Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Goose Manor by Yue Kee 裕。鵝莊 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Some say the best roast goose in Hong Kong can only be found in Central (Kam's Goose, Yung Kee and Yat Lok came to mind) and Sham Tseng (深井) but that is about to change as the folks behind Yue Kee (裕記大飯店) has just opened a contemporary Chinese restaurant in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. Goose Manor, a new concept by the famed roast goose specialist in Sham Tseng, offers a food menu that focuses not only on goose but traditional flavors of the Old Hong Kong. Apart from their patented roast goose, there are also a number of signature dishes with or without the goose theme, including goose intestine with supreme soy sauce (豉油皇鵝腸), marinated goose liver (鹵水鵝肝), prawn toast with salted egg (黃金蝦多士) and deep fried shrimp balls (百花石榴蝦球).

I was in a hurry to get back home after getting my hair done so I didn't get to sample anything other than their signature roast goose ($80 with rice). But it was already enough to send home with a very happy tummy.

The roasted goose was really nicely done. The dark roasted skin was wonderfully crispy while the meat was so incredibly tender and juicy. Perfect to go with their homemade plum sauce.

That thin layer of fat underneath the crispy skin, just perfect!

If my memory serves me correctly, this place on Ashley Road used to be Jimmy's Kitchen so it should be pretty easy to locate...

Food Rating: 6/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop C, G/F, Kowloon Centre, 37 Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2387-1133
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui

Goose Manor by Yue Kee 裕。鵝莊 the best roast goose Kowloon side Hong Kong

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Aloy Mak Mak 亞萊嘜嘜 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★☆☆☆

Towards the end of 2017, there have been a number of new restaurants opening around Tsuen Wan. I got the chance to catch up with one of them, Aloy Mak Mak (亞萊嘜嘜) who is a Thai restaurant taking up the space previously occupied by Spaghetti House earlier this week.

I like the fact that they have these traditional Thai decorations hanging from the ceiling.

The restaurant is supposed to be pretty spacious but they pulled out so many extra tables and chairs during lunch hour that all of a sudden, the place was all jammed up.

They have a very reasonably priced lunch set menu here. All the sets go for $43-45 with a complimentary drink. Not bad in this day and age. I ended up dropping some extra cash on a Thai-style milk tea.

Stir-fried noodles with chicken - The portion was certainly very generous with lots of vegetables (kale, broccoli, cabbage and carrot among others) and chicken. I'd like it a little less soupy but for the price they're charging, I ain't going to complain much.

I thought the quality was slightly better than what's offered at a food court but I was getting some decent table service and a comfortable chair to sit on (which a food court couldn't offer me).

Food Rating: 3.5/10
Price: $
Address: 2/F, Cheong Yiu Building, 163-174 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan, NT, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2377-0833
Closest Metro Station: Tsuen Wan

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Tsukada Nojo 塚田農場 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Our tour of the Oceam Terminal Extension (OTE) at Harbour City continues this weekend with Tsukada Nojo (塚田農場) coming up next on our short list of restaurants to visit. We got there a little before 6pm and not surprisingly, there's already a modest line-up in front of the restaurant which is famous for its farm-to-table concept. After waiting in line for about 15 minutes, they finally got ourselves a table in the patio.

It was really windy tonight so sitting outdoor didn't sound like a wise decision at all but then with the stunning harbour view in front of us, I think we all agreed that we would make an exception here. Of course, there's a catch to sitting outside - due to safety concerns, we cannot order their signature bijin nabe, which is a hot pot made with collagen-rich chicken stock (afraid someone would catch fire?).

Salmon and avocado rice-paper roll (三文魚牛油果美人卷) ($48) - We decided to pepper ourselves with some small bites to start the meal. First up was salmon and avocado rice-paper roll, which reminded me a bit of the always popular Vietnamese rice paper rolls. These comes with either salmon, tuna, eel, shrimp or chicken. I thought the rice paper wrapper was a little chewy but other than that, it was decent enough.

Onigiri wrapped with pork belly (豚肉卷飯糰) ($85) - This is a platter that consists of three different flavors of Japanese rice balls (original, cheese and spicy). What made these special was the thin wrapper made with smokey pork belly. Not bad.

Nojo yakisoba (Nojo 炒麵) ($88) - Surprisingly, the yakisoba wasn't as flavorful as I thought (as indicated by its color).

Japanese omelette (梳乎厘玉子燒) ($68+10) - For an extra $10, the omelette came with crab meat in the middle. Pretty good deal, right?

This was very very soft like a souffle and to a certain extent, it tasted almost exactly like a Spanish tortilla. Pretty nice.

Chicken mentai crispy spring roll (雞肉明太子炸春卷) ($68) - If there was a dish we could do without, you're looking at it right now. The spring roll itself was fine but the chicken meat was pretty rough and the flavors from the shiso were way too overpowering for me. 

Bijin sweet rice-paper roll (美人甜卷) ($48) - Dessert was a bit of a mixed bag as well. The first one to arrive was a sweet version of their famous rice-paper roll featuring green tea flavored ice-cream, black sugar and roasted soy bean powder. Like its savory version, I thought it was decent but the flavors didn't surprise me a bit.

Matcha tiramisu (抹茶提拉米蘇) ($48) - Better was their matcha tiramisu.

It was primarily a mix of light mascarpone cheese and matcha powder. I didn't think I saw any ladyfinger in there.

The harbour view got even better as the night went on. 

Food Rating: 4/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop OTE 202, 2/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2467-0777
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui

Casual Japanese Yokohama cuisine food restaurant harbour view tsim sha tsui Hong Kong farm-to-table concept

Friday, January 26, 2018

10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Shanghai

Shanghai is a much improved gourmet city comparing to the dog days when I used to work in the city almost a decade ago. It now boasts some of the most stylish cafés, cake shops and dessert spots in all of China. For details, here is a list of my favorite cafés, cake shops and dessert spots that are not to be missed in Shanghai.

Chikalicious Dessert Bar

Originated from New York city, Chikalicious is a dessert bar that has sweet lovers in Shanghai jumping in joy. The two-storey venue in Xintiandi serves up a variety of sweets including their signature fromage blanc island "cheese cake" right in front of diners.

Address: 1-2/F, 123 Xingye Lu (inside 88 Xintiandi Boutique Hotel)
Tel: +86 (21) 6333-9233

Chikalicious Dessert Bar
10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Shanghai

Le Boulangerie et Patisserie by Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire
For those who's been complaining about the lack of authentic boulangeries in Shanghai, here's a piece of good news for you. World renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire has finally arrived and he has brought his boulangerie from Paris with him. Located on the ground floor of the new Capella Hotel in the former French concession, the bakery shop offers some of the best French bread in the city and the best part of all, it also doubles as a French pastry shop serving up some delightful pastries by young (and handsome) Pastry Chef Clement Ayache.

Address: 1/F Capella Hotel Shanghai, 480 Jianguo Xi Lu, near Yueyang Lu, Shanghai, China
建国西路480号, 上海建业里嘉佩乐酒店1楼, 近岳阳路
Tel: +86 (21) 5466-6688

Le Boulangerie et Patisserie by Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire
10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Shanghai

Angelina Paris
It was sad to see the closure of Angelina Paris in Hong Kong but their sister store in Shanghai is doing just fine. A visit to Angelina is not complete without their famous hot chocolate and if there's enough room for dessert, their equally famous mont blanc will send you home with a happy tummy.

Address: Shop#204, 99 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Xizang Nan Lu, Shanghai, China
黄浦区淮海中路99号204室, 近西藏南路
Tel: +86 (21) 6289-8736

Angelina Paris
10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Shanghai
10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Shanghai

Vivienne Westwood Café
Shanghai's Vivienne Westwood Café was the first of its kind opened and designed by British queen of fashion herself (soon followed by Hong Kong and Taipei). Situated at the K11 arts mall, the café is divided into two areas with two distinctively different themes. The first one is the “photoshooting panel”, inspired by the backstage of a fashion show while the second one takes on a colonial-style setting, reminiscing of a 18th century tea room. Regardless of whether you're a fashion fanatic or not, you should find their afternoon tea experience a memorable one.

Address: 2/F K11 Art Mall, 300 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu, Shanghai, China
淮海中路300号2楼, 近黄陂南路
Tel: +86 (21) 6316-0261

Vivienne Westwood Café
Vivienne Westwood Café
10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Shanghai

Victor's Café
Perched on the ground floor of the historic Fairmont Peace Hotel by the Bund, Victor's Café is one of the best kept secrets in Shanghai. On top of their all-day French café menu, the art deco deli also offers some of the city's finest hand-crafted pastries including my favorite mille feuille, hazelnut layer cake and apple caramel cream cake, which are all not to be missed.

Address: G/F Fairmont Peace Hotel, 20 Nanjing Road East, Shanghai, China 
南京东路 20号 
Tel: +86 (21) 6138-6887

Victor's Café
Victor's Café

Light and Salt
Light and Salt is housed inside a beautiful century-old building that used to be home to the first YMCA in Shanghai. Better known as a modern European restaurant with a great terrace view, it's been quietly dazzling sweet lovers with its decadent dessert menu that changes on a regular basis. Most of the dessert items (6 to 7 choices) are made to order and they are guaranteed to lure you back for more.

Address: 6/F, 133 Yuanmingyuan Lu, near Beijing Dong Lu, Shanghai, China
圆明园路133号6楼, 近北京东路
Tel: +86 (21) 6361-1086

Light and Salt
10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Shanghai

Mr. Choi Patisserie (蔡嘉法式甜品)
Despite a name that is very Korean, the patissier behind Mr. Choi Patisserie is actually Japanese I was told. It started off as a tiny patisserie on XuJiaHui Road and gradually built up its reputation. Today, it's one of Shanghai's most sought after cake shop following its expansion to iapm Mall and Xintiandi. At Mr. Choi, you will find a very good mix of French classics (opera, mille feuille) and contemporary creations (oatmeal cake, matcha cream cake) which is rather difficult to find in Shanghai.

Address: Shop L5-513 & 521, iapm Mall, 999 Huaihai Middle Road, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 (21) 6495-9727

Mr. Choi Patisserie (蔡嘉法式甜品)
10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Shanghai

Cinq Heure Du Matin (卯时法式甜品)
Cinq Heure Du Matin is more than just a small French patisserie in a quiet residential area. Not only do they have some of the most Instagram worthy pastries in Shanghai, their chefs also managed to wow sweet lovers with their masterful blend of ingredients. Just a comfortable 6 to 8 minute walk from Shaanxi South Road metro station.

Address: 114 Maoming South Road, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 (21) 17702198638

Cinq Heure Du Matin (卯时法式甜品)
10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Shanghai

Pain Chaud
Yong Kang Lu (永康路) was once Shanghai's most famous bar street but after a major crackdown more than a year ago, many opted to leave but thankfully, Pain Chaud decided to stay. A French boulangerie doubling as a cake and coffee shop, Pain Chaud has everything you need to start off your day on the right foot, from a warm cup of coffee to their housemade bread and pastries.

Address: 41 Yongkang Lu, near Xiangyang Lu, Shanghai, China
永康路31号, 近嘉善路
Tel: +86 (21) 5424-9630

Pain Chaud
10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Shanghai

Kaisiling Cake (凱司令西点房)
Opened back in 1928, Kaisiling was the first bakery in the former French concession that was owned and operated by Chinese. Today, it remains one of the most popular cake shops in the city with their chestnut cake being a symbol of Shanghai's best "old school" desserts. They have a number of shops around the city including this one I visited at the Yuyuan Garden metro station.

Address: 1001 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Maoming Nan Lu, Shanghai, China
南京西路1001号, 近茂名南路
Tel: +86 (21) 6267-5692

Kaisiling Cake (凱司令西点房)

10 best top popular cafés dessert and cake pastry shops must try cannot miss in Shanghai China

Baek Mi Dang 百味堂 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★☆☆☆

Last time when I was at Baek Mi Dang (百味堂)'s K11 shop, I chose to check out their chocolate cake rather than their famous soft serve. What a poor decision that was!

So, I was here to make quick amends this afternoon. For a limited time only, they're serving up a couple of seasonal desserts with a persimmon theme.

Persimmon milk ice cream ($78) - My first choice would have been their tiramisu ice-cream which was very very good as I recalled. But I have this soft spot for seasonal items so I ended up picking their persimmon milk ice-cream instead.

There's really nothing fancy about this, just their patented milk ice-cream served with some persimmon sauce. For $78, I certainly expected more. And for the record, I didn't like the way the persimmon sauce worked with the soft serve at all. I think the tiramisu "sauce" or Jeju green tea would have been a much better choice.

Food Rating: 3.5/10
Price: $$$$
Address: B101A, B1/F, K11 Art Mall, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui / East Tsim Sha Tsui

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Yee Shun Dairy Company 義順牛奶公司 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★☆☆☆☆

When I first moved back to Hong Kong, I used to come here a lot for their steamed egg puddings (燉蛋) and double boiled milk puddings (雙皮奶). Australian Dairy Company would be my first choice when it comes to those two desserts but Yee Shun Dairy Company (義順牛奶公司) was a fairly decent alternative especially for the fact that they have multiple branches all over Hong Kong (Jordan, Prince Edward, Causeway Bay to name a few). It's been at least 7-8 years since I last visited Yee Shun but for whatever reason, I got the urge to check them out in Causeway Bay this afternoon. What a huge mistake it turned out to be!

This Causeway Bay branch is arguably the worst one of the bunch for a couple of reasons. Service has always been lousy and the place is always full of tourists. I have nothing against tourists but I guess nobody is interested in long line ups (because Causeway Bay is always packed with tourists making this place particularly popular.).

Anyways, we stepped in here trying to stop our craving for egg puddings and double boiled milk puddings. As usual, they wasted no time serving them up as soon as we placed our order. These were supposed to be their bread and butter but once I finished my first few spoons of egg puddings, I noticed something terribly wrong. There was something powdery on the bottom of the egg pudding! That pretty much ruined the supposedly silky smooth and custard-like texture which was already a bit watery to begin with. I couldn't believe what has happened to one of my favorite dessert right in front of my eyes. This is very depressing...

Food Rating: 2.5/10
Price: $$
Address: G/F, 506 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2591-1837
Closest Metro Station: Causeway Bay

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Nishiki Yakitori 錦 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

It's been a while since I last visited Nishiki Yakitori (錦), a yakitori shop that used to be one of my favorites in town. Located on the first floor of Regal Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui East, Nishiki is one of the most low-key eateries one will ever find especially in a hotel and their yaktori were simply awesome. But in recent years, they've undergone some major changes. Most noticeably, Master Kei (基師傅) is no longer helming the kitchen as he left for greener pastures in late 2015 (He can be found in Yuen Long 三品 these days.). Coincidentally, I have never been back since his sudden departure.

I must admit, the open kitchen does look a little strange without Master Kei there calling the shots. During his days, I love to sit around the bar table and chit chat with him. The place used to be so lively back then. I would actually be fine sitting away from the bar table today as long as the food is equally as good as the good old days.

Sweet fried bean curd udon noodle with soup - I started the meal the same way I always did when I came to Nishiki with a bowl of udon soup to get my tummy warm. This is the perfect way to get myself ready for the skewers and it was nice to find that the same old flavors (from the broth and sweet bean curd) were still there. 

Minced chicken meat sausage - Master Kei's signature dish and although it was a little burnt, it was almost equally tasty. 

As usual, it came with a bit of chicken soft bones in the middle for some extra bite.

Minced chicken meat with shiso - Pretty flavorful thanks to the wrapping with shiso. Not bad. 

Chicken wings - Their chicken wings were always a little underrated. 

Very nice and love the minimal seasoning to preserve the natural flavors.

Grilled rice ball - Despite my claim as a loyal customer here, I have never tried their rice ball before. This was decent with a pretty crunchy crust.

Beef tongue - Texture is often key to the success of a beef tongue skewer but despite being slightly chewy, I thought it was pretty delicious.

 And the seasoning was spot on.

Oyster bacon roll - As usual, the oyster bacon rolls were the last ones to arrive. This was a dish that really reminded me that Master Kei is no longer here because I could tell the flavors were a little different (off). 

Nishiki still remains a serviceable yakitori shop in the heart of the city although it's not the same without Master Kei around. I guess it's inevitable that I make this special trip to Yuen Long. 

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: 1/F, Regal Kowloon Hotel, 71 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui East
Tel: +852 2723-8660