# Sunday, 12 July 2009

Starting July 7, 2009, Registered retailers in Hong Kong will charge customers not less than HKD 0.5 for each shopping bag with handles if they demand it, these retailers are mostly department stores, supermarts and other bigger retail outlets.

http://sc.info.gov.hk/gb/news.gov.hk/en/category/environment/090524/html/090524en04002.htm

While some people get away with it by getting plastic bags with no handles, most local residents do bring their own eco-friendly shopping bags. I admit that this can cause some inconvenience, but for the cause of protecting the environment (protecting ourselves - human - actually, as the earth will survive after all), I believe that if under situation where bringing a bag is not feasible, paying 50 cents is acceptable too.

Talking about environment protection, not sure if many are aware of a UN report telling us that Livestock is a major threat to environment, and it generates more greenhouse gas emissions than the transportation sector!

http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html

While becoming a total vegetarian is not easy, enjoying a nice vegetarian meal more often can now serve one more purposes: Save the planet, and thus saving us.

Sunday, 12 July 2009 18:33:27 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)

There is another interesting place to visit if you are a fan of Xiao Long Bao (小籠包), Wing Lai Yuen - Yeung's Kitchen 詠藜園楊家菜 is located at Hung Hom, in a food plaza known as 黃埔美食坊, this food plaza used to be extremely popular but I feel that the magic has diminished, Wing Lai Yuen is the only special one there I would go for, the rest are either average or has branches elsewhere.

Is Wing Lai Yuen's Xiao Long Bao (小籠包) as great as those of Crystal Jade or Modern China Restaurant? Personally I think not, though they are still very good. But Wing Lai Yuen offers something else which attracts a lot of people, 擔擔麵 Dan Dan Noodles is a special Sichuan cuisine, the special thing about it are the use of spicy sauce, and the peanut flavors (there is a non-spicy version of it if you cannot take it). Although I am not a fan of Dan Dan Noodle, its popularity and word of mouth reputation make me believe that it fits the savor of many people, especially those who loves spicy food.

 

Xiao Long Bao (小籠包)

 

擔擔麵 Dan Dan Noodles, I suggest that you ordering one to see if it tastes great for you, it is extremely popular!

 

Wor tip 煱貼 (Potsticker)

Wing Lai Yuen offers a lot more than what I mentioned, especially Sichuan style and Yeung's Imperial style cuisines, but if these do not really ring a bell for you, I would not suggest that you travel all the way to Hung Hom just to try out Wing Lai Yuen, but it can be an excellent (or perhaps an absolute) choice if you happen to be there in the vicinity. It is a very special high quality restaurant with very reasonable pricing.

Wing Lai Yuen - Yeung's Kitchen 詠藜園楊家菜

Address in Chinese: 紅磡德安街7號黃埔新天地黃埔花園8期106-107號舖
Address in English: Shop 106-107, Site 8, Wonderful Worlds Of Whampoa, 7 Tak On Street, Hung Hom, Hong Kong 
Tel: 2320 6430

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

Sunday, 12 July 2009 13:21:42 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 08 July 2009

I talked about Crystal Jade as a great restaurant for Shanghai style food, especially Xiao Long Bao (小籠包), but there is another one which is almost as good as Crystal Jade, I would say that 金滿庭 "Modern China Restaurant" is also definitely worth trying.

They feature a smaller Xiao Long Bao (小籠包), 8 pieces in an order, that can be easily eaten in one bite:

The chicken soup noodle is also a nice surprise, it first tasted too light for me, but gradually I can feel the richness of the chicken soup, and not being too heavy/salty or oily is good.


Address in Chinese: 銅鑼灣 勿地臣街1號 時代廣場 10樓1002號舖
Address in English:Shop 1002, 10/F, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
Tel : 2506 2525

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

Note: They are also located at Times Square like Crystal Jade, and they have another branch at Olympian City 2 (奧海城2期)

By the way, the decoration there is quite unique, and they offer good tea too, I also find their staffs polite and professional, and pricing is also reasonable, but there are always a lot of people there (like Crystal Jade), so better get there early to avoid long waiting time.

Wednesday, 08 July 2009 18:22:15 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# 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)