Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'

Explore Hong Kong

On the fourth day of our Hong Kong trip we headed to Yuen Long (元朗) to look for Hugo Lam’s restaurant and also to soak in some of the old architecture that was left behind in the area. It tooks us 3 train rides and lots of walking to only see some of the places that was on the list.

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One hundred year old temple.

Ping Shan Herritage Trail that brought us to many old Ching dynasty buildings that were still left standing.
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Looks like the haunted houses in the old Chinese vampire movies!

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The meals that we had on Day 3 during our Hong Kong trip was focus on food hunting through the information gathered from blogs and other Medias. The first place that we hunt down was the much talked about old style dim sum place called Lin Heung (莲香楼). Much was expected from them especially reading about it and also seeing the article by 蔡澜 recommending this place which boasts old people serving good oldskool dim sum, what we actually got was poor and rude service from the waiters and food that had loads of MSG. The dim sum dishes were very much a letdown in terms of taste and texture, except for the ‘char siew pao’ which had some standard.

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The ‘char siew pao’ is actually the world’s first dim sum. Both the dough and filling is equivalently important to deliver the soft fluffy texture and flavourful bites.

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As we did not feel satisfied with what we had at Lin Heung, we continue our breakfast at ‘Mak Wai’ (麥记)wantan noodles. Their noodles were crunchier and thinner compared to those we have found in Malaysia so far. The wantan itself only consist of just prawn and prawn roe which was already sufficient to deliver satisfaction to what would be a disappointed morning. The wantan dumplings were fresh and crunchy and the taste delivered was sweet and savoury. The wantan noodle is actually one of my favourite noodle dish that I don’t mind having every morning.

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Other than noodles and dumplings, we also sampled their ‘牛腩‘or stewed beef belly. It was not what we expected but just looking at the serving it was already enough to make me drool. The tendons and meat chunks were tender and full of flavour, the best thing were that the herbs and spice used did not overwhelm the beefy taste. The only thing that bugged me in this dish was the heavy usage of ‘Mandarin Orange Peel’.

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After breakfasts, we set out to walk about and found this ‘泰昌饼家’ or Tai Cheung Bakery. They are famous for their egg tarts which even the last British Governor of Hong Kong enjoyed very much.

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The tart shell was soft but not too flaky, and it does not stick to the grooves of our teeth. The egg custard filling was fragrantly eggy with a rich taste minus the overwhelming sugary sweetness. If you are in Hong Kong it may be one of the pit stops that would not want to miss.

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In the evening and part of our hunting list, we headed to ‘蘭芳園‘ or Lan Fong Yuen to sample their famous pork chop buns and ‘奶茶‘ or milk tea. The milk tea was smooth as in subtle on the throat or in another words like downing a smooth full body wine, full of flavours but yet does not stress the throat too much.

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The pork chop bun was also not a letdown, it was fried till golden brown and yet retained its tenderness and juices. Paired with soft mayo and nicely toasted sesame bun, it was the best that I have so far. In the past, we only found something of similar at Wongkok restaurant at  OUG in Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur, but the place has since closed down.

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In the evening we went to shop for some items in the Mongkok area which is famous for its ‘电子街‘,’女人街’ and ‘球鞋街’, and to find some street food that may entice our taste buds. We found a street side shop that sells a variety of snack foods like stinky tofu,  curry fish balls, stewed cow innards and so on at the end of ’女人街’. The snack food sold here did not had as much MSG as compared to the shop fronting the hotel that we were staying in, Langham.

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Day 3 on our Hong Kong Free-And-Easy trip brought us to Hong Kong Island. Morning started with their usual Hong Kong Dim Sum, then proceed with a walk around on foot until they hurt and got on hop-on-hop-off bus for HKD50 only for the whole day.

Here I got off a shot of enforcement officers from the health department (I think) making their rounds on foot. Most of the time back in home soil, the enforcement officers are normally motor vehicles. With foot petrols one would see more and do more, and also keep the inches of the belly and the Government could reduce fuel consumption green house gases

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A few minutes down our walk, we turned in to the maze like alley ways in the area we were in and found food stalls and market stalls practicing their trade in the morning hours.

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After we emerge from the alleys and business district, we began our hunt for places of interests on foot then by bus.

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The double decker public bus serve which provided the hop-on-hop-off service runs along 2 looping routes which allows tourists to move along their historical trail less the effort and with video and audio introduction of the places it passes through. How hope Penang state would have this in place to prevent taxis from fleecing tourists. Many people don’t like taking these taxis because they don’t have any taxi insurance to cover them from accidents.

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It is what we normally see in Hong Kong movies and soaps, they really take the effort to keep inconvenience and safety top priority by making it compulsory to erect scuff holdings and with extensive nettings.

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The old Hong Kong Police Head Quarters is under renovations. There are actually quite number of old heritage buildings in the area, it is just we need to notice them and admire them in the midst of the ever expanding concrete jungle.

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The tram system that runs along some of the streets in Hong Kong Island. One of these streets is the ‘海味街’ seafood street.

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The entrance to ‘The Peak’  and ‘Madam Tussuad’. As the crowd was picking up, we decided not to visit the place and went on to plan E for makan.

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Public transport in Hong Kong is well connected with sea, land and underground.

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In the evening we walk through Lan Kwai Fong which we found was shorter in length than the famous Bintang Walk or Bangsar’s happening areas. It is all about the branding and image projected. The time to be there should be late evening or early night time, otherwise it was a bit quiet.

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These are what we had for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper on our second day in Hong Kong. Breakfast was quite rush as we had to head out to ‘Tai Yu San’, thus a fast bite was in order. Nothing fancy, just their usual breakfast set at their local ‘Char Chan Theng’.

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Majority of the local ‘char chan theng’ would carry instant noodles, similarly like Kim Gary in Malaysia. But what set them apart is that the choice toppings. Over here we had Nissin noodles with pork bacon, simple and straight forward.

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Then there was toast with ham omelet and read beans. The toast was slightly toasted and coated with a light spread of butter, the texture was slightly crisp on the surface and smooth and soft in the insides. One of the reasons that  we do not order this type of toast at our local Kim Gary type fast food chains is that it is often a bit dry and hard, and also of pricing issues. In Malaysia my choice would be our ‘roti kahwin’ or butter and kaya toast followed with soft boiled eggs at our local ‘kopitiam’

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Another set that we ordered was the pork chop, toast, omelet and beans. Consistency was in the toast preparation, crisp, smooth and soft. The pork chop was egg/batter coated fried to a crisp surface and leaving a tender moist meaty slice of pork. Next on our item to look for would be the famous pork chop buns!

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After reaching the peak at ‘Tai Yu San’, we took a pit stop at the temples’ eatery outlet, Deli Vegetarian Cafe. We heard they were famous for their soya bean milk and smooth ‘taufu fah’ or soya bean curd.

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The ‘taufu fah’ was smooth and gentle on the palate and the sugar syrup was not overwhelmingly sweet with a hint of spice of ginger. But the soya milk was not as stand out as the taufu fah.

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The food bloggers that we are, we would not just stop at those soya products, we had ourselves some light snacks from the same shop. Of the 6 items that we bought, we enjoyed the most was the reddish cake which has loads of shredded white reddish and carrot for added texture to the already perfect piece, and taste was well balanced with saltiness and sweetness.

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At night we were lost for dinner! We were eager to try out a steamboat shop that has great offers but only after 9:30pm. Thus we end up having a fast dinner at the following restaurant. We had their ‘Siu Lung Pao’ with King Crab which was very expensive, just 3 dishes already cost us a few hundred(less than HKD400). The ‘siu lung pao’ had a rich soup stock in it compared to the usual dumpling that we had in Penang. Apart from the dumplings, we also order fried ‘nin koa’ and drunken pigeon which was not really something that we appreciate that much.

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Later after we reached our hotel in Mongkok, we headed out again to the surrounding area to look for more eats and also for my camera beg. Too many eateries too choose from, we just ‘hantam’ the one with most people inside. Take my advice, don’t ever do that not even in Malaysia!

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After dining in Hong Kong for eateries a few times, I noticed that this Hong Kong people can really eat! Although their prices are quite high, but their portions are not little either. For our second dinner we had ‘king soy fried noodles’ which was too salty, in fact all the dishes we ordered were too salty. On the table also was their stewed pork and hard boiled eggs,  coagulated pork blood(cooked), beef noodles and a plate of pigs innards and cuttle fish.

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To save on your daily meals, look out for their special discount times. And you also look at the serving size before you order, so that you might not need to order many dishes if you are traveling in pairs of in small groups. It was a lesson learnt the hard way for us!

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Hong Kong Day 2, Sight Seeing.

Posted by Jason Wong On April - 11 - 20104 COMMENTS

After having our quick breakfast in Mongkok, we headed out for ‘Tai Yu San’ or Ngong Ping. We opted for the cable car route to get to our destination. I like the scenery along the way to the peak, especially the green pastures on the slopes. Totally different from the slopes in Malaysia which is full of trees of sort.

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Upon reaching the peak, we were greeted with some the giant Buddha statue that we usually see in the TVB serial dramas.

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There we are taking a photo at the foot of the giant statue.

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Apart from visiting ‘Tai Yu San’, we also to half a day visiting ‘Tai O’, its jetty, township, market and took a look at the way of life of in this tranquil yet full of surprise village.

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Clear bilingual sign boards which are great for tourists like us. If it had been implemented in whole of Malaysian, it would had in a way preserved the historical names of roads which has disappeared due to human ego.

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Along the walk around, we found some shops that we took photo of which still had some human flavour  in them.

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This place we found a ‘tzi yum’ or fellow jazz and coffee lover who was friendly and helpful in our quest to search some local specialties.

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We bought a bottle of ‘Prawn Paste’ for for testing on ‘kangkung’ and some other dishes that we plan to experiment with.

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Then we move on to scout for ‘eel fish maw’, which we had to ask around for the locally process ones. We were directed by the owners of the cafe that we visited to look for ‘Siu Sing Sok’. He makes his own salted fish too which we also got a few for tasting.

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What we didn’t get from our excursion was the beautiful and flavourful freshly preserved whole duck egg yokes.

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Then we made a pit stop at an old but tasteful house cum business premises run by an old uncle who is still making ‘char kuo’ or steamed glutenous balls stuffed with peanut and sugar fillings the way they used to make it, with wood fire and bamboo steamers.

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Lastly, we headed to a stall which passed by earlier to get some home made pastes to bring back for testing.

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Hong Kong Day 1 Part 3 – The Seafood

Posted by Jason Wong On March - 19 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Our first night in Hong Kong, we were treated to a scrumptious dinner on a floating fish farm(鱼排) which is just a stone’s throw from mainland China by Gill’s uncle-in-law. The seafood that we had were very fresh, in fact they still swimming in the sea when we were deciding the dishes that we wanted to try.

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When the boat touch base at the floating fish farm, we noticed that one of their clients had just caught a live cuttle fish. And the not so shy me started to get my gears ready to capture the not often seen, live, sea creature in Penang.

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After taking a short walk through the fish farm and choosing the ingredients for the night, we settled down to our wobbling table. Each time a boat passes through the area, the whole place would wobble, but not too violently though. To quench our thirst, we got ourselves some beer and soft drinks that were foreign to our eyes. One of the beers that we had was ‘Blue Girl’, a German beer brewed in Hong Kong. This beer was smooth and malty. It had a slight sweetness to its end. Too bad it is not found in Malaysia, or else Carlsberg & Tiger would be knock out of spot by this German lass.

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As the drinking started, the dishes also begun its course. The first to come was the poach cuttle fish. The cuttle fish flesh was tender and sweet, and when dipped into their soya sauce the sweetness was even more distinctively brought out by the saltiness of the sauce. In Penang, live cuttlefish is hard to come by the market place!

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Then we had freshly harvested clams. The texture was firm and the taste was sweet and earthy, which the sauce did not overwhelm..

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I am no a crab person, but when it come to tasting I will get my hands dirty. The crab that we had was definitely fresh as the flesh was still firm and juicy, taste wise it was sweet to the end.

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Up next on the table was another clam species. This one was cooked with less heat in it, it had a nutty tasting sauce. This clam is almost similar to the ‘kappa’ that we have in Malaysia. It tasted sweet and earthy with a firm body.

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On our diner list there were 2 types of scallops served, one seen here is the more common type that we may find in Penang or Malaysia which is the ‘Fan Scallop’ (扇贝).

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Then there is the second type of scallop which shell looks like the horns of a bull and triangular in shape. This scallop dish was prepared by just steaming and then seasoned with their in-house sauce. Savory, nutty and sweet.

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Then there is the fish, which we did not put much attention to as were almost full and were busy chit chatting and drinking. The only thing I can remember was that the fish was steam to just near cooked in the mid section. Thus, we were asked to start picking from the sides to the middle.

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The ‘kailan’ with salted fish was a bit too salty and the texture was fiberish and chewy.

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Chicken was different from our local chicken species. It had a yellowish skin colour and the meat firmer, but the version served here was just average, nothing to shout a bout.

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Well that was the end of our first day in Hong Kong. Next up would be Day 2 and our exploration at Tai O and Tai Yu san.

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香港之旅第一天 (第二集) 菜市场

Posted by gill gill On January - 6 - 20103 COMMENTS

上集写到…

吃了香港第一餐后, 走回酒店时, 经过菜市场的入口处, 正是朗壕酒店的对面.  好奇心突然启发, 于是我们决定进入菜市狂一狂.

若你要认识当地风土人情, 非到当地的菜市场不可, 它必能让您了解一二.

从街头到张望, 街尾的两旁都开满了店铺. 我们一踏进这人头拥挤的”街市”, 就像乡民出镇, 大呼小叫. 看那每样蔬果,肉类, 海鲜都非常生猛,简直叫人振奋!
大马的巴刹那有活生生的海鲜卖啊? 只有宰你一颈血的大酒楼才看见踪映. 那满街都是活鲜怎叫我不”心乱如麻”? 哈哈.连最普通的虾都是蹦蹦跳跳的!
听我香港人的姑丈说, 在香港买菜回家煮是蛮实惠. 在外用餐比自己煮的高出3,4倍. 难怪我们看见街市的价格也蛮合理.

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这里有各式各样的鱼,虾,蚌,蟹,贝, 螺,秋季大闸蟹, 非洲鲍鱼,  geoduck…..真恨不得把它们买下!

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从未在大马吃过的韭黄是韭菜的胞弟. 是韭菜隔绝光线,完全在黑暗中生长,因无阳光供给,不能产生光合作用,合成叶绿素,长成的韭菜,就会变成黄色,称之为“韭黄”
它就和白,青芦荀一样的诞生了.

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看过新鲜竹荀没?

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所畏近水楼台,蔬果每日从中国运到, 不新鲜才怪!
有供必求, 每人要吃新鲜的, 才满街都是, 价格自然大众化.

新鲜牛肉高高挂,要什么有什么!

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鸡是活着给你挑的! 够新鲜了吧?

食物就看得过颖, 但”人”就不敢恭畏.  那些街市民看见我俩拿着相机大拍, 就很不自在地瞪着我们问:”你是否是记者要来拍我们犯窥是吗?!”.  哇塞! 幸好解释得快, 要不然就客死异乡了  :P~
是否我们讲得一口流利的广东话就误当我们是港人?

大部份香港市民可能压力大, 少了那份热情, 换句话说是冷漠. 其不秋不睬的太度真另我们大吃不消. 听说以前更糟糕呢…..

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Hong Kong Day 1 Part 2 – The Market

Posted by Jason Wong On January - 6 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Continuing from my previous post (Hong Kong Day 1 Part 1), we now go to the part where we went to the near by wet market which was jam packed with people buying fresh ingredients for their kitchen.

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Initially when we began to take photos of the place we felt very out of place as the traders were staring at us with unfriendly looks on their face, then one of them ask whether we were journalists. After we said that we aren’t he at least, let us take shots of his seafood stall. Then bit by bit we were didn’t mind the staring eyes because we were like little children entering a new playground with lots of new ‘toys’. We found seafood that were still swimming and jumping with live, vegetables that still have their roots clinging for live (soil), meat s that were well butchered and separated to their respective cuts. If I were a cook in Hong Kong, this would be my hunting ground in an urban jungle filled with concrete structures and buzzing cars.

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They even have live South African Abalone on sale at the market. We can find these type of freshness only in medium to high-end seafood restaurants in Penang, not in your daily wet market that we go to for supplies.

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There was also abundance of crab in the seafood stalls. If I am not wrong, it is near the end of the hairy crab season, thus the quality would not be as good as at the beginning of the season. The average price was HK$ 100 for 3 pieces, very cheap to what we pay for them back in Malaysia.

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The variety of vegetables found in the market were also mind boggling and freshness.

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The meat stall at the market supplies both pork and beef, unlike in Penang where it is divided.

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After getting tired from all the venturing, we headed back to our hotel. And along the walk back, we caught a glimpse of the how fellow Christians in Hong Kong spread the good words of the Lord. They just setup their make shift stage and starts singing and starts to talk about their testimonials.

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Next would be Day 1’s last post. It’s where we had dinner…..in the middle of the sea.

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