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Archive for June, 2014

Raya House, Phuket

As you may have recalled, ‘The Mother’, Dragon and I went for a quick getaway to meet the extended family in Phuket. It was one of those holidays where we didn’t leave the resort and just ate around there. Didn’t see much to be honest, just hung by the pool, slept, ate and took Dragon to the mall where she spent a few hours in this kids area – will post about that soon. I have been to Phuket many times now and have stayed at different places, however, this time, we stayed at the most tourist-y place – Patong, which was ok, I prefer to stay in a much quieter area and the resort we stayed was definitely NOT 5 star, it was a little old, room was ok and pretty noisy at night as there are markets near the mall.

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Anyhow, it was an ok holiday, unfortunately we didn’t eat as well as I had hoped, however, a good friend recommended that I go to Raya House and I am SO glad that we did! It was potentially the BEST meal we had in Phuket! HA! Raya House can be found in Phuket Town, a century year old house which has been converted into a restaurant – there’s a lot of character – rusting ceiling fans, vintage posters, very old photographs (which are cool) and the vibe is very down to earth and ‘rustic’.

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The menu is quite extensive, however, it is famous for its crabmeat coconut curry which is a MUST order and potentially one of the nicest curry we have had. Real chunks of crab meat pieces which are plump and generous, the curry is served with coconut milk and rice vermicelli. This was a hit amongst the diners.

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The salt and pepper squid was excellent, the batter was thin and not oily and the squid was tender.

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My favourite dish would have to be the pork belly – extremely tender, extremely succulent – it was phenomenal. It had the right amount of fat to meat ratio and one of the best dish I’ve had in Phuket! Even Dragon had a couple of pieces!

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The most disappointing would have to be the fried chicken which was topped with a mountain of fried garlic. The chicken pieces were small, and tough. I had meant to order this dish for Dragon but the chicken meat wGas so tough, Dragon couldn’t really chew it.

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The vegetables were also fantastic – a little on the spicy side for Dragon though.

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There weren’t a lot of options for dessert, however, we did manage to share grass jelly with longan topped with palm sugar – oh my my.. it was refreshing light and delicious. I probably should have ordered a serving for myself!

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Meal was excellent, shame about the chicken, but the pork belly and the crab curry was definitely a hit. Definitely worth visiting when you are in Phuket!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

48 New Debuk Cross Road,

Amphur Muang Phuket

Phuket, Thailand

Ph: +66 76 218 155

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The Butchers Club Burgers, Wan Chai

I am always on the hunt for good burgers. The Butchers Club Burgers is the new addition of burger joints in Wan Chai – there’s Beef and Liberty, CaliBurger, Burger King, and Ted’s Lookout – a lot of options if you are in the area. The Butchers Club Burgers can be found on Landale Street, it is not a big place, but turnover is quite quick

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The Butchers Cub’s uses dry-aged black ague beef from New South Wales, Australia, however, patties are minced fresh to order in front of the customer before being thrown back to the kitchen and grilled to the customer’s requested ‘doneness’. We were here on Sunday afternoon, just a little after midday and the place was pumping already – you order at the counter, find a table and food will be served to your table.

The menu simple – burgers and fries. On the menu it only says BURGER (HKD100) which are served on a freshly baked floured scotch bap and topped with mature cheddar cheese, glazed bacon, tomatoes, pickles and onion spread. It isn’t the sexiest looking burger but it was pretty tasty. The pattie was saltier than expected but it was cooked well. I especially loved the spicy mayo and cheese and the Damper bun was pretty decent.

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Now the duck fat fries (HKD20) – yum! Thought the fries could be a little bit more crispier but it was pretty tasty. Dragon definitely enjoyed it – pretty sure she had more than either of us!

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Service was quick and efficient, it was hard eating with Dragon though as there high stools and trying to juggle her and camera was too difficult hence photos with the iPhone! I definitely want to come back and try the Double Happiness – double dry-aged Australian beef patties, with double cheese, and 2 grilled cheese sandwiches holding it together… yum!! We did see someone order one and ‘The Mother’ almost had a heart attack! hehehehe

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

The Butchers Club Burgers

Rialton Building, 2 Landale Street

Wanchai, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2528 2083

Mama San, Central, Hong Kong

Mama San is the newish venture by Dining Concept which is headed by Will Meyrick who has a Scottich heritage, Australian accent and an Indonesian home. Like its older sister restaurant in Bali, MaMa San offers diners Southeast Asian dishes and a whole list of delicious cocktails. The restaurant is located in on Wyndham Street – I can’t remember what was here before, however, I love the lay out, the relaxed vibe, the wooden tables and the bold and striking mural of the ‘mama san’ looking at everyone!

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We were her for lunch and the set lunch was quite interesting. I had originally thought that you pick one dish from the set, however, that wasn’t the case. There are 3 different set menus and we opt to try all of them.

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Makanan Siang set is the smallest set and perfect for one which includes vietnamese duck salad with carrot, green mango, coriander and dressing, green curry of clams or chicken with baby corn, long beans, coconut and thai basil served with rice (HKD118). I was rather surprised when everything came out in a bucket! It was definitely an interesting way of eating lunch. The duck salad was a little spicy but the duck was tender and the mango was a wonderful complement. We opt for the chicken green curry and the curry had a wonderful aroma and it wasn’t as thick as I had anticipated.

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Next the Khao Gang Set (HKD138) – the crispy salmon with green mango and sweet fish sauce was a little disappointing. The salmon was a little dry and there was only ONE tiny piece? The salad itself was a little on the spicy side but gave it a nice kick. The cambodian duck curry with lemon grass, ginger, turmeric and yellow dahl was good. Generous pieces of shredded duck and the curry was excellent. The stir-fried baby choi sum was good but nothing special I thought.

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The Mam San Treat Set (HKD158) – the biggest of the lot. The slow cooked crispy pork belly with green papaya and green mango salad was good. The pork belly was tender and I loved the crispy skin – but again, only one pieces?!?!?!?

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The chili harbour prawns with deep fried garlic, iceberg lettuce and lemon was a hit amongst the diners. So was the southern Goan snapper with okra, fenugreek, curry leaves, yogurt and coconut.

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For dessert, we thought we would share the Vietnamese creme caramel with coffee granite, tapioca, herbal jelly and palm sugar. This was refreshingly good and a perfect way to end the meal. The creme caramel was soft and wobbly – it was perfect and the palm sugar was a wonderful addition!

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Majority of the dishes for the set lunch, including the salads were spicy. Thought there were some good dishes, some misses, overall it was ok. I am keen to try their dinner, however it was good to try a bit of everything for lunch

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Mama San by Will Meryrick

1/F, 46 Wyndham Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2881 8901

Sinseon Seoulnongtang, Myeongdong, Seoul, Korea

Sinseon Seoulnongtang is a restaurant specializing in Seoulnongtang, which is ox-bone soup. A friend of mum’s recommended this restaurant and since we going to Myeongdong to shop, we thought we would check it out for lunch. There was a queue already when we got there but thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long, 15 mins max?

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The menu is really quite simple – soup and lots of it.

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All of us pretty much ordered the Seolnongtang – Australian ox bone and brisket, which came with a bowl of rice. The soup was pretty flavoursome, it wasn’t as thick as I had hoped but it was tasty. The ox bone and brisket I loved! It was the perfect meal for a cold day in Seoul!

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We also ordered dubuyachae seolnongtang – ox bone stew and boiled with tofu and vegetables. The tofu and vegetables were a nice addition and gave it that extra flavouring.

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I can’t remember how many serving of this dumpling we ordered – 4 I think, and I am pretty sure I ate 4 dumplings in one sitting. It is undoubtedly the BEST dumpling I have had. Filled with pork and vegetables, the dumpling was moorish and juicy. It was so hard to stop at one, or two for that matter. It was quite large which made it very filling!

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Service minimal, it’s a eat, pay when you are done kind of place so turnover is quite quick, even if there is a queue outside. Food definitely recommended, I really loved the dumplings and the soup was pretty flavoursome!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Sinseon Seoulnongtang

3-1, Myeongdong 10-gil,

Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Jockey Club Moon Koon Restaurant, Happy Valley, Hong Kong

I’ve been to the Jockey Club in Happy Valley many times for events, especially on a Wednesday night when the races are on. It’s a fun way to gather with friends, eat and then place some bets on horses. Most of the time I lose, so it’s no fun but some friends do win which is great. I haven’t been to Moon Koon Restaurant which is located in the Jockey Club on the 2nd floor of Happy Valley Stand. The restaurant was quite spacious and the menu vast. We left all the ordering to my dear friend, the auditor and she definitely ordered well!

We started with these delicious pork belly – the skin was so crispy that it made a lovely ‘crunch’ sound and the pork belly itself was deliciously tender that it just melted in your mouth!

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Next came the chicken liver – seriously sinful but seriously tasty. One each, even if i wanted another there were none!

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We were so hungry that we ordered two different types of chicken – mind you both were half each. First being steam chicken with lots of condiments (shallots, ginger, onion) and it was SOO GOOD! The chicken incredibly tender and the condiments really gave it that extra flavouring. Even Dragon who is particularly fussy with condiments really enjoyed it.

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Next the fried chicken – crispy skin, tender meat, it received a two thumbs up from Dragon.

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My favourite dish would have to be the fatty pork belly with preserved vegetables. Cooked to perfection – the fatty pork, preserved vegetables, more please!

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The fish in clay pot was good – slightly panfried the skin was crispy and fish was fresh and tasty.

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We ordered a plate of vegetables which was also good. For dessert, we ordered a variety of things, mango pudding, and sago mango dessert. It was the perfect way to end for a good meal. Food I was pleasantly surprised (other restaurants at the Jockey Club I thought was so so) and service was good. Definitely want more of the fatty pork belly!

Reservations highly recommended, especially on Wednesday evening when the races are on!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Jockey Club Moon Koon Restaurant

2/F, Happy Valley Stand,

Happy Valley Racecourse,

Happy Valley, Hong Kong

Ph: +852

Paradise Dynasty, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

I first went to Paradise Dynasty when I was in Singapore – the famous 8 flavours xiao long bao – original, garlic, ginseng, foie gras, black truffle, cheese, crab roe, and Szechuan. Those that are not familiar with Paradise Dynasty, it is quite similar to Din Tai Fung only better in my opinion – menu options are definitely more vast and it has finally opened in Hong Kong, in Lee Theatre in Causeway Bay.

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I was beyond excited to try – I have been wanting to have the 8 flavoured xiao long bao for a while now and at the moment, they have a promotion, when you order the 8 flavoured xiao long bao, take a photo and either up load it to Facebook / instagram and you receive a free DURIAN xiao long bao – now don’t knock it until you have tried it! It’s GOOD!

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We started with the obvious – the one thing we were here for. Start with the original (the middle xiao long bao), then garlic, eat clock wise and end with the pink – szechuan one. Unfortunately the pink xiao long bao, didn’t turn out to be pink! We wondered if they have given us two of the same colour – but alas – no.. it was right.

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Now, to eat the xiao long bao – here’s a little instruction, make a tiny hole, let the juice out into the spoon, dip the bao in vinegar, and put it back on the spoon and eat it together! That way you won’t lose any of the juices!

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We ordered some hand made noodles and boiled chicken for Dragon, the noodles she absolutely loved! ‘The Mother’ also enjoyed it.

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I have been craving sweet and sour pork – surprisingly this was quite tasty. The pork tender and sauce wasn’t sickly sweet.

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‘The Mother’ has been craving Szechuan fish – oh my, it was so red I had sweats dripping down my face. Thankfully you can decide how many chills you want – one, two or three! The fish was delicious and thankfully we only picked one chili which made it bare able!

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Now the dessert I have been waiting for – DURIAN xiao long bao! I wasn’t sure what to expect – warm durian? would it be nice – oddly it was and I really enjoyed it. You could smell the durian flavour – ‘The Mother’ who doesn’t like durian was fleeing away already. Dragon on the other hand… couldn’t help but have one or two durian xiao long bao – that’s my girl!

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Service was friendly and polite. The restaurant was a lot bigger than I anticipated. We rocked up at 11.35am and there were already people queuing. We didn’t have to wait for long. Food came relatively quickly, except for the durian xiao long bao which took a while but well worth the wait!

Definitely keen to go back, this time with a larger group of people so we can try more things!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Paradise Dynasty

Lee Theatre, 6th Floor

Causeway Bay

Ph: +852 2177 0903