Monthly Archives: April 2013

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The One With Fullka Cantonese Cuisine – The Unsung Hero In Causeway Bay / Wanchai

Once in a while you need to break out from your normal routine to discover new experience and enjoy different food. Thanks to my relentless colleagues who were out to get me for lunch every Friday (I swear, they timed it with their calendar), I found myself surrounded by the lovely ladies from the marketing department for some great Cantonese fare at the Fullka Restaurant.

Never heard of Fullka before? Well, neither did I, until that afternoon. Apparently this place was off-radar for most foodies, which was apparent by how not full it was during lunchtime on a working weekday. Further investigation revealed that this restaurant was previously named Home Wanchai (does that sound familiar?) and was helmed by Chef Lee Yue Ching of ‘Ah Yat Abalone’ fame. The set lunch was a steal at HK$88, where you get soup, one main course with rice, and a dessert. Since the main course is rather large in portion, you can go with a few friends so that you can mix and match from its extensive menu of true Cantonese food.

And so on to the lunch.

Pig Stomach Soup

Fullka Cantonese Cuisine

Hand’s down, the best starter soup I have ever tried in Hong Kong (and that’s saying something). The soup was intense with peppery taste and was well balanced with the meaty goodness of the excellent pig stomach. The soup burns down as you drink it, in a very comforting way. It was such a perfect, fiery soup for a cold winter day.

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The One With Hal’s Fusion Japanese – Great Usuyaki Beef

So I was at Hal’s Japanese Restaurant which was relocated from Central to Causeway Bay due to 2x increase in rent (according to Jason). Seems like many of the foodies know of and frequent this place, so I marked it onto my foodie to-do list for Causeway Bay area. Moon was in town, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to try out the restaurant.

Hal's Japanese Restaurant

Making a reservation was a breeze, and I realised why. Although I was some fifteen minutes late for my booking, the restaurant was empty. It felt like I booked the entire restaurant for our catch-up dinner; in fact, ours is the only table occupied for the entire night. It was a shame, really. The service by the entirely Japanese crew was stellar, though it would be nice if the two Japanese chefs smiled a little more. As for the food, well, Moon and I were about to find out.

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The One With Hainan Shaoye – Singapore Fare In Causeway Bay

So once again I found myself in Causeway Bay racking my brain for a dinner spot with a buddy. Take it from me – if you have worked around the same area long enough, your brain will always go back to the same place for the same food.

Which was my excuse for going back to Hainan Shaoye. I have been there at least three times in the past for a quick meal, but for one reason or another, I have never blogged about it. So this time round I decided to really take note of what I am eating, look at it with a balanced eye of someone who have lived in Singapore long enough to (hopefully) know the bad and the good (the chef of Hainan Shaoye was apparently recruited from Chatterbox at Mandarin Orchard in Singapore, famous for their great chicken rice), and of someone who has his expectation, well, moderated, according to the local foodie taste.

The buddy wasn’t in the mood to have a large meal (there was this set meal with six dishes to share between two person for some $400, a good deal I must say), so once again I ordered some crowd favorite.

Singapore Rojak(HK$48)

Hainan Shaoye

Without fail, my favorite Singapore rojak always draws the same reaction among my local friends. A grimace, that is. I guess this signature dish – cut fruits mixed with shrimp & belacan paste with cut tofu and deep fried dough, somewhat like a fruit salad with a spicy twist – is quite an acquired taste. I had always enjoyed my rojak, ordering it wherever I could. The version at Hainan Shaoye, though far from being on par with the original stuff, was more than adequate to scratch that foodie itch. I scooped up everything, peanuts and beansprouts and everything else. Something about that shrimp paste just evoke that Singapore glutton in me la.

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The One With Symphony Surabaya – A Journey Into Nature Concluded

There, I have done it. After much procrastination, I have completed all my blog posts from my nature trip to Surabaya, Indonesia back in February. Though this might not have seemed much, this has been a monumental – as well as meaningful – effort for me.

Surabaya 2013

I remember vividly that I had to wake up early every day to catch an hour or two of blogging, lest I will never do it, and I might forget details. Thank God I made the effort. What you can read below – a travelog made into five parts – was mainly written during the trip itself. Without these little notes I studiously made daily, these blog posts would have never been possible:

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Re-reading my notes and writing these blog posts made me realised how much I did enjoy the trip. Perhaps, during the days I was there, I was too tired to properly appreciate the natural beauty I immersed myself in in Surabaya, as well as some truly local experiences. I also hold on to working on these blog posts since my Facebook sharing of the photos led to an opportunity to write for South China Morning Post’s spring edition of Encounters, their flagship regional travel magazine. Which was in itself an achievement, since it was the first time my travel writing was published in print – even if I was writing it from a culinary point of view.

I thought that would be a challenge. In truth, it was much easier done than said.

Surabaya 2013

I would also take this opportunity to thank Chris, my travel buddy to Surabaya. Had it not been for his incessant pestering to join him for the trip, repeated reminders about buying air tickets, (and during the trip) selective deafness to my complaints, brutish encouragement when my knees were screaming in pain, etc etc etc (you get the idea)… I would have never done this.

I would have never appreciated the beauty of a fogged marshland. I would have never seen an active volcano right in the eye. I would never have braved my way up to a sunrise view point in the dead of the night.

This diehard city boy may just see more of such nature in his near future. And I (half-heartedly) blame Chris!

The One With Berliner German Restaurant – When Size Is (Almost) Everything

Deep inside, I had always felt it. A yearning for something different, something out of the norm. I crave for a place less crowded, less intrusive. With plenty of personal space, where you can carry an intimate conversation in relative privacy, away from prying ears and inquisitive eyes. Yes, it is time for a change, I thought.

So I went to East Soho instead for dinner on Saturday night.

It wasn’t my first time to East Soho. I have walked through the area almost a year back, while on my way back from a weekend excursion in Lei Yue Mun. The sight of bustling restaurants in quiet dignity, as calm residents and visitors carrying on with their business with tack and respect for each other appealed to me. I told myself I will be back.

And so I did, some two years later. I asked my friends from #hkfoodbloggers for recommendations. Some swear by Borgo C, the fusion-looking restaurant serving Chinese food while you sit on patio furniture. Another recommended Yi Jiang Nan, a small traditional-looking Chinese restaurant with only a couple of tables. Approvals were ringing for Tapeo, supposedly the best tapas restaurant at this part of the island.

Berliner German Restaurant

I am a staunch believer that, if you ask for advice, you take it. But I am also a great friend and put the wants of others over my own. I dithered between the two, and finally the cozy looking sidewalk looking out to the sea at Berliner German Restaurant won me over. To be honest, there was no serious contest between Chinese noodle and a pints of draught German beer.

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