Sunday, December 24, 2017

Seafood Christmas Dinner 2017

Have you ever tried Chinese seafood Christmas dinner?  I did it last night, on Christmas Eve 2017.  Dining out on festival day is usually crowded, expensive and low service level. Therefore I tried an opposite way and found it worked well.  I.e. Chinese food for western festival and western food for Chinese festival.  And this was the reason why I had a Chinese seafood Christmas Eve dinner last night.  My strategy proven to work.  The restaurant wasn't crowded at all and the service level was as good as usual.  Unlike some restaurants which only serve expensive festival sets, the restaurant I went last night didn't raise the prices and all usual foods are available.

Dinner for Two - HK$688 - 6 courses + desserts

This looked quite a good deal, so we gave it a try. Everything went well!

Chilled Marinated Fresh Abalone 冰鎮鮑魚
Looked well. Fresh and delicious - a very lovely starter.

Braised Bird's Nest Soup with Seafood 海皇燕窩

Very rich in taste. We found a lot of seafood in it. Presentation was also nice. We added some pepper as we wished.

Pan-Fried Japanese Scallop w/ Boletus Mushroom
The scallop was really giant.  With 5cm diameter after cooking, the original size must be huge. We were served with fork and knife to make eating easier.  However I would like to see more boletus mushroom. 

Deep-Fried Tiger Prawns with Seasame Seed Paste
Every dish was in one-person portion.  Very nicely presented. The prawn was fresh  and al dente.

Braised Wild Mushroom with Abalone Sauce
As a balance of diet, some veggies was a must.  With the abalone sauce, the mushroom and the veggie were both very yummy!

Fujian Style Fried Rice with Diced Abalone

Fujian fried rice was served with gravy, making it silky smooth for the mouth. Well I particularly like the giant prawn. I didn't expect to find such a giant, fresh and delicious prawn in the rice. Very nicely done!

Dessert Time
Fresh Pomelo and Mango with Sago in Coconut Cream 楊枝金露
The dessert had pomelo, mango and coconut inside, all were my favourite fruits. Served chilled.

Tien Yi Chinese Petit Fours 天一甜品薈萃
I personally liked the brown one which had the taste and feeling of Chinese New Year Pudding. Soft and chewy, not too sweet. Taste was just right.

The entire Seafood Christmas Dinner was just right in terms of quantity, taste and price. Services were also good.  The foods came one after one, we didn't need to wait too long in between dishes.  Waiters were friendly.  The place was nicely decorated with sufficient spaces in between tables which made the eating environment very comfortable.

Dinner for Two - HK$688
Tea - HK$20 per person, 10% service charge
Total bill: HK$800.8 (US$103)

Tien Yi Chinese Restaurant 天一酒家
Level LG1, Pacific Place
Admiralty, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2918 9889

Hong Kong Food Blog -  Chinese Seafood Christmas Dinner

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Winter Foods in Hong Kong

Winter Foods are now becoming popular in Hong Kong, as Dec is approaching and weather is getting cooler.  Chinese believe eating seasonal food will strengthen our health. So most Chinese restaurants are now promoting their winter food menu to attract more customers.  Indeed, its time to eat something to keep us warm. Some of the best selling items in Hong Kong Winter include: Snake Soup, Mutton Hot Pot and any kind of hot pot rices and dishes.

Below is a summary of my recent Winter foods in 2017.

Mutton Hot Pot羊腩煲
Mutton Hot Pot is served on real fire.  Not only the food, the entire process keeps us warm. We have also mushrooms, bamboo shoots and sheets, water chestnuts and green onions all get together to make the pot pot extremely delicious. It is sold at the price between HK$300-500 (including lettuce), depending on the class of the restaurant. Some  restaurants may sell at a lower price, but charge the lettuce separately.

Taishi Five Snake Soup 太史五蛇羹

There is an oldest Chinese sentence: "when autumn wind is up, three snakes get fat ". Snakes become the "first treasure" in Chinese Winter cuisine. Why this dish is so popular and who is Taishi?

Taishi is a government officer in Qing Dynasty. He has a hobby of studying the art of food. He even hired a high skilled chef to create delicious foods for his family and guests. The 5-Snake Soup is one of his inventions, so it was named after Taishi.

The 5 kinds of snakes - banded krait, ratsnake, cobra, radiated ratsnake and white snake, and then boiled with bamboo shoots, plastic flowers, fungus and mushrooms for 5-6 hours.

Apart from the quality of food, the chef’s skill of using knives is very important as to cut the ingredients into thin slices and making the feeling in mouth excellent. Chrysanthemum and lemon leaves, crisp are added to add taste. And we can add some pepper as we wish.  The one we had costed HK$109 per person.

American Barrel Oysters 美國桶蠔煲

This is a hot pot too, but served off fire. They are really giant - Half the size of my palm! They were delicious, but little bit dry.  It would be perfect to serve with some gravy.

Stir Fried Needlefish with Eggs 白飯魚炒蛋

This is not a hot pot, but I can still sense the wok heat! Well done! Should anyone wants to add some calcium to their diets, this is quite a good choice, as you are going to eat the entire fish (with bones). Don't worry, they so tiny mini, safe to eat.

Shuang Xi Lou 雙喜樓
This is the restaurant I had my snake soup.  See the promotion posters at the entrance? They are all promoting their winter menus. 

Other Winter Foods in Hong Kong 
(from my photo collection, not from my dining table)

Hot Pot Rice with Preserved Chinese Sausage/Meat (Lap Cheung, or Lap Mei)

There are many variations, lap cheung is the most popular. Preserved duck is also sought after. When served immediate off fire and with some dark soy sauce, it is so fragrant and I would say everyone would love it.  Sometimes we cook it at home too.  But if you're dining out, hot pot rice is usually sell at per person price, and at least 2 or 4 persons as a minimum.

Stir Fried Sticky Rice with Lap Mei

Again, we cook this at home quite frequent during winter time. Some restaurants says their sticky rice is stir fried from the very beginning with raw rice. Some people thought this is the best way to cook and eat lap mei sticky rice, but cooking time could be up to 40 minutes.  So we believe the rice should be pre-cooked (steamed) and then stir firing is the last step. No matter what, this is one of the most popular winter foods in Hong Kong as well.

So what are your favourite winter foods?  Next time when you visit Hong Kong during winter time, do try some of the famous winter foods here. I'm sure you'll love them.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Winter Foods in Hong Kong

Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Birthday Lunch 2017

I love Shanghainese food, so I choose to have a Shanghainese lunch on my birthday. Xiao Nan Guo used to be one of my most favourite Shanghainese restaurants in Hong Kong.  For some reason I haven't been there for some time and today when I come, I notice a few changes here.

Although the restaurant's Chinese name remains 小南國, its trade name is changed to 1987 Shanghai Min. Well, this restaurant was opened in Hong Kong in 1987, so the name change is understandable.  The second change is the location. Luckily it only moved from 12/F of Time Square to 11/F, so I still manage to find it.  The third change is somewhat strange - their most famous signature dish 'grandmother's pork' disappeared from their menu!

No wonder people always say 'the world is changing'. This I can understand, but a restaurant stop selling something highly reputable and in high demand is beyond my understanding. In fact, 'grandmother's pork' is one of my most favourite Shanghainese dishes, and I come to Xiao Nam Guo because of it. Luckily the waiter told us there was a replacement dish called 'braised pork with bamboo shoot'. Very juicy, tender and delicious.  Even if your grandmother is a meat lover but her teeth didn't perform well, she can still enjoy this dish without a problem. 

Braised Pork with Bamboo Shoot (HK$298)

Chinese usually eat noodle on birthdays. I'm not quite sure of the reason behind, but could be a matter of longevity, due to the length of the noodles.
 Green onion stirred with Soy Sauce is one of my favourites from Xiao Nan Guo, very yummy.

Noodle Stirred with Green Onion and Soy Sauce (HK$48)

Qi vegetable is flown in from Shanghai direct. Its availability is quite depend on the season, luckily it is available today. It is a cold dish cooked with dry tofu - very healthy 

Qi Vegetable with Dry Tofu (HK$58)

Drunk Chicken (HK$80)

Undoubtedly good! I even drank a few spoons of the soup with very fragrant Chinese wine.  No worries, no one will get drunk with a drunk chicken.

Deep Fried Mini Yellow Fish (HK48@)

This appears on almost every table. They are really wonderful! Very crispy outside, soft and tender inside. Price wise, not too expensive.

One thing I want to mention is that they have an area dedicated for 2-person tables. It is relatively quiet comparing sitting at the main dining area - quite a good idea!

Anna's 2-person Birthday Lunch at 1987 Shanghai Min
HK$705 (c.US$91)
inclusive of tea, pickle and 10% service charge

11/F, Time Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: 2874 8899

Hong Kong Food Blog - Shanghainese Birthday Lunch

Friday, June 2, 2017

Private Kitchen Dinner

I haven't had private kitchen dinner for some time. It's becoming very popular nowadays in Hong Kong. Last Tuesday was Dragon Boat Festival, my nephew took us for a private kitchen dinner. The 14 of us had a private room, although relatively small but at least with some privacy.

Private kitchens usually serve unique menus and ours was relatively luxury.

Starter: Smoked Eggs
Everyone of us had a half egg which were served with some fine salt. Looked colourful, a good starter.

Cold Cut: Chilled Abalone

Most of the dishes were served per headcount, so each of us had one abalone.  I had two, because we had a baby in the group, and his father decided to let me eat his. Very chewy, well done!

Steamed Clams, Dual Style: Thai

Clams are generally not my favourite, but the boss's, especially the Thai flavour ones.

Steamed Clams, Dual Style: Wine

So each of us had two clams, one in Thai Tong Yam style and one in Chinese wine.  

Garoupa Dual Style: Stir Fried Meat with Green Beans and Black Truffle

Expensive item! Well, one piece per person?! I did expect a larger portion!

Garoupa Dual Style: Steamed Head and Bones

Golden Pears, made of prawn meat

We thought the pears were dessert, but they were not. The pears were actually deep fried prawn meat, served with avocado sauce. Each of us shared a half pear. Little bit creative, in terms of appearance. Taste? Not bad at all.

Pomelo Peel with Goose Feet

These two veggie dishes were quiet normal however with relatively expensive ingredients such as bamboo pith. Pomelo peels were cheap however took a lot of time and effort to make it taste good. So both dishes were well done!

Assorted Veggie with Bamboo Pith

Signature Dish: Sweet and Sour Pork, chilled version
Quite amazing, in terms of appearance!

Signature Dish: Sweet and Sour Pork, chilled version
After the decorative ice craft was removed, we had to dig into the ice cubes to look for our sweet and sour pork.  However we could have more than one fruit if we want. It was my first time having sweet and sour pork chilled version. Quite creative, but again, one piece per person was not quite enough.

Roast Chicken with Tea Leaves

Didn't look good, but tasted good. The tea leaves' black color wasn't attractive, but the chicken was very delicious with crispy skin and juicy meat.

Steamed Sticky Rice with Crab

I am not skillful in eating crabs at all, every time it hurts the mouth, so I decided to go without it. The crab juices sipped into the sticky rice, making my plain rice very yummy.

Lee House Restaurant
303 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

12-Course Dinner for 14
$?? - My nephew's treat

I've checked other set menus of HK$6,900 for 12 persons, and found ours to be more luxury, with tea and service charge, total bill may go close to HK$10,000.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Private Kitchen Dinner

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hotel Light Lunch Buffet

Hotel buffet is general expensive. But I found a hotel light lunch today which is quite a good deal. Well, not only a good deal, I actually really like it.

It has a little bit of everything.  Although there aren't many varieties, it's good enough to fill my stomach, happily!

To start with, there is a toast maker and I can make my favorite toast with boiled egg, greens, salmon and hams.  There are not too many kind of vegetables, but they are fresh and of good quality. Varies dressings are available if you want to make a salad.

Smoked Salmon

Three kinds of hams and different kinds of cheese and there are some sausages as well.  If you love yogurt, there are plenty of them.

The fresh fruits are lovely.  We can take the cut ones or we can grab a whole apple or banana.

As for desserts, there are mini coconut tarts, and couple other puddings. Again, not many choices, but good enough to fill our stomachs.  The buffet includes coffee and tea which are refillable.

At the lobby of Kew Green Hotel, the restaurant is spacious and with comfortable seats and couple of bar tables.

As Kew Green is an English hotel management group, so we find some UK style things around.  In fact, this hotel is re-branded from the Metropark Hotel owned by China Travel Services. The hotel and restaurant is newly opened in early 2017.

Since the buffet lunch is really light, somewhat like a breakfast, the cost is relatively low.  In fact it is of very good value of money - HK$100 +10% per person.  In terms of food, environment and services, it is really a very good deal.  If you want a cozy place to sit comfortably with friends and enjoy a light lunch, I highly recommend this place.  At the heart of Wanchai, it is easy to find the place.

Kew Green Hotel
Address: 41-49 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai 
Phone: 2861 1166

Hong Kong Food Blog - Hotel Light Lunch Buffet

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Japanese-Brazilian Fusion Food

Japanese-Brazilian Fusion food? Quite an unusual combination. Isn't it? Well, there is one newly opened in Wanchai, Hong Kong.

It is situated in a newly renovated area in Wanchai, where the Government pulled down all old buildings and re-build the area.  Now it becomes quite a hot tourist spot.  Even I live in Wanchai, I'd really love to take a walk there.  And there are lots of sitting and resting areas on the street, making it very visitors friendly.  And that was why I discovered this new restaurant.

It first caught my attention due to its colorful design. We rarely find a restaurant so colorful.

During weekdays (Mon-Fri), they offer set lunch ranging from HK$88 to HK$118. The first time I went there was full, although the waiter said walk in will be fine.  There were four sets for us to choose.  Mine was BBQ skewers with coconut rice and seafood rice.  There were a balance of vegetables as well.  I would say the rice balls are Japanese and the BBQ Skewers are Brazilian.  And among the four sets, one was vegetarian. The menu was all in English, but the waiter was very kind to explain what each set was.  Apart from the food, the lunch set also included a Jasmine tea, adding some authentic Hong Kong flavour.

In fact there aren't too many seats on the ground floor. I believe most of the seats are upstairs as well as the kitchen, making it quite dangerous for the waiters to bring the dishes down via some long and steep staircases.

The interior design is very colorful and unique.

Even the lamps and wall papers were well designed.

My BBQ set was HK$118, my friend's pork & beef stew was HK$98, and the vegetarian one was HK$88.

Lee Tung Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong