# Thursday, 02 July 2009
 #
 

Noodle is a great invention believed to be originated in middle Asia, in my world of noodles, I would classify my favorites into two: Cantonese noodles and La Mian (拉麵) - hand pulled stretch noodles, and the later are often served in Shanghai style restaurants.

And the flag ship food for most Shanghai style restaurants, 小籠包 (Xiao Long Bao), which can be described somehow as steamed pork dumpling (note: this is not Siu Mai - see picture please) is one of my great favorite, and the best I believe is served by Crystal Jade 翡翠拉麵小籠包), I like the freshness of the material and the soup within the dumpling is very delicious and rich, another good thing is that the skin is not too thick yet able to hold the soup within without easily being broken.

 

They have many branches in Hong Kong, the Michelin Guide recommended the one in TST, but I think the quality is quite consistent among all branches, as I have tried the followings:

Wan Chai:
Address in Chinese: 灣仔莊士敦道181號大有商場3樓301舖
Address in English: Shop 301, Tai Yau Plaza, 181 Johnston Road, Wan Chai 
Tel: 2573 8844

Wan chai branch Photos:

 

Causeway Bay (Times Square)
Address in Chinese: 銅鑼灣勿地臣街1號時代廣場地庫 B221A
Address in English: Basement B221A,Times Square,1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
Tel: 2506 0080

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

Aside from Xiao Long Bao, the noodles are great too, and if you happen to be in Hong Kong during Autumn season when the hairy crabs are available, their special hairy crab dishes are definitely worth trying, the following is a crab meat noodle I had in December 2008 (cannot recall if those were hairy crab meat though, but December is already off season).

 

Crystal Jade also offers luxurious dishes, like this Braised Shark's Fin soup with Chicken was excellent!


But if you like something nice and reasonably priced, you can also try the minced fish meat soup, which I regularly ordered too:

This is a restaurant chain that I would highly recommend! I think they offer the best 小籠包 (Xiao Long Bao) in town!

Thursday, 02 July 2009 21:07:34 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 25 June 2009

INCHEON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT is named the World's Best Airport 2009 by Skytrax survey (http://www.worldairportawards.com/Awards_2009/Airport2009.htm), Hong Kong International Airport was last year's winner and still manage to get the No. 2 spot. But for best airport dining, Hong Kong is still the best(http://www.worldairportawards.com/Awards_2009/Categories.htm#dining)! In my last blog entry, I did mention the rich varieties of dining options there.

This is a great achievement that we local folks should be proud of, and we should also do our part to help Hong Kong remain competitive, a good start is to be polite and friendly to foreign visitors, and sharing more helpful information on the web.

 

Thursday, 25 June 2009 10:45:31 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Today is a big day for fun, the showing of Transformers 2 movie (Revenge of the fallen) definitely is an important entertainment to catch, so despite having to travel a long way to the SkyPlaza at terminal 2 of the Hong Kong International airport, I still go for it. Why the airport? Well, this is why:

Although I want to watch the IMAX version, in the days of H1N1, avoiding crowds is a preferable option. The cost is a HKD$100 ride on Airport express, though I took a much less costly transportation option on my way back (bus), which would take 80 minutes instead of 35 minutes, by the way, I live in the Hong Kong Island side. And how about travelling to the IMAX theater in Kowloon Bay? A 30 minutes MTR ride at HKD $11+ will do.

Another cost related thing to mention is that the ticket price is lower at SkyPlaza (HKD$40) vs the $85 at IMAX theater in Megabox/Kowloon Bay.

So how about the quality? Is the 4D Extreme Screen (which they claim to have a dimension of 64 ft X 44 ft, close to 5-storey high) comparable to IMAX? Well, this movie has no 4D element exactly except that they create some winds and gas at some moment, besides that, I guess it is just an ordinary movie showing, with only around 60% to 70% usage of the screen, the quality seems to be not as good as IMAX, but it is still better than most theaters in Hong Kong, and one special thing about this MCL Cinema is the distance between the audiences and the screen, which is quite comfortable. In the IMAX theater, the distance is too close for such a wide screen, so even when you are taking the highest row, the viewing is still not comfortable, but I believe that the IMAX version should still produce better quality, I would try that out a week or two later when less people would go to watch this movie.

So is the movie good? I think it is ok, the fresh stimulus we got when the first movie came out may have diminished, so it is only a "ok", and I think the story line is not good enough, generating too much chaotic screens without enough depth, but for entertainment, it is still a must watch movie if you like movie of this kind, it is not easy to have something better, may be I was just expecting too much.

Anyway, I like to mention the places to eat in Terminal 2 of the airport, there are really a lot of options, I went to Wong Chi Kee this time, not bad, but just like the movie, it is just "ok", there are better noodle house around that I'll start to talk about in my next blog entries.

Wong Chi Kee 黃枝記粥麵店 (Just beside the Cinema)

Other options there:

So during your departure from Hong Kong, you can arrive at the airport early and still have some good dining options, the Skyplaza is at Terminal 2 (getting off at right side of the Airport Express), as most flights are handled at Terminal 1, but don't worry, moving from one terminal to the other is extremely easy and fast.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009 17:14:04 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 21 June 2009

龍皇酒家 Dragon King Restaurant in Causeway Bay:

This is quite a special restaurant that I tried last night, I had been there before but only ordered dim sum, which was quite good, this time I went there for an occasion of my in-law's, and had a chance to taste some of the best that they can offer, the banquet was very affluent, including abalone, lobsters, shark's fin and many others, I am happy with almost all dishes, so at least for this dinner, I would give high rating to the restaurant.

Nice view from some tables (ours did):

 

Impressive entrée, the fried curb bean cubes are excellent! The fried pork meat is not as great as Fu Sing's but still quite good.

 

I have 1.75 orders of this!

 

I wish I could have taken more pictures, but after all it is a banquet and taking too many pictures did not seem to be appropriate, but there was one that triggered many guests to pull out their camera....:

So they are serving something in a test tube! No worries, these are neither drugs nor some secret chinese potion, they are simply vegetable juices, while I had terrible experiences on vegetable juices, the red one seems to taste quite well, but one advice, don't try to mix them together, it would bring out the worst of both.

Anyway, it was a fun and good dining experiences!

Address in Chinese: 銅鑼灣告士打道 280 號世貿中心 12/F

Addess in English: 12/F The World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay

Tel: 28952288

Sunday, 21 June 2009 22:19:30 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# 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)