Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tak Kee Chiu Chow restaurant 德記潮洲菜館, Western district, Hong Kong

It was 5:30pm. My sister's family and I were at the door of this restaurant Tak Kee and we got the last table and there went up a long line. Tak Kee has been in Western District for a long time and now expanded to a bigger shop on Belcher's Street (卑路乍街).

1. Chiu Chow pickled. I really wanna tell Chiu Kong Chun to try these 2 small dishes. These are the original taste of Chiu Chow pickled. These 2 are very original and authentic. 2. Fish in aged vinegar 陳醋鳳尾魚 HK$28. The fish was deep fried so well that you can even eat the bones too. The vinegar is also nice and it's not that acidic. So this is a really good aged vinegar. Highly recommended.

3. Tiny clams with chives HK$28. Another delight and this one is very good to go with Chiu Chow rice porridge. 4. Goose meat and mixed platter HK$98. So this is the real goose meat. Chiu Kong Chun gotta taste this one! The Lo Shui (shimmering sauce) is perfect! The kidney is very tender!

5. Chinese foie gras from the above no. 4. It's awesome! BTW, there are only 2 of it. Gotta be fast. 6. Deep fried oyster cake HK$50. Very crispy and light. Good frying technique. Must try!

7. Oyster rice porridge HK$60. This portion is huge and good for 10 bowls. Jason declared a "war" to me for taking 10,000 bowls. They put the "big earth" fish chunks in it and made the whole porridge so nice. Must try too. 8. Stir fried Kai Lan with "Big Earth" fish HK$50. My favourite stir fried! I love this fish chunks.

9. Taro sweet paste - very smooth and aromatic. Of course, the lard in it is the key. Can't complain. 10. See all these Chiu Chow cold dishes.

11. the shop entrance. 12. A boarder view.

Monday, March 29, 2010

My cooking - chicken wings/stir fried lup lup

1. The first time I tried the Swiss chicken wings in an established restaurant, I realise the Chinese dark soy sauce and rock sugar can be so nice to go with bay leave. So making this one isn't difficult at all. First defrost the chicken on conducting heat. Dry them well and rub them with raw sea salt and finished with some Chinese yellow wine. Put some garlic gloves (3-4) and 2-3 ginger slices in the wok with some oil to brown it a bit. Pour in the chicken wings to slightly brown them until no blood is coming out. Put some water, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and soy sauce, 1-2 star anise and 3-4 bay leaves. Shimmer it for a few minutes. Then put some rock sugar to make it sweet. After the sugar, don't shimmer it too long.

2. Stir fried lup lup. Soak the mushroom and dried shrimp (or dried scallop) well. Dice the mushroom in less than 1cm. Marinate it with some sugar and corn starch with some soaked mushroom water to moisten. Dice the BBQ pork and the green string beans in 1cm too. Prepare 1-2 garlic gloves and ginger slices. Put more oil in the wok and brown the garlic/ginger a bit and put the dried shrimp. Brown it too. Put the mushroom in and stir fried, then with some soaked mushroom water. Turn to low heat and cover the lid. Shimmer it for a minute. Then turn to high heat. Put the diced string beans and stir fry it well for half minute. Cover the lid and shimmer it for half minute to 1 minute until you feel the heat. Then put the diced BBQ pork. Then finish it with a light sauce of oyster sauce, white pepper powder, sugar and soy sauce and corn starch as well as sesame oil. Quick stir fry for 7-8 seconds. *remarks: on the photo here shown, I also diced some potato and preserved veggie (甜菜脯). If so, the diced preserved veggie should be put together with the mushroom. Then the potato should be put together with the string beans. The potato shouldn't be too soft as it would be a bit mashy. Further note the string beans should be in a larger portion, such as 0.7 to 0.8 string beans and leaving 0.2 to 0.3 for the rest.

Legacy of Portugese egg tart, The Excelsior, Hong Kong

Remember the Portugese egg tarts sweeping accross every corner of the street in Hong Kong? It all began from a shop called Andrew's in Mongkok. It actually brought in the Macau Tea Room to land the Hong Kong market. Later on, even KFC jumped in this market. However, the wind would stop. So everyone changed their heart overnight. Last week, I passed by the lift lobby of the Excelsior hotel and the logo Illy caught my right eye's corner attention. There I went in and there I found out the lost and the original Portugese egg tart by Andrew's at this hermit deli shop of Excelsior.

1. The Egg Tart (with green tea flavour) HK$8. Not expensive at all considering it's sold at a Hotel Deli shop. It's still good and it's not greasy at all, though it "looks" like. 2. Frappachino by Illy HK$33. So rich in coffee aroma and not too sweet. Good to go with the egg tart.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Market Day, Siam Paragon, Bangkok, Thailand

This hall of Siam Paragon has been on various showcases but this time it really caught my eyes. So many veggies and other agricultural products were there in such a high class mall. This is Bangkok.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Yoghurtime, Central, Hong Kong

This one is close at the junction of Elign Street and Caine Road - at the outskirt of Soho area. So it's quite welcome to the expatriates.

1. It has some choco./raspberry flavour but I still choose the original. It has the strongest yoghurt taste and not too sweet, but it's not smooth as Best Berry. However, since it has a stronger yoghurt taste and not too sweet, I would name it as the best so far I have tried in HK, but yet Buddhi Belly is no. 1. 2. The shop is quite spacious. 3. the entrance.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Uncle Steamed milk restaurant 燉奶佬, Wanchai, Hong Kong

1. Familiar with this name? Yes, this uncle is coming back with more than his renowned steamed milk and it's expanding to quite many districts, and this one is on Tai Wo Street (side street of Hang Seng Bank on Johnston Road, quite close to the closed down Lung Mun Chinese restaurant).

1. Lime soda. 2. Hainanese chicken rice. The rice is very coconut flavoured but quite oily to me. The soup is pretty nice. Chicken not bad either. This set is at HK$40.

3. Black pepper steak on rice with drink at HK$42. When I first looked at the sauce, it didn't look appealing but when I tasted it, my high school memory came back! This is it - the black pepper sauce and it's very black pepper aromatic. The rice is cooked to a nice texture, also very hot. It geared up my appetite.... 4. yes, this is my further order for a stir fried squash with beef in XO sauce on flat rice noodle HK$35 (with drink). Again, the flat rice noodle doesn't look good either, but it surprised me. Very smooth texture and it's slightly stir fried in the wok. Quite aromatic. The beef and squash were stir fried nicely. The sauce is good too.

5. When we wanna order their renowned steamed milk, oops... too late (just 8pm) that it's sold out. So the shop maanger offered a free dessert to cheer us up. Red bean and herbal jelly in coconut milk. Very chilled and the coconut milk is not too sweet but very aromatic. So they really know how to keep customers. For sure I will go back for trying the steamed milk.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fortune telling, feng shui and geography

I was passed with an article about where to go for good fortune. It turned out this article written by a very famous Feng Shui master contains something arousing my question marks.

1. Considering the comments is made in Hong Kong as this article is published in Hong Kong. So I wouldn't comment about how USA is considered is on the west, since the Earth is round. 2. So if not on a precise direction, it should be ok for these 3 places are north of HK.

3. So the argument begins from here. South West as India, Egypt, Mediterranean sea. India should be a straight west. Egypt too and a bit west to north west. Med. sea is definitely north west. 4. Now this time USA west coast as east. So what about those in the middle of USA, like Mississippi, Texas...etc. West or East (as against the above no. 1). By the way, if more precise, east of HK should be Mexico, US East coast is a bit north to north east (on this basis).

5. This is even more fun. OK, Australia can be. However, New Zealand is already south east. South Africa as south west. Thailand is definitely south west. Hainan is also south west. It doesn't matter if the Feng Shui master doesn't know about the places, but just comment on the direction, rather than giving some misleading examples.

Man Fa Hung Restaurant 萬花紅, Soho, Central, Hong Kong

This restaurant has been in this upper Central area (Stantun street/Elign Street) before the area is called Soho. It somehow attracts some foreigners to try something local, rather than those vivid hip restaurants.

1. This kind of simple decoration would mean "local" to those foreign visitors. 2. Deep fried "white rice" fish/squid in chili salt HK$48. Though it's not the best, this is the original style of chili salt, unlike Jade Garden putting a lot of garlic without chili and salt.

3. Dried shrimp with baby veggie HK$50. The dried shrimp is not of good quality but I wouldn't complain since it's just HK$50. Anyway, what caught my attention is that they rinsed the baby veggie very thouroughly - no mud inside the stem. This kind of baby veggie is very difficult to rinse. 4. Chicken baked in raw salt HK$98. It may sound expensive but they use lively killed chicken (not the fridge one). Further noted is that they didn't "polish" the dishes. In most restaurants, stir fried dishes would be completed with a final touch of oil to make it shiny. Or they would use some soda to make it look nice. The dishes here are quite original.

5. green bean sweet - very nice fragrant herb. 6. the shop.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sand Storm - from thousand miles away

A few days ago, Beijing was hit by the sand storm blown from the desert area of the North Western part of China. Last night when I looked out of the window and noticed the sky being unusually orange red, I chatted with my friend "it looks like the sand storm is here", and got queried "what? sand storm?". I guessed it's from the light reflection of the sands. Last night the news reported the sand storm reached Taiwan and the air pollution index was just up to 150 (normally 50). This morning for the first time I saw this scene. The smog was unlike the other air pollution. You would see it's slightly brown orange. Something from thousand miles away. The first time the pollution index reached to the highest index point 500.

Many people complained but on the nature scene, sand and dust from desert bring a lot of minerals and natural nutrients to the soil. That means in the coming year, our agricultural products (i.e. rice/veggie) would have a richer harvest. Still doubt about it. The recent study about how Sahara desert in Africa is the essential source of the soil nutrients for the whole North America. It's due to the trade wind blowing the sands and dusts from Sahara to North America. So when we think desert is nothing, it is not. When it meets water, it's the best natural nutrients. Sahara was once a big land of green with lakes and lots of living things a long long time ago. Why Sahara green and water disappeared was an 1 degree shifting of the axle of the Earth. That changed the trade wind direction. The change however benefits the whole continent of North America. Some small changes in our mother nature would make our living whole lot different.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Review: Thai Basil, Pacific Place, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Tried this shop almost half year ago and got impressed. It's actually a chain to Simply Thai at Food Forum of Times Square, but the price range is generally 10 to 20% higher.

1. Spinach chopped garlic stir fried HK$62. When it was served, the aroma is like from my own private kitchen. I asked my friend who tried my cooking for comments. Bingo! It's exactly just like what I stir fry veggie. Finely chopped garlic, slight salt and sugar with some yellow wine. 2. OK, I seldom do this one at home as I don't like deep frying at home. Deep fried shrimp patties HK$68. Very nice deep frying. Dry and crispy on the outside but tender, bouncy (yes, very bouncy) and juicy and the portion of pork and shrimp is perfect. The pork brings the juice and if the shrimp is fresh enough, it will give a very bouncy texture. See that lime. It's slightly grilled. Wow, the aroma of the lime peel is so good to go with this patty. What's more, the chili sauce is a mix of some local chili sauce (like Yu Kun Yik 余均益) and Thai sweet chili sauce. Sometimes the Thai sweet chili sauce is a bit too sweet to me. The chef did a good job to slightly adjust it but the result is whole lot different.

3. Grilled platter HK$138. The mushroom was nicely grilled with some herb and oil. Good quality beef filet. Chicken skewer marinated in nice tumeric. Squid marinated in some fish sauce. Tomato finely grilled too. In the middle is the slice cucumber in vinegar and some mint. Everything was done perfect! 4. Stir fried noodle with grilled chicken, asparagus and basil HK$78. Very good technique in stir frying. Chicken breast very moist with strong grilled aroma.

5. Banana pudding with rum raisin ice cream HK$48. Still kept at very high standard. It's also a favourite of the Angel. Warm moist banana pudding (kind like a muffin) and the home made rum raisin is superb. See the vanilla sauce. So good. 6. Guava sorbet (left), ginger (middle) and honey comb (right) HK$39. See that zic-zac leaf. The chef is very thoughtful to put the ice cream on a zic-zac leaf so that it would slow down the melting process. All these are home made and not too sweet. The ginger ice cream is very ginger! Then re the honey comb, very slight salt was put in the honey. This way it will bring out the fragrant of the honey. Very clever since the ice cream taste (egg york, milk and sugar...etc.) would cover the honey flavour. Bravo!
7. the shop at the basement of Pacific Place.

Yo Mama Frozen Yoghurt, IFC, Central, Hong Kong

Frozen yoghurt time! Yo Mama just opened in the IFC mall at the entrance bridge link to the Central pier. What caught my eyes was not the yoghurt or the shop's name. Check the below.
1. The shop. 2. See that cow on the glass. Doesn't it look like "Milk Plus" of Thailand? That's the thing catching my attention first.

3. A large size at HK$35 with 1 topping. It's quite frosty in texture and really not sweet at all, almost by half as compared to Best Berry (I-Square) and 2/3rd to Buddhi Berry (Bangkok). So if you prefer something smooth and richer in sweet taste, this may not be the one. I would treat it as a ice sweet in between frozen yoghurt and sorbet, but it's not bad. I kind of like it.