Archive for November, 2008

Fat Siu Lau 佛笑樓

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

I had a dinner at Fat Siu Lau 2 on Sunday, Nov. 30 with my mother, brothers and sisters-in-law. 佛笑樓 has been around for a long time (around 50 to 60 years) and is famous for its Macau style Portuguese food. It’s also one of a handful of old restaurant that can maintain its high standard over time. We had dinner at the second restaurant in 新口岸 which is more roomy than the original one and the food there is the same.

It is famous for roast pigeons (we ordered three). The soufflé there is the best but make sure you order it early. They won’t have enough time to prepare it if you order after finishing the main course.

Seeing me taking pictures of the dishes, the manager probably thought that I was a reporter writing food related articles for newspapers or magazines. He placed a coaster with their logo next to the soup so that it appears in the picture.

C130aS Russian BorschtC130bS ClamC130cS VegeC130dS Fried RiceC130eS Pork Chop RiceC130fS PigeonC130gS Souffle

A Day in Macau

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

N130a San Muo IGot up at 5am. Vincent came to pick me up at 6:15am with a BBQ Pork Bun (叉燒包) he bought at a OK store. That was my breakfast before a round of golf at the Macau Golf  & Country Club in Coloane (路環). Our foursome was the first group out for the day and finished the round at 10:30am. Vincent asked what I wanted for lunch and I said something simple and good.

At 11:30am, we arrived 新武二 in 新口岸. There is also a 武二 but the new one is supposed to be better. (If you haven’t met Vincent before, he is the person entering the restaurant in the first photo.) This restaurant offers a dozen different ingredients for noodles and customers can mix and match. I ordered 蠔仔肉碎墨魚丸河 and a glass of 熱菊蜜. Vincent ordered his noodle and drink and also a 咖哩雞翼芽菜 to share. From the pictures, you can get the feeling that the food is really delicious and pictures don’t lie. Total cost was MPO101.50 but the owner rounded it down to MOP100. If you are walking around town and want to have a snack to fill the gap between meals, this is a great place.

N130b San Muo I Rice NoodleN130c San Muo I Chicken WingsN130d San Muo I Honey

Went back to the hotel to take a nap and browse the web. Vincent called me at 4:30pm to ask whether I wanted to join him and Francis for coffee. I took a taxi to AIA Tower and took the escalator up to Koppa cafe which is supposed to be a good coffee shop. Francis and Vincent were there with their wives too. I ordered a cup of Koppa Coffee which would take 15 minutes to prepare (I wondered why) and a Waffle with Green Tea Ice Cream and Red Bean Paste. The presentation of food was excellent but the taste was not even good. The waffle was cold and hard and the ice cream and red bean did not really blend in with it. The coffee took a long time but didn’t taste any better than what you can get at a McDonald. The coffee cup looks good though. Vincent’s wife paid so I didn’t know how much it cost us for this afternoon tea. It cannot be cheap. If you have money to burn and want to impress someone who doesn’t care about quality of food, you may want to try this cafe.

N130e Pokka Cafe WaffleN130f Pokka Cafe Coffee

I went back to the hotel to watch evening news before joining the family (including my mother) again for a full dinner at 佛笑樓2. Will report on that in a separate message.

P.S. I did not carry my camera around all the time and most of these pictures were taken with my Nokia 6500s mobile phone. Picture quality is not as consistent as I would like it to be.

Enjoy Golf and Fresh Water Fish 打高球,歎河鮮

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

N129a PearlOn Nov. 29 after golfing at the Wu Yi Fountain Palm Golf Club, we went over to 明珠閣 in 江門市 for a lunch of 河鮮. As soon as we arrived, the restaurant showed us the 12 lb. catfish that was reserved. Within half an hour, this big fish would be served in three different dishes (一魚三味) on the table. Since the room was pretty warm, somebody opened the window and invited a few flies to join. No problem. The waitress lit a candle and placed it in the middle of the table (see picture); the flies disappeared. Great 民間智慧. The food was so good that the eight of us finished a bottle of XO. It was good that Vincent brought a driver on the trip.

N129b Pearl CatfishN129c Pearl LunchN129d Pearl Beauty

Wild Game Food in Jiangmen 上江門食野味

Friday, November 28th, 2008

As soon as I returned to Macau from Hong Kong last Friday, Nov. 28, Vincent took me to Jiangmen (江門市) to meet some old friends and have some exotic food there. They told me what I was eating in local dialect (台山話) but I couldn’t understand. It was extremely delicious – you have to pre-order it and hope that they catch one before you arrive. The “Pineapple Bun” (菠蘿包) with real pineapple (菠蘿) inside was also very good; I wonder why restaurants in Hong Kong do not make that.

N128d Jiangmen SoupN128e Jiangmen SoupN128f Jiangmen TofuN128g Jiangmen WildN128h Jiangmen DuckN128i Jiangmen Pineapple Bun

In Search of Good Congee III – There is Hope

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! How’s the turkey?

I have arrived Macau and just settled in the hotel. My younger brother will take me to Zhongshan later today to taste more good food and play a round of golf tomorrow.

When I had dinner at Irori – a nice little Japanese restaurant in Causeway Bay – last night with some of my N128a Congee King 20081128former colleagues, the topic of congee came up and somebody recommended the Congee King 靠得住靚粥 at Heard Street 克街. I walked by the place on the way back to the hotel and it looked fine. This morning I got up early and was eager to try the congee there. As soon as I got out of the hotel, I saw three bar-girls engaging in heated argument with a couple of guys. I knew that they were serous when I saw a half-broken beer bottle in the hand of one of the girls; another girl was holding a 香爐 ready to attack and the third girl had her high-heels in her hands with heels pointing at those guys. I knew that there was only downside staying around to watch and quickly rushed across 駱克道 to stay away from trouble. For reason of personal safety, I did not take any picture of the scene. This was a sign that my morning might not proceed as planned.

When I got to 靠得住, I was devastated to see the doors still locked. This @#$%^!&* place does not open N128b Wing Wah 20081128until 11:30am! What do I do? Being disappointed, I walked back the direction of 電車路 and, bingo, I saw this big sign of 榮華酒樓. Maybe the big guy up there wants me to have 一盅兩件 today. When I entered Wing Wah, I noticed that the congee they are selling today for take-out is 皮蛋瘦肉粥. As soon as I sat down and ordered my 普洱, I asked the caption for a bowl of 下火 (a.k.a. 皮蛋瘦肉粥). I did not forget to rinse the cup, bowl, spoon and chopsticks with tea. When the congee arrived, I started to stir and wasn’t impressed. There wasn’t too much 皮蛋 in it. What a surprised when I started to taste it; I could FEEL the taste of 皮蛋 in the congee. They had cooked the congee for so long that most of the 皮蛋 had dissolved. In no time, I found myself scraping the bottom of the bowl looking for the last drop of congee. This bowl of congee deserves at least B+ or A-. I would have given it a solid A had they used real 瘦肉 instead of minced meat. Still not full, I ordered 豬肚燒賣 which cannot be found in most newer restaurants these days. The 豬肚 was simply 爽脆, and the 燒賣 with perfect proportion of meat, squib, shrimp and 馬蹄 was so delicious and 彈牙 that I almost swallowed my toN128c Ferry Meal 20081128ngue. This breakfast cost HK$34.50 which was more than what I spent on each of the past two days but it was worth every cent. Not wanting to ruin the taste of congee and 豬肚燒賣 that was still in my mouth, I skipped 金鳳凍奶茶 and 雞尾包 today and went straight back to the hotel.

On the ferry to Macau, they did serve a simple lunch with tuna sandwich and that’s all I need today before dinner in Zhongshan.

I will be away from the computer for a day.


In Search of Good Congee II

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Don’t get the wrong idea that I have not tasted any good congee on this trip. Early morning on the day after I arrived Macau a couple of week ago, I walked over to good old 三元 at 新馬路福隆下街 to have a bowl of the famous Pork Meatball Congee 豬肉丸粥. The meatballs are freshly made and each bowl of congee is prepared individually. It takes time but it’s worth the wait.

When I am in Macau next week, I will try 成記粥品 at a nearby back alley. It is supposed to serve the best congee in Macau.

In Search of Good Congee

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

N126a Chow City Congee 20081126There used to be a decent 24-hour congee shop (合記粥店) on Lockhart Road (洛克道) near the MTR station. To my disappointment, I found out that 合記 has been replaced by 潮城燒臘粥店 when I got there yesterday morning (in the attached picture, you can see that the old 合記 sign is still there). I made the mistake of trying this new shop anyway. I ordered 狀元及第粥 and 牛利酥. The 粥底 is acceptable but the 粥料 is bad – 粉腸 is not even fresh. The 牛利酥 has smell of 漂白水. When you visit Hong Kong, avoid this shop even if you are starving to death.

It seems that all the congee shops have disappeared these days. I guess most people prefer one-stop eating at 茶餐廳 rather than going to more specialized eateries. Out of desperation, I gave Ocean Empire (海皇粥店) on Johnston Road (莊士頓道) another chance this morning. For those who have not been to 海皇N127a Ocean Empire 20081127, it’s a McDonald-like congee shop that has many branches all over Hong Kong. The food is standardized and production is automated with 粥底 coming out of faucets. I ordered 艇仔粥, 油條 and 蝦米腸 (HK$21.50). The congee has a couple of meat balls and a few pieces of squid but not much else. How can you call a bowl of congee 艇仔粥 without fried peanets? It’s definitely not the kind of 艇仔粥 that was standard at those kitchen boats that used to anchor in the middle of 荔枝角海灣 some 40 years ago. The 油條 is OK and the 蝦米腸 is pretty bland. Net net, don’t expect great food at 海皇 but you will not be surprised – negatively – either. If you need a bowl of congee to fill your stomach, this place is acceptable. It’s clean and servers are polite.

On my way back to the hotel, I took a detour to 金鳳茶餐廳 to take out a cup of 凍奶茶 and a 熱騰騰軟綿綿的雞尾包.

I am not sure whether it’s my imagination or not; my pants have been shrinking in the past couple of weeks.

P.S. Another bad news. The small shop at 太和街 off 莊士頓道 that used to sell nothing but 薑汁撞奶 has also disppeared. The space is now occupied by a real estate agency. How disgusting!


Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

N126b Little EggsSince my arrival to Hong Kong yesterday, I passed by the Wanchai Computer City 灣仔電腦城 a few times and noticed that there is always a line waiting at this snack shop that sells 雞蛋仔. When I went over there to buy a spare battery for my camera, I couldn’t resist waiting in line myself to find out what is so special about these little dough balls. My only regret is that I didn’t try it earlier. The outside of these tasty 雞蛋仔 is crispy and the inside is soft and moist. The proportion of air to dough inside the shell is perpect: if there is too much air, the egg feels too empty; if there is too little air, it will be too filling. There is good reason why they can charge HK$12 per 底. Another shop within 20 yards is selling 雞蛋仔 at HK$10 per 底 and the owner there has time to kill flies – 拍烏蠅. You guess correctly – I went right back to the end of the line after buying the battery.

Look for lines when you want to find good food. Most people cannot be wrong all the time.


Half a Day in Wanchai

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

After a round of golf, I took the TurboJet from Macau to Hong Kong yesterday (25th).  Since I had arranged lunches and dinners with old classmates and friends for the rest of my stay in Hong Kong, I decided to “relax” a little bit for the first day here.  Checked in the Wharney Hotel in Wanchai, walked over to 金鳳茶餐廳 at 春園街 to have a glass of 冰鎮奶茶 and a 新鮮出爐蛋撻 (HK17.50). It was 3pm and this little restaurant was fully packed with a line of 10+ people waiting outside.  With the taste of the best iced-cold milk tea in the world still lingering in my mouth, I walked over to 天地圖書 to browse around.  Didn’t know how much time I spent there but it was already dark when I wlaked out with a shopping bag of books.  As I passed by a 涼茶鋪, I couldn’t help stopping for a bowl of 廿四味 (HK$7).  Then I went back to the hotel to surf the web and watched evening news.  It was time to go out in search of good food again.

N125a Se Wong YeeAlready had my fair share of crabs in Shanghai, I opted for another delight of the season.  As usual, 蛇王二 at 波斯富街 was full with a crowd of people outside waiting for seats and take-out.  I ordered my regular dinner: 一碗菊花五蛇羹, 一碟鴛鴦腸(自制臘腸 and 脆皮潤腸)拼蛇汁浸雞飯 and 蠔油西生菜 (HK$88).  I am not going to bore you with details but you can imagine the taste of this simple dinner.

Today I will look for good congee for breakfast and try to fit a bowl of 永華雲吞麵 between lunch and dinner.  Life can be good without hurting your wallet too much.

Shanghai Crab Dinner 上海蟹宴

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Wallace Tang and family happened to be in Shanghai when I was there and we went for a crab dinner. The food look good, right? Come to join me next fall if you want to be as happy as this family.
C122aS Cheng Long Hong RestaurantC122bS Crab Meat TofuC122cS Crab LegC122dS Crab FatC122eS CrabsC122fS Wallace Tang & Family 20081122