Archive for the ‘Cantonese’ Category

Duck and Crab Dinner – Tai Pan 聚寶樓(巴洛奧圖)

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Tai Pan 聚寶樓 2013.7.1The FoodLover had dimsum at Tai Pan 聚寶樓 in Palo Alto a few years ago and wasn’t impressed (see post). That’s why I was a little hesitant when Ben suggested this restaurant for our dinner with Mario who was here on his annual trip to Northern America.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of food this time, especially the two main dishes: Peking Duck and Shanghai Crab. The duck was more Cantonese than Peking-nese but it was delicious.

We had a good time catching us with each other and finished all the food in no time. Our dinner reached its high point when Ben and Cecilia insisted on picking up the tab. Thanks for the dinner and wine!

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Tai Pan 聚寶樓
560 Waverley St., Palo Alto, CA 94301
Tel: +1-650-329-9168


Hong Kong Restaurant 香港小館(巴洛奧圖)

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Those who live in Hong Kong must have one or two favorite neighborhood restaurants where they can go for a decent and reasonably priced meal. Hong Kong Restaurant 香港小館 in Palo Alto is one of those local eateries.

The FoodLover and Junior went there to have a quick lunch of fried rice and noodle and was not disappointed. The price was right. Where else in the Bay area can you find a dish of good tasting fried rice for US$6.50.

Hong Kong Restaurant 香港小館 2013.6.23Hong Kong Restaurant 香港小館 2013.6.23

Hong Kong Restaurant 香港小館
3691 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Tel: +1-650-251-9062

Overrated Restaurant – Koi Palace 鯉魚門(都柏林)

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

FoodLover and friends finished a round of golf at the beautiful Couse at Wente Vineyards in Livermore just in time to have dinner at the nearby Koi Palace 鯉魚門 in Dublin. This Koe Palace is a branch of the famous Cantonese restaurant in Daly City. I had dined at the one in Daly City but never liked it; service there was terrible. The waiters seemed to only provide service to their regular big-spending customers. They could afford to turn away new customers because somehow it was alleged to have superior food.

Service at this one in Dublin was much better; my fellow golfer Francis knew the captain there. The dishes looked good but taste was only mediocre. This restaurant certainly does not deserve the reputation; I can easily think of at least half a dozen better and probably cheaper restaurants in the Bay area.

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Koi Palace
Dublin Ulferts Center, 4288 Dublin Blvd, Suite 213, Dublin, CA 94568
Tel: +1-925-833-9090

The Course at Wente Vineyards

The Course at Wente Vineyards

Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房 2013.4.16Twice a year, the FoodLover would have the opportunity to taste fine food in Hong Kong with Janet, Ah Sai and others. This time, Ah Sai was so kind to arrange a dinner at Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房 in Wanchai. Joining us was also Lincoln.

Kin’s Kitchen is a Michelin 1-Star restaurant owned and operated by prominent gourmet critic Mr. Lau Kin Wai (劉健威) who also owns another Kin’s Kitchen in Tin Hau and Yellow Door Kitchen 黃色門廚房, a private restaurant (私房菜館) in Central. However, we noticed that Mr. Lau, his wife and son (Lau Chun 劉晉) were all busy dealing with customers and managing the staff at this place that night. This Wanchai branch had to be the most important site for the family.

I never had abalone as appetizer before; what I had this time was very refreshing and a little crunchy with aroma of wine. The pork kidney was crispy (爽脆); I especially liked the taste of sesame paste. Both dishes went very well with the wine that Janet had brought.

Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房 2013.4.16Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房 2013.4.16

Fried Bombay Duck Fish is a common household dish for Cantonese families but wrapping the fish in nori is hardly a common practice. It gave the dish a little fusion feel. The soup was vegetable based but one could not see the vegetable. Why? The vegetable had been frozen for three hours to -22°C and ground to “ice sands” before it was heated up again as soup. Fancy stuff!

Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房 2013.4.16Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房 2013.4.16

The Baked Salty Chicken was one of a kind. The meat was very tender with pleasant salt taste that was not too strong but penetrating. According to Mr. Lau, it was cooked the old fashion way, i.e. first stir-fried a wok of salt then buried the chicken in it until the salt cooled down; the process was repeated a second time until the chicken was just right to be served. Almost all restaurants nowadays would cook the chicken in salt water instead. There is no secret, just the dedication of time and effort. This chicken alone is worth a trip to Kin’s Kitchen.

Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房 2013.4.16

The sea cucumber was also very good. I liked the taste of shrimp roe.

Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房 2013.4.16

Fresh-water shrimps and seasonal vegetable were a good way to end our dinner. We didn’t need any rice.

Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房 2013.4.16Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房 2013.4.16

Another good refreshing “sweet soup” 糖水 that was not too sweet.

Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房 2013.4.16

Again, a dinner with friend is always great. Having good food just makes it that much more enjoyable. This dinner at Kin’s Kitchen was not the cheapest. Considering the quality of food and service, it was a bargain!

Kin’s Kitchen 留家廚房
5/F, W Square, 314-324 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
香港灣仔軒尼斯道314-324號W Square5樓全層
Tel: +852-2571-0913

Traditional Cantonese – 蓮香居

Monday, April 15th, 2013

The FoodLover had a traditonal Cantonese dinner with old classmates at Lin Heung Kui 蓮香居 in Sheung Wan. This restaurant is famous for preparing dishes the old fashion way.

We started with roast goose to go with the large bottles of cold beer. That might not be the healthiest way to begin the evening but it tasted great. Shrimp on Toast was another dish that could seldom be found in Hong Kong  these days. It was also good with more beer.

Pan-fried Stuffed Mud Carp (煎釀鯪魚) was actually fried minced fish meat wrapped in fish skin. The hard part was to maintain the shape of a fish. This was a perfect way to enjoy the flavor of fish without having to worry about bones. More beer please.

By the time the Baked Fish Intestine (焗魚腸) arrived, I was already pretty full and only had room to taste a little of the Lotus Paste Pudding.

Lin Heung Kui 蓮香居 2013.4.15Lin Heung Kui 蓮香居 2013.4.15Lin Heung Kui 蓮香居 2013.4.15Lin Heung Kui 蓮香居 2013.4.15Lin Heung Kui 蓮香居 2013.4.15Lin Heung Kui 蓮香居 2013.4.15

The food was good at very reasonable price. It was also only half full while we were there. That made it a perfect place for old friends to enjoy a few drinks and have a good time

Lin Heung Kui 蓮香居
2-3/F, 46-50 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong 香港上環德輔道西46-50號2-3樓
Tel: +852-2156-9328

Good Affordable Vegetarian Restaurant – Happy Veggies 樂農

Monday, April 15th, 2013

The FoodLover had a vegetarian lunch with Surina at Happy Veggies 樂農 in Wanchai. This restaurant offered set lunches (HK$42) that included soup, brown rice and choices of three out of six vegetarian dishes. An additional drink cost only HK$8. Surina and I each picked different dishes so we could try all six of them.

Many vegetarian restaurants would add MSG to enhance the taste but not this one. The dishes tasted natural and good. The portions didn’t look too big in the picture but that was quite enough for me. After I finished my bowl of rice, the manager came around to ask whether I wanted more. They have an “all you can eat” policy for brown rice. One bowl was enough for me.

Happy Veggies 樂農 2013.4.15

In addition to serving good tasty food, this restaurant is also a social enterprise that hires mostly hearing impaired staff in both the kitchen and dining room. I think they can offer good simple food at reasonable price because it is located upstairs rather than on the street level. When you are up there, your cost is less affected by “Developer Hegemony” (地產霸權).

When I visit Hong Kong next time, I will go there for dinner which should offer many more choices. If you want to have a healthy, quick, affordable lunch in Wanchai, this is the place. It’s nothing fancy, just good old honest food.

Happy Veggies 樂農
1/F, Bayfield Building, 99 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: +852-2529-3338

After lunch, I walked over to Causeway Bay to check out this new eslite (誠品書店) – branch of the famous book store from Taiwan. It wasn’t anything like the real thing in Taiwan, so I sat down at the cafe to have some dessert. That was a bad idea. The coffee and cake cost HK$110 plus tips. I should have used the money to buy a couple of books! That would be much better for my body and soul.

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Rubbery Fish Balls – 香港仔魚蛋粉

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

20130413 XGZ CAfter flying from Shanghai to Hong Kong and taking the train and taxi to the hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, the FoodLover unpacked and went out for a simple dinner. Aberdeen Fish Ball Noodle 香港仔魚蛋粉 down the street looked clean and was fully packed; that was good sign of a decent restaurant.

I was lucky that a small table near the door was just cleared and I got to share it with another guy. When I was going through the menu, I noticed that I might be the only customer in this whole place who spoke Cantonese. Everybody else seemed to be speaking Mandarin (國語 aka 普通話). I figured out why when I saw several posters on the wall advertising that this restaurant was highly recommended by certain tourist magazine named 自由行(“Free Travelers”). The restaurant must have paid a lot of money to this magazine and it works.

I ordered my favorite Soup Noodle with Squib Balls (墨魚丸粉) and a dish of vegetable. The vegetable was alright but the fish balls were terrible. They were so rubbery I had a hard time biting into them and I am known to have strong teeth!

20130413 XGZ A

The guy sharing the table spent 10 minutes going through the menu and finally decided to order Fried Noodle with Beef (乾炒牛河) and Congee with Oyster in Chao Zhou Style (潮州蠔仔粥). This dish of noodle definitely did not look like the kind of 乾炒牛河 as I knew. The noodle was too narrow and “wet”; I didn’t see any beef in it either. It could not taste too bad because this guy seemed to enjoy it. His congee was so watery it looked more like soup than congee.

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This is a successful business in that it is fully packed with people waiting outside most of the day. I don’t like it because its dishes are not what I expect and the fish balls are rubbery. It’s possible that they have changed the cooking style to cater to its target customers, namely the mainlanders. It’s not about good or bad, right or wrong; it’s just different. Don’t go there if you speak Hong Kong style Cantonese.

地址: 5 Humphreys Ave, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong 香港九龍尖沙咀堪富利士道5號

In comparison, the lunch I had on the flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong was much more tasty.

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食完再食 – Yum’s Bistro 知味館

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

After having a wonderful dinner at Yum’s Bistro 知味館 a few weeks ago, the FoodLover couldn’t help going back a again with another group of friends.

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Yum’s Bistro 知味館
4906 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont, CA 94555
Tel: +1-510-745-8866


Food with Passion – Yum’s Bistro 知味館

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

A reunion of friends from Evanston was long overdue; good food at Yum’s Bistro 知味館 was just an excuse for this pre-CNY gathering. We were thankful that 羅太 who knew this restaurant well called to book tables and pre-order a few special dishes for the occasion.

We started dinner with two specially prepared soups: Sturgent Head w/ Chicken & Herbs (川芎白芷雞燉鱘龍頭) and Chicken Soup w/ Water Crest Dried Scallop and Dried Duck Gizzers (西洋菜瑤柱陳腎雞燉湯). While the Water Crest Soup was outstanding, the Fish Head Soup was superior. The herbal flavor blended so well with the fish that we had to fight for extra bowls. This tasty soup also had the side benefit of strengthening our bodies against catching cold.

Beef with mango was very appetizing; beef was tender too.

Yum's Bistro 知味館Yum's Bistro 知味館

The Crispy Chicken Stuffed with Flavored Sweet Rice (脆皮糯米雞) was another dish that needed o be pre-ordered. This was no ordinary 糯米雞. Try to take a spoonful of chicken meat and sweet rice and eat it together with a piece of crispy skin – simply awesome. The braised sea cucumber meat ball looked like ordinary “Lion Head” (獅子頭) until I sank my teeth into it. It was so soft and smooth and tasted good.

Yum's Bistro 知味館Yum's Bistro 知味館

The lobster looked dry but actually was moist inside with aroma of high quality soy sauce.

Yum's Bistro 知味館Yum's Bistro 知味館

Don’t let the chili on this Hong Kong Spicy Crab scare you. The crab meat was only spicy enough to stimulate your taste buds without being too “hot”. Of course you can always eat the chili if you love super spicy food. The noodle had a lot of shrimp roe on top to give this “fresh” (鮮) flavor and was a good dish to end the dinner.

Yum's Bistro 知味館Yum's Bistro 知味館

For desserts, we had Almond Broth with Egg White (鮮磨杏汁蛋白露) and Walnut Soup (核桃米糊). Both were freshly prepared (鮮磨) and had wonderful fragrant flavor.

We started the dinner at around 6:15pm and was done a little before nine. The chef took time to prepare each dish and had them served one at a time so we could taste all of them hot. Even though the place was full in this Saturday evening, there was no pressure to rush us out. All the customers basically had the table for the whole evening. For this luxury, there was a price. The dinner cost each of us US$41 which was not cheap for a dinner with no expensive ingredient such as shark fin or abalone but was well worth it (超值). Instead of paying for the ingredients, you pay for the craftsmanship of the owner chef.

Needless to say, the FoodLover will return in the near future. However, if you wanted to have faster service at lower price, I would recommend a certain restaurant with a name started with the letter “M”.

Yum’s Bistro 知味館
4906 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont, CA 94555
Tel: +1-510-745-8866


Chau’s Garden 庭苑酒家中出會所 (by Wallace)

Friday, December 28th, 2012

20121228 Chau_s Garden ADuring a short 5 days trip in Hong Kong last week, Wallace met his golf friends for a special dinner in the Chau’s Garden 庭苑酒家中出會所. This small semi-private restaurant is hidden on the 8/F of a commercial building in Shueng Wan next to the Wing On Department Store.  For members only, but outsiders can still call for reservation if table is available.

This dinner was hosted by Arthur Liu (Wallace’s golf buddy) who pre-ordered the dishes as following:

1. Pan-fried ox tongue
2. Snake soup
3. Baked crab shell
4. Steamed “ocean tiger” rock fish
5. Salt and pepper giant grouper fish skin
6. Stuffed and steamed chicken
7. Deep fried chicken
8. Bean sprout leaves soaked by broth
9. Lamb stew in hot pot (specially added)
10. Stir fried sticky rice
Dessert: Tian Shan Snow Lotus

The ox tongue was a great starter to go with our bottles of red wine.  Snake soup was very well done and fit in the cold weather in Hong Kong on December 28, 2012.  While enjoying the first two items, I forgot to let my iPhone “eat” first.  So no photos for them.

Each crab shell (one for each guest; nine of us) was filled with the whole crab’s meat.  Tasteful and tender…..

The steamed rock fish was super delicious!  A total showcase of the chef’s cutting technique to make the whole fish boneless.  The grouper skin was perfect for the wine….

The rest of the meal was delicious and specially cooked.  You may wonder why in a meal we ordered two chicken dishes.  The stuffed and steamed chicken is another dish for the chef to show off his knife skills!  Boneless chicken was stuffed with prawn paste and steammed.  Both presentation and taste were A+.  The deep fried chicken (another signature dish) was the BEST I ever had!

The vegetable was nicely done.  Timing of cooking was about right.  Simple dish but showing high-graded cooking sensation.  The lamb stew in hot pot was fantastic.

Overall this is a highly recommended place that you may want to try in Hong Kong.  Casual and yummy!  At end of the meal, Chef Chau came to our private dinning room and greeted every one of us.

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Chau’s Garden 庭苑酒家中出會所
電話: +852-2805-2393