Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Holiday Solo Dim Sum

Today (21/4) is the last day of Easter Holidays.  My family went on a belated Ching Ming grave sweeping, leaving me home alone, because I was suffering from leg pain. Since I couldn't walk much, eating have been the main theme of my holiday activities. 

Eat well to cheer up a sick person.  Even I'm alone, I still go on a slightly luxury solo dim sum lunch to wrap up my Easter Holidays.

Sportful Garden Restaurant is quite a high-end restaurant nearby my home. The food there is not bad at all, but every time they had something to upset me.

Today I ordered four of their signature dishes.  In terms of tastes, they were alright.  But in terms of presentation, services and cost of money, I was not satisfied at all.

Roasted Crispy Pork Belly (HK$58) 冰燒三層肉
Restaurant may be short of manpower over the holidays.  But there is no excuse for any restaurant to present any dish in this manner.  Click here to see a proper presentation of the same dish.

Pork Dumplings with Whole Abalone (HK$58) 原隻鮑魚燒賣
This is another signature dish of the restaurant as it claims to be an Abalone Specialty shop.  Presentation - so so, could be better considering the money they are charging.  Waiters could be busy over the holidays, but that was not an excuse to dump a dish onto the table.  Of course I could not expect a waiter to serve with any super graceful manner, but with some care and respect, at least!

Steamed Rice Roll with Shrimp (HK$33) 春風得意腸
They claim this as one of their private label signature dishes.  This is the most normal dish of my meal today.  Quite nice, but I was unable to determine what the crispy stuff inside, apart from the shrimps.

Almond Tea with Egg While (HK$24) 蛋白杏仁茶
Many a time I come to this restaurant intentionally for this dessert. Not sure if it is a matter of inflation, they didn't raise the price but seemed to have shrunk the size and the content of egg white.

Solo Dim Sum Lunch
Food cost: HK$173
Tea cost:  HK$10
Service charge: 10%
Total:  HK$201 (US$25.7)

Sportful Garden Restaurant 陶源酒家
1 Fleming Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel:  2258 7688

To summarise my yummy Easter, here's what I had.
Day 1 (April 18, Friday) - German buffet lunch
Day 2 (April 19, Saturday) - Dim Sum buffet lunch
Day 3 (April 20, Sunday) - Sichuan Lunch Set special
Day 4 (April 21, Monday) - Dim Sum solo lunch, signature dishes

My Eating Philosophy - To Eat Well and To Stay Slim
If you care to find out why I write this blog, you may realise I have eating problem and yet I overcome it by short term fasting.  It may seem that I've eaten a lot over the holidays.  Well, yes, I did, at least eating much more than I normally do. However I'm still keeping one meal a day.  So apart from the four meals above, I ate nothing else over the holidays.  So this means one meal every 24 hours.  But I don't restrict what I eat, I simply eat whatever I love to.  

There is another fitness philosophy called Eat Well Every Other Day.  Meaning you eat a restricted amount of calories on day 1 and on day 2 you eat whatever you love to.  If you want to explore my option of staying fit, there is a book called Eat Stop Eat.  Don't worry, I'm not asking you to eat one meal every 24 hours like me.  If you follow the ESE way of short term fasting, you only have to do a 24-hour fast twice weekly.  Well, if this looks possible, give it a try.  Or there is another book called The QOD Diet: Eating Well Every Other Day which is also worth reading.

If you want to eat well and at the same time stay fit, short term fasting is an interesting topic to explore.

Easter 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sichuan Holiday Special Lunch Set

The commercial areas in Wanchai had very little people over holidays, because people simply don't need to go to work.  Hence the restaurants in that area are offering holiday specials to attract the neighborhood residents.  Here's one that drew my attention.  

Sichuan Paradise had unanimous great reviews over the internet, namely good environment, good services, good food and good value of money.  Rarely I see a restaurant with that kind of rating.  So I've decided to give it a try over the Easter Holiday.  Indeed, this restaurant is wonderful and I must agree with all the positive reviews from the internet.

6-Course Lunch Set for Two - HK$138

The restaurant is situated on the 3rd floor of a commercial building. It was a Sunday, so we had no difficulties accessing a lift.  Undoubtedly it's interior design really offers a very comfortable eating environment.   And the waiters are friendly. We simply couldn't resist the special offer of HK$138 for two people. While we ate, we even doubt if HK$138 is really for two persons or one. 

In fact, they didn't shrink the dish size to compromise the price.  The prices are special but the dish sizes are regular.  Here's what we got.

Marinated Black Fungus 涼拌小木耳

A very healthy cold cut starter.  Black and white fungus with sliced cucumber and sesame.

Deep Fried Chicken with Dried Chilli 霸王辣子雞
This is really authentic Sichuan taste.  It made us cry.  If you love chilli food, here is really a paradise.

Dan Dan Noodle 擔擔面
Each one of us had a bowl of Dan Dan noodle which was served in three degrees of spicy.   I love spicy food but don't want to put on too much heat, so I opted for the minimal level.  

Pan Fried Dumplings 生煎鍋貼
These dumplings are very juicy and delicious.  I spilled some of juice so I took extra care in eating the second one.  It happened again, because it was so juicy.

Sliced Pork in Garlic and Chilli Sauce 蒜泥白肉
One more cold cut dish.  May be I can say this is the Chinese style bacon.  The very thin slices of pork and cucumber with garlic and chilli sauce, very delicious and healthy combination.

Red Bean Syrup 紅豆沙
Quite a common dessert, but well done.  Great to wrap up our meal.

Very spacious booth
No wonder everyone say that this restaurant offers comfortable eating environment.  And there are reasonable space between tables.  Good setting!

Pickles: Free
Pickles are generally charged at HK$10 per dish.  But we got them free as we were on holiday special.

Lunch Set for Two: HK$138
Tea cost: HK$12 per person
Service charge: 10%
Total:  HK$178 (US$22.8)

Other holiday specials
Lunch set for Two: HK$128
Hot Pot set for Two: HK$168/288
Some half-price hot picks.  

I think I must come again to try the hot pot set - 9-course for HK$168 is not bad at all for two persons.

Sichuan Paradise 天府人家
3/F One Capital Place
18 Luard Road, Wanchai
Hong Kong
Tel:  2205-0020

Hong Kong Food Blog - Holiday Sichuan Special

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dim Sum Buffet

I haven't seen dim sum buffet for some time.  Over the Easter holidays, I notice this offer from a nearby hotel, so I give it a try.  The overall experience is not bad, but still some rooms for improvement.

In fact, buffet is not quite accurate, should be one price, eat all you can.  To enable eaters to eat more varieties, the portion sizes are generally smaller than the ones from the a la carte menu.  We can even order the exact number of pieces for certain items.  The two of us had 18 variations and totalling over 20 dishes.

In terms of satisfaction, I grade the dim sums in three categories - Good, Average and Below Par.

Let's take a took at the Good ones.

Black Fungi in Rose Wine 玉露春耳
Very strong rose wine fragrance, a very healthy starter!

Preserved Beef Slices 牛展

Shanghaiese Pork Jelly 水晶肴肉
We ordered two dishes of the beef and pork, as they were really nice!

 Shrimp Dumplings 蝦餃
One of our most favourite dim sum items and they are generally expensive, so we decided to have two for each of us.

Shuijiao 水餃
 Kind of Shrimp Dumpling, but with pork in it.  My friend said the soup was Swanson.  Well, I was not able to tell, as long as the shuijiao tastes good.

Pan Fried Rice Rolls 煎蝦米腸
Next to the plain version, had only dry shrimps and green onion.  With dark soy sauce, taste good.

Cha Shao Bao and Chiu Chow Dumpling 义燒飽, 潮州粉果
As I said, some of the items can be ordered one by one. I don't want the Chiu Chow dumpling, so we ordered one for my friend and one cha shao bao for each of us.

Milk Custard with Almond Flakes 西杏炸脆奶
This dessert is quite unique and well done.  Not many restaurants serve this.

Honey and Pomelo Jelly 蜂蜜柚子糕
We are not sure of the dish size and it was towards the end of our meal, so we ordered just one.  I must say this is beyond our expectation.  Very fresh and fragrant.  Good pick!

Sago Cream with Mango and Pomelo 楊枝金露
My friend had Pumpkin cream.  They both looked the same, creamy yellow color, so I took photo for my sago cream only.  It's chilled with slices of mango and pomelo, wow...lovely!  Mango is my most favourite fruit.

Here are the Average items.

Rice Noodles in Soup with Chicken and Roasted Pork
I grade them average because my chicken noodle is just slightly warm.  Note:  dim sum has to been eaten hot for the best tastes.  My friend also commented that the soup was just Swanson.

Spring Rolls
I grade this average because it can be better.  The color can be more golden and the filling can be a bit more.  Note: the one on a la carte had snow crab in it.  The one we had was only veggie.

Baked Seafood Puff
Couldn't find much seafood inside.  In fact I was not sure if the stuffing had any seafood in it.  Freshly baked, also tastes average.

These are the Below Par items.

Beef Tripe 黑椒牛肚

Mushroom Pork Dumpling 冬菇燒賣

I don't think I need to tell why these are below par.  In terms of taste, they are acceptable.  But in terms of presentation, I don't think any restaurant should bring to the table something in that horrible manner.  In fact, we did try to tidy up a bit for photo shooting.  They were even worse when they arrived.

We were also not happy that the traditional authentic pork dumpling was not available while that was featured in the advertising poster.

Counting in the environment, services and foods, I would give it 8 out of 10.

In terms of money, it's quite a good deal.  We've tried to cross check the items against the a la carte menu, discounting the smaller portions we had, the food cost would go beyond $400, but we were only paying $108 per person.

Dim Sum Package - Eat All You Can (Dim Sum Buffet) - Weekends and Holidays Only

Food cost:  HK$108 per person
Tea cost:  HK$18 person
10% service charge
Total:  HK$277.2 (for two persons) (US$35.5)

OZO Wesley Hotel
1/F, 22 Hennessy Road
Hong Kong
T: 2292 3033

Hong Kong Food Blog - Dim Sum Buffet