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

Friday, July 24, 2015

Non Spicy Sichuan Food

Non spicy Sichuan food? Are there really any? Yes of course.  If you love Sichuan food but cannot put on too much heat, there are still plenty of choices.

I have a coupon of HK$100 for dinner at a Sichuan restaurant.  So I took my sister there.  Both of us like little bit of spicy, so here are our dishes - 2 cold cut starters, 2 hot dishes, 1 soup and couple of dessert.  

Cucumber Lumps with Garlic 手拍青瓜

Cucumber with garlic is a very healthy combination.  The special thing about this dish is that the cucumber lumps has to be pounded by hand with a heavy knife.  I think the garlic sauce is seasoned with some sesame oil.  Very fresh and delicious.

Pork Slices with Smashed Garlic 蒜泥白肉

Sichuan restaurant menus usually indicate the level of spicy by the number of chilies between one to three.  So this pork slices has two chilies means it is of medium spicy, still acceptable to us.

Stir Fried Chewing Pudding 炒年糕

Cantonese usually eat chewing pudding sweet, but Sichuan chefs make it savory which is quite a new taste to me.  Stir fried with preserved vegetables and pork slices, in a relative thick gravy, very fragrant and silky smooth.

Vinegar Fish Fillet 醋溜魚塊

This is quite a famous non spicy Sichuan dish.  While other tables all have big bowls of food full of red chilies, our table looks a bit plain and rare.  But look, this doesn't look colorful, but tastes good.  Fish fillets and black fungi in moderately thick gravy, we can sense the fragrance of vinegar combined with a little level of sweetness.

Fish Maw Hot and Sour Soup 魚肚酸辣湯

We share one bowl of soup not because of saving money, because the dishes are really large in size, and we want to be able to eat a little more varieties.
With one chili, the level of spicy is just right for us.  Lovely soup!

Sweet Dumplings 擂沙湯丸

We had this sweet dumplings before and love it very much.  It is made to order and it's still warm when arriving our table.  There are lava type sweet filling, coated with a layer of fine flour of some kind.  Very nice.

Green Bean Syrup 綠豆沙

While we had to pay for the sweet dumplings, the restaurant offered us the green bean syrup free of charge.  This made us exceptional full and kind of over loaded when going home.  But I really enjoyed the dinner.  Because this restaurant apart from providing wonderful food, its setting is lovely and comfortable together with friendly waiters.  Price wise is quite reasonable.

Cabbage in Plain Water 開水白菜
If you think that Sichuan signature dishes are all spicy, then you're wrong.  One of the most famous Sichuan dishes that China government serves their national guests is called the Plain Water Cabbage.  It's really plain in appearance but delicious for the mouth.  The restaurant we went last night serves this dish.  Unfortunately it has to be pre-ordered, minimum four, and costs HK$128 per person.  So the two of us missed the chance to try this national dish.

Total bill:  HK$556.5, deducting the $100 coupon, we ended up paying HK$456.5 (US$58.5) for our 6-course non spicy Sichuan dinner.  Well, they gave us another $100 coupon, really aggressive in encouraging us to come again!

Tin Fu Paradise
Wanchai, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Food Blog - Non Spicy Sichuan Food

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Family Annual Dinner 2015

Chinese New Year is approaching. Year-end Family gathering dinner is a big event to Chinese. I made some money in the stock market recently, so I decided to treat my family a nice dinner. Although we all love seafood, but our menu is kind of a semi seafood one.  The restaurant offers set menu for 12, but we had 20 people, so we decided to order for two tables of 10.  Restaurant then agreed to shrink the dishes down to fit 10 persons and cut the price accordingly.

Unlike the usual starter of a roast pig, we had five mini dishes to kick start the dinner - roast pork, black fungi, preserved turnip, jellyfish in vinegar, preserved pork slices.  These are lovely light and healthy dishes.

Roast Pork - Tailored for 10 Persons
Roast with honey, tender and juicy, very nice.

Jellyfish and Cucumber in Vinegar

Preserved Sliced Pork

Black Fungi in Wine

Preserved Turnip - Very Crispy

Shark Fin in Chicken Broth

One of the most popular Cantonese delicacy, especially in festival menus.

Stir Fried Scallops with Green Peas

Our second seafood dish of the night.  Crunchy green peas and fresh scallops, very nice combination.

Sea Cucumber and Mushroom in Oyster Sauce
For hot pot dishes, we had to mind the temperature, or the tongue will have to suffer.  This photo didn't reflect the bubbles which were still sizzling when arriving the table.

***Giant Sabah Groupa***
Steaming fresh fish is the gem of Cantonese cuisine.  No matter how experienced we are in eating fresh fish, we are surprisingly happy with this super fish.  The plate was so giant to cater for the giant fish.  And it was boneless, absolutely silky smooth and we can taste the sense of freshness.  I must say this is the superstar of the night!

***Pan Fried King Prawns with Soy Sauce***
This is another surprise of the night - a rare item and it is expensive and few menus has it because they spend most of their budget on the shark fin.  I normally do not order huge size prawns as it's difficult to find good ones.  But these king prawns were so fresh, meaty and chewy.  I didn't had a chance to eat such giant size prawns of outstanding quality for a long time.  So this is another superstar of the night.

Deep Fried Chicken
This is always my favourite! 

Hairy Vege and Dry Oyster with Chinese Lettuce
Chinese dishes nearby Chinese New Year are usually given good names - names that carries a sense of luck and fortune.  Dry oyster means 'good business'; lettuce means 'profit'.  We all love these of course.

Stir Fried Taiwanese Noodle with Sliced Pork
Well, I would say this is the third surprise of the night.  As at the end of a Cantonese feast, we usually have noodle and rice to wrap up the dinner.  However our menu had only one dish of noodle which made us thought that restaurant was trying to cut cost.  But this dish was even bigger than a dish of rice plus a dish of noodle.  We were so excited because it didn't only look good, but also taste very delicious.  Cantonese treat 'wok heat' as an important element of food, and this dish of noodle was really well done.

For desserts, we had puddings and fresh fruit platter.

After all, we all went home with a heavy stomach.  Luckily we brought some boxes to take some food home so that we didn't have to leave them on the table.  So the next day I still had noodle and chicken as dinner. 

Cost per table:  HK$3,488
Tea per table: HK$140
Service charge: 10%
Total bill (2 tables): HK$7,982

Kam Dau Kee Seafood Restaurant
Wanchai, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Food Blog - Year End Family Gathering Dinner

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.  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dim Sum Lunch Set Special

This menu is designed for those who want to eat a wider selection of foods however don't have many people eating together.  The good thing about this menu is all inclusive.  This means the money you pay includes tea and service charge.  It's good for budget control but you need to have a minimum of 2 people eating together.

Snacks - choose one among 4
Dim sum - choose three among 12 (I think)
Vegetable - choose one between 2
Fried noodle/rice - choose one among 4 (I think)

So we have a total of 6 dishes, consisting of a little of everything.

Here are our choices of today.

Snack:  Preserved Beef Slices

Dim Sum

Pork Dumplings

In order to enable us to eat more variations, each of the dim sum were served one per person.

Cha Sha Bao
This is almost a must on our dim sum table

Turnip Puff
This is not quite Cantonese, I believe.  Because it appears on some Shanghai or Beijing menus.  But as far as it is delicious, I don't care.

Stir Fired Bok Choy with Garlic
These dishes were cooked to order, so generally hot and yummy.  Hong Kong Cantonese including myself, always look for 'wok heat', that means freshly from the wok which is the best time to eat anything.

Stir Fried Flat Noodle with Beef
You may not notice a lot of beef, but there were plenty inside.  Stir fried with dark soy sauce, this is one of our favourite, and most Hong Kong people's favourite noodle dishes.  But since it is part of a set menu for two, the size is relatively smaller than a regular dish.  Anyway we had six courses altogether, so we were happy with it.

All Inclusive Lunch Set
HK$78 per person (US$10)
(minimum 2 persons)
Available on weekdays only

Hong Kong Food Blog

Monday, December 29, 2014

Set Lunch at Coyote Bar and Grill

The bars and bristols situated harmoniously in Wanchai among the residential and commercial buildings.  I live in this area and today I have a day off, so I decided to hop into one of these bars for a lunch.  In fact these bars are full of people at night time for football shows but in day time, they are just like any other ordinary restaurant offering set lunches for the white collars.

As far as I notice, their menus rotate almost everyday.  Yesterday I saw Cotoye had a paella set which I wanted to try, but today they switch to another menu.  Anyway, with the money I pay, I'm happy with the food, the setting, services and price.  The set lunches in these bars are generally HK$100-150, while some may charge cheaper and even without service charge.

Coyote is famous for its Mexican food and tequilla drinks.  But they also offer set lunches during day time.  Here's my 3-course lunch (HK$118 +10% service charge, totaling HK$129).

For the starter, I can choose between salad and soup.  Today I prefer the cesar salad to carrot soup. As for main course, there are up to 8 or 9 options, and each customer is offered a mini chocolate mousse with coffee/tea.  The portion is just right. 

Cesar Salad
very fresh vegetables!

Prawns Linguine Pasta 
Giant prawns with very yummy (slightly spicy) gravy.  Well done!

Chocolate Mousse served with Coffee or Tea
This mini dessert is just perfect to wrap up my meal, it's not too big not too sweet, and nicely presented.

The waitresses are friendly and I personally like the high leg bar chairs.  Nice lunch.  Ooops, I forgot to mention one thing, if you find other restaurants are full, these bars are good options, as they are seldom full house except at night time.  One reason for this is may be because they are very western in style and taste, so they are less preferable to the locals.

Coyote Bar and Grill
114-120 Lockhart Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: 2861-2221

Hong Kong Food Blog - set lunch at a Wanchai bar

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Huaiyang Cuisine in Hong Kong

Just found a brand new Huaiyang restaurant in Hong and tried it out. It was a combination of delicacy and yummy food.

Dinner at Empire City Huaiyang

If you're not too hungry, but have a lot of time and money to spend, this is an ideal place.  Dishes were delicately presented, in relatively small portion however extremely long delivery time.  Going through their menu, the dishes are quite mild, I mean not too spicy, very close to the taste of Hong Kong Cantonese.

Sliced Mushroom (HK$75) 蔬衣麻菇 
These two starters took only 5 minutes to get onto our table.  But then it stopped there.  We got to sit there for anther 30 minutes for the next dish.

The mushrooms were just like a piece of artwork.  Nicely cut, well presented and tasted good.

Salty Duck (HK$125) 鹽水鴨

As Huaiyang is concerned, Salty Duck is an everyday food for people living there, so we must give this signature dish a try.  Not bad at all.  And it was the only meat dish of the night.  We followed the rule of 'more vegetable and less meat' quite well.

Vegetarian Dumplings (HK$60) 蒸素餃
Delivery time:  35 minutes from ordering.  It came in a huge amazing tray, and with the lid off, we found these four tiny, well, medium size vegetable dumpling.  Although we didn't know why the chef chose to serve on lotus leaf rather than a traditional bamboo cage tailored for steaming, it was delicious and the shape was quite creative.

Noodle in Fish Soup (HK$78) 魚湯小刀面
Delivery time: 40 minutes from ordering.  Its Chinese name said 'little knife noodle in fish soup'.  But I didn't find any relation between the noodle and a knife.  The soup was little fishy, meaning it was really fish soup.  With a few slice of ham and egg, it was just next to plain noodle.  And each of us could only share a tiny little bowl.

Boiled Cabbage (HK$108) 開水白菜
Delivery time:  70 minutes from ordering.  You may not believe if I tell you this is a high class super luxury dish.  Indeed it is.  This dish originated from the imperial Qing Dynasty kitchen.  The master chef brought the recipe back to his home town in Sichuan and since then this dish only appears on the most deluxe banquet.  In contrast to its good taste, its appearance is very plain and pale, and is a result of complex cooking steps.  Former Prime Minister Zhou Enlai served his VIP guest at a national dinner and the guest was very reluctant at first however found it to be very delicious after tasting.  

Boiled cabbage name says 'Cabbage in Clear Water'.  The 'water' is actually a well-cooked chicken, stewed through the complex process out of the soup to Sauvignon and clear water. Cabbage in use is the most tender part of a cabbage - hearts only.  The dish at first glance looks like a few flowers floating on water which is completely out of oil. It is not only a food, but an artifact.

Rolling Donkey Dessert (HK$68) 驢打滾
We ordered this dessert on condition that it has to come fast, as we've lost our patience in waiting.  The waiter suggested this one and it actually took only 5 minutes to come.  It was good to have something sweet to wrap up our dinner. Again this is from the Qing Imperial kitchen and we had this in Beijing before.

About this brand new restaurant, there is one thing that I really appreciate which is the space among tables.  The eating environment is perfect.  But there were a few negative things I've observed.  Most of the other guests around us were chasing for food.  Like us, everyone one had lost their patience in waiting. The guests on our next table complaint about their fish, the waiter end up replaced a new one for them.  The tea pot was made of iron, extremely heavy. So heavy that I was unable to lift it.  May be this was why the waiters were friendly helping us to re-fill our cups.  And personally I was not happy with the tea temperature which was not hot enough to be enjoyed.

Cost of Food:  HK$514
Pre-meal Snack: HK$30 ($15 per person)
Tea: HK$40 ($20 per person)
Service Charge: 10%
Total Bill:  HK$642.4 (US$82.4)

Empire City Huaiyang 大都淮陽
8/F Convention Plaza, 1 Harbour Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2628-0218

Hong Kong Food Blog - Huaiyang Dinner

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mid Autumn Festival - Hong Kong 2014

I have a day off today as it is the day after Mid Autumn Festival. In tradition, Chinese celebrate the festival in three phases - Welcoming the Moon (August 14th), Admiring the Moon (August 15th) and Chasing the Moon (August 16th).

We used to have holiday on the Festival day, ie. 15th, but somehow the former colonial government said people admire the moon at night, they can still work in the day.  However people sleep late after admiring the moon, the following day became a holiday. And this has been practicing after the handover through now.

The Mid Autumn Festival is all about the moon, moon cake, lanterns and many other celebrations.  Let's not only focus on food and talk about the Festival in Hong Kong.

The Moon - Although the moon looks the same anywhere in the world, but this was the one I took after dinner last night.  And I had a second chance of admiring her while on bed - she was shining on my bed through the window. Exactly what Li Bai said - 床前明月光.  It was a bit of luck, because admiring the moon all depends on weather.

Mid Autumn Moon in Hong Kong
September 8, 2014 - 8.16 pm

The Moon and Chang'e - the moon has always been a charming subject and hence there was a legend saying that Chang'e (a very beautiful woman) stole and ate some 'longevity pills' and flew to live in the moon.  In fact she was lonely there with only a rabbit friend.  Hence there was a poem saying 嫦娥應悔偷靈葯, 碧海青天夜夜深. (Chang'e would not stole the pills if she had a second chance.)

Chang'e Flew to the Moon - c.1500BC

The Rabbit Lanterns - this has been a forever symbol of Mid Autumn lanterns in Hong Kong.  When we were kids, we lit the rabbit with candles and we needed to handle with care as we were playing with real fire.  Nowadays there are electronic ones which are more safe.  Knowing that rabbit is the only friend of Chang'e in the moon, it is easy to understand why rabbit lantern is such an important symbol of the festival.

Rabbit Lanterns

Star Fruit Lanterns - there are several fruits more popular around the Mid Autumn Festival.  Star Fruit is one of them.  No wonder star-fruit-shape lanterns has also been one of the most traditional lanterns in Hong Kong.

Star Fruit Lanterns

Traditional Lanterns - although electronic lanterns are widely popular in Hong Kong, but it can never replace the traditional way we play with lanterns.  At home, we prefer to lighting lanterns with candles.  After all, it's more fun although we had to take extra care to look after them.

Traditional Lanterns

Moon Cake and Taro - what has moon cake to do with taro? 'Rich people eat moon cake, poor people eat taro'. What?  Is there such a rule?  Of course not, but in any society, there are rich people and poor people.  Somehow most Cantonese in Hong Kong have heard about this: 有錢人家吃月餅, 冇錢人家吃芋頭.  Mid Autumn Festival is a time when family members get together, enjoy food and celebrate.  If you want to eat something good but cannot afford moon cake, then eat taro instead.  This could be the poor people ridiculing themselves.

Moon Cake and Taro

Pomelo Lanterns and Peels - pomelo is one of the fruits exceptionally popular at Mid Autumn Festival.  As it is large in size, it is good for family members to share.  Apart from this, the pomelo peels are very useful.  You see, the peels are so thick, hence we make lanterns and food out of it.


Pomelo Lantern - it all depend on your skill.  Some people can make very creative pomelo lanterns such as the one here.  

Pomelo Lantern

Pomelo Peels Dim Sum - Some people even turn pomelo peels into food. Today (the Moon Chasing Day), I specially order this pomelo peels over my dim sum lunch as part of the festival celebration.  In fact, cooking of pomelo peels take a bit of time and effort.  My mother used to cook it at home.  We need to get rid of the zest first and then soak the thick peels until soft, add some seasoning before steaming.  Shrimp roes and oyster sauce are usually used. When we were young, we had great fun helping our mother in preparing the pomelo peels and making of pomelo lanterns.

Steam Pomelo Peels with Shrimp Roes

If you want to learn more about the Mid Autumn Festival legends, stories and history, there is an article at the International Business Times.  Take a look and have fun.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Mid Autumn Festival 2014