Archive for December, 2008

Golf Club Food

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Don’t get the wrong idea that I have a big meal every time I sit down at a dining table. I usually have a simple set lunch after a round of golf – 11 rounds of golf in three weeks.

N112a Sunisland Hainan ChickenN113a Silport Korean RiceN114a Sunisland Beef RiceN117a Malaren Beef Rice

Nice Little Family Restaurant in Taipa 大東飯店

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

N202a Tai TongToday Vincent took me to Taipa’s Tai Tong 大東飯店 for a simple lunch. It has 5 tables on each of the two floors and is operated by an all-female staff. The owner runs the restaurant with her four daughters and daughters-in-law. They do all the cooking and serving and the place works like clockwork. According to Vincent, this restaurant has been around for almost 20 years and has been doing well through good times and bad. Now I know why.

The menu is simple, family-style dishes are delicious and price is reasonable. We ordered roast pork with soy-sauce chicken (燒肉拼油雞), 清蒸撻沙 and 清炒菜心. They roast the pig themselves and the chicken reminds you of what you had at home when you were young. The 撻沙 is 冰鮮 but they steam it so well that you may believe it is fresh. 菜心 tastes like it is freshly picked. The quality of food here is comparable to any famous and expensive restaurants you can name. The cost including two bowls of rice and two large bottles of Tsingtao was only MOP297.

If you have a chance, this is a very good place to have a simple lunch or dinner. The problem is that you may have to wait for a seat if you don’t arrive early. We got there by noon. At around 12:30pm, the place was full. The owner actually asked people at the door to go somewhere else “對唔住,去第度食啦,下次得閒再嚟幫櫬. During our lunch, I heard her discouraging callers to make reservation. The place was fully booked for dinner for the next two days.

Again, if you are the best, the so-called “Financial Tsunami” doesn’t exist.

N202b Tai Tong MenuN202c Tai Tong Roast Pork and ChickenN202d Tai Tong FishN202e Tai Tong Vegetable

In Search of Good Congee IV – Macau Chapter

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Having only limited success in finding an acceptable bowl of congee in Wanchai, I have higher expectation in Macau. I turned to my younger brother, Vincent whose full-time job is eating and drinking. He suggested a few congee shops and drove me through the route that I should take to try out these local favorites.

N201a Fu KeiI left Hotel Golden Dragon in 新口岸 at around 8am and took a walk along an exercise path around the reservoir toward central Macau. It was only 8:20am when I arrived my first stop 富記粥品 at 高士德馬路83-D號. I was first discouraged by the crowd of people waiting at the door but happy to find out that they were all waiting for take-out. Ground floor was full, so I walked upstairs and found a tiny empty table. My bowl of 及第粥 arrived within 2 minutes after I told the middle-age waiter my order. Did not order any 油條 because Vincent told me that this shop does not make its own 油器. The congee was great, 粥底 was very 綿 and I could find all the ingredients that should be in a bowl of 及第粥: 粉腸, 豬肝, 豬肚, 豬腰, 肉丸 with a lot of 蔥碎 floating on top. This was by far the best bowl of congee I had up to this point. By comparison, 三元 is overrated. (Vincent told me that 三元’s quality had gone down since they started using frozen meat a couple of years ago.) This shop uses a paperless honor system for payment. Nobody gave me a piece of paper listing what I had consumed. I walked downstairs, told the cashier that I had a bowl of congee, he said MOP13.5, I paid him the money and he said thank you. That’s it! Anybody who wanted to cheat by understating a 油條 or a 皮蛋 would not have problem doing so. The waiters were too busy to care what the customers were paying. I am sure that some people may cheat but most customers are honest. It’s a good feeling that there is hope in humanity.

N201b Sing KeeMy next stops were supposed to be 成記粥麵 and 六記 at 沙梨頭. To my disappointment, both of them were not opened yet. I guess they must cater to the evening crowd. Recalling that Roger who visited Macau last month had recommended this small congee shop at a back alley off 新馬路, I walked over to 新馬路 via 十月初五街 and had no problem finding this shop on 新填巷 which is also called 成記. The place looked full and I asked the man whether there was any seat; he said plenty. He also told one of the female helpers to find a seat for「哥仔」. I looked around and didn’t see anybody behind me, he had to be talking about me! I hadn’t been called 「哥仔」for at least 40 years and immediately felt good about this place. See, you don’t need to go to Harvard or Northwestern for an MBA in marketing. Just walk around town to see how these entrepreneurs operate.

I was sharing a small table (about 2 feet by 4 feet) with two elderly women and one elderly man. After ordering my 及第粥, I heard one of the women telling her friend that she had only one piece of 豬肝 in her congee today instead of the usual three pieces but she did have an extra piece of 粉腸. With demanding customers like this, the shop must maintain a high standard to keep them coming back everyday. After stirring the congee, I was happy that the other two restaurants did not open in the morning. The 粥底 was as good as 富記’s but the ingredients were slightly bigger. The taste was very good too and I ordered a 油炸鬼 even though it’s not made there. The total cost was only MOP16.

It’s very difficult to decide wN201c Bo Keehich of these congee shop is better. Both offer very high quality congee. 富記 has more comfortable seating and 成記 has slightly more ingredients in the congee. You can’t go wrong by going to either one or you can do what I did – visiting both on the same day.

After 成記, I noticed another small shop at a back alley across the street. 保記 only sells 明火白粥 and 腸粉 and there was a line waiting for take-out. My experience told me that shops specializing in a small number of items could not be too bad. I sat down and order a bowl of 米黃 and a large order of 腸粉 with 芝麻 and 甜醬. The 白粥 was very good and had noticeable taste of 白果; the 腸粉 was obviously freshly made. Perfect! Cost was only MOP10.

It was only 9:30am and I took a taxi back to the hotel. I could have walked back but I needed to use the facility after consuming so much liquid in a short time.