Baking, Cooking

Piece of Cake- Christmas/ NY cakepops

Wishing everyone an awesome 2014!! :)IMG_00002086

Christmas/ New Year had been a busy season for cakepops. There are so many cute festive cakepop inspiration online and I was a little over ambitious in wanting to make all of them at once.

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Here are some of the highlights of the season-

The evolution of the reindeer pops:

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The first batch of reindeer I made had a more handpainted face, with mini red M&Ms as noses and I used the tip of the chipstick to handpaint their eyes and I dyed white chocolate to handpaint mouths on them. The process was definitely very labor intensive and the eyes needed to be dotted at the right place on first try.

Reindeer cakepop version 1.0

Reindeer cakepops version 1.0

And then I found some white candy (the little blue box on the right hand corner of the pictures with all the ingredients) that were of perfect size for the reindeer pops and so Reindeer version 2.0 were made =)
Reindeer cakepop version 2.0

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Those small white candy were a little hard to find so when I ran out of those, I started using the limited edition M&Ms which are much bigger and a bit smaller to stick. But I actually quite like the version 3.0! They look more comical with their oversized eyes and nose

Reindeer cakepop version 3.0

The mini pretzels were the ideal size for my pops but such a pain to cut. The pretzels kept breaking at different joints and I used almost half a pack for just 20 reindeers. Frustrated, I ate almost all the pretzels that falls under “failed attempts” :p

I literally had just 40min of power nap before heading to work the next day. I was definitely too over ambitious trying to make reindeer, snowman and gingerbreadman all in one night!!

More on the other two pop designs on the next post =)

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Baking

Piece of Cake

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Sorry for being MIA for soooooooooo long :( the second half of the year literally went by in a blink and before I know it, it’s already Thanksgiving!!!!

I made these turkey cakepops for thanksgiving =) I LOVE how chubby they look! Cakepop making has been keeping me busy in the past two months. Veronica and I, had started our little cakepop venture about two months ago. It all started with me making cakepops for fun for dinner parties and through word of mouth we have been getting orders here and there and eventually this became our little business-  “Piece of Cake” =)

Here are some of the cakepops we made in the last two months! I can’t decide which is my favorite design, the candy crush was alot of fun to make, so were the golf balls and the chubby turkey pops =) which is your favorite? =)

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Central, Hong Kong Restaurant

Souvla

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Honestly, we were expecting a small Greek restaurant with just a few tables covered in blue and white so we were pleasantly surprised when the stairs led us up to a 150-seater restaurant and bar. We were led to our sofa booth table, staffs were welcoming and the red in the decor brought warmth to this spacious spot. I was delighted to know that there’s an area on the side which can be cornered off as a private room for big parties.

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I love how playful the menu is, with cute illustration of famous Greek Mythology characters (J: Hercules looks like some Disney lead character, and he does! With that dashing grin). We ordered a few dishes with the help of the friendly staff

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The dolma was ok but i wish the vine leaf were a tad more tender. I literally dropped my half eaten dolma when the saganaki arrived coz it looked and smelled so good!! :p

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The saganaki (fried cheese served on frying pan) was a must try, the firm yet gooey dollop of golden goodness has intense cheese flavors that went very well with the sweet fig marmalade and a drizzle of lemon juice.

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Scallop was grilled to perfection with its soft raw centre while the creamy manouri cheese with tsoireki (sweet fragrant Greek Easter bread) crumbs brought out the simple subtle sweetness of fresh scallop. The almond skordalia served underneath the scallop was delicious! Almond skordalia is a popular Greek speciality which is thick almond and garlic dip it was tasty without overpowering the scallop.

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The souvas, mini pita wraps, had lamb, herbs, tomato, mustarad aioli, French fries and onions wrapped in pillowy bouncy pita bread arrived in the “bendover box” **geeky laughter** (bento- greek style). The lamb was very tasty though the dish was a tad too starchy between the pita and the fries.

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The slow cooked lamb was incredibly tender and was saturated with intense flavors of lamb without being too gamey, any heaviness was offset by a dash of lemon and a dab of yogurt.We also ordered the Cypriot salad on Viv’s recommendation (Viviano Romito, owner of the place.) He said this salad compliments the lamb really well and he was so right!! The salad was light and delicious with contrasting textures and flavors with pops of pomegranate seeds and crunchy nuts and seeds, sweet raisin, cumin, fresh herbs, dash of honey, and the all refreshing yogurt.

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Golden Greek time- What’s not to love about this dish? Initially I was a bit hesitant about it since I don’t eat anything deep fried but it wasn’t greasy at all. The vanilla mastiki ice cream with chocolate center was slightly chewy like Turkish ice cream and not overly sweet. The honeycomb on the side added crunch to the divine dish. And did I mention salted caramel? I almost drown my quarter in the rich and luscious salted caramel. Needless to say, I was very satisfied at this point

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The bill came up to be just under $250 per person, which was well worth it! Souvla was definitely something above our expectations in terms of quality of food, ambience and service! The dishes came out swiftly and even the hot dishes were pretty quick. We loved most of the dishes and I can’t wait to go back and try their baklava cigars! I LOVE baklava!!

Souvla,
1/F, Ho Lee Comm Building,
40 D’Aguilar Street,
Central, Hong Kong
+852 2522 1823

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Brunch spot, Central, Hong Kong Restaurant

Shelter Lounge

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I’ve always been on the lookout for new brunch places and Shelter Lounge came onto the radar. Despite being located in the quiet lane of New street (the street behind Heirloom and Queen Trattoria), this place was far from being a secret hideout. Most of the tables were filled on a lazy Sunday and walk-ins were turned away as the place was fully booked

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I love how open Shelter Lounge felt, the communal table on the first floor was the center piece and even though all seats were filled it did feel overly crowded or that I was sitting on the laps of the people next to us. The ceiling to floor windows let in ample sunlight and it felt so refreshing and bright just sitting around, chilling.
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We picked from the brunch menu; I was in the mood for burger (again) so I picked the portobello burger? I know… for some reason I kept imagining that the portobello burger would come with meat and of course it din (DUH!). We also wanted the beef burger which we were told the item was sold out for the day but mysteriously appeared on a couple of other tables after we were done with our food hmmm… Brunch was not impressive but I wanted to try the rest of the menu so I returned again for dinner a couple of days later

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Shelter Lounge was definitely quieter on a week night, the first floor was dotted with 2,3 tables of patrons while the second floor dining room was half filled. We got a little carried away and order almost half the items of the menu. Before we knew it, the table was just covered with dishes and we had to cancel the pork belly coz we were just too stuffed

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The seafood and fennel salad was ok, the yuzu soy dressing was tad on the salty side and most of the dish was left untouched

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The beetroot salad with orange, mache, feta & white balsamic on the other hand was very good. The cirusy orange, sweet beetroot, salty creamy feta and sweet nutty mache are blend together in this light and refreshing perfect summer salad

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Forest mushroom black truffle cream with natto egg with toast had deep aroma and flavors while natto egg added gooey texture to the mushroom

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Seared scallops with pancetta, pea, onion foam had the perfect texture, soft and still raw and soft in the inside and beautifully caramelized on the sides. The pancetta, pea and onion foam on the side was made well while the scallop itself was a bit bland. I added sprinkled a few grains of salt on top of it and it instantly brought out the natural sweetness of fresh scallops.

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Steamed clams in chorizo and baby cabbage with bruschetta sauce, the tangy, flavorful chorizo sauce went very well with the lightness of fresh and firm clams.

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Miso cod eggplant, turnip, pickled ginger shoot was gone so fast I knew it was the crowd pleaser of the night. The miso added just the right amount of sweetness to the silky smooth, soft, buttery cod.

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Slow cook duck breast with pickled red cabbage was alright, the duck breast was a little tough to my liking even though it was perfectly pink on the inside

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Grilled hanger steak was grilled to perfection; nicely pink on the inside and slightly charred on the sides. The deep flavor was brought out with just a bit of salt and a dot of mustard.

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They are currently not serving alcohol beverages yet so corkage is free =) Do call ahead and check if conditions still holds before bring cases of wine along with you. Also, there’s a private dining area for about 18-20 people if you have a big group!  

Shelter Lounge
Shop A, G/f & 1/F, Universal Building
5-13 New Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Tuesday to Friday 12.00 – 23.00
Saturday to Sunday 10.00 – 23.00
Public Holidays 10.00 – 23.00
Tel: 2517 6211

http://www.shelterlounge.com.hk

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Central, Hong Kong Restaurant

Mano

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Since I’m chained to the desk all day at work, there’s really not a lot of choices when it comes to getting takeout for lunch around my area so when Mano opened its door to the Central working crowd, I was eager to get a taste of it!!

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Mano had been updating their facebook fan page with delicious looking dishes.

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First look at this new addition to the L place was that Mano resembled simply life or now called “Open kitchen”, where it serves fresh pastries, salad, soups and mains. While the decor  of the dining area reminded me of greyhound cafe with the black and white theme, exposed light bulbs etc

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I was greeted by friendly and helpful staff as soon as I walked in, you could choose to get salad in big or small bowl or a main + salad. I looked at the mains and the salmon caught my eyes so I picked the salmon steak with my choice of salad.

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That’s the big bowl I ordered

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The salmon was perfectly pink on the inside but perhaps it had gotten cold by the time I got back to my desk, it was a tad on the dry side (it was quite a walk from IFC to the L place). I picked a mix of barley + edamame, butternut squash and broccoli as salad. The bill came up to $118 which is pretty reasonable. On days that I feel like being bit healthy I would go to Liberty Exchange for their maple glazed salmon steak which at almost $200 and about the same size as the one in Mano has not much “salad” to offer except for a few leaves. The big Mano bowl was filled to the brim, after I finished the salmon and a few pieces of butternut squash and broccoli I had to save almost half of its content for afternoon tea! I like that the salad weren’t excessively dressed, the broccoli was simply grilled and the sweet and nutty butternut squash was just roasted. I particularly like the barley and edamame salad, the crunchiness of edamame and the slight chewiness of barley offer contrasting texture and the dish was light and tasted like it was just dressed lightly with a drizzle of lemon juice.

Am looking forward to trying the rest of their menu soon!

The L Place,

139 Queen’s Road Central

+852 23847339

http://www.manohk.com

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Central, Hong Kong Restaurant

Chôm Chôm

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Since I wasn’t too wowed by their private kitchen, I wasn’t exactly in a rush to check it out when they opened their new branch in soho. Yes, I’m typically skeptical about the floor to ceiling windowed pretty hangouts; there had been too many of those popping up in the past year and mostly with little substance. Not to mention the kinda crowd they typically draw. But Cel, Lisa and I just wanted a place that’s chill, fun and convenient so we decided to check Chôm Chôm out.

All the tables were taken by the time we got to the restaurant at 7pm; Cel was waiting for us at the bar and since I was really keen on sitting at the bar to enjoy the full view of the open kitchen we gladly took the bar table. One of the pros of sitting at the bar is that you get to see what comes out of the kitchen, and you can just point and order. The sous chef explained that the lights are designed in such a way that you can take pretty pictures of the food at the bar, as well as taking pictures of the food being prepared behind the bar! How thoughtful! =)
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Given a choice, I’d always stick to room temperature or hot drinks so when I saw that there were practically no hot drinks on the menu, I ordered an “Ice tea without Ice”. Cel couldn’t stop laughing but there IS a difference between “just tea” and “Ice tea without ice”!! Tea is just plain tea but Ice tea without ice is basically ice tea with all that mint leaf and whatever herb and sugar and spice that go in minus the ice served at room temperature!

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Chôm Chôm’s menu consisted of interpretation of classic dishes and street food as well as craft beer and Vietnamese inspired cocktails. Chef Peter Cuong Franklin, who’s also the owner of Chôm Chôm private kitchen, was born and raised in Vietnam. The love of food brought this Yale graduate to Cordon Bleu and he had trained and worked at top restaurants in Chicago, Bangkok and Hanoi since then. Wanting to introduce the Bia Hoi culture (sipping freshly brewed beer on street corners while munching on street food) to HK, he turned his private kitchen into this chic neighborhood hangout.

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Salmon Tartar served with fried prawn crackers. The salmon tartar mixed with lime, salmon roe, red onion was refreshing and packed with flavors. The salmon roe added bursts of salty deliciousness to the sour and spicy dish. I loved using the crackers to spoon out the salmon tartar, adding texture to the dish

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Shaking Beef -Beef Tenderloin, Watercress & Rocket Salad. I know this dish was supposed to be eaten with rice, but the tenderloin was a tad too salty and I would prefer it to be bit more tender

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Bun Cha Pork Skewers Pork Belly, Pork Shoulder, Vermicelli, Nuoc Cham. Pork was tender and juicy on the inside, slightly charred with subtle smokiness on the outside, I usually dread having pork belly just coz I hate the texture of chunky fats. This dish was actually pretty well balanced with the nuoc cham (fish sauce mixed with lime, garlic and sugar)

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Pho Rolls Grilled Beef, Fresh Rice Noodle, Pickles, Purple Basil
The pho rolls reminds me of the Chinese rice noodle rolls (usually with char siew or shrimps inside), I din quite like the texture of this pho roll, it felt a little too thick and the texture was bit flat. The flavor wasn’t very memorable either

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We saw the chef preparing this dish and we just couldn’t stop staring so we ended up getting one for ourselves too Cha Ca Hanoi White Sole Fillet, Turmeric, Dill, Vermicelli. BEST dish of the day! The sides of the fillet were slightly crispy and added an interestingly slight chewy, caramelized texture to the tenderness of the tofu-like softness inside. I could have another order on my own

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chef: this is on the house, would you gals like to try it?
us: since you insist, we’ll take it :p
Kaffir Lime Chicken Cabbage Salad Red Onion, Jicama, Rau Ram- The fried chicken was surprisingly light, I really don’t usually eat fried stuff but this had a good balance with the cabbage salad removing any hint of greasiness in the chicken

We REALLY, like really really really, wanted to have the Viet Coffee Affogato Saigon Cinnamon Ice Cream, Caramelized Condensed Milk, Rice Krispies! Just the sound of it made me drool! But the tragedy of life is that they aren’t serving that dish that night :'(
us: WHAT?! How can you tease us with this tempting dessert on your menu and not serve it?
chef: can I at least explain why we aren’t serving it us ** covering our ears** Lalalalalalalalala
us: NO! we demand to have it! really really!!!
Chef: (-_-“) the weather is too hot and our freezer isn’t ready so we can’t serve this dish… I can give you fruit platter on the house!
us: NO!**stamp feet** we want the other one!!!!

Cel almost had to drag L and I out of Chom Chom before we throw a tandrum.. ok fine… I was exaggerating, we were very well behaved and resigned to fate after we stamped our feet. But note to self, I’m coming back for drinks and this drool inducing dessert! I heard they have really good cocktails, L had a call after and Cel wasn’t feeling very well so we opted for non alcoholic drinks instead.

The bill came up to under $300 per person which is really very reasonable for the location and the quality of food served. Thou with TBLS‘s awesome Vietnamese menu still fresh in my mind, it is a tough one to compete with. I really liked the buzzing vibe at Chom Chom, it was everything we thought we wanted, fun, casual and not overly crowded. The chefs and crew were friendly, I would highly recommend the bar table if you have just a group of 2 or 3s. It really added to the whole dining experience here, the only downside was that we kinda smelled like food after the dinner.

G/F Block A
No. 58-60 Peel Street
Central, Hong Kong
Open Monday to Sunday
6PM till late
No reservations

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Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Restaurant

Under Bridge Spicy Crab

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Having crappy crab at fatty crab really left me craving for some real seafood for days! While talking about it over brunch on Sunday, K suggested going to Under Bridge Chili Crab, “TONIGHT”!

Even though it doesn’t come close to how awesome Singaporean black pepper crab is, it is a decent substitute (there’s “No signboard HK branch” but it’s really nowhere near the real deal). I know it sounds ridiculous but quite a number of groups of friends that I hang out with actually require the use of doodle to set a date to “book” each other weeks in advance so this impromptu dinner is like a miracle on its own :p

Our group of 6 quickly expanded to a group of 11 as the day progress. All we could think of was our seafood dinner so we got a table at the earliest possible time. Surprisingly the restaurant was far from being empty at 6pm. Under bridge spicy crab started from being a dai pai dong literally under the “bridge” i.e. Jaffe road bypass, to now having three branches within a block from each other and attracting both locals and tourists to try its famous “typhoon shelter cooking style”.

We ordered their signature dish- two huge chili crab (one mildly spicy and one medium spicy), clams, some veggies, under the bridge style ribs, rice and noodles and MA PO TOFU + SWEET AND SOUR PORK (-_-“) blame the Koreans in our midst :p apparently us Chinese ordering japchae at a Korean restaurant is just as bad :p LOL
T (Korean #1): I want ma po tofu!
J (Korean #2): I want sweet and sour pork!
K: NO ONE orders ma po tofu and sweet and sour pork at a chili crab joint except for you Koreans!
T +J (T_T”): NO ONE orders japchae at Korean restaurants except for you Chinese!!
K: FINE…
I actually din bother taking pictures nor wasting space in my stomach for those two dishes.

Since most of the dishes we ordered were on the heaty side of the scale, we ordered watermelon juice to combat the heatiness, I know a lot of people don’t believe in that and dismiss it as midwives’ tales but I do whatever I can to avoid getting sore throat and pimples the next day. The restaurant was very attentive in giving us green bean soup as dessert at the end of the meal as green bean is known for its ability to “cool down” heatiness” =)

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The “crab oil” noodle was surprisingly good and light, even though there was literally nothing but noodles fried in crab oil, it was not overly greasy but full of crab flavor and the noodle was of a good bite.

The broccoli was good too, fresh and firm and each branch was lightly covered in sauce. Seriously we ate so fast, I forgot to even snap pictures of most of the food :p

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The under the bridge fried rice was flavorful with diced prawns, scallop, carrot and kailan; the texture of the rice was perfect, each grain of rice was firm yet not overly chewy. “wok hei” ** 鑊氣 is very important in Chinese dishes which require high heat to ensure shortest cooking time and retaining the freshness of the ingredients. And this fried rice definitely gets high score on the “wok hei” department!

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Sauteed Clams with Chili and Black Bean Sauce. The black beans sauce was tasty and mildly spicy without overshadowing the subtle sweetness of fresh clams.

Dishes arrived swiftly and were emptied with equal efficiency; we finished most of the dishes within less than an hour after we ordered!

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Finally, the star of the night had arrived. Unlike the saucy Singaporean chili crab, the Typhoon Shelter style chili crab was deep fried with garlic and chili and then stir fried with fresh onions and spring onions. It was then served buried under a heap of intensely flavorful garlic chili flakes and spring onion.

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{pictures from cnn}

The claw was as big as my palm and we wiped out TWO crabs in probably just 15 minutes! True story, you snooze, you lose. I asked if anyone wanted to share one crab with me if I order one more but there were no takers, sadly…. Everyone were too full. Even though the garlic flakes were packed with flavor, they did not overshadow the juicy and firm crab meat but brought out the mild sweetness of the fresh crab. The flakes were so good, we couldn’t stop picking at them. Some of us were eating it with plain rice while M and T took a lunchbox full of garlic flake home to fry rice with. Brilliant idea!

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The “under the bridge” pork rib was prepared using the same garlic flakes, it wasn’t the soft tender fall- off the bone kinda ribs but was kina chewy in a good way and the garlic flakes went really well with the juicy pork ribs. Spicy, salty and finger licking good

The bill came up to be about $300 per person, which we thought was well under our expectation. We ended the meal feeling very satisfied **rubbing tummy all around** and yes we were quite certain our bodies were gonna suffered a little after all that heaty and hearty dishes but it was well worth it =)

Under Bridge Chili Crab
Shop 1-2, G/F, 414 – 424 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay
2573 7698
** Another good way of explaining “wok hei” was found on chowtimes. Stir frying’s “wok-hei” (breath of the wok) is strictly a Cantonese-origin concept, whereby extreme high temperatures utilized for wokking minimizes cooking times and which literally seals in the moisture and tenderness of meats and their connective tissues while ensuring more delicate ingredients such as vegetables and tofus are cooked to perfection while maintaining their textures.

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Hong Kong Restaurant

Fatty Crab

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It took me a long time to finally say yes to trying fatty crab; I’ve read lots of buzz before its opening but somehow invasion of NY names hasn’t lived up to the hype. Motorino, Boqueria, Lupa just to name a few, it seems like they don’t even try, and people think they sound uber cool just saying “ Oh you know I was just at this new restaurant, it’s really famous in NY! OMG, it’s so awesome!” SERIOUSLY?! (-_-“)

Anyways, it doesn’t help that it’s serving Malaysian cuisine. I grew up in Singapore, spoiled by the authentic no fuss Malaysian cuisine so readily available so I was very skeptical trying a New Yorker take on chili crab.

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It feels like most of the newly opened restaurants look very similar; Fatty Crab felt like a cross between Chomp Chomp, Three Monkeys and Chachawan, with the old Hong Kong style plates and mugs and raw cement walls and the black framed windows. I felt like I was slowly merging all those restaurants in my head :p I’m not so sure about the loud music, nor the virtually ZERO privacy between tables. I get that heart pumping music gives energy and adds a somewhat trendy vibe to a restaurant. But the music was almost as loud if not louder than Yardbird! We had to shout across to carry on a conversation. And the tables were so close to each other, multiple times I had stuff (I suspect it’s crab shells or sauce) landing on my arms from the tables next to me. The good news is, you don’t have to worry about the next table eavesdropping since it’s almost impossible to hear what ur friend sitting across from you is saying half the time!

At least the service was good, we tried consoling ourselves; the chap who showed us to our table was friendly and welcoming and the waitress who served us was bubbling and enthusiastic. She explained that they usually recommend two skinny (lighter dishes) and two fatty (heavier dishes) and a dessert.

FC

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My eyes went straight to the fatty slider since I’m on my burger crave, the spiced beef burgers, sambal aioli, pickled cucumber sounded delightful, the patty was juicy but it was a definite letdown on the “sambal” department, nothing really spicy about this dish really. The burger left me so unsatisfied I ordered the burger from Chinnery at the Mandarin Hotel the very next day

Burger from Chinnery, Mandarin. hands down a much better choice
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The sea scallop was overcooked, and the acute flavor of the papaya salad totally overwhelmed the delicate subtle sweetness of scallop (if they even cooked it right). The salad itself was pretty good, spicy yet light at the same time but they are probably better off sticking to using prawns for this salad

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The watermelon pickle and crispy pork was a much better dish(might have just been by comparison to the first two dishes) the watermelon was refreshing and the crispy pork was nicely charred with the right amount of fats to meat ratio that made it tender and succulent. I was unlucky to have gotten one odd piece that had no fats in it and that felt like just chewing cardboard…

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Finally their signature dish had arrive, Chili Crab with dungeness crab, chili sauce, pullman toast. Remember to give it a good stir before starting on the dish, the fried Dungeness crab sits on the chili sauce. Chili crab or black pepper crab in Singapore is typically first fried and then stir fried in the sauce so the crab is encased in its glorious sauce so you get a taste of it with each bite of crab. Fatty Crab’s version on the other hand, leaves you in a bit of a dilemma, if you dip the chuck of crab meat into the sauce, the sauce would overshadow the crabmeat, do it without, and it becomes bit too bland. The sauce was also more salty then chili and it felt tad heavy.

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The peanut butter sundae our waitress so passionately recommended was the BEST thing we had all dinner. The peanut butter sauce, the heavenly caramel sauce and the toasted almond cookies all went very well with the ice cream. I pulled the jar towards my side slowly as J and I were talking and ended up having most of it to myself =) **Score**

The final bill came up to be about $700 per person, the un-memorable, barely average food, the overly loud music, the sardine packed table arrangement just doesn’t justify what we paid for. We did tip the waitress as her service was possibly the best part of the dinner at Fatty Crab..

Fatty Crab
Address: 11-13 Old Bailey Street
Tel:  +852 2521 2033

http://fattycrew.com

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Hong Kong Restaurant

Quemo

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Catalunya and Quemo were both on my to- try list couple of months ago, after trying Catalunya I felt like I wasn’t in a rush to try Quemo so it wasn’t until five weeks ago (I know I know… I’ve not been up to date with my reviews) when I revisited that list that I went ahhh… what about Quemo?

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Quemo is run by Quim Márquez, who has already gained fame at El Quim de la Boqueria, in Barcelona and Elite concepts. The name comes from a commonly heard word in Spanish kitchen meaning “burning” or “scorching”. The exact word I was screaming when I burnt my finger on the pan (I was trying to get a better angle taking pictures of the paella). Luckily, a staff handed me ointment and told me NOT to put ice on the wound immediately as it’ll give you blister straight away. And she was right!!! I never knew that!! The wound healed overnight =)

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Quemo is located in QRE, (another Spanish restaurant in wanchai?) I liked the decor of the restaurant where it’s rustic, clean and simple. Note to self: Quemo has an outdoor patio and a private dining room perfect for summer group dinners! While waiting for Cel to arrive, we ordered a bunch of dishes to “snack” on..

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Pregnant tomato filled with smoked fish, roasted eggplant onion and pepper

With an interesting name such as this, how could we give it a miss? I picked the smallest piece on the dish and popped it whole as instructed by the waiter, the hallowed tomato filled with cheese, roasted eggplant and smoked fish was refreshing, juicy, creamy, slightly salty and smokey (from the smoked fish) all at once

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Bread with tomato

This was definitely not my favorite dish, pale in comparison to the memory of how good the Pa amb tomaquet at Catalunya was! The bread was so crispy, fluffy and airy and the taste of the tomato was intense and refreshing at the same time. The Quemo version was bland and the bread was just blah… =(

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Cod Ravioli with Iberico ham and leek sauce

We loved this dish! The texture of the ravioli pasta was perfectly al dente, the cod fish wrapped inside was smooth, buttery with subtle sweetness. The iberico ham, the charred red pepper and the leek sauce added complexity to the taste and texture of the dish =)  

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Egg Timbal layered with iberico ham, roasted piquillo and potatoes

This hearty brunch like dish served in a skillet was every bit satisfying; creamy gooey runny egg yolk mixed with roasted potatoes, iberico ham and piqullo peppers eaten with toast. Love the mix of texture and flavors in this dish

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Oyster burger Oyster bocata with BBQ foie gras and homemade sweet potato bread

These humble looking burgers were hot in demand, we killed two plates in no time. Sandwiched between the homemade sweet potato bun were fried oysters and foie gras. This decadent combination of juicy, plump and fresh oyster with rich, creamy foie gras was simply irresistible.

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Unlike the typical paella we are used to, this squid ink paella was served with short grain rice thinly lined on a big flat pan while the clams were served separately. The proper way to eat was to scrape the rice from the centre to the edge of the pan so you get the different textures. The rice in the center should be moist and chewy while the ones on the side should be perfectly crispy like the base of our claypot rice. We were a bit disappointed that the rice weren’t as crispy as we would like it to be, but the flavors made up for it! The rice was  packed with flavors of cuttlefish, fish and chicken stock while the cuttlefish and shrimp bits in the rice added different texture to the mix.

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The clams served on the side were fresh with subtle sweetness; although it was served with garlic sauce, the clams were good enough on their own

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Iberico pork, presa, was cooked to perfection with gorgeous char, the beautifully marbled shoulder loin was very succulent and flavorful, rendering the sauce redundant. Presa is the wagyu of the porcine world, I loved it so much, I forgot all about the potato mash that came with it.   

Even though some of the dishes were below average (bread with tomato), I would go back to Quemo for their presa and to try their dessert =)

Quemo

Address:  5/F, QRE Plaza, 202 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Tel:  +852 2836 0699

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Wollamssam – K-Style Vietnamese Rice Paper Roll

Ignoring a few hiccups, my eyeballing and guestimation errors (more at the end of the post), my apartment is finally feeling a little more livable, while it’s far from what I have envisioned, I’m finally starting to settle in.

Prior to all the hiccups I’d volunteered to host our mission trip debrief at my new pad, oh boy!!! I’m so thankful that the team had come up with the brilliant idea of having wollamssam for the debrief which really involves not much on site cooking at all =)

Wollamssam is the Korean version of Vietnamese rice paper roll, while the Vietnamese rice paper roll is usually simpler and lighter, wollamsam is typically more hearty where you can add anything to the roll.

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Wollamsam sauce

  • Fish Sauce
  • Fresh lemon Juice
  • Garlic
  • Pineapple Juice (from can)
  • Blend small apple wedge
  • Fresh viet/thai chillis (these are HOT so chop up and add to sauce bowls).
  • Chop up coriander stalks and add to sauce at the end (optional for those who can’t stand coriander)

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Wollamsam ingredients

  • Avocado (please pick ripe ones)
  • Meat (preferably bulgogi)
  • Mint
  • Coriander (Cilantro)
  • Pineapple (From can)
  • Egg strips (break eggs into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and fry one thin layer at a time on a frying pan. Remove and slice into finger-length strips.)
  • Crab stick (tear into strips)
  • Tomato
  • Apple
  • Mushroom
  • Cucumber
  • Spanish onion

Other optional ingredients

  • Capsicum (Peppers)
  • Lettuce
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Fish Cake
  • Rice noodles
  • Alfalfa sprouts

And the soul of the dish- rice paper

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Slice all the vegetables thinly into finger lengths, wash the herbs. Place ingredients onto big plates, separating meat from vegetables and put bowls of sauce along to table for sharing.

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Get a shallow, yet wide bowl/ plate and fill it with cold drinking water for dipping rice paper.

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Steps to insanely delicious wollamsam

  1. Dip dry rice paper sheet into water for a second, just enough where water covered every surface

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2. While the paper is still hard, place the now damp rice paper sheet onto the strainer plate. The strainer plate is key, it is a plastic plate with holes in it which allows excess water to be drained from the rice paper.

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3. Put leaves/ herbs in the middle of the rice paper and start stacking up your desired ingredients

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4. Add sauce and roll it up like a kebab

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Tada!! There you’ll get your customized wollamssam =)

Back to the eyeballing and guestimation errors I mentioned earlier…

I’ve intended to get a bench for my dining table

dining bench

I’m not quite sure what I was thinking or whether I was even thinking when I bought the bench but when it arrived at my house I realized it was much wider than my dining table (-_-“)

Frd: did u not measure it before u bought it?

V: I eyeballed it (with much confidence)

Frd: (-_-“) you with the amazing sense of space who still walk into walls coz u think u can fit thru the gap?!

V: yes

Frd:…

AND I realized now that the table and the bench are side by side that the color is completely different. AMAZING!

And just as u think I do not have a measuring tape at home, I do. In fact, I measured this space where the wardrobe was supposed to fit but because I’m vertically challenged, I guesstimated the last few inches and the wardrobe ended up being just half an inch too tall to fit into that space… another epic fail.. I should write a blog about what NOT to do.. me thinks

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