Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Famous Nathan Congee and Wonton Noodles - Nathan Road, H.K.

This is one famous Congee and Wonton Noodles House. Adults recalled being there when they were kids. And with fame, they to share this simple and unpretentious eatery with local and foreign celebrities. Food is prepared traditionally and if possible at the point of receiving the order. Their food and preparation can be described as, "Real skills, genuine ingredients." Hanging on the wall is a picture frame with local food expert, Michael Lam, attesting to their good food.

Why congee and noodles? Nothing can be more consoling to the Cantonese than having these two comfort food esp. for those bereft of home cooked food! With Hong Kong penchant for movie-making and a vibrant cultural and fashion scene their food takes on a twist of flamboyance. There were the extra flair in names I couldn't understand as it is too technical ad the ingredients used are extravagant. It is either they love their food or/and in an economic perspective, HK is a developed economy and has a high standard of living.
Its the beef slices here that shone. Thick tender slices. Flavourful and done medium to well, it was the really good beef and one that I have not eaten for some time. But the noodles was forgettable. Go for congee here! 
The congee was smooth. No lumps, grains and stickiness that lower the quality of the congee. Fish stomach (yee lam) was cooked to perfection.
Congee with chicken. The chicken was not well prepared and the unsightly yellowish fat kind of took the edge of the taste.
Century eggs were of so so. Quality was not consistent. I prefer the creamy gooey centre. These were coarse.
This is the congee de la congee. Ingredients includes abalone, scallops, clams etc. This is an excellent way to indulge with family, relaxing over food we are passionate and also enjoy. That's why I like HK and been back again and again.
The chef getting hot congee for his customers.
One inconspicuous lot.
 Location: Directly opposite of Novotel Nathan Road.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

BBQ Restaurant - Dataran Mentari, Sunway

Sunday afternoon is a great time for lunch in Dataran Mentari. Its quieter compare to the evenings. This 'square' is piled up to its rafters with eateries. Except for fine dining there is almost anything and everything here. The nights here can get really crowded at certain corners where tables make its way onto the road.

This is a 'siew mak' shop aka roasters or bbq. It has all and sundry. No goose though. I am not sure why. But then these are comfort food to the Chinese and if delivered well will certainly be selling briskly.

Duck drumstick. Fantastic subtle flavouring allowing its gamey taste to shine, letting the meat displayed its unique dark meat that is so good. I believe duck has more flavours than chicken which tends to be flat if not marinated well. The skin was well seasoned and came out tops. I like it the drumstick as it has the most acreage skin-wise. The meat was fresh and succulent.

The 'Siew Cheong' is supposed to be with this look. Perfecto, though slightly too sweet. The mitigating factor was the contents. Moist and soft. Most that I have eaten were a bit dry.

The 'SIew Yoke' was a bit too dry. I was hoping for a piece de resistance. It was not. The duck was the best! The reviewed for the chicken (far right) was an anti-climax after the excellent duck drumstick.
Obligatory vegetables rather than being ordered for its fame.
Location: 8, Jalan PJS 8/17, Dataran Mentari
Tel: 0126672402, 017 3776157

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tsui Wah Restaurant - Hong Kong

Tsui Wah is a Char Chan Teng chain. They are omnipresent. You are bound to bump into them in town. There are 17 of them of which I was at their Nathan Road Restaurant. It is run 24hrs!! (not all are operated 24hrs). Good comfort Hong Kong food here. The prices are reasonable and the taste is great.

I found that Hong Kongers value their food and the customers' palate and desire, are utmost in their mind. Food is named, presented and ingrediented with finesse and probably some flamboyance. No thanks to their film and fashion industry.

Perhaps our local wannabe (you know who) should take a look at their menu, portion, taste, pricing and operations. We thoroughly enjoyed our first meal in Hong Kong at Tsui Wah.
Well-resourced (sauced) - sweet, sour, savoury, pepper, chili oil etc! Chili Oil is (Ma Lat) numbingly hot but was really good for the noodles. Watch out.!
Good western-style and quality buns! I hope MH will deliver these and maybe the wholemeal variety. Perhaps I will fly with them again.
Thick sour and savoury Borsh Soup. Really satisfying. No holds barred.
Similarly applied to their Mushroom Soup. Slurp it down.
Their tea is one of the kind and I am biased towards this particular HK beverage since I don't take coffee. Made thick, slightly bitter with a strong dose of creamy milk.
Chicken Chop with Scallops Spaghetti. So appetising and good to eat. What you see is what your get (WYSIWYG)! Wholesome.
Check out the huge scallop! You get two.
Pork Chop Burger! Ate my hearts out for this hard to find variety in Malaysia. Good tender meat and quality buns.
Beef - tender morsels with super fluffy rice. Why does rice taste so good overseas? Please explain this rather odd phenomenon.
And the hot favourite of my son. Must have French Toast. Suffice to say it is better than what we get back home. A winner hands down.
Inside the Char Chan Teng. 
Recommendation: Go in if you do not know what to eat or want something good yet economical. Check their restaurants' addresses in the website but only in Mandarin.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hotseats - AirAsia (Is it worth it?)

Row 1 with'unlimited' legroom. At RM25 (one way), the best value for money of all the Hotseats.
Having flew AirAsia up to 80 100 (lost count) times I did work out some 'booking' steps albeit mentally on what I want to do esp. on flights longer than 2 hours. Imagine flying to Chiangmai, Clark and Hong Kong (up to 4hrs). I recalled the bad ole days when I flew AirAsia Boeing 737 (old leased planes) to Clark. They were trying to maximise the number of seats into the cabin and the configuration was so bad that the legroom was terrible. Being stuck at a window seat is no joke. I felt claustrophobic and agitated, 2-3 hours into of the flight. Air rage may follow!!
In comparison when having a good seat, the 4 hour flight was a breeze. Hotseats passengers also get to be at the head of the queue (xpress boarding) so won't be held up on the tarmac or cabin by laggards and also those trying to get their bags into the overhead bin.
AirAsia X Hotseats is at RM100 but still worth it considering the 12 hours flight to London or some 8 hours to Melbourne!

Hotseats - Row 1-5
Row 1 is the best and I prefer seats D, E or F. It has the lots of legroom. Passengers here will be able to stretch their legs far out without any problem. There is a partition that gives privacy and also screen off the galley where food is prepared.  However there may be some movement as there is a toilet next to the door leading to the cockpit.

Row 2-5 have regular legroom meaning it is the same as non-Hotseats. What you get is proximity to the exit when disembarking esp. when you need to be ahead of the 100+ to get to the immigration counters - otherwise it is a waste of money.

Hotseats - Row 12 and 14 (no 13)
These 2 rows have the 4 emergency exits and therefore wider legroom for evacuation.They have good 6inches extra legroom and is my second choice after Row 1. Seats C and D are the best as it is next to the aisle. Row 12 seats cannot be recline as if reclined will narrow the exit. However Row 14 can be reclined so it is a row of choice!

I was at Row 14.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hainan Western - Mount Erskine Road, Penang

Hainan Western packed in the crowd during the weekends. In a decrepit but decent place with a large compound where the patrons dine al fresco at the cemented and spacious front or back yard. We were there early at 6:30pm and parking along the road is still bearable. The food was prepared at a furious pace and I can imagine when it gets deeper into the evening. Furious pace translated into quick service which is usually not so according to my nephew who is an insurance agency manager. This guy knew where the good food is. Best of all - prices here is cheap/big portion and tasty. Add fast - this is the trinity of successful Chinese fast food.

My son liked it. I liked it and so did all who were there. With a RM7 for Chicken and Pork Chop and with a generous portion and RM14 for Sirloin and Lamb do not expect the food to send you to the moon. It will fill and satisfy the stomach but for those who like ambiance and high quality this is not the joint.
The Mushroom Soup was I think RM3 a pop. It was thick but the taste was thin. This is a disappointment.
The Sirloin was good. No complains of it being tough. At RM14 for such a quality a big eater will need another plate. So make it RM28.
Chicken Chop's portion was generous. I wonder how they are going to turn a profit. The meat was good quality and succulent as it is the thigh portion. Lots of sauces but of average quality in taste.
Another look.
My favourite Pork Chop. Lots of sauces again. Meat was a bit coarse but then the pepperised batter a good portion filled my stomach.
Meat was sliced thinner but I got 2 big slices.
Lamb Chop was as good as the rest. Above average but minus the ravings.
Location at the corner of the junction of Mount Erskine Road and Lintang Choong Lye Hock.
Tip: Go hungry and reach there by 6:30pm
Hours: 6:30pm - 12 midnight except Thursday.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yung Kee Roast Goose - Wellington Street, Hong Kong

We missed this a few years ago as a family for we arrived too late in the evening to have a go at this famous restaurant renown for their roast goose and century eggs. It is now a 1 Michelin Star in the The Michelin Guide - Hong Kong/Macau 2010. The taxi driver bringing us to our hotel from Chek Lap Kok suggested we go to New Territories for a much cheaper and better version. Taxi fare around HK$120. Considering that it is only one way we decided against the idea. So we eschewed the inconvenience by going after a softer target. After all Yung Kee is easily accessible using the efficient public transport.

Besides Roast Goose they are also famous for the Century Eggs. The modern version mercifully is without the strong sulphur and ammonia smell from the use of the coating materials for the egg. My parents used to tell me that the smell of these eggs I used to eat 30-40 years ago came from horse urine as the media used to coat the eggs were soaked in with this detestable solution!

The yolk was of creamy, greenish and gooey consistency. The egg white has turned light translucent brown and was jelly-like. I was told I was eating the best century eggs money can buy. Imagine having creamy yolk, jelly white (now brown) of egg and pickled old ginger together. Chew them and let it explode in the mouth, a mix of tart, pungent and spicy old fibrous ginger with creamy and gooey egg.
We liked the texture of the dark meat. Firm and juicy without the gamey taste. The skin was taut with a layer of soft fat. Dip the meat into the plum sauce and enjoy. Personally I enjoyed roast goose in Jalan Pasar area but then YK geese were really of high quality and the cut done expertly so each morsel are of the right size.
Fish Fillet on a Bed of Steamed Eggs. Probably the attraction was the bed of steam eggs as it received the juices of the fresh Chinese Carp during steaming. The fillet was well done and very fresh.
Check out the custardy steamed egg. The smell and taste were subtle. Really a genius of a dish.
Deserts were Black Sesame Seeds to round up the meal.