# Thursday, 27 August 2009

Although being a Chinese City, Hong Kong is probably also a place with the highest concentration of high quality Japanese restaurants outside of Japan. In fact, many local folks are supporters of Japanese products, and many are die-hard fans of Japanese food.

I cannot say I like Japanese food a lot, eating raw fish is not something easy to overcome for me, but it is interesting that there is one particular sashimi that I like a lot - Salmon Sashimi, and fortunately, many local Japanese restaurant can serve this with high quality, and the ones from Nagoyaka Tei (和花亭壽司) is also excellent. Having tried Salmon Sashimi from more than a dozen restaurants, I would say the freshness and meat quality of Nagoyaka Tei is top notch!

和花亭壽司 Nagoyaka Tei from Kushiro Hokkaido is very popular Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong, having very good word-of-mouth on their rich varieties of high quality Sushi, I am not a fan of Sushi and the one I had this time is only average, but I think that it is due to my lack of understanding on Sushi, so I was not able to order the best that the restaurant can offer.


和花亭炸蝦卷 - Literally Nagoyaka Tei's fried shrimp roll, but it is served cold instead of hot as I expected, not that bad but not superb either.

Like many Sushi bars, you can fill up forms (in Chinese) or pick up from the belt, there are also sake and drinks being "transported" around.

They also serve hot dishes like Udon and Soup, the Salmon Soup is not a very good choice and I think this is not where their strength lies.

Located in Ocean Terminal, the restaurant is always full during lunch break, get there before 12:00 noon will be safer, overall I think this restaurant is worth trying if you are a Sushi  lover, as they seem to offer many unique varieties, but for Sashimi and hot dishes, may be you can look elsewhere, and to be fair, as the restaurant name implies (壽司 = Sushi), there is no reason to set high expectation on a Sushi Bar if you do not like Sushi that much.

So please do not consider my review seriously as an opinion, I just hope that I can help by letting you know about this restaurant. Well, I did enjoy the Salmon Sashimi there, so I am somehow positive about them.

Address in Chinese: 尖沙咀海運大廈地下 OT G03 號舖 
Address in English: Zone OT G03, Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel. 3586 2622

Thursday, 27 August 2009 15:45:23 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 21 August 2009

The Computer Festival in Hong Kong used to be a must-go event for me, but as the fair turns from a venue for seeing new cool stuff into a dump site for old stock, going there is ok only if time allows, I went there today (the first day) and there were not many people. As expected, I do not see new innovations (I heard about 3D LCD monitor from Viewsonic but missed it) and it was simply a noisy night market like place.

But considering it a night market for low price tech items, there sure are a lot of things to hunt for, I only bought a hard disk though. My years of I.T. Technology experiences tell me not to buy something for low price, as the price will always only drop, and usually within very short time, the rule is, buy something only when it is needed immediately.

I was actually looking for a new notebook too, I use Fujitsu notebook computers for years, and is very happy for the quality and durability, I once dropped it hard and at another occasion, had it accidently turned on inside the bag and "baked" for at least 3 hours, but the notebook still works flawlessly, being "made in Japan" is another great drive for this brand, however, at the festival today, I only see old models being sold, all with only 2GB of memory, 2GB? No, I am looking for something with at least 6GB, hey, this is 2009.

At Sony's booth, I found a new series of notebook that looks very interesting, the VAIO Z series notebook features 6GB built-in memory, and the top end model has options for either SSD drive or a blu-ray drive (but not both), but considering the price point, I think the VAIO TT series would be even more attractive, as it offers a light weight computer with good power in good price. Here in Hong Kong, size and weight is very important, unlike I.T. folks in North America and Europe, most of us do not drive, so excessive weight will cause trouble moving around. Looks like I may betray my loyalty to Fujitsu this time. 

Another interesting find today is the Disney Notebook from Asus, interesting but not my choice, I do doubt the value of such marketing gimmick, a Disney notebook? Not for me definitely...

But the computer festival is really great if you are not looking for the latest and coolest, Hong Kong is probably the best place to buy I.T. stuffs as the shops here offers very competitive pricing, much more so in the Computer Festival, I may go there again on last day (Aug 24, Monday) and check things out, but I sure would abide by my own rule, I'll only buy what I really need, and not for the price. The problem is, however, I am a little lost on what I really need.

Fair | I.T.
Friday, 21 August 2009 19:52:13 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 16 August 2009

手信 is a tradition among many Greater China geographies wherein travellers will bring back items as small gifts for family and friends, very often these small gifts are edible foods of the places that they have visited, for Hong Kong, Japanese 手信 are highly welcomed, but how about people visiting Hong Kong? What can they bring back?

There are many great options, I may blog about that in future entries, but today I am not going to focus on that, instead, I want to mention something I bought also at the Food Expo, the Flossy Pork Egg Rolls (肉鬆蛋卷) from Koi Kei Bakery (鉅記手信), well, this bakery is actually from Macau, and not Hong Kong, but since travelling to Macau is so convenient (only a 1 hour ride on Ferry), it is not being conidered very foreign to us.

Koi Kei produces excellent biscuits and other Chinese style bakery products as well as traditional Chinese sweets, recently they also produce sauces and even canned abalones, they have shops in Hong Kong (there is one in Sogo basement at Causeway Bay) but the Flossy Pork Egg Rolls (肉鬆蛋卷) usually is available in Macau Shops only, so when I see them at the Expo, I purchased half a dozen of them without hesitation, at HKD 29 (net price after discount), this is a great snack to enjoy!

So what exactly is Flossy Pork Egg Rolls (肉鬆蛋卷)? The internals are dried shredded meat with flavor (they are flossy), and wrapped in crispy egg biscuits, this snack mixes sweetness and salty senses perfectly, with a perfect sensation when bitten inside your mouth, I would say this is something that visitors to Hong Kong and Macau should not miss.

There are many great stuffs from Koi Kei that deserves attention, grab a couple others and try it, the different flavors of almond cake/biscuit (杏仁餅) is a must try too.

Fair | Snacks
Sunday, 16 August 2009 19:01:58 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 13 August 2009

Sometimes you go to a fair and the best thing you got ends up as something that is totally unexpected from a fair of that nature, this happens again today at the Food Expo.

I am a fan of Nissin's instant noodle (出前一丁即食麵), I know instant noodles are not healthy, therefore I only buy those Nissin products produced in Japan, and there is a popular saying, if you boil the noodles once and discard the water, the harmful material at the surface of the noodle will be melted away, with all these safety measures, so I would still enjoy the great tastes of a Nissin Instant Noodle once in awhile, I also like the original flavor with sesame oil, though occasionally I would also try some special seasonal offers.

But don't get me wrong, Nissin's instant noodles are not the best thing I got today at the Hong Kong Food Expo 2009, it is a set of Mahjong (麻將)! Yes, a set of Nissin Mahjong (出前一丁麻將)!


This Nissin Mahjong (出前一丁麻將) set uses interesting patterns and can be practically used! I don't play Mahjong at all, but this set is so funny that I decide to keep it as a collector item, it will remain unopened though.


And I think this serves well as a wedding gift item too - all red color, and can be used instantly during wedding banquet.

 

Other cool stuffs that you can buy from the Nissin booth:

Thursday, 13 August 2009 21:15:30 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)

I blogged about UMF+ Manuka honey in June and it was quite a frequently hit entry, it seems that many people are interested in the power of honey, at today's Food Expo, I visited Comvita's booth and found out that they are offering a good deal package:


4 bottle of 250g Comvita UMF 10+ Manuka honey + a bottle of UMF20+ Huni Skin whitening product for HKD 669.

And the nice staffs there even waive my entrance ticket (HKD 25) by deducting it from the sales total, I also got a book on honey's healing power, as well as a HKD 50 coupon (applied only on regular price product and only for net purchases of HKD 500), please note the expiration date of this batch of products though, which is Nov 2010.

If you are trying to find out where to buy Comvita Manuka honey in Hong Kong, please check out Comvita's outlet at Hong Kong here: http://www.comvita.com/wheretobuyhk_2.html#1657

Fair | Health
Thursday, 13 August 2009 20:55:44 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)

Despite having extremely terrible experiences before with the food expo, I still opt to go this year, getting there early and on the first day, I avoided the terrible crowds that made the expo a bad place to stay.

One reason I got there was to buy the Japanese snow crab (松葉蟹) at HKD 90 (USD 11.5), fortunately most of the early birds were attracted to the HKD 1 meat ball pack so I was able to get one, I believe many people behind were not able to get one, so am I happy? Not exactly, first of all, the crab did not taste great, secondly, I found out that the vendor seems to be selling them at exactly the same price at their web site.

The crab is cooked and frozen, I did not expect it to be great, but still quite disappointed, it is a far lot worse than those I had in Hokkaido Japan, so frozen food is frozen food, there is probably no exceptions, but to be fair to the vendor, HKD 90 is a "reasonable" price, but they should not call it a "bargain", which I think is not true.

Based on what I know, this eight leg creature are harvested only during a short period of time in Japan from November to April, if that is true, that explains why the crabs are not in good quality, they just have been frozen for longer than they should, I was in Hokkaida a few years back during winter, the fresh crabs just taste totally different.

For the same amount, getting a fresh crab at the market is a better choice.

Crabs | Fair
Thursday, 13 August 2009 19:47:56 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 12 August 2009

My appetite is not at its highest yet therefore I am still preserving my hunger for the yellow oil crab, but with a US business friend arriving here, I decided to go  to East Ocean (東海·海都酒家) again, not for the crabs yet, but instead, ordered a set which I think is quite good in terms of value.

This HKD 160 set (cost per person) includes Shark Fin Soup, lobster, abalone, fried pigeon and a few other goodies, my US friend also likes the dessert that is made up of almond juice and milk.


The Shark Fin soup is ok though not superb.


The lobster tastes great!


The sauce is good but the abalone quality is not great enough

Not everything is super good, but they are not bad either, at HKD 160, it is a good deal for a business lunch.

Address in Chinese: 香港灣仔港灣道25號海港中心三樓
Address in English: 3/FL., Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
Tel: 2827 8887
 
The branch I went to was in Wan Chai Harbour Centre, please find the full list of East Ocean's branch at:
 
 
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 22:42:28 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 09 August 2009

In Hong Kong, every year there are two big occasions for Crab lovers, the first is the Yellow Oil Crab season, I had eaten quite a lot of Yellow Oil Crab last year, but only started to pay attention to it recently, traditionally, SuperStar (鴻星) and East Ocean (東海) are the two restaurants that I would go to for Yellow Oil Crab, simply because they always offer nice set menu which provides better value than ordering crabs alone.

Yellow Oil Crab are more expensive than Hairy crab in average, I believe that their source are rather limited to the Pearl River areas (which is near Hong Kong), the rich yellow oil from the female crabs are excellent delicacies, and one famous dish that can be made out of it is the Xiao Long Bao (小籠包).

Last week I tested the Yellow Oil Crab Xiao Long Bao (黄油蟹小籠包) by both SuperStar and East Ocean:

 


The ones from SuperStar appears to be slightly bigger, and having more crab paste inside, the meat are very fresh but the soup inside seems to be a little light

 


The ones from East Ocean has less soup inside but it is thick and richer/creamier, the meat quality is not as good, but there is one important factor, the ones from SuperStar is HKD 22 each, while East Ocean is offering them at HKD 12 each!! Yes, HKD 12 each! Never before had a Yellow Oil Crab Xiao Long Bao (黄油蟹小籠包) been offered at such low price, and they apparently had not sacrificed in quality!

So in Round one, there is a clear winner, at HKD12, it is so tempting to eat a bunch of them at East Ocean.

Next round? Of course, it would be the Crabs!!! I am preserving my appetite for a super feast on them.

Sunday, 09 August 2009 14:51:41 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 08 August 2009

The Hong Kong weather in recent weeks are really bad, having hot temperature is common in many parts of the world, but at the same time having polluted misty air and being trapped amidst a cement forest as dense as those in this city should be something unique to Hong Kong. Well, the recent passing by of typhoon is also a factor though, but it is well known that the humid hot Hong Kong weather during this season is really uncomfortable.

Although there are government and civilian measures to help fight pollution, but there are fundamental issues that make me feel that the problem cannot easily go away, limited by the size of the city with a dense population, and being affected by the manufacturing facilities in surrounding regions, there is a price to pay for living here to enjoy the good things that Hong Kong can offer.

There has been a study saying that indoor air quality can be better than those of outdoor if you have a air purifier, I have installed two of these at home, and I tend to believe that it is true, the indicator on the air purifier may show poor condition when I open all windows, but end up ok when the room is air-conditioned. If you tell the old folks that outdoor air is worse than indoor air, they must think you are crazy, but unfortunately, I am afraid that it can be true at some moment of the year.

On Air purifier, I am relying heavily on a Panasonic model, which works very well for years, the other one is Sharp, which unfortunately always emit a strange odor (I believe that it is carbon) and is rarely used (unless under conditions which I must use both for powerful and quick air clean up), I suspect that the strange odor is caused by the humidity, which may have affected the filter, and this humidity problem can also be attributed to the Hong Kong weather. I think I should avoid opening windows immediately after turning off air conditioner, as we all know, this will draw water vapors attached to cold surfaces, I think this is bad for air filters as wet carbon may produce odors as I read.

Saturday, 08 August 2009 10:58:36 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 06 August 2009

I once worked in a building known as Jardine House in Central Hong Kong around 3 years ago, this building used to be the tallest building in Hong Kong during the 70s, and at the lower floor there are quite a few eateries and restaurants, and Jasmine Place (怡翠軒) was a Chinese restaurant that I rarelywent to, my impression with it was really not so good. Recently I went to Jardine House for something and suddenly felt like eating there, and my first impression was - wow, they have quite a nice decoration now - and looks much more high class than it used to be.

But are the food as greatly improved as the decoration? I think perhaps not exactly, usually I would judge dim sum quality of a restaurant by the basics, for example, Ha Gau (Shrimp dumpling) or Siu Mai, if they cannot do it well, then probably they are not great enough yet, and Jasmine Place fails this test in both their Ha Gau (Shrimp dumpling) and Siu Mai.

However, the 2 layers dim sum casket (good for 2 person) as a whole is quite a good deal considering the relatively expensively priced dim sums in this restaurant. Well, I am not saying that they serve bad dim sum, it is just that the price is so high that you are actually paying for the location and not the food, this restaurant I believe is serving business customers who work in the building or at nearby offices, as Central is such a busy commercial district in Hong Kong.

 

There is one dim sum that I think is kind of innovative and tastes good, which is a seafood roll (crab meat) wrapped in thin noodles, I like this one a lot.

 

Another great surprise is the dessert that I ordered, 楊枝甘露 is a popular dessert in Hong Kong, which is a mix of mango, grapefruit and coconut milk, it is one of my favorite, and Jasmine Place created one with Ice Cream in it (Mango Ice cream), and the result is double yummy! I have to give a thumbs up for this.

 

I guess there could be a reason why this restaurant is on the Michelin guide, in fact they do have a Michelin Menu (which does not look that attractive to me on paper), but personally I would recommend this restaurant if you shall be having business visit at Jardine House, do not want to go far to eat, and shall be able to claim your dining expenses from the company.

One thing that I need to mention is that their staffs are very professional and friendly, I believe foreign friends will sure find them helpful.

Thursday, 06 August 2009 17:47:42 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)