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The year 2013….

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!

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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.

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We also went to Doppio Zero in Sheung Wan for bone marrow (my favourite in Hong Kong in 2013!) and steak.

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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.

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Ate at Blue Butcher for the most awesome steak – think this is my favourite go to steak restaurant in Hong Kong.

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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!

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We hit up a lot of cafes and restaurant, one being Movida – so awesome that they are finally in Sydney!

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Loved Kepos – the falafel sandwich is one of the best I have eaten, can’t get that in Hong Kong anywhere unfortunately 😦

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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!

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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.

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We also went to Joo Hooi cafe for the best CKT I have eaten and cendol!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Ate at Fu Sing Shark Fin Restaurant and had their awesome char siu – oh how i love you!

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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.

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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!)

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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…

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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!)

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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

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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.

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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

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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!

xx

Day 3: Xiamen – cruising around the old quarter and dinner at Seafood Restaurant

Day 3 of Xiamen, it seems like so long ago now that we came and went to Xiamen. After we spent ¾ of the day at Gulangyu Island watching the boys play cricket, we had a pretty relaxing 3rd day. Dragon was up early so we had breakfast at the hotel first, no one else did but just us! She had her congee and I had a bit of eggs as I was craving some. After everyone was up, including ‘The Mother’, we walked around the old quarter again, as the last time we were there, it was quite dark and we didn’t get to see or buy much. I still didn’t buy anything but got to see a little bit more of the Old Quarter than before.

The rest of the crew had not eaten and was starving, so we stopped by Ze He Huang Peanut Soup Shop – we were told that this was a must visit. As the name of the restaurant suggests, this restaurant is famous for the peanut soup!

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Considering I have a nut allergy, I didn’t try any but all my traveling companions did and thought it was sweet and that the peanuts were soft and melted in your mouth. They thought it was ‘different’ but in a good away. I wanted to try the spring rolls, it was weird had sticky rice in it and I couldn’t go past the first bite.

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The place was BUSY! You have to buy ‘tokens’ in order to buy food. I was in heaven, they had all sorts of different snacks. We got some xiao long bao which were good but the skin was a little too thick for my liking.

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I bought some pork buns – not your typical bbq pork buns and they were delicious. Even ate it at night whilst Dragon was sleeping and it still tasted good!

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Not to mention these delicious red bean dessert – my favourite!

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Whilst walking around the old quarter, we noticed this lady making some sort of pancakes, and of course M and I couldn’t resist!

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We thought we would share half and it was good! Seriously good but I was getting full by this stage.

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I dinner location to ‘The Mother’, again this is not something I do very often but he has not disappointed. We went to Shuyou Seafood Restaurant, which was relatively close to our hotel. Again left all the ordering to both M and ‘The Mother’.

Shuyou Seafood Restaurant has 4 floors and one of the largest restaurants I have seen. There was a wedding that evening and we were taken to the top floor and had our own private dining room! We didn’t ask for one, so ‘The Mother’ was a little scared at how much things were going to cost! Thankfully, it wasn’t as expensive as he had anticipated.

We started with these clams – I didn’t have any of this, but ‘The Mother’ said it was tasty and demolished it on his own!

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The crispy skin duck, liver on rice cracker was amazingly tasty. The liver was smooth and rich, but the rice cracker balanced it out. I really loved the crispy skin duck, it wasn’t oily at all and the whole thing just melted in your mouth. Delicious!!!

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We wanted to try a bit of everything so ordered the mix plate – duck, bbq pork and chicken from memory. The bbq pork was fantastic, so was the duck!

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The mushroom and tofu hot pot was simple but tasty.

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We all enjoyed the stir fry beef with green peppercorn. The beef was incredibly tender and the green peppercorn left a tingly sensation on your tongue.

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We were too full for dessert, but I couldn’t stop eating these twist cookies that was on the table. It is one of my favourite Indonesian snacks and was surprised to have found it in China! No doubt I ate my fair share.

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Service was good, even though it was a private room, they didn’t forget about us and food came out relatively quickly. It was definitely a wonderful meal shared between family and friends! Definitely worth the visit if you are in Xiamen.

We had a fantastic time in Xiamen, met some wonderful new friends and we definitely ate well! I really do miss the street hawker food – something that Sydney should have!

Shuyou Restaurant

1-4 / F, Podium Building of Mansion of Bank of China, North Hubin Road

Ph: +86 592 533 8899

Xiamen Day 2: Gulangyu Island and Lotus Court at Marco Polo Hotel

Gulangyu Island is a car-free island off the coast of Xiamen and is a must visit! You can go there by ferry from Xiamen Island in about 5 – 10 minutes. It is renowned for its beaches and winding lanes and its varied architecture. It is also known as Piano Island, as there are over 200 pianos on the island !The island is very pretty, very scenic and had beautiful architecture. What I loved most about it is the street foods – there were so many shops that I didn’t know where to start or should I say where to stop? I wanted to eat everything and believe me, I tried but my stomach really couldn’t take it.

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‘The Mother’ and his cricket team played cricket here on Saturday, and my dear friend and I, M, roamed around the island eating whilst they were playing. We came back again the next day as ‘The Mother’ wanted to walk around and I wanted to do more shopping!

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the boat we went on, as Dragon was asleep and I had my arms around her to protect her from all the pushing and shoving from the people trying to get on the boat! I don’t know why they insisted on going on that particular boat as the boat comes every 10 – 15 minutes! Needless to say, the first time was not a very enjoyable boat ride but the next day was a lot better.

M had these fish balls which had pork inside – I was so sad that I couldn’t have any! Am cutting out all seafood at the moment and these look fantastic! She had it again the next day! Even ‘The Mother’ who is not usually a fan of fish balls really enjoyed these!

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More fish balls drowned in chili sauce / soup.

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I was really curious about these egg custard things, but didn’t try any as I wanted to have something savoury and by the time I was ready for dessert I was too full!

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Cute little biscuits packaging shop.

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Oyster omelette!!! There were so many people making these on the island. The island is quite famous for their seafood but we didn’t have any that day. M and I just wanted to eat street food snacks which we did!

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These xiao long bau were my favourite, 5 for like 5RMB which is less than a dollar! Seriously tasty!

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Stinky tofu – YUM! Obviously the stinkier the better! ha!

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And dessert – mango with sago, tapioca and pearl balls – a little on the sweet side but quite refreshing.

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That evening, the boys went to an all you can eat curry place. However, I wasn’t up for curry and wanted Chinese food. So M and I ate the Chinese restaurant in the Marco Polo Hotel for dinner called lotus court. We could have eaten outside on the side street but with Dragon it was a little hard. She was already restless at the restaurant, I can’t imagine if we went to a street stall!

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We started with the cold meat platter, however the meat weren’t cold and were warm. The tripe and pork were deliciously tender. You can’t see it from the picture but underneath all the mountain of meat were soft, silken tofu.

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The vegetables were nice but nothing to rave about.

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The chicken and ginger soup was full of flavours.

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The dish of the night would have to be the braised pork belly! It was incredibly tender, incredibly fatty and incredibly sinful but scrumptiously good!

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Service was quick and efficient and definitely friendly. The food was good and everything else on the menu looked good. Definitely worth coming back.

Deliciously full, I went back to the room, put Dragon to sleep and had a date with candy crush! It was a good day of eating, and believe me, day 3 was no different!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Lotus Court

Marco Polo Hotel

8 Jianye Road, Hubin Bei,

Xiamen 361012, Fujian, China

Ph: +86 (592) 509 1888

Xiamen – Day 1

‘The Mother’, Dragon and I and along with ‘The Mother’s’ cricket team all went to Xiamen for the Easter long weekend. It was a cricket tour – it didn’t occur to me when ‘The Mother’ mentioned it to me that he was actually going to play cricket against another team… in Xiamen. I had interpreted that statement as his cricket team mates going to Xiamen for the Easter break! Hence I was very much surprised when ‘The Mother’ started packing his cricket gear! And yes – they wore their whites and one of them even bought a helmet! It was all very serious and professional! HA!

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Our flight was delayed which annoyed me a little – nothing worse than sitting around waiting for your flight! Waste of my time, and I could definitely have slept in! However, we finally arrived in Xiamen and we were ALL starving! We stayed at the Marco Polo Hotel which was quite nice and had a lot of designer shops downstairs. ‘The Mother’ made a smart remark to the captain ‘I think you have made me poor this weekend’ meaning that he thought I was going to buy a bag or two in Xiamen – seriously? I would have but not in Xiamen!

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In case you are wondering where Xiamen is, it is located in the Fujian province, in the southeastern coast of China. It is seriously not what I expected, but then again, I wasn’t sure what to expect! The city had a bit of history as well as commercial buildings. After checking in, we all went to the Old Quarter which can be found opposite the pier. It’s a maze of old style Chinese markets and tiny streets with LOTS and I mean LOTS of food! The Old Quarter had some amazing architecture, some parts reminded me a little of Europe – yes I kid you not but with less people. I love walking through the markets and shops and the food stalls! I was in heaven!

It was relatively busy though, seems like everyone was there that afternoon / evening, including us! We found a street that had a lot of food and yes, we did try a couple of things.

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These chicken wings on sticks were deliciously tasty!

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These pancakes looked good and I am kicking myself for not trying any!

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We managed to find a restaurant that didn’t look too ghetto or dodgy. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant or where it was, but the food was pretty decent and incredibly cheap! We started with some char siu – they were absolutely delicious!

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The abalone soup I didn’t have but was told that it was ‘excellent’.

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The fried rice wasn’t too bad.

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Some vegetables.

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The chicken was a little spicy but full of flavours.

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Last but not least, mapo tofu – my favourite! This was good, and the chili really gave it a nice kick!

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I was too full for dinner, but ‘The Mother’ and the team went to the pub to for drinks and some pub food. I was in bed with Dragon and candy crush!

It was a pretty good afternoon, and the 2nd and 3rd day was even better!