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Chinese

Refuelling awesomeness.

imageOh man I missed this place and finally I made it back here on a day they were actually making their beautiful noodles. I was psyched and first up I had to have the ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ or ‘Spicy Sichuan Noodles‘ how it says on the board. The noodles were freshly handmade and nice and soft, maybe a bit too soft. The gravy was insane, just mildly spicy but enough to squeeze some drops of sweat out the back of my head, thick and rich and full of peanut sesame flavour. The savoury pork mince on top together with some crushed peanuts, fresh chives and cilantro finished the job just nicely.

imageI was already pretty filled up but not finished just yet as I also wanted to finally try their ‘Zha Jiang Mian‘. The bowl was loaded with freshly thin shredded spring onion and cucumbers sitting on beautifully thick and gooey minced meat soya bean sauce that was lukewarm and made this a great dish for the tropical heat today. I know this all sounds like raving and exaggerating but I really think it’s that darn good, M. this one’s for you.

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Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao 中国拉面小笼包
335 Smith Street
#02-135 Chinatown Complex Food Center
Singapore 050335

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Shanghainese folklore.

imageOur friend brought us all to her Dad’s favourite Shanghainese restaurant in Wan Chai tonight for some pure and traditional food.

The ‘Scallion Pancake‘ was awesome with a nice toasty crust and some chewy dough inside, fitted with enough scallions and sprinkled with loads of sesame. The french beans with minced meat were also tasty, savoury and rich from the meat and gravy with a snappy texture from the beans.

imageI really liked the beef dish here, not particularly because of the meat, nor because of the peppers but rather because of the bamboo that was so thinly slices it came across like noodles and made it all really nice. I was slowly starting to think that every dish here comes with a very similar gravy, thankfully a very tasty one.

imageAfter a plate of lovely chewy stir fried rice cake finally their signature dish – ‘The Lion’s Head‘ – showed up at our table. I had never heard of this before but it was pretty much an oversized, softly tender Chinese meatball covered in bok choy and the same delicious gravy that we knew so well now.

‘Lao Shang Hai’ is no thrills for sure but offers great and solid homecook style Shanghainese fair with highly friendly and dapper waiters in a traditional atmosphere. Pretty good.

Hong Kong Lao Shang Hai Restaurant 老上海飯店
UG1 Novotel Century Hong Kong
238 Jaffe Road 5-7號大會堂低座3樓
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2827 9339

High Tea at City Hall.

imageFinally it was dim sum say and our host took us to City Hall to go to ‘Maxim’s’ as I turned out a great place for high tea. The queue was massive and we had to wait for a good hour before we could get a table. The place is elegant, a huge bright room with hundreds of people sitting and eating and running around in between.

We tried heaps and heaps of baskets of which the first was the above with the steamed ‘Prawn Dumplings‘ which were stuffed ’til bursting with big prawns. I always find their texture really odd but tastewise they were fantastic.

imageThe pork filled pockets were my and everybody’s favourite, the dough was super chewy and stuck to your teeth and the meat gravy filling was delicious too.

imageAnother bbq pork filled option were the pastry buns which were good but together with the glazed pork inside the sweetish pastry was just a little bit too much. I didn’t really like the ‘Shao Mai‘ but then I never actually do cause their awkward pork-prawn-mix that weirds me out.

imageThe vegetarian option for the day were the steamed mushroom dumplings that had some lovely crunchy texture and the above waterspinach version that was fresh, juicy and simply delicious.

This was a great place to get dim sum, the nice ladies with the trolley’s full of goodies hovering around and just really really good food. Recommended.

Maxim’s Palace Chinese Restaurant 美心皇宮
3/F City Hall, 5-7 Edinburgh Place 中環愛丁堡廣場5-7號大會堂低座3樓
Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2521 1303
http://www.maxims.com.hk

All day, every day, guotie.

imageI had this on my list for a million years but never seemed to narrow one of their shops down during my previous visits to Hong Kong. This time around wandering the streets of Causeway Bay today we literally ran into one.

imageThese must be up there with the best takeout snacks there is, I mean “Guotie 2 Go”, come on! We had the original and the kimchi flavoured dumplings and both were fantastic even though the kimchi one was by far better because of the extra spicy flavours going on in there. The skin was super thin, nicely crusted and filled with a smooth meat, cabbage and chives mixture. I could’ve eaten this stuff all day. Watch out for the yellow sign.

Bafang Yunji 八方雲集
Nr. 5 Cannon Street 銅鑼灣景隆街5號地下3A舖 (multiple branches)
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2893 2558
http://www.8way.asia/

New menu, new presentation.

imageBack at ‘Crystal Jade’ I realised they had given their menu a mayor makeover. Sadly the delicious ‘Double Boiled Beef Soup‘ seemed to have disappeared in the process but on the positive side they are now offering their noodles as half portions and have added some interesting new items to their selection. One of which were the  ‘Multi-flavoured Xiao Long Bao‘ which besides the traditional one included a nearly overpowering strong black truffle version, a very tasty yet doubtable vegetarian dumpling and a fantastic spicy chicken bao. Especially because it was chicken I was particularly surprised that I liked its’ salty, sichuan-pepper-spicy flavours so much. However the original is still my first choice.

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
391 Orchard Road
#04-27 Takashimaya S.C.
Singapore 238872
Tel: +65 6238 1661 27
http://www.crystaljade.com/

Slack Season Noodles and pork in a pot.

imageI was lucky enough that another work trip brought me back to Taipei and I planned to go back to all the places we had found during our holidays last year and try others I didn’t have the time for then. My first stop was at Da’an and brought me back to a shop we only tried out because there was a massive metal kettle including cook sitting in the window.

This time around I was by myself which didn’t hold me back from over ordering heavily. I started up with two of their three different types of ‘Dan Tzai‘-, ‘Tan Tsi‘- or ‘Slack Season Noodles‘, a local speciality from Tainan. I had the signature and my favourite, the thick rice noodle version, both with soup as I never seem to get the order for the the dry type right. The bowl was a mix of several light flavours, the thin broth with the lovely braised pork mince, some cilantro, the fresh little prawn with a good bite and the great rice noodles that reminded me a lot of thicker ‘Chee Cheong Fun‘. Brilliant stuff. I also had the ‘Braised Pork Rice‘ which wouldn’t win a beauty contest but was terribly satisfying. Quite sinful, the pork has been braised for a long time in the huge metal pot, was lardy and rich, bedded on top of a bed from roundish, bigger grained rice.

imageAs a light side I chose the ‘Stir Fry Bean Sprouts‘ which were as great as veggies can get, boiled but still with some texture, fresh and light, garlicky and juicy with some chilli to gently kick your taste bud’s butts.

I love this place, simple food made great with friendly people to serve it, a picture menu with a tick box order sheet for the non-Mandarin speakers and that all in the middle of one of the nicest areas of Taipei. See you next time.

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Tu Hsiao Yueh 度小月
NO. 9-1 Yongkang Street
Taipei City
Taiwan / Republic of China
Tel: +886 2 3393 1325
http://www.iddi.com.tw/

Double crabs per flavour is only half the fun.

imageMy lovely friend from Vietnam was paying her old home a visit and craved for some good old Singaporean seafood. As the usual choices were getting boring some of our friends suggested to go to ‘Master Crab’ down Ghim Moh Road. I came here before and remembered there was something I didn’t like about this place but couldn’t make out what it was.

We were quite a few people so we wanted to order four different crabs and we already had made our choice of flavours when the waitress reminded me what it was that I had forgotten, ‘Master Crab’ only allows you a minimum of two crabs per flavour. So instead of the four flavours we ended up with only two – ‘Black Pepper‘ and ‘Vermicelli Crab‘ – Boo! Besides that one pretty annoying detail there was not much bad to say about the food. The ‘Vermicelli Crab‘ maybe was neither too special nor very strong in it’s flavours but the ‘Pepper Crab‘ was simply outstanding. The gravy was extremely thick and stuck nicely to the crab which made it all pretty messy but finger licking good and the quality of the crabs was also top notch; packed with meat, fresh, sweet, amazing. They also know there veggies here as the ‘Sambal Kangkong‘ as well as the super long ‘Green Beans with Minced Pork‘ tasted great.

‘Master Crab’ sure is one of the good places for crab – well, at least for ‘Black Pepper‘ – but the impatient and mediocre service and especially the rule about the minimum crabs per flavour will probably make me opt for alternatives next time I want to go for crabs out of the usual.

Master Crab Seafood Restaurant 螃蟹师傅
#01-229
19 Ghim Moh Road
Singapore 270019 ‎
Tel: +65 6314 1868

Hey Dude, where’s my Dumpling Nazi?

imageI read and heard so much about ‘Jing Hua’ a.k.a. ‘The Dumpling Nazi’ and so a friend and I paid the place with the apparently so grumpy guy a visit. To my surprise the shop seemed to be freshly renovated and really didn’t have anything from an old traditional eating house anymore.  My biggest disappointment though was the missing impolite uncle scolding us or something, which I was so looking forward to.

The disappointment continued with the food. I’m a huge fool for ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (小笼汤包) but I simply couldn’t eat those, thick doughy skin with overly greasy and lardy soup inside. We actually left most of it back in the basket and rather ate the crispy ‘Guo Tie‘ (锅贴) and boiled ‘Jiao Zi‘ (饺子) which were actually quite tasty, pimped with a generous portion of scallions.

imageWe knew we over-ordered heavily but since it was something unusual we also got what they called ‘Chinese Pizza‘ (三鲜盒子), which was pretty much a crispy curry puff-like pastry filled with your usual dumpling mix – pork meat and scallions. This tasted quite great and was really something else.

imageMy favourite however was the ‘Zha Jiang Mian’ (ひき肉みそのせ麺 ) which besides the fact that it could’ve used another scoop of the thick soy bean sauce came pretty close to awesome. Meaty, sweetish, great textures and brilliant unusually thick noodles, that even that I was already stuffed, I wished my bowl would’ve been was bigger.

If it wasn’t for the noodles, I wouldn’t bother coming back here to this formerly traditional place that obviously got transformed into a faceless eatery with oversized pictures of their signature dishes hanging on the walls like otherwise only a big fast food franchise would put up. But I’m hooked now and just have to learn how to ignore that people here are so polite.

Jing Hua Restaurant at Qun Zhong Eating House 京华小吃
21 Neil Road
Singapore 088814
Tel: +65 6221 3060
http://www.jinghua.sg/

Super Duck Indeed.

imageIt was my ramen buddy’s belated birthday party plus a welcome dinner for the parents of a friend and our duck specialists booked us a table at the Paragon branch of the ‘Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck’. What an awesome name.

We obviously ordered the signature ‘Beijing Roasted Duck‘ and two at that. As it has it’s show effect they carved the ducks directly at our table with a precision that must come from doing this over and over again. The duck was dished up in three different and fantastic ways. Firstly we ate the most crispy pieces of the skin, no meat, just dipped in sugar. The skin was caramelized and melted in my mouth, fat at its’ very best. The second version were the more meaty bits which we rolled into transparently thin pancakes with crunchy sticks of scallion and cucumber all covered with a wonderful thick and sweet hoisin sauce that beautifully complimented the savory duck. And the meat itself, especially the breast bits, was moist and soft with this light game flavor.

imageEven that not as delicate and fancy as the first two, the third way of the duck was one of the surprises of the dinner. I expected another average rice or noodle dish using the leftover duck chunks for flavor but here they minced the duck finely and mixed it together with some sort of grain, mushrooms, fresh herbs and spices. We wrapped the tasty mixture into big salad leaves and dug in. How lovely scraps can be, simple and amazing.

This was probably the best ‘Peking Duck‘ I had outside China and after having tried this I can’t imagine why anyone would call this anything different but “Super”. The place itself, still a faceless Chinese restaurant but with a much warmer light and feel than usual. The staff was very friendly and food and drinks came up pretty fast. This might have just become a new place to bring my visitors to. Quak quak!

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant
#05-42/45 Paragon
290 Orchard Road
Singapore 238859 ‎
Tel: +65 6732 7838
http://imperialtreasure.com/en/super-peking-duck

Sweating grease.

imageIt was a pretty quiet day at the office so a colleague and I decided to hop over to Jurong Country Club for a relaxed lunch.

Looking through the menu I realized they had slashed it down big time and unfortunately all remotely healthy dishes like the ‘Beef Udon‘ I had here before had disappeared. What was left were the usual hawker all stars like ‘Nasi Lemak‘ and such. Seeing there was no way to stick to my “diet” around here I ordered the ‘Fried Hong Kong Style Hor Fun‘ that I like a lot but never order not to become my chubby self from the past again but honestly, what choice did I have?

It was a huge portion and tasted quite nice for the first couple of spoons I shoveled down. The noodles were lovely sticky because of the charred soya sauce and the vegetables and sprouts still had a firm bite. At first I left the beef slices aside as I reckoned them to be tenderized. Positively surprised that they weren’t and because they actually were fairly tasty as well I finished most of them up together with the noodles. It was good, nothing special but good but after I had cleaned up my plate I felt pretty bad and guilty and super greasy at that. It’s always good to eat something ridiculously calorie intense in between but this one maybe just was a wee bit too much.

There was some sort of golfing event going on and the staff seemed to be a bit overwhelmed and confused by the crowd. First they brought my colleague’s food long after I had finished mine before then bringing me a second portion of the hor fun I obviously never ordered. Still a scenic view over the golf course from here and a nice change from the usual places we go but knowing now there’s nothing here to find for a light lunch it might be the last time for a long while before I’ll come back to ‘Golfer’s Terrace’.

Golfer’s Terrace
Jurong Country Club
9 Science Center Road
Singapore 609078
Tel: +65 6568 5111
http://www.jcc.org.sg/ 

Taiwanese lunch at Jem.

imageWe 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‘.

imageI 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
#02-07 Jem
Singapore 608549
Tel: +65 6694 1161
http://www.dintaifung.com.sg/

Wanna eat? Gotta wait.

imageI 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.

imageFor 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.

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Kau Kee Restaurant 九記牛腩
G/F 21 Gough Street (中環歌賦街21號地下)
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2850 5967

Beef Noodles? Yes. The Real Deal? Uhm…

imageWe were actually planning on a sandwich lunch but one of my colleagues wasn’t feeling to brilliant and thought a hot noodle soup would do the trick and so we ended up going to ‘Liu San’, a Taiwanese restaurant at Bukit Timah Plaza I wanted to check out for some time now.

We ordered some ‘Boiled and Panfried Dumplings‘ for starters which were both okay but not too special also with a much higher cabbage ratio compared to the meat. The panfried version reminded me of gyoza and nicely had a very thin skin. The main reason we came here though were the ‘Taiwanese Beef Noodles‘, a dish I’m nearly as particular about as ramen. This was actually quite surprising, the broth was deep dark and had the typical beefy sweet & sourness with a hint of heat as advertised as the spicy version. My colleague mentioned there was too much soya sauce in it but I thought that it wasn’t too bad for a non-Taiwanese version, but then it has been some time since I had the real deal. I particularly liked the carrots that were not overcooked and fitted nicely in with the other ingredients. The noodles seemed to be the supermarket kind, a bit too floury in taste and texture that left the usual chewiness missing. Last but not least the meat was thinly sliced with a lot of fat which at least was tender enough. I knew I probably wouldn’t get the nice big beef chunks like in Taipei but would have loved them to be just a little bit thicker.

Overall this was an ok choice for lunch, the broth was pretty good actually but beef and noodles could use some pimping. I would say not a bad bowl of noodles even though far from the stuff you get in Taiwan but I guess that’s a useless comment as that is pretty much always the case. Probably coming back but mainly to try their ‘Rice With Simmered Pork‘ or the ‘Minced Pork Noodle‘.

Liu San 劉三閣
1 Jalan Anak Bukit
#01-09 Bukit Timah
Singapore 588996
Tel: +65 6463 1833

Mr. Wee is back!

imageIt’s been now a couple of weeks since my beloved ‘Wee Nam Kee’ has moved from the recently torn down Novena Ville down to United Square about a kilometer south. I had a good workout today and needed some proper protein and carbs to fill up so I headed into exact this direction.

Obviously I ordered their ‘Chicken Rice‘ from roasted chicken and simply replaced the oily yet delicious signature rice with the steamed version not to chuck all my morning efforts out the window. First up came their chicken soup which had a strong taste and was a great kick start that made me even hungrier. When the main arrived the meat was super tender and juicy and as so unusual for chicken breast actually tasted like chicken. Delicious. The kicker of this was the chopped coriander on top and the wonderful chicken stock underneath which was even richer in taste and had a light soy touch so that I munched up all the cucumber slices that soaked in it. For my rice I used a lot of their signature chili and grated ginger which made it all a flavor party and with every spoon I played around and changed the ratio of the ingredients.

I still love this place, familiar faces, great down to earth food and even that it lost a bit of it’s coffee shop charm, the longneck bottles of beer and the outdoor seating, it still managed to retain some of the old atmosphere and definitely it’s popularity. This is one of my favorites and not only because I can walk here. I have been here a million times before and there’s a high chance I’ll be back already next week.

Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice Restaurant 威难记鸡饭
101 Thomson Road
#01-08 United Square
Singapore 307591
Tel: +65 6255 6396
http://www.wnk.com.sg/

Super Soup Supper

imageAfter 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
Singapore 098544
Tel: +65 6376 9768

A Pumpkin From Heaven

imageIt was a laid back Sunday afternoon watching a movie with friends and after being back home we all felt hungry but were too lazy to make a big effort. I then mentioned that I had some great ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ at the signature Chinese restaurant of the Park Royal Hotels and apparently that was reason enough so we located the closest Park Royal and were on our way.

Wandering around the restaurant looking for the bathroom i spotted a dish on another table that I just had to have. What caught my eye was their signature ‘Pork Belly Pumpkin‘ and since we weren’t super hungry I ordered a smaller version for S$26. When it came to our table it looked absolutely beautiful, a whole pumpkin from the oven, filled up with big glazed and braised pork belly cubes. The pork belly pieces were mega tender and soft and the fat melted between the meaty parts and fused into the magical gravy that had a sweet roasted aroma with a soya infused richness that made this the perfect sin. The pumpkin that was baked until soft soaked up the delicious sauce and made it by far the best pumpkin I have ever had.

Besides this outstanding vegetable and the noodles we also had their ‘Cucumber & Chili‘ as an appetizer which were great, steaming hot, slightly sour and fiercely spicy which i considered fun to eat.

I think I mentioned before that I am not a big fan of these nicer sit down Chinese restaurants but ‘Si Chuan Don Hua’s’ food is just so good. I really have to come back and give their ‘Dim Sum‘ and ‘High Tea‘ a  shot.

http://www.sichuandouhua.com

Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant
Park Royal Hotel
181 Kitchener Road
Singapore 208533
Tel: +65 6428 3170

Prawn Dumpling Galore

imageI had checked out of my apartment and my friend picked me up to have a quick bite before I left for Singapore. On the way to Central Station we passed a little underground branch of a popular restaurant chain recommended in one of the past Michelin Guides – ‘Tsim Chai Kee’.

They didn’t have many dishes to chose from but since we needed something after a rough night we ordered their signature ‘Wanton Noodles‘ with sliced beef and prawn dumplings. They also had shredded fishballs as add on but since I genuinely dislike those I totally didn’t care.

Not even five minutes after ordering our bowls already arrived and looked promising. I’m usually not a big fan of prawn dumplings but these ones were actually pretty decent. Fully stuffed with big chunks of prawn this was exactly what I needed. The beef on the other hand was as expected super tenderized and as wobbly meat grosses me out most of it stayed in the bowl. The noodles were lovely yellow and eggy with a firm bite to them and the broth was well seasoned and tasted like a strong concentrated chicken soup.

Definitely not many points on the interior design scale but a cheap and decent noodle fix after a long night, no question.

Tsim Chai Kee Noodle 沾仔記
Basement, 154 Queen’s Road Central
Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2581 3369

These Wings are Swiss

imageOne of my good buddies never stopped raving about this place in Causeway Bay that’s famous for it’s ‘Roasted Pigeon‘ and ‘Swiss Chicken Wings‘ (瑞士鸡翼). Since I just came back from breakfast in TST and it was a more convenient location I met my friends at their branch in Central instead.

The meat of the signature ‘TPK Roasted Young Pigeon‘ was dark and tasted similar to goose but was quite tough and not as easy to nibble off the bones. The skin was lovely crispy and glazed with a sweetish soya sauce that was cooked and concentrated together with the pigeon’s innards for deeper taste. This was my first ever pigeon and I actually really liked it just a little smallish maybe.

image The ‘TPK Swiss Sauce Chicken Wings‘ apparently have their name from a misunderstanding between a Western customer and a Chinese waiter mixing up “sweet” and “swiss”. The special soya sauce  with sugar and rice wine indeed was sweet but tasted great and the chicken was juicy and tender. I would have preferred the wings to be more grilled cause the skin wasn’t crispy or anything and rather wobbly and fatty. Nevertheless the special swiss sauce was a nice twist to the usual chicken wings you get.

I liked this restaurant, super friendly and attentive waiters, tea house setting in the middle of Hong Kong with dishes that are not your everyday fair so when having some time during future visits I might pop by for some more miniature goose.

Tai Ping Koon Restaurant 太平館餐廳
60 Stanley Street
Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2899 2780
http://www.taipingkoon.com/

Very Very Little Medium Spicy

imageWithout fail this is the one place I always come back to since my first time I visited Hong Kong when I found this just around the corner of the hotel I stayed at in Tsim Sha Tsui. The noodles here literally burnt themselves into my memory as I firstly underestimated their spice level and paid the price for it big time. It was supposed to be breakfast but since I stayed in Sheung Wan this time around the trip to Kowloon pushed it all more into the lunch zone.

For the first time I didn’t challenge myself going up another spice level as I really wanted to taste all the ingredients for once, pure self-discipline. Because I couldn’t 100% figure it out I researched what ‘Yunnan‘ or ‘Crossing the Bridge Noodles‘ broth is usually made of and many sources suggested that it comes from boiling a fat chicken together with pork bones which totally made sense knowing it. I thought there was some beef stock in there as well though as the soup had this natural sour touch to it. The spicy minced pork I added gave it just the litte pep it needed without making me sweat and added extra meaty flavors to the dish. I went full on with the greens and loved the extra portion coriander, leek and green onions that enhanced the whole thing with freshness. All above the noodles were plenty – naturally I ordered large – and awesome. They were thin and surprisingly springy and chewy considering the steaming heat of the soup should have cooked them to mushy strings, I was happy it didn’t.

Now that I know how the original base tastes I can return to climbing up the nine spoke ladder picking up at level seven where I last left off. I will be coming back here every time again and again as it is still under my top favorite bowls of noodles in Asia and never gets old or boring. “Very spicy” here I come.

Sing Lum Khui Rice Noodle House 星林居雲南米線餐廳
Shop A, G/F, No. 23 Lock Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2416 2424

Shanghainese Soul Food

imageI went hiking on the “Dragon’s Back” with a friend from Australia who accidentally was in town at the same time and without breakfast and real lunch I was super hungry when it got to dinner time. We all met up at the ‘Double Happiness Cafe’ in Soho for some Shanghainese fair which was one of the places my other friend wanted to bring me the night before to try out their ‘Dan Dan Noodles‘.

And so this was one of the first dishes we ordered. The bowl arrived piping hot which unfortunately cooked the noodles a little too soft and caused me burning myself on several occasions. There was a very strong peanutty flavor to the broth emphasized by the whole peanuts swimming around in there which also added some crunchy texture. The soup was creamy but not unpleasantly thick or heavy. The meat was nice and juicy with quite a few fatty chunks that I left aside. Nevertheless a lovely dish.

imagePretending to be healthy we ordered the crunchy and refreshing ‘Spicy Garlic Cucumber‘ with vinegar and the ‘Sichuan Style Vegetables‘ that consisted of cabbage, onions, peppers and broccoli and had a nice numbing punch.

imageI hardly leave any Chinese restaurant without having some dumplings if they have some so we ordered their ‘Steamed & Panfried Shanghainese Jiao Zi‘. They had a tasty skin which was a bit thicker and instead of chives they used preserved vegetables that gave the dumplings a unique taste I never had before.

imageMy hiking friend said she had to have the ‘Stir Fried Glutinous Rice Cake‘ which I never even heard of before so I was more than up for it. When it arrived it reminded me of the haloumi from the night before. The slices of panfried rice cake had a nice charred flavor and were much harder than I anticipated, a bit similar to squid. With the sweet savory glaze and the veggies this really worked well together and creatively used something as basic and plain as rice and turned it into a tasty, tasty dish.

imageWe were slowly filling up but had the ‘Roasted Pork Shanks with Herbs‘ left to tackle. The meat was quite tough and stuck to the bone but the spice rub tasted interestingly great with a strong hint of cinnamon.

I liked this place already for it’s name but also for the Chinese interior, the free welcome walnuts and above all the great food. I’m a huge fan of ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ and this sure is one I wouldn’t mind having again. Double happiness for everyone.

Double Happiness Cafe
48 Stauton Street
Soho, Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2549 1862