Archive for May, 2010

Dinner with P @ Ye Shanghai

One of Hubby’s high school buddy, P, was in town for the week and wanted to meet up for some Peking duck. I thought of Spring Deer – old school, but as some of you may have experienced, there is a 2 – 3 weeks wait! Crazy I know! Unfortunately, P is not here for that long, and as I was keen to try Ye Shanghai, the decision was pretty much made.

I got there a tad early, as I was shopping around TST, and was starved! Hubby was running a little late, so P and I had a chance to catch up! He plays the violin and is incredibly talented! He played at our wedding with three other violinists and was simply amazing!

Hubby rocked up about 15 minutes later and we were definitely ready to order! We started off with xiao long bau, and these were tasty, however, I thought the dough was a little thick. I still do prefer the xiao long bau at Di Tai Fung.

Next came the pork pan fried dumpling – dipped in chili and vinegar sauce, these were utterly amazing. A little oily, but it was good!

We ordered Peking Duck, (one course only) – the skin was cut thinly and incredibly crispy. It wasn’t fatty at all, and the skin was fantastic.

The duck meat was tender and succulent, and was cut and served separately. I love how the wrap skin was served in a bamboo basket with a bunsen burner at the bottom, keeping the skin warm.

The whole Peking Duck experience was fantastic! The wrap, the duck skin, the duck meat, topped with hoison sauce was just unbelievable. I lost count on how many I had after 3, I am certain we each had more than half a dozen each. It definitely satisfied our Peking Duck cravings! (M, if you are reading this, we did think of you!)

We also ordered deep fish which was crispy, moist with a hint of salt – it was fantastic.

A meal is not complete without vegetables, so we ordered a plate of  water spinach – cooked in garlic and sprinkled with fried onions, the water spinach was full of flavour and delicious.

The food was authentic, fresh and full of flavours. The restaurant was a little dark for my liking, making it more of a romantic dining space. The menu extensive – if you can’t decide what you want, the set menus are reasonable and contains a little of everything. The service was fantastic, and waiters tentative.

It was great catching up with P, he was on his way to Japan to meet his parents in law to be – hope it went well and it was great catching up with you!

GA’s rating: 8 / 10

Ye Shanghai

6/F, Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, 3 Canton Rd

Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2376 3322

Quick Korean lunch @ Jin Luo Bao Restaurant

I would occasionally crave for Korean food and this place was recommended by my neighbour. I haven’t had Korean food for a while now and came here one weekend with Hubby as he was craving for some good bibimbap. We came here late afternoon and since it was after the lunch hour rush, we were seated immediately!

The one thing I love about Korean restaurants is the banchans – 9 different side dishes – it can be a meal on its own! My favourite would have to be kimchi, the hotter the better. Thankfully this is not Hubby’s favourite – so more for me.

Without a doubt, Hubby ordered the dolsott bibimbap – bowl of warm white rice topped with sautéed and seasoned vegetables and chili pepper taste with both raw egg and sliced beef. The ingredients are all stirred together thoroughly just before eating, and was served in a hot warm stone pot. The bimbimbap was hot, absolutely delicious and full of flavours, it was fantastic! I love how the rice sticks to the bottom forming a nice crust.

I was craving (believe it or not) bbq beef ribs. The beef were tender and succulent. It was served in a hot plate and was flavoursome. It definitely satisfied my cravings for beef ribs.

The menu was quite extensive, ranging from noodles to rice, to soups and stir fries, all reasonably priced. The portions were reasonable and service quite good. Although I was a little annoyed one of the waitress brought over the bill when we didn’t ask for it, but it was so we could get an extra 10% or 15% off before 3pm – which I guess made up for it, I mean who doesn’t like discounts?!?!

It was a quick lunch with Hubby before shopping – no, not shopping for me, shopping for Hubby. We shopped for a good 3 – 4 hours and all he bought during that time, wait for it, 2 pairs of shoes! If that was me, I would have definitely bought a lot more than just 2 pairs of shoes. Lucky I was well fed, as shopping with Hubby can be an extremely long process (which it was!)

GA’s rating: 7.5 / 10

Jin Luo Bao Korean Restaurant

6/F, Island Beverley, 1 Great George Street

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2895 3986

Itching to Ski / Snowboard

I have been thinking about skiing / snowboarding for a while now. As the weather gets warmer here in Hong Kong, the opposite is happening in Sydney and New Zealand. Around this time each year, I would be thinking about skiing, however, last year for some unknown reason, we did not go to the snows! Could be the fact that we went to the states in May and then I went back to Indonesia for 2 weeks for engagement and a wedding. It was the first year in 14 years in a row that I had not gone skiing! I remember one year, I was so obsessed with the snow that I went 6 times, which included one trip to Japan and 5 weekend trips to Perisher and Thredbo!

I first learnt how to ski when I was 17 / 18. It was my first trip to Perisher with friends and we were staying for the week! For most of us there, it was the first time we were skiing, and we all decided to get lessons! It was probably one of the best decisions we made that week. I didn’t fall in love with it at first, it was one of the hardest and most challenging things I have ever done! But seeing how graceful some skiers were I was determined to learn and pick up the sport. I remember the first day on the slope which was tough and challenging and I still remember the pain the day after. From memory, we were all in pain and decided NOT to ski that day, and thought we would go to the pub, shoot some pool and drink beer at 10am and continued until 10 pm – NOT the best decision we made that week! The next day, we all had the worse hung over but decided that we should continue pursuing our career in skiing and made it to the slopes by 8.30 am. Needlessly to say, some of us did have to stop and chunder – it was not a pretty sight.

I didn’t pick up skiing as easily as I have hoped. That year, I came back again for a weekend and felt a little more confident, and each year, I improved (you would hope!), and made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable! I was able to parallel turn, instead of just skiing straight down (which if you didn’t know picks up a lot of speed) and by the end of my 5th year of skiing, was comfortable with doing black runs and super steep slopes! I’m not one of those skiers who can do stunts, jumps, turns or twists, it’s not why I learnt! I learnt because I love the speed, the speed of skiing down the mountain, the wind blowing in your face, and being at the top of the mountain and seeing how steep the hill is!

Each year, I try to go at least 3 times (yes I know obsessive!) but that’s how much I loved it. I organized a trip with my friends to Japan and I have to say, it was the best trip I have ever been. Unfortunately, I don’t have the photos here, in fact I don’t have a lot of skiing photos – don’t know where it all went! We had a great time skiing, night skiing, goofing around and drinking a lot! Going with friends who are fantastic at skiing will push your limits and improve your ability to ski.

Below is a photo of me at Perisher, can’t remember which year it was but I have to admit – that was one daggy ski gear! I put up with it for about 5 years before I bought new gear, and spending an obscene amount on a jacket and pants – which I have worn and kept ever since!

After about 10 years of skiing, I wanted a new challenge – as much as I LOVED skiing, and still do, I turned into the dark side and decided to try snowboarding! Yes, yes, am too old for boarding right? Well that’s what I thought; I didn’t think I was going to pick it up. I had the BEST teacher though, our friend, A, he was a boarder, taught me how to board in a weekend! It was SO MUCH easier to pick up, the boots, OMG, it was so much more comfy, and the board was SO much easier to carry than skies! I turned from a ski bunny, to a boarder!! I know skiers hate boarders and vice versa, boarders like to cut skier and etc etc, but my gawd… I fell in love with boarding..  I wasn’t very good at it though, but I most certainly enjoyed it.

The worst thing about boarding is the falling! You either fall on your bum, your knee or in some cases, me, face plant down the slope! It’s not pleasant but so worth it! My fear to date are T-bars, they are my worst nightmare! I don’t think I have ever accomplished going up a mountain on a T-bar – usually fall mid way or close to the top! I really do need to get over my fear!

I’m itching to go this year, this would be the 2nd year in a row that I have missed out on the snow! Below is a photo of me night snowboarding one year at perisher.

I have to admit though, the last time I went to the snow, I switched back to skiing, and after 3 years of boarding that was tough! I am definitely a better skier but boarding is way cooler!

I have had some of the most amazing trips with friends skiing / snowboarding. The shenanigans, the laughters, the face planting, the falls, it has been incredible! I am itching to go again this year! I haven’t skied in a lot of places, mainly just Australia and Japan, however, this year I am secretly hoping to squeeze in New Zealand, when I am back next in Sydney. If not, Japan again next year! I’m definitely looking forward to the hot chocolates, the warm donuts, the fire place, the sauna and most of all… carving it on the slopes! Who’s in with me?

Categories: Snow, Thoughts Tags: ,

Horrible Viet @ Discovery Bay

One of Hubby’s cousin lives in Discover Bay (‘DB’), his family recently moved to Hong Kong so we thought we would go and visit. For those who don’t know where DB is, it’s situated on the north-eastern coast of Lantau Island in the New Territories. The only way I know to get there is by ferry, and no private cars or taxis are permitted to enter the area. I’m not very good with boats / ferries. We caught the ferry to DB from Central and although it’s only 20 minutes, it was the longest 20 minutes of my whole entire life!

It was my first time in DB, and I have to say, what a contrast it was to Hong Kong or Kowloon Island! DB had its own community, it seemed like everyone knew each other. Our cousin lives near the beach, and as much as it’s a great location it is definitely not for me!

I’m not quite sure what possessed us to eat Viet food at McsSorleys! We saw a sign ‘Pho House’ and as Hubby was craving for Pho he thought we should check it out! I probably should have stuck with a burger at McSorleys but alas…

We got the lunch special, beef pho and crab and pork spring rolls. The beef pho was seriously ordinary. There were more onions in the soup than anything else. The beef was tender, but that was the only thing that was good about it. The soup was tasteless and it was just disappointing.

The crab and pork spring rolls were also below par, it was fried to a crisp! It was seriously crispy and I could not taste any crab or pork.

We ordered the bbq pork sandwich, which was surprisingly better than both the pho and spring rolls. The bread was fresh, and the bbq pork was sweet, and the salads were a great compliment. I thought this was going to be similar to that of a pork roll, alas no. A pork roll would definitely have been better.

A friend, J, asked ‘isn’t it weird to order Viet food at McSorleys? I mean do they even have Viet food?’ It wasn’t just ‘weird’ it was wrong! It was one of the most disappointing lunches I have ever had. I probably should have stuck with a burger – I mean, McSorleys are known for their burger and not for the Viet food right?

The highlight of the day would have been catching up with our cousins and their cute twin sons and daughter! Identical twin boys – they were absolutely gorgeous! We had a drink by the bay overlooking the beach, catching up and I got my kids fix for the month. The good thing about playing with other people’s kids is that you can give them back at the end of the day! Pity the weather wasn’t that great – but the wine / beer made up for the horrible lunch!

GA’s rating: 3 / 10

The Pho House K1664

Shop G11A-1, G/F, Block B, Discovery Bay Plaza,

2 Plaza Lane, Discovery Bay, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2987 8280

Japanese dinner @ Etsu, Tin Hau

This is the 2nd time I have been to this restaurant, the first time was with a couple of friends a while back, and I forgot to bring my camera that evening so didn’t take any photos. This time, I made sure I brought it. I came here with Hubby as I have been craving for Japanese food. Most of the Japanese restaurants around Tin Hau are yakitori restaurants, but I wasn’t craving yakitori, I wanted sashimi and sushi!

So of course, a serving of sashimi platter was in order. Fresh salmon, tuna, king fish, scallops, prawns arrived. The sashimi platter was fresh, light and absolutely delightful. I didn’t eat any of the prawns though, I am not a huge fan of raw prawns – it’s just a little too slimy for me.

Hubby loves ox tongue, so he ordered a serving of that (two sticks). The ox tongue was tender, and extremely flavoursome. It was a little salty for my liking but it was tasty.

I love agedashi tofu – soft, tender tofu, slightly deep fried until golden brown, served in a hot tentsuyu broth and topped with finely chopped negi (a type of spring onions), and grated bonito flakes. The tofu was indeed soft and golden brown. However, I thought the broth was a little tasteless. It wasn’t the best agedashi tofu I’ve had, but it certainly wasn’t the worst either.

Next came prawn and vegetable tempura, the prawn were fresh and lightly battered. The vegetable tempura which consisted of eggplant, mushroom, sweet potato was fantastic. It was the perfect way to end the meal.

The menu was quite extensive (ranging from fresh sashimi, to cooked eel and tempura to yakitori) and fresh. The meal we had was delicious, but I don’t think it was anything special or anything to rave out. It was quite simple but definitely satisfied my sashimi cravings!

GA’s rating: 6.5 / 10

Etsu Sushi

23 Tsing Fung Street

Tin Hau, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 3580 8851

High Tea @ Le Salon de Thé de Joël Robuchon

There is something about high tea that I absolutely love. I mean, scones, desserts, tea – what’s there not to like? Especially if you go with friends to catch up on gossip and life in general. It’s not something I do very often but it is definitely something that I do enjoy doing once in a while. I remember doing High Tea for my hens (thanks to my bridesmaid, M, for organising it!) and have also been to others in Sydney. The best thing about it is that it can be enjoyed by everyone including the male population, although some won’t admit to that!

I have been dying to try Le Salon de Thé de Joël Robuchon for a while now. It was the day before I had to fly back to Sydney for work and Hubby took the day off to spend with me. We didn’t do much during the day, and shopping was just not an option, so he suggested High Tea (he knows how much I love high tea!)

High Tea for 2:

Top section from left to right: Sandwiches

Premium ham with mustard seed sandwich: this was nice but nothing really special. Wasn’t a favourite of Hubbys as he doesn’t like ham!

Norwegian smoked salmon and caviar sandwich: I absolutely love this, but only cause I love love smoke salmon and caviar.

Tuna and fresh mache pave sandwich: again this was nothing special, Hubby enjoyed it more than me as he loves tuna.

Lobster sandwich flavoured with tarragon sandwich: this was absolutely delicious – fresh tasting lobster – it was divine.

Bottom section from left to right: Scones

Natural scones: I only had a bit of this, as Hubby doesn’t like lemon and raisins scones (well the raisins really). This was delicious, although a little dry for my liking.

Lemon and raisin scones: like the natural scones, this was delicious but a little dry for my liking.

The strawberry jam was too die for, fresh strawberry pieces. It wasn’t too sweet nor too sour and the cream was just creamy! I love scones with good strawberry jam and cream! It was fantastic!

Now on to the sweets, from left to right:

Paris-brest: this to me tasted like a chocolate éclair – I am not a huge fan of éclairs only cause they are way too sweet and this was a little tad too sweet for my liking.

Blueberry cheese cake: this was creamy and soft, but nothing special. I have had better cheese cake before.

Mont-blanc: white chocolate and chestnut cream with a lemon centre, I didn’t really enjoy this one, only cause I don’t like white chocolate. However, hubby absolutely loved it, the combination of the different flavours were fantastic (or so he claims)

Exotique: white chocolate and passionfruit cake, again I didn’t like this one as much – white chocolate? However, Hubby agreed that the white chocolate was over powering.

Macaroon ganache: mini macaroons – this was Hubby’s favourite. I got half a mini macaroon as he ate the rest of it. This was definitely his favourite.

Petit fours: lemon cake, chocolate nut crunch and fruit jellies. I utterly enjoyed this, the lemon cake was soft and moist and not as sweet as the other desserts. The chocolate nut crunch was just to die for, chocolate and peanuts? What not to like?

The high tea at Joel Robuchon was presented in an artistic manner that it was almost too pretty or too beautiful to eat – I couldn’t stop taking photos! The presentation was just fantastic, it was different to other high teas I’ve been where the food usually comes in a 3 tier plate. Although not all of the food was a hit for me, it was still quite delicious. I absolutely loved the Norwegian smoked salmon and caviar sandwich and the lobster sandwich. However, the lemon cake and chocolate nut crunch was a hit!

It was a good way to spend the afternoon with Hubby, people watching and talking about life in general. I’m sure he had a fantastic day off… I mean, ps3 in the morning, then high tea, then movies? How is that not a perfect day?

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Shop 315, The Landmark

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2166 9088

Lunch @ Habibi, Egyptian food

I’ve never had Egyptian food before, I knew it was Mediterranean food but wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. So when D called and suggested we have lunch here, we (J and S) said yes. I think they have all been here before, but this was new to me, and was looking forward to it!

It was a very casual place on Wellington Street, in Central and the place was bustling with diners. First thing I noticed when I walked in was that it was quite dark and it was a sunny day in Hong Kong. I’m not usually a fan of dark restaurants, as I like to see what I eat! I was a little late (no, not lost, just running late) and both D and S were there already. We were still waiting for a stressful J to come, however, he arrived shortly after I did.

The menu is quite extensive, and they had special set lunches for different days during the week which made it very confusing and way too many options! D, S and J had the set lunch, which was a choice of either spinach ricotta pie or meatball with vegetable soup, kochary (Egyptian noodles), salad and hummus, pita bread and a drink.  Both S and D had the spinach ricotta pie and they both totally utterly enjoyed it.

J had the meatball with vegetable soup, kochary, salad, and hummus, which also came with pita bread and a drink. I didn’t have any of the meatballs, however, the hummus and kochary were fantastic! It was a LOT of food! I doubt that I would have been able to finish it, but the boys managed too!

I ordered the chicken kebab, and it wasn’t what I expected! I was expecting chicken wrapped in pita bread with all ingredients like a kebab, however, it was shredded chicken with onions, beans, tomatoes with yogurt on top. The chicken was tender, and full of flavour. It was absolutely delicious and the yogurt was a great compliment. It was also a very very generous serving. I didn’t think I could finish this, but managed too and was seriously and utterly deliciously stuffed! It was indeed fantastic!

All the above meals came with pita bread which was served warm!

If you like Mediterranean food – beans, lentils, seed and yogurt – then this is the place for you. The set lunches are reasonable priced, and the food delicious.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Habibi Café

Shop A, G/F, 112-114 Wellington Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2544 3886