Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hong Kong: Happyfisherman Restaurant 漁民樂

Hong Kong is seen as an expensive place to live. Actually, it is not but for one thing; housing.
Everything else is really up to you; you can dress cheap, get cheap entertainment, travel for cheap... and eat for cheap.

The Happy Fisherman offers inexpensive food, in large quantity and it is quite good! (and good for you, for the health-minded)

Take a load of this: you get one fish-dumpling soupy dish, vegetables, 2 fish, and 2 big bowls of noodles in fish soup for HKD $118. The broth has a rich taste, the fish are fleshy and cooked nicely. The bones are easy to manage (very important for me!). We have become regulars!

Fish dumplings and tofu in fish broth

Tomato and udon noodles in fish soup. Broth is tasty.

Glorious fish! Perfect for two.

G/F, 35 Chung Wui Street, Tai Kwok Tsui

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hong Kong: King's Lodge

Beef and spring onions. Ok-la!

Xia Long Bao. Skin too thick, broth is ok. There are much better alternatives for Xia Long Bao in Hong Kong.

Snow peas tips. 

Spicy fish. Very spicy.

Overall, I was not super impressed by King's Lodge. It's not bad but not worth a detour at the same time.
For two, six dishes plus drinks: HKD $362

King's Lodge
Shop UG98
Olympian City 3, Kowloon

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hong Kong: Shalom Grill

We were watching Curb your Enthusiasm and wondered if there was ethnic Israeli food in Hong Kong that we could try. We openriced and found Shalom Grill.

I guess to each his own but we the plethora of good  and inexpensive restaurants in Hong Kong, I can't see why someone would go back to Shalom Grill. Two words; expensive and bad.

I can understand that Kosher meals are not easy to come by in Hong Kong but if I were Jewish, I think I'd just go on a long fast.

I guess we should have done a bit of research beforehand because we were hoping for more ethnic Israeli food and that's not the place for it (the waiter recommended beef Stroganoff and spring rolls as Israeli food? I don't think so)

Expensive for the level of food quality and ingredients.

The mixed appetizers was OK at best. Note that the only thing that is mixed are the dipping sauces.

Chicken skewers were nothing to rave about... but edible nonetheless.

The mixed grill had the worst possible cut of beef and worst taste I ever had in my life; chewy, bland, and 50% of it was a huge chunk of lard. Chicken slab was about 1 micron thick (read: dry).

Now, over $400 for this is highway robbery.

Will not go back.

That's your fault Larry David! :-)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hong Kong: The great Tai Kok Tsui croissant hunt!

There a tons of bakeries/cake shops in Hong Kong and generally, they are pretty good. However, they usually can't bake a good baguette (none of them can) and croissants are hit and miss.

So, in the hope to find the best croissant for my significant other's weekends' breakfasts, I went to many of the shops within a 15 minutes walk radius and did a single-blind tasting experiment with May as the guinea pig and Minou as the overall supervisor of this highly scientific process.

I did have pictures of all the croissants but, mmm, the guinea pig erased them from the camera so, I'll try to get them and post them some other time. In the meantime, here's a picture of the supervisor-in-fur, err, in-chief.

Minou, Supervisor-in-fur
(note that we didn't let him have any croissant)

So, single-blind, for the non-scientifically inclined, is a process by which the testee doesn't know the details about what he/she is testing (in this case, May didn't know which croissant came from which bakery and there was no way for her to know) while the tester knows (I did).

The results are listed by overall quality from best to worst:

1. Das Gute's croissant: Appearance 100%, Taste 83%, Texture 66%, Overall 75% Cost: 8$
2. St-Honoré's croissant: Appearance 83%, Taste 66%, Texture 66%, Overall 66% Cost: 4.2$
3. (tie) Simply Life's croissant: Appearance 33%, Taste 33%, Texture 50%, Overall 41% Cost: 9$
3. (tie) Taste's chocolate croissant: Appearance 66%, Taste 33%, Texture 50%, Overall 41% Cost: 9$
5. (tie) Wellcome's croissant:  Appearance 33%, Taste 33%, Texture 33%, Overall 33% Cost: 15.5$ (for a pack of 4. So $3.88 per)
5. (tie) Taste's mini-croissant: Appearance 33%, Taste 33%, Texture 33%, Overall 33% Cost: 4$ (it is tiny so, you'd need two to get the same amount of croissant as the other ones. $8 for the equivalent)
6. Pacific Coffee's croissant: Appearance 66%, Taste 50%, Texture 0%, Overall 17% Cost: 14$

Das Gute's win the award of best overall Tai Kok Tsui croissant (until we find another spot). St-Hononé has the best ratio of price to quality (and is in our building while Das Gute is a 15 minutes walk so, it may show up on breakfast more often!). Pacific Coffee's is an all-around disaster.

2011-12-04 Addition: I grabbed a croissant at Pret-a-manger and although it is not anywhere close to where we live, it is by far the best croissant we have had in Hong Komg up to now. Flaky outside with brioche-style warm and moist inside. Da best I tell ya.
Appearance 100%, Taste 95%, Texture 90%, Overall 95% Cost: 14$

Pret's croissant. The best.

Hong Kong: Cinecitta in Tai Kok Tsui

This branch of the Cosmo Hotel chain opened last year in Tai Kok Tsui. Then, I went to check their second floor restaurant as it is very close to where we live and I figured that if it were any good, that would be a good thing for us. Unfortunately, food then was terrible.
So, when May recently told me that the restaurant changed and was now Cinecitta, I figured "Yeah, same crap, new name", until I realized that it was actually the real deal Cinecitta from Star street in Wanchai that moved to Tai Kok Tsui! Probably another victim of the crazy rents on the island, it does turn out great for us as it is literally 5 minutes walk from our apartment.

We decided to go visit in short order. Glad we did as the waiter confirmed that the whole staff of Cinecitta, chef and al, moved to the new location. And it shows; food is good, pasta are fresh made every afternoon. Decent wine selection.

The setting

Artichokes, roman style. HKD $108

Caprese salad. The buffalo mozzarella is very good; velvety and soft. Nice bold drizzle of basil couli.  HKD $108

Long gnochetti amatriciana. Freshly made pasta make a huge difference. HKD $128 

Osso Bucco, nice and tender veal, as it should, complemented by a  flavorful sauce and a side of cheese rissoto which was also quite good. HKD $248

Thin apple tart. Dessert were a bit of a downer for us compared to the rest of the meal.
I would have liked more apples on my tart. HKD $48

Tiramisu. Decent rendition in terms of texture and ingredients but too strong on coffee. HKD $58

My main concern is that Cinecitta may be a bit too expensive for the neighbourhood.
I wish them the best and hope that the Hotel's guests and the locals will try it out.
Ok, here is where I reach out to the island peeps; come to Cinecitta! Go shopping at Elements, then keep going one stop to Olympian MTR station to finish the night at Cinecitta. Or go see a movie at the broadway at Olympian, it's much cheaper than on the island (HKD $55, less 10% if you have one of the major credit cards)

2/F Cosmo Hotel Mongkok
88 Tai Kok Tsui Road
Tel: 2529 0199