Category Archives: Causeway Bay

The One With Fiat Caffé – An Experiment With Food Meditation

The other day I was out dining alone. Usually when I do that I will mind my own business, but on that occasion I couldn’t help but notice something strange at the next table. Four guys were wearing the same jersey; obviously they were from the same sports team and are of around the same age. One would think they were taking some timeout relaxing with each other after a hardcore training session. Some call it male bonding. Others see it as team camaraderie.

But no. I wish they were.

No, because all four of them were glued to their smartphones. Their eyes were aglow with the light from the little screens. They hardly notice the food in front of them, never mind their friends sitting physically right across… if only they care to look up.

Which brings to mind a recent article I read about food meditation.

In this age of smartphones and uber-connectedness, have we lost the ability to fully appreciate food? Have we got so used to eat mindlessly, that such an unhealthy habit and social rudeness (if you are not dining alone) became the norm? Became the expected?

Fiat Caffé

I pondered over this as I was having a solitary lunch at Fiat Caffé, the famed themed restaurant with menu designed by the renowned Chef David Laris. Even though I was eating alone, I was determined to practice a bit of food meditation; an eating process that focused on nothing else but what you eat and how you eat, away from distractions of screens big and small.

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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 Teppanyaki Sessyu – Japanese Fare At Cubus Causeway Bay

So it was Christmas and I was at Teppanyaki Sessyu, one of the many restaurants located with the Cubus building. Cubus is gastronomy heaven, evident from the range of high-end restaurants cooking and brewing from within. Last time I counted there were at least three Japanese restaurants at Cubus, and Sessyu is one of them.

Japanese Teppanyaki At Sessyu

It was my second feast at Sessyu, both time with the same boss. I love Sessyu for the exquisite decoration (check out the wagyu cow statue right smack in the middle of the restaurant) and personalised cooking. You get to witness how your food is cooked, by the chefs themselves right at your table. The set lunches are of exceptional value: for some $250-ish you get a whole range of high quality food, from silky soft chawanmushi (Japanese steamed egg custard) to char-grilled tenderloin steak.

Japanese Teppanyaki At Sessyu

US Angus tenderloin.

Of course, with a set meal there bound to be hits and misses. However I am happy to report that most of the dishes included in Sessyu’s set meal have always been stellar. Of high recommendation is the fried garlic rice. This simple dish is made great by a sprinkling of burnt rice cooked specifically to be crusted on top of the rice, along with generous helping of garlic and anchovies, which gave it a delicious fragrant smell.

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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 Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter – Seafood On A Boat

So the title of this blog post does sum up the experience quite nicely. Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter is certainly a authentically Hong Kong experience like no other. Imagine walking your way over the busy, extremely dangerous expressway, dodging traffic and getting lost, to find your way to the typhoon shelter (which, by the way, looks nothing like a shelter)…

… to be greeted with this sight.

Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter Seafood

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The One With Choi Kee Spicy Crab – Second Encounter Of The Fiery Kind

It seems only like yesterday when I had my first taste of chili crab in Hong Kong. The overpowering spiciness and heavy loading of garlic did little for me for a virgin experience to remember by; kinda like having my first time with the wrong person.

But everything I thought I knew about chili crab was turned to crap after my visit to Choi Kee Fried Crab Expert.

Choi Kee Fried Crab Expert

Sauteed clams with chili and bean sauce.

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The One With New Bangkok – Cheap Thai In Causeway Bay

There’s no other word for it – it’s shameful for me not to know good, cheap eats around my workplace in Causeway Bay. Partly because I hardly lunch out – I find the office crowd maddening – but sometimes a gem of a find come onto my radar, as has New Bangkok which I had the pleasure to try out today!

Try as I might to get in quiet and early, the Thai restaurant was already teeming with customers. At first I wasn’t too pleased when the waitress asked me to stand right next to a table which was about to finish. I mean, I won’t do to others what I don’t want others to do to me. So I said I will wait outside… where I studied the menu and realised why the place was so popular.

New Bangkok

Fried rice with thai shrimp paste

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The One With Nam Ah Restaurant 1964 – A Singapore Experience In Causeway Bay

When I first moved to Hong Kong three years ago, I had a problem with food. Specifically, I have problems with ordering food. I can’t read Chinese, and once upon a time I lived in Tsuen Wan, a very local town which is not exactly English-friendly. Menu was more often than not offered only in one language – and it’s not English – so eating out can be quite a chore, a stressful experience, which I care not to repeat. Which also leads me moving out to Sheung Wan only three months later.

Where was I? Oh yes, that was my very long spiel that, in my first few weeks in Hong Kong, I missed Singapore food. I didn’t know the local food scene well (I never even heard of Open Rice), so hunting for a food place with an English menu is difficult enough a task on its own, never mind a place serving Singaporean food.

Nam Ah Restaurants

If only Groupon was in existent then, I would be very grateful. For through its recent offer that I discovered the joy of Singaporean food right here in Causeway Bay at a restaurant called Nam Ah Restaurant 1964.

Nam Ah Restaurants

Okay, so the food is not exactly the same standard as those in Singapore – I mean, you do realise you are NOT in Singapore, don’t you? – but good enough to satisfy that craving in me for a bit of “home”.

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Pick Of The Week: The One With HABITU Ristorante the Garden

Once in a while I chanced upon new restaurants entirely unplanned and was majorly surprised by my finds. HABITŪ Ristorante the Garden at Lee Garden was one of those instances. I was there the day before for a business meeting over coffee and saw an impressive garden – a rooftop terrace of sort – and I returned the next day for a proper experience.

HABITŪ Ristorante the Garden

The impressive rooftop garden seating area. I was charmed the moment I saw it the day before.

HABITŪ Ristorante the Garden

The whole place felt like Christmas.

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The One With Under The Bridge Spicy Crab – Gripping Hong Kong By The Pincher

While Singapore has its famous chilli crabs, Hong Kong upped the ante with their spicy crabs.

What do I mean? Having lived in Singapore for a while and have had my fair share of chilli crabs, nothing can prepare you for the sweat-inducing level of fiery hotness that Hong Kong spicy crabs can bring. It’s enough to make a grown man cry. Literally.

And the defacto place to have the authentic typhoon shelter spicy crabs (it’s a long story) here has got to be the Under The Bridge Spicy Crabs. There are four branches, all around the same location, so hunting one down could be an adventure all on its own.

IMG_9890

The crabs – a large one can set you back some $480, more than enough for two person – came drowned in minced garlic, onion or shallots, red chilli and black beans. There are 5 – 6 varying levels of spiciness you can opt for.

Plus some other non-spicy options for the whims.

For the night, I stupidly went for the mid-range option, and boy was I in for a treat. Not.

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