October 25, 2014

Starry day in Kwun Tong

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The original plan for today was to putz around at home until after lunch, then make my way to the island side for a kiddie birthday party followed by dinner.  As a result of an invitation to Kwun Tong, I decided to make it a real excursion and ended up making 3 stops around this area that's normally off my map...

I dragged my ass out of bed to catch the early show of McDull: Me and My Mum (麥兜 我和我媽媽).  I've always loved McMug (麥嘜) and McDull (麥兜) ever since I was introduced to them over a decade ago - yes, I love juvenile, "low B (低B)" humor - but I've kinda missed out on the movies that came after the first two.  So I went to Kwun Tong to watch this early show before it disappeared off the screens.

I gotta say that I wasn't expecting tears to roll down my cheeks while watching animation... although I suppose there were moments while watching My Life as McDull (麥兜故事) when my eyes were a little moist.  This movie focused on McDull's relationship with his mother, and showed a mother's unwavering and unconditional love for her son.  As someone who has always had a close relationship with his mom - although not always fully appreciative of her love and sacrifices - this certainly touched a nerve with me.  Yes, I love my mom.  And I think they should have timed the release with Mother's Day...

After walking around exploring the mall to kill time, I strolled over to meet a friend for lunch at MIC Kitchen.  The first (and only) time I came was about a year and a half ago at the restaurant's invitation, and I enjoyed both the food as well as our conversations with Alvin Leung.  Since that visit the restaurant has gotten themselves a macaron, and was also forced to change its name... apparently due to a certain global fast-food chain I no longer patronize since I'm no longer "lovin' it".  I took this opportunity to do an update visit on my own dime - after turning down yet another kind invitation from the restaurant a few weeks ago.

Alvin likes to serve a dip involving local flavors with his bread.  I didn't quite catch what our waiter was saying, but for some reason the dip reminded me of preserved leafy mustard (梅菜).  I found myself unable to stop scooping more of it onto the warm bread.

Mushroom: mushroom soup, bakkutteh - the base was certainly a cream of mushroom soup, but I guess the chef was trying to infuse elements from the Southeast Asian pork rib soup.  If it's meant to taste like bak kut teh (肉骨茶), then I suppose it would be the Malaysian kind and not the Singaporean kind, since it tasted strongly of star anise and five-spice (五香).  There was a little bit of spiciness here, too.

Beef: tartar, preserved kumquat, fried "nam yu mantou" - I had a taste of my friend's starter.  I ate the beef tartar on its own to try to taste the flavors, and it wasn't easy to get the kumquat (金桔) as it was simply overwhelmed.  The nam yu (南乳) tofu paste on the mantou (饅頭) was delicious.  Too bad I didn't have enough to see how the flavors would have combined in the same mouthful...

The arrival of our main courses also brought with them a couple of issues I had with the service.  My friend and I ordered essentially the same dish but with different types of prawns.  Our waiter came over with the two bowls and set them down without checking with us which one of us was having which dish, then simply walked away.  Unfortunately, he got it wrong.  I think the manager noticed the look of incredulity on my face, and quickly corrected the waiter's mistake.

With our pastas, we were also brought a little pot of "har mi" (蝦米) oil which we could pour onto the noodles.  Naturally I poured a good amount as I know how yummy this is, and I wanted to make sure the noodles were well-coated.  The bartender must have seen me indulging greedily, because he came over and "cautioned" us not to pour too much, "because it was oil, after all"...  Mmmm... thank you for your concern regarding my health, as I no doubt look like a fat tub of goo in your eyes.  Or was it perhaps because I had used up more of this precious oil than what you would like to allocate to your average customer?

Carabinero red prawn: handmade noodles, "har mi" - oh how I love these prawns!  After dealing with the heads of my friend's Australian blue prawns, I made sure to polish off the wonderful noodles first, covered in the deliciously fragrant har mi oil and their dried shrimp flavors.  The tails of the prawns were packed with such intense flavors of the seas, although they were a little smaller than I had expected.  Saving the best for last, I greedily sucked on the oversized heads of these prawns.  I then pried the flattened heads open and used my knife to scoop out anything that remained.  I just loooove that sensation of having your tongue and the insides of your mouth stick together as a result of eating a good prawn head...  Worth every penny of the supplement I ponied up.

Taro ice cream - served in a mini claypot with a sprinkle of powdered raspberry and chocolate.

With our bellies full, we strolled over a few blocks to attend the opening party of my friend KC's kitchen studio 名廚教室 by Fancook.  I have a lot of respect for KC, who has transformed himself from a part-time blogger and banquet organizer to a full-time professional food critic and much, much more.  He and his people have managed to build a brand around themselves, culminating in this kitchen studio which has enlisted the sponsorship of global brands.

The hospitable KC offered us drinks, but instead of Champagne or wine, I asked if he had any Prosecco... After digging around the various fridges, he did manage to scrounge up a bottle to quench my thirst...

Sorelle Bronca Prosecco di Valdobbiadene PARTICELLA 68 - very floral nose, with white flowers, tropical fruits and flint.

Naturally there was a TON of food, from savory nibbles to cakes, cookies and what not.  The pièces de resistance were without a doubt the two roast pigs.  The smaller pig was a roast suckling pig from 3-star Sun Tung Lok (新同樂), while the much larger pig came from Tak Lung (德龍大飯店).

KC's pretty well-connected with the local F and B community, so it wasn't surprising to see a number of chefs from starred restaurants come and join the festivities.  There were a few I didn't recognize, but the ones I could pick out from the star-studded lineup included Joe Chan from Sun Tung Lok, Leung Fai Hung from Hoi King Heen (海景軒), and Cheng Kam-fu from Celebrity Cuisine (名人坊).

I wasn't the least bit hungry, but I couldn't resist nibbling on pieces of that famous castella from Hyatt Regency Shatin.  Of course I had to try the roast pig from Tak Lung, and I waited patiently until Chef Chan chopped up the suckling pig from Sun Tung Lok so I could have a piece...

With that last piece of suckling pig, my excursion to Kwun Tong came to an end.  I bid farewell to KC and headed to Stanley Beach on the island for a kiddie birthday party.  But before I left, KC remembered that he had promised me a copy of his Singapore dining guide 新加坡美食天書.  Many thanks for this precious gift, and I look forward to visiting the studio for some good meals!

1 comment:

KC said...

My friend Peter, so glad to see you here and surely some here again for hairy crabs and more Proscecco....


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