Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bird Nest Snowy Mooncake & Four Yolks Mooncake - Happy Mid Autumn Festival

It's that time of the year again...
Where it's balmy, typhooney and rainy...
Where the weather is nothing like autumn...
...and we're bombarded with 24-7 mooncake ads everywhere,
we might get sick of mooncakes before we even tried any.

Last year, I made a big deal outta Mid Autumn Festival.
I tried ram horn nuts for the first time, went to a huge lantern festival, carried around cute lanterns, lit candles, consumed mooncakes in a moon lit (with super bright, glaring street lights - this is Hong Kong after all) park, and all that jazz.
This year, I haven't got any plans laid out yet, but in terms of mooncakes, I am all prepared!
I received a couple Premium Bird Nest Snowy Skin Mooncakes (from Tai Pan), a gift from sous chef's mom. In hot weather, snowy skin mooncakes are your best bet. The skin is wonderfully soft and chewy, the mashed bean filling is light and sweet, and the bird nest is....not a big deal as bird nest is pretty much flavorless and there's not a whole lotta it for me to enjoy the texture.

There are lots of mooncake selections out there, but for a classic mooncake, I always love Maxim's.
They're reliable and consistent (am I describing mooncakes or an investment bank?) and flavorful. Just look at how beautiful they are...

This one is the ultimate classic mooncake, thin skin baked to perfection, satiny smooth lotus paste filling, and oh mama....four salted egg yolks!

Hello cholesterol...
Happy Mid Autumn Festival!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pieces of Home & Cute Props from Saigon

Feast your eyes, babies.
Here are some pieces of home, brought by my sis and mom.
J.Co's cute, adorable and colorful Jpops....almost too pretty to eat..

...and my favorites, Choco Loco.
Not really sweet donuts, covered and filled with semisweet chocolate.
Made for those who are mad about chocolate.

You know I've failed trying to recreate this deliciousness many many times.
Finally, I'll get to eat a proper one, done only by the pros.

Little balls of pleasure. Fatty pork, shrimps, deep fried to perfection, made to order by our childhood neighbor.

...and...go on, get jealous.
Super cute props from Cho Benh Thanh market, Saigon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Snacking at the Movies

First things first.
You're about to see the most horrible pictures ever posted in this blog.
You've been warned.
...and...this is not related to food, but too fabulous not to post...

The fabulous 3D glasses we used watching Final Destination 4.
I thought I was gonna wear those crappy paper 3D glasses, but these were so bitchin'! I love!
If you thought it was gory, try watching it 3D.
Hello screwdrivers, debris, bones, blood coming right to ya.
Oppps sorry. I guess that isn't really appetizing.

What kinda snacks I love to have while watching movies?

Pop corn?
I loathe pop corn.
But every time I smell the buttery caramel scent, I always want to buy some.
Is it because my brain associates the movies with pop corn? Have I been brain washed?
Is it because I see that everyone has a large bucket and I felt left out/uncool if I didn't have one?
What's wrong with me?

Anyway, after I got my box of pop corn...naturally...

I'd fight with all my get the ones which are completely coated with caramel.

In Hong Kong, we aren't allowed to bring our own snacks into cinemas.
The snack counters normally sell, well...pop corn, carbonated drinks, basic local potato chips, hot dogs, sausages and recently, they have started selling popular local snacks such as fish meat siu mai and fishballs.

Rules are made to be broken.

I love smuggling my own snacks to the movies.
My all time favorite includes:
- A whole bucket of KFC hot wings
- McDonald's full value meal, including burger, fries, and all that jazz
- A large bag of ruffles cheddar and sour cream (my favorite potato chips)

Since I had a killer sore throat the last time I devoured a whole bucket of KFC hot wings last time...I tried to bring in (hopefully), a healthier drink...

Sugar cane and sea coconut drink.
Who was I kidding? Judging from the sugar level in the can't be that healthy.

Looking at my proven track record of bringing in chickens etc into the movies, I thought I was so cool...until I saw what the couple seated next to me smuggled last night...

Raw salmon sushi...and they didn't stop there.
They brought extra nori to add on their sushi, fresh and crunchy.
It was a jaw dropping scene, totally distracted me from thinking about the impending screw drivers and bones being thrown right to my face, 3D style.
I could smell it, I could see it, I could hear it. s
I was totally jealous.
Next time I am planning to bring in a whole hot pot meal.

I wish I could take pictures of them sushi and nori....but I was sure they were gonna call 999 on me if I did.
So guys, gotta use your imagination this time.
Make sure it's 3D.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sweet Potato Dessert and Pin Pin Noodles at AzabuSabo Tokyo, Causeway Bay

It was 8 pm (dinner time peak hour)...
in Causeway Bay (one of the most crowded district in Hong Kong)....
there were seven of us (not an easy number to get seats in restaurants)...
we didn't make any reservation anywhere (Gasp!)

Should we skip dinner?
Should we head to McDonald's or KFC and harrass dinner patrons to eat quickly and leave their table?
Should we resort to eating something revolting nobody wanted to eat?

Luckily, we found this jewel, hidden on the upper floor of Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay.

Azabusabo Tokyo is famous for its Japanese desserts, but we decided to brave the uncertainty and went for its dessert, because...
because there were seats for a party of seven! :p

How was it?

The pin pin beef noodle soup was absolutely delicious. Thick chewy noodles, tasty, clear broth, with perfectly cooked eggs. Some of our friends ordered ramen and we heard it ain't all that, so, if you felt like noodles, go for this pin pin noodles instead.

The curry beef omelet rice was excellent. The egg was creamy (I HATE overcooked eggs) and the curry beef was delish!

Now...the famous dessert...
I've had desserts at Azabusabo Tokyo a few times...but so far, this is my favorite!

Sweet potato base with ice cream, topped with caramel sauce and cookie crumbs.
Abso-bloody-freaking-lutely HEAVENLY!
Fragrant but not too sweet base, light ice cream, rich caramel sauce and crunchy crumbs. Perfect!
We spent a total of HK$190 (around USD24).

If you love the classic Japanese green tea and red bean flavor combo (which I don't know why but I loathe - sorry guys), they offer lots of those too!

Great food, delicious dessert, plenty of seats....
I'm so going back for between shopping breaks next time.

Oh, I experienced quite a celebrity sighting too last night! Wanna see a Hong Kong movie shoot? Check it out here.

Azabusabo Tokyo
Shop F3, F5 & F7 Fashion Walk
19 Great George Street
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2882 1582

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How High Will You Go? Pricey Fruits from Japan

I fancy myself as someone who lives to eat.
But I wonder, how far and how high exactly I would go for food?

Would I be willing to climb high mountains, swim across wild rivers, walk through fires, work my ass off, sell my soul, sell my cousin's soul, betray my best friend, or kill a raging dragon...for the best of foods?
OK, although reality is often weirder than fiction, but that's too much exaggeration.

Let's get real.
Would I be willing to shell out HK$275 (around USD35) for a melon? A beautiful Hokkaido King Ruby Melon that it was?...

...or HKD330 (USD42) for a pack of Kyoho grapes?

Turned out....
My cheap-ass self thought, if I liked the HKD17.90 melon and HK$10/lb grapes just fine, why should I go for the expensive versions?

My curious-wanna-try-everything self wonder, are they really as good as their price tags?
I guess I should try them at least once.
Will I still be able to love el-cheapo melons and grapes after trying these supremes?
This worries me.

Have you tried any of them, guys?

Get 'em from City Super

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teatime at Bistro Delifrance - Baked Roasted Chicken Mushroom & Cheese Baguette

I've been trying not to post any of my dining out experiences unless it's extra special.
Plus, I guess you might not be interested in seeing McDonald's or KFC posts too often, right?
Plus (I like using the word "plus", it sounds kinda...positive. Heeehe), although I believe in keeping it real, I secretly worry that people might judge me for frequenting places which are "too normal" such as Fairwood, Cafe de Coral, local coffee shops (char chan teng) and eating food which are "too normal", such as...ehm...burgers/fried chicken. I consider things from Delifrance a little too normal to be blog-worthy too.

But this time, what the heck, this Roasted Chicken Mushroom and Cheese Baguette from
Delifrance Bistro tea time menu is wayyy to special not to post. If you live in Hong Kong and you haven't tried this baby, please do. It tastes every bit as delicious as it looks.
Tasty chicken, creamy and flavorful sauce, melted cheese on a large piece of crusty baguette...yum! The portion is generous too, it's totally worth the HK$32 (around USD4) price!

The price includes Hong Kong's #1 favorite coffee shop drink, lemon tea (you can also choose coffee/milk tea), add a few bucks to make it cold (essential in summer). The locals love to "kill the lemon", i.e. poke the heck outta the lemon pieces to extract every bit of its lemony-ness. I don't do that...I don't like my lemon tea too bitter, maybe one day, once I completed my evolution into a real Hongkonger, I will.

The Hongkongers love their tea time. Cheaper and more fun than lunch, and at work, bosses often treat their teams some "tea time" if there's something to celebrate...(e.g. winning a new contract, happy clients singing praises to the bigger boss, the biggest bitch of the office quits/fired, the competitor team loses,, sweet work).

Visit delifrance's website for more info.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pumpkin, Carrot & Corn Chinese Soup in a Pack

One of the beauties of living in Hong Kong....apart from...
- HK$10 wonton noodle
- Coffee shop whole day breakfasts
- In some places, food being smashed on your table delivered to you within seconds after you uttered your orders
- HK$18 BBQ pork lunch boxes
Chinese Soup in A Pack

The locals drink their Chinese soup religiously.
Each soup has its own health benefits such quoted the locals:
- good for skin
- good for the heart
- good for heat
- good for cold
- good for health
good good good...I wonder if they have some soups that's good for love/good for career/good for the economy?

My knowledge about Chinese soup is...nonexistent.
I don't know which ingredient goes with what, and I don't know which soup is good for what.
I might have been drinking soup which is "good for gentlemen"...since I seem to have grown quite a lot of moustache these days. Oppps. (No, Rita. Don't blame it on the soup. You've had moustache

Anyway, based on my Chinese soup related cluelessness, soup in a pack is my best bet.

Last weekend I've chosen...
Pumpkin, Carrot and Corn Soup Pack

It's a Chinese soup combo that I haven't seen before, and despite the persistent scorching heat, autumn is coming, so something with pumpkin sounds perfect.

I just grabbed a pack, it costs HK$18.50 (around USD2.3), it has all the necessary ingredients for the soup. I've added another pack of pork tenderloin too.

...and it doesn't get easier than this.
Simply dump everything into a pot (an impatient bitch that I am, I used a pressure cooker ^_^), add boiling water, bring to boil and simmer for about 1 hour.

Since I use a pressure cooker, I could've been drinking a bowl of soup after just 15 minutes.
But I want everything richer, sweeter, thicker, and tender, so I cooked my soup for 25 minutes. For pressure cooking vegetables, that's like...forever!

See my darling cooker blowing off steams?

That promises deliciousness.!
The soup is naturally sweet from all the sweet ingredients with a touch of meatiness from the pork tenderloin, I simply added a bit of salt to make everything perfectly balanced.

Yum!...and the meat? Melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Now back to the most important issue again. Does anyone know any soup that can make me richer, slimmer, prettier, and also smarter?
(Note to self: Chinese soups can only do so much, not the impossible)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Protecting Sweets from Ants - The Old School Way

If you have some sweet and pretty things like these babies, and they aren't ready for fridge/storage boxes yet...and in summer, with threats from little ants sometimes crawl around sweet things in my kitchen...(I almost mistook them for poppy seeds on my cake, until I realised that I've never baked anything with poppy seeds)....

I use this simple trick I grew up with...learnt it from my grandma back home.
Place the lil' sweet things on cake stand/plate/bowl, put it on a bigger plate, pour water into the bigger plate.

It may look stupid, but it works ^_^

Too bad, little you gotta learn how to swim to get to my sweets :p

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bitter Melon & Beef Stir Fry in Oyster Sauce - Age Deliciously

Most of us don't like bitter things (thanks for stating the obvious like it's a surprise *rolling eyes*).
I remember that I used to hate bitter melon.
It's either because I was young or the melon wasn't done well.

It was probably because I was young.
Based on my general observation, there are few things younger people simply do not like...such as bitter stuff, gelatinous, gummy, and tendony stuff. As we become more mature (yuck, I hate the word "mature" as much as "old", I might as well say "as we age"), we grow to appreciate them better.

So far, I haven't started to enjoy gummy, gelatinous food such as beef tendon and sea cucumber (yet), but I have grown to love bitter melon (when it's done well).

Am I officially old?

There is indeed a certain way to handle bitter melon to minimize its bitterness.
Here goes...

Wash them clean, leave the skin on.

Half them. The ripe ones have red seeds and they are more bitter, just like me. I get more bitter as I age :p

The younger ones are more firm, and their seeds are white.

Scoop out the seeds and spongy inner part, discard.

Nice and clean.

I like my bitter melon thinly sliced. Don't they look pretty?

In a colander, sprinkle quite a lot of salt (I poured 2 teaspoon salt all over them), and leave 'em for a while (I left mine for about 30 minutes). Meanwhile, marinate the accompanying meat (I used sliced beef, marinated in dark soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, and 1 tsp corn starch), start cooking your rice and chop the aromatics (I used minced garlic, crushed ginger and chopped chili).

After a while...look at that bitter juice!
Give a glass to your enemy (ohhhh what an evil intention, but you might end up making your enemy healthier)

Quickly caramelise the marinated beef in a hot wok, add a little garlic, cook just until half done, don't flip them too often.

Set aside. Yum. Good enough to eat as is.

Now let's get back to our bitter melon. Saute aromatics in a bit of olive oil.

Add bitter melon, cook until softened.

Add beef.

Mix mix mix.

Adjust seasoning by adding sugar, white pepper, soy sauce, oyster sauce, more shaoxing wine...add a bit of hot water if you want a bit of a sauce.

Taste absolutely fantastical with steamed rice, taste even better the next day.

Plus, it'll improve your digestive system and kinda detox you.
Something yummy that helps with my health? Bring it on. I need all the help we can get as I age.
Age deliciously.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Savoury Crepes - Hong Kong Street Snack - Mongkok

I love everything savoury.
But I especially things which are supposedly sweet, being made into something savoury.
Just like these crepes.

They yummy crepes are from this snack stall at the corner of the junction between Soy Street and Fa Yuen Street, Mongkok. Apart from crepes, they also sell Hong Kong-ized version of dorayaki and takoyaki.

I saw the menu, where the items are listed in three languages, Chinese, English and Korean, and couldn't help but wonder....
What the heck is "laver"?
From the Chinese version, we found out that it's seaweed.
Hmmm...cheese + tuna + ham + seaweed?
It's too weird not to order, man!

The vendor, looking very sexy in black singlet...smearing away tuna on my crepe.

Yum! Weirdly delicious. The crepe is a bit of the thick side but it does have a nice crunch and it gives a nice sweet contrast to the salty tuna plus the tangy and creamy mayo. The seaweed isn't great when it's softened. It makes it really hard to bite...I'll order something without "laver" next time.

At HK$17 (around USD2) a pop, they're such a treat!!! This one's black pepper beef, cheese and mushroom crepe in progress.

Ohhhh, crepe!
This one's absolutely delicious (why is other people's order always yummier?)