Friday, December 28, 2012

Outback Wanchai – Aussie Set Lunch

Outback Steak House - Aussie Set Lunch

At the red light district in Wanchai, there are lots of pubs and bars.  Although these shops are situated among normal residents’ homes, I have never heard of any conflicts.  In fact I live in this area. These pubs and bars provide quality set lunch at very reasonable prices.  Outback is one of the restaurants that I like most in this area.   

I wanted to go to Australia this Christmas however without success.  I have therefore decided to go for an Aussie meal.  Set lunch is far more economic than a la carte, however food is as equally good as dinner.  I haven’t come here for long after my changing of eating habit (eat dinner only).  Today I have a half day off, so I decided to do something different – eat lunch instead.  Here’s a summary.
Aussie Set Lunch
All set lunches at Outback Wanchai are served with bread, soup, salad and a glass of soft drink.  There are 9 set lunch options from $68 to $98, depending on the main course. 

Well, this black color wheat bun is their signature dish. Hot, soft and aroma together with house cream, I’m sure it won’t let anyone down. Salad is quite average but the veggies are fresh and it offers a good balance of diet. 

The porcini soup tastes very well, however extremely thick.I’m not if Aussies really love heavy consistency.

I used to come here for their hamburger which is really big and super delicious.  But today I have grilled fish of the day, served with risotto and vegetables.  The salmon is very crispy outside and juicy inside.  Unfortunately the skin is a bit over done.  For health reason, I’ve decided to omit the black skin.

After all the big meal made me completely full and satisfy.  I must say it is a very good value of money.  Western foods in Hong Kong are very often being cooked to compromise local taste.  I’m not sure if Outback is 100% authentic Aussie,  but I’m happy with them.

There is a bar area at the centre of the restaurant

You can find signs of Australia everywhere in the restaurant.
Grill Fish Set Lunch
HK$98 (US$12.6) + 10% service charge
1/F, De Fenwick, 8-12 Fenwick Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
Tel: 3101-0418
Outback has 8 restaurants in Hong Kong

Neighborhood bars and pubs serve set lunches from HK$58 to HK$98, plus 10% service charge.  Most of them display their menus at the entrance.  Feel free to walk around and pick your favourite foods.
Hong Kong Food Blog - Aussie Set Lunch 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wedding Banquet 2012

I went to a wedding banquet last Thursday.  I liked the food, but didn't like the arrangement.
Typical Hong Kong Wedding Banquet Run Down
Hosts usually start to receiving guests at around 4pm.  Guests can play games, such as mahjong till 8pm.  Hosts and guests usually take photos before dinner.  Then after a short ceremony and video presentation about the couple's love story, dinner starts.  Here's how I don't like the arrangement.
MC announced that dinner will start at 8.15pm (while the invitation card says 8pm).  Well I would say a 15-minute delay is acceptable.  Guess what, dinner didn't serve till 9.30pm.  Guests all gathered around the tables, waiters were standing there waiting for nothing as they've done all they could, but there were no signal from the host that dinner could start.  Everyone getting very impatient and very hungry.  After dinner, the hosts were still busy taking photos and even forgot to go shake hands and say goodbye to the guests until the restaurant master reminded them.
Fortunately the food was not as bad as the arrangement.  I would say it was quite a good dinner.  Good food, fresh ingredient, well presented and served.
Good Chinese food has three elements:  look good, smell good and taste good.  Here are a few good examples.  For wedding banquets, all dishes are given very beautiful and meaningful names.  Please excuse me as I'm really unable to translate these names.
Stir Fried Spiral Shell and Broccoli
Very colorful and beautiful

South African Abalony with Cabbage and Goose Web
My favourite!  Each one of us has an abalony.  The goose webs are very soft and delicious.
Mushrooms, Bean Sprout and Dry Scallop in Melon
A very healthy dish, mostly vegetable, looks good and tastes good
Shark Fin Soup with Crab Meat
I don't mean to offend shark fans, but this dish was exceptionally well done.  The crab meat in the soup was like the size of my little finger.  The shark fins are thick and chewy.  It's expensive.  I can realise that top grade ingredients are used.
It's time for a break.  In a Cantonese wedding banquet, the bride and groom as well as the host family members will walk around the floor and toast to each table.
After the toast, it's time for the fish and chicken to show off.
Oh my goodness, this garoupa is really giant, fresh and yummy.  Do you notice the little bowls and dishes around the fish.  That was for the waiter to serve us.  We were not allowed to grab the food oursleves.  Instead we had to wait for the waiter to share for us.  They replace a fresh serving plate for each guest for each dish.  Well, good services, but not environmental!
Steam Giant Garoupa
Cantonese banquest always fill guests stomach to their limit.  After the heavy 8-course dinner, there were rice and noodle, dessert duo style and fruits.  Come on, we simply couldn't eat any more.  After all, everyone had to take the oranges home.
Hasma Dessert with Lotus Seeds
Few people will host their wedding banquet with this dessert, because hasma is expensive.  That's why I say the dinner arrangement was bad, but the food was really good. 
Wedding Menu
Here's the menu.  In a typical Cantonese wedding banquet, food is usually served in this sequence.  Depending on the budget of the host, the choice of food may vary.  I must say this banquet may cost around HK$6,000 per table.
Roasted Piglet * Prawns of Duo Style * Mushroom and Scallop * Spiral Shell and Broccoli
Shark Fin with Crab Meat * Abalony and Goose Web * Giant Garoupa * Crispy Chicken
Seafood Fried Rice * Dumplings and Noodle * Hasma Dessert * Pudding Dessert * Fruits

Wedding date:  November 29, 2012
Restaurant: Chao Dynasty, 132 Nathan Road, Kowloon
Standard gift:  HK$500
In the Hong Kong Cantonese culture, we usually give cash coupon as gift when attending wedding banquets.  Of course this is the most welcomed gift.  I spend $500 for this dinner, but well worth it.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Wedding Banquet

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.