Friday, December 17, 2010

Hong Kong Milk Tea and Tea Set

Let's talk more about Hong Kong Tea Culture. Apart from traditonal Chinese tea, Hong Kong is famous for its very unique style Milk Tea. It's actually world famous. When you visit China Towns all over the world, you'll see restaurants putting up big signboards specifying "Hong Kong Style Milk Tea" . And here is it - very silky smooth. Secret recipe available only in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong locals love this milk tea, including myself. Some even addicted to it. They are usually part of a breakfast set, lunch set or tea set. Or they are sold stand alone. Hot is usually around HK$10 and cold is around HK$13, and ice-free cold is around HK$15+.

Now let's see what is usually accompanying the Hong Kong milk tea to make up a tea set.

Pineapple Bun - listen, the shape, the taste or the ingredients - there is nothing to deal with pineapple, except the name. Hong Kong people love to insert a flat piece of butter and name it Butter Pineapple Bun.

Egg Tart - both egg tart and pineapple bun are usually cheap, round about HK$4-5 each. Butter pineapple bun is slight more expensive.

Best Place to Enjoy A Hong Kong Tea Set - Tea Restaurants

Now, don't mix up with dim sum restaurants. We usually call dim sum restaurant Cha Lou 茶樓 and tea restaurants Cha Chantang 茶餐廳. Tea Restaurants (cha chantang) are some typical small casual restaurants. These are the place where you can enjoy superb quality Hong Kong milk tea. They outperform 5-star restaurants in terms of milk tea.

How Much is A Hong Kong Milk Tea Set?

From the Golden Phoenix menu above:
tea + egg tart - HK$17
tea + pineapple bun - HK$ 17
tea + butter pineapple bun - HK$19
tea + chicken pie - HK$20

How Does A Typical Hong Kong Milk Tea Restaurant Look Like?

Here is one.

This is one of the most classic and beloved tea restaurants in Hong Kong. It is situated at a side street in Wanchai. You won't notice it even you go pass it. The way to locate it easer is by the line of people waiting for a seat or buying out-of-oven egg tarts. I live in Wanchai for over 30 years and this restaurant has been here for over 30 years too. Guess what, I never had a chance to visit it because I just can't put up with the long waiting line.

OK, here are some sample tea sets - with all the tea partners, egg tart, pineapple bun and chicken pie altogether.

Next time when you are in Hong Kong, don't forget to see if you are lucky enough to find a seat at Golden Phoenix 金鳳茶餐廳 (see above) - 41 Stone Nullah Lane, Wanchai, Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Hong Kong Milk Tea

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tea Culture in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, if someone invite you to 'yum cha' 飲茶 (tea drinking), it does not mean drinking of tea only, but to have dim sum together with tea. However when we name this activity as 'yum cha', it indicates how important tea is in the food culture of Chinese.

Tea in a Cantonese dim sum restaurant is charged per head. Depending on the restaurant and the time you go, it may vary from HK$6 to 20 per person. There are many choices of tea. As for myself, I always ask for Pu Er. This is dark in color, very fragrant and strong in taste. It is very good to go along with food, as it will help digestion and melt off some of the fat in the food.

My Favourite Pu Er Tea 普洱
Some people like Xiang Pian as it is very fragrant,
however less strong than Pu Er.
Xiang Pian Tea 香片
When we go 'yum cha' in a big crowd, we may order many pots of tea. The restaurant usually lable the tea pots so that we can easily identify our own favourite tea. Need to re-fill? Easy. Lift the lid as a signal and the waiter will come.

Lift the lid - Waiter will come add water for you
Chiu Chau Tea Culture
If you happen to go to a Chiu Chau restaurant, they may serve 'Kung Fu Tea' 功夫茶 without extra charge. However if you go during the economic hours like early morning or afternoon, they may not give you this little bonus. 'Kung Fu Tea' is just a nick name and it is actually Shui Xian 水仙 or Tie Guan Yin 鐵觀音 by tea type.

Chiu Chau restaurants usually serve it before and after meal in addition to the tea you order. They are finely prepared and Chiu Chau people usually treat their important guests with it.
'Kung Fu Tea' - Shui Xian 水仙
Strange Tea Culture in Hong Kong
Almost all dim sum restaurants, including some medium to high end restaurants will serve you a big bowl and an extra pot of hot water for you to clean the utensils.

Isn't it funny or strange? But it happens as a custom. Restaurants won't treat this as a shame. I don't think I need to clean the cups and chopsticks myself, but as I'm being served that way, I just follow the rule of game. When did this custom start? I can't recall. Guests demanding for extra hygiene or restaurants offering extra service? Probably it's a matter of whether a hen or an egg exist first. Anyway, don't be shocked in a Hong Kong Chinese restaurant seeing guests doing their own cleaning work.

Doing our own cleaning work

PS: I notice this 'cleaning' custom also happen in other areas of China, especially in restaurants serving visitors from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Tea Culture in Hong Kong

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cream Sauce Spaghetti

Bacon Chopped Onion Spaghetti in Cream Sauce
Price: HK$68 (US$8.72)
Surchage for soup and coffee: HK$18 (US$2.3)
Service charge: 10%
Restaurant: New Burgh Cafe at 113 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Does this dish look nice? It does. And does it taste delicious? It does. However I have a story to tell. This is my dinner for tonight: cream sauce spaghetti. Cream sauce?! Yes, that's what I order from the menu.

Size of the dish: 6 inches. Portion: even smaller than what I collect from a breakfast buffet chef. I finished eating in three bites and within a minute. That was the end of my $68. If you been following my blog, you know that I don't eat much. Even so, this was not enough to fill up half of my stomach.

I used to buy take-away from this restaurant which is usually of good value. Tonight I have some time and decided to sit down and enjoy a relax dinner. I ended up with this story to tell. What are you after, when you want to enjoy a good dinner, quality or quantity?

Hong Kong Food Blog - Cream Sauce Spaghetti

Monday, November 1, 2010

Peking Duck in Hong Kong

I don't usually eat lunch. And I don't usually eat heavy lunch. But today I've broke all my rules. My boss took me out for a farewell lunch with an overseas colleague.

I need to fast for 40 hours after this lunch. Anyway, let me talk about the Peking Duck we had. Peking Garden, the one we went at Alexandra House has been highly rated by visitors. And they are one of top producers of Peking Ducks in Hong Kong.

The duck was included in our set menu, but I noticed the price is HK$380 (US$48.7) if you place a standalone order.

Look, the presentation was not bad at all. Cucumber, sauce and bread were all laid out nicely. They even brought the duck to the table for our photo taking before cutting it.

You may wonder what that is. Well, espresso. A Chinese restaurant serving espresso? That's correct. I have visited this restaurant many times but never know about it. I was a bit shocked when the waiter offered the service. Probably they only offer this to expacts and not locals.

Their menu is very comprehensive if you want to go a la carte. However if you want to save time and effort (of course not saving money), there are set menus available.
Here's the set menu we had for today.
  1. Braised spare ribs with black vinegar sauce
  2. Sea blubber
  3. Sauteed prawns and scallops with cashewnut in hot garlic sauce
  4. Braised shark's fin soup with crab meat
  5. BBQ Peking Duck
  6. Pan fried sliced fish
  7. Sauteed seasonal vegetable
  8. Fresh fruit platter

    1. Peking Garden
      Shop B1, First Basement Floor, Alexandra House, Central, Hong Kong
      Restaurant telephone: 852-2526-6456
      Hong Kong Food Blog - Peking Duck

      Monday, October 25, 2010

      Home Made Tofu Dessert

      It’s now autumn in Hong Kong, weather is getting cool and dry - time to enjoy desserts. Yesterday we decided to make fun by playing mahjong and at the same time joined hands to cook desserts for tea time.

      Tofu Sheet Syrup is one of our most favourite old Hong Kong desserts which we all loved since we were kids. Of course our mums made it for us, and now we make it for ourselves. In fact, it was the first time the four of us join together to make this dessert and it was fun.

      Home-Made Old Hong Kong Dessert –
      Tofu Sheet Syrup with Eggs
      4 Servings (total cost: HK$25 / US$3.2)


    2. 4 dry tofu sheets
    3. 4 boiled eggs
    4. 1 whisked egg
    5. Ginkgo (pitted) – quantity as you wish
    6. Crystal sugar
    7. 8 bowls of water
      • Tofu Sheet Syrup with Eggs

        1. Boil four eggs for 7 minutes. Remove shells.
        2. Soak ginkgo, remove the center bit.
        3. Boil 8 bowls of water.
        4. Add tofu sheet until it is soften.
        5. Turn to low heat, let it simmer for 20 minutes until the tofu sheets start to melt. You may want to simmer for 30 minutes if you want to have the tofu sheets dissolved completely.
        6. Add the boiled eggs.
        7. Add crystal sugar. Test until you find your loved level of sweetness.
        8. Before dishing up, add whisked egg and stir gently.
        9. Turn heat off. Cover for 5 minutes before eating.
        NOTE: Crystal sugar is the perfect match for this particular dessert. DO NOT use any other kind of sugar.

        As we all love the mini silky soft tofu sheets, so we simmered for 20 minutes only. It was so lovely and delicious. Rest of the day while playing majhong, we were still talking about how delicious our tofu dessert was.

        Dry tofu sheets are available at the market

        Hong Kong Food Blog - Home-made Tofu Dessert

        Saturday, October 9, 2010

        Classic Chiu Chau Snacks

        I found a newly opened Chiu Chau restaurant, Megared, nearby my house. So we decided to give it a try.

        Like many other restaurants in Hong Kong, eating early or late is far more economic than peak hours. We went at tea time, ie. 2-4pm. For breakfast, if you pay your bill before 12.30pm, you will enjoy special price too.

        Here are some of the special price dishes that we've ordered. They are really economic. The foods are delicious and served speedily. We've ordered a few of the Chiu Chau signature dishes. Even if you want to order a big dish of fried noodle or rice, the price is only around HK$38 which is really a good deal.

        Goose Meat Noodle 鵝片湯面
        Spicy Soup with Pig's Belly and Pickled Vegetable
        Wow...very yummy! My priority Chiu Chau dish.
        When I make this at home, I must add a lot of pepper
        and it's really good in relieving my bloating problem.
        胡椒咸菜豬肚湯 (HK$14.5/US$1.85) Chicken Feet with Chinese Medical Herbs,
        such as Gogi and Angelica
        藥膳鳯爪 (HK$14.5/US$1.85)
        Megared Chiu Chow
        6/F Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen's Road East
        Hong Kong Tel: 852-2528 1680
        Hong Kong Food Blog - Chiu Chow Signature Dishes

        Thursday, September 23, 2010

        Mid Autumn Festival Dinner

        Lunch date: September 22, 2010
        Occasion: Mid Autumn Festival Dinner

        Number of people: Four
        Cost: HK$680(US$87.1), inclusive of 10% service charge

        Restaurant name: Shanghai Xiao Nan Guo
        Restaurant address: 12/F Time Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
        Restaurant telephone: 852-2874-8899

        It was Mid Autumn Festival yesterday, we tried to book a table for a family dinner. In Hong Kong, the day of Mid Autumn Festival is a working day, but the day after is a public holiday. Reason being the moon is being admired at night, so people can still work during the day. But a holiday is granted on the next day due to late night sleep.

        Because it was a festival day, the restaurant only allowed us to book either 6pm or 8pm just to maximise their business. However the restaurant owner might have over estimated his business. We were there at 6.30pm and was requested to leave before 8pm. However we saw some tables were vacant until we left. The food was served speedily. Well, that's the way they made us to leave on time. Here are our favourites.

        Cold Cut - Sliced Chicken with Jelly Noodle
        we had to stir up the dish with the sesame sauce
        雞絲粉皮 (HK$58)
        Sliced Chicken with Jelly Noodle (before stirring)

        Noodle with Green Onion 蔥油辦面
        My Number One Favourite
        Deep Fried Mini Yellow Fish
        小黃魚 (HK$28@)
        Very crispy and very yummy!!!
        This is in fact a signature dish of Xiao Nan Guo

        Stewed Pork's Knuckle
        Another signature dish and our favourite
        元蹄 (HK$188)

        Soup: Salty Pork with Bean Curd Sheets 奄篤鮮 (HK$118)
        They didn't present the soup -
        only served a mini bowl for each of us - hence no photo

        Hong Kong Food Blog - Mid Autumn Festival Dinner

        Tuesday, September 21, 2010

        Moon Cake and Partner Fruits

        Tomorrow is Mid Autumn Festival (September 22, 2010) - August 15 in Chinese calendar.

        Moon cakes are my favourites. Though cake makers in Hong Kong are very innovative, making all kinds of fruit, ice cream ... moon cakes, but what I really love are the traditional ones - lotus seed paste with egg yolks.

        We usually eat fruits along with moon cakes as fruits are delicious and healthy. There are fruits which are exceptional tasteful around Mid Autumn Festival and they are pomelo, star fruit and grapes. Seedless green grapes are wonderful. In fact, not only me, most Hong Kong people eat these mid autumn fruits together with moon cakes.

        I'm going to enjoy eating my juicy pomelo and moon cakes after writing this post. Happy Mid Autumn Festival!

        My Favourite Moon Cakes and Pomelo

        My favourite moon cake fruit partners:
        green grapes and star fruit

        My green trio and moon cakes are perfect match!

        When I was a kid, we made lanterns from the left-over pomelo peels. Well, many kids had this game for fun. Star fruit is also the shape of many lanterns even nowadays.

        Hong Kong Food Blog - Moon Cakes and Fruits

        Thursday, September 16, 2010

        More Cantonese Dim Sum and Dessert

        Just realise that I haven't posted dim sum photos for some time. Here are some of my recent collections.

        Traditional Cantonese Breakfast
        Congee and Rice Roll 皮蛋瘦肉粥
        Among which, congee with salty sliced pork and millenium egg + steamed rice roll is the classic duo. But today we chose the stir fried rice rolls.

        Stir Fried Rice Rolls 炒腸粉
        Chinese Pancake 煎薄餅
        Deep Fried Dumplings 咸水角
        Assorted Dim Sums 各式點心
        Why we feel happy eating dim sum is that we enjoy
        seeing the whole table full of delicious dishes of our own choice.
        And everybody busy picking their own favourites.
        一齊來多多點心, 大家都好開心

        Fluid Egg Yolk Bun

        Inside the Egg Yolk Bun 奶黃飽
        Better eat it hot, or the fluid staffing will liquidate

        Chinese Donut 蛋散
        A very traditional Cantonese Dessert
        I was eating this when I was a kid.
        This should be one of the oldest
        Hong Kong traditional dessert.

        Hong Kong Food Blog - Assorted Dim Sum

        Sunday, September 5, 2010

        Black Listed Restaurant

        I don't always have luck, such as this horrible dinner. In fact, this restaurant is not the first time upset me. I have therefore decided to black list it. The other day we ordered four dishes, only one got a marginal pass.

        Steam Scallop with Jelly Noodle - Most Horrible
        Could not sense any temperature - Perhaps done an hour before we placed the order. The jelly noodles were just like iron wires.


        The Pan Fried Buns was also another cold cut?! Again, might have been pan fried an hour before we placed the order. The presentation was to untidy!


        'Beat Cucumber' - the cucumber was completely unprofessionally 'beaten' and the presentation was really messy. I tried hard to make it to be a little better in order to take a photo. And it was absolutely tasteless.

        Roast Chicken - HK$48 or a half chicken. Quite a good deal, I gave it a marginal pass.


        Foo Lum Restaurant 富臨酒家 - 1/F, 72-86 Lockhart Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong. This is a chain restaurant which has many branches in Hong Kong.

        This restaurant is a mid-range restaurant, reasonably decorated and priced. Services are so so, but food quality is totally unacceptable.

        The other night when we went there, the lift was out of order and we had to walk. The staircases were flooding. Luckily there weren't any accident. But I must say this is the last time I visit this restaurant.

        Hong Kong Food Blog - Black Listed Restaurant

        Wednesday, September 1, 2010

        Home Made Cold Noodle

        Hong Kong is very hot in summer. I always want to eat cold cut but for safety reason, try not to eat outside. So I have decided to make it myself. But Cantonese don't have much cold dishes and they are quite difficult to do. I have therefore decided to go for Japanese. In fact, I always do this in summer.

        My cold cut dinner is extremely easy and quick to do. Believe it or not, mine is even quicker than Nigella Lawson's. I only take five minutes to get this cold noodle done. There is only one little preparation work to do - get ready some cool and cold water. I'm sure most of you have these always available at home. NOTE: These cool and cold water must have been boiled. Do not use water direct from tap.

        OK? Let's start.

        My recipe is for one person. If you have more, just expand it.

        1. Get some cool water and cold water ready.
        2. Boil water and add soba. Let it simmer for three minutes.
        3. Transfer soba to cool water, drain.
        4. Transfer soba to cold water, drain.
        5. Dish up and add cold soba soup.
        6. Add a can of sardine (any flavour).

        Home Made Japanese Soba with Sardines

        This Japanese sardine has three flavours. I love the spicy one. Put it in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

        As a balance of diet, I also had a few slices of pineapple as my dessert. Wow, very yummy and healthy.

        The whole dinner took me five minutes to cook. My kitchen was completely free from smoke and oil, and it was extremely easy to do the cleaning work. What a lovely cold dinner.

        Hong Kong Food Blog - Home Made Soba with Sardines

        Sunday, August 15, 2010

        Mango Mille Feuille

        Do you love Mille Feuille? I love Mille Feuille and mango. The chef therefore decided to tailor-make one for us with lots of mango. I have a cake coupon from Island Shangri-La so I ordered this birthday cake for my sister-in-law free of charge. Very crunchy but not too sweet.

        Mango Mille Feuille
        Apart from the traditional layers of puff pastries, the chef offered us more mango inside! Wow, yummy! Thanks for the creativity.

        Hong Kong Food Blog - Mille Feuille