Quick fix Cantonese.
I had organized a training in Bangkok and had to stay behind at the office a little longer one night after the session had finished. When I was back at the hotel I just wanted to grab something quick before catching up with everyone for a few drinks next door. I ventured for the Kowloon restaurant in the basement, that I had recognized before, thinking some noodles and dumplings would just do fine.
As foreseen I ordered some Xiao Long Bao, the Beef Noodle Soup and the Fried Tofu not knowing that it would be quite a challenge finishing all of it by myself. The soup was first and the broth tasted pretty good and interesting due to some pinches of cinnamon, which I only knew from Vietnamese pho. The noodles though were nothing too mentionable and mushy but the beef, if I found a piece between the masses of fat and tendon, was actually nicely braised and soft.
To my surprise the Xiao Long Bao were quite great. Looking unpretentiously ugly and with very little, yet tasty soup within, the best part about them was the deliciously fine and juicy mince. Some proper feel good food.
I was already pretty stuffed from the noodles and the big buns when finally the fried tofu arrived, not a too shabby portion by itself. The blocks of silky tofu had a light crisp coating without any apparent flavor but thankfully that gooey sauce managed to add some lightly intriguing sweetness to it all. I would have preferred this in between my slurps of soup or after a dumpling here and there but all six beancurd bricks in a row was a rather boring occasion.
Nothing I would be craving for but I was glad I finally tried it. I might even be coming back another night when wandering off too far seems troublesome. Beer time now.
Kowloon 九龍 (เกาลูน)
981 Silom Rd. (at Holiday Inn Silom)
Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500
Tel: +66 2 238 0370
Taiwanese lunch at Jem.
We didn’t feel like our usual lunch options today and then one colleague suggested ‘Din Tai Fung’, another colleague really liked the idea and I haven’t been there for over a year plus so it became our choice for the day. They were a bit understaffed so it took us some time to get seated even that half the restaurant was empty.
Finally in we started of with the ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ which they are obviously famous for. Their skin was nicely thin but strong enough not to break when picking them out of the basket but the broth and meat seemed a bit watery and bland in taste. I’d still prefer the steamed buns from ‘Crystal Jade‘, ‘Hong Guo‘ or ‘Si Chuan Dou Hua‘.
I had upset my stomach with something so I skipped the new ‘Spicy Noodles‘ on the menu and went with the ‘Braised Brisket Beef Noodles‘ instead. It was actually quite nice, the broth was rich and beefy and deep dark in color and tasted a bit like goulash with a hint of tomato. When I slurped the last sips from the bowl I particularly enjoyed the roasted garlic and ginger bits that were like refreshing but more hearty pop rocks. The beef was alright and tender but unfortunately pretty fatty too but the letdown were actually the noodles that tasted okay but were downright overcooked.
It’s a chain restaurant so it doesn’t really impress with its’ excess of flair and atmosphere and unfortunately this time I was also rather disappointed with the food. In Germany I would be endlessly happy to have a place like this but here the standards are just on another level.
Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
50 Jurong Gateway Road
Tel: +65 6694 1161
Wanna eat? Gotta wait.
I was on a weekend trip to Hong Kong with three of my friends and as it happens, during our first night we visited a couple of establishments specializing in liquids. This caused us all a rather mediocre feeling the next “morning” but I had the perfect cure lined up for us which I wanted to try since I found out about it. ‘Kau Kee 九記牛腩’ in Central is specialized in ‘Brisket Noodle‘ and always had a fairly long queue waiting in front when I passed by before. Thankfully people don’t take too much time eating at such unpretentious (thanks for the word Andi) places and so it didn’t take us more than twenty minutes to get a table. A friend told me that the portions here were rather small so we ordered two bowls per man. I also tried to order the signature ‘Brisket only in Special Soup‘ for us to share but the waitress practically forbid us to get it because of its’ “lack of authenticity” which later just turned out to be its’ lack of availability.
The first bowl I had was their famous ‘Beef Brisket with E-Fu Noodles‘ which was awesome. The noodles were super all dente and gave it all a bit of an extra special taste. The longer they sat in the bowl the more the soaked up the soup but didn’t really lose their bite. The soup was deliciously beefy which completely fitted the purpose for a late morning after an early night and the brisket itself tasted brilliant too, soft and with some not unpleasant fat pockets in between. My favorite.
For the second round I ordered ‘Beef Slices with Rice Noodles‘ which was quite different and rather boring compared to the first bowl. Now obviously they used the same tasty broth but it was missing the extra bit from the e-fu noodles and the rice noodles were so soft that I got really jealous of my friend’s mee pok version. The beef itself was fatty, difficult to bite and therefore the size of the slices just made it odd to chew so I left most of it sitting in the bowl eating around it.
Nothing special about this place with its’, let’s call it rustic interior and the bossy waitress telling us what to eat, if it wasn’t for the super brisket and e-fu noodles which perfectly brought us back on track and left us content and well prepared for our second night in town. I’ll come back.
Kau Kee Restaurant 九記牛腩
G/F 21 Gough Street (中環歌賦街21號地下)
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2850 5967
Super Soup Supper
After an already long night we decided to head over to St. James for some more drinks but when we arrived we changed our mind and decided to have some good old supper instead. Most of the stalls at the Food Republic Beer Garden had already closed but we passed ‘Odeon Beef Noodle’ and it was settled.
The ‘Beef Noodles‘ had slight resemblance to ‘Vietnamese Pho‘, sweet with a touch of sour, nicely beefy and with some cilantro and thai basil like greens that gave it a fresh herbal flavor. The beef was thinly sliced, lean as I like it and not tenderized so it still had some bite and texture. The noodles where lovely springy and sufficiently available so we struggled a bit finishing it all.
Maybe it was because we already had a couple of drinks or maybe because we were super hungry but I thought that this was actually pretty darn good for a late night snack. I don’t come down to St. James very often but if I will in future I might just have Odeon’s noodles again.
Odeon Beef Noodles
Food Republic Beer Garden @St. James
St. James Power Station
3 Sentosa Gateway
Tel: +65 6376 9768