Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Food Journey #22 - One Night in Tai Hang (大坑)

Have been relatively quiet for past few days as am still recovering from that long posting on Monsieur Chatte which is still lingering in my mind. As they say, what comes up must come down and this posting truly reflects on my journey to Tai Hang (大坑) last Saturday evening. For those that do not know where Tai Hang is, it is quietly located on the corner of Victoria Park near Tin Hau and they say that Tai Hang is a secret and hidden food paradise -- NOT!!!! As my missus lives extremely close to this area therefore we decided to give it a shot at some of the restaurants around the neighbourhood. My first stop Block 13 Beef Offal (十三座牛雜) is this extremely seedy and isolated shop that sells Mix Beef Organs. Not a place where you sit down and eat but it is a quick grab & go on extreme Chinese cuisine such as your Beef Intestine Skewer, Beef Brisket, Beef Offal Skewer etc. I know it is not a very usual place that expats will go to due to the nature of food but answer me, what is the difference between eating Foie Gras and eating a skewer of Beef Entrails, Beef Brisket, Beef Intestines, Beef Offal and the answer is Absolutely no difference at all as they are all internal organs. Block 13 Beef Offal has opened in Hong Kong for some time and the taste is a definite guarantee and my recommendation is to enjoy this skewer with a dash of Gui Lin (桂林) Chilli Sauce After the quick skewer, we ventured into King Street in the Tai Hang Area which is a territory of unknown. The streets were dark, dirty and there wasnt many people in the neighbourhood until we reached the spot whereby we spotted some bright lights coming out from this ramen-ya restaurant (Japanese Noodles House) called Masyu 魔手和風拉麵. My first impression was that such traditional ramen-ya restaurants were very commonly found in the alleys of Tokyo & Osaka therefore I was hoping in my mind that this could be a special authentic Japanese surprise considering there were around 5-6 people waiting outside. However, I was truly devastated by the quality of food. First up was the appetiser which was salted cucumbers & eggplant and see photo below. They were foul and boring and tasteless. After the initial taste on the appetisers, I knoew something was very wrong about this restaurant Second up, I ordered the Mixed Sashimi Bento with Fresh Tomato & Parsley and my missus ordered the Deep Fried Pork (Tonkatsu) with Noodles (see photos below). The Sashimi Bento Box appeared a lot bigger in the menu and when it arrived, I was shocked to see the size of the bowl. So small that it was not enough to fill a kid's appetite and never mind the taste. "Fresh" tomatoes certainly were not freshed and in fact tastes like the leftovers from Wellcome Supermarket. The texture of the rice was good but the sashimi was not as fresh as the waitress made it out to be -- major disappointment indeed.

Deep Fried Pork looked like a plate of dead meat, very colourless and the ramen bowl looked & tasted like a pot of Instant Noodles (出前一丁) and tasted exactly like a bowl of MSG infused broth. The Deep Fried Pork (Tonkatsu) was very tasteless and the meat was dull as anything. Tasted like it was marinated 15 yrs ago and the mayonnaise on the side was definitely a cheap pot from Wellcome. To sum up, absolutely horrible experiences

Up side of the dinner was the Egg Roll which was decent enough as that was the only item which we ordered that was actually normal. It is a steamed Japanese egg roll with the wording 魔手 (name of the restaurant) engraved into it. However, I have never been a huge fan of Egg Rolls therefore will not comment on this

Overall experience was mediocre and I will definitely not return to this place as the food was below par, service -- where was the service, and no ambiance with a air-conditioner which dripped on my shoulders while I was eating. Way to go Masyu Last stop of the evening was Jam Bakery which was located on Shepherd Street. It is a small bakery that sells a variety of cakes, biscuits or cookies and cupcakes. Seemingly disappointed from the experience from Masyu, we didnt have high hopes for Jam Bakery but the Hazel Nut Chocolate Cake which we ordered was divine. Was very tempted to order another cakes to try out but again, Masyu really screwed my whole dinner over therefore a NO!. Chatted with the cashier lady and that Jam Bakery also offers baking classes which I will be attending next week. The Hazelnut cake wasnt too sweet , was extremely rich in Chocolate flavour but not in Hazelnut flavour and the texture was similar to a mousse. However, for a bakery place like this, $26 for a slice of cake I thought was comparable with other premium cake shops in Hong Kong. Will recommend readers to come and try out this place.

Block 13 Beef Offal (十三座牛雜)

Address: 51 Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong (大坑新村街51號地下)

Food Quality (5* the highest): ****

Price (5$ = very expensive): $

Masyu 魔手和風拉麵 -- BLACK LISTED

Address: 22 King Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong (大坑京街 22 號地舖)

Food Quality (5* the highest): *

Price (5$ = very expensive): $$$

Jam Bakery

Address: 28 Shepherd Street , Tai Hang, Hong Kong (大坑施弼街28號)

Dessert Quality (5* the highest): 3/1/2 *

Price for Dessert (5$ = very expensive): $$$$

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  1. Tai Hang's an interesting place - lots of little independent restaurants and cafes (some better than others, as you've found!). Next time you're there, try the dessert place Siu Tim Kuk, their pannacotta-like puddings made from Hokkaido milk are divine.

  2. In fact, I have visited Siu Tim Kuk on a few occasions when it first opened which was when it was very quiet until the flock of people are aware that it is opened by Ms Kuk. Agree, the puddings are divine and the Hokkaido milk is so so fresh.

    Whatever you do, PLEASE DO NOT visit Masyu! A complete waste of time!

    Happy Eating!