Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lei cha fan from Tracy Juice Culture

Tracy Juice Culture, lei cha fan 擂茶饭

We saw the lei cha fan being served numerous times previously when we here (#01-34, Fortune Centre, 190 Middle Road, tel : +65 6336 0754) getting some of their juices and they looked pretty good. Quite a number of people were having them. We decided to come back since we were in the vicinity and give their thunder tea rice (擂茶饭) a go.

This was as we already knew, a slightly different thing from the previous time I had 擂茶饭 at Toa Payoh Central. I'm not sure if there are any fixed bunch of vegetables that has to be included or if it's one of those things that are subjected to the whims recipes by each maker. The liquorice flavour in the creamy green broth was almost non existent and the vegetables that they used here were slightly different. Was it good? I thought so. I liked how it tasted light and clean. Being healthier than many other eats is a bonus.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Miscellaneous eats to round up

We were on our way to breakfast one morning at Prince Edward and we passed by this sandwich shop (G/F 783 Nathan Road) which had melted cheese toasties that were made to order with the choice of bread, type of cheese and meat fillings.

Here's one with their "liver sausage" and cheddar cheese option. The liver sausage was actually pâte. The simple sandwich was built on the fly and toasted with a nice light crisp that had appealed to the salt and fat craving for the morning.

This was a shop we passd by with food steaming in baskets at the stall front down the end of Fa Yuen St in Mongkok.

We got ourselves a bowl of sausage and glutinous rice to go. It was a little too greasy as a snack, but the lup cheong was pretty tasty.

A trip back to the shop that sold our favorite beef brisket rice.

And a breakfast re-visit to Wai Kee after discovering that Yue Hing was closed. Apparently, the owner of the latter had broken his arm.

Yet another re-visit in Mongkok for some delicious bean curd with evaporated milk.

Osmanthus jelly with wolf berries and on the left, with white fungus. The coconut jelly with corn in the middle sucks. 

During this trip, we were graced with an opportunity to do a hot pot dinner down on a off coast at Yuen Long on a floating platform (kelong!) with a private kitchen. We were requested not to provide any names. This visit was pulled off by a friend of a friend who knew the chef who was chilling the winter away. Because he didn't feel like cooking, it was hotpot.

The setup was simple and pretty good. Lots of good quality seafood that featured abalones, gigantic oysters, lobsters, prawns....well, the works. After some time, it got a little too chilly at the waterfront.

One of the stars of the kelong dinner was a locally bred beef. We were informed that it was a good hunk of meat that money couldn't quite procure and the chef had depended on his connections to land himself some. It's not available in the market unless you knew people. Does anyone know anything about Hong Kong bred cows? This stuff was pretty amazing man.

Some evil vegetable crackers.

And off 7-11, the winter edition of the strawberry flavored Vitasoy and some ginger milk. The former tasted like how one can imagine them. Nothing really special. Ginger milk on the other hand was good!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Some stuff from Siu Choi Wong (小菜王)

Siu Choi Wong (小菜王), baked fish intestines in egg
baked fish intestines in egg

A newly made acquaintance brought us to this dai pai dong which is apparently very popular amongst the locals. As the story goes, this place used to be just a little shop down the road and the previous chef did such a good job that today, it's a couple of units large and no longer just a street stall. Said chef had already departed from this joint and is currently running a show of his own (we actually met that guy on another occasion) in which we were sworn on the pain of death not to disclose.  Just kidding about the last part on death. We had ordered a number of items in this dai pai dong (43 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po, tel : +852 2776 8380), but I'll just stick to talking about a few which we though were better since the others were really nothing worth writing home about.

Siu Choi Wong (小菜王), goose intestines
goose intestines

There was a baked fish intestines in egg which we had though was pretty darn good. A first time for me and I'm seeing that I could look out for them in the future. And then some pretty delicious and chewy goose intestines stir fried with bean sprouts which would really make a good dish with beer on the side, plus some very nicely done pig liver that came in a metal pot. These livers were actually one of the better ones that I've had in Hong Kong so far. There was a mild element to their savoury flavours that reminded me of pâte. Can you believe that? And those soft cloves of garlic were just the perfect accompliment.

Siu Choi Wong (小菜王), pig liver

stir fried metal pot pig liver?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Congee King, Heard Street, Wan Chai

Congee King, scallop pig liver congee

This restaurant (G/F, 7 Heard Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, tel : +852 2882 3268) had been listed in the Michelin Guide for Hong Kong for the past couple of years. They are suppose to be well known for their congee which is made with fish broth. We tried a couple. A lot of the options on menu involved pairing something with pig liver. Mine was scallops with pig liver and we had another which had eel and pig liver. 

Honestly, Wai Kee is better - and noticeably better. The ones here were rather grainy. The pig livers were pretty good though.

Congee King, salted egg yolk pork dumpling

Their salted egg yolk and pork dumping with mung beans were quite well done.

Congee King, boiled fish skin

The other mention-worthy were their boiled fish skins. Garnished with spring onions, chillis and toasted peanuts with sesame oil. The texture was smooth and crunchy and it changed subtly after it ha been dipped in the congee. It's still smooth and crunchy, but in a different way. Didn't like the dough fritters. They were a little too hard and dense and grease logged enough to taste of the oil that was used to fry them.

85 South, Kau U Fong, Hong Kong Central

85 South, Kau U Fong, Hong Kong Central

We were recommended to check out 85 South (6-10 Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong, tel : +852 2337 2078) just next door from Le Port Parfumé for some supposedly good South Carolinian barbecue that was done by a couple of guys from North Carolina. The approach was supposed to be home styled; recipe, from family and method, traditional. But since I don't really know anything about Carolinian barbecue, it was just really exploratory for me. 

85 South, ribs

There's no briskets to be had, just ribs and pulled pork. Both of which were fortunately not slathered over excessively with sauces. That being said, I was hoping that the meat of the meal (pun intended) would pass muster. The dry rub on the ribs was....well, nothing very exciting. There was too much bone and too little meat on those ribs and it was definitely not fork tender. 

We were expecting the pulled pork to be tender and juicy. The reality was a little dry and stringy. That's where the sauces in squeeze bottles on the sides came in handy with an East, West and South style in concoction. Personally, my favourite was the East which really tasted Middle Eastern in a good way. Second was the South that had a smokey and peppery tomato base. 

What I liked was the slaw on the side which was tomato and I believe, vinegar based. It was appetizing for a start and did it's job to cut the heaviness from the meat and carbs. But it became a tad acidic at the end.

I couldn't say that I didn't like the food, but I was kinda hoping that this would be a more impressive experience. Then again, I don't actually have much expectations to tie the experience to since I've never had American styled barbecue before.

85 South, pulled pork

We got ourselves some of their home made lemonade and Southern tea which was really just sweet tea. The lemonade was waayyyyy too clean. It felt like cordial rather than squeezed lemons unless they had an extremely sophisticated machine out in the back that filters the tiniest particles or sediments out of squeezed fruit juices. It just didn't taste like fresh lemonade to me.

85 South, tea

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Le Port Parfumé, Kau U Fong, Hong Kong Central

Le Port Parfumé, Kau U Fong, Hong Kong Central

We were told that the people behind this restaurant (Shop C, 6-10 Kau U Fong, Central, tel : +852 2824 3018) features the Les Amis alumni previously from Bistro Du Vin and Cépage in Hong Kong. We were informed by the owner that there is no fixed menu as they serve what they can get fresh and hence, availability cannot always be predetermined. Sounds familiar.

Le Port Parfumé, charcuterie
rabbit terrine, duck rillette, Bayonne ham, saucisson

Their charcuterie was so so. I liked the rabbit terrine because it was a more complex in flavour as a meat based item and there was a lot more texture. The rest were really just so so.

Le Port Parfumé, baby squid chorizo omelette
baby squid, chorizo omelette

This came recommended as something akin to a signature item from the restaurant. The first impressions reminded me of oyster omelette. Kinda busted the little French aura right from that first mouthful. There was nothing much to fault on the omelette. I just thought that it was really uninspired and if chorizo was to replace salt for the dish, a lot more chorizo would be appreciated..

Le Port Parfumé, butterfly clams
butterfly clams in white wine sauce

Clams were fresh and springy. Otherwise, boring white wine sauce that can be found in a million other places. In fact, many of them do better in terms of flavour.

Le Port Parfumé, Josper grill lamb ribs
Josper grilled lamb ribs, peas & garlic confit

The lamb was probably the first item that got my attention. It was fall off the bone tender but suffered from the lack of sufficient fat to retain enough of the lamb-y flavour. The peas were very nice and it was all held together by the jus/sauce. Even the rosemary didn't overwhelm. Pity about the lack of natural flavour for the meat.

Le Port Parfumé, Houjicha smoked pigeon
unveiling of the Houjicha tea smoked pigeon

Le Port Parfumé, Houjicha smoked pigeon

Le Port Parfumé, Houjicha smoked pigeon

The smoked pigeon was okay. The meat was pink and there was a lingering smoky aroma left clinging on the skin.

Le Port Parfumé, cote de beouf
cote de beouf

Looked very nice at the start

Le Port Parfumé, cote de beouf

Still quite promising when it was sliced and plated. 

But the doneness was uneven and the fat was concentrated onto regions rather than being more well distributed. I'm not sure what happened to the juices that are suppose to be in the meat because it was neither on the plate nor in the meat. And I cannot believe that this whole prime rib came unsalted. The normally charred exterior was beefy, but flat. Between five persons which included three that could take on meat, there were left overs.

Le Port Parfumé, fries salad
frites & salad

Le Port Parfumé, madeleines chocolate mousse
madeleines, chocolate mousse

Le Port Parfumé, blue cheese gelato
blue cheese gelato

This was the second item that got my attention. We were told that the owner wanted to have this on the desserts even though he knew that most people probably wouldn't order it. The ice cream was pretty good. I would have loved for a little stronger pungent flavour from the blue cheese, but hey, this is my first blue cheese ice cream and it's a good start.

Le Port Parfumé, Kau U Fong, Hong Kong Central

Yat Lok, Stanley Street, Hong Kong Central

Yat Lok, duck char siew rice

These iPhone pictures doesn't do the roast meats justice in the slightest. The food looked a lot better in real life and the taste kicked serious ass. I've been hearing from certain authorities that Hong Kong doesn't do good roast geese any more and that one would have to travel to China for those. The stuff from Yat Lok (34-38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong, tel : +852 2524 3882) certainly begs to differ from that statement.

Yat Lok, duck rice noodles

To be a little more descriptive, the meat was tender and quite easily gotten off the bone, sheathed underneath a fairly crisp roasted skin that had a suitable amount of flavourful melt-y fat that defined the flavour from the bird. This was what I had been looking forward to whenever I think roast geese in Hong Kong. The other recommendable was the flavourful char siew. A moderated balance of sweet and savoury caramelized meat that fell apart in the mouth. I kid you not when I say that this is leagues, I repeat, leagues ahead of what I had experienced down at Yung Kee.

Yat Lok, Stanley Street, Hong Kong Central

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sun Kee (新記餐廳), Kimberly Street, Tsim Sha Tsui

Sun Kee, cheese noodles

The popular thing to order in this shop (Unit 13-14, G/F, Champagne Court, 16-20 Kimberly Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, tel : +852 2722 4555) behind celebrity photos plastered walls it seems, is their cheese noodles with grilled pork neck. I'm thinking it's probably a la plancha rather than an actual grill, but that's another story for another time.

The noodles were just plain instant noodles and the pork was acceptably tasty with some char. What I couldn't quite understand was the cheese sauce; or rather what made it such a hit with the locals. It's not really just cheese as I could tell. Pretty sure there was a whole lot of corn starch in there as well. While I didn't mind trying this out, I still don't understand it and I don't think I ever will.

Tai Wing Wah (大榮華酒樓), Yuen Long, New Territories

Tai Wing Wah, chicken

This old school canto restaurant (2/F, Koon Wong Mansion, 2-6 On Ning Road, Yuen Long, tel: +852 2476 9888) down in the New Territories, which is also the flagship outlet apparently takes no reservations. We were brought down by a friend for dim sum. Or brunch.

The food dim sum here was rustic but didn't quite take on the same qualities found Lin Heung. The outstanding items that we had ordered were their 5 taste chicken and a steamed fish (I don't know what fish this is) with pickled lime. Both were delicious. Scratch that, the fish has been elevated to very good. The chicken was tender to the breast and thoroughly infused with the flavour of the savoury braising sauce while the fish was simply freshness flavoured with a light soy dressing and the appetizing lime. 

The rest of the dim sum were..... hmmm....okay I guess. There's a Yanjing beer that they serve that was pretty cheap and oddly lacking the effect that beer normally has. 6 large bottles between 3 persons and not the slightest buzz? 

We were told that the restaurant was well known for their liquid lard and premium soy sauce over steamed rice. Unfortunately, it's something that they only do during dinner. I'm not really adversed to a re-visit (perhaps dinner rather than dim sum) but the location is really out of the way.

Tai Wing Wah, fish

Tai Wing Wah, ma lai ko

Tai Wing Wah, steamed pork ribs

Tai Wing Wah, bean curd skin

Tai Wing Wah, siew mai

Tai Wing Wah, chicken claw

Tai Wing Wah, har gow

Tai Wing Wah, yanjing beer