January 22, 2020

XS, S, M, and L

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A couple of months ago Virgilio Martinez pinged me to let me know that he was coming to Hong Kong with Pía León for an event with the Bromance Twins - Agustin Balbi and Ricardo Chaneton.  At the time I wasn't sure that I was going to be in Hong Kong, since it was just a couple of days before the start of the lunar new year holidays. 

This '8-hands collaboration' (imagine my eyes rolling to the back of my head as I contemplate this) became 'Raices I' - which implies there are more to come...  The collaboration was meant to showcase the common 'roots' shared by the four chefs from South America.  Thankfully I don't fly home to Taipei until tomorrow, and I was fortunate enough to have Ricardo save me two seats tonight at Mono.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I would run into friends tonight - including The Great One.  So we moved ourselves one seat down the counter so I could be seated next to her.

I was very happy to see Virgilio and Pía again, especially since I still have not managed to fly over to visit them in Peru.  And Virgilio didn't hesitate to remind me that I had promised to visit them since 3 years ago...

I was busy fidgeting with my camera as soon as I sat down, since the restaurant's lighting produced some banding.  In the middle of all this, we were offered a complimentary glass of bubbly as an aperitif:

Ulysse Collin Les Maillons - nice and ripe.

Each of the boys came to present his starter:

Duck escabeche, from Central - the duck had been lightly cured and served with an escabeche sauce, along with mash of a purple root as well as flowers such as purple borage.

January 14, 2020

Last round for snake

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I've been so busy at work this year - and with a pretty crazy travel schedule in the last quarter of 2019 - that I actually didn't get a chance to visit my favorite Cantonese private kitchen during the all-important snake season.  I even had to cancel an outing with DaRC and The Dining Austrian due to my company offsite.  So I finally got around to asking the chef for a date that was still available, just so I could make it to Softbank Kitchen at least once before the end of the season.

The menu tonight had no surprises - all the dishes are ones I've had numerous times.  But there's nothing wrong with having the same dishes over and over again when they're well executed...

Barbecued kurobuta pork (黑毛豬叉燒) - nice charring on the char siu (叉燒) today, and also very fatty... which made it pretty damn tasty.  Overall the flavors seemed stronger and heavier today, not that I am complaining!

January 9, 2020

German riesling and Cantonese food

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I love German rieslings, and usually bringing some whenever I go out for Chinese food.  So when I found out that Egon Müller IV was going to be in town, I was only too happy to join DaRC for a special dinner at One Harbour Road (港灣壹號) in the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.

We started with an aperitif from Down Under...

2015 Kanta Riesling Balhannah Vineyard - dryish with polyurethane notes.

One Harbour Road deluxe appetizers (廚師特色拼盤) - a trio of bites to start us off.
Roasted suckling pig, foie gras pate, crispy lotus (乳豬伴鵝肝醬脆蓮藕) - kinda interesting, I guess.

January 8, 2020

Eating with chefs: no Cronuts, just crab

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The Great One planned a few meals for Dominique and A while they're in town to open their new bakery, and asked Hello Kitty and I to join them at The Chairman (大班樓).  How interesting to note that my first meal at The Chairman in 2019 was also on this very date...

We did have someone with us who is in Hong Kong for the first time, and this is definitely the right place to get your first exposures to proper Canto cuisine.  As usual the menu was left up to Danny.

Szechuan pickles and cured smoky pig head (良薑豬頭肉) - this was something new to us.  We've got pickled ginger, galangal, and very crunchy pickles (醬瓜).  The slices of pig's head were pretty smoky.

BBQ chicken liver with Chinese bun (古法金錢雞配饅頭) - always so sinful and delicious.  Love that layer of pork lard (冰肉) at the bottom just above the deep-fried bun.

January 5, 2020


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A few hours after stuffing myself with Dominique Ansel's goodies, I joined the MNSC boys for our gathering at the Hong Kong Club.  It's been a while since Gayliao last played host, and we were only too happy to see him in town.

Crab meat salad, turnip, fried Jerusalem artichoke skin, piquillo pepper - didn't expect the crab meat to be packed so densely... and the deep-fried sunchoke skin was a nice touch.  BUT WHY THE FUCK DID THE KITCHEN PUT SUPERMARKET TAKUANZUKE (沢庵漬け) IN THE DISH?!

Dominique's Hong Kong

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It's been a long time coming, but Dominique Ansel has finally come to Hong Kong to open up shop.  It made total sense that they took their time before entering this market, as the notoriously high rent and other operating costs don't make for an easy environment.  Then there's the fickle clientele, and a general aversion to things that are too sweet... Anyone remember how quickly Krispy Kreme packed up and exited this market?

So I was really happy to see A and Dominique today at Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel (當文歷餅店).  The bakery officially opens Tuesday, but I was lucky enough to get a preview today at their "friends and family" event.  A told us that they had consciously cut down on the amount of sugar used in all the items, and this was also one of the reasons they chose not to bring the Cronut to Hong Kong - as they didn't think all that sugar would suit the local palate.

What I was really excited about, though, were all the special creations that the team came up with just for this shop.  I had been seeing pictures and descriptions on Instagram for the last few months, and I would have the opportunity to taste them today.

Dominique wanted us try everything, but that wasn't really possible... While Hello Kitty and I did have a light lunch earlier today to save stomach space for this afternoon excursion, I do have a wine dinner to attend tonight.  I promised to do the best I could.

Lemon juice box (紙包檸檬茶) - this ubiquitous Tetra Pak box is found all over Hong Kong, and has been part of the collective memory of all Hong Kongers for the last couple of generations.  Apparently in the last few years, there has also been a trend for Mainland Chinese people to drink iced lemon tea from Hong Kong brands like Vita (維他), and the popular phrase is apparently "維他檸檬茶, 爽過吸大麻"...


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