Monthly Archives: January 2013

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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 Na Thai – Great Thai Grub In The Happy Valley

So after some misses with Na Thai, I was finally able to make pay a visit for dinner one weekend night. Na Thai has been on my foodie radar for some time, and I do need a great Thai food spot to nurse that occasional craving. It is rather near to my place, and came recommended by a fellow food lover. Her recommendation has yet to stray far from being excellent, and this time it was no different.

Yum Pla Duk Fu – Deep Fried Crispy Crayfish (HK$95)

Na Thai - Authentic Thai Cuisine in Happy Valley

The star of the night. I was half expecting whole pieces of crayfish deep fried, but what turned out was a complete surprise. The bits of crayfish were fried to a golden crisp, almost like meat floss. Tossed with a refreshing spicy mango salad and peanuts, the contrast of texture and flavour was nothing short of intoxicating. I liked that, unlike many other Thai salad, the mango salad wasn’t overwhelmingly spicy. The sour in the green mango was nicely complemented by the bits of cili padi. Be warned though – it’s unlikely that one person can finish the whole dish, so play nice and share.

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The One With 22 Ships – Pricey But Delicious Spanish Tapas

So I have heard much about 22 Ships, one of the many Spanish places opening up all over the cities. I quite liked how they named their restaurant. It’s no stroke of genius, but it certainly put a spin into telling my friends where to meet up for dinner. “Hey, meet me at 22 Ships at Ship Street.” How about, “Let’s drink up at Leighton 8 and 8 Leighton Road,” or “We do dim sum at The Tin Lok at Tin Lok Lane“.

Well, you get the drift.

22 Ships

Let’s put it this way – 22 Ships is no ship, size-wise.. The place is tiny, cramped and certainly look more like a bar than a restaurant. While the vibe is infectiously buzzy, the utter lack of privacy between diners – I could literally eat off my neighbour’s plate – made it not a destination of choice if you are after romantic dinners. There’s only so many “I love you”s you could utter across your paella without the people around you sniggering and rolling their eyes.

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The One With Black Sheep Café – “Out Of This World” Experience In Shek O… Literally

So it was one summer afternoon when I found myself walking down the back alleys in Shek O with a dear friend. If you have been following this blog, you’d know that Shek O is one of my favorite beaches in Hong Kong. Exploring Shek O has revealed one of its best hidden gem, the Black Sheep Café, which was a distance away from the sandy beach.

Black Sheep Shek O

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The One With Tales of Taipei, Part 5

The last day of your holiday is often the hardest. You would probably need to allocate enough time to get to the airport on time, leaving little time to plan for anything else. You could either spend the day packing up and checking out, or you could sacrifice some sleep and pack the night before, so that you could spend the precious few final hours to do just one last thing…

… which we did. To eat, what else!

Lu Sang

Lu Sang was actually the first food destination we visited the very day we arrived in Taipei, but like all typical local Taiwanese place, they are opened only at meal times, for a mere few hours.

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The One With Tales of Taipei, Part 4

I am at a loss of words on how to describe the day.

It has been a day of culture, food, relaxation and pain all rolled into one. The only common denominator in all these is that our dear friend, Sam volunteered to spent the day with us making some day trips out of the city centre. It was proven to be a learning experience for us and him, something which you couldn’t get out of any guidebook.

Taipei Guandu Temple

Our first stop of the day was the Guandu Temple, one of the oldest temple in Taiwan and overlooks the Danshui river. Although he has been living in Taiwan for years, Sam has never been to this particular temple and we were all equally astounded by the majestic rise of intricately carved spires, colourfully tiled roofs and tunnels which seem to glow. There was hardly any visitors around, just a handful of locals doing prayers. The atmosphere couldn’t have been more serene.

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The One With Tales of Taipei, Part 3

The next time I am going to do this, I will make damn sure to check also on opening times.

Hotel 73 Taipei

It was a day of missed timings. We woke up bright and early, had a hearty breakfast at the hotel and chirpily planned our day ahead. Oh yes, did we plan for it. Only when we were about to board the taxi that we realised, hey, that Su Ho Paper Museum is not opened on Sunday!

A quick redecision later, we found ourselves at the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan.

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The One With Tales of Taipei, Part 2

It was a day of extremes.

In my previous trips to Taipei, I discovered too little of the city’s culture and history. This time round I was eager to make amend.

Taipei Confucius Temple

An early head start to the day saw us at the famous Taipei Confucius Temple… or more accurately, a model of it. The impressive structure built towards the north of the city was, afterall, a replica of the real thing located at Shandong. While the temple carries a certain garish, pretentious vibe with its over-vivid colours and over-the-top displays, I took heart in the simplicity of Confucius’ teachings. Learning about the history of Chinese characters, the musical instruments used in rituals, and the lives of many of the disciples, it’s hard not to take a liking for the old man.

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The One With Tales of Taipei, Part 1

Taipei has been gloomy and wet from the moment we touched down, but in our state of involuntary sleep displacement, the dreariness escaped unnoticed. Which is probably a good thing. We were focused on food (that is to say, I was, and the better half had to go along), and to food places we went.

But first, a word about our hotel.

Hotel 73, Taipei

The better half choose Hotel 73, which is very reasonably priced for its city-center location, though the room is quite small. Hotel 73 is somewhat like a design hotel, with little touches of arts and attention to details evident from its lobby to the lift to the walkway to the room itself.

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