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Archive for October, 2011

Whenever friends ask me for dim sum recommendations in Hong Kong, I always direct them to Lin Heung Tea House (莲香楼), my favourite yum cha joint to date!

160-164 Wellington St, Central

It’s a traditional type of dim sum restaurant with metal push-carts, grumpy looking servers, noisy war zone-like atmosphere etc.

I’ve been here thrice so far (twice with my parents, once on my own), and still very much loving it!

The place is always packed with locals and tourists alike. No one will show you to your seat so you need to hover around like an annoying pest and grab the first seat vacated. The ‘kiasu Singaporean’ spirit works brilliantly here!

Then signal one of the waiters and have him bring you a pot of tea. There’s a ritual involved here: you need to rinse the cutlery with the first few pours of hot tea first before consumption. If in doubt, observe those around you. The uncle sitting across me knew I’m a novice at this and kindly offered to help me “sterilize” all my eating equipment. And he did it like a pro! Bravo.

I’m here for a sole purpose: #21 on CNNGo’s list of can’t-live-without Hong Kong food, lotus seed paste buns! Can’t believe I somehow always managed to miss this on my previous visits, boo.

Once I got settled down, these fluffy buns were wheeled out of the kitchen! I almost can’t believe my luck, haha.

I don’t fancy the thick skin, but the lotus seed paste filling was gorgeously smooth and greaseless, the sweetness perfectly balanced by the sinful yellow blob of salted egg yolk in the centre.

Such a cholesterol-rich treat, how not to like?!

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We were three starving girls ready to take on the famous Tim Ho Wan (添好運點心專門店). I won’t go into details (a million and one bloggers have blogged about this place so just google ok?) but know this: it’s the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world!

The long queue and even longer waiting time at the original Kwong Wah Street outlet in Mong Kok is notorious; we reached at about 10am and there were more than 30 people in front of us! The lady at the door (you need to get a number from her so be sure not to piss her off) urged us to head over to the Sham Shui Po branch to avoid the meaningless wait. After some serious discussion, we decided to take her advice and hailed a cab to the bigger branch a few minutes away.

CNNGo didn’t like this new branch but I was kind of glad we came over. For one, we were ushered to our seats immediately once we showed the lady at the counter our original queue number we took at the Kwong Wah outlet. The restaurant is rather big, and very noisy like a typical dim sum joint. Table sharing seems to be unavoidable, unless you are there with a party of 4 and more.

Another thing I noticed is that there’s definitely more locals here compared to the original branch, which seems to attract all the tourists who like to queue (I think I’m guilty of that too, haha). Locals dining at the same place as me is always a good sign! Then there’s none of that “we gotta leave once the last dim sum is popped into our mouths” kind of pressure I read that customers encountered at the Kwong Wah outlet (it’s small and there’s a long line outside so I can understand). In fact, we took our time, lingered over brunch and stayed for 2 hours.

Ok, on to the food. The menu is small (30 items or so) but adequate. We were super hungry and ticked off about half the menu straightaway, and had multiple orders of some dishes thereafter. I don’t take meat but I sort of cheated that day, oops 🙂 You’ve had dim sum before so I won’t elaborate on the items we had; just enjoy the hurriedly taken photos below ok? Generally, the dim sum is good, with hits and misses (of course). But I couldn’t really understand the one star hype; honestly, I’ll be equally happy dining at the other dim sum restaurants cuz I think it’s quite hard to find crappy dim sum in Hong Kong, right?

 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po

家鄉咸水角

Direct translation: fried hometown salt water dumplings.

韭黃鮮蝦腸

Smooth chee cheong fun stuffed with prawns.

鮮蝦韭菜果

Fried prawn dumplings. Oily~

潮州蒸粉果

Plump Teochew style dumplings.

晶瑩鮮蝦餃

Har gow with very fresh prawns!

煎臘味蘿白糕

Pan fried carrot cake with preserved meat. Nice!

酥皮焗叉燒包

The signature baked BBQ char siew bao! I don’t eat meat but I wanted to try this since this is the bun that supposedly earned Tim Ho Wan a Michelin star. Initially, I told the girls I’d just have a bite but in the end, I couldn’t resist (weak me, I know) and finished the whole bun sans the huge chunks of pork, haha. It’s very good, crispy on the outside with a pineapple bun-like topping and the BBQ pork sauce filling inside is a killer. We agreed this is our favourite item from Tim Ho Wan!

香滑馬拉糕

Soft and sweet steamed egg cake; this is one of the dim sum items in Hong Kong I miss the most!

豉汁蒸鳳爪

They say chicken feet are full of collagen so the girls had a serving each, lol.

鮮蝦燒賣皇

There’s actually 4 of these siew mai but my friend’s chopsticks were too fast for my camera, haha. Told you we were hungry!

酸辣雜菜餃

Sour spicy mixed vegetable dumplings. We like this!

鮮肉豆腐鮮竹卷

Beancurd rolls that I can’t remember much about, lol.

雜菌素飽

Some vegetarian buns that we ordered last minute cuz we needed more carb fillers.

杞子桂花糕

Refreshingly special osmanthus jelly, I like!

鮮奶合桃露

Hot walnut paste~

燕窩蛋白燉鮮奶

Girls, you’ve got to order the steamed bird’s nest milk pudding. It’s great for the skin!

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My favourite herbal turtle jelly in Hong Kong: Kung Wo Tong (恭和堂)~

61A Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok

How do you take your turtle jelly?

I love the pure form with no sugar, no honey, and it’s bitterly shiok! Heh.

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Honolulu Coffee Shop is another cha chaan teng that I visited years ago and don’t mind going again and again cuz the egg tarts are fantastic!! There’s a (relatively) new branch in Central (I went to the original outlet in Wan Chai the other time) which is definitely a convenient stop for tourists.

33 Stanley Street, Central 

My current cha chaan teng’s SOP: iced milk tea!

If Tai Cheong is my favourite for shortcrust egg tart, then Honolulu has my vote for the best flaky egg tart!

Amazingly soft custard with the lightest puff pastry you can imagine, yums!

Complimentary pineapple bun fresh out of the oven, from the waiter trying to hit on me hahaha. Almost as nice as Kam Wah’s, just perhaps not as soft. Looking at my old blog, I realise that I’ve actually tried this years ago too! Guess that’s why I love blogging so much, it helps me to remember stuff I ate 🙂

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Hong Kong: Tai Cheong Bakery

Tai Cheong Bakery is an institution of over half a century in Hong Kong (read: die-die-must-try) and the egg tarts are former governor’s, Chris Patten’s, favourite. I believe that they are the favourite of many others as well, yours truly included!

35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central

Today, the bakery has been given a makeover, looking very modern and Crystal Jade-ish. I prefer its “old” look though; look at the photos I took of Tai Cheong 4 years ago (below) when I was there for the first time.

Back then, it looked more like a typical traditional bakery right? Even though there are several outlets islandwide now, I always go back to the original branch in Central for nostalgia’s sake. That’s my mom buying the legendary egg tarts for me years ago while I was busy taking pics, heh.

Tada, here’s my favourite non-flaky egg tart in Hong Kong (and possibly the world)!!!

I say non-flaky cuz the crust is shortcrust pastry, like a pie crust. A little crumbly, heavier and richer in taste and texture since it’s made with almond meal instead of regular flour. So very good.. I can down three (and more) at one go!

Another pastry Tai Cheong is known for is the sugar puff, basically doughnut that’s in a class of its own. Crisp and crunchy on the outside, uber soft and light on the inside! 

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Hong Kong: Kam Wah Cafe

#6 on the list of 40 Hong Kong foods that CNNGo can’t live without is the pineapple bun and Kam Wah Cafe is a reliably famous place to try the real McCoy. There’s always people gathering at the entrance which has a small takeaway counter by the side. Freshly baked buns and egg tarts are what the locals come for! As you should.

47 Bute Street, Mongkok

Like Australia Dairy, the char chaan teng is perpetually crowded and table sharing rules here again. This time, I squeezed with four other aunties around a mini table and coincidentally (or not), we ordered the same things: milk tea and pineapple bun!

The icy milk tea was awesome but since I’m still a milk tea novice, don’t take my judgement too seriously. Though I think you will like it as much as I did, haha.

Now, I’m not someone who fancies soft white buns (dense breads are my style, you see), especially those without any fillings, which is exactly the category pineapple buns belong to. But this pineapple bun, wow. I can finally understand why it’s so popular. The top half of the bun has the yummy crispy sugar topping, and the bottom half is all coated with melted butter, mmm. 

An ideal tea time snack? You betcha!

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Yee Shun Milk Company is a chain of cafes from Macau specialising in milk-based (duh) desserts and it’s my favourite place for milk puddings! There’s a branch near Australia Dairy so I came here right after my eggy breakfast!

63 Pilkem St, Jordan

A whole fridge of chilled milk puddings calling out to me, hee.

The steamed milk pudding in two films and steamed ginger milk pudding are their signature items. I’ve tried both on my first visit here 4 years ago and always order the latter thereafter cuz I love gingery stuff~

Served either hot or cold (I like it hot), it’s super duper smooth and soft, and so healthy (milk has calcium, right?) it’s almost a guilt-free treat!

P.S. The people over at CNNGo have good taste; my favourite ginger pudding ranks #9 on the list of  Hong Kong foods they can’t live without 🙂

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