Archive

Asian Cuisine – General

IMG_1035[1]

Overpriced fishballs usually make me really angry.  But these peppered pork tripe beef balls at The Lobintan remind me of those “explosive pissing beef balls” in the Hong Kong classic, “God of Cookery”.  I really don’t think I can express it better than Stephen Chow’s comedy brilliance, so let me just leave you with this:

The balls are $34 for 7 pieces.  7 pieces of bouncy heaven.

You can find this little food truck near one of the entrances at Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong.

Happy New Year, readers and friends! I hope 2014 brings us all much food and happiness, and maybe quite a few more HK numb posts…  I am thoroughly excited about what this year holds, namely finally being settled in HK in Summer and all that that entails – mostly food and certain boy.

For those of you who were hungover on that chilly New Year’s Day, I’m sure you’d agree not much beats a warm bowl of ramen from Butao.  Lucky for the ‘dark siders’ of Hong Kong  (I know, I hate that term too), Butao and Din Tai Fung have recently opened branches in Sha Tin New Town Plaza.  I dont know about you, but my hungover afternoons will never be the same; xiao long bao and tonkotsu right next to eachother, and close to home?!  Aww yeah, watch my belly grow ho ho ho.

I have to admit: I was a Butao virgin before they opened in Sha Tin, so I’m not sure how this compares to the original shop in Lanks.  As it was my first time, I was – as I’m sure you can imagine – innocent and naive about what was in store.  Waiting for my ticket to be called gave me a little anticipatory anxiety, especially after hearing everyone else talking about it these last few years.  Before this, sometimes I’d think, “Why don’t you just do it already?  Just get it over with, everyone else has.” but I don’t know, I guess the romantic in me just wanted it to be special, that I should wait til I was ready… or til they opened a branch closer to home.

I guess you could say for my first-time I kept it vanilla – I went for the classic Butao ($83) with normal thin noodles. Nothing overdone or elaborate, of course – I’m not that kind of girl – but I did get a couple extra sides here and there.  Nothing wrong with a bit of fork play, after all.

IMG_2261

IMG_2263

IMG_2264So, was it worth the wait?  Well, yes.  I didn’t need to wait in a mile-long queue, and was never appealed by the thought of going to Central by 10am to be one of the first-served (I feel similarly about the Ichiran hype), so this branch was definitely worth the wait.  I loved the original broth, which I think is more flavourful and unctuous than the Ippudo brand.  However, I was quite disappointed with the pork belly, which seemed comparatively tasteless and lacking.  I also would’ve preferred harder noodles, so I amended this on my next visit.

IMG_2266Andrew ordered the Black King ($93) which I found far too heavy.  Perhaps for this and the Green King (which features cheese and olive oil), opting for a lighter strength would’ve made it easier to slurp down.  It was a nice alternative, but I’m glad I stuck to the original.

The next time we came though, I wanted it harder and hotter.

IMG_2329[1]I loved the Red King ($93).  I guess I’m not much of a purist when it comes to Butao cos I would definitely order this again and again over the original – but only just.  I opted for harder noodles (better) and Butao’s special spicy sauce on top of the already spicy broth.  The broth wasn’t outlandishly spicy, but its kick was addictive to the point I pretty much emptied the bowl of soup. The Japanese marinated egg’s ($17) runny yolk was the perfect neutraliser though whenever I needed a cool down. Like the other ‘Kings’, it has a little pork mince ball in the center, in addition to your selected meat.  Being disappointed with the pork belly on last visit, we tried the pork butt and found it to be much tastier and less fatty.

I do like how Butao lets you customise your ramen, but it is indeed somewhere that you need to go more than once to get your ideal bowl.  Which I don’t mind in the slightest.

Happy hangover, Hong Kong!  Keep eating, stay sexy.

6/F, Jardine Centre, 50 Jardine’s Bazaar, CW

I had toast again for dinner yesterday, so that might explain why I’m feeling rather blasé about my recent food ‘conquests’ (read: how to stop your toaster from incinerating all that you condemn to its steel jaws).  Since it’s a Thursday, I shall invoke the popular hashtag #throwbackthursday to introduce Xenri No Tsuki Japanese Cuisine on the HK numb today.

Xenri No Tsuki (千里之月鮨旬菜) has been around for a while, consistently living up to its name by Openricers, food bloggers, and unpublished foodies (aka the silent heroes) alike.  I myself visited on April 3rd (the boyfriend’s birthday ha ha, couldn’t forget that date now could I…) and we were dying for a sushi fix.  This was supposedly the place.

The almost prurient plates of melt-in-your-mouth toro and crunchy ebi-head seemed to be crawling into my camera lens (and later, my mouth) on all fours, like a Terry Richardson shoot with Miley Cyrus –  traversing that fine line between art and just plain traumatizing.  I suppose my subject matter by comparison was leaning towards the former, although if I had stuffed any more sushi into my poor first-world belly I would have been in distress.

Image

Please forgive me for not remembering some details.  As an amuse bouche, we were presented with a dried/cured fish on shiso leaf, with what I believe was a Kewpie mayo dressing; kidney beans; and pickled vegetables.  Nice.  Nothing special.

Image

Read More

Following from the crepe post, I give you more crepe.  Didn’t see that coming did you?  My friend Alison Cheng, who has written for Dear HK, has taken some lovely photos for bánh xèo that she’s let me use today.  Watch out for more of the Ms. Cheng’s contributions on the HK numb, or feel free to contact her on alisonc.cheng@gmail.com if you like what you see.

7

alisoneats

Heavily influenced by French cuisine, Vietnamese food is full of French-inspired gems like the increasingly popular banh mi, and bo kho (similar to a French beef stew, even served with a chunk off a baguette!).

Banh xeo is another a favourite of mine.  This Vietnamese version of a savoury crepe is too darn delicious, especially when the shrimp is freshly caught and the beansprouts are only just-cooked, still maintaining that delicate crunch with the rest of the sizzling cake.  I felt so high on life the first time I had a banh xeo in Vietnam – I think I was in Hue – that I ended up getting inked like an idiot straight after.  Might have had something to do with the red wine too…

Read More

Shop 264, G/F, Tin Sam Estate, Tai Wai

So I started a Facebook page and now – as you might imagine – I’m on Facebook all the time refreshing the page every five seconds, seeing how many people have ‘liked’ the page, commented, seen it… It’s a bit lame; I’m very excitable.  The point is I’m procrastinating a little more than usual, so I have this short snippet of yesterday’s dinner to tide my readers over while I rifle through an excess of foodtography and notes.

Golden Bangkok Thai Restaurant is popular around Tai Wai, so – hoping to stick close to home, the supposed “dark side” – we decided to chow down here.  Compared to the Thai we tasted recently on the island (no name-shaming.. for now), nothing bad could be said about this dark side diner.  We’ve ordered from here before, for takeaway, and were pleased with the green curry, ‘Thai style’ morning glory and other standard Thai dishes, so we decided to get off the beaten track this time.

IMG_1756

Read More

catpoo

IMG_1701[1]

It has reached a point where I am getting bored of writing about Bali and want to return my blog to Hong Kong.  If I feel this way, then I’m sure some – if not all – HK readers do too.  I am also getting seriously back logged.  I need some kind of writing laxative to cure myself of all this constipated content – to just let all my reviews rush out, in one single flush of genius; pooooof and it’s poosted!  What a relief that would be.  Alass.

Read More

seafood

We were adamant about getting some fresh grilled seafood while we were in Bali.  We thought some kind of beach cafe would be a good place to start.  So after we finished tanning on our hotel’s rooftop pool (amazing) and watched the sunset high above like Greek Gods – liquored, slightly bronzed and clad in gladiators too – we set off on our seafood odyssey.

Echo Beach House

Jalan Pura Batu Mejan, Echo Beach, Canggu, Bali 80361, Indonesia

Echo Beach House is a huge set-up, but hard to find.  Actually, that’s their slogan: “Hard to find, hard to forget.”  It might be helpful to organise a driver to and from Canggu beach because once you’ve finished dinner, it’s not going to be easy to hail any cabs or haggle a ride back to your hotel from such a remote spot.

20130825_203831

Read More

Image

The boyfriend and I went to Bali for a long weekend holiday.  It was delicious.  We fell in love with a few Balinese and Padang dishes, and I definitely have a new-found respect for Indonesian cuisine – or specifically, Balinese cuisine.  I’m just waiting now for any old lovable prick on Hong Kong island to start up an overpriced ‘Indonesian tapas’ restaurant slash bar slash lounge slash club slash “Satay Saturdays but we’ll still charge way more than what’s moral ha ha” with, of course, a no-reservations policy.  I might actually have to line up for this one.  Seriously.  You say sambal, I say how high.

We were after 3 things in Bali, so I’ll subhead the posts as follows for easy reading: pig, seafood and catpoop. All with the occasional mojito.

pig

Bali, a Hindu province in a mostly-Muslim Indonesia, has become a foodie sanctuary for the most delicious suckling pig, better known in Bali as Babi Guling.  We knew our first stop had to be Ibu Oka – an institution for the revered pork – that was popularized by Anthony Bourdain in No Reservations.  The moment Andrew and I heard the ‘crack’ of that pork skin on the telly, it was nothing but belly on our minds.

Ibu Oka

Jalan Tegal Sari No. 2, Ubud, 80571

Image

Read More

Cheung King Mansion, 144 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

A slight detour from Knutsford Terrace and you find yourself around Kimberly Road and Austin Avenue, an area I can only describe as Hong Kong’s K-Town.  Indeed, Tsim Sha Tsui is synonymous with some of the best Korean food in Hong Kong, among other things (read: that ma laa yue daan near Granville Road that Andrew and I are currently obsessed with), so for anyone thinking of getting their Korean hotpot or BBQ on, this is the sitch.

If you walk further to Austin Road (closer to Jordan station than TST), you will come across Hansong, a delicious go-to for some late night Korean BBQ.  Which is just what we did on a Saturday night.

Image

Read More

18, Nam Kok Road, Kowloon City

Having been to Kowloon City market and sampled the cheap, authentic Thai food there, I was keen to follow up on a recommendation for a proper Thai restaurant in Kowloon City.  Especially after it was suggested that my dearly beloved Chung Shing in Tai Mei Tuk was ‘overpriced’ and ‘overrated’..

To Lung Jie Thai Restaurant I went.  With high expectations.

This was perhaps the first mistake.

We found the restaurant fairly easily, and a few people were waiting outside even at 9pm.  The couple next to us, who had evidently been waiting for a while, were complaining to the host outside about getting the numbers mixed up; they had been waiting for a table for two, but had been passed over with the host thinking they were a table for four.  Oops.  Thankfully, we got in quickly.

Seated directly next to the kitchen, on the one side we were privy to the loud metallic clangs and clatters of pots and pans and kitchen banter, and on the other side: the loud chatter of a standard small HK eatery.  I was getting a headache, and I was starved.  Where was the service?  Buzzing around the restaurant but apparently ignoring us.  It almost seemed intentional.

Image

Read More