Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tuen Mun Seafood Dinner

I have decided to go on a 3D2N local tour to Tin Shui Wai / Tuen Mun which is at the northern part of New Territory.  As I live in Wanchai, it takes 1-2 hours to the destination, so I consider this as a local trip.  I stayed at the Harbour Plaza Resort at Tin Shui Wai.  The room is very spacious - 409 sq ft. with very good open view. The cost is only HK$720+10% per night including breakfast, which is actually a very good deal.

After checking in to the hotel, we went on a visit to the T Park at Nim Wan Road, Tuen Mun. It is a sustainable sludge incineration plant featuring spa pools, extensive gardens & a wildlife habitat. A HK$53 billion environmental construction which went into work in 2016.

After the visit, a friend of mine who lives in Yuen Long took us to Tuen Mun for a seafood dinner. There are many spots in Hong Kong famous for seafood, Tuen Mun is one of them. The place we went was called Sam Shing where there are many seafood sellers and restaurants.  We bought the seafoods and then took them to the restaurant which charged cooking fee only. 

Clams with Udon in White Wine Sauce
Very fresh clams!

Baked Lobsters
Signature cooking method of the restaurant. Seafood restaurants in town usually do steaming, baking is relatively rare. It was coated with a layer of smashed potato and baked to golden colour. Very delicious. Forks and Knives were provided.

Mantis Shrimps
Mantis Shrimps stir fried with garlic.  A very traditional cooking method and yet very well done and yummy.  Very fresh with lots of meat.  Scissors were provided.

Steamed Prawns
This was my pick and my favourite way of eating shrimps and prawns. A typical way of Cantonese shrimp eating. Simple cooking but very delicious. However we must have to use our fingers. The restaurant provided us with wet tissues and we can easily clean our hands after eating.

Abalone Hot Pot with Ginger and Green Onion
Abalone in hot pot is quite a special way of cooking. Also a signature cooking method of the restaurant. These were fresh abalones which are less expensive than the dry ones. We like this dish very much! This is something I don't understand. Fresh things are usually more expensive than their dry versions, but abalone is the other way round.

Steamed Scallops with Jelly Noodle
Another traditional way of Cantonese seafood cooking. Very simple cooking, just steamed the scallops with garlic and jelly noodle. The tastes all matched very well.

Stir Fried Vegetable with Garlic
As a matter of balance diet, a dish of vegetable is a must. Again we've picked the simplest cooking method - stir fried with garlic.

The Seafood Party

We also had seafood soup and pork chop.

Thai Seafood
Take West Rail to Tuen Mun, then change to Light Rail #505 (or taxi) to Sam Shing. Buy the seafoods you like and tell the restaurant to cook them the way you want. The fee varies according to the cooking method.  Restaurants also provide set menu and some other non seafood choices.

Total cost: slightly under HK$2,000 (~US$260) (including food and cooking). My friend's treat, so I don't know the actual cost.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Tuen Mun Seafood Dinner

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Duck Restaurant

Found a duck restaurant in Wanchai. Quite an interesting and unique restaurant featuring duck and wine. If you are interested in Peking duck and any other duck dishes, and enjoy a glass of wine with food, this is an ideal restaurant for you.  Pinot Duck is located in Wanchai, not far away from MTR.  As its name denotes, the menu is full of duck. Although it serves Chinese food, the restaurant interior is very western style.  The menu is different from any traditional Beijing restaurant and its selling point is Peking Duck X Wine.  So it has quite a wide and good range of wine for your choice.

For lunch, there are sets ranging from HK$138 with a starter, main course and a drink. You can opt to add a little fee for a soup or salad. Bottle of water is free of charge.  

Starter - Duck Wrap in rice paper (Vietnamese style). Well presented, with cucumber inside and cabbage outside.  

Starter - Duck Wrap in steamed bread (Chinese style). Also very well presented, with cucumber and slices of green onion.

For the main course, my friend had a cold cut while I preferred something hot. However we decided to share everything.  

Duck Slices with Cold Noodle
Thick slices of duck meat. Nicely marinated, very delicious. Amount is just right. Not too heavy, and not too oily. Yummy and healthy!

Duck Meat Fried Rice
Very colourful with big lumps of duck meat. Lovely - I like it! I must say, this is a great place for duck lovers.

The restaurant is nicely designed and it is quite spacious between tables so everyone would have a relaxing eating environment. The waiters are friendly. We asked for a dinner menu for reference and found 90% of the dishes are duck - roast Peking duck, 八寶鴨 baked duck, duck soup, duck noodle, duck rice, duck...everything. The waiter suggested us to order half duck for 2-3 people and a full duck for 4 people or more. The cost of one Peking duck is HK$500.

Set Lunch: HK$138 (US17.8) + 10% service charge.
The set lunch includes free bottled water and a drink (coffee or tea)
Can opt to add HK$30 for a soup/salad

Pinot Duck
18 Luen Fat Street
Wanchai, Hong Kong

There is one in Stanley Plaza as well.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Duck Restaurant

Monday, April 2, 2018

Beijing House in Wanchai

The Beijing House recently opened a new restaurant in Hopewell Centre which is nearby my home, so I decided to go and try. Unexpected, the food came abnormally fast. All 6 dishes arrived within 5 minutes after we placed the order. 

The Beijing House claimed to be very authentic and all ingredients and chefs are from Beijing. Indeed, the food taste were all good, although the food temperature were relatively warm, rather than hot.  

Black Fungus 涼伴黑木耳

Black fungus is a healthy starter. It is not only unique to Beijing food, it is available in Shanghai, Sichuan and most of the northern cuisine restaurants.  You may notice there is a fish tang under the table, and we could see fishes swimming.

Stir Fried Daoxiao Noodles 刀削面
Daoxiao Noodles is a local characteristic traditional pasta of Datong City in Shanxi Province. It is one of the “Top Ten Chinese Noodles” popular in northern China. The operation process: the flour and lumps, the left hand to lift the dough, the right hand to take the arc knife, the surface one by one to cut into the boiling water pot. If you eat this in Shanxi, you may even see the chef's live demonstration. A very interesting process.

Stir Fried Shrimps 清炒蝦仁
Beijing has no coastline, so we believe these are river water shrimps. In fact, the simplest cooking method requires the highest cooking skill and the freshest ingredients. This is a live example of such. Very well done!

Stir Fried Lettuce 清炒萵筍
If I would have to translate the Chinese name directly, I would say it is some kind of bamboo shoot. But the menu says lettuce.  I believe this is some kind of vegetable available in north China only. As in Hong Kong we seldom could find this in the market.  Again, simple cooking method, fresh ingredient and high cooking skill.  Simply stir fried and dished up with transparent gravy.  Some restaurants like to cut it into thin and long slices, but the Beijing Home cut it into small lumps - another feeling in the mouth, which is good!

Beijing Duck 北京填鴨
Beijing Duck is the signature dish. We can order one at HK$400 or half at HK$210. We wanted to try more dishes, so we ordered for half. Although it came in 5 minutes only, the breads were hot and fresh from the steamer. Since we ordered for half, we lack the fun of having the chef do the duck cutting demonstration in front of us.

Beijing Dumplings白菜餃子
(Did not take photo)
It was just lumps of white, hence did not take photo. There were 8 of them, so each of us can share 2.

The Beijing Home decoration has quite an old Beijing feel.

The general dining experience here is fair to good. Generally fast is better than slow. But when all 6 dishes arrive within 5 minutes, our table seemed too small to accomodate them and that encouraged us to eat fast in order to get rid of some of the empty dishes. I would say if the dishes arrived within longer intervals, we would have more time to enjoy the taste of the foods.

The food menu has many items but some of the names you won't know what they are, even with the English description.  Desserts are not quite traditional. They have caramelized bananas/apples....a long list of caramelized items but lack of some of the most traditional Beijing dessert such as rolling donkey or 碗豆黄.

Beijing Home
7/F Hopewell Centre
Wanchai, Hong Kong

Total cost: HK$820 (US$105) for 4 people (including tea and 10% service charge)

In fact, there was a set menu for 4 costing HK$1,028 but we preferred to go a la carte so we can eat the right amount and choice of food that we want. And it ended up cheaper as well!

Hong Kong Food Blog - Beijing Home

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Seafood Christmas Dinner 2017

Have you ever tried Chinese seafood Christmas dinner?  I did it last night, on Christmas Eve 2017.  Dining out on festival day is usually crowded, expensive and low service level. Therefore I tried an opposite way and found it worked well.  I.e. Chinese food for western festival and western food for Chinese festival.  And this was the reason why I had a Chinese seafood Christmas Eve dinner last night.  My strategy proven to work.  The restaurant wasn't crowded at all and the service level was as good as usual.  Unlike some restaurants which only serve expensive festival sets, the restaurant I went last night didn't raise the prices and all usual foods are available.

Dinner for Two - HK$688 - 6 courses + desserts

This looked quite a good deal, so we gave it a try. Everything went well!

Chilled Marinated Fresh Abalone 冰鎮鮑魚
Looked well. Fresh and delicious - a very lovely starter.

Braised Bird's Nest Soup with Seafood 海皇燕窩

Very rich in taste. We found a lot of seafood in it. Presentation was also nice. We added some pepper as we wished.

Pan-Fried Japanese Scallop w/ Boletus Mushroom
The scallop was really giant.  With 5cm diameter after cooking, the original size must be huge. We were served with fork and knife to make eating easier.  However I would like to see more boletus mushroom. 

Deep-Fried Tiger Prawns with Seasame Seed Paste
Every dish was in one-person portion.  Very nicely presented. The prawn was fresh  and al dente.

Braised Wild Mushroom with Abalone Sauce
As a balance of diet, some veggies was a must.  With the abalone sauce, the mushroom and the veggie were both very yummy!

Fujian Style Fried Rice with Diced Abalone

Fujian fried rice was served with gravy, making it silky smooth for the mouth. Well I particularly like the giant prawn. I didn't expect to find such a giant, fresh and delicious prawn in the rice. Very nicely done!

Dessert Time
Fresh Pomelo and Mango with Sago in Coconut Cream 楊枝金露
The dessert had pomelo, mango and coconut inside, all were my favourite fruits. Served chilled.

Tien Yi Chinese Petit Fours 天一甜品薈萃
I personally liked the brown one which had the taste and feeling of Chinese New Year Pudding. Soft and chewy, not too sweet. Taste was just right.

The entire Seafood Christmas Dinner was just right in terms of quantity, taste and price. Services were also good.  The foods came one after one, we didn't need to wait too long in between dishes.  Waiters were friendly.  The place was nicely decorated with sufficient spaces in between tables which made the eating environment very comfortable.

Dinner for Two - HK$688
Tea - HK$20 per person, 10% service charge
Total bill: HK$800.8 (US$103)

Tien Yi Chinese Restaurant 天一酒家
Level LG1, Pacific Place
Admiralty, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2918 9889

Hong Kong Food Blog -  Chinese Seafood Christmas Dinner

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Winter Foods in Hong Kong

Winter Foods are now becoming popular in Hong Kong, as Dec is approaching and weather is getting cooler.  Chinese believe eating seasonal food will strengthen our health. So most Chinese restaurants are now promoting their winter food menu to attract more customers.  Indeed, its time to eat something to keep us warm. Some of the best selling items in Hong Kong Winter include: Snake Soup, Mutton Hot Pot and any kind of hot pot rices and dishes.

Below is a summary of my recent Winter foods in 2017.

Mutton Hot Pot羊腩煲
Mutton Hot Pot is served on real fire.  Not only the food, the entire process keeps us warm. We have also mushrooms, bamboo shoots and sheets, water chestnuts and green onions all get together to make the pot pot extremely delicious. It is sold at the price between HK$300-500 (including lettuce), depending on the class of the restaurant. Some  restaurants may sell at a lower price, but charge the lettuce separately.

Taishi Five Snake Soup 太史五蛇羹

There is an oldest Chinese sentence: "when autumn wind is up, three snakes get fat ". Snakes become the "first treasure" in Chinese Winter cuisine. Why this dish is so popular and who is Taishi?

Taishi is a government officer in Qing Dynasty. He has a hobby of studying the art of food. He even hired a high skilled chef to create delicious foods for his family and guests. The 5-Snake Soup is one of his inventions, so it was named after Taishi.

The 5 kinds of snakes - banded krait, ratsnake, cobra, radiated ratsnake and white snake, and then boiled with bamboo shoots, plastic flowers, fungus and mushrooms for 5-6 hours.

Apart from the quality of food, the chef’s skill of using knives is very important as to cut the ingredients into thin slices and making the feeling in mouth excellent. Chrysanthemum and lemon leaves, crisp are added to add taste. And we can add some pepper as we wish.  The one we had costed HK$109 per person.

American Barrel Oysters 美國桶蠔煲

This is a hot pot too, but served off fire. They are really giant - Half the size of my palm! They were delicious, but little bit dry.  It would be perfect to serve with some gravy.

Stir Fried Needlefish with Eggs 白飯魚炒蛋

This is not a hot pot, but I can still sense the wok heat! Well done! Should anyone wants to add some calcium to their diets, this is quite a good choice, as you are going to eat the entire fish (with bones). Don't worry, they so tiny mini, safe to eat.

Shuang Xi Lou 雙喜樓
This is the restaurant I had my snake soup.  See the promotion posters at the entrance? They are all promoting their winter menus. 

Other Winter Foods in Hong Kong 
(from my photo collection, not from my dining table)

Hot Pot Rice with Preserved Chinese Sausage/Meat (Lap Cheung, or Lap Mei)

There are many variations, lap cheung is the most popular. Preserved duck is also sought after. When served immediate off fire and with some dark soy sauce, it is so fragrant and I would say everyone would love it.  Sometimes we cook it at home too.  But if you're dining out, hot pot rice is usually sell at per person price, and at least 2 or 4 persons as a minimum.

Stir Fried Sticky Rice with Lap Mei

Again, we cook this at home quite frequent during winter time. Some restaurants says their sticky rice is stir fried from the very beginning with raw rice. Some people thought this is the best way to cook and eat lap mei sticky rice, but cooking time could be up to 40 minutes.  So we believe the rice should be pre-cooked (steamed) and then stir firing is the last step. No matter what, this is one of the most popular winter foods in Hong Kong as well.

So what are your favourite winter foods?  Next time when you visit Hong Kong during winter time, do try some of the famous winter foods here. I'm sure you'll love them.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Winter Foods in Hong Kong

Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Birthday Lunch 2017

I love Shanghainese food, so I choose to have a Shanghainese lunch on my birthday. Xiao Nan Guo used to be one of my most favourite Shanghainese restaurants in Hong Kong.  For some reason I haven't been there for some time and today when I come, I notice a few changes here.

Although the restaurant's Chinese name remains 小南國, its trade name is changed to 1987 Shanghai Min. Well, this restaurant was opened in Hong Kong in 1987, so the name change is understandable.  The second change is the location. Luckily it only moved from 12/F of Time Square to 11/F, so I still manage to find it.  The third change is somewhat strange - their most famous signature dish 'grandmother's pork' disappeared from their menu!

No wonder people always say 'the world is changing'. This I can understand, but a restaurant stop selling something highly reputable and in high demand is beyond my understanding. In fact, 'grandmother's pork' is one of my most favourite Shanghainese dishes, and I come to Xiao Nam Guo because of it. Luckily the waiter told us there was a replacement dish called 'braised pork with bamboo shoot'. Very juicy, tender and delicious.  Even if your grandmother is a meat lover but her teeth didn't perform well, she can still enjoy this dish without a problem. 

Braised Pork with Bamboo Shoot (HK$298)

Chinese usually eat noodle on birthdays. I'm not quite sure of the reason behind, but could be a matter of longevity, due to the length of the noodles.
 Green onion stirred with Soy Sauce is one of my favourites from Xiao Nan Guo, very yummy.

Noodle Stirred with Green Onion and Soy Sauce (HK$48)

Qi vegetable is flown in from Shanghai direct. Its availability is quite depend on the season, luckily it is available today. It is a cold dish cooked with dry tofu - very healthy 

Qi Vegetable with Dry Tofu (HK$58)

Drunk Chicken (HK$80)

Undoubtedly good! I even drank a few spoons of the soup with very fragrant Chinese wine.  No worries, no one will get drunk with a drunk chicken.

Deep Fried Mini Yellow Fish (HK48@)

This appears on almost every table. They are really wonderful! Very crispy outside, soft and tender inside. Price wise, not too expensive.

One thing I want to mention is that they have an area dedicated for 2-person tables. It is relatively quiet comparing sitting at the main dining area - quite a good idea!

Anna's 2-person Birthday Lunch at 1987 Shanghai Min
HK$705 (c.US$91)
inclusive of tea, pickle and 10% service charge

11/F, Time Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: 2874 8899

Hong Kong Food Blog - Shanghainese Birthday Lunch

Friday, June 2, 2017

Private Kitchen Dinner

I haven't had private kitchen dinner for some time. It's becoming very popular nowadays in Hong Kong. Last Tuesday was Dragon Boat Festival, my nephew took us for a private kitchen dinner. The 14 of us had a private room, although relatively small but at least with some privacy.

Private kitchens usually serve unique menus and ours was relatively luxury.

Starter: Smoked Eggs
Everyone of us had a half egg which were served with some fine salt. Looked colourful, a good starter.

Cold Cut: Chilled Abalone

Most of the dishes were served per headcount, so each of us had one abalone.  I had two, because we had a baby in the group, and his father decided to let me eat his. Very chewy, well done!

Steamed Clams, Dual Style: Thai

Clams are generally not my favourite, but the boss's, especially the Thai flavour ones.

Steamed Clams, Dual Style: Wine

So each of us had two clams, one in Thai Tong Yam style and one in Chinese wine.  

Garoupa Dual Style: Stir Fried Meat with Green Beans and Black Truffle

Expensive item! Well, one piece per person?! I did expect a larger portion!

Garoupa Dual Style: Steamed Head and Bones

Golden Pears, made of prawn meat

We thought the pears were dessert, but they were not. The pears were actually deep fried prawn meat, served with avocado sauce. Each of us shared a half pear. Little bit creative, in terms of appearance. Taste? Not bad at all.

Pomelo Peel with Goose Feet

These two veggie dishes were quiet normal however with relatively expensive ingredients such as bamboo pith. Pomelo peels were cheap however took a lot of time and effort to make it taste good. So both dishes were well done!

Assorted Veggie with Bamboo Pith

Signature Dish: Sweet and Sour Pork, chilled version
Quite amazing, in terms of appearance!

Signature Dish: Sweet and Sour Pork, chilled version
After the decorative ice craft was removed, we had to dig into the ice cubes to look for our sweet and sour pork.  However we could have more than one fruit if we want. It was my first time having sweet and sour pork chilled version. Quite creative, but again, one piece per person was not quite enough.

Roast Chicken with Tea Leaves

Didn't look good, but tasted good. The tea leaves' black color wasn't attractive, but the chicken was very delicious with crispy skin and juicy meat.

Steamed Sticky Rice with Crab

I am not skillful in eating crabs at all, every time it hurts the mouth, so I decided to go without it. The crab juices sipped into the sticky rice, making my plain rice very yummy.

Lee House Restaurant
303 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

12-Course Dinner for 14
$?? - My nephew's treat

I've checked other set menus of HK$6,900 for 12 persons, and found ours to be more luxury, with tea and service charge, total bill may go close to HK$10,000.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Private Kitchen Dinner