Sunday, September 30, 2007

Noodles in all shapes and sizes

“What would you like to eat?” asked Hip, “Noodles, I am craving for some noodles” was my reply.

Noodle 1: For breakfast, we headed to the popular chachanteng Tsui Wah, where I had morning breakfast set of satay beef with instant noodle in soup serve with fried egg, sweet corn, mushroom and butter bread and an iced milk tea. We started with the fried egg, very fluffy and yummy! My noodles were delightfully trashy.

Noodle 2: Also from Tsui Wah is one of their house specialities, the protein packed king prawn stirred bean curd noodles served with xo sauce and dusted with dried prawn roe. Feathery light and with a slightly springy texture, it is very fun to eat that doesn’t sit heavily in your stomach.

Noodle 3: Beef brisket noodles good enough to make one a spinster. One evening whilst we were out at a bar just around the corner from the old and famous noodle shop, we were chatting about a random cute dude that just walked in when a very funny self-defacing friend commented, ‘I am doomed to be a spinster for life, whilst you are talking about men, all I can think about is the ngau nam around the corner… do you think it is still opened?’ Much like pho, Kau Kee served beef brisket noodles in a clear herbal broth or a curry soup. I had the clear broth with the bouncy noodles whilst my companions chose to go with the silky rice noodles, either way the focus is on the broth that is dangerously addictive with refills available at a fractional cost.

Tsui Wah Restaurant
15-19 Wellington Street, Central HK
Tel: +852-2525-6338

Kau Kee Noodles
21 Gough Street, Central HK
Tel: +852-2850- 5967

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Dim Sum-ing in Hong Kong

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I recently spent a few days in Hong Kong wandering its streets – getting lost and wandering aimlessly. The original plan was to attend a friend’s shop opening but due to some technical difficulties the opening was shelved, but since my flight and my leave was booked I decided to make trip anyway to meet up with some friends, eat and do some shopping.

There is plenty to eat in Hong Kong. And you can’t go to Hong Kong without having some dim sum in Hong Kong, so let’s start there. I only visited two dim sum teahouses: Lin Heung and Luk Yu.

Lin Heung, on a weekday morning, is a place where the locals come armed with their newspapers and gossip. Walk in, pick your spot, select your tea, then wait for the trolleys to swing by, do not linger around the counter and wait to be seated because you will get scolded by the waiters in a classically rude manner, so please help yourself.

Dining at Lin Heung on a Sunday takes a certain amount mental strength to remain zen-like in all the craziness. Seated elbow to elbow with a friend on the left and a strange on my right at the same table, I soon realise that this is not the right place to talk because it is noisy from all the chatter that I had to raise my voice during conversation. Already thrown off centre, I then realise that we might have to be rather proactive in seeking out our food. The tables are tightly packed and already beyond full capacity, the trolley meanders slowly through the crowd and by the time it gets to us, there isn’t much left. So if the food doesn’t come to you, you have to go to the food and sometimes you have to squeeze and fight with others for your food.

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On my return visit, this time on a weekday and earlier, Lin Heung summoned up a different charm that I had missed in the Sunday morning chaos. Having breakfast gives a small insight into their lives, breakfast at the teahouse – a favourite is their da bao is highly recommended, packed filled with chicken and egg it is a meal in itself – and sipping tea before going off to work. I also loved their luo mia kai (glutinous rice with chicken steamed in lotus leaf) and the ma lai gao (Chinese sponge cake) and other dim sum such as pig liver and stomach siew mai, which isn’t really a siew mai.

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If you are into history or is a retro queen – self-professed by the person who brought me here – Luk Yu is a beautiful place to dine in. It first opened in 1933 and nothing much has changed. The menu remains in written in Mandarin on smoothened jotter book paper, the waiters are still amusingly snooty and the décor looks largely unchanged. If you can, sit in one of the old booths, its private and cozy. With its history come numerous stories from the newsworthy like the robbers who hid in the tea house to the personal ones like my favourite one about a friend’s friend’s father who routinely had breakfast here every morning at his own table and tipped the tea service man every morning and was accorded polite and pleasant service. Alongside the usual suspects of the dim sum trolleys, you could also have the tomato baked rice – but you can only order this after 11am, which simple and will evoke nostalgia for some.

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Lin Heung
160-164 Wellington Street, Central
Tel: 852- 2544-2556

Luk Yu Tea House
24-26 Stanley Steet, Central
Tel: 852-2523-5464

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

FBD 2007 – Not Just Another Meal

Good food makes a fine meal, but put that with good company and that’s an experience. The strange and fun thing about the annual Food Bloggers’ Event is that it is like a mass blind date with familiar strangers. You think you know them because you’ve read their blogs – their food preferences or if they have been travelling but you have no idea how they look like. The wonderful thing about food is that it has got a special way of connecting people. Deals are made over power lunches and well, friendships over food blogger events.

This Food Bloggers’ Dinner was comparatively HUGE. On hindsight, maybe I won’t have volunteered my services this year if I had known that it was going to be so big and there were more logistics involved than the first one we had. We had a grand total of thirty-one people who showed up – thank you all for coming!

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Photo of jasmine tea perfumed duck consommé with foie gras tortellini by Samuel from

The food was delicious. My favourite was the jasmine tea perfumed duck consommé with foie gras tortellini, which was a really exciting experiment that we worked out with FIJI Water was delightful. The flavours hit you in waves, first the duck, second when you bite into the foie gras and then a subtle after note of jasmine, very exhilarating. The pasta, well there are only three words, I Love It. Confession: I childishly told Chef over the phone when he was telling me that he was including my favourite pasta in the menu, ‘of course chef, if you don’t include it, I won’t be your friend anymore!’ I liked the fish as well, I’m glad that Chef did not serve a sea bass or a cod but something rather more unusual like the whiting, this was really yummy as well. To sum it up, I really enjoyed dinner but I’ll refer you to the other blogs for more details on the food.

Finally, a BIG THANK YOU to the many very generous partners that sponsors gifts for our lucky draw and who made it all possible. Razorsharp, who if you attended last year’s dinner would know that they had sponsored Kasumi knives that I personally love very much, sponsored us for the second consecutive year with their new line of Mario Batali products such as the Dutch oven, lasagne pan and a super duper sharp knife made from Hitachi steel. FIJI Water had also sponsored the water for the night - I like their water, it is soft and has a very clean taste - and the water of the absolutely gorgeous jasmine tea perfumed duck consommé with foie gras tortellini. EDM books for sponsoring three beautiful books – At the Table of Jim Thompson, New Chinese Cuisine and The Oriental Hotel Cookbook. Cathay Photos who sponsored gift vouchers and the essential photo-blogging tool the ColorVision Monitor Syder. The Cellar Door and GreenGrocer who generously sponsored gift vouchers. The Les Amis Group for extending the invitation to one very lucky food blogger to preview their soon-to-be-opened-renovated flagship restaurant, Les Amis. who joined us and co-sponsored with Coriander Leaf a cooking class for two. 2AM dessertbar, a dessert and wine bar that is opened by a fellow food blogger, Janice who will be hosting 2 for a tasting of her sweet offerings. Last but not least, the team at Le Papillon – the tireless wait staff, the cooks behind the hot stoves and ovens and Chef for agreeing to assist in hosting this year’s dinner and acceding to my numerous requests and last minute cancellations.

Here are some other related blog postings:
The Hungry Cow's, Ivan's, Mia's, Cheryl's , ShunMan's , Kelvin's and Chocolate Reindeer's.

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