# Monday, 14 December 2009

This is the 44th Expo and shall be held from Dec 12, 2009 to Jan 4, 2010, it is always a good chance for us to buy bargain local products, since I live near Victoria Park, I don't have to worry about the hassle of carrying the items back home, but I would always focused on value items by quality instead of quantity, as even if my home is nearby, carrying purchased items around inside the venue can be a challenge, there are just way too many people there, even I got there today at non-peak hours, some shops were still having lots of people in front of the store.

紹香園 is popular for its walnuts, as well as preserved fruits, unfortunately my favorite 話梅肉 (some sort of preserved Chinese plum meat) is not available, and when I tried to ask, I was edged out by a few elders, whom I believe are definitely more than 60 years old.

Another store that I would patronage year over year is Comvita Manuka honey, this year they offer package of 4 bottles of 250g UMF 15+ plus free Huni skin lotion for HKD 999, or 3 bottles of 500g UMF 10+ also plus free Huni skin lotion for the same amount, I have not yet decided on which to take, but sure I would buy either one of this offer.

 

Another of my favorite Koi Kei Bakery 鉅記手信 has an impressive shop "building" there, quite inline with the Central library at the background, quite an ingenious design! But I did not see my favorite Flossy Pork Egg Rolls (肉鬆蛋卷), and I am not sure if the prices are really attractive, I do not buy anything there, they now have a store in Causeway Bay, quite convenient in case I need to buy something from them.

 

But the real value of my visit there today is the food, Farm House Chinese restaurant (農圃飯店) is a popular but expensive restaurant that I have tried only twice in the past, but today at the 工展會 expo, I can order four pieces of 蟹粉小籠包 (Hairy Crab paste Xiao Long Bao) for HKD 30! Their Almond juice Pig Lung soup (杏汁豬肺湯) is truly excellent, this is really an excellent chance for us to try out this restaurant's high quality food at very reasonable price. Again, I am lucky to be living close to the venue, so I can order take home and eat them while they were still hot! A word of caution though, if you order and eat there, it can be quite a hassle.

 

SuperStar also has a counter there, but their crab paste garlic toast (蟹粉蒜茸飽) was a little disappointing even at HKD 15 for 2 pieces, the crab stuff seems to be not very fresh, I would not recommend it. But you should buy their Crispy Whitebait with peanuts (脆脆銀魚) at HKD 50 for 6 packs, as it is a really a big bargain! The abalone seems to be quite tempting, but I did not get it.

By the way, the entrance fee is HKD 10, reasonable enough. But the true spending is not that amount, but the hassle of moving around the crowd, and your time. If you can get there during week days, it would be better, going there during weekends or holiday could be a nightmare for some of you.

Monday, 14 December 2009 21:00:01 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 09 December 2009

Before I watched the movie I had read about some criticizm about it, mostly on the scientific inaccuracies and miuse of the Mayan legend, I think these remarks do have points, but if we see this movie from a pure entertainment perspective, I think it is a great production that should be deeply appreciated.

One great function of a movie can be to help us visualizing something, sometimes when we read or learn about something, the understanding can somehow be limited by our own capability to imagine. For example, for people who had never experienced earthqakes, tsunami or volcanic explosion, they can only have a somewhat imagined feel of what the damage, or fear would be like. After all, you won't be seeing the deeper part of the terrible things on TV News or News paper. A movie, especially one with today's computer technologies, can bring that experiences vividly through the big screens and sound systems in modern cinema. This movie's special effects is the best I have ever seen, it is amazingly realistic!

The storyline is not bad overall, though I do have conservation on some of the ideas, I think ignoring the right of ordinary people in such situation is very bad, but being too emotional and jeopardizing the whole plan is not a good thing either, and I always dislike the idea of having everything hanging on the luck of a single individual, if that should be the case, it should be something to be avoided, and not glorified.

One interesting thought that comes to my mind is, if indeed a doomsday is coming, how would the governments of the world handles it? Would they risk chaos and let the whole world knows about it? Or just prepare to save those who are "worth saving"?

This movie is best seen at Cinema, I watched it at IFC and the facilities are good, I wish I can see it in IMAX, but even I have seen it at Cinema, I plan to get a Bluray copy when it is available, it is worth being a collector item. 

Wednesday, 09 December 2009 14:40:15 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 27 November 2009

It is not an easy thing for a restaurant to be around for 60 years, especially in a fast changing city like Hong Kong, 龍門大酒樓 Lung Moon Restaurant will be closing down by end of this month (Nov 2009), although I am not a fan of this restaurant, I wish it would continue to be around. But the reality is, located at a real estate with high market value, and facing the trend of a district wise rennovation, it has already been a great feat that it survives up to this time.

The dim sum served by Lung Moon Restaurant is very traditional, they are nice but in my opinion not especially great, some of their post popular items, such as the big bun (大包) and glutinous rice (糯米飯), are not my favorite, therefore I rarely go there, but the main reason I avoided them is the environment, for experiencing the good old days it is fine, but perhaps once in a while is enough, most of the time I would not consider it.


Many people like the big bun (大包) because you get to taste a lot of stuffs in one item (Chicken,Pork,Mushroom etc), if you like buns this is a must try.


The beef ball is well done


The chicken feet is too spicy for me


A fairwell banquet (龍門夜宴) for HKD 300 per head, I am really interested but it is already fully booked.

The restaurant is full of people taking photos these days, another token of the old days will be lost, I really don't like to see this happening.

Friday, 27 November 2009 15:26:02 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 25 November 2009

It is always hard to say which dim sum restaurant is the best in Hong Kong, coz there are truly many great ones, but if I must name one, probably Lei Garden (利苑酒家) can be a safe answer.

I could have blogged about Lei Garden a long time ago, but just did not make it, I do not eat there very often, being always full is not an exact reason, but I somehow just feel more at ease at other restaurants, considering location and my schedule. On the other hand, they do serve great food.


Their crab meat soup dumpling was excellent, something that I sure would order when I eat there  


This hairy crab paste Xiao Long Bao (小籠包) was very good, aside from rich crab paste, it contained quite some crab meat inside, but at HKD 32 each is too expensive!!


The beef ball in soup was great, I like the way it is cooked, even the soup was tasty!


The chicken feet and 叉燒包 (barbecued pork bun) were also very good, but they can be found at same quality elsewhere too


The Taro Puff (蜂巢芋角) was not good enough, it was fried too deep, this was quite a surprise, and it was the only thing that I feel disappointed.

Lei Garden is comparatively expensive, and serving a higher end market, the people there are polite, but somehow I just feel a little unease there, if you wish to eat there I suggest making booking in advance, unless you got there early during non-peak hours and can finish eating before the crowd comes in.

There are quite a few branches of Lei Garden, I think the quality is quite consistent, but the one at Wan Chai seems to be mostly popular among locals.

Official web site: http://www.leigarden.hk/

Wan Chai Lei Garden Restaurant
Address : 1/F., CNT Tower, 338 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel. 2892 0333

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday & Public Holidays
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Dinner: 6:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Sunday
Lunch: 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Dinner: 6:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009 18:50:21 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, 03 November 2009

During Hairy crab (大閘蟹) season, most Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong would offer dishes out of this seasonal delicacy, Jade Garden is not known for this, and my trial on two of them makes me feel that I should stick to this restaurant for dim sum better.


Official name from menu: Tofu broth with hairy crabmeat and coral (豆腦蟹粉羹)


Official name from menu: Noodle in shrimp with hairy crabmeat and coral (蟹粉伴麵)

They are not really that bad, but there seems to be too much flour in it, and the taste is not rich enough, since the price is relatively low at only HKD 28 (USD 3.5) per serving (you can order an one person serving for trial, which is good), it is understandable, if you have a couple people dining there together, it is ok to order a few of these hairy crab dishes, may be there are nice surprises in the other ones.

Tuesday, 03 November 2009 15:33:12 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 30 October 2009

I once thought I would have my first hairy crab (大閘蟹) meal this season at East Ocean, but unexpectedly it turned out to be Shark's Fin City restaurant instead. Just by chance anyway.

The set is simple, without too much fansy stuff, soup, a traditional chinese wine to offset the supposed "cold" elements from Hairy Crab, a ginger dessert that serves the same purpose, and of course, the main character - hairy crabs!

There are two hairy crab dishes aside from the 2 medium size steamed hairy crab:


The hairy crab paste Xiao Long Bao (小籠包) is unexpectedly good, the skin is not bad, the meat stuff tasted fresh, but the amount of paste (crab soup) inside is too little.


The crab paste + bread roll is ok, although not as good as the Crab paste garlic toast (蟹粉蒜茸飽) from East Ocean (東海海都), the amount of crab paste provided is bigger in quantity (not as great as that from East Ocean but ok too)

Now the crabs, there are 2 crabs, and they serve the next only after you have done with the first so all crabs can be eaten hot, the services were quite good and I am satisfied. The quality of the crabs are ok too, not super super but very good already, they have the true crab aroma which I failed to experience last year, it may be true that the overall quality this season has improved, I believe so as the lungs of the crabs are clean, a sign that they were grown in clean environment.


First crab


Second crab


Other stuffs

A good meal for HKD 490!

Friday, 30 October 2009 22:43:32 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 29 October 2009

The hot humid days of Hong Kong summer seems to be over finally, now comes one of the best season to visit Hong Kong, plus being at the right time for eating hairy crab! Talking about hairy crab, I had my first 2 for this season yesterday, gonna blog about it tomorrow, it is a busy day today and extremely tired...

Thursday, 29 October 2009 23:11:46 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 17 October 2009

The hairy crab season is already here for sometime already, but since I had a lot of seafood at home recently, I decided to try out the hairy crab dishes first instead of feasting the crabs, somehow I need to manage the level of cholesterol I have.

Aside from Xiao Long Bao (小籠包), there is actually a special hairy crab dishes (大閘蟹菜式) that I receommend everyone crab lover to try, which is the Crab paste garlic toast (蟹粉蒜茸飽) from East Ocean (東海海都), at a price of HKD 108 for 6 pieces, it is not low but fair as far as the experiences is concerned, the mix of the crab meat and paste along with a hot garlic toast is truly amazing!


A full spread of rich crab paste on one piece of garlic toast!

And how about the hairy crab Xiao Long Bao (蟹粉小籠包)? I think it is only average, and if you think having too much crab stuff in a meal is no good, there are other dim sums that are worth trying too, a fried version of seafood roll is especially good!


Hairy Crab Xiao Long Bao (蟹粉小籠包): The Meat is not fresh enough, paste not rich enough.


This hairy crab paste wor tip (they don't call it a wor tip but I think it is) is not that good either.


Great fried version of seafood roll (鮮竹卷), great sauce with spring onion.

The branch at Harbour City is well decorated and nicely setup, with settings that allows certain degree of privacy, like this room:

There are other hairy crab dishes anyway at East Ocean, I'll try them out next time, especially the sets.

Saturday, 17 October 2009 15:51:21 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 12 October 2009

Have not been visiting Jade Garden for more than a month, I decided to try it again, with a purpose to see if it is still "better than Maxim's Palace" as I mentioned, and why not, especially when it is offering a discount if you settle your bill before 11:30a.

The result is affirmative with reservation, coz I was not able to order ha gao (shrimp dumpling), please note that Jade Garden, like Maxim's Palace, is using the old style push carts, I did not see them offered, not sure if it has something to do wth the morning discount.


Using Beef ball as an index, this one from Jade Garden gives a better feel somehow


The steamed shrimp roll is not that good, wish I could have ordered ha gao instead


This fried taro scallop is only offered here as I haven't seen it elsewhere yet, it is simply fantastic! But make sure you got them hot enough.


This one is spicy, not my style but taste good

If Causeway bay is not convenient for you, Jade Garden at TST is also a good choice, just next to the Star Ferry terminal.

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

Jade Garden TST
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

Monday, 12 October 2009 13:54:19 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 08 October 2009

I was really a little surprise that my last experience at Maxim's Palace City Hall was not good enough, so I visited its Taikoo Branch to have another test, and it seems that the quality this time was slightly better (better beef ball, Ha Gao), though not totally satisfying (same so so Siu Mai), the fried rice was especially disappointing, somehow I feel that its sister restaurant, Jade Garden, serves better food more consistently.

But rating overall quality, services, and considering the good environment, it is still a very good dim sum restaurant, just can't agree that it is the "best". 

Thursday, 08 October 2009 19:04:03 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)