Sunday, January 8, 2012

Random Eats in Hong Kong

Before I finish posting about my Hong Kong eating extravaganza and end with my two most memorable dining experiences there (posts still to come), I thought I would write up this "random eats" post first. The food here is not necessary "random" per se, but more like lunches and dinners that didn't quite make it as a "full post" on my blog; whether it be I forgot to bring out my "good camera", or just meals where there weren't enough food/courses hence not enough pictures/material for a full post, I have placed them here. So no, not random I guess but just bits and pieces? Like the picture on the left where I'm trying whiskey (Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskeyfor the first time at Angel's Share, a classy and beautiful whiskey bar in SoHo. This was a very memorable experience that I want to share with you but again, not something I can write a full post about. By the way, I only took a sip of the whiskey. I can't seem to fully appreciate whiskey yet but I hope I will someday~

Anyway, I'm going to start off this post talking about a new friend I met in Hong Kong...

When Chef Jason Bangerter (@chefbangerter), Executive Chef for O&B Restaurants at TIFF, Bell Lightbox, found out on Twitter that I was in Hong Kong, he immediately called up Chef Vicky Cheng  in Hong Kong. Turns out Chef Cheng, from Liberty Private Works and Liberty Exchange, was Chef Bangerter's first-ever apprentice! Thanks to Chef Bangerter, Chef Cheng was already expecting my call when I called him the next day ^_^ 

Chef Cheng has a pretty impressive resume. At age 28, Chef Cheng is already the Executive Chef at both Liberty Private Works and Liberty Exchange in Hong Kong. Before Liberty, Chef Cheng has spent time in Momofuko, Alinea & L20.  He has also held positions in top kitchens across the US and Canada including Daniel (NYC), Canoe and Auberge du Pommier.

It was really too bad that I didn't get to try Chef Cheng's 10-course menu at Liberty Private Works  as reservations were booked more than several months in advance (didn't help that I called Chef Cheng the day before Christmas Eve wanting a table for Christmas Eve with my aunt :S). However, Chef Cheng suggested I drop by after service on Christmas Eve and that's exactly what I did =)  Chef Cheng was so kind to cook a few signature dishes for me, like this raw tuna, caviar and sea urchin with Japanese rice puffs dish on the right. Scrumptious! Too bad I was already full from dinner as Chef Cheng was ready to cook me even more dishes :S Anyway, we chatted over drinks afterwards at the restaurant for a couple of hours, talking about food (of course) and life in Toronto and Hong Kong...what a great time! It was also Chef Cheng who took me out the next day where I experienced my two most memorable meals in Hong Kong =D So awesome~

Ok time to move to my various lunches and dinners in Hong Kong.

I had dinner with my Aunt Grace at a Shanghai restaurant called "Shanghai Por Por". Everything we ordered were pretty good. I especially enjoyed the massive green onion cakes (with lots of green onions and not too doughy) and the stir-fried rice cakes. The dam dam noodles were tasty too but it wasn't spicy enough.

Dinner with my Aunt Grace at a Chiu Chow restaurant she recommended. Loved everything here, especially the beef patty with preserved salted fish and the Chiu Chow style congee. The fried tofu was a delight as well...I've never seen fried tofu presented so elegantly =) I requested lighter dishes and this dinner was perfect. The tea was very strong yet so soothing.

Totally random, the left are Chinese Birthday Buns ("Sao Bao") that my relatives ordered at a Chinese restaurant one night for dessert. They were very delicious; the best steamed Sao Bao I've ever had. They were served extremely hot right out of the steamer; the lotus paste inside was soft, creamy and smooth. On the right is a chicken wing stuffed with glutinous rice from another dinner. First time I've ever had this. I thought it was just okay. 

Went to Zuma for a late dinner one night. I went in with high expectations but came out of the restaurant underwhelmed. It was still good but definitely not mind-blowing. The two most memorable dishes at Zuma for me were the "Spicy Beef Tenderloin with Sesame and Sweet Soy" and "Tuna Tartare with Miso, Myoga and Lotus Root Crisps". The sushi and sashimi were very average.

I had Christmas Day brunch with Elliot at Betty's Kitschen. Oysters, smoked salmon, foie gras ravioli with black truffles, and fish & chips (didn't take a picture of it). Everything sounded phenomenal but really nothing special here. The most disappointing dish was the ravioli which was served at room temperature (if even).

Hong Kong style café~ I had a major craving for this ever since I got off the plane in Hong Kong (actually that's wrong, I was already thinking about it long before that). Hong Kong style milk tea, good gawd, what I would give to have that right now! The first time I've had it like this, in a bottle, placed in an ice bucket, so that it stays cold without it being diluted with ice. Just lovely!!! The crispy bun with peanut butter was my favourite that night.

Lunch at Nha Trang was one of the best Vietnamese meals I've ever had. Line-ups are always out the door at this SoHo location. The pork belly soup which came with Vietnamese style sticky rice was extremely delicious...the soup was hearty and rich, with thick slices of pork belly. The sticky rice was very flavourful. The grilled beef wrapped in panandus leaf is probably the most tender and juiciest piece of beef I've ever had in my life...I kept on unwrapping and simply couldn't stop eating them even though I was already so full.

My Uncle Chak owns Kamei, a Japanese restaurant in Kowloon. He generously invited my Aunt Grace and I for dinner there one night. Everything we had was delicious, especially the extremely fresh sashimi platter. Uncle Chak had even more food in-store for us (as Kamei specializes in teppanyaki) but I had to stop him because my Aunt and I were already beyond stuffed. By the way, if you're wondering what that dish is above the ice cream, it's is grilled eggplant with bonito flakes.

I went for dessert three times in Hong Kong...can't get enough! I adore Chinese desserts! And Hong Kong people sure love their mangos lol~ Fresh mangos, mango ice cream, mango mochi, mango milk shakes, mango name it. I'm not complaining since mango is my favourite fruit ^_^ 

Geeeeez, imagine if I did a separate blog post for everything here. I would be writing about Hong Kong for a month! O_o