Sunday, August 10, 2014

Universal Seafood Dinner

This 8-course seafood dinner is very attractive in terms of food and price. Only HK$288 (US$36.9) per person.  It's very delicate, well present and of course very yummy.  Now let see how universal it is.

Chilled South Africa Abalone 
Cantonese believe the best way to eat abalone is to eat it as a whole.  6-head is kind of size reference.  I think it means 6 abalones per catty.  Rarely people eat it chilled, but this one is very well done, al dente and delicious.

Italian Balsamic Jellyfish
Jellyfish served with black fungi and cucumber, good combination.  Very fresh and the taste of Italian balsamic tastes just right.

Japanese Honey Roast Pork
A typical Cantonese delicacy combined with Japanese honey, very tender and juicy roast pork.  It's always my favourite.

Steamed New Zealand Razor Clams
I love razor clams, but not sure of its origin.  New Zealand is famous of clear water and high hygiene demand, so I'm eating with extra confidence.  There are many ways of cooking razor clams, but this is the one I like most.  Steam with garlic puree, jelly noodle and soy sauce, perfect combination.

Sabah Grouper Steak
I was thinking most groupers in Hong Kong came from Australia.  But giant groupers are also imported from Sabah.  As giant groupers are so large, no one can afford to eat the whole fish.  Therefore fish steak is a good option.  The chef chose to steam it on top of silky smooth egg custard with very fragrant Chinese wine Hua Diao.  Very creative recipe, well done!

Deep Fried Canadian Lobster

Each one of us have half a lobster. I'm not a professional eater, so I cannot tell the difference between Australian lobsters and Canadian lobsters.  Restaurants in Hong Kong even define South Australian or West Australian lobsters as they cost and taste differently.  Anyway, this Canadian lobster is cooked in quite an unusual way - deep fried.  Together with the herbal gravy, very innovative.  What I don't like about eating lobster is making my fingers messy.  Luckily restaurant provided some hot tea with lemon for us to clean our hands.

Green Vege in White Congee

Vegetable in stock is quick popular in Cantonese cuisine, but spinach with congee (liquid only) is something new to me.  Again, I like it.  Good taste and creative.

Papaya Pudding

Most of the dishes in this menu are quite innovative and creative, including these two desserts.  Papaya jelly on top of pudding, my first time, very nice.

Lou Han Guo with Lotus Soup

Lou Han Guo with lotus is absolute new.  I don't know when people invented this but it has been growing in popularity.  As lou han guo has natural sweetness, no sugar is needed.  Even people suffering from diabetes can eat it.  What I don't like is the colour.  It doesn't look good, although tastes good.

This universal seafood dinner set is served in somewhat western style.  Each course is served in per person size, except the vegetable and desserts. Waiters were friendly and efficient.  Restaurant manager told us that they were selling at cost making very very thin margin.  Well that's true, there is no way to eat that many different kinds of seafood with that kind of money. 

8-Course Universal Seafood Set
HK$288 per person (minimum two persons)
Tea and pickles: HK$15 per person
Service charge: 10%
Bill total:  HK$664 (US$85.1)
Advance booking is required.  

Kam Dou Kee Seafood Restaurant
3 Wanchai Road, Hong Kong
Tel: 3907-0878

Hong Kong Food Blog - Universal Seafood Dinner

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Economic Seafood Set

Hong Kong people love seafood.  As a local Hong Kong Cantonese, I'm no exception.  You may think that seafood is expensive.  Well!  In a way it is.  But if you know Hong Kong well enough, you may be able to eat good quality seafood at reasonable prices.

Forget about Li Yue Mun, Aberdeen...forget about 5-star restaurants...those are places you pay a lot of money.  In fact there are many mid to small size restaurants within the city of Hong Kong where you pay much less money for fresh seafood.

The Economic Seafood Set that I have today is only HK$388 for two.  The restaurant only charge HK$6 per person for tea, and they even don't charge any service fee. Here's what we have.

Shark Fin Soup with Crab Meat 紅燒蟹肉生翅
Each one of us had a bowl of shark fin with crab meat, along with some other seafood such as fish mau.

Stir Fried Razor Clam with Black Bean and Pepper

The razor clam shells were at the bottom, making the dish look big.  But I would say even without them, the dish is big enough.  I think it should be good for four people.

Pan Fried Giant Prawns 煎大花蝦
Wow, I love these giant prawns.  They were so fresh and al dente.  The way they were cooked matched the taste of prawns very well.  The waiters told us to eat with fingers to make it even more tasty and fun.  Of course they had to offer us moist tissue.

Vegetable with Dry Scallop and Mushroom in Stock
It's good to have some vegetable as a balance of diet.  But the dish size was so big and made the two of us overloaded.  In fact, this meal size is good for four people, although they served only two bowls of shark fin soup.

Green Bean Dessert 綠豆沙
This green bean dessert was also very well done.  They had some seaweeds and herbs to add to the fragrance.  Just right to wrap up a meal.

Seafood Set for Two:  HK$388
Tea for Two:  HK$12
Total:  HK$400 (US$51.3)
As the restaurant didn't charge 10% service fee, we paid a voluntary tip of HK$10.

Wing Hing Kitchen
Ship Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Food Blog - Economic Seafood Set for Two

Message to Shark Fans

Please DO NOT post comments about your shark protection / protest message.  I will NOT publish them.  If you want to protect sharks, here are my suggested methods:

  1. Advertise in mass media
  2. Everyday protests, demonstrations…in front of all shops selling shark fins
  3. Everyday protests, demonstrations in public areas such as streets, parks to educate the public not to eat shark fin
  4. Letter, fax, email, telephone or personal visits to restaurant owners to insist them to remove shark fin from their menu
  5. Write to the government to request shark fin eating to be illegal
  6. Hire fleet of ships to go out to the sea to stop any shark catching activities.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sichuan Hot Pot Set for 2

Hot Pot meal is good for people who enjoy spending time around the dining table. It is relaxing and fun, however keeps you busy though in doing the cooking yourself.

Over the Easter holidays, I found a Sichuan restaurant with attractive holiday lunch sets.  So after the set lunch, we went to try out the hot pot set.  It was equally good.

The booth we had was very spacious and comfortable for two.  There was no real fire.  The hot pot was set on an electric stove.  We were offered a small side table to ensure that our main dining table won't be too messy.

As for soup base, we can choose between plain version and spicy.  Well, Sichuan spicy soup can be VERY spicy, so we went for the plain version.  In fact there were quite a lot of ingredients inside - tofu, mushrooms, turnip etc.  If you want to try both, you can pay an extra $10 for the dual soup style.

While the soup boils, we had to collect the soy sauce and any other seasoning of our choice.  There were a great many choices for us to pick.

Here's the menu

Suchuan Hot Pot Set for 2

Beef Chuck & Blade (8 pcs) 美國雪花肥牛
Iberian Pork or Sliced Lamb (4 pcs) 西班牙黑豚肉或羊肉片
Chicken (4 pcs) 鮮雞件
Grass Carp Belly or Sliced Grass Carp (4 pcs) 鮮鯇魚骨腩或鮮鯇魚
Beef Tripe (4 pcs) 白毛肚
Mushroom Ball + Fish Ball (4 each) 香菇貢丸, 潮州白魚丸
Enko Mushroom + Chinese Lettuce + Sweet Corn 金菇菜, 唐生菜, 甜粟米
Homemade Dumplings (4 pcs) 家鄉抄手
Sichuan Flat Noddles or Vermicelli or Instant Noodles 四川紹粉或龍口粉絲或公仔面

Complimentary Roseller Drink (2 glasses)
These cool drinks were just good to balance the heat from the hot pot.  I like it.  (See top photo - the tall glass next to the hot pot)

Sweet Potato Soup

To wrap up the meal, we had two desserts which were also free.  Quite an old fashion Hong Kong style dessert.  Just didn't expect to have this in a Sichuan restaurant.  After all, we were extremely full and happy.  I generally eat one meal a day, but my friend also gave up dinner!

Hot Pot Set for 2: HK$168
Cost of Tea: HK$12 per person
Service charge:  10%
Total:  HK$211.12 (US$27)

Sichuan Paradise
3/F One Capital Place
18 Luard Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel:  2205-0020

Hong Kong Food Blog - Sichuan Hot Pot

Monday, May 12, 2014

Classic Hong Kong Cantonese Noodle Snacks

If you've been in Hong Kong long enough, you may have come across many local Cantonese saying 'let's go do a bowl of wanton noodle'.  In fact, noodle is a very important part of Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine.  You can eat it as an afternoon treat or as a casual light meal.

There are many combinations.  Tonight I've opt for a Beef Tendon noodle.  This is quite a bit of a rare choice.  Why?  Chinese believe in 'eat something similar for the best of human benefit'.  Let me make it easier to understand.  If you want to eat something to benefit your brain, eat walnut; if you want to eat something good for your feet, eat chicken legs., etc.  OK?  So now you can guess why I choose beef tendon tonight.  Because I'm suffering from leg problem.

Cooking of tendon of any kind is very complicated at home.  But getting them from any noodle shop is extremely easy and cheap.  So here is my beef tendon noodle, only HK$30 (+$1 for take away).

Beef Tendon Noodle 牛筋面
My noodle looks a little pale, because I've asked to omit the green onions.  It will take hours of time and effort if I have to cook it at home.  Buying from a noodle shop is a short cut.  And it is extremely easy to find noodle shops in the city of Hong Kong.

Below I've collected some photos from the internet to give you an idea of the three most popular noodles in Hong Kong.  In fact there are many variations.  You can choose the noodle base to go with different meat toppings.

Wanton Noodle 雲吞面

Fish Ball Noodle 魚蛋面

Beef Belly Flat Noodle 牛腩河

The cost of a bowl of noodle varies, depending on the class and location of the shop.  Generally it costs from HK$25+.  The one I have tonight is HK$30 and I have to pay $1 extra for take-away.  In fact different shops have different philosophy.  Some charge less for take-away.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Cantonese Noodles

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Holiday Solo Dim Sum

Today (21/4) is the last day of Easter Holidays.  My family went on a belated Ching Ming grave sweeping, leaving me home alone, because I was suffering from leg pain. Since I couldn't walk much, eating have been the main theme of my holiday activities. 

Eat well to cheer up a sick person.  Even I'm alone, I still go on a slightly luxury solo dim sum lunch to wrap up my Easter Holidays.

Sportful Garden Restaurant is quite a high-end restaurant nearby my home. The food there is not bad at all, but every time they had something to upset me.

Today I ordered four of their signature dishes.  In terms of tastes, they were alright.  But in terms of presentation, services and cost of money, I was not satisfied at all.

Roasted Crispy Pork Belly (HK$58) 冰燒三層肉
Restaurant may be short of manpower over the holidays.  But there is no excuse for any restaurant to present any dish in this manner.  Click here to see a proper presentation of the same dish.

Pork Dumplings with Whole Abalone (HK$58) 原隻鮑魚燒賣
This is another signature dish of the restaurant as it claims to be an Abalone Specialty shop.  Presentation - so so, could be better considering the money they are charging.  Waiters could be busy over the holidays, but that was not an excuse to dump a dish onto the table.  Of course I could not expect a waiter to serve with any super graceful manner, but with some care and respect, at least!

Steamed Rice Roll with Shrimp (HK$33) 春風得意腸
They claim this as one of their private label signature dishes.  This is the most normal dish of my meal today.  Quite nice, but I was unable to determine what the crispy stuff inside, apart from the shrimps.

Almond Tea with Egg While (HK$24) 蛋白杏仁茶
Many a time I come to this restaurant intentionally for this dessert. Not sure if it is a matter of inflation, they didn't raise the price but seemed to have shrunk the size and the content of egg white.

Solo Dim Sum Lunch
Food cost: HK$173
Tea cost:  HK$10
Service charge: 10%
Total:  HK$201 (US$25.7)

Sportful Garden Restaurant 陶源酒家
1 Fleming Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel:  2258 7688

To summarise my yummy Easter, here's what I had.
Day 1 (April 18, Friday) - German buffet lunch
Day 2 (April 19, Saturday) - Dim Sum buffet lunch
Day 3 (April 20, Sunday) - Sichuan Lunch Set special
Day 4 (April 21, Monday) - Dim Sum solo lunch, signature dishes

My Eating Philosophy - To Eat Well and To Stay Slim
If you care to find out why I write this blog, you may realise I have eating problem and yet I overcome it by short term fasting.  It may seem that I've eaten a lot over the holidays.  Well, yes, I did, at least eating much more than I normally do. However I'm still keeping one meal a day.  So apart from the four meals above, I ate nothing else over the holidays.  So this means one meal every 24 hours.  But I don't restrict what I eat, I simply eat whatever I love to.  

There is another fitness philosophy called Eat Well Every Other Day.  Meaning you eat a restricted amount of calories on day 1 and on day 2 you eat whatever you love to.  If you want to explore my option of staying fit, there is a book called Eat Stop Eat.  Don't worry, I'm not asking you to eat one meal every 24 hours like me.  If you follow the ESE way of short term fasting, you only have to do a 24-hour fast twice weekly.  Well, if this looks possible, give it a try.  Or there is another book called The QOD Diet: Eating Well Every Other Day which is also worth reading.

If you want to eat well and at the same time stay fit, short term fasting is an interesting topic to explore.

Easter 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sichuan Holiday Special Lunch Set

The commercial areas in Wanchai had very little people over holidays, because people simply don't need to go to work.  Hence the restaurants in that area are offering holiday specials to attract the neighborhood residents.  Here's one that drew my attention.  

Sichuan Paradise had unanimous great reviews over the internet, namely good environment, good services, good food and good value of money.  Rarely I see a restaurant with that kind of rating.  So I've decided to give it a try over the Easter Holiday.  Indeed, this restaurant is wonderful and I must agree with all the positive reviews from the internet.

6-Course Lunch Set for Two - HK$138

The restaurant is situated on the 3rd floor of a commercial building. It was a Sunday, so we had no difficulties accessing a lift.  Undoubtedly it's interior design really offers a very comfortable eating environment.   And the waiters are friendly. We simply couldn't resist the special offer of HK$138 for two people. While we ate, we even doubt if HK$138 is really for two persons or one. 

In fact, they didn't shrink the dish size to compromise the price.  The prices are special but the dish sizes are regular.  Here's what we got.

Marinated Black Fungus 涼拌小木耳

A very healthy cold cut starter.  Black and white fungus with sliced cucumber and sesame.

Deep Fried Chicken with Dried Chilli 霸王辣子雞
This is really authentic Sichuan taste.  It made us cry.  If you love chilli food, here is really a paradise.

Dan Dan Noodle 擔擔面
Each one of us had a bowl of Dan Dan noodle which was served in three degrees of spicy.   I love spicy food but don't want to put on too much heat, so I opted for the minimal level.  

Pan Fried Dumplings 生煎鍋貼
These dumplings are very juicy and delicious.  I spilled some of juice so I took extra care in eating the second one.  It happened again, because it was so juicy.

Sliced Pork in Garlic and Chilli Sauce 蒜泥白肉
One more cold cut dish.  May be I can say this is the Chinese style bacon.  The very thin slices of pork and cucumber with garlic and chilli sauce, very delicious and healthy combination.

Red Bean Syrup 紅豆沙
Quite a common dessert, but well done.  Great to wrap up our meal.

Very spacious booth
No wonder everyone say that this restaurant offers comfortable eating environment.  And there are reasonable space between tables.  Good setting!

Pickles: Free
Pickles are generally charged at HK$10 per dish.  But we got them free as we were on holiday special.

Lunch Set for Two: HK$138
Tea cost: HK$12 per person
Service charge: 10%
Total:  HK$178 (US$22.8)

Other holiday specials
Lunch set for Two: HK$128
Hot Pot set for Two: HK$168/288
Some half-price hot picks.  

I think I must come again to try the hot pot set - 9-course for HK$168 is not bad at all for two persons.

Sichuan Paradise 天府人家
3/F One Capital Place
18 Luard Road, Wanchai
Hong Kong
Tel:  2205-0020

Hong Kong Food Blog - Holiday Sichuan Special

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dim Sum Buffet

I haven't seen dim sum buffet for some time.  Over the Easter holidays, I notice this offer from a nearby hotel, so I give it a try.  The overall experience is not bad, but still some rooms for improvement.

In fact, buffet is not quite accurate, should be one price, eat all you can.  To enable eaters to eat more varieties, the portion sizes are generally smaller than the ones from the a la carte menu.  We can even order the exact number of pieces for certain items.  The two of us had 18 variations and totalling over 20 dishes.

In terms of satisfaction, I grade the dim sums in three categories - Good, Average and Below Par.

Let's take a took at the Good ones.

Black Fungi in Rose Wine 玉露春耳
Very strong rose wine fragrance, a very healthy starter!

Preserved Beef Slices 牛展

Shanghaiese Pork Jelly 水晶肴肉
We ordered two dishes of the beef and pork, as they were really nice!

 Shrimp Dumplings 蝦餃
One of our most favourite dim sum items and they are generally expensive, so we decided to have two for each of us.

Shuijiao 水餃
 Kind of Shrimp Dumpling, but with pork in it.  My friend said the soup was Swanson.  Well, I was not able to tell, as long as the shuijiao tastes good.

Pan Fried Rice Rolls 煎蝦米腸
Next to the plain version, had only dry shrimps and green onion.  With dark soy sauce, taste good.

Cha Shao Bao and Chiu Chow Dumpling 义燒飽, 潮州粉果
As I said, some of the items can be ordered one by one. I don't want the Chiu Chow dumpling, so we ordered one for my friend and one cha shao bao for each of us.

Milk Custard with Almond Flakes 西杏炸脆奶
This dessert is quite unique and well done.  Not many restaurants serve this.

Honey and Pomelo Jelly 蜂蜜柚子糕
We are not sure of the dish size and it was towards the end of our meal, so we ordered just one.  I must say this is beyond our expectation.  Very fresh and fragrant.  Good pick!

Sago Cream with Mango and Pomelo 楊枝金露
My friend had Pumpkin cream.  They both looked the same, creamy yellow color, so I took photo for my sago cream only.  It's chilled with slices of mango and pomelo, wow...lovely!  Mango is my most favourite fruit.

Here are the Average items.

Rice Noodles in Soup with Chicken and Roasted Pork
I grade them average because my chicken noodle is just slightly warm.  Note:  dim sum has to been eaten hot for the best tastes.  My friend also commented that the soup was just Swanson.

Spring Rolls
I grade this average because it can be better.  The color can be more golden and the filling can be a bit more.  Note: the one on a la carte had snow crab in it.  The one we had was only veggie.

Baked Seafood Puff
Couldn't find much seafood inside.  In fact I was not sure if the stuffing had any seafood in it.  Freshly baked, also tastes average.

These are the Below Par items.

Beef Tripe 黑椒牛肚

Mushroom Pork Dumpling 冬菇燒賣

I don't think I need to tell why these are below par.  In terms of taste, they are acceptable.  But in terms of presentation, I don't think any restaurant should bring to the table something in that horrible manner.  In fact, we did try to tidy up a bit for photo shooting.  They were even worse when they arrived.

We were also not happy that the traditional authentic pork dumpling was not available while that was featured in the advertising poster.

Counting in the environment, services and foods, I would give it 8 out of 10.

In terms of money, it's quite a good deal.  We've tried to cross check the items against the a la carte menu, discounting the smaller portions we had, the food cost would go beyond $400, but we were only paying $108 per person.

Dim Sum Package - Eat All You Can (Dim Sum Buffet) - Weekends and Holidays Only

Food cost:  HK$108 per person
Tea cost:  HK$18 person
10% service charge
Total:  HK$277.2 (for two persons) (US$35.5)

OZO Wesley Hotel
1/F, 22 Hennessy Road
Hong Kong
T: 2292 3033

Hong Kong Food Blog - Dim Sum Buffet