Monday, March 30, 2009

The Cube, the Nest, the Olympic Beijing

My local business friend insisted to bring me to see this olympic venues, though I refused so. So here are some photos I took for these venues. It was freezing chilling at just 2 degree celsius.

So you can see this transparent Cube can get the sunlight thru'.

Haven't seen this Catic hotel for a long time. SS, madam Fa used to stay at this hotel for several months for her work, back in the late 90's.

This is a very nice subway station at the Olympic line.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sofitel Wanda Beijing, China

Tried this new hotel on the Easter 3rd ring road, opposite to Soho Town (a middle class housing/commercial district), also close to Guo Mou Commercial area. This area is also a place for the music/entertainment business. My favourite noodle shop "Noodle Loft" is within 15 minute walking distance.

1/2 the room is standard five-star room.
3. Again, a typical French style bathroom which has a separate toilet room. 4. Nice that the hotel uses this famous French brand personal care products Loccitane.

5. The bath tub is with a TV set - quite thoughtful. 6. the basin.

7/8. the Gym.

9. the lift lobby. 10. However, the restaurant is a bit too over-priced. RMB160 (HK$190) for a hamburger?

11. when I ordered an ice chocolate but the waitress said it's not available. Then I showed him the menu saying so. So she was puzzled. 12. If the restaurant charges $180 for a hamburger and $168 for a fried noodle, how come the knife and fork are of such a bad quality?

13. Beijing fried noodle - $128! Besides, it's very salty. No meat at all. 14. Seafood fried rice - $168! So seafood means shrimp only and there were only 2 shrimps! Then the fried rice technique is lousy! Even if it's at $20, I don't think it's worth it. Then the house manager (a westerner) came to me, asking if I was unhappy with their services. So I told them the unprofessional waitresses and the lousy fried noodle and fried rice. He simply told me he is still training the staff and it takes to improve. Then my simple answer is "if the hotel is not with well-trained staff, then it's suspensed for services until it's improved.

Dragon Business Class [HKG-PEK(Beiing)]

Due to my 10th year enrollment as a MPO consecutive elite member, I got a free upgrade (though the flight is not full) on my last night's flight from HK to Beijing. CX really knows how to keep their clients.
1. KA business class: I rather enjoy the conventional business seat.
2/3. The menu offered dishes made by Marriott Chinese restaurant and Jim's California.

4. The original in-flight should be with cheese and cracker, just like what I found for the same with Jordan Air. The starter is very nice - green mango is my favourite. I took one wheat bread and one tomato bread - nicely oven-baked. 5. When I read this prawn in soy sauce, immediately I made up my mind.

6. Smoked Lamb rack - when the air stewardess noticed my eyes also kept looking at this lamb rack, she suggested "why not take one more?". So I wasn't disappointed of taking one more hot main course. Very nice one! The Chef used Miso (yes, Japanese miso) as a sauce that really took out the smell of lamb. So this is what we called "fusion"! 7. Certainly I would choose a Hagen Daz ice cream to complete my meal. This time no more choco. BTW, the coffee is awesome!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Itosen Japanese Restaurant, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong

Met my old business friend in Quarry Bay after she has changed her job and worked in Quarry Bay. She highly recommended this Japanese restaurant. I feel quite ashamed of not visiting it after living nearby it for over 10 years. So the shop is just next to the East Ocean Restaurant on the Quarry Bay park front. The shop offered some lunch set range from HK$180 to HK$1,200. So you would know what is in the set lunch of HK$1,200? It's the Japanese Kobe beef! So I ordered a lunch set of HK$200 for some sashimi and eel rice.

1. the egg custard - it's pretty good. 2. the pickled - also quite nice and not salty.

3. lotus stem salad - at average. 4. the sashimi is perfect! So I would say $200 for this set is cheap!

5. grilled eel rice - quite good too. 6. grilled cod fish - but no comments on this one as I haven't tried it.
7. Choco custard - average.

Sham Shui Poo 深水埗, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Sham Shui Poo meant quite much to me in my childhood as my family used to bring me and my sisters and brother to visit my grand cousin 姑婆/姑丈公. My grand mother told me our whole family owed them a big favour. They saved my father's and my aunts' as well as my grand mother's lives during the Japanese occupation in Hong Kong. My father and my aunts starved for a few days and almost died. My grand cousin came to give them food at a very critical timing and especially carrying food in the street at that time was of high risk. So going to see them is really our pleasure of seeing 2 more than well respected seniors. Besides, they were so kind to us in buying pencil case, ruler, pens...etc. When I looked back to it, they were really thoughtful. Toys of course are more welcome to kids but stuff for school is even more useful!

They lived on the top floor in a very old mansion with very dim light and there were some fierce dogs barking as I remember. They had some pigeons on the rooftop and plants too - quite a nice garden actually. What further impressed me still in my taste buds is the crispy chicken wings and we called them 姑婆雞翼. There was one time my sister and I asked about her how to make it. So she smiled and showed us the key point. She first marinate the chicken wings (cut by half) with some salt. Then she put them in hot boiling water to rinse out the blood of the chicken wings, to half done. Then dry them and prepare a flour coating. At that time she already told the oil is very important for deep frying. Besides, the chicken wings should be dry enough and she already told that meat/fish should be dry enough for getting the coating on. However, when we went back home, we never did like what she did. That's often why I told the others the recipe is not a secret. The secret is how you cook it. So I got to revisit Sham Shui Poo but the area she used to live is now rebuilt.
1. This old mansion on the left survived as a protected cultural historical building. 2. Sham Shui Poo is also famous for its fabrics shops - a paradise for fashion designers.

3. another historical building. 4. the old and new.

5/6. These 2 streets' names shouldn't be a stranger to those who often get told about Sham Shui Poo.

7. Also for this famous street. 8. I guess even some foreigners should know about this famous computer mall, but I find some of the things inside are even more expensive than those of Wanchai computer mall or even the shop outside of my apartment.

9. There is also a street selling some "suspected" fake brand toys. 10. Another old mansion.

11. The shop should be very old. I tried their soy bean drink but it's not that nice. Quite disappointing. 12. The current HK Gov't CEO Mr. Donald Tsang once visited this shop and made it so famous. The shop even posted a photo of Donald Tsang eating inside of the shop.