under the coconut tree

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More on food in HK..

We have since gone back to Under the Bridge restaurant a couple of times as we really enjoyed the food there. That said, we have not tried their fried garlic with spring onion crab specialty until yesterday.

The crabs were good but again, I still prefer the sweet and sour cooking style!

KL's colleague introduced him to this noodle place, Nam Kee in Central. We have since found out that they have branches in Causeway Bay too. So, he brought me there one day to try out their noodles with spicy, sour broth that came with fish balls (or you can opt for other type of garnishings to your liking) and their well-known spring rolls. Well, I'm not sure why it's call spring roll as it's nothing to the ones that I know. It's more like a type of fish cake.

Anyway, if you are a fan of tom yum then you're bound to like this dish as much as I do!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ho Hung Kee

This post is especially dedicated to my cousin, Tyan. She has been raving about this restaurant way before I set foot in Hong Kong. Apparently, it served the best congee that she'd ever tasted, even to the point of dreaming about it! We finally went to the place on Tuesday and I had to agree with her whole-heartedly. We have since went back a couple of times.
The restaurant specialises in congee and noodles, and you can have virtually anything under the sun to go with them - from the typical pork and fish meat, to century and salted eggs along with a whole bunch of pig anatomy.

We had the pork liver and intestines congee. I swear the pork liver was so tender and cooked to perfection. The intestines were also crunchy and went down very well. The congee itself was indeed one of the smoothest I had ever had.
On top of the congee, I had the Jia Jiang noodles. It was good, although Mak's Noodles was much better. I cannot really describe it but Mak's felt more home-made, and the noodles were were a tad crunchier and tastier.
KL had the Beef brisket with wanton noodles.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Aberdeen, Hong Kong

KL and I ventured out to Aberdeen over the weekend, located on south shore of Hong Kong Island. We had expected a traditional fishing village but boy, were we surprised!! Instead of wooden homes on stilts lined with red-sailed chinese junks we were greeted with a plethora of modern high-rise buildings, with yet more scaffolded ones waiting to sprout!
While the traditional homes have gone and the fishermen moved into high-rise blocks Aberdeen is still one of the main gateways into the South China sea. In fact, they still account for one-third of HK's fish supply today. Because of its unique location the surrounding bay also acts as a typhoon shelter for fishing boats during the monsoon season.

We thought Aberdeen still had that sleepy town quality to it and things still moved at a slightly slower pace. I guess you can put the people in modern buildings but you can't take away the deep rooted spirit of a fishing comunity! Many junks and sampans (old fashioned boats) still prevailed and are being used as floating homes, taxis across the river and of course for tourism for the trigger happy foreigners.

It is still fascinating to see the large number of traffic on the water as huge fishing trawlers, river taxis and a lone fisherman whizz by one another in typical HK fashion. Sunset in Aberdeen. We had wanted to wait until night fall to see the lights (we were told that it was really pretty) but decided otherwise in the end as my t-shirt was soaked with sweat because of the hot and humid weather.

I have been here for a week and have yet to get acclimatised to it. KL thinks London has 'ang mo'-nised me!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Under the Bridge

We came upon this small little restaurant by chance. KL and I were walking along Jaffe Road in Causeway Bay in search of Banana Leaf Restaurant which apparently serves decent Malaysian/Singaporean dishes. I reckon the address I got from Lonely Planet and from the web was an old address.

After checking out the menu and the prices didn't look too exorbitant, we decided to give this place a try. The service was so quick and efficient such that before we even warmed our seats, the dishes have arrived! We didn't order crabs this time as we had since exceeded our 'cholesterol' quota for the week. That said, I'm sure we'll be back as I really enjoyed the food there. I thought this place (food & service) was so much better than the food we had in Lamma Island.
I'm sure you'll be wondering why on earth did we order sweet and sour pork in a seafood restaurant? Well, it because my darling husband had a sudden craving for them. For a change, I'm not the one with the craving! Hah!
This fried beehoon (vermicelli) was another highlight. It's looks like relatively simple but it was plain delicious and had a seared flavour from the wok. Oh yeah.. forgot to mention that it was cooked in crab oil (whatever that means!). I enjoyed the clams much more than KL did as it was too spicy for his liking. Each time he had a mouthful, he had to wash it down with several sips of Coke. And, yes - this dish too was good! Yumm-my!
Prawns deep fried in salted egg yolk. I know..I know... I did mentioned about having too much food with high cholesterol earlier. Well, believe me it was a hard choice - it was either the crabs or the prawns! :p The prawns were fresh and you could literally bite into the plentiful salted egg yolk. That said, I thought it was a little bit soggy. Too much batter? Oh well, I'm no cook - maybe it's supposed to be like that!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mak's Noodles

Mak's Noodles (anther highly recommended place by my brother), a restaurant well known for its shrimp wan-ton noodles and it was even recommended by Anthony Bourdain. We were lucky we did not have to venture to far out to try out this place as it was literally just round the corner from the hotel we were staying in - Jardine Bazaar, close to Causeway Bay MTR Station. What else can we ask for? All the great local eats just minutes away!

I had their specialty - Jia Jiang Noodles which was served with tender marinated spicy slices of pork and it came with a bowl of soup. The noodles was really delicious and my only complaint was that the portions were way too small!
KL had wonton soup with a plate of noodles. The wonton was delicious - with fresh shrimps. I'm not a wonton fan but am now a convert! =)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Flower Market

The flower market located on Flower Market Street (surprise, surprise!!) is the hub of HK's wholesale and retail floral business.

It's was surprisingly quiet when I was there - not too sure whether it's because it was on a week day or because there was a heavy downpour looming ahead. Anyway, I was extremely lucky to finish exploring the place before the heavy rain came. But I guess the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden (which is round the corner) would have to wait!
A lady tending to her orchids.
The miniature bamboo plants in abundance along the streets.
..along with bonsai plants. A full bloom lotus flower.
An array of bright and colorful, sweet-scented flowers under the dimly-lit chandelier.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lamma Island

After a week of bad weather in HK, we finally had some sunshine. So, we took the oppurtunity to visit the fishing villages in nearby Lamma Island. We opted for a short trek to work up an appetite for its well-known fresh seafood.

We took a ferry from HK Central to Yung Shue Wan, north of the island and slowly made our way to Sok Kwu Wan. I thought it was an uneventful uphill walk (about 50 mins) and the haze limited the scenery from the viewing points. Also, I guess being hot and humid did not help either. On hindsight, I would have taken the ferry straight to Sok Kwu Wan and do a smaller circuit around the nearby villages.

We were drenched in sweat by the time we chanced upon the view of Sok Kwu Wan bay area. It was a lovely sight of its numerous floating fish farms, though I felt the following picture did not do it justice! A view by the shores of Sok Kwu Wan. It was fascinating to see a some-what traditional village with its junks and 'sampans' against the high-rise towers sprouting from HK main island. We were really excited when we saw the the red sails of a traditional fishing junk from afar as we were told that their numbers have dwindled down tremendously. Much to our disappointment upon closer inspection, it was in fact a tourist attraction (claimed to be the only spot in HK to have preserved the local fisherfolk culture and history). And yes, you have to pay to gain admission and you'll be treated to several activities i.e. sail raising, net throwing demonstration etc. And no, as you'd expect we didn't go for it!
After the walk, we treated ourselves to some fresh seafood. We were overwhelmed by the many seafood restaurants along the main street but finally settled for Rainbow Seafood Restaurant. The food was really good and fresh though they certainly need to improve on its customer service. A few of the staff we encountered were not at all helpful and had a perpetual frown on its face. If we were go head back to Lamma Island, I would definitely opt for a different restaurant!

Patrons are invited to select their own seafood straight out of the tanks - that was how fresh the food was! A colourful display of lobsters in one of the aquariums.
The boss fishing for our garoupa.
You probably can't tell but we think we should come clean. The reason this fish got a close-up mug shot was because the other half had been stripped bare to its bones! We were too busy stuffing our face to worry about such trivial things like taking photos!! Bamboo clams (also known as razor clams on account of it looking like the old-school razors before Gillette had a brighter idea) with black bean sauce. I thought this was the most enjoyable dish today.
Crabs with honey and pepper - really good and a new style of cooking. That said I still much prefer my favourite sweet and sour chilly crab, or the recently discovered deep fried version with salted egg (mmmmm...yum).

All about food

I always thought that eating out would be an easier and hassle free option compared to home-cooked meals. Well, after being here for a week we have a constant dilemma as to what and where we should eat next!

We have since discovered that restaurants are always crowded (even on weekdays) and dinner time seems to start from 7pm onwards right up to 10pm. After scouring the streets for restaurants with no queues we finally opted for Watami - a chain restaurant that served a mixture of Japanese and Korean food.

It was a dimly lit (trying to get the whole classy/romantic vibe going) restaurant with decent food, although I thought the portions were pretty small. That said, I reckon this was intentional as they were going for the Spanish-style tapas servings.

Buttered scallops.
Japanese rice cake with cheese and vegetables. I didn't particularly care much for this dish but KL enjoyed it!
One of the more enjoyable dish, Korean fried rice with kimchi, garnished with seaweed and a raw egg on top.
One can never go wrong with salmon sashimi. =)

BBQ chicken gizzard served on skewers. Cooked just right and was highly enjoyable. Not the healthiest option though.....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ladies Market

The weather here has been pretty miserable the past few days. It's been raining on and off since I've got here. Oh well, who am I to complain? London is not far off anyway.

Determined not to be put off by the rain, I made my way out to Mong Kok - the heart of Kowloon Peninsula. I have always enjoyed browsing through the many stalls but never seem to buy anything apart from food! ;) Anyway, it was sheer bliss to know that they are so many different types of markets in HK. Exploring them would definitely keep me occupied for awhile.

Die-hard shoppers braved the rain in search of cheap bargains.
The market have something for everyone... bags,
... ornaments,
...attractive hair clips,
... chinese paintings,
..jade trinkets.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hong Kong Food

Yung Kee, a restaurant in Wellington Street near Central is a popular restaurant among locals. There's an average waiting time of 20-30 minutes if you do not have prior booking (in fact I've heard they sometimes do not even take bookings). We were here once before and didn't think too much about the place - it wasn't bad but not much to write home about. Since my brother highly recommended this place ( colloquially quipped "Die die must try!") - we thought we'd give it a another go.

The starter: a tasty century egg served with pickled ginger. It's an acquired taste (legend has it, it used to be buried in the ground for a century and wrapped in horse urine to help the aging process- I am sure - or at least I hope - this is no longer practiced). Very similar to cheese, I suppose. It's either you like it or you don't!
Deep fried soya chicken - it wasn't that special. In fact, I thought it looked better in the photo! I actually had cravings for chicken baked in rock salt, another delicacy but was informed that the dish had to be pre-booked 2 hours in advance.
Choi sum stir fried with scallops. I really thought this was one of the nicest dish I have had since we arrived in HK. We've never tasted such sweet and juicy choi sum ever!! And, the scallops just gave it the extra uummphh! ;)
Last but not least, the restaurant's pièce de résistance - roasted goose. A true delicacy for us, as this is something we are not able to get in the UK or Malaysia. So KL had his sumptuous feast, and excellent alternative to his usual Four Seasons' roast duck in Bayswater.
Darn it.. all these posts on food is making me hungry! Time for supper (again!). :P

Goldfish Market

Chinese people are into feng shui but I did not know the full extend of it until we got here - the Goldfish Market. I've never seen so many shops selling fishes along a street ever!

Ornamental fishes were known to bring good luck and wealth when properly positioned in the home. Just imagine having both sides of the street lined up with colourful fishes of different species and it was fully packed with people even on a rainy day.

It's a skill and takes time selecting fishes for the tank and this guy took his time in picking out his! Comparing one bag to the other... I guess you would too if your happiness and wealth depends on it! =)