November 22, 2014

Old school Hong Kong day part 2: village wedding

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After bidding farewell to my visitors, I hopped on the train and slowly made by way to the northwest corner of Hong Kong.  One of my friends - who is an indigenous inhabitant (原居民) - is throwing a wedding banquet in her ancestral village in the New Territories.  This was a rare opportunity for me to see a part of Hong Kong that many of us don't get much exposure to.

A couple of years ago, I had asked my friend about the opportunity to visit her village so that I could have the opportunity to sample the famous poon choi (盆菜) offered in the New Territories during the festive season.  Well, I'm glad I finally got that invitation, and even happier that it's for her wedding banquet!

After a short bus ride from the nearest train station, I followed the signs in the direction of my friend's village in Ha Tsuen (夏村).  I soon started seeing various signs and posters they put up to guide us in the right direction, so it turned out to be pretty easy for me to find my way... whereas a bunch of people who drove had a lot more trouble than I did.

When enough people have arrived, the bride (the groom did show up, eventually...) led us on a tour of the village.  First stop was this landmark which announced that one is now in Ha Tsuen.

Old school Hong Kong day part 1: morning tea at Lin Heung

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I had a couple of visitors from out of town this weekend, but unfortunately my schedule was too busy to take them out properly... so in the end we settled for "morning tea (早茶)" at a Hong Kong institution - Lin Heung Tea House (蓮香樓).

We arrived just after 10:30 a.m. on this particular Saturday, and not surprisingly there was not an empty seat in sight.  The reason why this was only my third visit to said establishment in almost 20 years of being in Hong Kong - never mind that my office has been within walking distance for quite a few of those years - is I never wanted to spend time waiting for a table.  My last visit was with Sheets, and since his family owns the place, there was naturally no need to wait for a table...

Well it took the three of us a while, including me trying to not get into an argument with some locals - but we did eventually manage to find 3 empty chairs to settle our butts into.  After rinsing our tea cups, bowls, chopsticks and spoons in the bowl of hot water provided, I grabbed our stamp card and went to look for our food.

As I would remark later to a couple of Caucasians at the same table, you gotta fight for your table and also fight for your food here.  Depending on where you find your seat, it may be unlikely for the dim sum carts to ever reach you... so you just gotta go find the ladies with the carts and bring the food back to the table.  And on most days like today, there's gonna be a mob surrounding the cart as soon as it comes out of the kitchen.  In fact, a bunch of people and I were kinda standing around waiting for the cart to emerge, and would pounce on the poor cart lady within seconds - almost like a feeding frenzy of piranhas or sharks...

November 21, 2014

Wine and Chinese medicine dinner

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A couple of days after an unexpected big night out, here I am seeing some of the same people again... for a big birthday bash.  This was always gonna be a highlight on my wine calendar, as my generous friend brings out a string of big and interesting wines to share with us.  I fell asleep at the table last year, and was trying to make sure that the same wouldn't happen tonight...

We're back at Seventh Son (家全七福) - not just because our host is friendly with the owners, but because the food here rarely disappoints.  I saw the lineup of dishes before I came to dinner, and it just looked like a full onslaught of deliciousness - so I tried to have some discipline about having seconds.

We started with four appetizers:

Deep-fried chicken barbecued kidney in egg custard (雞子戈渣) - definitely tasted the chicken broth.

November 19, 2014

Let it snow

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White truffle season is in full swing, and I'm back at Neighborhood to take advantage of their incredible promotion.  Just like last time, my first order of business was to pick out our very own white truffle.  This time, though, I didn't pick based on size.  We actually sniffed each truffle and picked the most fragrant.

There were only two of us tonight, and we weren't too greedy... so we picked one that was just over 34 grams.  The aroma was simply incredible, and this enveloped us throughout our dinner as the truffle sat on the table for the next couple of hours.

November 15, 2014

A much better sushi lunch

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I'm meeting up with the Specialist for lunch today, even though I hadn't planned on eating out much this weekend.  The original suggestion of going to Upper Modern Bistro - which both of us really like - was flatly rejected by yours truly.  Why?  Because I really didn't want to eat a lot today, and I feared that if Jeremy saw me there, there was no way I could escape without having a ton of cheese... So I needed to go to a place where they don't know me, so that I could eat as little as I wanted to.

The solution turned out to be Sushi Sase (鮨佐瀬).  Long considered one of the best places in town for sushi, I have very fond memories of my only visit a few years ago.  I was only too happy to check it out for lunch.

I settled for the traditional sushi set (織部 握り), which comes with 10 pieces of nigiri (寿司10貫) and a roll (巻物).  When I told our chef that I did not wish to have any type of tuna, he informed me that normally the roll is a fatty tuna and scallion roll (葱トロ巻き), but he would try to substitute that for me.

We started with a chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し).

Halibut (鰈) - slightly crunchy.

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