# Saturday, 20 June 2009

With more than 200 confirmed cases and growing at fast rate, it seems that the government may adopt a new policy in treating the H1N1 virus patients to reduce the pressure on medical systems in public hospitals, I heard that patients with mild condition may be treated at home instead.

This is a big shift from the high profile isolation of people at a hotel in Wanchai weeks ago when the first cases hit Hong Kong, but the government may have done right at that time, as any delay in the spread of the virus will buy us time for the medical system to get ready, as well as for the development of vaccines. 

The low mortality rate makes people feel easy on this virus, but I would still be very careful, it is good that there are many places which are not overcrowded and safe to go, yeah, tomorrow is Father's day.

 

Saturday, 20 June 2009 17:55:51 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 18 June 2009

If you are looking for something to eat that will help to improve our body's defense against sickness, I would definitely recommend honey, as a testimonial, my kid have started taking a tea spoon of it everyday for around two months, and since then she have not had running nose which was happening quite often before, and for a short week she did not take them, the running nose happened once again. Although this is only a short period of observation, it seems to be helping.

Besides, honey tastes great, especially when mixed with lemom juice. But for the kids, it is recommended that we pursuade them to consume the honey by swallowing direct from the tea spoon (without mixing water), so the honey stays in the mouth and stomach longer.

My personal preference is Comvita UMF+ Manuka Honey, I am not sure about the Active UMF content that they claim to be a health promoting factor, but being a New Zealand product I do have strong confidence in them, and they taste good too. Two Years ago I had also used the UMF+20 hoeny to try to fix my stomach problem, though I don't have a way to prove that it works.

For more information, please check out Comvita web site:

http://www.comvita.com/manuka-honey.html

There are many options differ by UMF rating, and the price difference is quite big, for prevention of flu for kids I think UMF 10+ is the best buy, the higher end ones such as 15+ or 20+ are usually for medication of stomach problems and are quite expensive. I remember they once offer a 35+ product but not seeing them anymore. The highest UMF+ product I have tried is UMF 20+.

There are many outlets in Hong Kong that has Comvita counter, I purchased at Sogo primarily.

Thursday, 18 June 2009 11:17:41 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 17 June 2009

During a time when there is a possible pandemic, it is important to eat well, actually, we should eat well and eat healthy all the time, but at such situation, I think more people will pay more attention on what to eat to help protecting the body.

Traditionally, chicken soup has been seen as something with good nutritional value, but for commercial reason most chicken are raised with the help of Hormone, and there are fear that such hormone will be passed to the human through food consumption. Besides, the bird flu issue also would cause concern over quality and safety of chicken sold in the market.

I learnt about the Kamei chicken (嘉美雞) years ago, it is a breed produced through scientfic work involving commerical and academic effort, personally the safety of a locally raised chicken merits the higher prices, and I feel that the soup indeed was better with less oily fat (you can remove the skin to further reduce them), and the new (improved) Honbo Chicken (康保雞) is said to be best used for cooking chicken soup as they have even thinner skin than Kamei chicken. 

Because of bird flu, the government is discouraging chicken raising locally, today I think there are less places where you can buy this special brand of chicken, I used to buy them at North Point, and now at Tin Hau, here is a list of outlets for your references: 

http://www.kameihonbochicken.com.hk/stores_hk.html

And you can also check out their web site (which is in Chinese though)

http://www.kameihonbochicken.com.hk/aboutus_how_kamei_comes.html

I would highly recommend this breed of chicken and it would be a pity if the production would be gone for some reason in the future. While Bresse from France may be known as the World's Best Chicken, Kamei (honbo) chicken are the great research work achieved by local Hong Kong breeders which may not have a chance to be truly evaluated by the world.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009 18:32:43 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 11 June 2009

A High School student suspected with H1N1 Virus infection has brought alert to local community, today, that school is confirmed to have 12 identified cases, and because of such development, Elementary school and Kindergarten will start a 14 days class suspension starting tomorrow. That means, my kid will stay at home for the next 2 weeks.

http://www.dh.gov.hk/english/press/2009/090610-2.html

The community still appears to be calm, probably because the fatality rate do not seem to be alarming, but the funniest thing is, upon the announcement of class suspension, Disneyland comes up with a promotion which drives government officials to say something about it. I am not sure if the promotion is just a "coincidence", but I think kids should really stay at home instead of taking advantage of the no-class suspension for fun outside.

Under such situation, it is safer to eat at places with less people, in an environment that is properly spaced. Restaurants such as Shark's Fin City Restaurant, Golden Bauhinia and Regal Palace are better choices. Fu Sing and Tai Woo is more crowded, and may be temporarily avoided along with the smaller eateries.

Thursday, 11 June 2009 19:34:07 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 08 June 2009
 #
 

Regal Palace is a restaurant that I frequently visited in 2007 and 2008 with my family, but less often now as Jade Garden is now the preferred choice, partly for budget reason, I would not object the 1 star rating given to the restaurant by Michelin Guide, but if for casual dining, I think a few other restaurants can offer similar value with less spending.

What I like most about the restaurant is the environment and service, which is truly excellent, the food is great too though a little expensive, I think one of their dim sum which is the best in Hong Kong would be the Fried Taro Seafood pie, I just feel that it is much better than all other restaurants:


The fried crab claws is also nice, though many others can do as good as well.

The Shark fin soup dumpling is also great:


I recently tried a special dish that they were promoting, 佛跳牆 is a famous dish from Southern China, the term literally means that even Buddha would jump over the wall to taste it, although this seems to be a lack of respect religiously, I think the chef who invented this just wished to explain how great it is. The dish is an expensive one making up of abalone, Sea Cumcumber, Shark Fin and other good material, it is also one of my favorite dish.

But this one from Regal Palace is a little disappointing, the size is smaller than expected but it ok ok, the issue is the taste, while the soup base is fine, the material does not seem to taste good, and I am even a little surprise to find a piece of bone inside, which is not supposed to happen.

Anyway, this restaurant also has a few other famous dishes great for dining, but for dim sum and casual eating, may be I would not come as often as I want.


富豪金殿 Regal Palace

Address in Chinese:  銅鑼灣怡和街88號富豪香港酒店3樓

Address in English: 3/F, Regal Hongkong Hotel, 88 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay 

Tel: 2837 1773

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.000463d25b524e2ce06d1

 

Monday, 08 June 2009 23:03:02 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 04 June 2009

This time I'll blog about a restaurant NOT on the Michelin Guide, but I can assure you, the food quality, service level and environment can match most of the best in the guide.


魚翅城酒家, Shark's Fin City Restaurant, as the name implied, specialized on Shark Fin dishes, but of course they also offer other great dishes, as well as dim sum, they have quite a few branches but I always go to the one in Times Square Causeway Bay (yes, there is a "Times Square" in Hong Kong)

Here are many of the food that I have tried:

Shark's Fin Dumpling

I would say that their Sio Mai is one of the best in town, the barbicue bun is not bad too

 

They recently offered a set which is a very good deal!

The menu in Chinese, 4 items plus a dim sum from the list on the right.

The Shark's Fin Soup is superb, very rich content! Good deal indeed! I can choose a type of dim sum as part of the set, of course I choose Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumpling), not only because I like it, but also because it is the most expensive one among the options.

The "fish belly" is the one with great value, not the noodle. Well, "Fish belly" may not be the right term, I'll probably need to do some research later, this one is very nutritious but not as good tasting as I expected though. 

This egg pie has bird's nest on it, would cost much more than the regular ones found on the streets, majority of HK eateries can prepare this one well, personally I do not see bird's nest adding much flavor or value to it, but nice to have one if it comes with the set.

The dessert, just ordinary stuff...

Their pricing recently is very competitive without sacrificing quality, very economical for us to have high quality food!

Address in Chinese:
銅鑼灣勿地臣街1號 時代廣場 食通天 1102 號舖

Address in English:
Shop No. 1102, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay

Tel: 3102 9838

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.000463d25b524e2ce06d1

Thursday, 04 June 2009 23:41:57 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Just a few blocks away from Jade Garden Causeway, you can find another restaurant mentioned in Michelin Guide - Tai Woo. I have discovered this restaurant years ago but I was truly surprised that the restaurant makes it to an International Gourmet Guide, not because its food is not great, but because such an simple looking restaurant got noticed.

The ha gau there is very good, the fried shrimp roll is one of my favorite, I do not especially like the way they roasted the pigeon anyway, but I think their biggest strength is in seafood dining, which I had experienced more than an year ago, overall I would say this restaurant offers above average food, not the best but very good for the money. The issue with them though, is the environment, poorly designed and inconvenient seated for some, if you want a dim sum restaurant with good balance of comfort, food quality and price, I would rate Jade Garden better unless you are in for seafood dining.

The environment: I was assigned a not so good place, quite not comfortable

The food: - Very good Ha Gao, tasty Fried Shrimp Roll, and a very different fried pigeon.

Tai Woo Restaurant (Causeway Bay) 太湖海鮮城

Address in Chinese: 銅鑼灣波斯富街27號
Address in English: 27 Percival Street, Causeway Bay 

Tel: 2893-0822

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.000463d25b524e2ce06d1

Tuesday, 12 May 2009 20:03:39 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 06 May 2009
 #
 

It is great that the health crisis seems to be under control now, while we should not forget about maintaining good personal hygiene, it is time to focus on where to eat good food again.

Some local critics in Hong Kong laughed about the Michelin Guide because most of the restaurants recommended are comparatively expensive, they feel that many great local eateries that deserved the honor are not included simply because their environment is not good enough. While I agree that there are indeed great food served in those eateries, majority of the tourists may not feel comfortable there, I'll try to mention one of those restaurants someday, but personally, I think the best places to go are those restaurants that strike a good balance among food, environment, and price. And I would consider Jade Garden (翠園) as one of them.

Jade Garden has quite a few branches, the one mentioned in Michelin Guide is located in Causeway Bay, since I live around the area, it is also the one that I frequently go to. A few things I like about it aside from food quality:

- The dim sums are served in trollies (點心車仔) which are being pushed around, you can look at the plates (or look at the actual thing) and choose instead of ordering the items on a form, this is the older and original form of dim sum eating, but now most restaurants prefer the more effective order form. The disadvantage of trollies is that you may need to wait patiently for the right thing to come, however, in Jade Garden the trollies are moving around frequently enough, with sufficient goodies on each of them of course.
- The tea set used there is quite good and the tea quality is also fine
- I feel good in the environment, not too elegant but just good enough to make one feel at ease

Some of the best dim sums there:

- Ha Gau, one of the best in Hong Kong

- Fried Scallop (帶子芋蓉酥) - not offered in many restaurants and this one is superb


- Abalone SuiMai - very food

But Jade Garden has another delicacy, which unfortunately is not available in the Causeway Branch, the shark fin soup dumpling there is the traditional ones, which holds the soup inside the dumpling instead of putting the dumpling in the soup, which may be good but not my preference. To have the one I want, I need to visit Jade Garden TST branch, which is near the Ocean Terminal and Star Ferry, I like to mention  that Jade Garden TST has good views too if you can sit near the windows. I think they offers the same quality of food and service like the Causeway Branch, so if that location is more convenient to you, you can choose the TST branch as well.

Jade Garden Causeway Bay

Address in Chinese: 銅鑼灣駱克道463-483號銅鑼灣廣場二期3樓
Address in English:3/F, Causeway Bay Plaza II, 463-483 Lockhart Road (Causeway Bay)   

Tel : 2573 9339

 

From Jade Garden TST (Tsim Sha Tsui) 尖沙咀:

Shark fin dumpling in soup 魚翅灌湯餃

Address in Chinese: 尖沙咀梳士巴利道3號星光行五樓
Address in English: 5/F, Star House, 3 Salisbury Road (Tsim Sha Tsui)   
Tel: 2730-6888

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.000463d25b524e2ce06d1

Wednesday, 06 May 2009 20:02:52 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 02 May 2009

I went out today and found out that people are generally calm about the H1N1 virus case found in Hong Kong. The shops and restaurants are still full of people and only few are wearing face masks, while I feel that we should remain alert and keep good hygiene, there is no need to panic indeed.

By the way, Vitamin C is important for health, I bought some juicy and truly sweet oranges today, these PureSpect oranges are said to have guaranteed sweetness of 12 degree by the local supermart (though I am not sure about how sweetness is measured), but I have not found any info at their web site about sweetness measurement, though there are quite a lot of information and I learnt that the fruits are selected through near-infrared devices. I feel that these oranges are quite good and taste fresh, compared to the sunkist oranges that we usually eat, they contain relatively more juice, so I am not disappointed. Sold at HKD $18 (USD $2.3) for 4 pcs, I think it is reasonably priced.

Saturday, 02 May 2009 14:55:13 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)

Although expected, it is still a little unpleasant to know that the H1N1 virus finally hits Hong Kong, but it seems that the government is doing a good job so far: the people are being tracked, the hotel being isolated. But obviously a few people who had contacts with the patient have already been out there among the community, and there can probably be some infected travellers who haven't shown any sign of sickness.

Hong Kong was hit hard by SARS in 2003 so the government agencies, medical institutions and even ordinary citizens are prepared well for the crisis, if everyone would do their part, we can get over this with minimal damage.

May be many of our foreign friends do not know, Hong Kong has some of the best medical professionals in the world, not just for their expertise, but for their bravery and dedication to their work, during SARS, many of them sacrified while standing firm to their post, I hope no one will be lost in this crisis.

Saturday, 02 May 2009 08:42:14 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)