Sunday, March 31, 2013

Green Waffle Diner, Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong


Grabbed lunch at this cosy little shop (35-39 Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong, tel: +852 2887 9991) styled like an American diner located near the top of Graham Street just a little bit above the wet market. From what I know, they do fried chicken and waffles, which seem to be what they're better known for.

Their deep fried chicken drumsticks which were served piping hot were drained of residual grease were actually pretty good. The skin was lightly battered, thin and crispy with juicy meat on the inside.


There was also a skillet of steak and eggs. In my mind, I had been imagining a larger skillet, but I guess US sized only happens in the US. It tasted pretty much like how it looked and was a little greasy. Could make a pretty decent after drinks comfort grub. Coffee was no good here.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lin Heung Tea House, Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong


I read that this venerable institution (160 Wellington St  Central, Hong Kong, tel : +852 2544 4556) has been serving affordable trolley service dim sum since 1926. Eating here was akin to hopping into a time capsule back into a era when eating dim sum was.....well, a little different. Let's just leave things at fleetness of foot and thickness of skin helps some. Kinda like what's needed for a scrum in rugby.

The atmospheric din and crowd that one has to contend with and absorb are at the least, an experience that is better gone through than described by words. I meant that in a most positive way.

I managed to get most of the pictures of what we ate. The food was altogether hearty, comfortingly delicious and familiar. Special mention goes to their lotus seed paste buns which rocks! I'm thinking that I've just scratched the surface of what this tea house has to offer. Which gives me a very good excuse to come back again when I next return to Hong Kong

steamed lotus seed paste buns

it comes with salted egg yolk in the middle. good stuff!

steamed pork and chive dumplings I think

steamed beef balls with orange peel

cheong fun with shrimp stuffings

steamed chicken and mushroom wrapped in bean curd skin

steamed something else wrapped in bean curd skin, might have been shrimp and mushroom

siew mai

dai bao

bao asundered!

pak tong ko (white sugar cakes)

steamed claws of the mascot bird of the secret order founded by Albus Dumbledore

char siew bao

the atmosphere

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mak's Noodles, Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong


So finally, the famed Mak's Noodles (77 Wellington St, Central, Hong Kong, tel : +852 2854 3810). I was almost worried that I would be let down after the barrages of glowing reviews on their reputation as one of the best wanton noodles one could get in Hong Kong.


Very fortunately, the noodles themselves lived up to their reputation. One could definitely taste the differences in the firm and wiry texture that was full of chew which I think to date, has been my best experience so far. I am quite impressed.

And then, there's the other part which casted some murk in this picture perfect.

While the soup and wantons were nothing I could fault, it came across as pretty regular for the standards here. It was also noted that the noodles served with beef tendons had a rather strong taste of ammonia which was strangely not present in both the soup wanton bowl and the dry version with shrimp roe. The latter which I must say, was really good by the way.


On the topic eating at Mak's and as much as I like the noodles here, I wouldn't quite say that this is definitively the best wanton noodle shop. I haven't eaten at that many here yet. The noticeable thing about Mak's portions was that it was actually quite small. What some people have described to me as snack sized portions.

If I had really been hungry and wanted a better bang for buck quantity, the sensible thing would be to actually walk right across the road.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Yung Kee, Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong


I had only heard of Yung Kee (32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, tel : +852 2522 1624) some years ago from the mentions of some friends from Hong Kong. Since then, I've been hearing mentions of it more often than I can recall and most of those have lauded the restaurant for its famed roasted geese which seems to be the thing to have here. The restaurant was even awarded a star in the Michelin guide for Hong Kong/Macau for 2010. Amongst others less prominent but still numerous awards.

Boy, did that set me up for disappointment.


I had under mysterious circumstances once discovered a stash of century eggs from Yung Kee in my house. The mystery has since been resolved, but the aftermath of the discovery left a pretty deep imprint of these delicious eggs with molten yolk. And what made the good great, was the lacking of the pungent ammonia (stench or aroma, depending on what camp you're in) that are usually found in these eggs.

The restaurant offered their century eggs as starters. While it was still pretty decent, it didn't seem to taste as good as the stash that I had uncovered before. Disappointment ups one small notch here, but nothing to cry over.


This is where downhill starts steep. I'm pretty sure that these are not the best geese in town. Seriously, I was hard pressed to find something noteworthy to mention. The meat was a little too tough and too tough to get off the bone as well. I was starting to wonder if these attributes were what made them famous and that I knew nothing about delicious geese.

In short, none of us were blown away by the goose. Far from that we were. In fact, I would label these as forgettable.


Their soya sauce chicken likewise did little to impress any of us. The meat was a little tough, dry and the skin which was lacking in flavor was a little too rubbery for me. Or maybe I'm just not accustomed to how chefs in Hong Kong do their chicken. For this, I'm grateful that I have much better alternatives back home.


Unexpectedly, the seasonal vegetable of the day with mushrooms were quite good. I don't know what these vegetables are, but they taste like a variant of mustard greens with their mildly bitter flavors and their semi crunchy textures.


And we had a light tasting braised ee fu noodles with crab meat that wasn't too bad too. But deep inside, there was the unspoken voice that had expected better.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Loyal Dining, Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong


Western colonialism in Asian countries often leaves behind legacies and one apparent take away from that can be found in the unique spin on the food created through a East meets West approach formed by the necessity of the resultant cultural dynamism.

Loyal Dining (66 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, tel : +852 3125 3000) serves amongst other chow, food that takes from those particular pages of history, whipping up the local rendition of Western food in Hong Kong. While this approach to food is not unique to just this part of the world, it definitely is unique for Hong Kong and has pretty much has evolved into a characteristic of the myriad of options that are part of the multi-cultural cusine of the country today.

These by the way, have also become what is also commonly termed as retro-styled western meals by many today. In a rather classy setting too.


Here's a sauteed foie gras on toasted brioche. Tasted pretty much like it looked, with sufficient generous chunks of the fatty duck liver to be spread across the crispy bread.


The pan seared foie gras (again) with bbq pork served with rice topped with a sunny side up caught our attention on menu and we telepathically came to concensus that couldn't give that a pass. Not at all. After all, foie gras with char siew together on the same plate is certainly not something one gets to choose everyday for lunch.

This turned out to be pretty good on the account of each element of the servings. Right down to the fragrant light soya sauce and a spring onion with garlic salsa like thingy on the side that was delicious with rice. The fat laced char siew was pretty decent.


They delivered the sunny side up with the molten yolk standards we all had been looking forward to.


We made good use of the liquid yolk and the light soy sauce. After realising that there wasn't enough of the yolk to go around, we mashed in the foie gras as well. For extra enrichment of our plain old grains.


Their fried rice with black truffle and diced beef tenderloin as we assessed, was an updated take on the East meets West I had mentioned earlier. I'm pretty sure that black truffles wasn't on menu in the 70s. But it was a sufficiently moderated flavor from the truffle, enough diced beef for a bit of a bite plus a medley of small crunchy textures from the bits of diced vegetables.

Not excessively greasy too.


I wasn't really taken in by their Portuguese styled baked vegetables in that tumeric based sauce laced with dissicated coconut. But then again, I was never one for viscous sauces.


We wrapped the lunch up with their Loyal souffle which was really just a plain eggy souffle with no other frills. Without making it sound like I'm complaining at this point, I'm sure we've had better. Meaning fluffier.


The washdown for me was a ice cold milk tea. This drink cannot be more iconic for me and I suppose I try to order one whenever possible since it's close to impossible to get something that tastes as good back home.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Company sandwich from Australia Dairy Company


This was in likelihood, their version of a club sandwich that came with "the works". Meaning that apart from the eggs, there was cheese, ham, thinly sliced gherkins, sliced tomatoes and a smudge of corned beef between their airy toasted bread. How did it go?  It tasted exactly like it looked which meant that it was definitely better tasting than the usual plain scrambled egg sandwiches that eveyone else seem to be getting. There was obviously lot more textures and flavors going on from the additional fillings and I think I'll be ordering these pretty regularly in the future.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A mid day break with hot herbal jelly and cold papaya milk


This was just a quick dessert stop to recharge with something sweet or refreshing or both in a little shop selling herbal teas and jellies (218 Sai Yeung Choi Street South, tel : +857 2398 1183) at the adjoining junction of Sai Yeung Choi Street South and Bute Street.

After having had guiling gao for so many years, this was a first for me slurping them piping hot and it was refreshing in its good way too. I ordered a cup of the cold papaya milk as I spied them in the chilled dispensers at the front of the shop while walking in and it was actually pretty good, filled with the all natural flavors of the fruit in creamy milk.

After the hot bitters of the guilling gao, the cold and soothing sweet milk was juxaposed to be the unexpected but perfect tempering of this dessert stop.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A return to the Dragon Garden


Truth be told, we harboured some sentiments for this place because we had stumbled upon it near the place we were staying and it did fulfill a very comforting niche of tasty and frills free food with generous portions. Not to mention that pretty much anywhere that offers offal raises my eyebrows and scores themselves one up in my book of good graces until proven otherwise.


So we hit this location again for our first evening meal, beaming ten miles wide after seeing that the place had not by some misfortune ended business. So more offal and tendons it was. I had almost forgotten the size of the mountains of carbs they heaped over the plate, topped by one's choice parts with a helping of token boiled greens (you get lettuce here, it's always the same) for dietry fibre. For the first time in a while, I had to admit that a single serving was way too much for me and I had to stop before I found myself keeling over from excessive rice and kuey teow washed down in milk tea and seaweed soup.  The beef tendons were great if a little inconsistent in the doneness and the little cow intestines were chewy and delicious as well.


Friday, March 22, 2013

A skewer through the soul with the Dancing Blue Seal

I started this blog back almost 7 years ago back in 2006 to catalogue some of the things that I've been eating since I eat out pretty often. It has actually served as a diary for me to look back and sometimes recall events that were tied to the meals. Which was something I hadn't seen coming when Small Potatoes had started out.

Back then at about the same time under the same moon, another disturbance in the force emerged elsewhere in this very same world and from it, coalesced the Dancing Blue Seal and her overlord D.

Both of us had been reading about each other's eats and subsequently communicated via comments left in each other's site. Fast forward almost 7 years to today, we met up in person for the very first time to share the communal human ritual of having dinner.

At Kazu!

This return to Kazu has been very long overdue and I'm really glad that the food is still as good as I remember them. The kushiyaiki numero uno. Still!

ankimo

First to arrive was the ankimo, or monk fish liver. Pretty decent quality served chilled with a ponzu dressing.

seared cod shirako

The seasonal menu offered seared shirako so it just made sense to order them. I quite like these for their toasty aroma coupled with a faintly sweet and creamy innards.

uni and bean curd skins

Next up and the last item before the grilled sticks started hitting the table was sea urchin and tofu skin. While it sounded like a nice idea as a dish, I didn't think the delivery was ideal. It was nice that the uni was aburi-ed very briefly. However, the morsel was too little and the flavors became overwhelmed by the shoyu based dressing that came with the dish. More uni and less dressing would have made this much more enjoyable.

a cluster of hatsu

Chicken hearts were the first to arrive and they were nicely salted and peppered as I remember them.

oysters in bacon

Next to be served were the universally loved oysters rolled in bacon. Bacon generally makes things taste better. Bacon with hot juicy oysters.....one doesn't need a far stretch of imagination.

lamb chops

The prices of the lamb chops here risen slowly over the years. Today, it isn't even numerical anymore. It was 'seasonal'. The taste was still as greasy good with the prerequisite flavors of lamb and I certainly didn't hear any complains over them.

scallops and prawns in bacon

I like these so they usually end up as a staple order. Again, bacon helps makes things taste better than they already are.

pork belly and apples

The tontoro ringo has also changed a little over the years. Back when I first visited, I remembered the little strip of apple sauce that was laid on top of each stick of meat and fruit. That strip progressively went the way of runway models and now, it doesn't look that they have that anymore. I wonder if it's just today.

gyutan

Nobody has ever chastised me for ordering ox tongue here. But then again, I usually come here with people that enjoy them in the first place.

foie gras

This doesn't require further words from me. Still as good.

Brussels sprouts with cheese

I haven't had these cheese filled Brussels sprouts here before. I'm not sure if there were available the last time, but the nutty sprouts were pretty savory good in a semi crunchy and slightly chewy way. I'll have to remember to get them again the next time I come.

pork and shiso

Shiso helps break the monotony of the meat. These were also one of those items that has constantly slipped under my K-radar for all the options that have left me spoilt for choice.

kawa

I have a very specific relationship with chicken skins. For many years only ones which I would usually eat are roasted, deep fried or grilled. And in recent couple of years, I've learnt to appreciate some good ones from soy sauce chicken. But I digress. I'm thinking that Otowa will give the kawa here a run for their money. But then again, I'm also thinking that I would need to go back there to verify that.

Japanese sweet potato and butter

These also need no further introduction.

mochi and bacon

Grilled mochi was also a first time for me here. They remind me of a savory and chewy popcorn.

asparagus in pork belly

These too also need little in the way of more description since they are pretty much available in most of the kushiyaki joints. Kazu just does them better than most.