March 31, 2023

Sine Qua Non toast, part 8: another 11 Confessions

Pin It

After the massive vertical of Sine Qua Non's Eleven Confessions syrah a bunch of us went through last fall, somehow we have been unable to round up the group to go through the grenache counterparts. The planning has been poor, and with the border opening we saw people fly around a lot more over the last few months. Finally, though, a few of us managed to gather around tonight for the second round.

I have not been to many of Umberto Bombana's restaurants under the Octavo brand, and certainly not Venédia Grancaffé. Our friend very kindly negotiated with the restaurant on the menu as well as wine service. It's been a long time since I last tasted the cuisine from Roland Schuller, and I was really curious.

Balik salmon, egg white dressing, greens, salmon roe - the salmon was OK, but somehow the egg whites on top were very hard and chewy... which was very strange and unpleasant.

March 30, 2023

Not the 50 Best tour day 6: laksa day

Pin It

It's my last day in Singapore, and last chance to check someone off the list, so it was laksa's turn. I met up with HaoKouFu again for breakfast this morning at Sungei Road Laksa (结霜桥叻沙). It was a short walk after a one-stop MRT ride for me, so that was perfect.

The broth of the laksa is still cooked in a pot over charcoal, and they still pour the broth into the bowl of cold noodles and strain it back to the pot multiple times before it is finally served. Cockles and slices of fish cake are still standard, as is the generous heap of laksa leaf chiffonade. Noodles are cut short Katong-style so only a spoon is given. I asked for extra broth.

March 29, 2023

Not the 50 Best tour day 5: peanuts with Thai food

Pin It

I haven't properly caught up with Chubby Hubby for quite a few years. I was supposed to have gone to Singapore to join them for dinner when Mauro Colagreco was in residency for 3 months, but as the "travel bubble" between Hong Kong and Singapore never went into effect, I didn't travel out of Hong Kong until mid-2022. As none of us were joining the 50 Best circus this week, it was a good opportunity for us to meet up and throw some peanuts around. And as far as peanuts go, Gastronaut always has plenty... so I figured we should all get together for dinner.

Restaurant Chedi is a Thai restaurant which has just opened not long ago. While I'm normally not in the habit of visiting restaurants this new, and this wasn't exactly "local", but if this where my friends wanted to go... I happily obliged.

There is a single tasting menu offered, and the four of us sat at the counter so that chef K-Jin Lim could have direct interaction with us.

Miang kham (เมี่ยงคำ) - so nestled inside the betel leaf cone were different elements designed to provide the combination of sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and bitter flavors. We've got sugared peanut powder and tamarind for sweetness; bird's eye chili for spicy; lime pulp for acidity while the rind added bitterness; Hokkaido ikura (イクラ) and Rayond dried shrimp for salt... plus many others. Afterwards the liquid in the shot glass underneath is meant to cleanse the palate but delivers a similar combination of flavors.

Not the 50 Best tour day 5: another old favorite

Pin It

Roti prata is something I have difficulty finding outside Singapore and Malaysia, at least good ones, so I do like to load up when I'm in town. I was determined to get some crispy ones this morning, and after looking online I thought the Food Centre at 20 Ghim Moh Road would be a good place to hit. There are two stalls which come recommended - Mohd Faisal Seeni Eating House and a branch of ENAQ - the latter was touted by a few bloggers, including one who is a hack whose opinion I don't trust.

I was pretty excited when I arrived that I kept circling the row of stalls, but couldn't find either of them. I double back to make sure. DAMN! ENAQ has closed! Upon checking their website, only the Jurong shop is listed, and another (more trusty) blogger changed their post to mark that the stall at Ghim Moh has closed.

As for Mohd Faisal Seeni Eating House at stall #01-37... they were not open this morning. Did I overlook the fact that it is Ramadan, and Muslims don't eat while the sun is up?

Dejected, I thought about getting some other hawker food... but came upon West Coast Pallakkouly Prata Power at stall #01-46. Figured I'd give them a try and got an order of coin prata.

March 28, 2023

Not the 50 Best tour day 4: breakfast noodles and old friends

Pin It

Two days ago PR8 blasted out a message to a whole group of people, inviting everyone to have breakfast at Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle (大華豬肉粿條麵). This is, of course, the famous hawker stall that got themselves a little macaron, and I have heard stories of people lining up on weekends for more than an hour for a bowl of their noodles. Well, I have no interest in lining up for an hour for just about anything, so I hadn't planned on coming here. But the promise was that we would 'skip the line' by special arrangement, and suddenly my curiosity got the best of me.

Word was that this outing was "limited to 15 people", but I know how PR8 works, and sure enough, I counted more than 30 people spread out over at least 4 tables. Even Wakuda Tetsuya (和久田哲也) showed up...

Of course, my day in Singapore can't begin without kopi C... Others, though, took advantage of the offer of beer at 10 a.m.

March 27, 2023

Not the 50 Best tour day 3: a day of disappointments

Pin It

The Man in White T-shirt pinged me last night about breakfast at a hawker stall, and we agreed to get some grub this morning. Unfortunately the skies were a little wet this morning, which made a proper food crawl a little more difficult than usual. Nevertheless, we headed over to Joo Chiat for a few bites.

Mr. Mohgan had sadly passed away since my last visit in late 2019, but I still went to Mr and Mrs Mohgan Super Crispy Roti Prata for my prata fix. But first, a proper start to the morning with a kopi C.

March 26, 2023

Not the 50 Best tour day 2: pandan day

Pin It

I got up this morning and pondered what to have for breakfast. Surely I would go grab a cup of kopi C, but the question is where. Do I go back to an outlet from one of the established chains, or do I wander into an unknown local shop and try my luck? In the middle of checking out the area around my hotel, I remembered that Goldfinger was staying nearby, so I pinged him and asked him about breakfast. This is his first trip to Singapore, so I figured I could take him to one of my favorite places for breakfast.

I have been coming to Killiney Kopitiam for about 25 years, and it was a ritual for me on my frequent trips to Singapore back in the day. It may not have the best coffee or kaya toast in town, but I'm a sentimental guy and a loyal customer, so I've never batted an eyelid about paying more for the taxi ride there than the cost of the actual breakfast.

I started us off with a couple of soft boiled eggs, adding a few drops of soy sauce, of course.

Not the 50 Best tour day 2: Gogaden

Pin It

The whole point of me flying myself down to Singapore for a few days was to come to lunch today. It has been almost exactly 5 years since the last time I saw Fukuyama Goh, Gaggan Anand, and Hasegawa Zaiyu together at the GohGanDen pop-up in Macau. The fact that borders are now once again open and chefs can once again come together for collaboration dinners is, of course, very good news. I was so excited that this was happening that I immediately messaged Gaggan to get myself booked.

I'm flying solo this trip since Foursheets stayed home to catch up on work, so I invited my friend L to come join me. She loves going to DEN, and also enjoys Goh-san's cuisine, so she was only too happy to come along.

The event was held at Ms. Maria and Mr. Singh, and this branch was opened when the team left Bangkok during the pandemic. I strolled in and greeted Vlad, Goh-san, Zaiyu, and Rydo. I also ran into a couple of friends, and noted the presence of one Academy Chair.

Papdi chaat (पापड़ी चाट) 💥 - an evolution of Gaggan's iconic "yogurt explosion", the yogurt spherification sat on top of a papdi (पापड़ी) with some tamarind chutney, pomegranate seed, and a sprinkling of sev (सेव). Cumin was very obvious here and this was a little spicy, but the yogurt helped to temper the heat. This... is a dish that's normally on the menu here at Ms. Maria and Mr. Singh. Not what I was expecting.

March 25, 2023

Not the 50 Best tour day 1: I'm with Emma

Pin It

I'm back in Singapore for a few days, on my first trip since that short weekend just before the pandemic hit. A certain segment of the world's population are in town for a few days for events surrounding this year's edition of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, but I won't be going to the festivities or the numerous collaborations and pop-ups. I'm in town to catch up with friends, and to taste the local food that I've been missing so badly.

I did happen to be on the same flight as the Great One, Goldfinger, and Giona, and as some of us were staying in hotels near the Great One, we were offered a ride into town by the Great One. We temporarily parked our luggage at the Raffles Hotel as Giona was intent on getting some coffee and grabbing some bak chor mee (肉脞面).

Our first stop was Pinhole Coffee Bar, where they thought it would be cool to have different names for their coffees. This is how I came to have a csold brew...

Earth Hour 2023

Pin It

I'm observing Earth Hour for the 15th consecutive year, and tonight I found myself in Singapore, which happens to be hosting a summit for the event. As usual I wanted to be under the stars and have the lights off in my room, and I figured going to the Esplanade would be a pretty good idea. I would be able to see the downtown skyscrapers go dark, and as it happened people from the World Wildlife Fund were hosting an event at the Esplanade Outdoor Stage.

This was the first time I get to see downtown Singapore looking so dark at night, although not everyone got the memo to switch off. I overheard some WWF officials near me talking about getting SingTel and The Fullerton Hotel on board, although One Raffles Place, WeWork, and The Sail at Marina Bay also kept some of their lights and signage lit.

March 24, 2023

Noche española

Pin It

At a dinner some time ago, Monsieur Jamin had brought up the topic of the Spanish menu at the I Hate the Handover Club. It seems he found the offering fairly enjoyable, or at the very least a welcome change from the usual club offering. Apparently he also discussed with V about popping some Spanish wines together, and this, boys and girls, is how we all ended up in the Hong Kong Room tonight.

Coca d'escalivada - the peppers and pine nuts worked well with the Cantabrian anchovies on top, and the cracker was pretty nice and flaky.

March 23, 2023

Da Doctor iz in da haus

Pin It

It's been more than 3 years since some of us were last in the presence of Dr. Poon, as he hasn't been back in Hong Kong during the pandemic. While the rest of us have had sporadic gatherings of the MNSC gang, he hasn't been able to join us for any of those. We have heard many tales of his wanderings, including one regarding a bottle of fake wine in London, but tonight we finally got the chance to meet the man, the legend, our friend... once again.

Our friend decided to host a casual dinner at MIÁN (紅棉), and I was pretty happy to return. The food is pretty decent and there are a few dishes I am always happy to have.

Mian's roasted barbecue Iberico pork (別不同叉燒) - with a ton of shredded coriander coating the pork.

March 21, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 11: Hakata No.1

Pin It

It's our last day in Japan, so we must start off with a good breakfast. After days of searching and failing to purchase one, I was finally able to grab an egg sandwich (たまごサンド) from a Lawson last night! I could finally complete the tasting of the egg sandwiches from the big three convenience store chains! Unfortunately this was also my least favorite of the three, as there seemed to be less filling compared to the others. The chunks of egg white seemed smaller, and while all the yolk was mixed in with the mayo, it just wasn't as creamy and satisfying as the one from 7-11.

March 20, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 10: Hello Kitty Shinkansen

Pin It

Our time in Kyoto has come to an end, and it was time to make our way back to Fukuoka. Another day of long rides on the Shinkansen, but this time there is a special train we are riding on. We checked out of The Thousand Kyoto and pushed our luggage across the street to Kyoto Station, then boarded the train. We were hurrying a little so we forgot to snap some pics with the Hello Kitty display at Kyoto Station.

We had a 40-minute layover at Shin-Osaka Station (新大阪駅), so I sent Foursheets to go shop for some ekiben (駅弁). This is one of the biggest stations in Japan so there were, naturally, plenty of choices. She came back with a couple of surprises.

The Special Makunouchi Bento (特製幕之内御膳) included specialties from the Kanto (関東), Tokai (東海), and Kansai (関西) regions - represented in the top, middle, and bottom rows, respectively. From Kanto we have Fukagawa meshi (深川めし) with the clams; Hida beef umani rice (飛騨牛うま煮ご飯), ebi-fry (海老フライ), misokatsu (みそかつ) from Tokai; and plum rice with baby sardines (梅ちりめんご飯), black beans (黒豆), and yuba (湯葉) from Kansai.

March 19, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 9: smoky meat

Pin It

For dinner tonight we met up with the Dining Austrian for one last meal. He had heard about a pop-up event by Yakiniku Shunyasai Fanbogi (焼肉旬やさい ファンボギ), a shop well-known for aged beef and ranked No. 1 in Gifu (岐阜) on Tabelog (食べログ) for yakiniku (焼肉). So rather than going for some kaiseki (懐石料理) or kyo-ryori (京料理), this was our last dinner in Kyoto.

The event was at Y Gion, and a small group of us were seated counter-style, and Chef Takahashi Nobuyuki (高橋樗至) showed us the ingredients as he prepped each course. His detailed explanations were, of course, in Japanese... so I tried to pick up as much as I could.

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 9: from east to west

Pin It

We're doing some sightseeing in Kyoto today, but unlike most tourists we're not hitting any of Kyoto's famous temples. Both Foursheets and I have done the touristy stuff, which was why we were really looking forward to a special tour this morning. But first, breakfast!

We wanted something quick and simple around Kyoto Station, but this being Sunday morning, of course every single place was packed. We ended up at McDonald's as we actually found seats there. The minute I saw it, I just had to order the Mega Muffin, which came with two pieces of sausage, a slice of cheese between the sausages, the egg, and bacon on top. This was really, really satisfying.

March 18, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 8: Noma Kyoto

Pin It

I have never been to Noma in Copenhagen.

I was always curious about this Nordic restaurant which got famous serving people moss, lichen, ants... etc. But I never made the effort to fly out there for a meal. I did make the effort to go to their very first pop-up in Tokyo - which has been well-documented in Ants on a Shrimp. Eight full years have passed since then, and these guys have done two other highly-popular pop-ups since then. When René Redzepi announced that they are returning Japan for another pop-up - which is possibly their last - I didn't hesitate to get online and book us seats.

I had told myself after Noma Tokyo that I didn't need to go to Copenhagen, because I didn't think the flavor profile of their cuisine was to my liking. I also heard from a few friends whose opinions I trust that they didn't like the dishes at Noma 2.0, which reinforced my belief that I shouldn't plan to trip to Denmark. So why did I choose to plonk down a chunk of money on dinner and wine pairing, and paying for 2 seats at that?!

Well, because in spite of the fact that I had mixed feelings about the dishes I had 8 years ago, I gained an immense respect for René and the team on account of the amount of effort that they would put in for events like this. Not that I'm suggesting they normally sit on their asses in Copenhagen and just coast on their reputation - that's absolutely not in their DNA. I was intrigued by how the team interpreted Japanese cuisine in 2015, and this time I'm interested to see how they would do what is effectively Noma Japan 2.0. What have they learned since 2015? How have they developed in the last 8 years? Would I enjoy this meal more than the experience I had in 2015, given also my own experiences in the years since?

I was chatting with the Dining Austrian when he told me that he had a 4-top for dinner tonight. Having been given the chance to share his table, I quickly chose to return my 2-top along with the accompanying room at the Ace Hotel Kyoto and adjusted our schedule accordingly. I haven't spent any time with my friend since November 2019, so I was really looking forward to this.

We were greeted by none other than Ali Sonko. Never having visited Noma means never having seen his smile in real life, but he was, of course, instantly recognizable with his radiant smile. I'm not normally in the habit of asking for selfies, but I was really, really tempted to get one with him.

Due to my last unpleasant experience with Noma's juice pairing, I decided to do the alcohol pairing this time.

The décor for the event space was, of course, customized for this – from the furniture to the serving ware, which was just like Noma Tokyo. I’m guessing that these things hanging down from the ceiling were meant to resemble kombu (昆布).

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 8: strolling in Kyoto

Pin It

I'm starting my first full day in Kyoto properly, by having breakfast in my hotel room with a couple of things I picked up last night from 7-11. I'm on a quest to see which major convenience chain store has the best egg sandwich (たまごサンド), and this would be my second of the trio. The chunks of egg whites here are smaller compared with the one from Family Mart, and they mixed in all the yolk with mayo, making the filling more creamy. It also seemed a little sweeter. Very nice.

March 17, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 7: 10 at Saito

Pin It

We didn't get ourselves out of the hotel early enough this morning, so my plans to stroll around the 'hood and check out some cherry blossoms had to be shelved. Instead of having coffee at some quaint little café, Foursheets ended up getting her caffeine dose at the Japan Rail Cafe inside Tokyo Station. Interesting experience, as it's kinda like a ticketing office which also serves coffee and snacks, which makes it a popular place for people to meet. It even has a tatami (畳) room at one corner for tourists who want to pose for pictures.

We checked out our hotel and left our luggage with the bell desk, and dashed to our lunch appointment. The Dining Austrian had booked out the main counter at Sushi Saito (鮨さいとう), and had kindly allowed me to invite a few friends to tag along. I'm grateful to be able to share the experience with Fergie and others. Foursheets was supposed to come in March 2020 for her first experience, but with the start of the pandemic of course we cancelled our trip. We've waited 3 full years for this!

We kicked off with the otsumami (おつまみ) part of our meal:

Japanese glass shrimp with sea urchin (白海老 雲丹) – nice seasoning as the soy sauce integrated well into the sea urchin.

March 16, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 6: drunken onion, episode 8

Pin It

After an absence lasting more than 3 years, I'm back at my favorite joint in Tokyo. No, this ain't some French restaurant with 3 Michelin stars, nor is it a top sushiya or kaiseki (懐石) temple that's impossible to get to. Instead it is a humble little izakaya (居酒屋) tucked into a quiet reidential neighborhood, which is home to a collection of sake I enjoy very much. Master has run Tamanegiya (酒たまねぎや) for many, many years now, and when he retires next year I will need to find another watering hole in Tokyo.

We came in with a group of 9. I'd never been here with a group this big, and I kinda feel sorry for the other lone customer. Thankfully the gentlemen was very gracious about it, and put up with our rowdiness until he decided he's had enough.

As usual Master brings out a couple of otsumami (おつまみ) for us, starting with these tomatoes from Gunma (群馬) harvest at 9° Brix.

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 6: single-minded evening

Pin It

I'm finally meeting up with The Dining Austrian tonight, after not having seen him since our last meal together in Singapore in November 2019. He has been holed up based in Japan since the pandemic started, and now has impeccable connections with many of the best restaurants in the country.

The idea for tonight was to dine in Kagurazaka (神楽坂) so that we could be within walking distance of my favorite after-dinner spot. This is an area where the Ishikawa (石かわ) group of restaurants dominate, so we ended up at Guchokuni (愚直に), which opened during the pandemic but nevertheless have managed to earn themselves a little macaron.

Somewhere along the line we went from being a group of 6 to taking over the enter counter with the 9 of us. This would turn out to be a double-edged sword, but... c'est la vie!

Glutinous rice with ice fish and scrambled eggs (餅米 白魚の玉子とじ) - the ice fish (白魚) come from Mie Prefecture (三重県) and I LOVE THEM! Having the runny, scrambled egg (玉子とじ) on top and served up with rice was a perfect combo, but why are we getting glutinous rice for our first course? A nice bit of sansho leaves (木の芽) ups the aromatics.

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 6: 3 cafés

Pin It

It's our second morning in Tokyo, and time to get ourselves some coffee. We were starting to feel a little tired from the traveling, so we got ourselves out the door around an hour later than I had planned. No matter. Still plenty of time to hit two cafés, both in the Tsukiji (築地) neighborhood.

I first came across Coffee Amikane (コーヒー網兼) in 2014 when Fergie and I were wandering around the Tsukiji Outer Market (築地場外市場). It's a cute little hole-in-the-wall, and back then Hatsue baa-chan just looked soooo cute in her apron, working the enamel pot and heating the coffee cups in a water bath over a gas stove with two hobs. The coffee was simple and cheap, but Fergie and I just loved the place with the vibe. It had been open for more than 50 years by then, and it was just a piece of Tsukiji's history. I managed to return the following year for another visit, but hadn't had to opportunity to go back since then. With each subsequent visit to Tokyo, I wondered about the lovable grandma, especially considering her advanced age. Was she still with us, and was she still running the shop?

March 15, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 5: the reunion

Pin It

It's been more than 4 years since this gang met up, and now that borders have opened up, it was time to hang out with Cow, Chicken, and H-man. As usual we asked H-man to choose a restaurant, with the understanding that BYO is not an issue and the food doesn't break the bank. Odajima (小田島) is a wine bar that serves Japanese kappou (割烹)-style cuisine, and I was happy to check out a new place I haven't been to.

Bottarga with mochi (唐墨と餅) - this is always a good combination, especially when wrapped in a piece of nori (海苔). But not for anyone who dislikes having things stick to their teeth...

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 5: the first experience

Pin It

Our mission this morning was, once again, shopping. We had discovered some time ago that there are shops in Japan which sell utensils designed for lefties, and there's a left-handed spatula in our kitchen which needs replacing. I had done some research and found a shop in Kappabashi Dougu Street (かっぱ橋道具街) which has a section for people like Foursheets.

I had long heard about Kappabashi but just never got around to check out the area, because buying kitchen utensils or professional equipment for restaurants somehow just wasn't a priority. So it was fun to come check out the different types of shops, including ones that sell those plastic fake food items that are in the display windows of so many restaurants across Japan.

March 14, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 4: bongwater Vietnamese

Pin It

I'm flying solo in Tokyo tonight, as Foursheets is meeting up with one of her besties. As luck would have it, Big Mac is in town on business. So it was a perfect opportunity to catch up with him after more than a year. I was, of course, tasked with choosing the restaurant, and I did something a little out of the ordinary this time.

A few of my wine friends in Tokyo have been frequenting a place called Ăn Đi, a place serving Vietnamese cuisine which has a well-known sommelier. I had always been curious about the place, so I decided to book us seats to give it a try. I also booked the wine pairing.

Bánh mì - with mashed potato and purple cabbage, mint leaves, a big cashew nut, and lemon sauce.

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 4: legendary pain

Pin It

It’s out last morning in Fukuoka on this leg of the trip, and we decided to take in a full breakfast at Hotel Miyako Hakata. Somewhere Restaurant on the top floor of the hotel provides a decent view of the city, provided one can snag a table by the window.

We chose the Japanese breakfast, which included a range of little nibbles starting from sashimi, mentaiko (明太子) - a local specialty in Fukuoka, grilled cherry salmon (桜鱒)… etc. It was pretty filling, and would give us a good start to the day.

March 13, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 3: same Goh-san, new Goh

Pin It

Once I had planned out the tentative dates for our trip, the first thing I did was to get in touch with our friend Fukuyama Goh to book seats at his new restaurant Goh - which has only been open since around November last year. We had missed our chance to go to La Maison de la Nature Goh on our previous visits, and the restaurant was closed last October. It was ranked among Asia's 50 Best Restaurants from time to time over the last few years, and I would have liked to have tried it before its closure.

But the new Goh is now housed in the brand-spanking-new 010 Building, which is also home to the new permanent GohGan as well as a bar. The building sits on the bank of the Naka River (那珂川) just below the southern tip of Nakasu (中洲). The design is certainly dramatic, and the view at night is pretty impressive.

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 3: a walk in the forest

Pin It

On our third day in Japan, we once again dragged our asses out of bed at a relatively early hour. We had an appointment this morning and needed to get Foursheets her daily doses of coffee in the morning. Café Miel (カフェミエル) is just on the other side of Hakata Station, and it seemed like a quaint little place that one could easily find in Japan.

One could order coffee prepared one of four different ways, including siphon. Unfortunately we did not have a lot of time to wait for it, so I just got mine poured through a tea strainer. Figured I couldn't go wrong with the house blend "Miel (ミエル)".

March 12, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 2: shop till you drop

Pin It

Despite having a pretty tiring day yesterday, we managed to drag our asses out of bed relatively early this morning for an excursion out of town. But first... breakfast! I managed to grab some goodies last night and we needed to make sure we have enough fuel for the day.

The egg sandwich (たまごサンド) from Family Mart was pretty nice. There were chunks of both egg white and also cooked yolk, with some of the yolk then mixed with mayo. Overall, pretty good.

March 11, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 1: back to FUK

Pin It

The very last trip that Foursheets and I took to Japan was a short hop to Fukuoka. We were piggybacking on DaRC and Ro Ro's trip and pretty much didn't have to do any planning at all. It is therefore fitting that, on our first trip back to the Land of the Rising Sun since the start of the pandemic, we are starting our 11-day journey in FUK. And we arrive on the 12th anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake.

But... first things first. As we were not planning on eating on the plane, we took our breakfast at the Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge in Hong Kong. The Prince of Napa chastised me for reviewing food from an airline lounge on my last trip, but I just had to make it known that the wonton noodles (雲吞麵) at the CX lounge had become so bland. Other than helping me fill my stomach it was almost a waste of calories.

Well... I wasn't gonna make the same mistake twice. So this time around, I took two bowls of their famous dan dan noodles (擔擔麵). Yes, this is an airline lounge food item that is beloved by the airline's customers. In fact, I think the Noodle Bar at CX lounges play a reasonably significant part in maintaining customer loyalty. Even small potatoes like me always want to try to maintain at least our Silver status in order to have lounge access and get the noodles. But, I digress. The noodles were delicious thanks to the rich and flavorful broth.

March 8, 2023

The wino Chairman

Pin It

I had originally booked dinner at The Chairman (大班樓) tonight to kinda help My Birdbrain Cousin celebrate her birthday. She was pretty excited about it until a few days ago, when she informed me that she had a sudden work conflict. This was disappointing, but I subsequently found out that she was spending her actual birthday back home with family, for the first time in a few years, so I was happy for her.

I eventually rounded up a group of (mostly) wine lovers - half of whom turned out to be lawyers. Even the Compatriot was lucky enough to get himself a seat, as he had just landed from Rosbif Land just a day earlier. This was gonna be fun.

Having learned my lesson from the last meal here with my former team, I decided that I would ask for preferences but make executive decisions myself.

Pickled mid-summer ginger root (大班樓子薑) - always nice to whet one's appetite with these.

Deep fried crab meat and mushroom dumplings (金錢蟹盒) - OK la... Still feels a little greasy.

March 7, 2023

Golden balls

Pin It

It has, once again, been a few months since the Specialist and I had dinner together, and she thought we should meet up over a couple of nice bottles. Italian was the preferred cuisine, so I suggested Estro without much thought. After all, I've always been happy with my meals there.

Due to the Specialist's dietary restrictions, I had to contact the Juve Fan ahead of time, and he very kindly tailored a menu for us. While I would have preferred a shorter 6-course menu, I knew full well it was never going to happen... and in the end I didn't get the "half-portions" for the 8 courses that came along.

Compressed Italian pear - crunchy texture, with citrus notes from Crudino it was compressed in. On top we have some sweet emulsion and little bits of Taggiasca olives.

Semolina bread cushion - the tuna sauce filling was smoky, with tons of flavor and good acidity. Caper leaf on top.

March 2, 2023

Old Italian favorites

Pin It

I was treated to lunch today by a service provider along with my former teammates, and Cipriani Hong Kong was chosen as the venue. These days I get to come here about once in a blue moon, so I was pretty happy that I could come back for some of my favorite dishes. I was determined to be absolutely boring.

Corn, cucumber, string beans and cherry tomatoes salad - I'm on a diet, so I chose to start the meal with just a salad. In fact, this is one of my favorite dishes here. The basil was very, very nice and fragrant, and the corn was very sweet and crunchy.

Baked white tagliolini with Praga ham - this ie the one dish that I order the most when I come. I looooove the cheese gratin. This gets me every.single.time. But the downside, though, is that this is heavily seasoned, and I find myself taking more drinks of water after eating this.

Zabaglione cake - while the others had the signature vanilla meringue cake as part of their set lunch, I went for this instead. It is much, much better, as the flavors of Marsala wine comes through the egg yolk.

I was pretty happy with lunch, and glad I had the chance to enjoy some of my old favorites again.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map