Sunday, May 29, 2016

Kimura 木村 - [ Shiga Prefecture, Japan ] Fermented Funazushi with a Gold Fish from Local Lake Biwa, also Ayu Sweet Fish

 It's not my 1st time visiting Shiga Prefecture, it's just less than 1 hour away from Kyoto by train ride. There are two routes East & West here and many train stations to visit Shiga area, but there is no doubt Hikone Station is the best bet if you want to try Shiga food. It's closer to the lake, and they have history here as it was one of the 1st Japanese castles to be built in the 15-16th Century, even preceding Osaka and Nara.

Kimura - 
Shiga is known for their fresh water fishes, here at Kimura they specialize in fresh water fishes from Lake Biwa and pickles. Ayu Sweet Fish is the centre of attention here, although they serve other regional specialties..

Tade Su - 蓼酢
When you see this bottle, you already can guess what they serve here. It's a water grass that Ayu Sweetfish also feed on, Known for their Melon flavors.

Ayu Sweetfish Sushi -
The local delicacy, and usually served Charcoal Grilled, or the young fishes Fried for safety reasons. During the peak season and when served fresh enough, they are slightly pickled and can be made into Sushi. ~ 8/10 

Funa Zushi - Crucian Carp Goldfish Sushi
This was supposedly the most traditional sushi in Japan, its fermented with salt and then fermented rice, finished up with Sake Kasu Lees as marination to lessen the smell. Back then before refrigeration periods in the 1800's, this method preserved the Fish more. Despite being called sushi, back then this didn't have rice served with it, that was more a later addition when rice didn't need to be fermented to preserve the seafood anymore... Narezushi or cooked Sushi was always for this purpose of preserving, and actually this is also eaten in China too. ~ 9/10

They also have Charcoal Grilled Ayu Sweetfish in front - 
Shiga Prefecture is fun. Freshwater seafood dominates here mostly, with other fishes and clams. Also obviously Ohmi Wagyu, which has one of the longest histories in the Wagyu World, similar DNA to Kobe Beef's Tajima Black Cow, or Matsuzaka Beef. 

Price: HKD $150 
Food: ♕♕♕♕♕

Address: 12 Osugi-cho, Omihachiman, Shiga Prefecture

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

玉蘭苑 Jade Orchid - [ Macau ] Authentic Shanghainese Food in Macau

 Real Shanghainese or nearby regional food are so scarce to come by away from their Home Town. If you ask my personal opinion, there are very few which offers this original taste, but over the many years they did seem to lose their roots or became improvised. This Restaurant is just opened last year in 2015, with the Chef directly from Shanghai region. We couldn't even wait to visit here, especially when it was endorsed by a fellow Macau Magazine foodie whom is born in Shanghai herself.

A Jigsaw Cart -
An historical culture. Back in the days, especially ladies, they traveled via this transport. You know, they think they have to be Classy. To me personally, this was a little superficial as an act hehe..

I was Told, this is one of the most Authentic Shanghainese Restaurants in Macau -
I totally trust her verdict. Coz she is Shanghainese herself, and my last trip to Shanghai was also with her. Thanks for introducing to me..

Menu Design - 

馬蘭頭香乾 -
Ma Lan herbs with Dried Tofu, Sesame Oil. This isn't a dish that is easily prepared, it takes a lot of effort for me. ~ 7/10

咸肉菜飯 -
Veggies and Salted Pork Fried Rice with Lard Oil. This again is a dish I miss from Shanghai. The greens today were looking fresh, but somehow I think it could still do with more fragrance aroma. ~ 7/10

Some Pork Xiao Loong Bao 上海小籠包 -
Expectedly executed perfectly and so soupy ~ 9/10

Shanghai Smoked Fish - 上海熏鱼
Served either Cold or Warm, the actual fish isn't really smoked just cooked in a Soy Solution then Fried. However, many versions outside of Shanghai are too hard dense. Not here at all. This is representational of the best versions I tried in Shanghai itself, Which are always great. ~ 8/10

Mung Bean Noodles with Preserved Mustard Green Veggies 雪菜炒粉皮 -
One of my favorite all time dishes. Glad someone ordered this today! .. ~ 7.5/10

Fried Pork Buns - Sheng Jian Bao 生煎包
As I have mentioned a few times, the Bao skin is either fried upside down with the pleats at the bottom, or it can be fried bottoms up. My personal preference is for the to be fried Pleat side down. Although it looks prettier this way ~ 7/10

醃篤鮮 - A soupy dish with Long Bamboo Shoots, Pork, Soy Beancurd twists, Chinese Ham
I can't instantly recall a really good version in HK/Macau compared to Shanghai itself. But this comes close ! ~ 7/10

走油蹄膀 - Braised Pork Knuckle with Less Oiliness
Served with a red braised sauce. I personally think this could have more sophistication in the sauce, or spices input. However I appreciate how this rendered off the fat via cooking technique. ~ 7/10

八寶鴨 - 8 Treasures Duck with Glutinous Rice 
This dish is always hard to achieve perfectly. The Duck has to be deboned first and then filled with rice and other ingredient, lotus seeds, etc. Truth be told in my opinion, I think this dish has always been about showing off skills to pull off the actual dish but on a rare occasion, it tastes so great. ~ 7/10

上海粢飯糕 Zi Fan Gao -
Fried Glutinous Rice Pudding, this modernized version with Chinese Ham and Spring Onions. So good indeed ~ 10/10 Its a popular Morning or Supper dish with Soy Milk, but so hard to find a great version in town nowadays. Even within Shanghai itself.. ~ 9/10

桂花湯圓 - 
Shanghainese Osmanthus Flowers, Goji, Rice and Sticky Rice Dumplings. Ever so popular.. 8/10 

The Bill came out to be rather Reasonable. Considering we had at least 5-6 people eating together! -  Some left earlier than others, but overall this was so good and recommendable for Macau's Shanghai Food scene!

Price: MOP $250
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: 新口岸孫逸仙大馬路澳門漁人碼頭勵庭海景酒店勵庭海景酒店閣樓
Mezzanine Floor, Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, Harbourview Hotel, Av. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, Porto Exterior
Ph: 87996315

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Mandarin Oriental Clipper Lounge [ Hong Kong ] - Korean & Japanese Themed Seafood & Beef Buffet until August 2016. $588 Weekdays, $628 Weekends. Meal by Invitation:

 I have been eating at Mandarin Oriental Hotel for more than 3 Decades, and during this Invitational Dinner as a Media/Blogger Platform to spread the word out about their new offerings, we spoke about how Vong by Jean Georges used to occupy one of the top spaces, and within my own memory I still remembered how the hotel looked back then and the afternoon tea set formats I ate every week here. Even Mandarin Grill + Bar changed so much, now it is more Michelin * Molecular experimental fun, yet back in the days it was a simpler romantic steak house, giving out roses to ladies and cigars to guys after the meal. Things have developed majorly since multiple times...

Some Tuna Soba Noodles was my 1st Choice - 
It looked good for the starting of Summer Weather and came nice & chilled, well seasoned. 

Dessert Forest Offerings for the Buffet -
Apparently Girls have a 2nd stomach for Desserts, and Cows have 4. A guy only has one stomach so it's smarter to begin on the famous desserts at Mandarin Oriental Hotel's Clipper Lounge Buffet!

Clipper Lounge is Almost the Undisputed Buffet for having the best Dessert Pastries in HK -
I think The Greenery at Royal Garden Hotel is also great. The Night Market at Hotel Icon is also worth a mention too.... Not sure if I missed any restaurants, but these few sprang instantly into my mind. 

Some Chocolate Truffles and Chocolate Pralines - 
Also available next door at Cafe Causette's Pastry shop, for around $30 per piece though. But here at the Buffet its unlimited !

Bread & Butter Pudding, Baked Sago Pudding, Apple Crumble - 
These were Traditional desserts proving popular.. I took photos before they were scooped up rather quickly

More Dessert Displays - 
This carries some of the Mandarin Oriental Bite Size Desserts, ranging from Tiramisu, Creme Brulee, Panna Cotta with Strawberry, Mango Mousse with Coconut and Crushed Pistachio, Chocolate Mousse Chocolate Cakes, Cheese Cakes, etc. 

Home Made Ice Cream & Sorbetti Station - 
I chose the Mango, Lime & Vanilla to try. In hindsight I should have eaten more, as it was quite warm today! 

Lime and Mango Sorbet were quite refreshing in the Summery Weather -
Although Vanilla ice cream is always the crown of the jewel for me, I always have to order some anyway to sooth. Unlimited here of course!

Mango Mousse with some Coconut and a Chocolate Truffle - 
Although I love desserts, I ate more savory items in the end because the new Japanese x Korean themed food looked amazing..

Bread Crabs, Boston Lobster and Claws - 
Seafood station here has always been a strong point for Clipper Lounge's Buffet..

Abalone, Whelks, Mussels, Oysters, too -
Occasionally they also carry Mantis Shrimps from past visits. But seriously how many places serve Abalones and really good Oysters?

Grabbed a bit of Some Seafood - 

Bread, Cheese and Salad Counter - 
Bread here in Mandarin Oriental Hotel HK has always been one of the best in town, especially the milky Latte Roll and the Baguettes, etc.  I am missing their Honeycomb though however..

Sushi Station - Since it's the Japanese Theme, there are a lot more Seafood offered than Usual until August 2016 -
There's Saba Mackerel or as Battera Zushi, Akagai Surf Clam, Amaebi Prawns, Hamachi Yellowtail, Tai Sea Bream, Tuna Maguro, Salmon, Unagi Eel, etc. The most impressive Japanese sushi and sashimi spread I have ever seen.... Nice!

*1 Serving for Japanese x Korean Promotion - Grilled Korean Beef & also Wagyu Beef Steak
This was a pretty big portion actually, and I didn't know they served this as a compliment to all Buffet Diners. At only $588 all inclusive, this was a great price! Both steaks had different characters, one more meaty and the Wagyu much oilier likable. 

Korean Beef Short Ribs - 
This is so marbled and unlimited again, we all loved this! Actually, personally it beats a few so called famous Short Ribs in town... Wished I could have eaten more!

Korean Fried Chili Chicken and Japanese Tempura Prawns, etc.
The Chili sauce is home made and not too sweet.

Korean Fried Chicken with Chili Sauce, also above mentioned Beef Short Ribs which I ate with some Fruits -

Sea Clams with Sake, Onion, Garlic, Broth - 
This looked very tempting and would have been good eaten with some Pastas or Noodles

Yakitori Sticks and Shishito Peppers - There's Chicken, Pork and Beef 
Prettily laid out on pebble stones

Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup with Goji - 
This looked neat and really caught our eyes

Fried Korean Dumplings with Kimchi -
Mandu or Mandoo are actually related to Chinese Mantou, and also Xiao Loong Bao, or Nepal Momo directly. They all share some common history, even all the way to Turkey with their Manti dumplings due to the immigrants. 

Lobster Miso Soup with Tofu -
This was really excellent and a novel idea. They even heat up the Lobster Claw meat 1st..

Miso Glazed Salmon in Teriyaki Sauce - 

Toppoki Rice Cakes with Cheese, Kimchi & Pork Belly - 
This looked so good but I was full by this stage, next time I should come back again when I am really starved for a week!

Roasted Prime Rib/Rib Eye with Yorkshire Puddings with Gravy Sauce - 
Many of us have tried most Roasted Beef in town many times over, including here. They always make one of the best Beef Flavorful ones here and tender too, with proper Yorkshire puddings like a Sunday Roast. But? What excites me the most is their beef drippings Gravy here, it has depth and beefiness Onion complexity, obviously done properly from scratch with thoughtfulness.

Some Fried Rice with Eel and Eggs -

Apart from the 2 Korean & Wagyu Beef Steaks above,
 Tea or Coffee is also Included with the Price -
Usually for the last few decades in Mandarin Oriental I order the Orange Pekoe tea, but this time I decided to trust the lovely Lady serving us to make up my choice for some serendipity - she picked English Breakfast Tea for me, which I was quite happy with as it is a good digestive tea! Overall I thought the updated Buffet theme was quite impressive, and great value for money. Just looking at that Dessert Station, the home made Ice Creams, also the Sushi and Beef sections already makes me drool again thinking about it! *Wished I was a much bigger eater : )

Price: HKD $588 to $628 (Meal by Invitation, Japanese x Korean Theme until August 2016) 
Food: ♕♕♕♕♕ 

Address: 中環干諾道中5號香港文華東方酒店閣樓
1F Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 5 Connaught Road, Central 
Ph: 2825 4007


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