Category Archives: Chinese

The One With Manor Seafood Restaurant – Damn Good Suckling Pig

Once a month the shakers (of salts) and movers (of cheese) from the #hkfoodbloggers Facebook group will gather to collectively wield our cameras at unsuspecting waiters and create comfortable, unified silence as we devour plate after plate of delicious food. I might be green to this, but I am very sure seldom you can find a whole bunch of folks who can talk about nothing else but food all night long. And that night at Manor Seafood Restaurant, we sure have plenty to talk – and complain! – about.

Manor Seafood Restaurant

Sizzling claypot oysters.

Let’s just say that places like Manor will do well to learn that, in the service industry – the customer is always right. Here’s the story: We booked a table for ten, and upon arrival we were seated in a nice private room. Being the dedicated foodies that we were, we already pre-ordered some popular food items, and after some haggling over the extensive menu we ordered a few more. Halfway through the dinner, the captain came in and told us that, hey, we are $1K short of our minimum charge, and please can we please order more food?

Manor Seafood Restaurant

Signature stir-fried noodles with soy sauce.

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The One With Da Shan Wu Jia – An Extraordinary Yilan Food Adventure Into The Mountainside of Taipei

I have been debating with myself if I should be writing additional blog posts on my recent trip to Taipei, since I have already blogged daily. While I risk the danger of repeating myself somewhat, I reckon some of my experiences were worth an entire blog post by themselves, lest I would forget about them. At the very least, they will come in handy for those seeking to experience the same joy.

Da Shan Wu Jia 大山無價

Waterlily chicken soup.

Da Shan Wu Jia (大山無價) was certainly one of those priceless experience worth spending the time to write about. Encouraged by fellow food blogger Peter, I made it a point to have dinner at this place, with only a passing warning that Da Shan Wu Jia will be “slightly out of the way“.

Well, that would be the understatement of the year. We took a cab from our hotel at Xinyi Road. Upon knowing our destination, the driver looked puzzled and asked, what could you be possibly looking for at such a remote place? In broken Mandarin I told him there is this restaurant highly recommended by a friend, and he in turn wanted to know if we were after some illegal stuff. Like, you know, some sort of endangered animals which we were not supposed to eat. Language failed me to defend myself, and in my slight panic I did wonder if Da Shan Wu Jia does serve such exotic – albeit illegal – morsels of cruelty?

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The One With Victoria City – Posh Cantonese Lunch At Causeway Bay

Victoria City Restaurant is the third on my lunchtime to-do list of places to eat in Causeway Bay, which is where my office is located at. I have heard of this restaurant a couple of times from my colleague, but since it is located within the Crowne Plaza Causeway Bay Hotel (the same hotel where the delightful Pavilion is located at), I thought it would be too posh a place to lunch out on a normal work day. Isn’t it?

Well, if a new year is not the best time to break some rules and test some boundaries, I don’t know when is. So I threw my frugality mantra out the window and saunter down to Victoria City for a bit of posh Cantonese food.

I shouldn’t have worried about the price. The dishes, from dimsum to chef recommendations, were mid-range in price and certainly of great value for a restaurant operating in hotel. Since there were only two of us we were able to try out only a couple of dishes for the day.

Steamed Chicken Feet With Sauce (HK$19)

Victoria City Restaurant

I wanted to say this is quite an acquired taste – not of the dish, but of chicken feet. But if you have been living in Hong Kong, eating chicken feet for breakfast is like eating raw oysters for lunch (okay, not quite good an analogy). I am not a fan of chicken feet, but often I will try this as a barometer of how good a Chinese restaurant is. This dish was a bit too oily and salty for my taste, but the chicken feet itself is succulent and easy to eat (read: not disintegrating the moment you bite into it, a definite must for those unable to wield a pair of chopsticks skillfully like yours truly). At three large claws we had enough to go for between the two of us.

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The One With Ming Kei Restaurant – A Lesson In Chinese Soup

It is customary for the Chinese to start their meal with a hearty bowl of soup. When I say hearty, I mean delicious, often healthy and detoxifying, bowl of goodness usually made with some serious herbs, greens and meats.

Ming Kei Restaurant may not the best place for soup in Hong Kong, but I have been to this place often enough in the past to know that their soup is decent, served in a large claypot pot. You can usually order one large pot if your table has at least four diners. If you are unsure of what soup to order, ask for “lei tong“, which is kind of the term to use for “soup of the day”.

Ming Kei Seafood Restaurant

There are many reasons why the Chinese like to have soup with their meal. Even if the typical soup you can get from a restaurant does not usually have healing powers, a bowl of lovingly prepared Chinese soup will make us feel better, a definite comfort after a long day at work. The Chinese also believe that soup is the perfect food when your ying is out of balance of the yang. Just ask the Chinese grandma painstakingly brew endless pots of chicken soup for their ailing grandchildren. It’s a tried and tested tradition that medical sciences have only begin to understand.

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The One With Gold Mine – Comforting Chinese Food In London

So it has been months since I visited London for my annual Europe trip this year. I find it incredibly strange the locals sing praises for Chinese food in London, often at the expense for the “real” Chinese food in places like Hong Kong or China. I mean, what could be better than the real origin of Chinese food, right? Was I very much uninformed, uneducated?

I discovered the answers at a bustling restaurant called Gold Mine Restaurant at Bayswater, London.

Gold Mine London

We started our dinner with some comforting soup. Decent, but nothing to write home about. So was the stir fried greens.

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The One With Pang’s Kitchen – Cantonese Fare In Happy Valley

So it was my first visit to Pang’s Kitchen, one of the latest additions to Michelin Star Restaurants 2013. I have been told by fellow foodies and neighbours that Pang’s Kitchen is one of the best eats in Happy Valley. But since most of the time I eat out alone, and that the restaurant is packed to the brim almost every night, I didn’t venture in until tonight.

Was it because the the Michelin award? Truth to be told, I was more intrigued by how the owner of the restaurant, Pang Pak-sheung said when he learned that Pang’s Kitchen has received one star in the 2013 Michelin Guide. According to SCMP, his reaction was “Keep me out of this”.

Putting aside the folly of the Michelin star system in Hong Kong, I was there for a special dinner with my better half. After asking fellow foodies from #HKFoodBloggers, we ordered some of the crowd favorite.

Strawberry Pork Ribs (HK$98)

Pang's Kitchen

Recommended by almost everyone I spoke to, it is easy to understand why. Though this dish is rather common in Cantonese restaurants, cooking it in strawberry was certainly a first for me. Usually, “gou lou yook” is cooked with pineapples. To use strawberry instead seems like a good choice, especially for those of us who doesn’t like their meat dish too sweet. The pork was lean, deep fried with a light batter that made it quite a delight to savour. I can see why almost every table in Pang Kitchen’s had the same dish for the night.

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The One With Summer Palace – Elegant Restaurant, Mediocre Fare

It has been months since my dinner experience at the Summer Palace at the Shangri-la. Back then the weather has just started to carry pleasant, wintery chill, when you’ll be excused to take the flamboyant quota up a notch with trendy jackets and stylish scarfs.

Not the horrible, horrible humid summer we are all experiencing right now, when the only piece of clothing you will want to wear is, well, nothing.

Early Christmas Dinner At Summer Palace

Back to Summer Palace. It was an early Christmas dinner, a celebration of sorts. Back then, I didn’t know this was a potential Michelin-starred restaurant. But I should have known. With it’s elegant banquet hall styled up with Chinese arts on gold embossed walls, it evokes in mind the splendid grandeur of Hong Kong’s Chinese heritage. Everything at Summer Palace is never understated, from its ornately carved wood panels to sparkling silverware and oriental teacups.

In fact, so much so that it indeed get awarded a Michelin star in 2012, a recognition indeed!

We ordered the set dinner for two, which serves some of the best highlights of the restaurant as recommended by many foodies. It took quite a while before the first dish was served, so we amused ourselves with our early Christmas presents :D

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The One With Kalok Restaurant – My Fav Neighbourhood Chinese Joint

In the blink of an eye, it has been half a year since I moved out from Sheung Wan. I do love my new place in Happy Valley, but there is something about the unpredictability of Sheung Wan which tugs at my heartstrings. The dingy back alleys, ubiquitous bars, hazardous wet markets and rowdy char chan teng are just some of the oddities of this westerly town on Hong Kong island which one might want to pay a visit.

Of the last oddity, I loved Kalok Restaurant the most. I lost count the number of times I had my breakfast, lunch, dinner and meals in between, alone and with friends. At the best of time the waiters are loud, rude and of questionable hygiene, but it was the food which I fell in love with. It was nothing fancy, but for a Chinese-styled cafe standard, they are good and reasonably priced.

Here are some of my top picks:

French Toasts

Lunch @ Kalok Restaurant

I blogged about this before and I had to blog about this again. The French Toast at Kalok is my absolute favorite. Two pieces of bread spread with peanut butter, fried with egg, served with a healthy dollop of melting butter and enough golden honey to drown a colony of bees. Every bite is a calorie-laden heaven.

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The One With Tasty Congee – Living Up Its Namesake

Honestly, I wasn’t that hungry when I walked through the door of Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop.

The night was humid, dense with anticipation of the approaching typhoon. My stomach was still hard at work deciding if the afternoon tea earlier on was worth keeping (read: else, to “repel” it, if you get my drift). I was tired after a long day. So it was the prospect of catching up with a friend and trying out a new place in Happy Valley that got me going.

Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop (what a mouthful!) looked promising from the outside. You couldn’t get any more Chinese than with waiters in costume, dark paneled wall and antique-like furniture. It was almost like the restaurant was afraid that random strangers might come through the door and not know it is a Chinese restaurant. And what’s up with the name? I mean, it can’t get anymore SEO-friendly than this… only if their website (which I won’t bother to link here) is working.

Does this sound like an opening of a bad review of this place? Quite the opposite. Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop was quite a gem, keeping true to its name sake, true and true. I found out that Tasty Congee is the second generation shop of Hong Kong’s congee and noodle expert Ho Hung Kee.

It certainly didn’t disappoint!

Fresh Fish Slices & Preserved Egg Congee (HK$46)

Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop

I was amazed by its congee menu; it was over four pages long! Cheap ones, expensive ones, simple ones, elaborate ones… the options danced in front of my tired eyes, so I decided to go for something simple. I was talking to my friend when the first spoonful, and it literally got me swooning. The congee was smooth yet not too watery, while the fresh fish slices and preserved eggs felt like dancing on my taste buds. And that was before I added a dash of pepper. Kick butt.

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The One With Tim’s Kitchen – The Star’s In Its Name

When I first moved to Sheung Wan three years ago, I was rather excited when I discovered that there was a Michelin-starred restaurant just a stone throw away from my (previous) house. Over the ensuing two years plus, I pondered, wondered, contemplated, wished (I’m running of adjectives for procrastination here…) to have a meal at Tim’s Kitchen.

Birthday Dinner at Tim's Kitchen

Three years later, I am finally paid a visit, thanks to Chris and Liren! It was a belated birthday dinner, one of which invitation I gladly accepted. I was told to be honest about my review (they are both readers of this blog) even though it was a birthday treat.

So I will :D

Century Eggs

Birthday Dinner at Tim's Kitchen

I find it a little strange that this plate of century eggs came with sugar. I tried it with the ginger, and then with the eggs, together and separately, and still can’t figure out how it helped with the taste. That said the century eggs were a decent fare, though I must say it is still a far cry from the divine eggs I had at Yung Kee.

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