Sunday, February 7, 2016

Chinese New Year Foods 2016

Today is Chinese New Year Eve - Year of the Monkey is approaching in minutes. I have collected some photos of the foods that Hong Kong Chinese usually eat, especially Cantonese.

There are some foods that we eat during Chinese New Year.  I've grouped them into three categories.  

New Year Eve - jiaozi and dumplings.
New Year Dim Sums
2nd Day of New Year - vegetables.  In Cantonese, vegetables sounds like '開齊' which means 'a good start'.  So lunch of the second day of New Year generally has a dish of assorted veggies.  Chickens and fishes are highly popular among Chinese families during New Year.  

Enjoy this Chinese New Year Food video!

Happy New Year of the Monkey - 2016!

Hong Kong Food Blog - Chinese New Year Foods

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Seafood Annual Dinner

Seafood dinner is many Hong Kong people's favourite.  9 out of 10 Hong Kong Cantonese love it, including myself.  As Chinese New Year is approaching, our family decided to go for a seafood annual dinner.  Normally we pick from set menus, but we're tired of them, so this year, we go for a la carte and pick our own favourite seafood. 

Many travel tips advise visitors to go to Aberdeen, Le Yue Mun, Lamma Island...kind of places to eat seafood, but these places are generally far from city, and prices are more or less similar.  There are many seafood restaurant around in the city with fish tanks.  These are the place you can eat fresh seafood.  The one we went for annual dinner was one of those.

Here's our 8-course a la carte seafood dinner.

To start with, we didn't have seafood, we had the Almond Soup with Pig's Lung.  Quite a new combination, I don't know when chefs started to get almond juice into pig's lung soup.  But indeed, very nice.  Each of us had 3 bowls of soup, as well as a big dish of soup ingredients, including pork, ham, chicken feet...and so on.  In fact this is one of the restaurant's signature dishes.

 Almond Soup with Pig's Lung 生磨杏汁猪肺湯

Our first round of seafood started with Pan Fried Tiger Prawns with soy sauce.  Nice color and although on a Chinese dining table, we were served with forks and knives for this dish.

Pan Fried Tiger Prawns 煎老虎蝦

This dish of steamed Razor Clams let us down.  Although it looked nice, but it was cool to cold.  The low temperature critically discounted the taste!

Steamed Razor Clams with Jelly Noodle and Garlic
We were given a private plate for our razor clams.  So the time the waiter took to distribute the plate let the food cool down, I believe, or else it might have been sitting in the kitchen for an hour before some brought them to our table.


American Barrel Oyster, in traditional Cantonese hot pot with ginger and green onion.  Very fragrant and delicious.

Oyster Stew with Ginger and Green Onion 薑沖焗美國桶蠔

This giant garoupa was the second disaster of the night. At the beginning we were very excited about this giant fish.  But because of the thick meat, the fish came to the table not fully cooked.  Some of the fleshes were still sticking to the bone.  If we asked to re-cook, then the whole fish will be destroyed.  So the waiter suggested us to eat those cooked parts and then get the chef to add some hot oil to cook the rest.  We had no choice.  But don't know why, while we ate, the meat gradually got cooked and we finally manage to eat the entire fish without re-cooking.  Even so, we were not happy with it.

Steamed Giant Garoupa 清蒸沙巴龍躉

Eggs with Prawns is generally not served in banquets, but why here?  Remember we tailored our own menu?  My original choice was deep fried mini white fishes or kau fishes, but restaurant said they did stock those fishes.  So we end up with this egg with prawns, still we have prawns to match our seafood theme.

Stir Fried Prawns with Eggs 滑蛋蝦仁

As a balance of diet, we must need some vegetables.  To match the seafood theme, our original choice was crab roe with bean sprout.  But restaurant said crab season is over, they had no crab roe available, so we changed to crab meat, still something from the sea.

Stir Fried Bean Sprout with Crab Meat 蟹肉豆苗

Cantonese banquets usually are wrapped up with rice, noodle to make sure guests all go home with a full stomach.  Because ours was a seafood dinner, we picked another signature dish of the restaurant - fish meat congee. Pinspotted Spinefoot Fish?? Excuse me, I really don't know the English name of 泥鯭 fish, so I looked it up in the internet.
Pinspotted Spinefoot Fish Meat Congee 果皮泥鯭粥

We got some dates pudding and fresh fruits at the end.  Comparing the normal menus with roast pig and chicken, our seafood dinner menu was relatively light and was just right. 

Kam Dou Kee Restaurant
Wanchai, Hong Kong

Private Room for Two Tables
HK$3,888 per table of 10, plus tea and service charge
Total: HK$4,430 (US$568) per table

Hong Kong Food Blog - Seafood Annual Dinner

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Seafood Dinner Special Price

I've mentioned in my blog that if you want to eat good things at good price, you can play around with date and time. Here's a good example.  The seafood dinner set below costs HK$398 per person Friday to Sunday.  However if you go on Monday through Thursday, it is sold at HK$198 per person.  Fair enough?

Sunday (Jan 17) is my friend's birthday.  She decided to have an early celebration in order to enjoy the special rate.  So we had it on Thursday (Jan 14).

The seafood set was served somewhat western style. i.e. Individual dishes were served to each person.  So we all ate our own dishes.  It was an eight course dinner, and on top we ordered the Chinese birthday buns.  Here's what we had.

Abalone with Mushroom - Al dente!  Ate with knife and fork.  Abalone is generally expensive.  In some cases, only the abalone will cost more than the entire set.  

Pan Fried King Prawn煎老虎蝦 
King Prawn is our favourite.  In the market there are always expensive prawns but not fresh enough.  But this one is very fresh and we all love it.

Soft Shell Crab 炸軟殼蟹

I usually don't eat crabs, because I don't know and don't want to struggle with the hard shell.  But this one is different - soft shell crab.  Something new to me, deep fried, a little spicy.  Well done!

Pan Fried Corn Fish Cake 粟米魚餅

In fact, this corn fish cake was the starter.  Crispy!

Veggie in Congee 粥水油麥菜

This is kind of new combination being invented recently.  Vegetables usually go with soup, but current trend is to go with congee.  We can even find some rice in it.  May be its consistency is slightly thicker than soup, hence creating a new feeling in the mouth.

Signature Fried Rice 招牌炒飯
Each of us had a little bowl of fried rice.  It was called signature fried rice, having egg white, vegetables and some minced meat in it.  Quite healthy.  Nice!

Old Fire Soup 老火湯, 粉葛陵魚

Cantonese is famous for Old Fire Soup.  Let me clarify.  'Old Fire' implies long hour cooking in Cantonese kitchens.  Verses 'quick boil', the soup is believed to be good for health and rich in flavour.  

Sweet Potato Soup 蕃薯糖水

The sweet potato was cooked to totally soft.  Together with some ginger juice in it, this dessert is very good to keep warm in cold weather.  And it is easy for home cooking.  Sometimes we make it at home too.

Birthday Bun 生日桃包

We paid this on top of the dinner set.  I thought it was HK$15 each.  Freshly steamed.  With some slight brush on, making the colour look good for the birthday person.  Very yummy!

Kam Dou Restaurant
Hong Kong
January 14, 2016 (Thursday)
HK$198 per person + tea and 10% service charge

Hong Kong Food Blog
Seafood Dinner Special

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Lunch

Christmas Eve lunch is not always possible for me. Although people enjoy eating at festival seasons, but eating at high season may not be an enjoyable experience.  First, restaurants are full of people, you are running short of the normal service standard.  Second, restaurants are full of people, your are running short of a decent eating environment.  Third, restaurants set prices abnormally high as they have too many customers.  The list goes on.  After all, I still want to enjoy a Christmas Eve lunch, because our company offers a holiday today.  In fact, the entire company closes between 24th December to 3rd January.  We get 12 days off without applying our own annual leave.

Anyway, let's get back to today's Christmas Eve lunch. To avoid peak hour, we arrived at the restaurant at 11.45am, making us the first customer there.  It is a 6-course lunch, ranging from HK$328 to 368 depending on the main course.

White wine - there are red/white wine and orange juice for us to choose.  Since we chose fish as our main course, so we go with white wine.

Menu - Well it looks attractive and reasonably priced.  But...

Lobster Bisque - it was fresh chestnuts cream soup on the menu, but we were asked to choose between lobster bisque or cream soup of any kind.  Why?  The waiter said the chef had no time to prepare the chestnuts soup. However, I must say this lobster bisque was indeed very delicious!

Smoked Turkey and Baked York Ham - The waiter said 'no turkey'.  We then said this is not a Christmas menu, we better go elsewhere or choose some other regular set.  Well, the Christmas menu costs over HK$328 per person, other sets cost less than HK$100 - the waiter had a quick chat with the chef and come back saying 'yes, we can serve turkey'.  After all, we got our lovely turkey and ham with salad.

Fresh Fillet of Garoupa with Saffron Sauce - almost an inch thick, the garoupa fillet is really fresh and wonderful!  There is cream sauce, but I don't notice the saffron!?

Creme Brulee - we had this in place of the fresh apple pudding on the menu.  The waiter didn't even care to explain why?  Well, it's not bad, but I just don't know why I can't have my favourite apple pudding!?

To wrap up the meal, we had a cup of coffee.

Although I dine at this restaurant quite often, but I don't remember it's name.  As there is a large notice at the entrance saying 'push hard', I just name it as "大力推門".  Indeed we do need to push the door with extra effort in order to go inside. 

大力推門 at Hennessy Road, Wanchai
December 24, 2015
11.45am to 12.45pm
Christmas Set Menu
HK$338 (US$43) per person + 10% service charge

Hong Kong Food Blog - Christmas Eve Lunch

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nice Cantonese Dinner in Wanchai

My company pays a quarterly free dinner for secretaries.  We vote and pick our favourite restaurants every time.  This time someone nominated Sing Kee Seafood Restaurant in Wanchai.  Although I live around that area, it was my first time eating there.  Indeed I found a gem around the bar area in Wanchai.  The food was really nice and reasonably priced.

The first three items (soup, chicken and lotus cake) had to be pre-ordered.  What is special about the menu here is that you can find some very home styled dishes, such as minced tofu with fish 老少平安. Apart from this, the taste is really home taste which I really like.

The soup with pig's lung, almond juice, fish maw - milky white, was very rich and delicious. The soup content was served in a separate dish and the size was like a small mountain.  We can pick our favourite ingredients after enjoying the soup.

杏汁豬肺湯 (HK$780)

Steamed Chicken with Cordyceps Flower and Lotus Leaf
蟲草花荷葉蒸雞 (HK$380)

This steamed chicken is presented nicely with great fragrant, although a bit oily.

Pan Fried Lotus Cake
藕饼 HK$132/12件

The lotus cake was ordered to 1 per person.  Few restaurants nowadays serves this dish.  It's actually kind of old-fashion Hong Kong style family dish.  I remember my mum made this at home when we were young.  The way they made it was quite chewy, nice!

Stir Fired Prawns with Soy Sauce 豉油皇大蝦

Going to a seafood restaurant, we must have to pick some seafood.  A whole swimming fish would be too expensive, although our company pays.  So we  picked some fresh prawns and had them pan fried with soy sauce.  Again, very yummy!

Deep Fried Salt and Pepper Kau Fish 椒鹽九肚魚

These two deep fried dishes were claimed to be signature dishes.  Our preference was the kau fish, but when the waiter repeated our order, he kept saying Squid (because too many people order for that), so we decided to take a regular size for a try. 

Deep Fried Salt and Pepper Squid (standard size) 椒鹽鮮魷

Since we have 12 people, so the dishes were ordered in double size (double in money of course).  But we found that the standard size was not small at all, and we were happy with it.

Tofu with Mushrooms 雜菌豆付

As I said, this is a very home-style dish, looks normal but tastes wonderful, and healthy as well.  They made the tofu to the size of a French toast, get a hole in the middle, deep fried and inserted some mushroom.  Simple but well done!

Kale in High Soup 上湯芥蘭

This is the best way to add some fiber to our dinner.  So we had a good balance between meat, seafood and vegetable.  All dishes were super delicious!

Sing Kee Seafood Restaurant 星記海鮮酒家
21-25 Luard Road
(Serves dinner only)
Total: HK$3, 076 for 12 people
(including tea and 10% service charge)

Hong Kong Food Blog

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pink Breakfast at Butcher's Club Deli

The Breast Cancer Fund organized a Pink Walk at the Peak yesterday.  Our company joined the walk and then took us to a "pink breakfast" after the walk.

It is an annual fund raising event.  Once I hopped on the bus towards the Peak, I noticed half of the passengers wore pink.  The organizer allow walkers to take their dogs.  So it was somewhat like a dog show as well.  There were four dogs in our group.

Because we needed a dog-friendly venue which is also private to our group, it was not easy, and after a thorough search, we decided to go to Aberdeen, to have our breakfast at The Butcher's Club Deli.

The restaurant is situated inside a factory building.  In fact many of Hong Kong's manufacturing industries moved to China, leaving many vacant spaces.  In order to maximize the use of land, government allows some of the factory buildings to run other businesses.  So nowadays we can find some private kitchens within industrial buildings.

The roof top breakfast was really relaxing.  Kids and the dogs also enjoyed the setting very much.  I especially like the open view together with the mild weather yesterday.

The Butcher's Club Deli has two floors - the Penthouse and the roof top.  Dogs are allowed at the roof.  30 of us occupied the entire roof.  

The breakfast was in fact a brunch.  Although it looks somewhat simple, there were actually 9 items in the plate - slice of bread, there was an egg and some beans at the bottom, together with two sausages, grilled mushroom, tomato, potato cake and bacon. Personally I don't like the blood sausage, the other items are really well done, especially the giant mushroom.  Coffee and tea were self serviced.  Some colleagues went downstairs to enjoy desserts at their own expenses.

Each dog was served with a tray of water.  Kids were glad to offer them their left-over bacon.

I don't know the price.  But according to their website, a hamburger costs HK$100, so I guess a private venue breakfast would cost close to HK$300 per person.

18 Wong Chuk Hang Road
Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Phone: +852 2884 0768

Hong Kong Food Blog - Pink Breakfast

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wu Kong Shanghai Restaurant

Grand Mum's Pork 外婆紅燒肉
Although this is very soft and juicy, I would still grade it as 'failed'.  Why?  As its name indicates, this dish is cooked for grand mums, whose teeth are generally weak and cannot manage a lot of chewing.  In terms of tenderness and taste, it's fine.  But do you see the bones?  I had never eat this dish with bones.  All other restaurants make this dish from boneless pork belly, because it is for the grand mum.  I really can't accept bones in this dish.

Jelly Pork 鎮江肴肉

It's lucky that we don't find bones in this dish.  If there are bones in jelly pork, then I must tell the world that this is the most 'creative' Shanghainese dish.  OK, I would say this is fine and nice.

Stir Fried Button Mushroom with Preserved Vegetable 雪菜口蘑

This looks a bit new.  Preserved vegetable with button mushrooms.  Not too rich in taste, but just right.  Quite good. Well as a matter of balance diet, we do have half of our food with meat and half vegetable.

Qi Vegetable and Tofu Soup 薺菜豆腐

I don't know what qi vegetable is.  It seems it is only available in Shanghai restaurants.  With some pork slices, the soup is relatively thick.  And to balance the green smell of the vegetable, we had to add some pepper to make the taste just right.

In fact we want to order some dessert, but the dish size is relative big.  To avoid overloading, we rather end the meal without anything sweet. 

Total:  HK$420 (US$53.8)
(for 2 persons, including tea and 10% service charge)

Wu Kong Shanghai Restaurant
17/f Lee Theatre Square
Percival Street, Causeway Bay
Hong Kong

Hong Kong Food Blog - Shanghainese Dinner