Friday, December 30, 2011

HIDE-CHAN Ramen (Hong Kong)

My Uncle Donald took me to HIDE-CHAN Ramen for lunch one day for some quality uncle-niece bonding time. HIDE-CHAN Ramen, located right between SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong, is listed in the "Bib Gourmand" section of "Michelin Guide Hong Kong & Macau 2012". As you may know, I posted about Kenzo Ramen in Toronto a while back where I voiced my frustration about the lack of ramen places (or good ones) in Toronto. Having said that, why not see how ramen is like in Hong Kong? So when my uncle asked me what I wanted for lunch, I told him I wanted ramen and he knew exactly where to take me. Turns out it was was his first time going to HIDE-CHAN Ramen too.

From HIDE-CHAN Ramen's website: 

"Set up in 1993 by Hideto Kawahara, Hide-Chan serves up a ramen taste that is a perfect cross between novelty and tradition. With a vision of creating a taste that surpasses that of Fukuoka ramen his father devoted to crafting for almost 50 years, he opened his very first HIDE-CHAN Ramen in Fukuoka in Japan. Kawahara then brought his special blend to Akasaka in Tokyo in 2002 and to New York City in 2010 to continue serving up the thick and rich tastes that transcend two generations."

What sets HIDE-CHAN Ramen apart from other ramen places is its tonkotsu stock; their soup base is created by boiling pork legs for at least 24 hours. The thick stock is then put through eight different procedures. According to HIDE-CHAN Ramen, the water used in the ramen making is controlled through several purification processes to adjust for the acidity to yield water that is similar to the water used in the HIDE-CHAN Ramen in Japan. Intense!

Line-ups out the door during lunch is the norm at HIDE-CHAN Ramen so my uncle suggested we go at noon (most people have lunch at 1pm or later in Hong Kong).

HIDE-CHAN Ramen is very tiny; it only has seating around the sides of the restaurant (as in, no tables in the middle).

We sat in front of the kitchen.

HIDE-CHAN Ramen features 3 distinct soup bases (description taken from their website):

1. White Hide for the original thick tonkotsu taste that boasts a rich source of collagen; added to it our homemade sauce which rounds off the soup with a great aroma. It is MSG free too!

2. Black Hide for the charred garlic tastes the gives the tonkotsu soup base a fantastic, intriguing aroma

3. Red Hide for tonkotsu soup base that is added with a special Korean sweet chilli sauce to refresh and excite your tastebuds.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Café Gray Deluxe (Hong Kong)

Café Gray Deluxe is located in The Upper House, a hotel situated above Pacific Place in Hong Kong.(@UpperHouse_HKG). Elliot and I went to Café Gray Deluxe for lunch one day (the restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, Sunday brunch, afternoon tea, and dinner). Thanks to Ali at Café Gray Deluxe, we were taken good care of and had more than enough for lunch. Do you understand the reason why I always turn into a fat piggy during vacation???

Chef Gray Kunz, born in Singapore and raised in Switzerland, moved to New York and opened the Lespinasse restaurant at the St. Regis Hotel in 1990 where he earned four stars from The New York Times. He has also won the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef in New York City in 1995 and was inducted into the Restaurant Hall of Fame in 1998 by the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Kunz wrote The Elements of Taste (2001) and in 2004, he teamed up with Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten in the opening of Spice Market, a restaurant that was awarded three stars by The New York Times. In 2004, Chef Kunz opened Cafe Gray at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan. In 2007, he opened Grayz in midtown New York City. The opening of Café Gray Deluxe in 2009 in Hong Kong marked his return to Asia.

Being on the 49th floor, Café Gray Deluxe offers stunning views of the Victoria Harbour.

Seated at the bar.

Bread with yogurt with olive oil and sumac

My Bloody Mary

And me secretly (or not so secretly) wishing that it was a Caesar instead lol~


Steak Tartar - Gaufrettes, Kunz Ketjap 

Lobster-Barley Risotto - Roasted Artichokes, Tarragon Butter


Braised Short Rib of Beef - Soft Polenta, Meaux Mustard

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Xi Yan Private Kitchen (Hong Kong)

Featured as one of the best private kitchens in Hong Kong by, Xi Yan is a private kitchen that blends traditional Chinese cuisine with pan-Asian flavours. As described by cnngo, "Xi Yan is one of the first and arguably most reknowned private kitchens, Xi Yan has managed to keep its quality consistent through the years. It's Pan-Asian fusion dishes such as tea-smoked eggs topped with sea urchin, steamed glutinous rice with crab and Shanghai crab roe or lychee ice cream with osmanthus wine, are the creation of Jacky Yu, who is now one of Hong Kong's celebrity chefs with his own cooking show."

Lucky for me, a long time friend of my Dad's, Andrew, lives in Hong Kong and is a major foodie. He literally knows all the good places for food and is a regular at all the top private kitchens in Hong Kong. Needless to say, one of the first things I did when I landed in Hong Kong was to give Uncle Andrew a call :) I felt extremely lucky when Andrew took the time to take me out to Xi Yan for dinner.

I got to meet Chef Jacky Yu that night (woot! Same last name as me hehe). Uncle Andrew even got him to sign his cookbook for me ^_^

Private kitchens first started  in Hong Kong when amateur chefs decided they could give restaurants a run for their money by offering good food in the intimate settings of their own homes in the 1990s. Now, a decade later, many private kitchens have grown up become fully-licensed restaurants. But some things haven't changed; they are low-profile eating places, often in nondescript apartment blocks (and sometimes even in residential quarters) with no signage. Reservations, often a week or two in advance, are a must (no walk-ins). Menus are set. 

Our menu that night was tailored for the two of us. 

Andrew brought wine. Perfect. I looooove Gewurztraminer =D


Crispy Taro Paste with Diced Abalone

Osmanthus Smoked Duck's Egg with Marinated Termite Mushroom

Tossed Cordyceps Flowers with Spring Onion Oil


Braised Pork Belly

Note: The pork belly was sliced into one continuous long strip and assembled into a tower. The server "unraveled" it for us.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Linguini Fini (Hong Kong)

Only when I'm on vacation do I have such extravagant lunches. I swear. I thought my lunch at Nobu InterContinental Hong Kong was already a feast, but I was not prepared for this...

My friend Elliot took me to Linguini Fini (@Linguini_Fini) last week for lunch.  Linguini Fini is a sister restaurant of Posto Pubblico (@PostoPubblico), Hong Kong's first osteria concept that introduced Hong Kong to age-old New York Italian home-cooking using local organic produce and animals sourced from neighbouring farms. 

Linguini Fini, taken after the crazy lunch rush.

Linguini Fini is all about rustic, home-made Italian cuisine.

If I was the one ordering, I would not have ordered so much food! But because Elliot is good friends with Chef Vinny (@86Vinny), I was semi-prepared for an extravagant lunch even before walking into the restaurant lol~

White Gold Bars - Herb breaded Pubblico mozzarella, marinara

Caprese - Local romaine, Pubblico mozzarella, basil, 30 year balsamic

8 Hour Tripe - All natural beef & pork, pancetta, tomato

Fried Calamari - Lemon, cherry pepper aioli

Homemade Spicy Pork Sausage - Natural pork, onions & peppers, roasted garlic mostarda

Cured Pork Tenderloin 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Full Cup Cafe (Hong Kong)

After a huge lunch feast at Zuma and many hours of shopping, I was still not very hungry...more exhausted than hungry really (I was not used to all the walking haha). I just wanted to chill somewhere, rest my tired feet and munch on something small. Knowing the perfect place to go, my friend took me to Full Cup Cafe in Mong Kok. This is a cafe that you will never "stumble upon" or "walk by" because you will most likely never find it unless 1) you make an effort to go and look for it, or 2) someone you know has been and is taking you there.

Full Cup Cafe is in a tall skinny building and spans three floors. There are no signs whatsoever outside. Upon entering, they will ask whether you smoke as there are different floors - one for non-smokers, one with an indoor area for nonsmokers, and an outdoor deck for smokers. We went to the 5th floor for non-smokers.

I love the decor at Full Cup Cafe! It has such a vintage feel to it. The polished concrete floors and ceilings, CDs on the walls, fabric curtains from the 60’s, vintage collectibles lining the walls and on the tables are all so retro.

Full Cup Cafe has an endless selection of teas and coffees; they even have a picture of each tea / coffee in their menu, which I found to be quite daunting and took me forever to decide on what to get. They do not serve alcohol, a disappointing *sigh* for some people for sure.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong

NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong is such a beautiful restaurant. My amateur picture taking skills does not do this place justice at all. NOBU Hong Kong has a stunning harbour view dining room, bar lounge, and sushi bar. The whole restaurant was said to be inspired by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's cooking and imagery of the Japanese countryside where he grew up.

NOBU is known for its innovative new-style Japanese cuisine; there are numerous NOBU locations worldwide. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa had his classical training in Toyko but also spent time abroad in Peru, Argentina, and around the world - he created a whole new trend in Japanese cooking.

I went to NOBU last Sunday for lunch with my friend, Elliot and a couple of his friends. Lucky for me, Elliot is friends with NOBU Hong Kong's executive chef, Erik Idos, so instead of ordering from the menu, we left everything up to Chef Idos :)

Harbour view. What a gorgeous day.

Bloody Sushi - Vodka, tomato juice, yuzu juice, wasabi, pepper and shiso leaf (left)
Sake - served in bamboo (right) *Hi Ali, Hi Elliot =D*

Shishiito and Edamame

Sashimi Salad with Matsuhisa Dressing

Toro with Jalapeño

Toro Tataki with Yuzu Miso

Japanese Wagyu New Style - Ginger chives, sesame seeds, yuzu soy, seared with hot sesame and olive oil.

Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce

King Crab Tempura with Amazu Ponzu

Black Cod Saikyo Yaki