August 18, 2019

No urge to cross the road

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It's another day of protests in Hong Kong, despite the downpour we've had at different times throughout the day.  Since large parts of Hong Kong Island was now closed to road traffic, any excursion outside the apartment today would need careful planning of the route to be taken.  We needed to get to Tai Kwun, so I got us a taxi and instructed the driver to take a somewhat loopy trip.  My plan largely worked and we saw very little traffic or obstruction - except for getting stuck at one spot.

Hello Kitty and I finally got around to visiting the Murakami vs Murakami exhibit, just a couple of weeks before the end of its 3-month period.  After the exhibit closed at 7 p.m., we moved to Old Bailey (奧卑利) for dinner.  I have only been here once before for an interview lunch, so I didn't remember too much about the food.  But in all of 10 months of working across from Tai Kwun, I have never once saw the need to come here for a meal...

House made pickled turnip (醬蘿蔔) - complimentary, and actually pretty good.

Finely minced malantou and pressed bean curd (香干馬蘭頭) - not sure why this came out of a heart-shaped mold, but this was fine.  Just can't resist that unique fragrance of Indian aster (馬蘭頭).

Yangzhou style crystal pork terrine (楊州肴蹄) - this wasn't quite up to the level we expected.  The texture was a little too crunchy.  Even Hello Kitty wasn't impressed.

Drunken chicken, 15 year aged Huadiao wine (十五年花雕醉雞) - nothing to write home about.  Hello Kitty wasn't happy with her order.

Mala ibérico pork xiaolongbao (麻辣黑豚肉小籠包) - apparently this is a signature dish here.  Well, two of the xiaolongbaos burst when being picked up, so there was definitely something wrong with the wrapper.  I did taste a little bit of the mala (麻辣) flavors, but it was a little too mild even for me.  And I definitely didn't understand why ibérico was used... What advantage did it offer over other kinds of pork?  Sounds like a marketing gimmick to make the dumpling seem more 'luxe' so that they can charge more money.

Yan du xian (濃湯醃篤鮮) - this is one of my favorite soups in Shanghainese cuisine, but unfortunately this was just too diluted and not '濃' or thick at all.

Crispy whole mandarin fish, sweet and sour sauce, pine nut (松子桂魚) - someone insisted on ordering this so we obliged her.  She was very, very happy.  This was OK, because who doesn't like deep-fried food?

Slow-braised USDA Prime Angus beef, mantou (慢煮安格斯牛方) - this certainly looked impressive... and is said to have been braised for 3 hours with Huadiao (花雕).

We got some steamed mantou (饅頭) so that we can have it with the beef.  The beef was certainly tender and fatty.  Maybe a bit too fatty and heavy, but still enjoyable.

The staff brought over a dessert menu, and I motioned for him to show it to my friend first.  He obviously misunderstood me, because he walked away after taking her order... leaving me to wonder why I didn't deserve to place my own order.

"Rolling donkey" (驢打滾) - OK la...

The ladies wanted to drink so they ordered a bottle of rosé...

2017 Pietradolce Etna Rosato - flinty with lots of red fruits.

My friend mentioned before the meal began that the only dish she enjoyed from her previous visit was the fried mandarin fish, and as it turned out tonight wasn't any different.  We both have Shanghainese heritage and have grown up with the cuisine from the Jiangsu/Zhejiang region, so it usually takes a lot to impress us.  And we weren't.

When it was time to pay, we were informed that all three starters as well our dessert were on the house, because they felt that we were here for a "tasting 試吃".  Well, we appreciated the gesture...

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