Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lei Garden Takeaway

Lei Garden in Singapore failed to wow and I did not have time for their famous and highly lauded restaurant either. Yay to the surprise takeaway! Surprise takeaway from Lei Garden after I casually mentioned I wanted to try roast pork in Hongkong.

lei garden roast pork


Roast Pork (HKD 68)

9 cubes worth. The layer of jellied fat and meat proportion was perhaps perfect by the means of atypical good siew yoke - most people love it with more fat than meat. I, fall in the other health conscious category. Personal preference to love more meat than fats. Anyhow, the jellied fat was chewy, loved their perfect crispy skin even when I did not have it piping hot...and yes, the mustard that came with it!

Lei Garden
10/F, Times Square,1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ask nicely PLEASE

I suppose it is an honour when people replicate my entries or use the photos that I've taken. At least it shows it's good enough to be used as promotional material? That's the gullible nice way of being appreciated. Then again, what happened to basic courtesy of asking?

Yes, it's no big deal that you take my pictures and publicise them on facebook but where's the decency to ask?

Post goes out in May raving about my new find! Ok, it's no secret, it's The House of Robert Timms. In June, they painfully rip the photos that I've privatised and posted them as part of their repertoire of photos. As much as I'd like to gently remind them to say thank you, unless I "like" them on facebook I cannot comment. It's really not about claiming credit but asking will be nice.

Some have told me to boycott them - argh, the bestest sticky date pudding around - sigh, it's mind over tummy now.

The first time ranting and hopefully the last!

Majesty Seafood Restaurant @ Jordan

I made a mental note this visit to Hongkong to make sure I tried a molten custard pau..somehow. Seems like it's not quite the most popular dimsum item to order since most of the dimsum places do not offer it. Even the hongkie himself could only offer up one suggestion - Super Star. The other was Majesty, someone's friend swears by it and has lugged back tons of these lil carb balls to soothe the cravings. 


Joy is me that I stumbled upon this outlet while walking and looking for breakfast one fine and dandy day (amongst the hurried schedule, I actually had time to waste and did not plan anything concrete...yay!)


Breakfast specials from 7-11am gets you a pocket friendly 50% off your bill! Meal discounts has to be one of the reasons why I love dining in Hongkong so very much.  Anyway, on the first visit there, we had to rush through the meal and get the damned bill before the clock struck 11..closing the till before all items were delivered (wrong move indeed!). Service was as bad as can be but who cares with the hefty discount and it came at a price. Read on to find out what.

interior majesty

Packed with people.

fun cheong chicken abaloneSteamed Shredded Abalone and Chicken Rice Flour Rolls (HKD 22)


Soft rice rolls wrapped around abalone and chicken though I cannot really make out what was what in the chewy and palatable filling, it was the first cheong fun of the trip and I liked it enough.

fluffy and hot

Steamed BBQ Pork Buns (HKD 14)

char siew pau


Also a first for the trip, these fluffy buns were stuffed so generously with savoury meaty char siew bits. It's one un-good looker but has to be one of my favourite char siew paus for a while. Usually the stuffing has random strays of fatty bits which annoys me to no end - I love lean meat buns!

congee hk style


Preserved Egg and Pork Congee (HKD 7.8) 


Done absolutely the cantonese way with a ton of MSG and an inbetween grainy and gruel texture of congee. Missing out on the fried dough stick for completeness.


I was waiting and keeping the hopes high for the grand appearance. 10 minutes, 20 minutes..the bill came and went...and still no sign of the molten custard buns. 11 am struck and I was prepared to pay the full amount for it until I stopped two waitresses to get my order checked - it was not even ordered! Fuming, I left. Yet...sometimes, it's the whole logic of 不要跟肚子过意不去 ( don't put the hunger on hold literally translated) and walk off swearing not to return when the whole mind and heart is thinking about it day and night.

So...I headed back the next day to a restaurant brimming with people. Darn, the Sunday brunch crowd too! The same absent minded loud mouthed waitress was still on duty - I had to have my custard bun, regardless.

zhen zhu ji

Steamed Stuffed with Dried Conpoy Assisted Meat in Sticky Rice Wrapped with Lotus Leaf (HKD 26)

Hongkong english for you...what's steamed stuffed? I wanted very much to lug back glutinous rice dumplings from Majesty but the yardstick had to be the 珍珠鸡.

glutinous rice unveiled

Albeit really tasty, the rice was a tad soft. Loved the flavourful ingredients of scallops, chicken and salted egg though.

xo fried carrot cake

Fried Turnip Pudding with X.O.Sauce (HKD 18)

Way too oily, these lukewarm carrot cakes had a nice crispy exterior and green chillis with dried shrimp which whetted the appetite greatly.

siew mai

Majesty Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (HKD 26) 

None too spectacular.

molten custard paus

Steamed Custard Buns (HKD 18)


These nondescript looking buns arrived last and I was worried the last fumble would happen again. Thick bun layer meets molten custard filling.

oooooze baby

Holysmokes awesome this is! Have yet to try one that has what I so desire in a proper molten custard bun! The bun layer isn't too fluffy but has bite to hold up against the thick liquid. Loved the consistency of the filling - not too thick nor sweet. Two thumbs up! I wish, I only wish...I lugged back some. This and Lin Heung's lotus paste buns are my kind of to-die-for.

watch it spill!


So glad I managed to try and find a good molten custard pau! The rest of the dimsum items are actually not bad. With regular hongkong service and moderately good food...I don't mind a return! Pity their roasted pork was not available for breakfast.

*Prices are before 50% discount.



Majesty Seafood Restaurant
3/F Wu Sang House, 655 Nathan Road , Mong Kok

Monday, June 27, 2011

Crumbs @ Cannon Street, Causeway Bay

crumbs

I missed out Crumbs the last visit so I made the extra effort to hunt it down. Not that difficult to hunt down since there are 6 outlets around Hongkong already. Really near SOGO Causeway Bay, finding it is easy peasy. Opened by unknown HK celebrity and her sister, Crumbs has spun much interest and following in Hongkong that froyo has become the new icecream (at least over the last year or so!)

counter

A really small shop with so many things packed in.

accolades

Wall of fame.

froyo with mochi

Like Roll, Crumbs' froyo includes a swirl of frozen yogurt and a topping or toppings of your choice.I missed out on their famous house crumbs but tried tried home made mochi. Still a fan of their froyos, love their rich yogurt swirls with icecream finish...and mochi toppings. I should get down to trying their housecrumbs some day!

froyo

Wonderful treat for a hot day!

To lure its patrons, there's a free topping provided for every 2 toppings every Saturday. Teenage girls seem to form a huge portion of their crowds. Space is a major limitation for this takeaway store as I was there in a corner trying to enjoy my cup of froyo and was constantly being nudged an inch further away from my original corner with new customers every now and then.

scones samples


Also up on the choice board is scones, Crumbs like Roll is smart in this sense. They do not sink all the eggs in one basket and should the bubble pop, there is yet another saving grace.

crumbs scones

Good scones are hard to come by, majority are dry...others too buttery. Crumbs' scones have a crumbly consistency..almost like suggee scones. Generous samples for all to take and these get wiped out real quick.

Cheese - Nice balance of cheese here. Liked how cheese and butter go so well together.
Chocolate - A tad sweet.
Raisin - Not too bad...I just need a dollop of jam for the perfect tea.


Regular Froyo + 1 Topping (HKD 28)
Additional toppings are available at HKD 4.


http://www.crumbs.com.hk/

Crumbs
Shop 1C, G/F, Central Mansion, 8 Cannon Street, Causeway Bay

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The tale called 雞蛋仔

雞蛋仔tale

雞蛋仔 is one of those street eats that I always mean to eat. Made on the spot, these are modelled after the plastic bubbles I love to burst as a kid.Served piping hot in a paper bag, I thought these make really good street snacks - easy to eat and certainly not messy.

Anyhow, I wanted to try the best 雞蛋仔 HK had to offer. Alas, it was not meant to be - The poor uncle.He was tracked down by the government for illegally hawking and seeking social assistance at the same time - double whammy. I should have known better that he would not be selling anymore but I suppose it's the "die die must try" spirit that brought me to Prince Edward.

Prince Edward unlike the touristy spots is alot more residential. With Queen's College in the vicinity, there are tons of school boys who crowd out at the cafes over lunch. The kind newspaper lady I spoke to shared one of the places in the neighbourhood to partake of this popular street snack.

round the corner

It took me forever to find the Dim Sum Wong she was talking about as the key landmark.

closed!

A great pity the stall she recommended was also closed!

雞蛋仔 jordan sidewalk

Decided to try any random street stall for a taste of this famed street snack.

雞蛋仔 by the road

Supposedly famous from North Point, this shop is so easy to miss given its size - half of the regular stall. Specializing in waffles, you can either have the checked belgian sort or egg waffles.

雞蛋仔 fresh!

Crispy on the outside and slightly chewy within - that's how the hongkongers say the 雞蛋仔 is supposed to taste. I thought it was a more complicated version of loveletters. The awesome coconut fragrance with a crunchy exterior and most certainly chewy inside.

雞蛋仔 bitten

Fits the bill of the authentic 雞蛋仔! Main grouse is, finish it quick or risk having soggy waffles thereafter.

HKD 10-15 depending on location.

利強記北角雞蛋仔
尖沙咀彌敦道178號地下

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bo Innovation @ Johnston Road, Wan Chai

arty farty

Heading to Wanchai was a first and it brought more surprises than one. Chancing upon The Pawn has to be it...a converted restaurant with a pawnshop concept...loving it! Brunch hollers.

lanterns outside the pawn

Lanterns..

Spot Bo

Finally at the doorsteps of the intended destination.

bo innovation 2F

Guess it right?

exterior

I got my reservation at Bo Innovation mixed up so I did not get the requested counter seat. Neither was I offered one when the diners actually changed their seats. My bad for mixing up the dates so I was kindly offered a seat at another's table and had a 9pm time limit to meet. Though they did not rush, I had the ticking timeline at the back of my head throughout the 2 hour dinner.


look above

The view above...not so very picturesque...more like we became the objects of scrutiny of those staying in the apartments!

thai restaurant below

Peer below and you intrude into the privacy of the Thai diners.

I wanted very much to try a French Michelin dinner in Hongkong but I figure I should at least give their homegrown chef a go! Off to Bo Innovation for "Extreme Chinese Cusine", a unique selling proposition that you are reminded of the minute I rested my bum on their chair. Promptly, the opposite chair was removed as I was dining alone. Strangely, the same promptness could not be accorded to my arm candy. Perhaps it was not candied enough for a chair.

bo innovation

Menu.

table setting

Table laid for a feast.

menu for keeps!

Menu for keeps!

alvin leung in a portrait

A snap of the guy behind this - Chef Alvin Leung, whom I had a chance to meet!

I feel they have one too many service staff. At least ten of them on standby. One to serve, another to describe in length the details. Each dish brings you a new face, at least through the 9 course, I saw four different faces. Execution is sharp and they spare no delay in making sure the description of food is done under 15 seconds from the moment the dish is laid down.

雞蛋仔1

Complimentary carbs of 雞蛋仔..loving the novelty attached to this! Bo Innovation took a regular Hongkong street snack, threw in some expensive ham bits and here it is, their very own 雞蛋仔 with a savoury twist. Comes complete with a Bo Innovation wrapper as well. This was when I enlightened how 雞蛋仔 is supposed to taste.

雞蛋仔

Crispy on the outside and moist within. I actually liked the savoury version as much as the sweet. The bacon like bits would have been perfect with bak kwa instead. A pity no refills were offered.

towel

Thoughtful gesture of wet napkins provided throughout the meal.

tomato trio 1

Tomato
pat chun,“lam kok”

tomato trio

"Lam Kok" is a sauce that they use to season the tomato. Pat Chun however refers to olives. This tomato platter reminded me of Iggy's.

In order of instruction to eat;

De-skinned tomato - Flavoured with Lam Kok, this had a sweet juicy finish.
Sliced cherry tomato - This had a firmer bite to the first tomato.
Tomato Jelly - Flavours well sealed in the jelly.

While I did not hugely fancy the pat chun cream sauce, I thought the platter was a pretty good appetizer.

iberico 36

Iberico 36
morel, vermicelli

Morel or morcellas are mushrooms in laymen terms. Iberico 36 refers to the iberico ham that has been cured for 36 months, stuffed with morel and vermicelli with foam. I was advised to consume it in one bite. The ham was tasty though not overly salty, liked the idea of stuffing it with vermicelli and morel which gave it a better bite. What I found hard to adapt to was the aftertaste of the combination, the taste that lingered on for a while too long.

foie gras

Foie Gras
bamboo pith, wood fungus

Wrapped in fish maw, the sliver of foie gras was stuffed within. A delicate piece of edible art this was yet the wonders of foie gras was understated. It came across as slightly bland.

cod

Cod
saffron miso, sauternes, seaweed

No stranger to a plating like this, presentation wise I was not wowed but the taste of it did. Cod well done in all its succulence and seasoning - extra loved the sweet crust! Saffron miso blobs and sauternes jelly cubes were well executed here - delicate balance of sweet and savoury. The crispy seaweed created a perfect crunch to this dish.

xlb

Molecular
"xiao long bao"

Famed for this, I was most looking forward to this avant garde way of eating xiao long bao. Made with a technique called 'sphering', the chef cleverly made the skin of this with aubergine and filled it up with crab roe broth finished with a slice of red ginger. All in one mouthful, I slurped up this molecular xiao long bao. The rich broth was very palatable, and felt like one of those long simmering broths with all the essence captured.

Will I trade the Shanghai delicacy for this?

Nope. Yes it was delightful and well re-created but not awesome enough for me to give up the carnivorous delight.

scallops and sauces

Scallop
kaffir lime, kyoho grape, passion fruit, shichimi potato

scallops

The parting one of all appetizers. One huge scallop with four different dips. Kudos to the kitchen for the well seared scallop, plump and pink!

Kaffir lime - Zesty!

Kyoho Grape - Loved how the grape jelly melted into nothingness.

Passionfruit - Thought this combination was ordinary.

Shichimi Potato - Spicy cream of potato with a crispy shell. Loved the spicy kick of this!

suckling pig!

Suckling Pig
sichuan vanilla, apple, peas

I limited my choices to suckling pig or pigeon to remain true what I thought was true blue Cantonese cuisine though langoustine or beef would have stood equal chances on normal days.

The waiter advised the suckling pig for a "stronger taste". I hope I was in for a treat.

suckling pig sliced

A huge chunk of suckling pig, crispy skin with a thick layer of jellied fat and meat. Here comes the theory of siew yoke HK style (it's fat over meats people!). No gamey taste, no gamey smell...I wish there was just a bit more flavour to it. I dabbed it with seasalt - works wonders.

I actually thought the peas were awesome, so was the stewed apple made to look like a pineapple ring. Oh yes, the brown sauce? It's reduction of pigeon.

deconstructed pineapple bun

Pineapple
bun, white chocolate latte

The first dessert is a deconstructed po lo bun. The waiter even brought a po lo bun out for comparison (I reckon it's for the foreigners who may not have seen, much less eaten one before!).

pineapple latte

They took the pineapple crust and created a cookie out of it, made butter-flavoured icecream and grilled pineapple sticks too! The magic ends not, comes with hot pineapple latte and white chocolate.

One swell dessert!

all in a bamboo basket!

Petit Dim Sum

sweet basket1

First up comes a basket of sweets, first layer of traditional hongkong sweets of white rabbit candy and orange jelly.

kumquat orange pralines

The second is a more modern take on sweets - pralines with kumquat and fudge filling. Lastly, was a bamboo container of steamed ma lai goh and traditional glutinous rice balls with modern flavours of panna cotta and molten chocolate.

Yes I know, I do not touch chocolate but for that particular meal...I went all out.

lor mei chee with chocolate

I mega adored the modern and traditional elements captured in the dessert. Particularly loved the spongey ma lai goh. I still prefer my glutinous rice balls with peanut or black sesame fillings though the idea was really ingenious.

traditional sweets

Going back in time with Hongkong traditionals. Love!

toothpicks

Service is impeccable without being intrusive. My cup of hot water was constantly refilled to keep the temperature constant - impressive effort! The diners banter as if they were dining in someone's backyard, more so than a fine dining establishment. It may come across as noisy at some point.

I spotted Chef Alvin Leung that night! Call it sheer luck since he is only in town for 5 days every month and was flying off the next day after flying in that very day after a gruelling filming session with Joanne Peh in Singapore followed by Paula in KL. It must have been my sneaking photos of him that caught his attention while he smoked his cigars with his pals. He walked over to say his "hellos" and that began our close to 20 minute conversation.

Down to earth chef who speaks fluent English and readily shares his insights into Hongkong food and even Singapore food..like a friend it felt. He shared his love for his chihuahuas that he barely has time for..how he hates travelling so..and the opening of his next restaurant in London. It was a really interesting experience being able to speak to a chef on that level, and I was just a random diner!

Mostly patronized by foreigners with a handful of locals, someone reminded me why he'd not bother with Michelin starred restaurants - these are afterall accredited by the European community. Would an ang moh know how to appreciate non- ang moh food? Food for thought. Even then, I'll still continue in this quest to try as many stars as I can in my future travels.

Still the thought: If you don't try, you'd never know.

Tasting Menu - HKD 780+
Tea - HKD 60

http://www.boinnovation.com/

BO Innovation
Shop 13, 2/F J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai