒店地下1層 
64 Mody Road, Basement B1, Kowloon Shangri-la Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Ph: 2733 8754

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bun Cha [ Hong Kong ] - One of the Best Vietnamese Food in HK. But all of it is Relative.

 One of the best articles I have read online about Vietnamese food cultures,  is from -  over Houston and Orange County in California and the differences.  I agree on this totally because over the years and our own cultural divisions,  not many did start to appreciate over our own Vietnamese bases migrations forward and back,  or how over the many decades and numerous immigrants later,  somehow in every City and Culture we started to develop our own Vietnamese Culture.  One of the very central things which I disagree with almost all food experts on Vietnamese food,  is because I can prove that a Pho noodles is actually a Chinese Chiu Chow-TeoChew based Dish.

No one will speak about this online much because on the apparent surface it doesn't make much sense,  but to me I actually see a total reason behind this relationship  Think about Fermented Fish Sauce.  Apart from Chiu Chow in Southern China,  and also in Rome Italy,  who actually else does the same concept anywhere else at all?   The thing is Vietnamese food and Thai Food also utililizes the same Fish Sauce Concept,  in fact within the co-relations involved,  even the likes of Chinese Chiu Chow or Kway Chap noodles,  Hoi Joh Fried Prawn minced dumplings which are all Chinese Chiu Chow based,  Teo Chew aka Chao Zhou based noodles are all similar in spirits.   I had this Argument with an Instagrammer online recently,  she doesn't believe that a Pho Tuoi noodles (in Vietnamese) is the same as what you would find in Chiu Chow China, even if Cantonese based Teo Chew or Chao Zhou cuisines all advertise them as a Pho Tuoi the same.   I won't be posting this if I didn't believed in it myself fully either.

Good Beef and Pho noodles under - $68
Actually this was pretty good for HK Context.   It was balanced.   I heard some people think this has less Beef Broth depth than Brass Spoon,  which is equally correct.  But then again Brass Spoon is too concentrated on being Beefy but neglecting the overall balance,  plus that wasn't that cheap in comparison.  I will rather pick here on the daily basis.  I think places likes BEP,  Vietnam Station,  Pho 26,  Nha Trang  or elsewhere have all their own strong straits.   Ultimately,  how many will perform better than the ones in Vietnam itself?

Price: $68 Per Person 
Food: ♕♕♕♕♕ 

Address: 上環蘇豪鴨巴甸街41-49號金豪大廈地下1號舖
Ph: 28581900

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bari-Uma 廣島霸嗎拉麵 [ Hong Kong ] - Hakata style Pork Tonkotsu Ramen from Hiroshima

 Bari-Uma opened a 2nd shop on TST side today,  and this is actually my 1st visit to this imported Ramen shop.   Previously,  I have heard from fellow foodie friends that the soup broth is kind of normal tasting only,  despite it being shipped from Japan Hiroshima directly.  After my trial of their 2 Pork and Chicken Paitan ramens today however,  I have to say the balance and sophistication suits me well as an everyday food.. This restaurant is also part of Listed Company 00703 Future Bright Group,  which operates many restaurants within Asia,  Hong Kong and Macau...

Edamame Beans - 
It's the perfect season for these in Spring,  either these or Sora Mame broadbeans.

Fried Chicken Karaage - 唐揚げ
This was fried really well and non greasy,  but the Mayo sauce was the highlight for me.  Not heavy and just right.   Also dipped into the Chili Spicy dip in the background too,  which is very Hiroshima like in Concept...  ~ 8/10

Tonkotsu Pork Ramen with Size 22 Noodles,  Soft Egg -
This ramen is based on Kyushu Hakata style tonkotsu ramen,  but based from Hiroshima,  more famously known for their Chili sauce sip.   I previously heard from others that the soup base is kind of average,  but personally I thought this was rather balanced with sophisticated layering.   It's not too heavy at all and I can taste both the pork and chicken taste,  also the Size 22 noodles taste.  ~  8.5/10

Egg and Noodles both Good - 
None were over-cooked..

Chicken Paitan Ramen with Seaweed - 
This is offered as an alternative to the Pork Ramen,  to suit more the Halal or Christian eaters.  The Chicken Roulade was done really well and supple soft indeed.  The soup however has competition in town,  Matsuichiya and Torihana offer even more sophistications in the base broths.  Here it was not too shabby but just losing out on the tiniest of margins in taste...  ~  7/10

羽根つき餃子 - Hane Tsuki Gyoza Dumplings 
The famous Gyoza Dumplings with a crispy Skin...  We also dipped this into the Chili Sauce ~  7.5/10

Price: $150 Per Person 

Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2  

Address: Kimberley Road,  Tsim Sha Tsui,  Hong Kong
Ph: +852 22178300

Saturday, April 16, 2016

鐵牛台灣牛肉麵 [ Hong Kong ] - Taiwanese Food Gone Seriously Wrong, Unbelievable

 Saw this rather new Taiwanese Restaurant and have always wanted to try it out - there seems to be much more newer Taiwanese openings lately after Ar Yuan 阿完來了 was a successful concept !

- Ordered their 滷肉飯 Lou Ru Fan as an initial test, before deciding if I should order their Beef Noodles. The pork was stringy and dry, but worse of all? The marinade sauce was totally off and has no spice, sweetness, soy sauce whatsoever. This was so off the chart wrong it's not remotely funny. The pork also had a strange smell to it..

If the food was bad, my Green Tea and Apple Drink was equally disastrous. Reeking of only syrupy sugar note, it had absolutely no Green Tea or Green Apple flavors, the one at Ar Yuan despite not being perfect was a million times better and refreshing. This one was again so wrong just like the rice above, I couldn't take more than 2-3 sips.

Overall - this shop is easily the worst Taiwanese food and drink I have tried in Hong Kong. I still am incredulous to believe that they actually send these out and sell it off as Taiwanese food. If anyone can find a worse tasting Taiwanese Restaurant in town, I would love to know... I simply can't imagine anything even lower than this level.

Price: $40 Per Person
Food: ♕♕

Address: 尖沙咀加連威老道96號希爾頓大廈LG樓28號舖
Shop 28,  96 Caroline Road,  Tsim Sha Tsui,  HK.
Ph: 36221190

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Starbucks Reserve Series [ Hong Kong ] - New Artisanal Coffee Concept by Starbucks

 It is very unlike me to post a review about Starbucks Coffee,  after all I am into Indie Cafes and very unique lots of coffees.   However this new Specialty Coffee Concept Store by Starbucks has now entered the HK Market,  starting with the store at Dundas St,  Mongkok.   I find it fascinating even a big Coffee Chain is treading down this path,  it clearly shows even the mammoth giants are starting to become aware mass produced coffee trend is no longer cool.  Just look at all the Starbucks which closed in Australia as an example..

The Single Origin Coffee Menu - With a variety of Spread from all over the world.
The beans are roasted in Seattle and Air Freighted over,  unlike the normal Starbucks beans which are cargo shipped..

Siphon Bar,  together with Pour Over Hand Drip,  Espresso -
A few brewing choices to try out their Single Origin Specialty beans.  Looking very neat on a separate serving counter dedicated to this trade.

The Brewed Coffee Menu - 
There are currently offerings from Ethiopia,  Kenya,  Costa Rica & Panama.  Apparently this changes regularly so on the next Menu,  2 of these will be replaced.

Tasting Notes of each Individual Coffee Bean - 
I observed that all beans on offer this day were 'Washed',  I suspect there might be a good reason for that.  Perhaps consistency and volume related?

My grinded Coffee,  which was offered to me to Smell - 
This is at a Starbucks!   But here it was just like at an Indie Cafe.   How things change everything over time..

Melitta Ceramic Brew Cone,  with Cotton Filters used here - 
What intrigued me was the 'measurements' used by Starbucks here.  For 30g of grinded beans,  they pour in close to around 12Oz of hot water for the final Tall Size cup.   This perimeter is probably a bit 'stretched' if you ask any Indie Cafe Barista,  but Starbucks being Starbucks,  I was interested in their business model and whether they could pull it off!

Costa Rica 'La Candelilla' Pour Over Coffee - 
Pour and Pause once method,  as standardized by Starbucks Reserve.  Served with a Lotus biscuit.  Actually this was better than expected,  with a clean bright peachy and lemony note,  and hint of non jarring hazelnut-chocolate.   For the price of around $39 HKD,  I would even say this is recommendable as it is an everyday sort of drink!  ~  7/10

Victoria Arduino Black Eagle Espresso Machine (by Nuova Simonelli) -
Very hardcore for a Starbucks!  There are no Clover Machines here but apparently a Central store does.

You have to give Kudos to Starbucks for trying to change the Coffee Game - 
Although its a bit late to catch up with 3rd Wave Coffee plus I still saw some compromises,  overall and regarding the taste of the final coffee and the space combined,  I actually thought this was a pretty convincing new Reserve Line Concept!

Price: $39 Per Person 
Coffee: ♕♕♕♕ 

Address: Shop B01, Basement, Gala Place, 56 Dundas Street, Mong Kok 
Ph: 27703051


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