June 27, 2022

Diary of a Quarantined Boy, part 1, day 3

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It's our final day in home quarantine, and our first day of "work from quarantine". Thanks to mom's delivery yesterday, we were finally able to get started on the right foot at breakfast this morning.

With slices of white toast going into the Gudetama toaster, we were able to get the results originally intended. In addition to the "meh" face we are familiar with, the other toast actually shows somewhat of a smile on the lazy egg. This was really, really cute and ended up getting a lot of attention when I posted the picture on social media.

Sankala put the toast back into our toaster oven, adding a thin slice of processed Hokkaido cheese on top. I washed this down with the last capsule of Nespresso Rio de Janeiro Espresso. You can bet that I won't be drinking this crap coming tomorrow morning!

June 26, 2022

Diary of a Quarantined Boy, part 1, day 2

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Breakfast was as simple as yesterday's - two slices of toast that have gone through the Gudetama toaster, and the same crappy Nespresso coffee. Plus a banana. Life in quarantine.

Now that we've completed our quarantine project, we turned our attention back to cleaning our apartment. There is a ton of work to do, but thankfully we have a couple of weeks to get it done.

June 25, 2022

Diary of a Quarantined Boy, part 1, day 1

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Woke up late this morning after having gone to bed pretty late. Since we're in quarantine with nowhere to go and no one to see, and it's a Saturday, I guess it didn't really matter. We could be lazy just like Gudetama (ぐでたま).

Speaking of the lazy egg... I bought a Gudetama toaster last year and had it delivered while my relatives were staying in our apartment, but I have never had a chance to use it. Sankala and I were pretty excited about taking it out of the box and putting it to the test.

So I did ask mom to get us some bread or toast. Unfortunately she didn't really get us the right type of toast... this brown toast came with almonds, walnuts, and raisins. So Gudetama's face wasn't really clear. Oh well... I ended up spreading some Nutella on it since it was the only thing available in the apartment, and washed it down with some crappy Nespresso Rio de Janeiro Espresso. Again, there were only a few capsules in the apartment left by my relatives...

June 24, 2022

Diary of a Quarantined Boy, part 1, day 0

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My last trip home to Taipei ended when I flew back to Hong Kong on January 28, 2020 after spending a few days with the Parental Units during Lunar New Year. Wuhan had announced it was shutting itself off from the rest of China just a week earlier, and in the span of 2 or 3 days face masks disappeared off the shelves across the Greater China region. It was the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and within a couple of weeks both Hong Kong and Taiwan announced quarantine measures for inbound travelers as they closed their borders. I haven't been able to see the Parental Units since.

In the ensuing 29 months I've missed 3 of mom's birthdays, 2 of dad's birthdays (including his 80th), 3 of their anniversaries, 3 of my birthdays (including my 50th), and the biggest event among these - my Covid wedding. The thought of having to quarantine for 2 weeks on each end of the trip - meaning any trip would require a minimum of 4 weeks stuck inside hotels without seeing anyone - just made any travel prohibitively painful.

Things improved over the last few months, and we now only need to be stuck in quarantine for a total of 10 days. So I made plans to fly home to Taiwan with Sankala. Mom badly needs a hug, and she hasn't had a chance to greet her daughter-in-law. We are grateful that since I have my own place in Taiwan, the two of us are allowed to quarantine in the comfort of our home. This would prove tremendously helpful.

Today is the day!  Due to the awkward timing of our flight and our decision not to take the inflight meal, we chose to arrive at Hong Kong International Airport a little early in order to eat before boarding. Check-in was quick since we arrived some 2 hours before our flight and no one else was at the counter. HKIA seemed like a ghost town today, and we counted just around 20 flights taking off in the 12 hours between noon and midnight.

Given the lack of traffic, it's understandable that many restaurants have chosen not to open for business. The staff at the check-in counter were helpful in directing us to the outlets which still operate. After all, they have to eat there everyday so they know the situation best.  I decided to veto Sankala's original choice because I wanted something I knew I wouldn't be getting while in Taiwan.

So Tai Hing (太興) it is... and I chose to get stir fried rice noodles with beef (干炒牛河). Not bad, actually. I took a cup of hot watercress and honey (菜蜜) - something else I won't be having in Taiwan.

June 22, 2022

Funky disco orgasm dinner

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It's that day of the year again, and I needed to choose a friend's restaurant for my birthday dinner. I actually haven't been back to MONO for quite a few months, so it seemed appropriate that Sankala and I pay Ricardo a long-overdue visit. He does, after all, deliver something unique in Hong Kong.

Ricardo is busy doing a special event tonight, but was kind enough to come back to the restaurant to greet me and serve up a couple of dishes before running off. Knowing that it's my birthday, he also arranged something a little special.

Venezuelan corn arepa / red crab / sweet peas - the arepa was nice and warm, filled with a mix of crab, avocado purée, and crunchy green peas. A little more acidic than expected. With some avocado leaf powder. A familiar dish that's become a nice way to start our meal.

June 17, 2022

Thirteen pieces for Friday

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It's been a while since the four of us had a chance to sit down at the same table. In fact, it's been about 16 months since I had seen a couple of these guys, and this time around we were belatedly marking a special occasion. NC Chung seems to like doing lunch at Sushi Ima (今鮨), so we're back there for a quick meal.

I don't eat sushi often, and I tend to pick very high end places where one sits at a counter in front of an itamae-san (板前さん). Been a while since I last sat at a table away from the counter, and I'm used to watching the pieces being made for me one by one. Yes, consider me jaded. Very jaded.

Potato salad

Chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) - not bad.

June 13, 2022

I bird-yee farewell

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After spending 20 years in Hong Kong, my old friend and her Rikachu are finally leaving. I guess it was always just a matter of time, and Hong Kong remains - just as it has been for decades - a transitory place for many. It may be a great place to make your living or fortune, and it certainly can be a great place to enjoy life, but ultimately it just isn't "home" for some. Nowadays the education of the kids has become a key consideration for many of my friends, and dictates the timing of their departures from Hong Kong.

For their farewell gathering, my friends chose Yardbird. Given how much Rikachu LOOOOOVES all things Japanese, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. We decided to order our food in multiple rounds, which I think is the way to go here. However, someone didn't follow my suggestion and started ordering the larger dishes first...

Sweet corn tempura, sea salt, pepper - always, always start with this. Honestly, I should have at least 2 of these babies every time. Hands down my favorite dish here.

June 11, 2022

Seafood for CC

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The Man in White T-shirt was organizing a seafood lunch at the Genuine Lamma Hilton Fishing Village Restaurant (漁村酒家) and very kindly invited us to come along. As it is the weekend, and seeing that she enjoyed her last outing so much, we decided to bring our CC Dogcow along, too. This time around, CC showed us that it wasn't her first rodeo by not trembling even once while on the boat.

The weather was a little unstable today, but we still sat at tables next to the water. Those plastic tarps would come in really handy...

Blanched shrimps (白灼蝦) - there were actually two kinds of shrimp, with whiskered velvet shrimp (赤米蝦) being one of them. These are CC's favorite... and she not only got to have whole shrimp but also some shrimp heads and shells.

June 10, 2022

Once a year

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It's been close to a year since I last came to Hansik Goo, and I figured we were long overdue for a visit. Foolishly, I had initially booked the private room without realizing that there would be a pretty high minimum charge. As there were only 6 of us tonight and the numbers didn't make sense, I asked the restaurant to seat us in the main dining room instead. I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised when the restaurant decided to seat us in the private room anyway without imposing the minimum charge.

While the tasting menu already offered a good range of dishes, I was greedy as usual... and ordered both of the optional add-ons.

Korean starters:

Clam juk (죽) with egg jjim and caviar - there was a layer of steamed egg at the bottom, and the porridge was made with clam stock as well as clams, along with some caviar and finely shredded laver.

June 8, 2022

The gateway to the 'hood

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I'm back at Neighborhood tonight for a collaborative dinner they are doing with Daimon Brewery (大門酒造). This would be my chance to taste through a good range of the offerings from this brewery, and naturally I wanted to come and support Fergie. It also gave me a rare opportunity to meet new friends as I was taken under the boss' wing, having failed to find anyone would was remotely interested in being in my company...

We started with a plate of small bites:

Grilled Spanish piparra peppers

Strolghino salami - this helped to make the sake taste rounder on the palate.

Aquitaine beef tartare / anchovy

June 7, 2022

Another offal lunch

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Two days after seeing my friend for dinner, the two of us are dining together again. He had been wanting to try out Testina so I agreed to join him for lunch today.

I still have no interest in taking a tasting menu when dishes are availale à la carte, so we agreed on a selection of dishes and would make both of us happy.

"Lingua tonnata:, veal tongue and tonnata sauce - this was very, very good. The very thinly-sliced tongue was so tender and tasty, and of course that tuna sauce was just so, soooo delicious and leaves one wanting so much more.

June 5, 2022

Heavy Sunday dinner

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A friend pinged me a couple of days ago and offered us seats at Chaat. He had booked a table some time ago to dine with his family, but they had decided to travel. Having not seen my friend much during the pandemic, and seeing that we always enjoy the food there, we decided to join our friends. What made the gathering even better was the presence of Sweetheart, who jumped at the chance to escape - even temporarily - the deluge of fried chicken coming out from The Great One's kitchen.

Not wanting to be forced to take the restaurant's tasting menu, I pinged PR8 and asked him to have the kitchen arrange something for us. As it turned out, we ended up having pretty much the same menu... but with quite a few thing added on top.

Papadum with mango chutney

June 1, 2022

7 princesses and the dwarf

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One of the biggest impacts that the pandemic has had on my dining habits is the drastic reduction in the number of meals I've had at formal Chinese restaurants. Outright bans on dinner service aside, the fact that we have been subjected to, at various times, restrictions of no more than 4 or even 2 persons dining together makes it tough to do a proper meal.

Now that we are once again able to dine together in groups of up to 8, and sit in a restaurant until 11:59 p.m., I have been increasing my visits to Chinese restaurants. We can now order more dishes thanks to larger groups. And I finally got to go back to Wing (永), thanks to a dinner originally rescheduled for January.

Drunken South African abalone (醉南非鮑魚) - very, very tender. The sauce was sweet with some spices, but no real heat.


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