The One With Old Bazaar Kitchen – Timeless Oldie Favourites

There is good food, and then then there is really good food.

I can’t remember the last time I gushed this much over a meal. It was completely unexpected and a gem of a find really. Upon some research, I discovered that Old Bazaar Kitchen has a long history with a prior location in Tin Hau that shuttered its door in 2012, only to re-emerged in Wanchai. The waitstaff was unfailingly polite and extreme helpful, and the boss, Angel Cheung was quick to help us with the menu. Since there were only two of us, we decided to go for three dishes. And lucky we did, for the portion is nothing short of enormous.

Old Bazaar Kitchen

Cold squid – I greeted this dish with an unmanly gasp. The squid was easily the length of my arm! Skillfully cut and plated, this simple squid was fresh, crunchy and succulent. I though I had good squid but this blew everything else before out of the water. Served with a choice of either wasabi or chilli sauce, I reckon this gorgeous baby serves at least four.

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The One With Seasons By Olivier Elzer – Immaculate French Cuisine

I had always liked to dine in front of an open kitchen. The upclose experience watching your meal being cooked by a crew of kitchen staffs so well trained, it’s like watching the food version of an amazing classical concert. Every one has a part to play, perfectly in rhythm, with verses and tunes seamless weaving in between each other, conducted by a conductor aka the head chef.

Seasons by Olivier Elzer

The Restaurant

The head chef in question tonight was one Olivier Elzer, a kitchen extraordinaire with a credential so sparkling, it’s hard not to get your hopes up dining at his very own restaurant. The three-Michelin-star chef’s latest foray in Lee Garden, Causeway Bay packs much promises for those who love French food, or simply good food.

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The One With The Butchers Club Burgers – It’s No Place For A Diet

I couldn’t remember the last time I had burger this good.

The Butchers Club Burgers

Imagine this – a packed corner shop with hard, tall stools and sharp edged tables. A roaring kitchen doing a brisk trade and a bustling crew of waiters serving trays of burgers and fries. I was eating standing up – partly because I figured I would use less space that way, and because I expect my waistline to dangerously expand after some serious burger-guzzling.

Which I did. And it did.

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The One With Shanghai Lo – Surprising Restaurant Packing Quite A Punch

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight.

As we stepped into the restaurant, the somewhat gloomy interior and dark furnishing reminded me strongly (for some strange reasons) of a karaoke lounge. Granted, Shanghai Lo is probably very new, and the deco – contemporary Chinese with hard straight lines exuded a vibe of privacy and seclusion. The cubicle tables comfortably seats four though most were used by couples, and I saw some very promising private rooms perfect for a small group gatherings. It was buzzy without being too noisy.

The One With Shanghai Lo

But I wasn’t there to comment on its interior. The tasting menu ($368 per pax) looked very pretty good, so we went for those.

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The One With Plusixfive – A Singaporean Supper Club Cookbook

It’s amazing how crazy hungry, food-obsessed Singaporeans can get while living abroad.

Having lived in Singapore for ten years (and then some), I am well familiar with the unique qualities and awesomeness of Singaporean food. And now that I am living in Hong Kong for five years (and counting), I understand the craving for badass Singaporean food. Which is so under-supplied and overrated in Hong Kong (Singaporean food, that is), you won’t believe it. I often had to make do with subpar laksa and diluted bak kut teh to nurse that soft spot which just won’t go away, but it never really compares to the real thing.

The One With Plusixfive - A Singaporean Supper Club Cookbook

So when I read this gorgeous, funny and beautiful cookbook titled after the supper club its author once operated in London, I totally understood. Why one would go extreme to find really good but extremely rare ingredients (in London, that is) to whip up some fried carrot cake. Or why people would band together in the love of food and (sometimes) of the country (if dinner happens on August 8).

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The One With Causeway Bay – The Heartbeat of Hong Kong

Despite the fact that I have been living in Happy Valley for two years now, which is just a few tram stops ride away to Causeway Bay, it’s embarrassing how little I know of the two neighbourhoods. I mean Happy Valley and Causeway Bay. I mean, I do do know them, but only of a few routine spots and regular places, and I am certainly far from being an expert. For really in-depth resources on Causeway Bay, you can (of course) try the Causeway Bay entry onWikipedia, or the new-ish hyperlocal site ILoveCWB.hk dedicated to Causeway Bay.

Google Maps 2013-07-29 16-57-24

So when my friends come a-visiting to Hong Kong, more often than not they will ask me the big three questions:
1) Where to eat good food?
2) Where to get cheap and good hotel?
3) Any interesting place to shop?

I seem to spend half my life replying to those emails, so I thought once and for all I put my answers down into a blog post, for those of you whom are coming to Hong Kong and intend to stay within bustling Causeway Bay.

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The One With Zushi Ana – Traditional Sushi Experience In A Modern Environment

It was quite a late dinner for us right after a movie. I vaguely remembered a recommended Japanese restaurant by a colleague that was newly opened in Times Square. Zushi Ana was located right at the thirteenth floor of the building, where the cinemas were. The restaurant looked rather inviting so we stepped in for some late chows.

Buzz

Zushi Ana

Glowing, warm light in a dark, posh environment always arouse my appetite. It is not something for everyone – most will complain about the inability to read the menu properly due to the the dim light – but I’ll say hey, that’s what candles are for! So I tilt my menu to the (electric) flame and read on, while all around a friendly, chatty atmosphere continue on through the night. Definite long time fans, I thought.

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The One With Rock Bar Bali – Watching Sunset In Style

When I first mentioned that I was interested in going to Bali, it seems that a visit to the Rock Bar at Ayana Resort is a must. Almost everyone I have spoken to was waxing lyrical about the amazing sunset from the bar, located right at the cliff with a rather sheer drop into the ocean. It sounded dramatic in a way that I liked, so I put it down onto my itinerary for my Bali-day trip and made a point to visit.

And I did.

Buzz

My First Bali-day

The first thing you’ll notice when you arrived at Ayana Resort and Spa was how luxurious everything is. I was staying at some sub-standard place at South Kuta, so the difference was acutely felt. Walking to the bar took us through the resort, and after the third posh restaurant with glamourous fountains, the sheen of awesomeness started to wear off and everything seems to be a little over-the-top. It didn’t feel exclusive, just over-subscribed.

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The One With Balangan Beach – A Total Surfers’ Paradise

When we booked for our hotel accommodation, we were told that it is a 5-minutes walk from a certain Balangan Beach. To be honest, I was barely paying attention that fact – I was busier planning where to have my meals (as a foodie do) instead of researching more about the beach.

My First Bali-day

But I hadn’t had worried. The moments we clapped our eyes on the white sands and endless blue horizon and the blazing sun, I knew in an instance why this is a surfer’s paradise.

My First Bali-day

Balangan is one of Bali’s lesser known beaches, but it is all the better for it. Even though it was notoriously difficult to get to, the beach is never short of visitors and after late morning you will be hard pressed to rent empty chairs.

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The One With Aman Gati Hotel Balangan – A Balanced Review

I had to start off this hotel review on Aman Gati Hotel Balangan in Bali with a pre-empt, if you like, that this is going to be a balanced review. As much as I enjoyed the serenity and service at the hotel (which I booked through Airbnb.com), there was also much to be groused about and I thought I should view the glass both half-empty and half-full, so that you – the potential travelers – know what you are getting yourself into.

My First Bali-day

Getting There

The hotel provides a pick up service (for US$25) so it was pretty much hassle free for us. A uniformed driver waited for us at the airport, and the drive to the hotel was uneventful and as illuminating as it was the fist time to Bali for everyone in my group. We marveled at the stone-breaking sunshine and seemingly endless blue sky.

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