Thursday, March 26, 2009

OFF TO SOMEWHERE OUT THERE..

YIPPEE! I am flying off very early tomorrow morning and I get very excited each time I am off for holiday...who wouldn't be anyway? For sure, I would not be able to sleep soundly tonight as I always have this fear of oversleeping when I have something important to do the next day. However the destination of this trip is not exactly a place I wanna be, or shall I say, it would never be in my list if Hubby didn't persuade me to go with him.

So where am I going? Humen
! Where? A small town somewhere in Dongguan. Where? Around Guangzhou....just in case if you still asking where.......CHINA.

I don't know which hotel I am staying, I don't know how we are going to Humen from Shenzhen airport, I don't know what to expect cos not much information from the internet but all I do know is......a local guy will be bringing us around and am drooling after being told the list of food that is awaiting me.

So drop by next week to see if this is 'the place to go' or 'the place to forget'. Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

THE 3 GEMS OF RUA DOS MERCADORES (營地大街), MACAU CITY

Pssttt...for those who are visiting Macau soon, listen up, I have got something good to share. For sure, Senado Square would be in your list, well...it's a must when you visit Macau. If you plan to look for great local stuff for breakfast, I have 3 great places to recommend. I am too lazy to draw a proper location map, so please refer to the map below. Senado Square is located along Avenida de Almeida Robeiro (亞美打利庇盧大馬路) as indicated as '28'. Cross over to the other side of the road, turn right walk straight for less than half a minute and you will reach the junction of Rua dos Mercadores (營地大街). Turn left and walk in.
P3240841
Note:
X - Gem #1
Y - Gem #2
Z - Gem #3

GEM #1 : CONGEE
Immediately after you turn left into Rua dos Mercadores, you will see a small alley/lane on your right, indicated by the X on the map above. With my poor Chinese reading skill, this stall if not mistaken, is called "Sing Kei Congee".
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When I saw the stall owner, immediately I recognised him. I saw him on a TV food program before! I remember him well because of his loud and funny character. He loves to sing as he cook! I thought he did that just for the food program but the moment he guessed correctly that we are from Malaysia, he started singing away...till the local diners asked him to stop polluting their congee with his saliva! LOL!
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There were only about 5 small tables placed along the narrow alley and sharing a table with others is a norm here too. As you can see from the photo below, quite a huge breakfast crowd and majority are locals.
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Using the same congee base, you can choose from one or a combination of a few ingredients to go into your congee such as beef slices, pork slices, pork balls, pig's innard, fish, century egg, etc.
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Each bowl of congee is cooked individually upon order.
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Upon seated, a plate of golden fried crullers (油炸鬼) was served to us.
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Hubby had sliced beef congee. Tenderly smooth!
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I have no idea why I ordered my congee with pig's innard when I don't take any liver or kidney. To Hubby's delight, the innards were passed onto his bowl of congee except the stomach and meatballs which I loved.
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The meatball made from fresh minced pork was really good. Next time, I will order my congee with just the pork meatballs. The congee was sweet and smooth in consistency. Not bad at all! That morning was quite cold, this bowl of congee was so comforting to our stomach.
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I can't remember the price but it was quite reasonable. When he saw me taking a picture of his stall, the owner happily volunteered to take a photo with us. This stall opens early morning so be there early for breakfast! Sorry, I cannot remember what time he closes but I will be going again in June and this time I will definitely jot it down and update it here. 10

GEM # 2 : CHEONG FUN
Right opposite the road from the congee stall as indicated by Y on the map above is the Cheong Fun (steamed rice noodle) stall which I have blogged before, check it out HERE. Since I posted that up 2 years ago, I received many emails from readers asking me the direction to this stall. So much so, I have saved my answer and all I have to do is just to cut and paste whenever I receive similar question. Anyway, the Cheong Fun stall is located at the alley of Patio do Cotovelo (德隆新街). They are open for breakfast early morning till sold out.
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I tried the plain Cheong Fun during my last visit as the Siu Mai Cheong Fun (pork dumpling with steamed flat rice noodle) was sold out. This time, I was very lucky!
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We ordered a small plate priced at HKD/MOP 10 to share. Too many sauces to go with the Cheong Fun and I couldn't decide which to have. Ask for a combo of everything and here you are....soft chewy Cheong Fun drizzed with the various sauces: Chili, Sesame, Peanut, Sweet and Mustard. To my sis in Melbourne who can survive on eating only Cheong Fun, so sorry to torture you with this photo but it was really good and I know you will like it.
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As for the Siu Mai, I thought the texture was a bit weird. It was like eating flour dough but at the same time, I tasted pork too. I asked the lady what she put inside and she proudly told me her 'tasty siu mai' is made from pork meat. We were not convinced and decided to just stick to the cheong fun in future.
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GEM # 3 : SUI KOW
My last recommended place is Chu Kei Noodle Shop (鳳城珠記) which is located about 3 - 4 shops away from the Cheong Fun stall as indicated by Z on the map above. Please note that photos below were taken during my first trip back in year 2006.
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I first heard about Chu Kei when I watch a TVB food and travel program called "Unforgettable Taste". This more than 50-year old shop is famous for its Sui Kow or Pork Dumpling. Not sure if it's true, but the host of the program did say that tourists from Hong Kong usually buy some to bring home too. I am not surprised after looking at the lady busy wrapping sui kow although it was almost close to 9.30 p.m. and yet, trays after trays of neatly wrapped sui kow were being whisked into the kitchen behind.
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The Sui Kow was good. Big, plump and juicy with succulent minced pork, prawns and a few other ingredients. Seriously, I don't quite remember what other ingredients they put into the fillings. All I remember was the Sui Kow has a very homely feel...just like how my mum used to make it. Certainly a place that I will come back for more of that nostalgic feel. I did go back for more but sadly, they were closed on my 2nd and 3rd visit and we were way too early on my 4th and 5th visit. They open for business at 12.30 p.m. till 1.00 a.m.
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If you plan to try the Sui Kow after the congee and cheong fun, I suggest you to take a walk around Rua da Felicidade which is circled in red on the map above. This is a famous food street with lots of restaurants and shops selling local delicacies such as almond cookies, peanut candies, freshly baked egg rolls, dried meat and etc.
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It's fun strolling along the street as each shop offers you sample of their goodies. It could be very filling if you stop to sample an almond cookie from each shop. So remember to resist the temptation in order to save some stomach space for the sui kow for lunch later!!
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Since I have digged out my old collection of photos taken in Macau, I guess I should post it up too! Next post.....Suckling Pig Portuguese Style at Hac Sa Beach!

Monday, March 23, 2009

LOK YUEN, THE KING OF BEEF BALL CHIU CHAU NOODLE ( 樂園牛丸大王)

Before I start, yes, this is a beefy post again. As you should know by now, my Hubby is a big fan of beef. He went through the Food Guide and only identified two (2) must-try places. Mind you, the two is out of 50 good places to eat. I don't mind though, cos this means I get to decide the rest.

His first choice, which is Kau Kee Beef Brisket located in Sheung Wan, was very very good. He claimed to be the best he ever had in Hong Kong (after his 6th trip). When the second choice named themself as King of Beef Ball, how could we give this a miss?
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For those who have watched Stephen Chow comedy called The God Of Cookery, do you remember a dish called "Exploding Beef Balls"? According to the Food Guide, the scriptwriter was inspired after tasting the Beef and Fish Maw Ball (HKD33) here, and that was the dish Hubby ordered served with noodle of his choice. He chose Hor Fun (flat rice noodle) that day.
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When served, the waiter warned Hubby to be cautious when biting into the balls cos it will explode and the steamy broth inside the beef balls may scald your tongue or lips. Right in the middle, there is a very tiny piece of fish maw. So tiny, I could barely taste it. The beef ball itself was quite ok, nothing to shout about but nothing to complain about either.
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I was feverish that night, hence nothing in the menu seemed to interest me. Hubby suggested the Four Treasure Noodles (HKD29) for me, a noodle dish with six types of meat/fish balls. I had egg noodles and trust me, you just can't go wrong with their egg noodles. Fine and crunchy! I guess it's not fair for me to comment on the fish balls since I was not feeling well that night. The only ball I liked was the Squid Ball. Very sweet and bouncy with tiny bits of chewy squid. If I ever dine here again, I shall have only the squid balls.6

Being greedy, Hubby ordered a bowl of beef brisket (HKD45). You can also opt to have it served with noodles at cheaper price. We didn't like it cos it was too salty to our likings. We finished off the tripe without touching the soup.
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Lastly, a green dish to complete the meal. A good plate of crunchy sweet Hong Kong Choy Sum (HKD7).
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Lok Yuen The King of Beef Ball Chiu Chau Noodle is located at:
11 Fa Yuen Street, Mongkok
Opening Hours: 9.00 a.m. - 3.00 a.m.

This is the last post on my Hong Kong trip. For those foodies who are travelling to Macau soon, please come back to my blog as my next post I will share with you 3 great and cheap places to eat...all located at the same area!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

OCEAN PARK HONG KONG (香港海洋公园)

This was my 7th visit to Hong Kong and I have never been to Ocean Park although I have visited HK Disneyland twice. I told Hubby we must at least make an effort to visit Ocean Park at least once. Hubby gladly accepted my suggestion because there is something in Ocean Park that ignited his interest.

We took the Citybus Route 629 to Ocean Park that runs from Admiralty MTR Station or Central Pier No. 7. Very convenient as it runs every 10 minutes and it only costs HKD10.60 for adult and HKD5.30 for child. You can refer to their timetable and other mode of transportation
here.
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We took the first bus that departs at 9.00 a.m. and it took less than 15 mins to reach Ocean Park which is located at the south side of Hong Kong island. We realised that the park only opens at 10 a.m. We bought our admission ticket priced at HKD 208 per adult and spent 45 minutes studying the park's map and ahem, snapping picture of boots!
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The gate opened at 10.00 a.m. sharp and we immediately headed to the Giant Panda Habitat, the reason for our visit to Ocean Park. We both adores Panda and we have never seen a live panda before. We were really excited as we walked (actually jogged) towards the Giant Panda Habitat.
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They are four pandas residing here and they are An An, Jia Jia and of course the two famous latest addition, Le Le and Ying Ying. This is An An busy munching bamboo plants. He is so adorable. His ears were moving up and down as he chewed the bamboo.
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This is Ying Ying. Look at the way she sleeps! Hubby at times sleep that way too!! Le Le was also busy snoring away.
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This is Jia Jia, also sleeping!! Felt a little disappointed cos only An An was awake. We decided to go off and return later.
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We spent quite some time at the Dolphin University. Yes, this is where the dolphins learn their tricks. A few even came close to me and posed to my camera.
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From the lowland park, we took the cable car to get to the other side of the park which is separated by a mountain. Very nice view of Repulse Bay, sadly my photos didn't turn out that well.
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Spotted an interesting signboard while queuing for the cable car. If this is "STRICTLY" enforced, 1/4 of the guests in the park will be chased out. Those people from a particular country very close to Hong Kong should be given a lesson on how to queue!!! Not only in Ocean Park, I encountered some very bad experiences in Disneyland too!
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Once we arrived at the other side of the park, we went straight for the Dolphin show at Ocean Theatre. Somehow I wasn't as impressed as compared to the performance I saw at
Seaworld in Gold Coast.
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Cheeky sea lions made their appearances too!
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The Atol Reef with Indo-Pacific theme is quite amazing. From the ground level, you can see all sorts of sea creatures such as sharks, turtles, stingrays and giant fishes swimming beneath the water surface.
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As you walk down the level, you will get clearer views of the sea creatures through the underwater viewing windows.
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While most of the tourists went "OOOoo..Ahhhh" over the giant garoupas, barramundis, snappers and wrasses, Hubby and I couldn't help from giggling after hearing some aunties behind us discussing the best way to cook those fishes. Actually, I was thinking the same too! Hahahaha!
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Another attraction that I loved is the Sea Jelly Spectacular that houses more than 1,000 sea jelliess of all sizes.
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If not mistaken, jelly fish are transparent and using special colour lighting, it was quite a spectacular sight!
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Lunch was at Broadwalk Cafe. Not cheap as my bowl of Soy Sauce Chicken with Char Siu rice was about HKD50. The serving is too big for me so I suggested for us to share. It was a wise decision as it wasn't that good but decent enough to replenish our energy. Unlike Disneyland whereby outside food is not allow into the park (they check your bag at entrance), we noticed a number of people brought their own food, even boxes of roasted meat!
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From afar, the aroma of grilled squid pulled us to the snack stall. I love big fat juicy squid tentacles and Hong Kong people seems to love it too! Good stuff! Chewy and full of sweet squid essence. This was coated with teriyaki sauce. I wished it was plain though.
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Before we leave the park, we decided to go back to see the pandas again. So glad we did because An An, Le Le, Ying Ying and Jia Jia were all awake!!
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Have no idea who this is. It could be Le Le. So adorable. I wish I could hug them.
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Sticking whole head into the water bowl.
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We spent almost half an hour watching Le Le and Ying Ying. They are really mischevious and entertaining looking at their antics. Have a look at the collage below. Can you figure out what the panda is trying to do?
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Hubby wanted to get me a soft plush panda toy for souvenir. I am too old for that and it would eventually ended up as Pumpkin's toy basket. Instead, I chose a white leather bag with panda face on it.
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Friday, March 13, 2009

SNACKING MY WAY IN HONG KONG

One could never go hungry in Hong Kong. There are simply too many irresistible food calling out for me no matter which corner of the street I turn into. For this trip, I will just summed up all the street snacks I tried in one post.

As we were walking towards the exit of the Jordan MTR station, we were greeted with a very nice aroma. I could tell instantly that it must be something cooked with charcoal. True enough, we spotted a stall selling Charcoal Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Again, I didn't have any stomach space left for such tummy-filler carbo-laden food, but how I could I walk away without grabbing at least one????
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Sold by weight, I asked for a small piece of yellow flesh sweet potato priced at HKD10. Definitely not cheap!! Stupid me, I should have chosen the purple variant as I was told much nicer. It was piping hot and sweet but sadly, the flesh was all soft and mushy. Almost like eating mashed potato!
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There are many shops selling snacks like this below and all I came across were crowded all the time. This shop is located somewhere between Jordan and Yau Ma Tei area. I spotted a small queue and we joined in as well.
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I saw many people ordered their steamed Siu Mai or Pork Dumpling. It was drizzled with soya sauce and chili oil (optional) before served. One bite and GOODNESS.....I was eating dough!!! It tasted exactly like vegetarian mock meat. Horrible!! Needless to say, we each had a piece and the rest?? We fed it to the nearest garbage bin lor!
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We moved on to try their fried stuffs which looked more promising. Lots of variety like sausages, bacon, fish ball, pig's intestine and stuffed vegetable (yong tau foo) to choose from. Just pick and they will heat it up in the fryer immediately.
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I chose the rolled pig's intestine while Hubby picked fried beancurd. Mine was a bad choice. Very strong odour but Hubby said it was tasty! The fried beancurd stuffed with fish paste (not the stinky type) was good. The outer layer was crispy while the inside was smoooooooth. I am not a beancurd person but I find it very yummy!
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Cocktail sausages wrapped with bacon. How wrong could it get? Fantastic stuff!
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Ever seen Salt-Baked Eggs??? For me, this is the first time I came across such delicacy. This stall is located at Temple Street. Quail egg is priced at HKD2 for 3 piece while chicken egg is priced at HKD2.5 for one. The lady will peel the shell for you too.
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Almost like eating boiled egg with slightly savourish taste to it. Nothing to shout about but it was nevertheless, a good experience.
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I love eating chicken in Hong Kong. It's so much firmer in texture and it has more chicken flavour to it. My favourite has got to be soy sauce chicken. There is this particular roast meat shop (for takeaway only) along Fa Yuen St, Mongkok that I like. Very friendly people and they were so happy when he got to know that we are from Malaysia. I had one whole chicken leg cooked with soy sauce for supper. And whenever I am in Hong Kong, I indulged with my all-time favourite Vita brand beverages.
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There is an Aji Ichiban outlet near our hotel and we walked passed it several times a day when I finally stepped in to check things out. Aji Ichiban is a very popular snack shops selling candies, chocolates, egg rolls and even savoury snack such as duck tongue, duck kidney, chicken wings and chicken feet!!! Interesting eh? I was curious of the taste but skeptical to such big packet. The sales lady told me I could mix and match which is priced according to weigh. Hence I took a few to try; Isoyaki Chicken Wing, Isoyaki Chicken Feet and Isoyaki Duck Kidney. Personally I find "It's-So-Yucky"!!

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I only tried the Isoyaki Chicken Wing. Shiny and smooth on the outer layer but one bite onto the wings, my mouth was filled with a layer of cold gelatinous fats. It's So Yucky!!!! Taste wise not too bad but it was the texture and coldness of the wing that turned me off. I didn't have the courage to try the other two pack.
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Lastly, a sweet ending to this post. My all-time favourite Mango with Pomelo & Sago dessert (楊枝甘露) from Honeymoon Dessert. Generous serving of chunky sweet mangoes with citrusy pomelo and chewy sago floating in a bowl of cold mango puree. Ahhh...refreshing!!
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Next post....I will introduce to you my four new found friends in Hong Kong!

 

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