Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lamma Island Seafood Outing

I'd always love to have seafood at Lamma Island. I would say Lamma Island has the best eating environment among all the famous live seafood spots in Hong Kong. See I was eating at a seaside restaurant below.

November and December has the best weather in Hong Kong - clear sky, sunny but cool - ideal for outing. I've therefore taken a day off and went on an outing along with a seafood lunch with my sister.

The tour started at Pier 4 in Central and took about 30 minutes to arrive at Yung Shu Wan. The scenic leisure walk to Suk Ku Wan is about 90 minutes which is easy for people of all age. I even bought fish snacks and shrimp paste kind of souveniors on the way.

Seaside restaurant at Lamma Island
Mantis Shrimp (HK$160)
You may not believe, only 2 minutes after we picked our seafood, the king-size mantis shrimp was delivered to our table, stir fried with salt and pepper. we could still sense the 'heat of wok'.

Scallop with garlic and jelly noodle (HK$25@)
The steamed scallops looked plain, but delicious though.

Steam Live Fish (HK$160)
There was an argument between the two of us. We both like live seafood. But my sister is far more demanding. She wants 'free range' seafood, i.e. fishes that survive naturally in the sea; and I don't mind fishes being manually raised in tanks. There are difference in price, and of course quality of meat and taste. Well, the one we had was from a tank!

Fried Rice (HK$45)
The seafood we picked didn't fill our stomach, so we decided to have a dish of fried rice. I thought we used to be served free soup, but not this time. Inflation! Free items gone!

Live Seafoods
There were plenty of live seafood for our choice. The shop owner told us whether we do A La Carte or set menu, the seafood supply are the same. While we enjoyed picking our favourite choices, set menu also looked good, especially for those who wanted a better budget control. Take the 2/3 persons set menu below for example, they had steamed prawns and stir fried vegetables on top of what we had, and the price of HK$468 was only $53 more than we paid. I must say it's quite a good deal. No wonder a lot of foreigners like to go for set menus.

Lunch Date: December 2, 2011 (Friday)
Cost: HK$415 (US$53.2), no service charge
Lamma Hilton
Suk Ku Wan, Lamma Island
Tel: 29828290

More information about Lamma Island.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Lamma Island Seafood Outing

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Macau Luxury Dinner

I had a day off yesterday and visited Macau. Well I would want to include some Macau food info in this blog. Because people visit Hong Kong always visit Macau together. I’m a frequent Macau visitor, and would want to share with you my dining experience there.

Jardin De Jade had my favourite dish – smoke duck – on their menu at very attractive price - MOP40/half and MOP68/whole – according to some information at the Macau Pier.

First, we were completely happy with the lovely and clean environment along with the friendly waiters.

We had some default appetizers (vegetable, ham and pumpkin) so we can start eating even before ordering.

Jardin De Jade - we had little booth, a semi private dining area.

The Appetizer - Vege, ham, pumpkin - MOP20. Lovely, colorful and well presented. We liked it.

Drunk Chicken - One of our favourites. I had never heard my sister kept saying 'yummy' while eating. In fact, this drunk chicken was extremely pleasing and delicious. We even tried to drink the soup. Very yummy and delicious. (MOP66)

Smoke Duck 樟茶鴨 - it's great that I find a place nearby to eat my favourite smoke duck. I don't need to fly to Beijing for it, at least. But the info from the pier was absolutely out dated. On the menu, it was MOP78/half and MOP108/whole. But the strange thing was that we paid only MOP55 at last for a half duck. We didn't know why we were offered the discount.

Buns to go with the duck. Same as eating Peking duck. Freshly steamed, hot and soft. Extremely comfortable to eat with the duck. And also we were served some sweet and sour sauce.

Abalone Mushroom with Vegetables. As a matter of balance diet, we always order vegetables. They were cooked with chicken broth, tasted very well. (MOP52)
Briased noodle. We always want some rice or noodle to wrap up a meal. This Yangzhou style noodle in soup is light, healthy and yummy. (MOP42)
I liked also the utencils from this restaurant. They are all tailored made. Tea pot, chop sticks, napkins, everything had their trademark on it.
The hotel where the restaurant situated is celecrating its 5th anniversary. I thought this could be the reason we had discount on the signature dish (smoke duck). I took this photo becasue I wanted to turn that $5,000,000 into real cash. Unfortunately I had no luck in this trip and end up losing money.

Dinner date: November 29, 2011
Number of People: 2
Cost: MOP285 (US$35.5), inclusive of 10% service charge
Restaurant name: Jardin De Jade 蘇浙匯
Restaurant address: 6/F, Star World Hotel, Macau
Restaurant telephone: 853-8290-8638

Note: This restaurant has a branch in Hong Kong (at Sun Hung Kai Centre in Wanchai).

Hong Kong Food Blog - Smoke Duck from Macau

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Luxury Dinner at Special Price

In Hong Kong, there are many ways of eating good food at reduced price. One way I do it is by taking the special offers from restaurants. I receive a leaflet in my mail box from U Banquet for their special promotions. All my favourite foods are there. So I decided to take my family members there and enjoy an economic luxury dinner.

Chicken Broth with Shark Fin
HK$368 (US$47

Wow, a lot of shark fin! Depends on the type of shark fin, it could be very expensive. But I paid HK$368 only which is good for four persons.Chicken broth usually required a lot of cooking time in order to become milky white, thick and rich in taste. Essence of the broth is the ingredients. Cantonese restaurants usually serve the ingredients and here is our chicken.
Cantonese Mutton Hot Pot 羊煲腩HK$98 (US$12.56)
Cantonese mutton hot pot is served on real fire. We really love this in winter days which keeps us warm. Apart from mutton, we have tofu sheets, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, mushrooms and plenty of gingers. And there is a special kind of preserved bean curd sauce. The whole combination is meant to make the mutton less smelly and more delicious.

Spinach with Garlic Cloves in BrothHK$55 (US$7)
As a matter of balance of diet, we must have a dish of vegetable. The beauty of Cantonese cuisine is simple yet delicious. And spinach is extremely healthy, not oily and rich in fiber.

Steam Live Fish - $0 Apart from the special price items, here comes the free items. This fish is not too big, but just good for the four of us. The best thing about it is 'FREE'. The chef mastered timing extremely well, and the fish was JUST cooked. Very fresh and delicious!
Snow Ear Fungus and Red Dates Dessert - $0
The snow ear fungus dessert is a Chinese delicacy cooked with white snow ear fungus (雪耳), lotus seeds (蓮子), dried red dates (紅棗) and rock sugar (冰糖). I love this dessert as it is beneficial for facial beauty because the ingredients used are highly nutritious. It is another free item of the night and of course very yummy.
Chinese Birthday Bun - HK$14@ (US$1.8)
Although we were pretty full, we still wanted to share half a birthday bun. None of us were born in November, but we simply love it. This buns were exceptionally good, not only because it is cheap. It is BIG and steam to order. The most important thing is that it has a very thin cover and lots of stuffing. Many chefs were unable to produce a bun with thin cover and thick stuffing. The stuffing consists of lotus seed paste and egg yolk (similar to that of mooncakes). Very yummy!

Dinner date: November 15, 2011
Cost: HK$668 (US$85.6), included 10% service charge
Restaurant name: U Banquet

Restaurant address: 3/F, 288 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Restaurant telephone: 852-2811-9628

Hong Kong Food Blog - Luxury 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.
Leaving comments in my blog is a matter of wasting my time to read and delete.  It is in no sense contributive in saving sharks.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Make Green Bean Syrup

Weather is turning cool and dry in Hong Kong. Per Chinese calendar, winter began Tuesday November 8 in 2011. 立冬, one of the 24 weather festives - time to enjoy some hot and sweet desserts. One of the most traditional and easy-to-make Hong Kong Cantonese desserts is Green Bean Syrup. Every dessert shop would have this on their menu, but home made is cheap and you can tailor to your own taste.

Home Made Green Bean Syrup 綠豆沙

Home-Made Old Hong Kong Cantonese Dessert –
Green Been Syrup with Seaweed and Herbs

• green beans
• seaweeds
• herbs (optional) (臭草*)
• sugar

* The herb itself is very fragrant, but I don’t know why it is called the opposite – bad smell grass.

1. Soak the green beans for a few hours. Overnight if possible.
2. Soak the seaweeds until soft and cut into slices of your own preferred width.
3. Boil 8 bowls of water.
4. Add green beans, turn heat down after boiling.
5. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. Then turn heat off.
6. Cover for 20 minutes.
7. Add seaweeds and herb.
8. Turn heat on and simmer for 20 minutes.
9. Add sugar and then turn heat off.
10. Cover for 20 minutes before serving.

NOTE: The alternation between simmering and covering is important to let the syrup become very silky and smooth.

Bar sugar is usually used in making green bean syrup. But I have some red sugar which has a flavour of ginger. I tried to use it and find that my green bean syrup taste extremely well. Did you notice that my green bean syrup has a tint of red?
Hong Kong Food Blog - Green Bean Syrup Dessert

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cafe Too Tea Buffet

It seems tea buffet at Cafe Too had a price increase. But I have re-gained my confidence of eating at Island Shangri-La. Unlike the terrible experience at Waterside Terrace the other time, Cafe Too is much closer to 5-star.

Tea buffet is relatively inexpensive, though my boss said we may be eating the left overs from lunch buffet. Anyway, what I enjoy is keep eating. I still have one cash coupon, so I paid very little for a very nice tea buffet.

My table was nearby the Indian corner, and I had fun watching the chef making naan breads. See video below. Kind of playing magic!

OK, here is my naan bread. Does it look nice?
To go with the naan bread, there are spicy fish sauce, sweet mango sauce and couple other sauces. And of course we enjoyed the chicken and vegetable curry. Though we were busy eating with fingers, it was fun playing around with the naan bread.
Spicy fish sauce and sweet mango sauce
The noodle booth is also next to my table. I also enjoy watching the chef taking orders and producing a bowl of hot and delicous noodle in just minutes or even seconds.

Here is my cooked-to-order Minced Meat Noodle with Black Fungi. A little bit sour but yummy.
The other ingredients available are vegetables and meats.
Guests just placed an a la carte order, and the bowl of noodle will be ready very soon. Of course there are various kind of sauces for guests to add on.
Dessert lovers should find their favourites here. Ice creams of various flavour, tarts and cakes, fresh fruits, instantly made pancakes...Thai sytle pomelo salad, mango and sticky rice in coconut sauce, Japanese shushi and sashimi...The Chinese corner is relatively less attractive with some finger foods, fish and chip, and some dim sum.
Finally, I really enjoy making the Malaysian Kacang madly with the plenty of ingredients provided. The one I have here contains laichee, mango, pineapple, coconut meat, grass jelly, red beans, milk and coconut juice. Unfortunately the service lady was busy and didn't provide me with ice. Well I'm still very happy with it.
To wrap my my tea buffet with a cup of cappuccino, I was extremely full and had to go to the nearby Hong Kong Park to walk off some food.

Cafe Too
7/F Island Shangri-La
Tea Buffet only available on Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays, 3.30-5.30pm
HK$268 (US$34.4) + 10% service fee for each person

Hong Kong Food Blog - Tea Buffet at Cafe Too

Friday, September 23, 2011

5-star Hotel Dining Experience

If you think that dining experience at 5-star hotels are always 5-star, wrong!

I’m a health club member of Island Shangri-la and I swim there almost everyday. I receive some dining coupons recently and thought I should take my friends there because the poolside restaurant environment is really nice. Unfortunately that was the only strength they had. Food and services had no way to impress.

The table I booked was completely empty when we arrived. They offered us another table which had only two settings while I booked for four. We had to wait for 30 minutes to have the table fully set.

The food was unreasonably expensive, comparing to their quality. The $240 sea bass was next to rotten. I assume any professional chef should be able to tell that fish was not fresh enough to be served on any dining table. Pomelo salad, Phad Thai, chicken, spring rolls were just so so. The wanton in Tom Yam soup was not bad but $155 for only 6 wantons was just too expensive.

They didn’t re-fill water though the four of us were completely dry. They also didn’t remove/replace used/empty dishes. Our table was such a mess. Any high street fast food shop in Hong Kong could provide better services. In fact we were the only group of guests that evening, apart from the single gentlemen who enjoyed his cigar more than food. What are the excuses for poor services and poor food?

Pomelo Salad ($180)
Wan Ton in Tom Yam Soup ($155)

Spring Rolls ($85)
Thought this is the cheapest on the menu
Chicken in Leaves ($85)
Stir Fried Noodle ($165)
Any Thai restaurant in Hong Kong can produce something more delicious than this.
The next-to-rotten Sea Bass ($240)
The strong sauce couldn't hide the unfreshness of the fish!
Mango with Sticky Rice and Ice Cream
I gave it a 'marginal pass'. One of my guests who was Thai Chinese didn't agree with me. She graded it 'failed'.
Perhaps this was the only strength of the restaurant. We oversaw the pool and the Bank of China while eating. As the restaurant was almost empty, I was free to borrow another table to take this photo. As the table we ate was in such a mess.
After all, my Thai Chinese friend said she never eat fishes in Thai restaurants as she's from Bangkok and she knows that Thai chefs are generally no good in cooking fishes. I thought she didn't tell me this out of courtesy while I picked the dishes.

Waterside Terrace

8/F Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong

HK$1,083 (incl. 10% service fee)(US$138.8)

Hong Kong Food Blog - Poor Hotel Food

Monday, September 12, 2011

Snowy Moon Cake

Today is Mid Autumn Festival – August 15 in Chinese calendar. Well the most popular festival food is of course Moon Cake. This year I really want to try snowy moon cake. Though this new breed of moon cake was invented some years ago, I didn’t try it until this year.

The other day I passed by Wing Wah, a famous Hong Kong Chinese bakery, and bought a pack of their icy moon cake. Icy and snowy, same thing. As its creator Taipan calls it snowy moon cake, I’ll call it snowy moon cake.

Traditional moon cake is made of lotus seed paste and salty egg yolks, but snowy moon cake has only the shape of a moon cake but the ingredients are completely different. There are many choices of flavours but my favourite is mango. Unfortunately the saleswoman gave me a pack of coffee. It’s quite expensive, I must say. Two 1-inch cakes cost HK$40 (US$5.13) which means HK$20 for one cake which is only good for couple of bites. If it is not a festival food, I would never buy such an expensive cake.

The Moon and Seven Stars – is another traditional moon cake being interpreted by snowy moon cake. One big (the moon) being accompanied by seven small (stars) cakes - is usually very expensive. My brother received a gift pack of Maxim’s snowy moon cake this year and I was glad to have a chance to share a tiny piece of all the eight flavours.

燕窩綠豆蓉 Bird’s Nest Green Bean Paste
1. 藍莓芝士 blueberry and cheese
2. 芒果脆脆 mango dip
3. 楊枝甘露 pomelo and grape fruit
4. 抺茶甘栗 green tea and chestnut
5. 滑滑奶黃 milky egg
6. 天使白朱古力脆脆 angel dip (white chocolate)
7. 魔鬼脆脆 devil dip (black chocolate)

Another highlight of the Mid Autumn Festival is lanterns. The star fruit and rabbit lanterns are the most traditional that almost every Chinese kid (including adults when they were kids) must have played round with. See my star fruit lantern below.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Snowy Moon Cake

Friday, September 2, 2011

Spicy Belly Soup 胡椒豬肚湯

Who else is suffering from bloating?

I’m here to give you a dietary solution. Chinese is very good at dealing with health issue through daily diet. Spicy soup to deal with bloating is a perfect example. This is really clever, because even if it won’t work, we still got something delicious to eat. However spicy soup in clearing bloating always works. I see great results every time I drink it.

If you’ve read my post about ‘why I set up this blog’, you’ll know that I used to suffer from bloating quite badly. Though it’s been improving since I practice intermittent fasting, it is still bothering me occasionally. Recently I feel really bad and I remember this traditional Chinese dietary wisdom. It is cheap and delicious though with a little preparation work.

Spicy Pork Belly Soup Ingredients
 - 1 pork belly (HK$20)
 - 1 pack of pickled vegetable (HK$7)
 - Some white pepper

The Spicy Soup ingredients are really simple, but it involves quite a bit of work in cleaning up the pork’s belly, which is actually the stomach of a pig. Therefore the best is to place an advance order and ask the pork seller to do the cleaning work for you. Today I just think of it and want to do it immediately, so I have to clean it myself. Here are the steps.

How to clean a pork belly
1. Remove all fats.
2. Drain the belly and flush out as much dirt as possible.
3. Cut open the belly and scratch away the dirt with a knife.
4. Rub with some organic dish drops; you can use salt and flour as an alternative.
5. Drain well until it is not smelly at all.
Cooking procedures
1. Par boil the pork belly in boiling water for a few minutes.
2. Cut the belly into small pieces.
3. Rinse the pickled vegetables in water to avoid the soup being too salty or too sour.
4. Grind some white pepper. The hotter the better in clearing the gas in our digestive system. Depending on the heat you can put on, use as much as you want. As for myself, I like to have my throat feeling on fire while drinking.
5. Boil 6 bowls of water.
6. Add the belly, pickled vegetable and pepper. Turn heat down after boiling.
7. Cook for one hour with low heat. **I use Amway, so low heat is fine. You may use slightly higher heat if you use other utensils. Keep simmering.
8. Turn to high heat for the last 5 minute before serving.

Spicy Belly Soup 胡椒豬肚湯

If you think that there is too much work, you can simply enjoy this soup from any Chiu Chow restaurant. But since they are serving the general public, their taste is relatively mild. If you want to have the ‘throat on fire’ feeling, it’s better to cook it yourself. I usually cook a big pot and consume for 2-3 days and see my bloating problem gradually improve.

For more healthy Chinese cooking ideas, visit my chef friend Nicholas Zhou’s website.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Spicy Belly Soup 胡椒豬肚湯