Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Family Annual Dinner 2015

Chinese New Year is approaching. Year-end Family gathering dinner is a big event to Chinese. I made some money in the stock market recently, so I decided to treat my family a nice dinner. Although we all love seafood, but our menu is kind of a semi seafood one.  The restaurant offers set menu for 12, but we had 20 people, so we decided to order for two tables of 10.  Restaurant then agreed to shrink the dishes down to fit 10 persons and cut the price accordingly.

Unlike the usual starter of a roast pig, we had five mini dishes to kick start the dinner - roast pork, black fungi, preserved turnip, jellyfish in vinegar, preserved pork slices.  These are lovely light and healthy dishes.

Roast Pork - Tailored for 10 Persons
Roast with honey, tender and juicy, very nice.

Jellyfish and Cucumber in Vinegar

Preserved Sliced Pork

Black Fungi in Wine

Preserved Turnip - Very Crispy

Shark Fin in Chicken Broth

One of the most popular Cantonese delicacy, especially in festival menus.

Stir Fried Scallops with Green Peas

Our second seafood dish of the night.  Crunchy green peas and fresh scallops, very nice combination.

Sea Cucumber and Mushroom in Oyster Sauce
For hot pot dishes, we had to mind the temperature, or the tongue will have to suffer.  This photo didn't reflect the bubbles which were still sizzling when arriving the table.

***Giant Sabah Groupa***
Steaming fresh fish is the gem of Cantonese cuisine.  No matter how experienced we are in eating fresh fish, we are surprisingly happy with this super fish.  The plate was so giant to cater for the giant fish.  And it was boneless, absolutely silky smooth and we can taste the sense of freshness.  I must say this is the superstar of the night!

***Pan Fried King Prawns with Soy Sauce***
This is another surprise of the night - a rare item and it is expensive and few menus has it because they spend most of their budget on the shark fin.  I normally do not order huge size prawns as it's difficult to find good ones.  But these king prawns were so fresh, meaty and chewy.  I didn't had a chance to eat such giant size prawns of outstanding quality for a long time.  So this is another superstar of the night.

Deep Fried Chicken
This is always my favourite! 

Hairy Vege and Dry Oyster with Chinese Lettuce
Chinese dishes nearby Chinese New Year are usually given good names - names that carries a sense of luck and fortune.  Dry oyster means 'good business'; lettuce means 'profit'.  We all love these of course.

Stir Fried Taiwanese Noodle with Sliced Pork
Well, I would say this is the third surprise of the night.  As at the end of a Cantonese feast, we usually have noodle and rice to wrap up the dinner.  However our menu had only one dish of noodle which made us thought that restaurant was trying to cut cost.  But this dish was even bigger than a dish of rice plus a dish of noodle.  We were so excited because it didn't only look good, but also taste very delicious.  Cantonese treat 'wok heat' as an important element of food, and this dish of noodle was really well done.

For desserts, we had puddings and fresh fruit platter.

After all, we all went home with a heavy stomach.  Luckily we brought some boxes to take some food home so that we didn't have to leave them on the table.  So the next day I still had noodle and chicken as dinner. 

Cost per table:  HK$3,488
Tea per table: HK$140
Service charge: 10%
Total bill (2 tables): HK$7,982

Kam Dau Kee Seafood Restaurant
Wanchai, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Food Blog - Year End Family Gathering Dinner

Message to Shark Fans
Please DO NOT post comments about your shark protection / protest message. I will NOT publish them. If you want to protect sharks, here are my suggested methods:
  1. Advertise in mass media
  2. Everyday protests, demonstrations…in front of all shops selling shark fins
  3. Everyday protests, demonstrations in public areas such as streets, parks to educate the public not to eat shark fin
  4. Letter, fax, email, telephone or personal visits to restaurant owners to insist them to remove shark fin from their menu
  5. Write to the government to request shark fin eating to be illegal
  6. Hire fleet of ships to go out to the sea to stop any shark catching activities.  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dim Sum Lunch Set Special

This menu is designed for those who want to eat a wider selection of foods however don't have many people eating together.  The good thing about this menu is all inclusive.  This means the money you pay includes tea and service charge.  It's good for budget control but you need to have a minimum of 2 people eating together.

Snacks - choose one among 4
Dim sum - choose three among 12 (I think)
Vegetable - choose one between 2
Fried noodle/rice - choose one among 4 (I think)

So we have a total of 6 dishes, consisting of a little of everything.

Here are our choices of today.

Snack:  Preserved Beef Slices

Dim Sum

Pork Dumplings

In order to enable us to eat more variations, each of the dim sum were served one per person.

Cha Sha Bao
This is almost a must on our dim sum table

Turnip Puff
This is not quite Cantonese, I believe.  Because it appears on some Shanghai or Beijing menus.  But as far as it is delicious, I don't care.

Stir Fired Bok Choy with Garlic
These dishes were cooked to order, so generally hot and yummy.  Hong Kong Cantonese including myself, always look for 'wok heat', that means freshly from the wok which is the best time to eat anything.

Stir Fried Flat Noodle with Beef
You may not notice a lot of beef, but there were plenty inside.  Stir fried with dark soy sauce, this is one of our favourite, and most Hong Kong people's favourite noodle dishes.  But since it is part of a set menu for two, the size is relatively smaller than a regular dish.  Anyway we had six courses altogether, so we were happy with it.

All Inclusive Lunch Set
HK$78 per person (US$10)
(minimum 2 persons)
Available on weekdays only

Hong Kong Food Blog

Monday, December 29, 2014

Set Lunch at Coyote Bar and Grill

The bars and bristols situated harmoniously in Wanchai among the residential and commercial buildings.  I live in this area and today I have a day off, so I decided to hop into one of these bars for a lunch.  In fact these bars are full of people at night time for football shows but in day time, they are just like any other ordinary restaurant offering set lunches for the white collars.

As far as I notice, their menus rotate almost everyday.  Yesterday I saw Cotoye had a paella set which I wanted to try, but today they switch to another menu.  Anyway, with the money I pay, I'm happy with the food, the setting, services and price.  The set lunches in these bars are generally HK$100-150, while some may charge cheaper and even without service charge.

Coyote is famous for its Mexican food and tequilla drinks.  But they also offer set lunches during day time.  Here's my 3-course lunch (HK$118 +10% service charge, totaling HK$129).

For the starter, I can choose between salad and soup.  Today I prefer the cesar salad to carrot soup. As for main course, there are up to 8 or 9 options, and each customer is offered a mini chocolate mousse with coffee/tea.  The portion is just right. 

Cesar Salad
very fresh vegetables!

Prawns Linguine Pasta 
Giant prawns with very yummy (slightly spicy) gravy.  Well done!

Chocolate Mousse served with Coffee or Tea
This mini dessert is just perfect to wrap up my meal, it's not too big not too sweet, and nicely presented.

The waitresses are friendly and I personally like the high leg bar chairs.  Nice lunch.  Ooops, I forgot to mention one thing, if you find other restaurants are full, these bars are good options, as they are seldom full house except at night time.  One reason for this is may be because they are very western in style and taste, so they are less preferable to the locals.

Coyote Bar and Grill
114-120 Lockhart Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: 2861-2221

Hong Kong Food Blog - set lunch at a Wanchai bar

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Huaiyang Cuisine in Hong Kong

Just found a brand new Huaiyang restaurant in Hong and tried it out. It was a combination of delicacy and yummy food.

Dinner at Empire City Huaiyang

If you're not too hungry, but have a lot of time and money to spend, this is an ideal place.  Dishes were delicately presented, in relatively small portion however extremely long delivery time.  Going through their menu, the dishes are quite mild, I mean not too spicy, very close to the taste of Hong Kong Cantonese.

Sliced Mushroom (HK$75) 蔬衣麻菇 
These two starters took only 5 minutes to get onto our table.  But then it stopped there.  We got to sit there for anther 30 minutes for the next dish.

The mushrooms were just like a piece of artwork.  Nicely cut, well presented and tasted good.

Salty Duck (HK$125) 鹽水鴨

As Huaiyang is concerned, Salty Duck is an everyday food for people living there, so we must give this signature dish a try.  Not bad at all.  And it was the only meat dish of the night.  We followed the rule of 'more vegetable and less meat' quite well.

Vegetarian Dumplings (HK$60) 蒸素餃
Delivery time:  35 minutes from ordering.  It came in a huge amazing tray, and with the lid off, we found these four tiny, well, medium size vegetable dumpling.  Although we didn't know why the chef chose to serve on lotus leaf rather than a traditional bamboo cage tailored for steaming, it was delicious and the shape was quite creative.

Noodle in Fish Soup (HK$78) 魚湯小刀面
Delivery time: 40 minutes from ordering.  Its Chinese name said 'little knife noodle in fish soup'.  But I didn't find any relation between the noodle and a knife.  The soup was little fishy, meaning it was really fish soup.  With a few slice of ham and egg, it was just next to plain noodle.  And each of us could only share a tiny little bowl.

Boiled Cabbage (HK$108) 開水白菜
Delivery time:  70 minutes from ordering.  You may not believe if I tell you this is a high class super luxury dish.  Indeed it is.  This dish originated from the imperial Qing Dynasty kitchen.  The master chef brought the recipe back to his home town in Sichuan and since then this dish only appears on the most deluxe banquet.  In contrast to its good taste, its appearance is very plain and pale, and is a result of complex cooking steps.  Former Prime Minister Zhou Enlai served his VIP guest at a national dinner and the guest was very reluctant at first however found it to be very delicious after tasting.  

Boiled cabbage name says 'Cabbage in Clear Water'.  The 'water' is actually a well-cooked chicken, stewed through the complex process out of the soup to Sauvignon and clear water. Cabbage in use is the most tender part of a cabbage - hearts only.  The dish at first glance looks like a few flowers floating on water which is completely out of oil. It is not only a food, but an artifact.

Rolling Donkey Dessert (HK$68) 驢打滾
We ordered this dessert on condition that it has to come fast, as we've lost our patience in waiting.  The waiter suggested this one and it actually took only 5 minutes to come.  It was good to have something sweet to wrap up our dinner. Again this is from the Qing Imperial kitchen and we had this in Beijing before.

About this brand new restaurant, there is one thing that I really appreciate which is the space among tables.  The eating environment is perfect.  But there were a few negative things I've observed.  Most of the other guests around us were chasing for food.  Like us, everyone one had lost their patience in waiting. The guests on our next table complaint about their fish, the waiter end up replaced a new one for them.  The tea pot was made of iron, extremely heavy. So heavy that I was unable to lift it.  May be this was why the waiters were friendly helping us to re-fill our cups.  And personally I was not happy with the tea temperature which was not hot enough to be enjoyed.

Cost of Food:  HK$514
Pre-meal Snack: HK$30 ($15 per person)
Tea: HK$40 ($20 per person)
Service Charge: 10%
Total Bill:  HK$642.4 (US$82.4)

Empire City Huaiyang 大都淮陽
8/F Convention Plaza, 1 Harbour Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2628-0218

Hong Kong Food Blog - Huaiyang Dinner

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mid Autumn Festival - Hong Kong 2014

I have a day off today as it is the day after Mid Autumn Festival. In tradition, Chinese celebrate the festival in three phases - Welcoming the Moon (August 14th), Admiring the Moon (August 15th) and Chasing the Moon (August 16th).

We used to have holiday on the Festival day, ie. 15th, but somehow the former colonial government said people admire the moon at night, they can still work in the day.  However people sleep late after admiring the moon, the following day became a holiday. And this has been practicing after the handover through now.

The Mid Autumn Festival is all about the moon, moon cake, lanterns and many other celebrations.  Let's not only focus on food and talk about the Festival in Hong Kong.

The Moon - Although the moon looks the same anywhere in the world, but this was the one I took after dinner last night.  And I had a second chance of admiring her while on bed - she was shining on my bed through the window. Exactly what Li Bai said - 床前明月光.  It was a bit of luck, because admiring the moon all depends on weather.

Mid Autumn Moon in Hong Kong
September 8, 2014 - 8.16 pm

The Moon and Chang'e - the moon has always been a charming subject and hence there was a legend saying that Chang'e (a very beautiful woman) stole and ate some 'longevity pills' and flew to live in the moon.  In fact she was lonely there with only a rabbit friend.  Hence there was a poem saying 嫦娥應悔偷靈葯, 碧海青天夜夜深. (Chang'e would not stole the pills if she had a second chance.)

Chang'e Flew to the Moon - c.1500BC

The Rabbit Lanterns - this has been a forever symbol of Mid Autumn lanterns in Hong Kong.  When we were kids, we lit the rabbit with candles and we needed to handle with care as we were playing with real fire.  Nowadays there are electronic ones which are more safe.  Knowing that rabbit is the only friend of Chang'e in the moon, it is easy to understand why rabbit lantern is such an important symbol of the festival.

Rabbit Lanterns

Star Fruit Lanterns - there are several fruits more popular around the Mid Autumn Festival.  Star Fruit is one of them.  No wonder star-fruit-shape lanterns has also been one of the most traditional lanterns in Hong Kong.

Star Fruit Lanterns

Traditional Lanterns - although electronic lanterns are widely popular in Hong Kong, but it can never replace the traditional way we play with lanterns.  At home, we prefer to lighting lanterns with candles.  After all, it's more fun although we had to take extra care to look after them.

Traditional Lanterns

Moon Cake and Taro - what has moon cake to do with taro? 'Rich people eat moon cake, poor people eat taro'. What?  Is there such a rule?  Of course not, but in any society, there are rich people and poor people.  Somehow most Cantonese in Hong Kong have heard about this: 有錢人家吃月餅, 冇錢人家吃芋頭.  Mid Autumn Festival is a time when family members get together, enjoy food and celebrate.  If you want to eat something good but cannot afford moon cake, then eat taro instead.  This could be the poor people ridiculing themselves.

Moon Cake and Taro

Pomelo Lanterns and Peels - pomelo is one of the fruits exceptionally popular at Mid Autumn Festival.  As it is large in size, it is good for family members to share.  Apart from this, the pomelo peels are very useful.  You see, the peels are so thick, hence we make lanterns and food out of it.


Pomelo Lantern - it all depend on your skill.  Some people can make very creative pomelo lanterns such as the one here.  

Pomelo Lantern

Pomelo Peels Dim Sum - Some people even turn pomelo peels into food. Today (the Moon Chasing Day), I specially order this pomelo peels over my dim sum lunch as part of the festival celebration.  In fact, cooking of pomelo peels take a bit of time and effort.  My mother used to cook it at home.  We need to get rid of the zest first and then soak the thick peels until soft, add some seasoning before steaming.  Shrimp roes and oyster sauce are usually used. When we were young, we had great fun helping our mother in preparing the pomelo peels and making of pomelo lanterns.

Steam Pomelo Peels with Shrimp Roes

If you want to learn more about the Mid Autumn Festival legends, stories and history, there is an article at the International Business Times.  Take a look and have fun.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Mid Autumn Festival 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Universal Seafood Dinner

This 8-course seafood dinner is very attractive in terms of food and price. Only HK$288 (US$36.9) per person.  It's very delicate, well present and of course very yummy.  Now let see how universal it is.

Chilled South Africa Abalone 
Cantonese believe the best way to eat abalone is to eat it as a whole.  6-head is kind of size reference.  I think it means 6 abalones per catty.  Rarely people eat it chilled, but this one is very well done, al dente and delicious.

Italian Balsamic Jellyfish
Jellyfish served with black fungi and cucumber, good combination.  Very fresh and the taste of Italian balsamic tastes just right.

Japanese Honey Roast Pork
A typical Cantonese delicacy combined with Japanese honey, very tender and juicy roast pork.  It's always my favourite.

Steamed New Zealand Razor Clams
I love razor clams, but not sure of its origin.  New Zealand is famous of clear water and high hygiene demand, so I'm eating with extra confidence.  There are many ways of cooking razor clams, but this is the one I like most.  Steam with garlic puree, jelly noodle and soy sauce, perfect combination.

Sabah Grouper Steak
I was thinking most groupers in Hong Kong came from Australia.  But giant groupers are also imported from Sabah.  As giant groupers are so large, no one can afford to eat the whole fish.  Therefore fish steak is a good option.  The chef chose to steam it on top of silky smooth egg custard with very fragrant Chinese wine Hua Diao.  Very creative recipe, well done!

Deep Fried Canadian Lobster

Each one of us have half a lobster. I'm not a professional eater, so I cannot tell the difference between Australian lobsters and Canadian lobsters.  Restaurants in Hong Kong even define South Australian or West Australian lobsters as they cost and taste differently.  Anyway, this Canadian lobster is cooked in quite an unusual way - deep fried.  Together with the herbal gravy, very innovative.  What I don't like about eating lobster is making my fingers messy.  Luckily restaurant provided some hot tea with lemon for us to clean our hands.

Green Vege in White Congee

Vegetable in stock is quick popular in Cantonese cuisine, but spinach with congee (liquid only) is something new to me.  Again, I like it.  Good taste and creative.

Papaya Pudding

Most of the dishes in this menu are quite innovative and creative, including these two desserts.  Papaya jelly on top of pudding, my first time, very nice.

Lou Han Guo with Lotus Soup

Lou Han Guo with lotus is absolute new.  I don't know when people invented this but it has been growing in popularity.  As lou han guo has natural sweetness, no sugar is needed.  Even people suffering from diabetes can eat it.  What I don't like is the colour.  It doesn't look good, although tastes good.

This universal seafood dinner set is served in somewhat western style.  Each course is served in per person size, except the vegetable and desserts. Waiters were friendly and efficient.  Restaurant manager told us that they were selling at cost making very very thin margin.  Well that's true, there is no way to eat that many different kinds of seafood with that kind of money. 

8-Course Universal Seafood Set
HK$288 per person (minimum two persons)
Tea and pickles: HK$15 per person
Service charge: 10%
Bill total:  HK$664 (US$85.1)
Advance booking is required.  

Kam Dou Kee Seafood Restaurant
3 Wanchai Road, Hong Kong
Tel: 3907-0878

Hong Kong Food Blog - Universal Seafood Dinner

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Economic Seafood Set

Hong Kong people love seafood.  As a local Hong Kong Cantonese, I'm no exception.  You may think that seafood is expensive.  Well!  In a way it is.  But if you know Hong Kong well enough, you may be able to eat good quality seafood at reasonable prices.

Forget about Li Yue Mun, Aberdeen...forget about 5-star restaurants...those are places you pay a lot of money.  In fact there are many mid to small size restaurants within the city of Hong Kong where you pay much less money for fresh seafood.

The Economic Seafood Set that I have today is only HK$388 for two.  The restaurant only charge HK$6 per person for tea, and they even don't charge any service fee. Here's what we have.

Shark Fin Soup with Crab Meat 紅燒蟹肉生翅
Each one of us had a bowl of shark fin with crab meat, along with some other seafood such as fish mau.

Stir Fried Razor Clam with Black Bean and Pepper

The razor clam shells were at the bottom, making the dish look big.  But I would say even without them, the dish is big enough.  I think it should be good for four people.

Pan Fried Giant Prawns 煎大花蝦
Wow, I love these giant prawns.  They were so fresh and al dente.  The way they were cooked matched the taste of prawns very well.  The waiters told us to eat with fingers to make it even more tasty and fun.  Of course they had to offer us moist tissue.

Vegetable with Dry Scallop and Mushroom in Stock
It's good to have some vegetable as a balance of diet.  But the dish size was so big and made the two of us overloaded.  In fact, this meal size is good for four people, although they served only two bowls of shark fin soup.

Green Bean Dessert 綠豆沙
This green bean dessert was also very well done.  They had some seaweeds and herbs to add to the fragrance.  Just right to wrap up a meal.

Seafood Set for Two:  HK$388
Tea for Two:  HK$12
Total:  HK$400 (US$51.3)
As the restaurant didn't charge 10% service fee, we paid a voluntary tip of HK$10.

Wing Hing Kitchen
Ship Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Food Blog - Economic Seafood Set for Two

Message to Shark Fans

Please DO NOT post comments about your shark protection / protest message.  I will NOT publish them.  If you want to protect sharks, here are my suggested methods:

  1. Advertise in mass media
  2. Everyday protests, demonstrations…in front of all shops selling shark fins
  3. Everyday protests, demonstrations in public areas such as streets, parks to educate the public not to eat shark fin
  4. Letter, fax, email, telephone or personal visits to restaurant owners to insist them to remove shark fin from their menu
  5. Write to the government to request shark fin eating to be illegal
  6. Hire fleet of ships to go out to the sea to stop any shark catching activities.