November 6, 2018

Eating with chefs: Goh with the Flo

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Half a day after stuffing ourselves, a few of us reconvened at Seventh Son (家全七福) for a pig-out session. We were joined by Chef Kawate Hiroyasu (川手寛康) from Florilège, who had just landed in town for a couple of days' vacation. His is yet another restaurant on the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list which I had yet to visit, but thankfully I already have an upcoming reservation...

A couple of dishes had been pre-ordered by The Great One, so The Man in White T-shirt and I figured we would just add a bunch of dim sum items - as Goh-san had expressed interest in trying dim sum during last night's dinner.

Gold coin chicken (金錢雞) - The Great One pre-ordered this classic, which has neither gold nor coins.  The round medallions of chicken liver, char siu, and cured pork fat (冰肉) are roasted on a skewer, and a hole appears in the center when the layers are removed - thus giving the resemblance to old Chinese coins.  This was nice, but ideally the thickness of each layer should have been at least double of what we got...

November 5, 2018

Eating with chefs: Neighborhood Goh

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Having returned from my short trip back home, it was time to hit a couple of my favorite places with chefs visiting from Japan.  The Great One wanted to take Goh-san (from La Maison de la Nature Goh) out while on his first trip to Hong Kong, and she kindly invited me to tag along to Neighborhood.  I had met Goh-san on three previous occasions when he was collaborating with Gaggan at the GohGan events, but I had never dined at his restaurant in Fukuoka.  Alongside a couple of other new friends, there would also be another chef whose restaurant has earned a place on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, which I have also not dined in...

The menu, of course, was omakase, and I was looking for The Man in White T-shirt to pull some rabbits out of the hat.

Culatello di zibello "Massimo Spigaroli"

Saucisson de "Noire de Bigorre" 

November 3, 2018

Revisiting an old favorite

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I have been back in Taipei for a day and a half, and have yet to see the Parental Units... and this was after all the work they put in to clean up the flooding in my apartment earlier this week.  Little Aunt was in town, so we all met up for lunch at Mao Yuan (茂園餐廳).  I used to come here when I worked nearby, but it's been a few years.

Like a lot of local Taiwanese places, the ordering is done right in front of the counter housing the collection of fresh seafood and other ingredients.  This is also where the "menu" is...

Steamed chicken (白斬雞) - dad always feels that we must order steamed chicken whenever we dine at a decent Taiwanese restaurant, but the truth is that while I like free range chicken for their flavors and meat that's not soft and mushy, the chicken here has tougher and chewier texture than I would prefer.  And today it was also more salty than I cared for.

November 2, 2018

Hungry Hungarian in Taipei: all about that pork

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We had about 2 hours to kill between our long lunch and an incredibly early dinner, and I seriously needed help in digesting lunch, so the Hungry Hungarian and I parked ourselves at Fika Fika Cafe so that I could have a second cuppa in about an hour... and to while away the time.  While my friend took a simple espresso for the injection of caffeine to keep away the jetlag, I took a Yirgacheffe that was served two ways.

Fortunately we were just a couple of blocks away from dinner, and when we showed up at My灶 at 5:30 p.m. after walking in a drizzle, I really wasn't hungry at all...  And trying to order Chinese food for two people really sucks.  I knew I wouldn't be able to try all the dishes that looked appealing to me... Incidentally, the English translations of the dishes' names are pretty interesting.

Each table had a little plate of sliced green papaya marinated in passion fruit sauce.  This was nice, and the acidity whetted my appetite somewhat.

Hungry Hungarian in Taipei: lunch undercover

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I'm back in Taipei for a couple of days, spending some quality time with the Hungry Hungarian.  After hitting Ningxia Night Market (寧夏夜市) with him and inspecting my flood-damaged apartment last night, I managed to catch about 3 hours of sleep before dragging my ass out of bed.  It's his first trip to Taiwan, and he deserves to enjoy a sumptuous local breakfast.

Which was why we met up at Fu Hang Dou Jiang (阜杭豆漿), as it's close to where he was staying.  And relatively near my apartment.  Yes, it's touristy... but it wouldn't continue to be popular if it couldn't deliver the goods.  And deliver they did.

After getting a little more sleep after the satisfying breakfast, the Hungry Hungarian and I met up for lunch at RAW.  This was the first time I've been able to book a table myself via the restaurant's website, as the process got a little easier recently after the restaurant implemented a pre-payment policy.  But since I could only book for a table of three, I decided to invite Richard from MUME along.

October 29, 2018

Spanish ro ro

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Two months ago I chanced upon a blurb about a promotion that The Steak House Winebar  + Grill at the InterContinental Hong Kong.  They would be showcasing the beef shipped in by José Gordón - the man behind Bodega El Capricho in Spain. I got pretty excited at the prospect of tasting some good Spanish beef, but kinda got busy and forgot about it... until very recently.

I first came across El Capricho in a documentary called Steak (R)evolution.  Then last year The Man in White T-shirt actually paid them a visit and came back very happy.  Given my fondness for the Spanish beef I've had in the last few years, I knew I needed to somehow come and try it for myself.

So I managed to rope in DaRC and Chaxiubao and booked a table of six, two nights before the end of the promotion. 

We wanted to keep things simple, so we each ordered our own starters while sharing the large cuts of beef.

Iberico bone marrow, veal sweetbread, chorizo, endive, toasted mini baguette and red wine reduction - how could I possibly pass up bone marrow?  I gotta admit, though, that I've never had bone marrow from an iberico pig before...

October 25, 2018

Date night with Uwe, part 2

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I have been remiss.  Again.  It has been waaaay too long since I last caught up with Uwe Opocensky over some wine, not to mention (as he keeps reminding me) it's been months since my last visit to his restaurant Uwe.  I have also been completely ignoring my knife for a few months, so when Uwe suggested that we go to Écriture together, it seemed like the perfect idea to me.

Game season had already started and the restaurant was presentation a game menu as an option, but we left the decision up to Chef Maxime Gilbert.  We ended up being served half the signature menu (which I had already tried on my earlier visit) and half of the dishes from the game menu.

Once again we start with the tater tot... but who doesn't like deep-fried mashed potato?  Topped with a little bit of caviar and a tiny dab of wasabi.

Japanese pumpkin oreo - pumpkin cream and purée is sandwiched between two pumpkin tuiles.

October 21, 2018

Eat at Morpheus: casual Voyages

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I was still pretty stuffed from breakfast when we sat down to lunch.  As we had been forbidden to feast at the fine dining French outlet, lunch took place at Alain Ducasse's other outlet on the same floor - Voyages by Alain Ducasse.  This restaurant serves up casual dishes inspired by Monsieur Ducasse's travels around the world, and before I even got here, I had been hearing some comments about the restaurant where a "French chef is doing Asian food".

We all knew we didn't have the stomach space for the spread that was coming our way, but we tried the best we could...

Vegetarian bao - like a guabao (刈包) from Taiwan, but instead of that thick and delicious slice of pork belly dripping with fat, it's only spicy grilled eggplant that we found inside, along with crushed peanuts, coriander, and spring onions.

Eat at Morpheus: breakfast stuffing

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I don't often eat breakfast in hotels unless I'm at a resort or the offering is spectacular.  This morning, though, there was something on offer that I simply could not refuse.

There is a Pierre Hermé Lounge at the Morpheus. Right in the lobby on the ground floor.  It opens at 8am for breakfast, serves food all day, and even has alcohol up until closing at 10pm.  In other words, it delivers a lot more than what I would expect from an outlet with The Fat One's name on it.

Chef Sébastien Bauer had already laid out all the goodies on one table for us to photograph, and I wasted no time in getting that done before the others arrived.  Meanwhile I spotted the selection of viennoiserie on the counter and immediately saw a stack of kouign amann (which, technically, isn't viennoiserie).  Even though this was not part of the offering, I shamelessly asked Sébastien for one.  And I stopped him just as he was about to cut one into pieces, because I wasn't sharing this with anyone!

Oh, it was fabulous.  Look at all those flaky layers! It was, perhaps, a little light on the sugar... but I wasn't going to bitch about it too much.

October 20, 2018

Eat at Morpheus: dragon or durian?

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We abandoned our original plans of grabbing a sandwich and visiting our favorite shop cat so that we could spend a little more time in our nice suite at the Morpheus.  A nap sounded like a good idea, and I probably should have caught some zzzz instead of working on the blog.

Soon it was cocktail hour, and we regrouped at Voyages by Alain Ducasse.  A couple of drink carts were rolled in front of us as we were offered some of the signature drinks.  I took the kalamansi negroni since negroni is often my drink of choice, but while there was certainly citrus fragrance here, the scent of calamansi was so faint that it took me a long time to convince myself that it was, in fact, calamansi...

I spotted a bottle of Monkey 47 during our tour earlier, so I suggested that Hello Kitty get herself a gin and tonic made with Monkey 47.  Curiously, we were told that it was unavailable... so Hello Kitty took one with Tanqueray N° Ten instead, since that bottle was on one of the carts.

Eat at Morpheus: lunchtime peanuts

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I've been invited to spend a day at the newest hotel on the Cotai block, the one that many of us have been waiting for - Morpheus. As perhaps the second-to-last project commissioned prior to the passing of Dame Zaha Hadid, I have been watching (and waiting) as it steadily rose from its base in the City of Dreams.  The distinctive shape and the unique exoskeleton meant that the place was always destined to become one of Macau's landmarks.

Once we arrived at the hotel - before we had time to take in the breathtaking interior design - we were whisked to the Club Lounge on the 30th floor.  We were treated to a "light" lunch while seated in the private "bubble"...

October 18, 2018

Sweet bubbles for lunch

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I heard a sorry tale last year - told by my friend Bernard at Lung King Heen (龍景軒) - about a special batch of Champagne destined for Hong Kong that ended up being stolen.  He was pretty crushed at the time, but knew that a replacement would come in a year's time.  Well, that time is now... and Bernard asked me to make time for it.  So I dragged my partner in crime DaRC to lunch today.

The advantage of having DaRC at the table is that he's great at figuring out food and wine pairings - something I generally suck at because I don't pay too much attention to it.  So... knowing that we will be drinking some wines that are on the sweet side, I left it up him to pick the dishes.

In spite of everything I've said about the cuisine here, the level of service here has always been top-notch.  Since there were only two of us, the restaurant were extremely accommodating and flexible by letting us order dim sum by the piece, and also other dishes in half portions.  With this kind of flexibility, I would be more inclined to recommend visitors to come here but not order the pre-set tasting menus on offer...

Steamed scallop dumplings with vegetables and silver fish (銀魚菜苗帶子餃) - I absolutely love these!  The flavors of the dried baby sardines really stood out, as did the crunch from finely diced water chestnuts.

October 13, 2018

Leftovers for dinner

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Our friend Sébastien has decided to leave Asia for the glitz and glamor of Dubai, and a couple of us got together for a send-off dinner at one of his favorite restaurants.  As luck would have it, DaRC is also entertaining a guest at Neighborhood tonight... so even though I was unable to accept his invitation, we ended up sitting at adjacent tables and ended up sharing some wines...

Someone had to drop out at the last minute, and so our table consisted only of our friend, Hairy Legs, and myself.  I was wondering how we would survive the onslaught of dishes with just the three of us, when The Man in White T-shirt came over and told me that DaRC's table would probably have an overflow of food.  That's just... what I wanted to hear... NOT.

Culatello di zibello "Massimo Spigaroli" - always a welcome sight.  Sooooo tasty!

October 7, 2018

Dad's bday 2018: ex-château is better

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So... we finally got to the main event for the weekend.  I needed a venue where they knew how to properly take care of dad's wine, yet offered dishes à la carte to accommodate mom.  As it turns out, Épure was such a place.  It has been way too long since Hello Kitty and I were last there, and this was a good opportunity to check out what Chef Nicolas Boutin has been up to.

I was contacted a few days ago by Sebastien Allano, and while he would not be on duty tonight, I asked him to ensure that his people would take good care of our wine.

When we arrived, we were informed that Chef Nicolas had already prepared a menu for us.  Of course, mom wouldn't have the capacity to handle all those courses, so she chose two courses à la carte.

We were also poured a glass of Champagne on the house.  Jacquesson Cuvée n° 739 en magnum was nice and a little yeasty, almost like bread.

Dad's bday 2018: going casual

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The Parental Units asked for something local and casual, so Hello Kitty decided that we should take them to check out Yat Lok (一樂燒鵝).  I'm sure it had absolutely nothing to do with Hello Kitty wanting some of that roast goose on her birthday...

I wasn't sure we could finish half a goose, so I just ordered up a lower quarter of roast goose (燒鵝下庄).  Still love that crispy skin with the seasoning, and the Parental Units liked it, too.

October 6, 2018

Dad's bday 2018: a Tasting gone awry

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Given the lack of decent Cantonese restaurants in Taipei, I wanted to bring mom to one of my favorite places while they were in town.  I thought there were a few dishes at Tasting Court (天一閣) mom would find interesting, so that became my choice for tonight. A menu was proposed, and as usual I made a few changes, then cut the number of dishes down by one to accommodate the old fogeys.

Steamed orange stuffed with crab meat (白玉紅蟳釀金盞) - one of my favorite dishes here.  As instructed, I spooned some of the Huadiao wine from the bowl onto the contents inside the orange, which included diced onions, Chinese celery, water chestnuts, kaffir lime leaves, and egg white.  Good dose of fruitiness and acidity.

October 5, 2018

Dad's bday 2018: familiar flavors

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When I dined at Xin Rong Ji (新榮記) in Hong Kong for the first time, I was struck by how familiar some of those flavors were.  Some of this reminded me of dishes mom cooked when I was a kid, and I probably haven't tasted those in more than 3 decades. So I figured it would be interesting to bring the Parental Units here while they're in town.

With only the four of us, I just picked out a few simple dishes for mom to try.  We were first presented with this pomegranate, whose acidity worked well to whet our appetites.

Seaweed tossed with baby dried shrimps (頭水紫菜拌芒種蝦皮) - this was kinda refreshing, with acidity balancing out the umami from the seaweed.

Dad's bday 2018: hankering for dim sum

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The Parental Units are spending a few days in Hong Kong as we celebrate dad's birthday, so naturally I've got a few meals planned for them.  Mom had mentioned that she really wanted some decent dim sum - since there really isn't any in Taipei - and dad was reminiscing about the rice flour rolls filled with twisted cruller (炸兩) he had years ago.  And thanks to my good friend Fergie who mentioned that he saw it on the menu recently, I decided to come back to Fook Lam Moon (福臨門) for lunch.  I stopped coming here after a pretty poor meal over a year ago, and everyone I know mostly go to Seventh Son (家全七福) nowadays.

As usual I decided not to order all the items at once, because we would have ended up with all of them at the table in the space of 5 minutes. 

Puff pastry with barbecued pork (蜜汁叉燒酥) - dad originally wanted the steamed ones, but decided later that he wouldn't mind having the barbecued pork in puff pastry, either...

October 4, 2018

Pijja pijja

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I got a ping uncharacteristically early this morning from Fergie.  He seemed to have developed a craving for pizza, and asked whether I was free to check out Kytaly.  This was, of course, the much ballyhooed new joint serving Neapolitan pizza with recipes from Franco Pepe of Pepe in Grani.  I knew it had been making waves among the small circle of local food media, but I haven't paid too much attention to it so far.

Let's face it, I'm not a connoisseur when it comes to pizza.  In fact, I'm a philistine.  The first pizza I've ever had, nearly four decades ago, was Shakey's Pizza in Taipei.  A few years later in Tokyo I was introduced to the gourmet experience that was Pizza Hut, where I felt like a country bumpkin for not knowing that one ate pizza with knife and fork.  During my college years in Spittsbush Pittsburgh my school introduced Domino's Pizza as part of the student meal plan, while TV commercials from Little Caesars ensured that the phrase "Pizza! Pizza!" was forever burned into my memory.  Strangely enough, my years in New York did not endear me to "the slice" from Ray's.

I still eat pizza from Pizza Hut, much to Hello Kitty's dismay - and I still haven't had a "real" Neapolitan pizza in Napoli.  I did get a quick introduction last year at Casa Don Alfonso, but I didn't find it amazing.  But since Fergie wanted to check out the place, I happily obliged and joined him for lunch.

I thought we would be pushing it by ordering two pizzas, but figured we should go for it anyway.

Margherita DOP - of course we need to start with a classic!  Made with San Marzano DOP tomatoes of course!  And Mozzarella di Bufala Campagna DOP.

October 2, 2018

Birthday in the sky

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Hello Kitty's birthday is coming up, and as it also happens to be dad's birthday in the lunar calendar, we decided to a separate celebration.  I was somewhat surprised to hear a request for Tenku RyuGin (天空龍吟), but it has been a whole year since she was here, so I guess that kinda explains it.

I was running late tonight so Hello Kitty got there first, and she told me that we had been placed in the small private room.  This was a nice gesture from the restaurant, for which I was very grateful.  Even better was the fact that a Japanese menu had been slipped inside the envelope alongside the English one, without me having to ask for it like I always do.

Seki-san presented his October (神無月) menu:

Oyster, caviar, konbu jelly, almond milk (牡蠣  キャビア  昆布ジュレ  アーモンドミルク) - the Hokkaido oyster was gently poached, and came with some caviar, a layer of jelly made with Japanese dried kelp, some almond milk, and a few drops of Yamazaki 18 Years.  Well... I honestly didn't pick out the whisky.  The almond milk didn't add much flavor, but did add some creaminess texture-wise and balanced out the seaweed jelly, as well as toned down the saltiness of the caviar.  What really made the dish, though, were the shavings of yuzu zest on top - whose fragrance hit me immediately.

September 29, 2018

The first truffle

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Tonight I had to once again play ambassador to one of my favorite restaurants.  Mr and Mrs Birdiegolf have been asking me to take them to Neighborhood for ages.  Nevermind that they themselves have been there. For many of my friends, they firmly believe in the existence of a "Peter menu" at a handful of restaurants around town.  So inevitably I am obliged from time to time to fulfill my duties as a good friend...

There were only 4 of us tonight, so the number of dishes we could try - especially the larger offerings - would be limited.  But we would still be able to have a few off-menu daily specials...

Pancetta - never a bad thing to start with this from the boss...

Culatello di zibello "Massimo Spigaroli" - and of course he wouldn't send us pancetta without this little gem... always the tastiest little morsel.

September 27, 2018

Not so spicy

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It's natural that as someone who lives in Hong Kong, a significant portion of my dining habits would consist of Cantonese cuisine.  But if there is one popular type of cuisine that is glaringly missing from my diet, it's spicy food.  I just can't take the heat, and frankly don't enjoy it above a certain threshold.  Besides, how the hell can you even taste the food when your taste buds are on fire?

So I never saw the point of going for cuisines like Sichuanese, with both the numbing effects (麻) and the heat (辣). But for some time now, a number of friends around me have raved about Deng G Chengdu Bistro (鄧記成都美食).  Word is that Chef Deng Huadong (邓华东) serves up old school Nantang (南堂)-style Sichuanese cuisine - which I honestly know nothing about.  But apparently this was the cuisine that was in vogue among the well-to-do people in Chengdu, before Sichuan cuisine veered off the road and went down the dark path of being all about a puddle of red chili oil...

Tonight I finally had a chance to try out Chef Deng's cuisine while he was in town.  The Man in White T-shirt - who is a big fan - had a table and invited Hello Kitty and I to come along.  This would be right up Hello Kitty's alley, and after tasting some pretty sophisticated stuff from André Chiang's pop-up last week, I was looking forward to widening my horizons a little more.

The menu was all set by the chef, so I just sat back and chatted with some new and old friends and waited for it all to arrive over the course of the evening.

Shredded chicken in chili sauce (椒麻雞絲) - I know that the chicken comes from a reputable local farm whose owner sat next to me during dinner, but I just found the meat too soft and mushy for my taste... and it was almost powdery and grainy.  Served with long strips of celtuce stem and the sauce numbed the tongue a little.

Fungus with mild sour, sweet, and chili sauce (涼拌野生木耳) - getting a small dose of heat here.

September 25, 2018

French wines with suckling pig

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Three days after coming for dim sum, I'm back at Seventh Son (家全七福) for a dinner hosted by Curry.  Given that we had just passed the 15th of the month - Mid-Autumn Festival was yesterday - we were not treated to a vegetarian dinner, although we still had plenty of veg to enjoy.

Shredded tofu 'Yeung Chow' style (揚州干絲) - I never knew that they had something like this... off the menu, of course.  Tossed with some Chinese celery, but I found this a little too salty for my taste.

Deep-fried vegetarian custard (素戈渣炸) - no chicken testicles here... just some shrooms.

September 22, 2018

Suckling pig and then some

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We have a fellow foodie visiting us, and not surprisingly he made a request for the suckling pig at Seventh Son (家全七福).  After a few waves of visitors recently, it became increasingly difficult for me to round up people to gather for big meals.  Thankfully the others stepped in and we managed to have ourselves a group of eight.

Knowing the practice here of serving all the dim sum items at once, I suggested that we order in multiple rounds the way I usually do... but I was overruled.  So... not surprise that we found ourselves with the table full of steamers and plates.

Honey glazed barbecued pork (蜜汁叉燒) - very tender and melt-in-your-mouth.

Crispy pork belly (脆皮燒腩仔)

September 21, 2018

The autumn journey

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Hours after my lunch in Macau, I'm back in Hong Kong catching up with a few friend over dinner at Ta Vie旅.  I know that Sato-san has come up with a few new dishes for the season, and I was looking forward to trying them.

Nukazuke (糠漬け) bread - always happy to start the evening with this... warm and delicious.

And comes with homemade butter made on the day...

Kegani crab and avocado cocktail with black vinegar sauce, covered with chrysanthemum jelly - it's been a while since I last had this dish, which was inspired by Shanghainese hairy crabs.  On top of the avocado at the bottom we've got diced cucumber, the leg of a Japanese horsehair crab (毛蟹) that has been seasoned with black vinegar, and covered with a layer of jelly with chrysanthemum petals - kinda like the Chinese chrysanthemum tea.  Very refreshing and delicious.

The Bridge in Macau

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For the last few months, the kind people at Wynn in Macau have extended a number of invitations to me for their guest chef events.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to attend any of those events for one reason or another.  So I was really excited when I found out that André Chiang would be showcasing dishes from The Bridge 廊桥 - the project he unveiled after he announced that he was closing his eponymous restaurant.  I really wanted to find out what he was up to, and since I wasn't planning a trip to Chengdu anytime soon, this would be my big chance.

Having missed all the festivities last night - and apparently some awesome dishes from Chef Tam at Wing Lei Palace (永利宮) - I finally managed to catch up with a few friends today after arriving at Andrea's in Wynn Palace. Not surprisingly I was seated next to my friend KC, and closest to the door...

The wine pairing today featured a line up that was all from China.  This would be interesting...

Ye'erba with caviar (魚子粽香葉兒粑) - ye'erba (葉兒粑) is a local traditional snack in Sichuan, made by steaming these glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in leaves.  The dumplings could contain either sweet or savory stuffing, and in this case the filling was chopped smoky ham.

September 17, 2018

Occupy Amber: typhoon Mingling

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Tonight I had the privilege of being invited to the 4-hands dinner at Amber featuring cuisine from Mingles in Seoul.  Having paid a visit to Mingles and coming away impressed last year, I was curious to see which dishes chef owner Mingoo Kang would bring to an audience here in Hong Kong.

Those of us being invited as "media" were placed at a long table inside the restaurant's private room.  While the typhoon yesterday had disrupted plans which meant I couldn't see a friend from Seoul, the silver lining was that I got seated next to The Great One.

R et L Legras Blanc de Blancs - high acidity here, full-bodied with lots of depth.

Warm egg custard with kimchi, namul, chorizo, by Mingles - with small bits of smoky chorizo, and crunchy strips of skinny string beans.

September 15, 2018

Sweeping the menu, again

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There seems to be a constant flow of visiting foodie friends lately, and I took the opportunity to return to a restaurant that is beloved by tourists yet largely shunned by almost all local friends I dine with. With the handful of visits I paid to Lung King Heen (龍景軒) in all these years, I have never managed to grab a table for weekend lunch – when they supposedly have a larger selection of dim sum items. This time it wasn’t gonna be any different, as the restaurant did not have a table for me 6 weeks in advance… until The Great One stepped in and managed to wrangle us seats.

The dim sum offering on the weekends is slightly bigger than that on weekdays - I guess 15 items compared to 10 is a 50% increase - and the 6 of us contemplated whether it was possible to "sweep the menu (掃餐牌)"... meaning we would order every single item.  In the end we almost did it, but removed a couple of items with similar/duplicate ingredients.

I was spotted by Sommelier Bernard Chan on my way to the men's room, and soon after he dropped by our table and very kindly offered us a glass of wine.

2016 Domaine du Daley Blanc de Noir Grand Réserve - lots of tropical stone fruit, fresh and vibrant, with flinty notes.  Was this really a pinot noir?!

Steamed rice rolls with lobster and water chestnut in fermented bean sauce (豉汁龍蝦馬蹄腸粉) - this was pretty interesting.  The texture of the lobster was good, and the black bean sauce gave it a slightly spicy flavor.  The green shoots were nice.

September 12, 2018

Mags in the 'hood

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Our visitors from Down Under are still eating their way around town, and tonight I arranged to take them to my favorite restaurant.  The Man in White T-shirt had already spent some time with them in Macau on Sunday, and tonight we would feast at Neighborhood. As usual, we left it up to the boss to decide what the best dishes of the day were.

Pancetta and culatello di zibello "Massimo Spigaroli" - these days we're starting our meals with this combination.  While the pancetta is always damn tasty with that delicious fat, the very special culatello from the hind legs of black pigs always come out on top with their flavor...

September 11, 2018

Another sad, fallen star

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A friend is in town from the Big Apple and wanted, naturally, to have Cantonese food.  As there were only 3 of us tonight, there were few places where we could have enjoyed a proper meal.  Therefore I defaulted back to one of my old recommendations for out of town visitors - Tim's Kitchen (桃花源).  It's been a few years since my last visit, and somehow I had grown less fond of the place over the years... especially since I started visiting my favorite private dining facility.

I took it easy and didn't pre-order anything.  There were, of course, a few things that weren't available to us tonight.

Braised pomelo skin with shrimp roes (蝦籽炆柚皮) - not something that one can easily get in the States.  Tonight this was noticeably bitter, although the sauce was delicious as ever... and we greedily spooned it over some steamed rice.

September 9, 2018

Best of Macau day 2: going private

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Our last meal in Macau this weekend was, in a way, also my most-anticipated.  I would be introducing our visitors to the world of private kitchens, and return to Sing Gor Private Kitchen (勝哥私房菜) for my second taste of the chef's cuisine.  Most of the table were first-timers, so the group was brimming with excitement.

It's Sunday and we were the only group tonight, so I finally got to sit at the adult table.  The Man in White T-shirt had apparently arranged the menu with the chef, and I looked forward to trying out some dishes I didn't get to have last time.

The daily soup (例湯) was made with pork belly, pig's pancreas (猪横脷), seaweed, pig's small intestines, Chinese foxglove (生熟地黃)...  Love the dark brown color...

Crispy chicken (炸子雞) - this was. very good... and the skin was still paper-thin and deliciously crispy.

Best of Macau day 2: Tam's labyrinth

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Even before the awards for Asia's 50 Best Restaurants in March, we had gotten wind of Chef Tam Kwok Fung (譚國峰)'s impending move from Jade Dragon (譽瓏軒) in the City of Dreams to Wynn Palace.  That seemed like a coup for Wynn and was seen as a sign that they are gearing up further on fine dining - especially at their premium mass market location Wynn Palace.  After all, many of us are of the opinion that Jade Dragon was on its way to bagging the elusive third Michelin star.

Today I finally had a chance to pay Chef Tam a visit in his new digs.  As part of the itinerary arranged for my visiting friends, I asked The Man in White T-shirt to set up lunch today at Wing Lei Palace (永利宮).  We also rounded up a few more people so that we could have a proper Chinese meal.  Of course, Chef Tam decided to pull out all the stops for us - and started by putting us in one of the private rooms with a balcony which opened out to the Performance Lake.

Chef Tam had gone to the market this morning and picked up a few special items for us.  There would certainly be quite a few dishes which were off menu...

Deep-fried taro puff with crab meat and caviar - I love anything made with deep-fried taro mash, and this was no exception.

Rice flour rolls with blue lobster (藍龍蝦腸粉) - also stuffed with kailan (芥蘭) and chives, and topped with salmon roe.


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