Wow is it really 2014 already? It seems only yesterday I was writing about 2012 and here I am thinking about what a year 2013 has been. I thought 2012 was the year of travels, 2013 was just the same – I didn’t think we would travel so much with Dragon but being in Hong Kong, it’s so hard not too when everything is so close!
We started the year with a pig feast! My birthday – we went to Fook Lam Moon – a place to be seen apparently, where celebrities go wine and dine! I had one the best suckling pig thus far – it wasn’t cheap but it was definitely fantastic and satisfying! A great way to start the year that’s for sure.
We also went to Doppio Zero in Sheung Wan for bone marrow (my favourite in Hong Kong in 2013!) and steak.
Chinese New Year was a bit late this year I thought, in February. I love Christmas and Chinese New Year – lots of breaks! We were invited to a colleagues house and he had a spit roast – a pig! I have to say, this was also a very good PIG! I couldn’t stop eating the pork, thankfully he had TWO roast porks!
We didn’t start our travels until March where we went to Singapore to meet my brother and sis-in-law who were holidaying there. I fell in love with Paradise Dynasty – a restaurant in Singapore that makes AWESOME xiao long baos! I think it is a lot better than Din Tai Fung.
Ate at Blue Butcher for the most awesome steak – think this is my favourite go to steak restaurant in Hong Kong.
In April we went back to Sydney for Dragon 1st Birthday. I really wanted her to spend her first birthday with family and it was a FANTASTIC event. It’s so good to be with family and friends for a special event!
We hit up a lot of cafes and restaurant, one being Movida – so awesome that they are finally in Sydney!
Loved Kepos – the falafel sandwich is one of the best I have eaten, can’t get that in Hong Kong anywhere unfortunately 😦
We also went for a quick trip to Xiamen late April for ‘The Mother’s cricket tour – yes it was a proper tour where they actually played cricket against another team. Had some fantastic street food – stinky tofu how much I love you and lots of steamed buns!
We went to Penang for ‘The Mother’s’ birthday in July – long weekend and hung out by the pool pretty much every day. Traveling with Dragon is definitely different. We no longer pack our days with sight seeings and events, it revolves around Dragon’s nap time – she dictates our schedules! Had a great meal at Perut Rumah for authentic nyonya food.
We also went to Joo Hooi cafe for the best CKT I have eaten and cendol!
Had snake soup for the first time ever – yes it has taken me that long to check out Ser Wong Fun and it did not disappoint!
I went back to Sydney in August for a quick work trip and because it was my niece’s one month celebration! Couldn’t miss that! I was also craving Korean Fried Chicken – can you believe I have yet to find one in Hong Kong. Went to Red Pepper in Strathfield but my favourite is still NaruOne.
Had an awesome burger at Mary’s. I have to say though, my favourite burger in Sydney is still Dan Hong’s burger which can be found at the Fish Place – shame on me for not visiting yet!
Finally got to try the famous Devon Cafe – I can see why people are in love with this place! I love the cafe scene in Sydney.
Ate at Fu Sing Shark Fin Restaurant and had their awesome char siu – oh how i love you!
In November I was back in Sydney again for a whirl wind trip and it was so nice to see family and friends again – i have truly missed them! Ate well as always. Tried Three Williams which has to be one of my favourite cafes in Sydney – love the space and the food was fantastic.
Dragon and I then went to meet ‘The Mother’ in Helsinki after his dog sledding boys trip. I haven’t had Chinese food for 2 weeks and was DYING for some. Thanks to Dan Hong for connecting me to someone who lived in Helsinki and told me about this place, Gaijin – the pork belly was TO DIE FOR! (post to come! Sorry!)
Went to Juuri also which was nice – I couldn’t eat a lot of the seafood dishes and the chef was very accommodating which is nice. (post to come). Loved this mushroom dish…
We then went to Prague for 4 days – fell in love with the city! It’s so beautiful, I could definitely live there! (posts on all food to come!)
I’ve had my fare share of fried chicken, bone marrow and steak this year! Still on the hunt for the best fried chicken in Hong Kong – they don’t have Korean Fried Chicken!!!! and you can never have enough bone marrow and steak! Here are some memorable ones
I’ve lost count the number of times I have gone to Yat Lok for goose in 2013 – it is my favourite lunch spot! Their char siu is pretty tasty also.
Having Dragon has made it a bit difficult to eat out all the time, as I would rather go home after work to be with her. Going to fine dining restaurants with her at this age (20 months) is so not enjoyable! She can’t sit still long enough and cause she is so active, i really don’t enjoy my meal. I eat so quickly so that she doesn’t get bored. However, in saying that, I wouldn’t change a thing!
Regardless, it has been a fantastic year, I have eaten quite a fair bit (still a lot more of yummy eats to come!), traveled quite a fair bit. I doubt we would be doing that much travel next year, Dragon is turning 2 and well…we actually have to start paying her air fares! LOL
Thanks again for all your support, I have made so many good friends through blogging and appreciate all the friendship! See you on the other side 🙂 Wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Lots more eating, good times and laughters for 2014!
I’m not sure how my brother, F, discovered this cafe but it is indeed one of their favourites. Located in Dee Why – not an area that I go very often but this place is definitely worth the trek! It’s reasonably cheap, food is quite decent and the portions are unbelievably satisfying. We came on a weekday and the place was busy! We waited for 15 minutes before seated and even then, we tried to squeeze 5 people with 2 kids to a 4 seater! It was so busy and we were hungry so took the first table that was available.
The menu was vast but we were here for one thing – their local favourites which is basically breakfast – choice of poached, scrambled or fried eggs. Toasted turkish, wholemeal sourdough or gluten free bread. All benedicts topped with hollandaise sauce. Everyone started with either a mocha or coffee and the mocha i really enjoyed. I don’t usually order mocha’s but this was perfect – not too sweet.
F and I couldn’t go past the local – eggs, chicken sausage, bacon, tomato and potato rosti (AUD18.90) OMG! When I saw the plate in front of me, I almost fainted! SO MUCH FOOD! I didn’t know where to start.
O and Mum had the Californian (AUD19.90) – grilled salmon on potato rosti with eggs and rocket and tomato toss! Generous serving of salmon and potato rosti! Not sure how they finished it but they did!
The English taster (AUD 19.90) was also very good – eggs, lamb cutlet, beef sausage, mushrooms and potato rosti! OMG! I can see why the family likes this place – good value and food is pretty good! Service was friendly and polite. Would definitely come back next time – bit far but definitely worth the drive, especially if it’s a nice and sunny day!
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
20 The Strand
Dee Why, Sydney
Ph: +61 2 9971 9692
I have heard wonderful things about Iberico and Co which can be located in Soho on Shelley Street. Part of the popular Enoteca Group – Iberico and Co serves Spanish and Portuguese food. The menu features a wide range of dishes to share which includes snacks, little plates, family-style bigger plates and a ham bar with some of Spain’s best iberico hams.
I have tried making a reservation for dinner here many times and it is always fully booked! So finally decided to try for lunch and so glad that I did! The food certainly did not disappoint. There was a lunch set but we decided to go for a la-carte as I wanted to try a lot of things! We started with the salt rubbed crunchy pigs skin with smoked paprika mayonnaise – my goodness – these crunchy goodness were seriously sinful but fantastic! It was hard not to stop eating them.
The chargrilled asparagus, shallot, sherry vinegar dressing and shaved Iberico cheese looked a little sad but surprisingly tasty!
We really loved the mushrooms sautéed with cherry tomatoes and Jerez sherry vinegar. It was so full of flavour – the mushrooms were cooked to perfection.
G couldn’t go past the tartar of salmon, traditional garnishes, smoked paprika and quail egg. I didn’t have any of this but she did say that it was delicious. The salmon fresh and the garnishes a wonderful complement
I was getting a little bit full by now, however, there were two more large dishes to come. The lemon and paprika chicken with borlotti beans, coriander and garlic came in a little stone pot. The crispy skin, the tender meat – it was delicious.
Last but not least, the cracked black pepper hanger steak with madeira. OH MY! Tender and succulent meat, it was a little on the rare side for me but it was good!
We were both stuffed – dessert sounded good but we were just too full! Will definitely be back to try more food! Could be my fav tapas place in HK
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
Iberico and Co
G/F, 18 Shelley’s Street,
Central, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2752 8811
It seems so long ago that we were in Finland, Helsinki. ‘The Mother’ was going dog sledding with his friends in Sweden and thought we would use the opportunity to visit Europe. There are so many places I have yet to go in Europe, and we picked Finland as it was a direct flight from Hong Kong (easy for Dragon) and it was close to where ‘The Mother’ was dog sledding. We were there for almost a week in total, we were there for 4 days, then Prague for 4 days and then another 3 days in Helsinki before heading back to Hong Kong.
The weather was COLD! I had my ski jacket on and Dragon was geared up from head to toe! She has never ever worn SO MANY clothing in her entire life but it was necessary. Especially since she couldn’t say if she was cold or not – but eventually she was able to ‘tell us’ that she was cold. She loves the cold weather though but we were still prepared and brought her lots of clothes.
We didn’t do much in Helsinki especially since it was winter and it was dark by 3.30 – 4pm! Perfect for Dragon and I for the first couple of days as we were jet lagged and we were in bed by 4pm on the first day. Poor ‘The Mother’ – he really wanted to go out to eat but we were just too tired. Sadly, we were up at 2am! It wasn’t fun jet lag believe me.
On our first day, we caught a tour bus that took us around Helsinki – saw the Cathedral
I loved the Temppeliaukio Church – made out of rocks!
We walked around the Design Museum and much more. It is quite a beautiful city and we stayed in a service apartment which was awesome – not that we did any cooking but the extra space really made a difference, especially when you have a child!
Now food wise, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I read there were a lot of seafood in Helsinki and ‘The Mother’ was afraid that I couldn’t eat anything as I am still on a seafood band. However, surprisingly the options were pretty good. We even managed to eat Italian on our first day!
Our first meal in Helsinki was at Ristorante Il Siciliano which was conveniently located near tram stops and not too far from the esplanade. I was starving, and cold and wanted some comfort food. Italian was the perfect choice! Food was relatively cheap I thought, especially the lunch special which ‘The Mother’ had – crab linguini – i didn’t have any of this but he demolished this!
Dragon loves chicken, I ordered the chicken parmigianna. It was a little sad looking, not enough cheese or sauce for my liking. Surprisingly the chicken was tender and Dragon who doesn’t usually like chicken breast ate at least half of this. Not to mention the wedges!
The pizza’s and pasta’s looked though – seems like that’s their speciality. Service was polite and friendly I thought. The lunch specials came out a lot quicker than the a la carte – so if you are in a hurry, go for the lunch specials.
The next day before we started sightseeing, we stumbled across this cute little cafe. Stupid me forgot the name, thought I had a picture of it but with juggling Dragon and a camera, I totally forgot! You just have to trust me that it was pretty decent. It was near the tram line opposite H&M on the main shopping drag of Helsinki!
‘The Mother’ ordered the muesli with yogurt drizzled with strawberry compote. With it came boiled egg, cold meat, tomatoes and sour dough bread. He loved the muesli and yogurt – said it was fresh and excellent. For someone that doesn’t usually eat breakfast, he demolished this!
Dragon and I shared the yogurt with fruits, croissant, cheese, tomato and toast. She loved the mango yogurt with fresh mangoes. The croissant she didn’t enjoy as much which was a surprise – more for me I guess. I think ‘The Mother’s’ breakfast was infinitely better. Both breakfast set came with juice and tea or coffee. From memory it was about 11 pounds?
Service was a tad slow, no table service but the food was good. We sat here for a while as Dragon decided to have a nap – shame she napped after she ate as it would have been nice to eat in peace! ha!
Below are a few snap shots of Helsinki.
I Have to say, Helsini is a beautiful city! ‘The Mother’ even asked if I would live there! HA! I’m just settling in nicely in Hong Kong – not sure if I am ready to move yet, but maybe… down the track. Not sure how I would cope with sun set at 4pm though – it was rather depressing! Besides that, it was lovely, I love the open space and the parks and the cafes! More on Helsinki food coming up 🙂
GA’s rating: 7 / 10
Ristorante il Siciliano
Helsinki, Finland (Vironniemi)
There has been a lot of talk and hype about this cafe. The crab po’boy and the fried chicken is what I have been hearing from Paramount. Extremely sad that this cafe opened after we left our pad in Surry HIlls – this would definitely have been our hang out cafe! Great food, great coffee – what more can one ask for?
With any cafes in Surry Hills on the weekends, you really do need to go early or be prepared to wait for at least 30 mins! We were here on a Saturday just a little after midday and rightly so, the place was PACKED! Thankfully we didn’t have to wait for long, 20 mins max and we were seated. Unfortunately, we were seated on the bench and with Dragon and my baby niece it was quite difficult. However, there were no tables so we sat on the benches.
The menu was definitely interesting – eggs, french toast, fried chicken and po’boy. I was here with the family and everyone had the crab po’boy – it is their favourite and this is not the first time that they had it. Everyone loved it – the fried crab was crunchy and the coleslaw gave it that extra zing.
I couldn’t go past the fried chicken – crunchy exterior and deliciously tender inside. Even Dragon loved it! I have to say that it is a pretty decent fried chicken.
The vanilla milk shake went down nicely too – quickly and perfect for a warm day.
Service was polite and friendly. Get there early or slightly later if you want to miss the lunch time rush. I had a friend waiting for over 90 mins – I personally wouldn’t. Glad to have tried it though, how can I say no to fried chicken?
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
The Paramount Coffee Project
80 Commonwealth St
Surry Hills, 2010
Ph: +61 2 9211 1122
The Bellbrook is the newest creation from Shanghai-based Australian chef David Laris, which you may remember from Laris. Part of the Dining Concept, the Bellbrook is a ‘unique Australian dining experience’ which is located on Wyndham Street in Central. I love the relaxed vibe, the space and not to mention the food.
The lunch set menu is pretty good value, HKD138 for starter and main and you can add HKD20 for dessert if you are still hungry or wants something sweet. The menu is very different to Laris, and definitely much cheaper. We started with some warm bread which came with a little potted plant which is actually butter covered in some biscuit ‘edible soil’. Loved the bread – who doesn’t like warm, fresh bread?
I started with the pumpkin salad – goat cheese, rocket and pumpkin dressing. It was deliciously light and a great way to start the meal.
For main, I couldn’t go past the grilled flank steak which was served with chips! The steak was a little on the red side for me but it was tender, and the french fries were a wonderful complement.
My friend, M wanted to try the black pork cheek and wagyu beef rissoles (HKD168) which was served on a bed of creamy risotto. The rissoles were tender, and I loved the creamy risotto.
Unfortunately we were quite full and could not fit in dessert. The menu does look good though and I am definitely keen to try their dinner. I notice they have roast chicken which I am sure Dragon will enjoy. The table bites look interesting also – scotch egg, liver pate – yum!
Service was polite and friendly and as I mentioned above, I really do like the atmosphere.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
The Bellbrook Bistro Oz by Laris
77 Wyndham Street,
Central, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2530 1600
I have heard wonderful things about Wild Grass which is tucked away on Arbuthnot Road. Wild Grass is ‘all about natural, sustainable ingredients, lovingly prepared by traditional slow cooking methods’. I wanted to try somewhere different for brunch, I love the open space – not a lot of restaurant in Hong Kong has this much space and the menu sounded wonderful.
For Sunday brunch, Wild Grass offers diners different types of starters and a buffet featuring their famous roasts including organic roast chicken, organic beef rump, New Zealand lamb leg, crispy pork rib and some vegetables. Each of the dish were perfectly prepared and it was hard not to try every single one.
We started with some bread.
For starters, diners have 6 options – most of us opt for the organic poached egg benedict with cured bacon. Perfectly poached egg, on a top of brioche with bacon. It was a good way to start brunch!
H had the chilled tomato gazpacho with soft boiled quail egg and cherry tomatoes. This was surprisingly nice – I am not usually a fan of cold soup but on a hot day I can probably have this.
I couldn’t help but ask for a little bit of everything of their roast. The organic roast chicken was incredibly tender and Dragon’s favourite. The organic beef rump was my favourite – yes I preferred it to the pork. The beef was succulent and cooked to perfection. The pork was also very good. I think we all had more than one serving!
Dessert was a choice of sweets or savoury. Savoury being cheese – blue, bree and one hard cheese which I can’t for the life of me remember! which was served with biscuits and bread and served with fruit.
The sweets being tiramisu, apple crumble and pavolva. I really liked the apple crumble – but I am a sucker for anything crumble. ‘The Mother’ really enjoyed the tiramisu.
Sunday brunch cost HKD298 per person, service was polite and friendly. They had music also, so Dragon got to dance a little bit. I really enjoyed the Sunday brunch here – good for long family brunches and the food is pretty decent.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
1/F, 4-8 Arbuthnot Road,
Central, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2810 1189