Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Lunch

Christmas Eve lunch is not always possible for me. Although people enjoy eating at festival seasons, but eating at high season may not be an enjoyable experience.  First, restaurants are full of people, you are running short of the normal service standard.  Second, restaurants are full of people, your are running short of a decent eating environment.  Third, restaurants set prices abnormally high as they have too many customers.  The list goes on.  After all, I still want to enjoy a Christmas Eve lunch, because our company offers a holiday today.  In fact, the entire company closes between 24th December to 3rd January.  We get 12 days off without applying our own annual leave.

Anyway, let's get back to today's Christmas Eve lunch. To avoid peak hour, we arrived at the restaurant at 11.45am, making us the first customer there.  It is a 6-course lunch, ranging from HK$328 to 368 depending on the main course.

White wine - there are red/white wine and orange juice for us to choose.  Since we chose fish as our main course, so we go with white wine.

Menu - Well it looks attractive and reasonably priced.  But...

Lobster Bisque - it was fresh chestnuts cream soup on the menu, but we were asked to choose between lobster bisque or cream soup of any kind.  Why?  The waiter said the chef had no time to prepare the chestnuts soup. However, I must say this lobster bisque was indeed very delicious!

Smoked Turkey and Baked York Ham - The waiter said 'no turkey'.  We then said this is not a Christmas menu, we better go elsewhere or choose some other regular set.  Well, the Christmas menu costs over HK$328 per person, other sets cost less than HK$100 - the waiter had a quick chat with the chef and come back saying 'yes, we can serve turkey'.  After all, we got our lovely turkey and ham with salad.

Fresh Fillet of Garoupa with Saffron Sauce - almost an inch thick, the garoupa fillet is really fresh and wonderful!  There is cream sauce, but I don't notice the saffron!?

Creme Brulee - we had this in place of the fresh apple pudding on the menu.  The waiter didn't even care to explain why?  Well, it's not bad, but I just don't know why I can't have my favourite apple pudding!?

To wrap up the meal, we had a cup of coffee.

Although I dine at this restaurant quite often, but I don't remember it's name.  As there is a large notice at the entrance saying 'push hard', I just name it as "大力推門".  Indeed we do need to push the door with extra effort in order to go inside. 

大力推門 at Hennessy Road, Wanchai
December 24, 2015
11.45am to 12.45pm
Christmas Set Menu
HK$338 (US$43) per person + 10% service charge

Hong Kong Food Blog - Christmas Eve Lunch

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nice Cantonese Dinner in Wanchai

My company pays a quarterly free dinner for secretaries.  We vote and pick our favourite restaurants every time.  This time someone nominated Sing Kee Seafood Restaurant in Wanchai.  Although I live around that area, it was my first time eating there.  Indeed I found a gem around the bar area in Wanchai.  The food was really nice and reasonably priced.

The first three items (soup, chicken and lotus cake) had to be pre-ordered.  What is special about the menu here is that you can find some very home styled dishes, such as minced tofu with fish 老少平安. Apart from this, the taste is really home taste which I really like.

The soup with pig's lung, almond juice, fish maw - milky white, was very rich and delicious. The soup content was served in a separate dish and the size was like a small mountain.  We can pick our favourite ingredients after enjoying the soup.

杏汁豬肺湯 (HK$780)

Steamed Chicken with Cordyceps Flower and Lotus Leaf
蟲草花荷葉蒸雞 (HK$380)

This steamed chicken is presented nicely with great fragrant, although a bit oily.

Pan Fried Lotus Cake
藕饼 HK$132/12件

The lotus cake was ordered to 1 per person.  Few restaurants nowadays serves this dish.  It's actually kind of old-fashion Hong Kong style family dish.  I remember my mum made this at home when we were young.  The way they made it was quite chewy, nice!

Stir Fired Prawns with Soy Sauce 豉油皇大蝦

Going to a seafood restaurant, we must have to pick some seafood.  A whole swimming fish would be too expensive, although our company pays.  So we  picked some fresh prawns and had them pan fried with soy sauce.  Again, very yummy!

Deep Fried Salt and Pepper Kau Fish 椒鹽九肚魚

These two deep fried dishes were claimed to be signature dishes.  Our preference was the kau fish, but when the waiter repeated our order, he kept saying Squid (because too many people order for that), so we decided to take a regular size for a try. 

Deep Fried Salt and Pepper Squid (standard size) 椒鹽鮮魷

Since we have 12 people, so the dishes were ordered in double size (double in money of course).  But we found that the standard size was not small at all, and we were happy with it.

Tofu with Mushrooms 雜菌豆付

As I said, this is a very home-style dish, looks normal but tastes wonderful, and healthy as well.  They made the tofu to the size of a French toast, get a hole in the middle, deep fried and inserted some mushroom.  Simple but well done!

Kale in High Soup 上湯芥蘭

This is the best way to add some fiber to our dinner.  So we had a good balance between meat, seafood and vegetable.  All dishes were super delicious!

Sing Kee Seafood Restaurant 星記海鮮酒家
21-25 Luard Road
(Serves dinner only)
Total: HK$3, 076 for 12 people
(including tea and 10% service charge)

Hong Kong Food Blog

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pink Breakfast at Butcher's Club Deli

The Breast Cancer Fund organized a Pink Walk at the Peak yesterday.  Our company joined the walk and then took us to a "pink breakfast" after the walk.

It is an annual fund raising event.  Once I hopped on the bus towards the Peak, I noticed half of the passengers wore pink.  The organizer allow walkers to take their dogs.  So it was somewhat like a dog show as well.  There were four dogs in our group.

Because we needed a dog-friendly venue which is also private to our group, it was not easy, and after a thorough search, we decided to go to Aberdeen, to have our breakfast at The Butcher's Club Deli.

The restaurant is situated inside a factory building.  In fact many of Hong Kong's manufacturing industries moved to China, leaving many vacant spaces.  In order to maximize the use of land, government allows some of the factory buildings to run other businesses.  So nowadays we can find some private kitchens within industrial buildings.

The roof top breakfast was really relaxing.  Kids and the dogs also enjoyed the setting very much.  I especially like the open view together with the mild weather yesterday.

The Butcher's Club Deli has two floors - the Penthouse and the roof top.  Dogs are allowed at the roof.  30 of us occupied the entire roof.  

The breakfast was in fact a brunch.  Although it looks somewhat simple, there were actually 9 items in the plate - slice of bread, there was an egg and some beans at the bottom, together with two sausages, grilled mushroom, tomato, potato cake and bacon. Personally I don't like the blood sausage, the other items are really well done, especially the giant mushroom.  Coffee and tea were self serviced.  Some colleagues went downstairs to enjoy desserts at their own expenses.

Each dog was served with a tray of water.  Kids were glad to offer them their left-over bacon.

I don't know the price.  But according to their website, a hamburger costs HK$100, so I guess a private venue breakfast would cost close to HK$300 per person.

18 Wong Chuk Hang Road
Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Phone: +852 2884 0768

Hong Kong Food Blog - Pink Breakfast

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wu Kong Shanghai Restaurant

Grand Mum's Pork 外婆紅燒肉
Although this is very soft and juicy, I would still grade it as 'failed'.  Why?  As its name indicates, this dish is cooked for grand mums, whose teeth are generally weak and cannot manage a lot of chewing.  In terms of tenderness and taste, it's fine.  But do you see the bones?  I had never eat this dish with bones.  All other restaurants make this dish from boneless pork belly, because it is for the grand mum.  I really can't accept bones in this dish.

Jelly Pork 鎮江肴肉

It's lucky that we don't find bones in this dish.  If there are bones in jelly pork, then I must tell the world that this is the most 'creative' Shanghainese dish.  OK, I would say this is fine and nice.

Stir Fried Button Mushroom with Preserved Vegetable 雪菜口蘑

This looks a bit new.  Preserved vegetable with button mushrooms.  Not too rich in taste, but just right.  Quite good. Well as a matter of balance diet, we do have half of our food with meat and half vegetable.

Qi Vegetable and Tofu Soup 薺菜豆腐

I don't know what qi vegetable is.  It seems it is only available in Shanghai restaurants.  With some pork slices, the soup is relatively thick.  And to balance the green smell of the vegetable, we had to add some pepper to make the taste just right.

In fact we want to order some dessert, but the dish size is relative big.  To avoid overloading, we rather end the meal without anything sweet. 

Total:  HK$420 (US$53.8)
(for 2 persons, including tea and 10% service charge)

Wu Kong Shanghai Restaurant
17/f Lee Theatre Square
Percival Street, Causeway Bay
Hong Kong

Hong Kong Food Blog - Shanghainese Dinner

Friday, July 24, 2015

Non Spicy Sichuan Food

Non spicy Sichuan food? Are there really any? Yes of course.  If you love Sichuan food but cannot put on too much heat, there are still plenty of choices.

I have a coupon of HK$100 for dinner at a Sichuan restaurant.  So I took my sister there.  Both of us like little bit of spicy, so here are our dishes - 2 cold cut starters, 2 hot dishes, 1 soup and couple of dessert.  

Cucumber Lumps with Garlic 手拍青瓜

Cucumber with garlic is a very healthy combination.  The special thing about this dish is that the cucumber lumps has to be pounded by hand with a heavy knife.  I think the garlic sauce is seasoned with some sesame oil.  Very fresh and delicious.

Pork Slices with Smashed Garlic 蒜泥白肉

Sichuan restaurant menus usually indicate the level of spicy by the number of chilies between one to three.  So this pork slices has two chilies means it is of medium spicy, still acceptable to us.

Stir Fried Chewing Pudding 炒年糕

Cantonese usually eat chewing pudding sweet, but Sichuan chefs make it savory which is quite a new taste to me.  Stir fried with preserved vegetables and pork slices, in a relative thick gravy, very fragrant and silky smooth.

Vinegar Fish Fillet 醋溜魚塊

This is quite a famous non spicy Sichuan dish.  While other tables all have big bowls of food full of red chilies, our table looks a bit plain and rare.  But look, this doesn't look colorful, but tastes good.  Fish fillets and black fungi in moderately thick gravy, we can sense the fragrance of vinegar combined with a little level of sweetness.

Fish Maw Hot and Sour Soup 魚肚酸辣湯

We share one bowl of soup not because of saving money, because the dishes are really large in size, and we want to be able to eat a little more varieties.
With one chili, the level of spicy is just right for us.  Lovely soup!

Sweet Dumplings 擂沙湯丸

We had this sweet dumplings before and love it very much.  It is made to order and it's still warm when arriving our table.  There are lava type sweet filling, coated with a layer of fine flour of some kind.  Very nice.

Green Bean Syrup 綠豆沙

While we had to pay for the sweet dumplings, the restaurant offered us the green bean syrup free of charge.  This made us exceptional full and kind of over loaded when going home.  But I really enjoyed the dinner.  Because this restaurant apart from providing wonderful food, its setting is lovely and comfortable together with friendly waiters.  Price wise is quite reasonable.

Cabbage in Plain Water 開水白菜
If you think that Sichuan signature dishes are all spicy, then you're wrong.  One of the most famous Sichuan dishes that China government serves their national guests is called the Plain Water Cabbage.  It's really plain in appearance but delicious for the mouth.  The restaurant we went last night serves this dish.  Unfortunately it has to be pre-ordered, minimum four, and costs HK$128 per person.  So the two of us missed the chance to try this national dish.

Total bill:  HK$556.5, deducting the $100 coupon, we ended up paying HK$456.5 (US$58.5) for our 6-course non spicy Sichuan dinner.  Well, they gave us another $100 coupon, really aggressive in encouraging us to come again!

Tin Fu Paradise
Wanchai, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Food Blog - Non Spicy Sichuan Food

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Family Annual Dinner 2015

Chinese New Year is approaching. Year-end Family gathering dinner is a big event to Chinese. I made some money in the stock market recently, so I decided to treat my family a nice dinner. Although we all love seafood, but our menu is kind of a semi seafood one.  The restaurant offers set menu for 12, but we had 20 people, so we decided to order for two tables of 10.  Restaurant then agreed to shrink the dishes down to fit 10 persons and cut the price accordingly.

Unlike the usual starter of a roast pig, we had five mini dishes to kick start the dinner - roast pork, black fungi, preserved turnip, jellyfish in vinegar, preserved pork slices.  These are lovely light and healthy dishes.

Roast Pork - Tailored for 10 Persons
Roast with honey, tender and juicy, very nice.

Jellyfish and Cucumber in Vinegar

Preserved Sliced Pork

Black Fungi in Wine

Preserved Turnip - Very Crispy

Shark Fin in Chicken Broth

One of the most popular Cantonese delicacy, especially in festival menus.

Stir Fried Scallops with Green Peas

Our second seafood dish of the night.  Crunchy green peas and fresh scallops, very nice combination.

Sea Cucumber and Mushroom in Oyster Sauce
For hot pot dishes, we had to mind the temperature, or the tongue will have to suffer.  This photo didn't reflect the bubbles which were still sizzling when arriving the table.

***Giant Sabah Groupa***
Steaming fresh fish is the gem of Cantonese cuisine.  No matter how experienced we are in eating fresh fish, we are surprisingly happy with this super fish.  The plate was so giant to cater for the giant fish.  And it was boneless, absolutely silky smooth and we can taste the sense of freshness.  I must say this is the superstar of the night!

***Pan Fried King Prawns with Soy Sauce***
This is another surprise of the night - a rare item and it is expensive and few menus has it because they spend most of their budget on the shark fin.  I normally do not order huge size prawns as it's difficult to find good ones.  But these king prawns were so fresh, meaty and chewy.  I didn't had a chance to eat such giant size prawns of outstanding quality for a long time.  So this is another superstar of the night.

Deep Fried Chicken
This is always my favourite! 

Hairy Vege and Dry Oyster with Chinese Lettuce
Chinese dishes nearby Chinese New Year are usually given good names - names that carries a sense of luck and fortune.  Dry oyster means 'good business'; lettuce means 'profit'.  We all love these of course.

Stir Fried Taiwanese Noodle with Sliced Pork
Well, I would say this is the third surprise of the night.  As at the end of a Cantonese feast, we usually have noodle and rice to wrap up the dinner.  However our menu had only one dish of noodle which made us thought that restaurant was trying to cut cost.  But this dish was even bigger than a dish of rice plus a dish of noodle.  We were so excited because it didn't only look good, but also taste very delicious.  Cantonese treat 'wok heat' as an important element of food, and this dish of noodle was really well done.

For desserts, we had puddings and fresh fruit platter.

After all, we all went home with a heavy stomach.  Luckily we brought some boxes to take some food home so that we didn't have to leave them on the table.  So the next day I still had noodle and chicken as dinner. 

Cost per table:  HK$3,488
Tea per table: HK$140
Service charge: 10%
Total bill (2 tables): HK$7,982

Kam Dau Kee Seafood Restaurant
Wanchai, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Food Blog - Year End Family Gathering 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.