Archive for March, 2010

Christopher’s Favorite Fried Rice – Tai Ping Koon 太平館

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

The smallest Disneyland in the world was indeed designed for quick trips. The boys went there at noon and was already back to the hotel in Causeway Bay by 6 pm – we spent more time than that in the Ocean Park last year. Time for dinner; we walked over to our younger son’s favorite restaurant in Hong Kong, Tai Ping Koon 太平館. Christopher who loves eating beef and fried rice considers the Beef Fried Rice there best in the world.

Established in 1860, Tai Ping Koon is one of the most famous restaurants for Hong Kong style western food (豉油西餐). Its well known dishes are Roast Pigeon (燒乳鴿) and Chicken Wings in Swiss Sauce (瑞士雞翼). As the story went, in early days of the restaurant, a westerner tasted the chicken wings and really liked the sauce. He had his thumb up and kept saying “Sweet, sweet!”. The owner thought he meant Swiss and started to call this sauce “Swiss Sauce”.

We didn’t order the roast pigeon or chicken wings because we didn’t want to get our fingers sticky. Other than the Beef Fried Rice that Christopher finished in no time, my Fried Rice Noodles with Sliced Beef (干炒牛河) was also very good. The sauce was rich, rice noodle and beef were slightly burnt at the edges (焦而不濃).

I didn’t try the Mignon Beef but Patrick finished the whole dishes. The sauce of the Portuguese chicken was thick and “惹味”. Mrs. commented that the chicken was a little tough and that the potato tasted better than the chicken. She finished the whole dish too.

Next time when you are in Causeway Bay, go to have a pigeon, chicken wings, or something else just for old time sake. You won’t be disappointed. For us, I am sure Christopher will make us go there at least once every time he visits Hong Kong.

The Second Choice Wasn’t Bad – Mak’s Noodle 麥奀雲吞麵世家

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

After breakfast at Australia Dairy Co. and a walk along the Tsim Sha Tsui water front, the boys decided they wanted to see the smallest Disneyland in the world. I went back to the hotel to take a nap. Woke up at 3 pm, I walked over to 何洪記 to have a bowl of wonton noodle. Guess what? 何洪記 was closed for renovation for a month. My second choice in Causeway Bay is Mak’s Noodle 麥奀雲吞麵世家 which is also a reputable noodle shop for many years.

At 3:30 pm, there were plenty of tables for me at Mak’s. As usual, I ordered a bowl of Wonton Noodle and a dish of Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce. The wonton noodle came with the wonton at the bottom covered with noodle – that’s the correct way to serve so that the noodle do not become too soggy. In the picture below, I had pushed the noodle aside to reveal the wonton. The shrimp and meat in the wonton were fresh and well balanced; the noodle was 爽口 and had no taste of 鹼水. A very good bowl of traditional wonton noodle. The Chinese Broccoli was slightly tough (老) but that’s what one gets for HK$20.

An above-average noodle shop that you cannot go wrong by going there.

麥奀雲吞麵世家
香港銅鑼灣渣甸街44號地下
電話: +852-2895-5310

Best Egg Sandwich Money Can Buy – Australia Dairy Co. 澳洲牛奶公司

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

I have heard of Australia Dairy Co. 澳洲牛奶公司 in Jordan many times; this is the first time I finally get around to try it. Have no idea why this place is called Australia Dairy Co., maybe all the milk products are from Australia or an Australian established the restaurant. Anybody who knows the answer please let me know.

Have also heard that it’s always crowded and patience is not one of the virtues of the waiters, we got there at around 9:30am to beat the working crowd. The place was still pretty full; we were lucky to find a small table right outside of the kitchen. The waiter looked a little bit impatient when I was translating the menu for the boys – he did not say anything though.

I ordered the set breakfast for myself, French Toast for the Mrs., Char Siu Macaroni and Ham and Egg Sandwich for the kids.

The fried eggs and macaroni were pretty good but not great. Anything made with bread were simply STUNNING! My toast was perfectly burned and the thick piece of bread was soft and slightly moist by butter in the middle – it’s like eating marshmallow. Mrs. Food Lover said the same about her French Toast. Jr. said that his Ham & Egg Sandwich was not just good, it was great. I didn’t try his sandwich but could feel the fluffiness of the egg just by looking.

On my next trip to Hong Kong in November, I will first take the MTR to Mongkok to have a bowl of congee at Mui Kee before coming here to have an egg sandwich. Sounds like I need to start dieting and exercising now!

Seafood Set Dinner for Six – Tao Heung Super 88 稻香超級漁港

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

After lunch at MGM Macau, we took the Jetfoil to Hong Kong and checked in to the Excelsior in Causeway Bay. Two old friends took us to dinner at a nearby seafood restaurant, Tao Heung Super 88 稻香超級漁港 at Sino Plaza. The Tao Heung group has many restaurants all over Hong Kong and this one happens to focus on affordable seafood for the mass market.

The set dinner for six looked good and with that we had an option to order a chicken dish for HK$1. Who would not take that option? We also ordered beef fried rice for the two boys.

We spent most of the time catching up with each other and didn’t pay much attention to the food. That’s good; we would have noticed if the food were bad. Of course, we couldn’t finish everything and had to box almost every dish.

Convenient location and good value.

Think You Can Read Chinese? 西灣安記咖啡室

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

We always passed by 西灣安記 on the way to 新馬路 and have heard that the pork chop buns there are good. This seems to be a very popular breakfast place for students and early risers. This morning we decided to try the famous pork chop buns in this cafe instead of walking another mile to have congee.

When we walked in, the few tables we saw were occupied; fortunately there were many tables upstairs. Our server was patient and friendly and the place was clean. The pork chop buns turned out to be very ordinary and the ham and egg sandwich I had was not impressive either.

While waiting for the kids to finish their food, I noticed that the order slip was very neatly filled. Waiters usually just scribble orders on a dirty piece of paper. Not our server, she took the time to write down each order neatly on a clean piece or order form. For those who have been overseas for years, take a look to find out whether you can still read Chinese. (In case you have problem recognizing some of the characters, go over to the comment section of this post.)

Restaurante “Dumbo” 小飛象葡國餐

Monday, March 29th, 2010

There are several very good “Macau Style Portuguese Restaurant” and Dumbo 小飛象 is my favorite in Taipa 氹仔. The place is spacious, service is usually good, food is above average, and price is acceptable. This is a good place for lunch or dinner if you happen to be in the nearby Taipa tourist area 官也街(手信街).

This day, we took a special trip there for lunch. I started with a bottle of Portuguese beer followed by a jar of  Sangria while Vincent was ordering food. As usual, the rolls served before the meal were warm, crispy and soft inside. For some reason, restaurants in Macau always serve good rolls; that should not be too difficult but I wonder why eateries in Hong Kong do not pay more attention to their bread. Lack of respect (誠意) for their food and customers?

The soup was not bad but nothing special. Portuguese Sausages were delicious and made an excellent appetizer. Roast Veal and Ribeye steak were ordered for my kids who are big beef eaters; they ate most of these two dishes with the comment that Ribeye was better than Veal – I am glad they can tell what’s good. If you only order one dish in this place, take the roast pork knuckle and you won’t regret.

Net, net a good place for a couple of friends or big group.

無酒安能邀月飲 有錢最好食雲吞 – 黃枝記

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Having waken up at 4am due to jetlag, we walked over to the “Fountain” (議事亭前地 better known as 噴水池) to find something to eat at around 8am. I heard that the newer Wong Chi Kei 黃枝記 at the Fountain was not as good as the original one at 十月初五街 but was too lazy to walk another half a mile.

Mrs. Food Lover ordered the famous wonton noodle soup. I always like to have something light in the morning and ordered a bowl of Pig’s Giblet Congee (及第粥) and a dish of Boiled Pig’s Offals (白灼豬雜). The noodle was pretty good, both texture and taste; the wontons have thin skin and fresh shrimp inside, 皮薄靚. The Pig’s Offals dish was OK too: both pig liver and intestine were 爽脆. The congee was disappointing though. The congee base was too thin and there were not much other than a few meat balls and a couple pieces of pig liver. I don’t know why but more and more restaurants are making meat balls the main ingredients in 及第粥. If I wanted meat balls, I would have ordered meat ball congee.

Looking at the menu, I found noodle, congee, rice, macaroni, sandwiches, pork chop bun, coffee, tea, etc. It looked more like the menu of a cafe (茶餐廳) than that of a reputable noodle shop. Why can’t people focus on what they do best?

Eating and Flushing – Ying 帝影樓

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

For lunch today, Vincent took us to an upscale Cantonese restaurant for dim sum. It was Ying 帝影樓 at the Altira 新濠峰酒店 in Taipa 氹仔. We had a well decorated private room for our party; service was excellent with a waitress who worked almost exclusively for us.

The first dish was Crispy Pork Belly & Iberico Char Siu (澳門脆皮燒肉拼蜜汁黑豚叉燒) and that was a good start. The roast pork belly was crispy 爽脆鬆化; the char siu was juicy. This dish is a must-have if you are a char siu lover – that includes almost everybody I know. All other dim sum dishes we ordered tasted very good and slightly different than those you would usually find in other restaurants. Look at the pictures carefully and you will see what I mean. For example, how often do you see herbal flower in beef balls, bamboo pitch in shrimp rice rolls, porcini in pork dumplings, or fried glutinous rice?

This is not a place to go if you have just taken a beating at the casino in Macau; the price there is also extraordinary. But how often do you have hasma in pumpkin puree and bird’s nest in egg tarts?

After lunch, some of us used the facilities in this private room. Everybody who were there asked the same question: “Do you know how to flush the toilet?” The restroom was contemporary and well maintained. The problem was that there was no handle, lever, or button for flushing the toilet. Looking around and underneath the toilet bowl, you could see this little round metal plate on the right side of the bowl. It didn’t look like a button so you might not think of pushing it. After looking around for another minute, out of desperation, you touched this little round metal plate and saw and heard water coming down the inner side of the bowl. It was a Flushing Sensor!

Overrated Congee – 三元粥品專家

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Sam Un 三元 has been one of the more famous congee shops in Macau. I first had meat ball congee there over ten years ago and now still remember the old man who cooked the congee bowl by bowl at his own pace. The wait was long but the meat balls were tender and congee base was delicious.

Now the younger cook prepares congee at a much faster pace but the meat balls are not as tender. I heard that the restaurant had changed ownership and management a few years ago. With new management, there is also new recipe for the congee. To maintain profit margin without raising the price too much, the owner has no choice but to use frozen instead of fresh meat. Even though quality of food has declined, the old reputation is still bringing many tourist every day. In Macau, I like the congee at 富記 better.

Noodle after A Long Flight – Honbaryu Noodle Shop 本場流專業麵店

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

After being trapped on the plane for 12+ hours, we were glad to sit down for some noodle at  Honbaryu Noodle Shop 本場流專業麵店 in the Taipei airport terminal. It was 6 o’clock in the morning and there were many tables for us to choose.  The place was clean and sitting was comfortable.

We ordered spaghetti (Italian), noodle with tender pork (Japanese) and noodle with pig’s knuckle (Chinese). Like fast food at any other airport, you will not remember the taste a day later – not so outstanding that you will want to come back every time and not so bad that you will advise your friends to avoid.