Archive for April, 2010

Lunch with my girl @ Tsui Wah

I don’t remember if I have ever mentioned my high school buddy, M. We went to high school together and even though we went to separate universities, we still kept in touch and remain good friends. We didn’t need to see or speak to each other every day. I have known her for almost two decades now (my gawd I feel old!) and she is still one of the funniest person I know! Life would certainly be dull without her!

We try to catch up at least once a fortnight (now that I am in Hong Kong!) but that doesn’t always happen, as we are both busy bees. I caught up with her one lunch time and had lunch at Tsui Wah, one of Hong Kong’s best, busiest, quick service restaurants. It offers good food at reasonable prices. We went to the Causeway Bay branch, and it won the ‘best restaurant in Causeway Bay’ (see winners here).

I was craving Hainan Chicken, partly because I haven’t had any in such a long time (!) and that I was missing Mum’s Hainan! It was a Hainan Chicken set lunch, which consists of soup, chicken and rice. The pork soup was full of flavour, the chicken tender and the sauces were a great compliment. Unfortunately, the rice was not chicken rice. I was ‘secretly’ hoping that it would be, alas, no! Regardless, it was pretty good. Is it the best Hainan chicken I have had, probably not, close though, as you can’t beat those Singaporean Hainan chicken!

My friend, M, ordered the pork chung fun (pork rice noodles stir fry). We both thought it was a little salty, however, the chung fun was soft and the pork tender. If it wasn’t so salty, I think it would definitely be better!

This place was busy and buzzing! We didn’t have to wait long, 2 mins max, as turnover was extremely quick. The menu is extensive; you can get things like fish dumplings, fish balls, pork cartilage noodles soup, satay beef slices with noodles, or curry with rice. The best thing is their sugary glass of condensed milk tea or a glass of mix milky coffee and tea. I completed my meal with a cold glass of milk tea… heavenly.

Content and happy, we sat there for a bit chatting and catching up. Apparently Tsui Wah is a great place for celebrity spotting, sadly, I have not spotted any celebrities!

GA’s rating: 7 / 10

Tsui Wah

G/F, 493 0 495 Jaffe Road

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2892 2633

Last Supper with the Fam @ Ming Kee, Causeway Bay

I first came here with my high school friend, M, for lamb hot pot (review here). After 2 – 3 weeks of eating in restaurants, mum wanted street food, somewhere where the locals eat. I could have taken them to a cha chaan teng but they wanted seafood and thought of Ming Kee. This place can be found behind the markets in Causeway Bay and one of the best thing about it, is that you get to sit on the streets – it was quite a novelty for my brother!

We started off with the razor clams – cooked in black bean sauce and chili, these clams were tasty. The clams were soft and cooked to perfection and the sauce – incredible.

Pipis in xo sauce with a hint of chili was a favourite amongst the diners. We were all fighting to eat the pipis – sadly to say I lost, and F, my brother won!

Salt and pepper calamari – a favourite dish of my brothers. This was good – the batter was just right and the calamari not too hard or chewy.

Deep fried oysters – these were amazing! The oysters were fat and juicy, and again batter was just perfect. I have to say, one oyster each was simply not enough.

Steamed fish – hubby’s favourite dish – was fresh! You can never go wrong with steamed fish. (whoops, taken upside down!)

Steamed scallops with vermicelli and garlic. This was delicious but a little too garlicky for my liking.

Last but not least – vegetables – this was simple yet wonderful dish. We can never have a meal without veggies.

I bought a couple of durians at the fruit market near the restaurant. No guessing where we ate the durian – discretely of course but I am sure those who can’t stand the smell would have smelt it.

This was the perfect supper to end the perfect trip. Family had a fabulous time in Hong Kong and traveling around China – Xi’an, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. They had an amazing time. Come again soon! We didn’t get to eat everything on the list! Next time, there is always NEXT TIME!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Ming Kee, Causeway Bay

Belgos East @ QB

Our eating troops have not been the same lately. One member is not working in Central, so it makes it difficult for all of us to have lunch now. It doesn’t stop us from catching up for dinner / drinks and even board games, but lunch is just not the same anymore! So when Ms G suggested lunch in her working hood, I was more than happy to go… food… catch up… girlie chit chat… how can I say no to that?

She suggested this place call Belgos East, and invited Hubby also. Funnily, Hubby works in the same location and I have never ever had lunch with him. Why? I guess it’s not something we do. In Sydney, we both work in the city and I don’t think we have ever had lunch together.. EVER.. In the 6 years that we have been together – NEVER! So it was quite a novelty to see him for lunch and I was extremely happy to see, G!

Belgos East can be found in Quarry Bay, in Oxford House. I wouldn’t have even known this place existed if G hadn’t recommended it. The menu is quite extensive, ranging from salads, mussels, steak, and ribs. They have different types of Belgium beers, but since we all came for lunch, we didn’t have any!

We started off with fresh bread and pate, which was chicken liver. Bread was warm, crunchy and soft. Chicken liver was nice but have definitely had better.

We ordered a pot of tomato based mussels with olives and white wine. The mussels were cooked to perfection, sauce full of flavour! I haven’t had mussels for a long time, and forgot how tasty they were! (will have to visit the Belgian beer café in Sydney I think for some mussels!)

I was going through a salad phase, so ordered a chicken Caesar salad. The chicken was grilled and salad refreshing! It was missing egg though – I really do like my Caesar salad with egg. Thankfully there were no anchovies, as I am not a big fan at all!

G ordered ribs with chips – I had one rib as I was getting pretty full at this stage, it wasn’t too bad, but wasn’t the best ribs I have tasted. I still think Hurricanes in Sydney are still the best ribs I have tasted. The flavour at Hurricanes was so much better, and the pork ribs were meatier and tender. Regardless, it’s still wasn’t too bad.

Hubby was a little stressed that day, pre-meeting jitters or whatever you want to call it, so was a little quiet, however, G and I – kept chatting and chatting. It was great catching up with G and Hubby.

It’s a great little spot for business lunches or farewell lunches. It can get a tad bit noisy but otherwise, great for mussels if you are craving them.

GA’s ratings: 6.5 / 10

Belgos East

G/F, Oxford House, 979 King’s Road

Quarry Bay, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2250 5020

Craving for Indonesian Snacks…..

I was talking to my cousin about my up coming trip to Indonesia and when she asked “so what do you want to eat” I said “I will have a list ready for you!” On that list will of course be some Indonesian snacks! I can never really get proper Indonesian snacks unless I either go to Indonesia or someone I know can make them.  Every time I go back to Indonesia, I leave with extra baggage around the waist. Sometimes, I am utterly disgusted at how much I can eat… well, not really but those around me! I don’t go back home to Indonesia very often, maybe once a year at most, so when I am there, I indulge. I never go to Indonesia without creating a list, especially if I am there for a short period of time. I have to eat everything on that list, and believe it or not, I DO! Thanks to my beloved cousins, aunties and uncles. They will ensure I will eat everything.

So, last time I was back in Indonesia, which was just last year, I had the following snacks…

Sepiku – 3 layered of rich, sweet, delicious, creamy cake. You can never eat a huge chunk of this cake, it can get rather sickly, but my gosh… this is seriously satisfying! My mother tried making this cake, and she has almost perfected it. I kind of regret knowing what was in the cake… can you believe that it contains 10 eggs per layer… which means 30 eggs for the whole cake??! Ya… no joke… 30 eggs! It has two flavours, the top and bottom layer, vanilla and the middle, chocolate. You can get with fruits, sultanas, but I prefer the plain sepiku.

Bubur ketan item – black glutinous rice with coconut. Deliciously rich, once you take a bite you can’t stop.

Pastel tutup – deep fried with vegetables and vermicelli. Fantastic with chili and I am not talking about chili sauce, fresh chili!

Onde onde – there are many different types of onde onde, but my favourite are these – with red bean paste. It has to be fresh though – its crunchy on the outside, soft and incredibly sweet. *sigh* craving for these now!

Croquette – potato croquette – made of potato and minced chicken. A popular snack amongst the Indonesians.

Lumpiah basah – wet spring roll without frying, which consists of bean sprouts, carrots, shrimps (and or chicken) served with sweet tauco (salted soybeans) sauce. Again fantastic!

Putu malang – which consists of rice flour with water and coconut milk, steamed, usually with the addition of juice from the pandan leaf as flavouring. Eaten fresh, these are delicious. I never leave Indonesia without eating these, but I only like the ones from Malang!

Lupis – sweet cake made of glutinous rice served with shredded coconut and thick palm sugar syrup. Deliciously rich!

Martabak manis (terang bulan) which is basically thick pancakes with either cheese, chocolate, and / or crushed peanuts. I love my terang bulan with all!  You can get savoury martabak but that’s not as good as martabak manis!

Angsle, a hot soupy dessert of sago pearls, pre-cooked glutinous rice and mung beans, putu mayang (brightly coloured, noodle shaped flour cakes), fried peanuts, all drowned in hot, sweet coconut milk. A must try if you haven’t, but I do love this after dinner, or supper before going to bed!

Ronde, a hot Javanese dessert which consists of glutinous rice balls stuffed with peanut paste, floating in hot ginger and sugar soup. I am not a big fan of ginger, so I don’t enjoy this as much, but I will eat the rice balls on its own without the soup.

Other Indonesian snacks are below… yes we bought one of each and ate all of it!!!!

However, it’s not just about the food, the drinks are also fantastic!

One of my ultimate favourite drinks is juice alpokat, which is avocado juice – yes, it does exist. Avacado juice with chocolate – thick, creamy, and sweet… SO SO SO GOOD!

You can get different varieties of avocado juice, you can have it with durian – avocado / durian juice which is just heavenly!

Then there is es koproy – which contains coconut – not a favourite of mine but definitely a favourite amongst the Indonesian.

Es Teler, another favourite of mine, which consists of coconut, jack fruit, avocado, mix with condensed milk, sugar and syrup. It’s a refreshing drink on a hot summer day!

Last but not least – durian with durian icecream (read post here). *droooll*

The above snacks were consumed within 9 days. Yes, I am disgusted with myself but seriously, I can’t not go to Indonesia and not eat the above snacks. It wouldn’t be right, my trip would not be complete! I am certainly looking forward to going back there in a few  months!

Now, don’t even get me started on Indonesian food… will definitely have to post some of the food I’ve eaten in Indonesia! Real authentic Indonesian food.

Categories: Indonesian, Snacks Tags: ,

Eating crab @ Under bridge spicy crab

This post is long overdue, I came here with my parents in law when they were in Hong Kong in March. It was their last night in Hong Kong and they wanted to have some seafood. I thought of this place, only cause I haven’t been but because it was recommended by a good friend of mine, V, who also loves food!

I left the ordering to my mother in law and I think she ordered quite well!

Started off with the razor clams with vermicelli, garlic, shallots and chili. I love razor clams, so this dish was superb! It was a little bit too garlicky for my liking but the razor clams were fresh and tasty.

We all ordered a bowl of shark fin soup – the shark fin soup was ok – it wasn’t the best shark fish soup I have tasted. I thought it lacked a little bit of flavour – probably because I didn’t put enough vinegar, but you shouldn’t have too right?

Steamed fish with soy sauce and shallots – you really can’t go wrong with this simple dish unless you over cook the fish!

We also ordered scallops with vermicelli, garlic and shallots. The flavour was similar to that of the razor clams. It was indeed too garlicky for me, but the scallops were fantastic!

You can’t go to under bridge spicy crab without ordering their specialty, which is their crab! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the most important dish of the night *sigh*. My hands for one were dirty, and as much as I am not a fan of eating crabs outside, this was tasty! They asked what size we wanted, and we asked for the something mid-size. The crab was cooked with deep fried garlic, shallots and chili. It was absolutely flavoursome. You could taste the spices on the shell of the crab. The crab meats were tender, succulent and full of flavour. It was indeed fantastic!

We also ordered a plate of vegetables. Beans cooked with lots of oil and garlic! It was a bit oily but delicious.

If you do come, order the crab, it is their specialty. Every single table that night had some sort of crab. It was good, but messy!!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Under bridge spicy crab

Shop 1-2, G/F, 414 – 424 Jaffe Road

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2573 7698

Sydney, here i come… again…

I am going to Sydney for work … again… and although I am not 100% looking forward to working, I am looking forward to catching up with friends and eating out. I am especially looking forward to mum’s cooking! You don’t get food like this except at mums!

I am looking forward to some home made sate ayam amongst other things….

She is an AMAZING chef, she learnt from her mother (my grandmother) and her mothers mother (my great grandmother). I have wanted to learn the recipe that has been passed down from generations to generations but seriously… I don’t know where they get the time to cook these dishes. Some of the best dishes that mum makes require 3 – 4 hours of preparation – that’s just too long! On weekends it’s probably doable, but on a weekday – I need something that requires less than 5 ingredients, and less than 30 mins to cook!

I was trying to compile a list of food that I was craving or wanted to eat whilst in Sydney. However, the last time I was there (read review here), which was about 2 months ago, I managed to cram everything in that ONE WEEK! I ate 3 times a day for 8 days, so everything that I wanted to try was covered! Needless to say, I came back to Hong Kong with extra ‘baggage’! I certainly won’t be making that mistake again!

This time round, I am in Sydney for a longer period of time, 17 days to be exact, but if you count the 2 days I am flying in and out, that would be 15 days! Will definitely need to space out the eating! I really don’t think I can eat 3 times a day (out) for 15 days… I would come back looking like a hippo!

In no particular order, a list of places I wouldn’t mind eating at….

  1. Universal (came here a couple of times before and it was fantastic!)
  2. Sel et poivre (another favourite of mine)
  3. Bills (now that’s a MUST!)
  4. Café XXII (I came here twice last time I came back, and its just simply fantastic!)
  5. Pinanggsia (for their bakso goreng!)
  6. Ayam Goren 99, Java, Shalom, Bali Stick to name a few Indonesian restaurants
  7. Fratelli Paradiso (either brunch or lunch!)
  8. Uchi Lounge (for some good Japanese and sake!)
  9. Balzac (for their bread and butter pudding)
  10. Hurricanes (RIBS!)
  11. Etch (casual but yet nice)
  12. Plan b (wagyu burger)
  13. Four ate Five (new café at Surry Hills)
  14. Café Belganny (how can I forget their bircher muesli!)
  15. Red Roll (vietnamese bread)
  16. Black Star Pastry
  17. Adriano Zumbo
  18. Bourke Street Bakery
  19. Aria and last but not least

I think that should be a ‘sufficient’ list of places to eat? I am sure there are others – any other recommendations? I am sure M, A, A, S, C will want to try new restaurants. Did I eat everything last time? No, I didn’t, I had a list of 13 places (including mum’s cooking) and got through about 8.

I do feel sorry for Hubby though, the last time I went to Sydney for a week – he made a WHOLE POT of Spaghetti Bolognaise and ate that for 6 days straight!!! See below for the huge pot! I don’t understand why, considering there are heaps of restaurants near where we live! *sigh* – boys will be boys!

I will be thinking of you, Hubby, whilst eating out and indulging in delicious food. Promise to send you photos. I think he said, this time round, he will make a whole pot of fried rice. *sigh*

I am hoping the weather will be nice. Hoping to run a couple of times around the harbor before the half marathon – yes I am crazy! I blame it all on J and the alcohol that night, I don’t think I would ever agree to a half marathon if sober!

I am counting down to how many days I get to eat Mum’s cooking, hanging with my brother and parents, and seeing my friends. I might even bake on the weekend – oh my – will I remember how to bake? It certainly has been a while!!!

See you in Sydney peeps…. I am looking forward to catching up with each and everyone of you… you know who you are!

Categories: Sydney, Thoughts Tags: ,

Delightful Dumplings, Sam Tor, Hong Kong

I love dumplings! Who doesn’t right? There are many different types of dumplings from all over the world but the dumplings I totally utterly love is the Chinese dumplings – jiaozi and wontons. Both are different of course, the skins for both are different, wontons have a thinner and less elastic wrapping, and are usually boiled in light broth or soup and made with a meatier filling.

My high school friend, M, took me to this little, cozy spot in Central call Sam Tor and they seriously have the best dumplings I have had thus far. The dumplings are meaty and juicy and they are HUGE! We had a bowl of just dumplings with choy sum and were totally and utterly stuffed! These little delights were so easy to eat, especially with chili. I probably couldn’t eat more than a bowl but seriously, they were unbelievable!

The menu is quite limited to different types of wontons, fish / beef balls with or without noodles. They also have tripe, pigs’ stomach, blood and liver. However, I think the dumplings are an absolute winner! I, for one, was deliciously full and was ready for an afternoon nap!

If you haven’t been, try them for yourself! They are delectably meaty and juicy and value for money!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Sam Tor

G/F, 30 Pottinger Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2801 6352