The One With Chinese New Year – Year Of The Sheep!

Or is it ram? Or goat? You know, it’s really hard to get it right.

This year is actually my year. As in, I am of the Chinese zodiac sign of sheep. Which means, I was born three zodiac cycles ago. No prize for guessing how old I am this year!

Apparently, my luck is not very good this year, be it with money, health, relationship etc. I seldom pay heed to such beliefs, but my family does. I was repeatedly reminded to go to a local temple to perform a ceremony to “turn my luck” for the year.

I guess that would make this year’s CNY celebration a little different, instead of usual eating in and partying out. Regardless, I could really use the break.

Here’s wishing all my blog readers a very Gong Xi Fa Cai! Here’s my favorite self-pic for CNY by far.

Razlan for CNY

(Yes, I used to wear specs. Kinda miss how I looked two years ago)

The One With Dan Ryan’s – Great American Diner Experience At Festival Walk

So one day I found myself to be at Festival Walk for a work lunch, the restaurant of choice was Dan Ryan’s. I have only been to Dan Ryan’s once – and that was at Pacific Place for a drink – so I didn’t really know what’s in store for me.

Dan Ryan's

I do like the ambiance at Dan Ryan’s. The whole upscale, American diner yet laid back experience was something that I could sink into, with its cozy counter seats and warm lighting.

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The One With Birdman – 9 Academy Awards Nominations & Oscar Contender

Once in a long while, a film comes along that completely blows me away, and I am reminded why I love cinema. Birdman was one of those moments, when what’s on screen echoed life in a way that transcended definition.

Yes, the uninterrupted one-shot scenes that lasted more than 10 minutes each were impressive from a technical and logistical standpoint (in fact, the whole film was made to look as if it was done in a single shot – brilliant work by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki!), but for me, it was the performances that took my breath away.

Birdman Movie

What a cast! Edward Norton as the egotistical star threatening to steal the show; Naomi Watts as the nervous actress making her Broadway debut; Emma Stone as a fresh-out-of-rehab daughter struggling to find her footing (Keep an eye out for her incredible monologue. You have a new fan Emma!);

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The One With Secret Ingredient – Valentine’s Day Menu

So last Saturday was Valentine’s Day. How did you celebrate the day of love and romance?

If you are anything like me, you’ll think twice about the whole notion of Valentine’s Day. Roses and chocolates everywhere, with V-day packages offered by your favourite restaurants to your neighborhood pharmacies (trust me, I have seen them). Your relationship with your significant other should be celebrated everyday, and not just on Valentine’s Day.

I sounded old. But it is indeed a day to remind ourselves of the relationship we are in, and to cherish the memories you shared together. And so I celebrated it in one of the best ways I enjoy life.


Secret Ingredient - Valentine's Day Dinner

The love weapon of choice was Secret Ingredient’s Valentine’s day menu. Pre-order started two weeks before the V-day, and so expectations were high. I placed mine straight away.

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The One With Michele Senigaglia – Chef of Spasso Hong Kong

You might have noticed that I have been to Spasso Hong Kong quite a bit lately. First it was for their Sunday brunch, and then to try their Valentine’s Day menu. Both meals were rather stellar, so I thought why not get to know the man behind the food?

So I caught up with Chef Michele Senigaglia to find out the idea behind food at Spasso, his fiery passion for cooking, and his thoughts on Hong Kong (and its local food!).

Chef Michele of Spasso

What are the main essence of Italian cuisine at Spasso? How would you differentiate Spasso from others?

Spasso is an eatery. The food we serve is not fancy; what we want achieve is to deliver a dish that, with its aroma, the look and taste will give you the perception that you are eating in Italy. Many guests from Italy and overseas commented that sometime they eat better in Hong Kong that in Italy! This is a great compliment to us. We work very hard to select and import the best ingredients for our menu.

Guests noticed our passion and commitments to deliver a small piece of Italy to Hong Kong. We focus to use imported fresh ingredients served simply but with well executed preparations. The ambiance at Spasso is cozy and the service friendly and accommodating, making the dining experience even better.

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The One With He Jiang – Dual Hot Pot Goodness

I think I have a slight addiction to the hot pot at He Jiang. When I saw this deal on Groupon, I just couldn’t resist. It was a hotpot set for four, plus a bottle of Spanish wine, all for some $500+.

Quite a steal, right? And knowing He Jiang, I knew the deal will be limited, so I went ahead and bought the Groupon without even thinking about who will go with me.

It was a decision I don’t regret.

He Jiang

The dual hot pot of Chengdu hot & spicy pot and fish pot with Chinese herbs sets the tone for the night. There were rich and aromatic, which gets us going all night long.

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The One With Taipo Street Cart Noodle – Incredible Value, Incredible Taste

Street cart noodle is undoubtedly one of the cultural icons of Hong Kong. Made popular in the 1950s by street vendors peddling their wares using carts, street cart noodle continues to be a popular staple for Hong Kong today, and can be found everywhere.

I am a BIG fan of street cart noodle. Cart noodle is a kind of à la carte meal – you pick the kind of noodles that you want, the soup base you fancy, and the kind of ingredients you like to go with your noodle. The sheer options available can be mind-boggling especially to tourists, but it is a great big joy of an eat for gluttons like me.

So when my friend brought me to this nondescript stall at Taipo for a spot of street cart noodle for lunch one day, I couldn’t resist.

Taipo Street Cart Noodle

And oh my, what a bargain! There was a queue of course, but that’s mainly because the very reasonable price charged. You pay based on what kind of ingredients you want to go with your noodle.

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The One With Snowpiercer – Class Revolution In A Frozen World

Directed by Korean enfant terrible Bong Joon Ho (“The Host”, “Mother”), Snowpiercer is imaginative science fiction film was adapted from a French graphic novel, “Le Transperceneige”.

Snowpiercer - Fight Your Way To The Front

Set in a future where mankind has inadvertently turned Earth into a frozen wasteland (the result of the botched plan to counter global warming by releasing a cooling agent into the atmosphere), and a high speed train carried survivors on an endless loop around the world.

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The One With Okonomi – My Choice Of Sashimi Takeaways

When the cravings for Japanese food come a-knocking, I have three ways to fulfill them:
1) Go to a fancy restaurant for a proper sit down dinner, like The Mon and Hal’s
2) Sit at a sushi bar for more reasonable prices, like Sushi One, or a crowd favourite like Koheitsu
3) Get some takeaway sashimi and sushi

Okonomi Sashimi

So when funds were a little low recently and the cravings was high, the third option became the obvious decision. I ordered my usually platter of delicious sashimi with a side of jade sea whelks from Okonomi, this little hole-in-the-wall Japanese place along Canal Road East in Causeway Bay.

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The One With 1081 Open Kitchen – Great Spot For A Sunday Breakfast

Living in Hong Kong can make one spoilt for choice when it comes good breakfast spots on weekends. I usually spent my breakfasts at Happy Valley Bar & Grill, but on one fine Sunday I decided to make my way to 1081 Open Kitchen at IFC for a spot of breakfast with a dear friend.

This place used to be called Simply Life. The terrific view into the beautiful Hong Kong harbour and selection of delicious pastries remain unchanged. My choice of a scone was heavy in butter, making it a decadent treat with an equally energising cup of coffee, served in a beautiful porcelain cup and dish.

Great Sunday breakfasts are made of this.

Note: Some of the window-side seats are part of the adjoining restaurants. You can use it for breakfast up until 10.30 a.m., when you have to vacant the tables for lunch service.

EAT | 1081 Open Kitchen |Shop 1081, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong | Tel: +852 2234 7356