The One With Vietnam Choi – Simple Fare At Causeway Bay

A stone throw away from the ever busy Ichiran Ramen store along Jaffe Road at Causeway Bay, I found a calm heaven of simple, affordable food. Like its namesake, Vietnam Choi boasts an extensive menu of all kind Vietnamese dishes executed in no fuss, no frill manner.

Which was exactly what I needed after dumping a small fortune on some new suits at a tailor nearby.

Vietnam Choi

“Pho Tau Bay” in noodle soup was a mixture of beef balls, tender meat and intestine in a bowl of delicious, rich broth with some of the silkiest flat rice noodles I have ever tasted. There was a certain depth to the broth which I enjoyed, and the beef was a delight to go with some sliced bird eye chilli offered by the enthusiastic owner.

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The One With Clay Oven – Gigantic Lamb Tandoori

It was one of those dishes which have got to be seen to be believed in.

The lamb tandoori is a signature dish at The Clay Oven. It’s an Indian family-style roast whole lamb leg, a good dish for winter. A whopping 5-6 pounds of chilled lamb from New Zealand (good for a group of 5-6 person) were marinated with various ingredients and Indian spices in its chopped part – instead of whole lamb – so that the flavour really soak into the meat.

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The One With Zafran Hong Kong – Spanish Tapas Galore

The heat was searing, the kitchen crew frantic, with wait staff darting in and out serving a restaurant full of patrons. Every seats and tables in this beautifully created restaurant were occupied. As I watched the chef worked on tray after tray of endless Spanish tapas, I couldn’t help but feel the tension… and pride. Pride of getting the food done right, and to serve the customers well.

Where was I? I was seated at the bar counter facing right into the open kitchen at the hippest, newest Spanish restaurant in Hong Kong, Zafran. We nursed some rounds of Sangria as the kitchen churned out some choice tapas over some three hours, which was indeed time well spent. Especially on a Friday night.

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The One With My Christmas Wish List For The Guy Next Door

It’s the day before Christmas, so I thought I’ll republish the piece I have written for the gorgeous girls at Sassy Hong Kong – Sassy’s Ultimate Gift Guide for Guys 2013. Thank you for being such wonderful readers, for the amazing notes and the occasional gifts. Have a wonderful Christmas and a great start to the new year!

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This year I decided that I want to be a baddddd boy and tell you what I like. Being the nice guy next door has its perks, but I am done finishing last (sometimes), so here’s my list of great Christmas gifts you should totally buy for me for that special guy next door in your life.

Muji tartan down throw

Keep that boy warm in bed and warm in his heart with this gorgeous piece of tartan down throw from Muji. Measuring some 80 x 130 cm, I could imagine this goes perfectly well with a plain bedsheet. Plus it looks like Christmas in bed! Now you have one more reason to go to bed more often *wink*

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The One With 85 South – Great BBQ Served, Carolina Style in Hong Kong

They said one can find great food in very casual, laid-back restaurants, and not only at stuffy places. 85 South, newly opened just slightly over seven weeks ago at the rustic lane of Kau U Fong in Sheung Wan, is a testament to that.

85 South Barbeque

Finding the place wasn’t hard – 85 South is easily the brightest lit restaurant along that stretch of the road. The small restaurant has three large communal tables, where friends and strangers alike share space, naturally creating a sense of camaraderie and homely vibe that was evident from the rowdy crowd already gathered for a somewhat early dinner that night.

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The One With Blue Butcher Hong Kong – Second Time Lucky

Is there such thing as second time lucky when it comes to food?

Granted, it was my second visit to The Blue Butcher Hong Kong, after my disastrous first attempt ordering everything else but steak. This time round I was kinda on a “redemption trip” to discover if indeed the steak options were better bet compared to my earlier choices.

I am happy to report that it was a resounding yes.

The Blue Butcher

The wagyu sirloin (a whopping 12 oz) was worth every penny. Char-grilled to just the right degree to my liking on the outside, yet juicy and somewhat tender on the inside, it was probably the main reason I changed my mind about Blue Butcher that night.

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The One With Salon No. 10 – Discreet Is The Word

There isn’t that many places in Hong Kong that is like Salon No. 10.

For one, finding the place can be quite a challenge in itself. There isn’t any signboard to speak of, even the unit number were hidden. I had to cross the road to look over from the other side to see if I was at the right place. Even so, I wasn’t sure… but how many places could there be, with an address like 10 Arbuthnot Road?

Salon No. 10

Crossing the threshold was certainly an experience in itself. I couldn’t put a word to it. It felt like stepping into the belly of a velvety, lush submarine. I was told the design was somewhat David Lynch-inspired. Not knowing who the man was I couldn’t disagree to that, but since the owner came from an interior design background and a well-to-do, old Chinese family, it’s easy to see and understand the kind of lounge vibe that Salon No. 10 was exuding with effortless grace.

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The One With Champagne Brunch At LUPA – A Rustic Elegance Experience

(Note: This review was originally published in the autumn edition of Good Eating, the quarterly food magazine by South China Morning Post)

Champagne Brunch at LUPA Hong Kong

FARE
Italian

AMBIENCE
It’s hard to imagine this place would be packed with suits on a normal weekday night, but on the Sunday when we sampled their famous champagne brunch, LUPA was positively laid-back in a casual, rustic way. Still packing some understated elegance with their dark wooden furniture and an impressive terrace for alfresco dining, they have recently added a 3-piece live jazz band – a classy yet cosy touch brunch time.

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The One With Flint Grill & Bar – Chic Ambiance Meet Gorgeous Food

I am no stranger to invited tasting sessions. In a city like Hong Kong, where food is almost a religion and new restaurants seem to pop up every other day, even the most enthusiastic food blogger may find himself somewhat jaded, perhaps even skeptical of good food.

Which was why Flint Bar & Grill came as a breathe of refreshing air, stirring up the local dining scene.

Flint Grill & Bar

What caught my eyes right from the start wasn’t the food, nor the restaurant itself (more of those later). It was the resident star mixologist, a talented and charming dude by the name of Bryson Rivera. While waiting for everyone arrived we had the privilege of witnessing, upclose this award-winning bartender conjuring some of his most famous concoctions.

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So Far, Seoul Good Day 5 – Isaac’s Toast, LOTTE Basement Food Hall, Shinsegae & Namsan Hill Seoul Tower

It was a rainy, rainy day in Seoul.

Just for the record, I discovered that it snowed the day before I flew to Seoul. Which got my hope up a little, seeing how much I love snow and all. But when I get to the city, it was either sunshine in-your-face bright, or raining like today. Then the better half told me it will be snowing again on Wednesday – the day after I have left.

Seriously, I have the worst luck with snow.

So Far, Seoul Good Day 5

Back to my fifth day in Seoul, which was also my last full day here. We braved the incessant rain (I mean, would YOU have stayed in your hotel room because of a little rain?) to find this hole-in-the-wall sandwich joint, Isaac’s Toast which was popular among the locals. We found it after some meandering around Myeongdong. By then the rain got slightly heavier and I got slightly hysterical at the prospect of having my breakfast drenching wet.

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