Sunday, December 20, 2009
Greetings from Hong Kong! So I finally decided to make this blog after being discouraged when almost all my pictures I had taken for this previously were deleted when my macbook died a month ago. I guess it's a sign that I just have to go back to those places and re-eat those meals one more time! So I need 1 plane ticket to Vietnam, please! I wanted to make a blog for all my friends who couldn't join me on my vacations abroad so that they wouldn't miss out on all the great food, plus when I get back to the States that means they can go try all the places that I reccomend after reading my blog! It's a win-win situation. As a way to start out my blog, my sister suggested I document everything I ate (or close to everything) I eat while I'm in Hong Kong for the holidays. Great Idea! It would be a great way to document everything I ate & to show my non believers that I, in fact, really do eat. Plus you guys can get a mini tour of HK at the same time. That's something tour guides don't get. Shopping, going to historical landmarks, and learning about history is fun and all but when it comes down to it the food is the most important and most memorable part of visiting somewhere.
Location: Basement level of Times Square in Hong Kong
Restaurant Name: Crystal Jade (most famous for their Xiao Long Bao & La Mian)
Our first dish was this shredded chicken dish with noodles, cucumbers, & sesame sauce. It's a cold dish that's kind. Definitely yummy!
Our second dish was this "shao rou" dish also commonly found in Taiwanese places. It's basically a cold pork that is grinded together into this rectangular shape and is dipped with vinegar. SOOO Good! No joke. Definitely my fav excluding the la mian.
Dish 3 was the Sichuan La Mian aka "pulled noodles." As you can probably guess from the color of the broth, this stuff is spicy. Sichuan food is something called ma la, which is a special type of spicy. It's not spicy to the point that burn your tounge but it does so just right so that it numbs your tongue. And as for the noodles, Chinese people have a lot of different types of noodles and La Mian is definitely one of the best kind. Not only is it delicious no matter what kind of broth it is in, but it's also very entertaining to watch when being made. At Crystal Jade, there are actually these "pulled noodle" makers. Click here for a quick demonstration I found. Way better than those pretzel guys in the mall! The end result is very a tasty performance!
Dish 4 was the Xiao Long Bao (小籠包). It's basically a steamed dumpling that has a yummy meat inside along with broth. It's traditionally filled with pork (the one we ordered), but variations include other meats, seafood and vegetarian fillings, as well as other possibilities. It is traditionally steamed in small bamboo baskets (as pictured), hence the name (xiaolong is literally "small steaming basket") The dumpling is dipped in vinegar and eaten with a spoon but beware of the hot, juicy, soup that pours out on upon being bitten. Crystal Jade's Xiao Long Bao wasn't impressive. I've definitely had better. I think even the DIng Tai Fung in Arcadia, CA is better than this place-which is saying a lot because the one in Arcadia is nothing compared to the original restaurant located in Taiwan. But being as hungry as we were, these bao did their job.
And to top off good food, I ordered my favorite hot fresh pear juice with dried longan and red dates. Yummy and good for you!
Right after finishing our Crystal Jade meal we decided to walk around Times Square. That lasted for about 5 minutes until I had a craving for shaved ice!!! Not ordinary ice cream truck snow cone shaved ice-not ordinary taiwanese shaved ice with condensed milk----- No I was craving the best shaved ice the world can offer! So I headed down 2 whole streets still full of an amazing Crystal Jade meal.
Location: Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Restaurant Name: Tang Bai Fu
For those that know about Chinese history, this name is freaking ingenious. It's a play on a an ancient Chinese scholar's name. He probably would be rolling over in his grave knowing that he has now been immortalized by a dessert shop. But this is no ordinary dessert shop-NO.. this place has the best shaved ice one can get!
This is the chocolate shaved ice. Other flavors this place has includes green tea, coffee, strawberry, vanilla, etc. The secret to this amazing shaved ice is actually their ice machine, which shaves the ice so thin that it actually tastes like you are eating ice cream! The result is a super creamy delicious result. You can also choose mini marshmellows or little tapoica balls to go with your order. The result? Plain tasty bliss!
For those who choose not to have their signature shaved ice because of the freezing weather, you can choose this contraption which reminds me of vietnamese desserts. It's watermelon with sago (think small white boba tapioca) and basil seeds. It's not bad but there really isn't a good reason for you to come to this place and not have their shaved ice. Even if it's negative 20 degrees.
So after finishing our freezing meal in cold weather... my mom, sister & I finally decided to exercise and digest our food. I think we did some looking around and shopping. Then we ended up at another favorite of mine for "afternoon tea."
Location: Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Restaurant Name: Anytime
Previously owned by Hong Kong celebrity Eric Tseng, which is cool and all but ultimately it's the food that brings us back here time after time. This place has different types of food: Hainan Chicken rice, Singaporean Lasa, fried potato skins-you name it!
This is my personal favorite! Escargot! Snails you're asking? Yes, and they are awesomely good. The mashed potatoes under them are filled with garlic and they even top it off with 2 pieces of garlic bread. So you might have smelly breath after... but at least your stomach will be satisfied!
You didn't think I just ordered one thing to eat at my 3rd meal did you? This is also super tasty. It's Thai pork neck sliced super thin and also dipped in this amazing Thai spicy sauce! yum!
And I topped it off with my favorite drink of all time. Taiwanese mixed fruit tea! Fresh fruit inside!
And my sister ordered this which is also pretty yummy so I decided to post this.
Green apple tea
We finally decided to take a break from eating and go home. The result? Dinner being served!
Location: Our house and I'm not telling you where!
Restaurant Name: Our kitchen
Dish 1: 王油蟹, translation: some expensive ass crab. Super good though, way better than any Alaskan King Crab. Paired with white vinegar it's actually worth getting your hands dirty for. Thank god I didn't have to pay for it though.
Dish 2: Store bought sushi. Impressive? No. Good? Sure why not?
Dish 3: 蚵仔煎 This is a deep fried oyster pancake. Super good especially when fresh. It's grandpa's hometown speciality. Fujianese/Taiwanese goodness.
Dish 4: 老水鵝 aka Goose. Also if you look closely it came with all sorts of lovely body parts like blood, kidney, intestine, etc. Even tofu!
Fast forward the Chinese vegetable dishes and steamed fish and we get to dessert!
Best part of being in Asia is all the exotic fruits they have. Exhibit A: Fresh passion fruit. Looks like a kiwi on the inside but is way better.
Exhibit B: Fresh Rambutan. Native to Southeast Asia, think of it as a hairy lychee or longan. Peel off the skin and you'll rid yourself of the scary tentacles.
Exhibit C: I have no clue what the English name for this is called. We call it "Ba Lok Gu" or "Bum Bum" but with all the random languages my family speaks I never really know what the name for anything really is. So this fruit is amazing. It doesn't really need a name. The skin is super sticky though. The inside looks like the inside of a mangosteen, but it's really sweet.
End of day 1 of documenting my eating. Did I really eat all that? Yes. Am I still 95 lbs? I'm not sure. More good eats to come!