Saturday, 5 September 2009

Food Journey #13 - Cambo Thai Restaurant (金寶泰國菜館)

Not very often do I visit parts of Kowloon City and we all know that Kowloon City is a food hub and many of talked about Cambo Thai Restaurant (金寶泰國菜館) as it contains 3 key elements about dining -- Simple, Quick & Cheap!
Cambo Restaurant not only has a Thai restaurant but also a Vietnamese restaurant on the same road and the restaurant is tiny but was crowded with cosy diners and the smell of the restaurant was full of Thai flavours. Beautiful Singha Beer to start off the dinner and we ordered the following dishes:
**Thai Prawn Sashimi: -- This was very fresh and some may be cautious regarding ordering raw food in such restaurants. Must order this dish if you like spicy food as the chilli, onion with the prawn sashimi is a delight. Very beautiful dish and will definitely order this again next time.
**Deep fried Prawn Balls filled with Prawn Paste: --Best dish of the evening. The Prawn Balls were deep fried to perfection, very juicy & taste was stupendously delicious. The prawn paste filling paired very well with the prawn balls and the flavour was very rich. The dish was so incredible that we ordered 2 portions (a total of 8 prawn balls). MUST ORDER
Curry Crab: -- Nothing special at all as never been a fan of crab. The curry was very watery and the explanation from the staff was that it is authentic thai style which I am very baffled about!
Stir Fry Kwei Diao: -- For Westerners, you can see this dish as stir fry pasta but in Thai style. Slightly sweet in flavour but the stir fry process was done to perfection and the entire dish was mouthwatering. So good that I finished at least 1/2 the dish!
Spicy Chicken Feet Thai Salad: This was my first time eating Chicken Feet ever since the Langham Hotel Video saga on youtube ( Since this was a cold dish, it was somehow very spicy and the chicken feet pairing with chilli is very refreshing on a hot summer day.
Stir Fried Vegetables: Vegetables are vegetables but the Thai style stir fry made it much more interesting. This is very different to the salads at Dressed or Just! If you do order, get your waitress or waiter to crank up the chilli paste, delight!
If you want hearty & scrumptious Thai Food, this is your place and it truly fulfills the 3 key elements. If you are lost in Kowloon side or visiting Kowloon City one day, do visit this restaurant as it is very good & cheap Thai Food to the highest.
Food Quality (5* the highest): ***
Price (5$ = very expensive): $
Address: 九龍城衙前塱道15號地下 Enquiry No : 2716-7318

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Friday, 4 September 2009

Food Journey #12 -- Cepage on Star Street

The moment you step into Cepage, the friendly & warm service with the glass of complimentary Krug was mind blowing -- total 6 star service. Extremely high ceilings and comfy lounge along with Hong Kong's very unique wine cellar was a hotspot prior to dinner. The Wine Cellar contained any type of wine you want, not the largest wine cellar I have come across but for sure does the job well.
This was a very special evening and was part of our group's monthly gathering in various restaurants around town. No names mentioned on the organiser but kudos to him for introducing such wonderful restaurant.
Too be honest, I dont have much memories of this dinner because of all the wine & champagne consumed during the evening therefore I will try my best to write this review. It was a special set dinner menu with wine pairing & not your usual dishes that you will find on the menu. We consumed around 2 bottles of wine per course therefore I will leave you with the calcuation!
Amuse Bouche = Risotto Balls with Rock Salt -- DELICIOUS, that s all!
Bread = The pastry chef in Cepage must be a very talented individual, the bread is highly recommend along with its home-made salted butter.
Appetiser = Salmon Mousse with Salmon Roe & Caviar (Actually do not know the exact name of this course but somewhere along the lines) -- very odd taste I thought
Appetiser # 2 = Truffle (黑松露) Linguine -- Words cannot describe about this course as it has the word luxury all over it. The truffle shaving was 1/2 the size of my palm and the smell was so so pungent when the bowl arrived. Once you mash up the truffle with the linguine, every bite in your mouth is the beautiful shavings of truffle, OH MY LORD!!!!!!
Main Course # 1 = Grilled Stingray (魔鬼魚) with Spanish rip tomatoes, chorzio & flava beans -- I have never eaten Stingray aside from on holiday in Singapore or Thailand therefore it is literally the first time in Hong Kong. Your usual Stingray in SG & Thai are traditionally BBQ'ed with Sambal Sauce but this was very unique as it truly brings her the sweetness of the fish. The tomatoes & the Spanish chorizo was also a very good pairing with the fish. Highly recommended dish if you are not a meat-fan!!!
Main Course #2 = French Baby Pigeon stuffed with Foie Gras with Potato Mash on the side = Baby Pigeon was perfectly cooked, just perfectly rare, the way I like it. The generous stuffing of Foie Gras is also a calorie buster, every bite of the pigeon along with the french foie gras is just purely heaven. Also worth a note is the potato mash on the side, very creamy, fluffy and I personally would like to find out from the Chef how he cooked this. If it wasnt a fine dining venue, I would have ordered a side dish of the potato mash. Unfortunately, this dish is not on the menu therefore I cannot recommend you to try this but it was a delight!
Dessert #1 = Cheese Platter -- Big cheese lover I am for many yrs and after a gruesome dinner, I decided to do it GUNG-HO style and to go for the heaviest and most strongly flavoured cheese. The cheese were recommended by the expert but it was GOD"S GIFT!
Dessert # 2 = I didnt really pay attention to this course as I was so stuffed already but from memory, it had Poached Pears with Raspberry Gelato etc etc. Refer to photo below.
Petit Fours = This was the killer of the evening along with the Cheese Platter. We were soo full that we couldnt finish the petit fours and we even packed this for home together with the freshly baked madeline! The Raspberry jelly had far too much sugar on it, the cannele is definitely worth a try. Cannele is a traditional French cake snack, caramelised, tough and slightly burnt on the outer layer but very moist and soft on this inside. I will definitely return for the Cannele
As for the Wine pairing, see above photos and they were all the wine x 2 + champagne we consumed in dinner. Never been a wine expert myself I admit but highly recommend the bottle from Santorini, Greece. Very fruity and pairs extremely well with the fish but I can easily have the whole bottle myself.
Overall, the whole experience at Cepage was absolutely superb. The host of the dinner is very closely related with Cepage, could that be the reason? Cepage is definitely a fine dining venue, and if you wallets are spare with cash, this is the best place to burn your cash. I will definitely return to Cepage soon with my missus for a special occasion. Food, drinks, service & ambiance -- TOP NOTCH!!!!
Food Quality (5* the highest): **** Price for lunch (5$ = very expensive): $$$$
Address: 23 Wing Fung Street (Star Street), Wan Chai 灣仔永豐街23號舖
Enquiry No : 2861 3130

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Thursday, 3 September 2009

Food Journey #11 -- Pastries & Desserts in Taipei

Pastries & Desserts give you a sense of guilt in Taipei, why, because they are so damn attractive & the pungent smell is truly unstoppable. Just look at all the photos below, pastries that are rich in colour, sugar and there are also some unusual pastries that I came across on this trip. Must try in Taipei: Mochi (糯米磁) -- any kind of flavour, chocolate, vanilla, green tea, milk team, strawberry, you name it, they have it in Taipei. Definitely much better than the Mochi shops in Hong Kong and it is extremely soft and pairs well with Bubble Milk Tea Pancake Wrapped with Mochi & GreenTea -- I know I have talked about this in my first posting on Taipei, but it was so good that I want to write about it again. Freshly made with pungent green tea stuffing paired with mochi. Very delicious and perfect snack during a hot day in Taipei. Sweet Pototo & Taro Flour Chunks, Taiwanese Pearl (same pearl as bubble tea) with Tofu Flower (豆腐花) with Sugar Syrup on Ice -- The day I had this was 35 degrees in Taipei and it was very refreshing indeed. The Flour Chunks tasted like eating marshmallows minus the sugar as it was simply flour. Every spoonful was full of ice, tofu flower, Taiwanese Pearl & Flour Chunks and the next second, you realise that you have consumed so much carbs that it is ridiculous. If you are weight conscious, this dessert has the word calories all over it but for me, this is purely a heart and comforting dessert for sure. Mango Flavoured Shaved Ice with Fresh Mango & Taiwanese Pearl -- Taiwan is all about shaved ice with fruits and the shop which I recommend you to visit is ICE MONSTER located in Da-An District. Tourist hotspot and a big queue when I arrived at 1400pm because they have over 50 types of fruit flavoured shaved ice which is paired with a scoop of ice-cream. Perfect dessert for Summer and the fruit itself is also extremely fresh & sweet. Have you not noticed that every drink & dessert somehow contains Taiwanese Pearl? Bakery in Market Place by Jasons -- Do pop into the supermarket (Market Place by Jasons) in the 101 building as there is a bakery which is worth a visit. Mountain & pile full of donuts, bagels, fresh bread, cupcakes, brownies, gateau, you name it and they have it all there. The smell is so strong and the colours are also extremely attractive. One unusual object which I found (see photo below) is this hot dog shaped bun which is black and smothered with green herbs on top. I found out from the bakery that it is a Black Ink (from squid) Loaf with Garlic paste, as unusual the colour is, gave it a try and it was very delicious as well. However, the appearance wasnt the most appealing therefore do check it out when go to Taipei. From above and below, you can sense how much calories are involved in eating above. It was worth the try and desserts in Taipei are a delight to have especially during summer. Let me know what you think of the desserts when you visit Taipei next time. Next post will be about Japanese Teppanyaki in Taipei! Catch you later and off to the gym for sure! Geoff

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Food Journey #11 - Food in Taipei

Taipei snacks are definitely delicious but, in general, the food in Taipei is bloody marvellous! Just look at all the photos which I took on this trip. No idea where to start the review but considering I was in Taipei for 3 days only,
check out my recommended places in Taipei for this!
Wing Kong Beef Noodle 永康牛肉麵
Was highly recommended to visit this small noodle shop near Gold Mountain Road (金山街) and it is infamous for its Beef. You name any part of the cow, they will serve it in this shop.
For starters, we ordered the Soy Sauce mix with Beef Tendon and it was very delicious. The texture of the beef tendon is very chewy and the pairing with the soy sauce was perfect. Since the highlight of this restaurant is beef therefore we tried out the Stewed Beef & Tendon Noodles (Spicy) and regular Beef Noodles with Plain Broth. The beef was so delicious that I ended up eating most of the beef in both sets of noodles. However, slight disapointment was the noodles and it just wasnt exciting.
If you are a carnivore especially towards beef, highly recommended to visit this place but otherside, nothing else very much stands out in this restaurant. My additional advice is that do not order Spicy Red Oil Won Ton (紅油炒手) from this place as I couldnt taste a single flavour of spicyness and my mouth was littered with Peanut Butter sauce which was revolting. For a small noodle shop, spending around HKD300 for 4 people is considered to be extremely expensive!!
Food Quality (5* the highest): *** Price for lunch (5$ = very expensive): $$$$$
Tripod King (鼎王麻辣鍋)
If you like spicy Sze Chuan Spicy Hot Pot, this is the talk of the town. Unlike Din Tai Fung (see review below), it tooks us 5 weeks to reserve a table and that we had to have dinner at 1730pm just for this. Checked it out to see what the fuss was about and I can see why it requires such advance booking.
Our hot pot broth was medium spiced but it was very flavourful, not "too"spicy and it was littered with fresh To-Fu and (if you are not an internal organ fan, please turn away) congelated Pig's Blood. What was special was that it was an unlimited refill on the broth, tofu and congelated Pig's Blood throughout dinner and it was very filling indeed.
*The Beef & Lamb was very flavourful but too bad, they do not serve the local beef from Hong Kong (本地肥牛) or else it would have been more special.
*The selection of Meat & Fish Balls (Pork, Prawn, Squid, Beef) was very delicious indeed and much much better than the ones you can get in Hot Pot places in Hong Kong.
*The Crab roe with crab meat appeared in a small bamboo cone and that was also a treat for the evening. Not only did the crab meat tasted actually like crab but the crab roe inside the crab meat was also very tasty indeed.
Overall, extremely pleasant dining experience in Tripod King and can see why it was worth the wait. Downside is that their tea kettle is extremely heavy to be lifted to pour tea. Also, you will also begin to notice that the number of beers which one consumes during this dinner is uncountable. Highly recommended venue in Taipei!
Food Quality (5* the highest): ****
Price for lunch (5$ = very expensive): $$$
Din Tai Fung on Chung Xsiao East Road (鼎泰豐)
Quite possibly Taiwan's signature restaurant, so famous that it has signages inside the subway station point out the direction of this particular restaurant. Tourist hotspot and required 3 weeks in advance for this table booking. Very famous for their dumplings, Chinese Buns, Chinese Noodles and dumplings. My personal favourite dish in Din Tai Fung is their Drunken Chicken (醉雞), texture of the chicken tastes like an organic chicken and very sweet tender + much much better than the chicken you can find in Hong Kong. The Spicy Red Oil Won Ton (紅油炒手) is also a definite treat.
Do try out this place but my advice is to book in advance!
Food Quality (5* the highest): **** Price for lunch (5$ = very expensive): $$
Check out on my next posting soon on the savoury desserts & bakery in Taipei!!!!