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

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Poon Choi - Plate Version

A friend of mine send me this photo after her recent Guangzhou tour.  I find it really interesting and would like to share it here.

I remember some years back I had an article about Poon Choi in Hong Kong.  This has become one of the most popular posts in this blog.  While many of you are interested in this traditional Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine, I'm sure you would find this Guangzhou Cantonese plate version of Poon Choi attractive.

While Poon Choi has everything served in a giant bowl, this plate version has everything served in a giant plate.  How giant?  My friend told me it was brought to the table by four people.  The dish was cooked to the number of people, so this plate is good for 10 people. 

Poon Choi - Plate Version
 (photo taken from Guangzhou)

I've counted there were 11 courses, namely

  1. shrimps
  2. scallops
  3. mini abalone
  4. clams
  5. a whole fish
  6. lotus
  7. taro
  8. green beans
  9. roast chicken
  10. roast duck
  11. stir fried noodle

I didn't tasted it, so I had no idea about how delicious it was.  But the presentation was really magnificent!  If I were to comment, I would love to have more greens.  As counting in the stir fried noodle, there were only 4 non-meat items, may need a better balance between meat and vegetables.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Yat Tung Heen Dim Sum

I earn some interest lately, time to enjoy a relatively luxury dim sum lunch.  Yat Tung Heen is a member of the Eaton Hotel and it has a restaurant at Great Eagle Centre in Wanchai. So I took my sister there today for a lunch.  The place was reasonably nice, not too crowded or noisy like many other dim sum restaurants in Wanchai.  However the price is quite expensive.  There are many things in life that quality not associated with money.  Today's lunch is an example.  I can't say it's bad, but there are rooms for improvement in relation to the money they are charging.

Stir Fried Rice Roll  XO醬炒腸粉
Good, hot and delicious.  Presentation - nice.

Deep Fried Shrimp Spring Roll 蝦春卷
Very crispy, hot and delicious.  Presentation - nice.

Prawn Dumpling 蝦餃
Freshly steamed, fresh prawns.  Nicely presented.

Deep Fried Tofu with Salt and Pepper 椒鹽豆付
Nice and delicious, crunchy outside and soft inside.

Deep Fried Stuffed Eggplant with Garlic and Pepper 避風塘茄子
Quite nice, although I prefer it to be in the size of the mini tofu.  I must say it is quite a specialty, as I didn't find this same dish elsewhere.

Pan Fried Waygu Guotie (dumpling) 和牛鍋貼
This is absolutely below par.  When it arrived, it was like 4 messy lumps of something splashing over the plate.  I had to re-arrange it in a relatively tidy manner in order to take this photo.  Waygu?  No way.  Can't taste or smell anything beef like, although there were some minced meat inside that was kind of beef-look.

They served a pot of tea and a pot of water.  Water was served over a little stove to keep warm.  Even so, the tea was below any comfortable temperature for drinking.  Regardless we requested to refill with boil water, there were no improvement.  After all we found that the tea leaves were put inside kind of a bag inside the tea pot, hence the Pu'er tea we had didn't offer the real fragrance of it. Tea drinking is an important part of any dim sum lunch.  Poor tea definitely spoil the meal.  

Total:  HK$333.9 (US$42.8) (for two persons, inclusive of 10% service charge and the tea/snack charge below)
Tea:  HK$18 per person
Snack: HK$22 per table

Yat Tung Heen
2/F Great Eagle Centre
Wanchai, Hong Kong

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hotel Chinese Dinner for Single

If you are travelling solo and want to enjoy Chinese food, this post may be interested.

I need to clear some of my holiday quota but tied of travelling, so I decided to be a domestic traveller.  I picked a low season date, not only enjoy low room rate and at the same time upgraded to a junior suite, only at HK$986 nett, including free wi fi and breakfast.

The hotel Chinese restaurant offers 30% discount for dinner, so I give it a try.  I was thinking the food choices for single diner is quite limited.  In fact it's true to some extent, but I still manage to look for something just right for me, in terms of portion, taste and money.

Starter HK$25

This is default.  Every table would have to pay for one dish.

Double Boiled Wild Mushrooms Soup HK$68 per person

Black fungi and plenty of various wild mushrooms.  Very fragrant, delicious and healthy.

Deep Fried Shredded Eel with Dark Vinegar HK$118

Very crispy, and the vinegar is kind of sweet.  Well done!  It's on the starters section, portion size is not that big, still leaving my stomach with some space.

Braised Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber and Abalone Mushroom in Casserole HK$128

Again, this dish is in one-person size, just right for me.  For health reason, the world encourages people to eat more veggie and less meat.  Thought my dinner tonight is in line with health target.

Almond Tea with Egg White HK$58

I must say this is the best of the same food I have ever had.  Very strong almond fragrance with lumps of egg white - extremely delicious and healthy!

The restaurant is relatively small, however cozy and with friendly waiters.  Food is well done, serving time is just right.

As the menu is concerned, the dishes are generally not heavy in meat, no msg and should be welcomed by health conscious eaters.

They have dim sum set dinner, quite a rare option.  Some set dinners for 2, 4, 6 or even Spring banquets for 12 are available.

Total:  HK$369.5 (US$47.5)
for one diner after discount, included tea and 10% service charge

Cheena Chinese Restaurant
2/F Rosedale Hotel
8 Shelter Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-21278838
30% discount for dinner (weekdays only ex festivals/holidays)

Hong Kong Food Blog - Single Diner

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Family Annual Dinner 2014

Year of the Horse is approaching.  Year end family dinner is an important tradition of Chinese.  However due to the busy lives of Hong Kong people, the new year eve family dinner had to compromise with the available dates of the family members.  This year Chinese New Years falls on January 31, but for some reason, we picked the 19th to have our family annual dinner.

As it is an important family gathering, we don't mind to pay a little more to hire a private room and pay the minimum charge.  In fact, we went way beyond the minimum because we want to include as many seafood as possible.  The restaurant has many signature dishes as well as our own favourite picks makes up our own menu.

Almond Juice Pig's Lung Soup 生磨杏汁豬肺湯
with lots of supporting ingredients

Our family is a professional pork dealer and had high demand on the cleaning of pig's lung.  It's not an easy job but the restaurant did make it clean and delicious.  My professional pork dealer brothers gave them a pass.  Personally I think almond juice with pig's lung is quite a new combination and it's really tasty.  As a matter of environmental, we also try to give up shark fin as much as possible.  In fact, many restaurants are removing shark fin from their menu and replace by something delicious and healthy.

BBQ Piglet 即燒乳豬
Another signature dish of the restaurant.  Really crunchy skin and juicy tender meat.  Very well done!

Stir Fried Prawns with Salty Egg Yolk
associated with Garlic Chicken Cubes
A relative cheap item on our menu, but delicious, though high cholesterol!

Giant Grouper Dual Style 海龍躉兩味
Stir Fried Meat with Vegetables 碧綠炒球
To control budget, we give up a whole fish.  Meat only with broccoli, healthy and delicious.

Giant Grouper Dual Style 海龍躉兩味
Steamed Head and Bones 果皮蒸頭腩
Although it was head and bones, but there were still lots of meat in it.  Of course we need to deal with bones.  Not sure if Grouper has a difference among sea, river or tank.  The restaurant specified it as a 'sea giant grouper'

Steamed Razor Claims with Garlic and Jelly Noodle
I had difficulties in looking up an English name for this thing.  I usually call it clam, but there are many species of clams.  Trust Razor Clam is the most appropriate.  Steam with deep fried garlic and fresh garlic, plus jelly noodle, these giant razor clams cost HK$58 each on a la carte menu.  Only this dish would cost over HK$900 as we've ordered 16 of them.

Baked American Barrel Oysters with Ginger and Green Onion
This is my favourite pick.  If you ask me to recommend only one dish from this restaurant, I would say barrel oysters.  You may not believe, each of the oysters are half of my palm size.  Imagine oysters usually shrink after cooking and it still maintain that giant size, how amazing!  And when the waitress lifted the lid, the entire room was full of fragrance.  In fact the waitress said it made her hungry too.

Roast Goose 明爐燒鵝皇
This is Chef's recommendation.  As goose is generally larger than chicken, so it was recommended because we had 16 of us.  Well it was nicely roasted.  The goose had lots of meat and not much fat.   We generally have chicken on banquet menu, goose is rarely used.  So we are actually trying something new. Good recommendation.

'Yellow Sand' Pig's Liver with Vegetable in Stock
This is a Hong Kong old fashion dish.  Nowadays few restaurants serve this dish.  May be people is afraid of the smelly nature of the liver as well as the cholesterol level.  Back to my family again, we are a professional family selling pork, my brothers had high demand in the cooking and preparation of pig's liver.  And due to different quality of the liver, it is specified as 'yellow sand' liver.  We don't know how this name is come up with, but Cantonese believe 'yellow sand' liver is the top quality liver.  Indeed, the liver we had were all 0.5 inches thick, very chewy and al dente.  Wolfberries are believed to be good for eyes and it's usually a good companion with liver and 'kaukai' 韮杞.  This kaukai 韮杞vegetable also caused me difficulties in looking up a proper English name.  Sorry about that.

Mottled Spinefoot Fish Congee 果皮泥鯭粥
Cantonese banquet is usually wrapped up by rice or noodle.  We are trying alternatives as we want to eat as many seafood as possible, because the restaurant we went was highly seafood famous.  In fact I can call this old fashion Hong Kong food as well.  Because it's time and manpower consuming in separating the meat from the bones.  Hence not many restaurants are willing to serve it.  We were quite conservative whether it was really boneless.  That upset the waitress again and she kept emphasis that their shop had never receive any customer complaint of having fish bones in their congee.  After all, we were happy that we didn't find any bones at all.  

This 10-course dinner made us all extremely overloaded, as we booked for 16 and only 14 of us turned up.  Anyway, a super delicious meal although I had to fast for the next 30 hours.  I always demand a reasonable eating environment on top of quality food.  Although we were paying quite a big bill this time, but it really worth it, as we were all happy with the food and the place, as well as the services.

10-course Dinner with Dessert and Fruits for 16 people
inclusive of food and service charge

Kam Dou Kee Seafood Restaurant 金兜記海鮮菜館
3 Wanchai Road, Hong Kong
Tel:  3907 0878

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hong Kong Dim Sum Video

I have recently assembled a video about the most popular Hong Kong Dim Sums for my other website.  I would like to share it here.  See if you have tasted any or all of them.  

The background song is called Cha Sha Bao 义燒包 by Zhuang Xue Zhong.  Cha Sha Bao is one of the most classic Cantonese dim sums in Hong Kong.  We love it so much, hence there is a song about it.  The song is over half a century old and the one by Zhuang is a new version.

'Sit down, enjoy a cup of tea and eat a bao' is a very sought after life style of Hong Kong Cantonese.   In fact bao's are really important in our culinary world. May be I'll assemble a bao video next time.

Now you've viewed all the gems of Hong Kong dim sum. Traditional Hong Kong Cantonese breakfast is usually a combo of congee and rice rolls.  The economy version could be plain congee with plain rice rolls or rice rolls stuffed with deep fried dough.  The luxury version could be congee and rice rolls both stuffed with meat of your choice.  In this video, you'll find them all except the plain congee.

Hope you enjoy!  Have a great 2014!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Outback Wanchai

Outback claims to offer generous portions at moderate price, I find them quite expensive. Even for set lunch, there are three categories - $86, $96 and $106 plus 10% service charge, quite above par. I like to go there because of its Australian-themed decor provides fun and a taste of Australia.

Each of the set lunch come with bread, salad, soup, coffee or tea.  We went to their Wanchai shop soon after 1pm on Saturday, the restaurant wasn't full at all, however service was very slow.

Chicken Breast Pasta - HK$86

My friend said her pasta was very delicious

Spicy Fried Rice with Prawn and Sausages - HK$96

I was a bit less lucky.  My fried rice was somehow very moist and only slightly warm. Well, may be western fried rice is different from Chinese.  Our fried rice is generally very dry and hot.  The yellow slices I think could be deep fried pumpkin or carrot, it was so hard that needed extra care to eat.  Overall taste was not bad although I would prefer fried rice to be served hot.

Coffee was also only slightly warm, even cooler than room temperature.  

Oh well, service was really slow.  The waiter came 5 minutes after we asked for the bill, placed the bill on our table and walked away.  We had to wait for another 5 minutes to look for another waiter to follow up on the credit card payment.  The restaurant was not busy at all, I didn't see why the service was so slow.

1/F, De Fenwick, 8-12 Fenwick Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: 3101-0418

Hong Kong Food Blog