Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What could be...

People who know me know that one of my biggest passions in fooding is, of course, chocolate. In fact, usually the presents I get from the boy's family consist of 80% chocolate. Dark chocolate. Dark, lovely bitter rich chocolate. ar ar ar ar arrrrrrrr..........


Sorry about that, got distracted.

Today was a good day. Why? One of my meetings today involved meeting a chocolate company. You see, in my boring corporate job, I rarely get to do fun stuff but since we are sourcing premiums, I thought it might be a chance to combine pleasure (chocolate) with business.

I was lucky and was left with a beautiful box of chocolates (I am a potential customer after all!).

I haven't eaten them yet....I am unfortunately, obliged to share with my colleagues but who am I to begrudge free sampler chocolates?

Anyhow, I strongly, strongly urge you (especially if you are in HK) to check out their beautiful dark chocolates. They look and taste fabulous (I had dark chocolate square samples as well!). The best kept secret in Hong Kong indeed.

Vero Chocolates

Friday, April 21, 2006

Tong lo Fan (rice in soup)

When I was younger (yes, that means the "good ol'days", one of the ways my Mom would try to encourage my brother (Wai Sik Jai) and me to eat all of our rice is to let us mix in our soup (tong lo fan - literally soup mix rice).

Although simple, we were not always allowed to do so. It was considered bad for the digestion since the tendency is to slurp and not chew the rice properly.

For some reason, soup in rice is having a come-back in restaurants (or maybe it was never gone but I never ordered it in a restaurant as a child). I had one for lunch today. Dong gwa yok lup (winter melon and meat nibs) soup with rice.

Lots of melon bits, green-y veg, carrots, with bits of ham (?), tender pork, faux crab sticks and rice, adornished by coriander, it was comforting and soupy. It seemed to me a nice light tasting meal and I ate it quickly while chatting on the phone.

However, what can I say? Mom was right, I ate too fast and now digesting it is painful. *sigh* I hate it when she's right!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cukoo for Cocoa

Yes, it is time again for chocolate and all the goodness of that dark, rich bean, cocoa.

My last few chocolates in my Moonstruck box consisted of

The Ocumarian: Pure dark chocolate, from the Ocumare valley in Venezuela, with a gentle glow of chili pepper.

This was very nice, with the slow burn coming from the chili pepper included in the mix. Nothing too spicy but with a little bit of a kick

Then came the Easter looking one. Unfortunately I couldn't find the official description for this one but I think it was just bittersweet chocolate. I'm a little annoyed at myself for waiting so long to eat the chocolate as it tasted a touch 'old' but good chocolate is never that bad!

Finally I came to the cutest of them all.

Chocolate Lab : Extra bittersweet ganache wrapped in dark chocolate, with almond ears and puppy-dog eyes.

Again, I had waited too long to eat it but it was still good as only chocolate can be.

(by the way, yes I know these photos suck, I'm still trying to get the hang of it!)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Buffet buffs buff Excelsior

I went to Excelsior the other day with my extended family. We became the distended family afterwards, having to lug that bloated thing we like to call tummy around town.

First of all, the spread. It was excellent.

Chocolate fountain? Check.
Fresh oysters shucked on demand? Check.
Haagen Daaz ice cream? Check.
Tea and coffee included in the buffet? Check.
Whole salmon carved on demand? Check

I started off modestly with a plate of freshly shucked oysters.

They were goooooooooood (plus they didn't give me the runs afterwards, double score!). I believe they had a few types of oysters from around the world. For an oyster lover like me, it was bliss!!

My second plate consisted of sashimi (loads of salmon was available and I love the fact they were not stingy with it and didn't wait until people whimpered by the sashimi platter before refilling it), fluorescent green seaweed salad, tiny mozza balls with pesto tomatoes and some beef carpaccio which was so tender I had to have a second helping to make sure I was tasting it correctly.

See, this plate had a bit of everything. Repeats of the oyster, salmon and seaweed salad with a bit of freshly sliced smoked salmon dolloped with sour cream, a bit of lamb rogan josh and some curried veg.

What you don't see (because I'm messy and splashed the bowl and plate) is the lobster bisque which was, how do you say it? DIVINE!! No matter that it had chucks of shrimp rather than lobster (which caused me no more than a moment's hesitation due to my allergy to shirmp), it was still creamy, rich and utterly delicious. You know when you really, really want to lick the bowl? It was lick the bowl good.

I had a few small bites in between and then came to my last plate. Chocolate covered pineapple and dragon fruit, bits of cheese and a choco tart. The tart was very average, the fruit and chocolate fab as always and blue cheese, brie and swiss went down very well. I'm not ashamed to say I ate about 3 or 4 more of those chocolate covered fruit sticks. I'm just sad I didn't eat more.

Cafe on the First, The Excelsior,
281 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
(852) 2894 8888

Price: HK$338 (I think...I don't quite recall)
But you get the following discounts with HSBC Visa Platinum:
5-12 diners - 30% off
3-4 diners - 25% off
2 diners - 20% off

For loyal readers of the other blog I participate in, I apologize, I have used this post on both blogs

The way the sushi falls

As mentioned in my last post, my family came to town and food was had.....a LOT of food.

One of the highlights was the revolving sushi counter that always has a huge lineup outside its doors. Being my family, i.e. a pack of food-hungry animals, we were there at the opening and began popping bits of sushi in our mouths within 2 minutes of walking in the front door (I say 2 minutes but I think one of my aunts grabbed a plate before she even sat down properly!).

I was too entralled by this arm long fish the sushi chef in front of me .......

Within minutes, it was beheaded cleanly and then quickly sliced down the middle.

Seconds later, we had a clean filet o' fish.

Within minutes, I had a fresh piece of sushi in my mouth!

It was the quickest, cleanest and slickest operation I had ever seen.

Surgeons? Pah, I' rather have a sushi chef!


"Luuuuuuuuuuucy, you got some s'plaining to do!"

"Oh Ricky!"

That's the first thought that popped into my head. I am sorry for my leave of absence.

I've been....well, no need to lie. I've been busy eating. In fact, as I write this, the buttons on my top are threatening to fly across the room to hopefully be met by a kinder fate.

I will first start with a classic.

Yung Kee Roast Goose Restaurant.

Yep the famous roast goose itself.

I rarely go due to the high prices, outrageously bad service but I have to admit, they do roast a good goose.

So, with family from three parts of the world in tow, we traipsed over to Central to partake in goose which my aunt had not tasted in over a decade.

First up, we had a plate of what was a bit like headcheese in the States. Essentially bits of meat which don't really look appealing on its own but stuffed into a jellied casing in tubular form and sliced, it'll do. This particular one contained bits of tongue and other chewy bits. Salty but not too bad.

Then came the prawns. Now I like prawns but unfortunately, cannot eat them due to my stupid allergies. However, I am more than willing to give them up if my body lets me eat lobster, crab and other yummy shellfish.

This prawn was interesting as it was wrapped in "fou pei" (which I've talked about previously), a thin sheet of bean curd.

Even though I couldn't eat the prawns, the staff did add a little something for me. A wee friend to keep me company.

The our big main dish came, along with veg, rice and noodles. Yes animal/bird lovers, it is rather grotesque at how it is "splayed" in that manner. I do agree. And yes, I'm sure the staff do it solely to watch westerners recoil in horror at our consuming passion for eating anything and everything but for me, it was a great source of entertainment.

Yes, by the end, we were definitely full. We like our goose and ordered it whole, not leaving much room for anything else.

At the end it was toothpicks and burps all around to ensure not veg or bits of goose were stuck in our teeth.

Yung Kee
32-40 Wellington Street
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 2522 1624

Best buy: roast duck and char sui (roast pork) lunchbox take out

Friday, April 07, 2006

Up-ended lunch

My Dad made a very, very local Hakka dish of preserved veg stewed with pork ("Mui choi ju yok"). This is an acquired taste, one that I grew up on and which Westerners usually find incredibly smelly and disgusting.

The main reason for this is the method of preservation. The vegetables, usually a leafy sort with stalk, sort of like "bak choi", is marinated and preserved in dark spices and sauces and left to almost "rot" so that it has a real tang to it. Then the vegetables are dried out in the sun and look like black pieces of fungus. It is no longer easy to get the "good, smelly" type of preserved vegetables anymore and my Dad bribed and begged it off a cook. He then cooked it up with some deliciously tender pork until it was pungent, black and night and thoroughly delicious.

So, it was with some excitement and happiness that I went to re-heat my lunch box of precious preserved veg and pork. Three and a half minutes in the micro and I was ready to go. Paper in my left and lunchbox in my right, I was quickly walking to my office when...

I tripped.

And the rice portion (along with a bit of veg) flew out of my hands and into the hall of our open plan office of the Systems department. Much to my dismay, where usually the office is deserted during this time, three people from that department stood watching as my smelly black food lay between their desks.

Scrambled about apologizing profusely, picking up my rice, spraying the area with carpet freshener and generally embarrassing myself.

Following this, I got into my office and sadly looked at my lunchbox.

It was only the saucy preserved pork and veg left, much too salty to eat on its own. So, down I went to the shops to buy a box of plain white rice for the horrific amount of HK$10 and ate my delectable preserved veg and pork.

As a side note, how can they get away with charging so much for plain rice? Absolute highway robbery! Oh no, I'm turning into my auntie!!

The chocolate saga

I've tried, I've tasted and by golly, I've conquered!

Choco-mania indeed.

Following my recovery from "eet hei-ness" (thanks to the 24 Herbs!), I proceeded to demolish, I mean, delicately taste each of the lovely chocolates from my dear boy.

You saw my first foray and here are some of the others in the box:

This one was called French Silk: Dark chocolate mousse covered in dark chocolate. You see that? Twice they have "dark chocolate so you just know it's going to be good.

See the insides? Moooooooooousse-y.

Then, the boy decided enough faffing about. He wanted the Easter egg!

I am not sure what the icing is made of nor the insides. I just know it was good.

I have two or three more interesting chcocolates to go and then I'm done this box of chocolates!

*sniff sniff*