Category Archives: Travel

My Good Eats Review: Xin Dau Ji, Hong Kong

Xin Dau Ji Hong Kong, China

April 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 5

 

My fellow Meat Eaters – Please bookmark this place & get your A$$ a reservation for their epic Suckling Pig!!!!  Like seriously – amazingly good.

So grateful that I have local friends who knows about these yummy eateries because a visitor like me, relies on Yelp or Google to find restaurant recommendations… Yelp is unfortunately NOT big in HK! (They use something call Open Rice – so MAKE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD that app for your Asia travel).  It’s quite hard to navigate beyond the touristy eats to find those local “gems” & delicious “hole in the wall”!

We had what I called a “pie in the sky” dinner here – everything was beyond delicious, none were disappointing – down to a simple hot clay pot sautéed spinach! Apparently the hot “clay pot” is one of their specialty besides their infamous “Suckling Pig”!  Lots of goodies cooked in a burning hot clay pot.

-Suckling Pig – freaking amazing, meat/fat/crispy skin ratio – perfection!
-Duck innards sautéed in sweet & soy concoction – NOT for the squeamish BUT great for foodie! Comes out looking like stir-fry noodles! 😉
-Clay pot Oysters – excellent sauce!
-Clay pot eggplant w/ fermented salted fish & chicken – So good – you will finish your whole bowl of rice!
-Clay pot baby lettuce – this was refreshing bc the baby lettuce heart is kind of bitter but sweet at the same time.
-Salt & Pepper squid – small plate – great snack paired w beer drinking or just eating!
-Fried fish filet with sweet corn sauce (this was really for the kids!)
-Egg white, Kai-Lah, dried scallop fried rice – Great texture, taste and balance to all the clay pot (which is heavy in sauce).

I feel like I’m missing a dish or 2!!! We were beyond full, satisfied and was in total food coma… for a party of 8, total bill $232 USD – not bad at all! (Considering the suckling pigs usually runs about $150 here in NYC).

The service was good, attentive, always changing our plates and never empty pots of Chinese tea!

Make this your next stop in HK for dinner! #HAPPYFOODHUNTING

My Good Eats Review: Chiu Fook Steam Stone Pot, Mong Kong, Hong Kong

Chiu Fook Steam Stone Pot Hong Kong, China

April 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 4
My first time having Steamed Hot Pot and it was amazing!!!


You can pick the seafood yourself or pick from a set menu.

I heard this is a new trend… while savoring all the sweetness of the seafood, the steam causes the seafood to sweat & dripped to the bottom of the casserole to make one EPIC pot of “jook” aka congee!!  Each seafood is set to a 3-4 min timer so it won’t be over cooked – your server will attend to each dish and serves it to you.

The seafood were all fresh, delicious and very yummy!  My favorite has to be the abalone and scallop – once cooked, dip it in a ginger zest & garlic soy seasoning. I added my own spin with hot chili oil, cilantro and hot pepper!  IT IS ABSOLUTELY DELISH! Mmm…

– Big Flower Crab (2)
– Razor clams (a dozen)
– Flower clams (a dozen)
– Little neck clams (a dozen)
– Scallops on shell (8)
– Tiger Prawns (8)
– Abalone (8)
– Chinese broccoli
– Seasoned Free Range Chicken (comes last)
– Abalone & Chicken innards for the jook (at the end!)

As we all know – seafood is expensive no matter which country you’re in, however in Hong Kong – it is still cheaper than the states!  I can’t even afford having abalone for dinner in NYC – let alone having it 3 nights in a row!  Party of 8, total bill about $275 USD – not bad considering all the delicious seafood we had!

The only reason why I gave it 4 stars – the service was just OK – we had a really good waiter but he had to take care of like 4 tables… not manageable when he has to meet a timer & run to each table. We had a 2nd waiter mid-meal and he wasn’t very nice – spills & splashes… ugh.  Pretty much ignored us and let us to serve ourselves at the end.  No worries – there’s no tipping in HK (it’s already included in your meal) – so no anxiety about giving them an undeserving 20% gratuity!

My Good Eats Review: L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Central, Hong Kong

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (Le Jardin) Hong Kong, China

April 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 5

I am a huge fan of this man… had the luxury of gorging at his namesake restaurant at the MGM in Las Vegas, Joel Robuchon.  I am usually skeptical of tasting menus… because I feel like it’s not innovative, more like what their “hits” were at their high point and now just a norm on their menu.  However at MGM – it was definitely a MUST for the tasting menu.

Here at L’atelier de Robuchon  – we did the “a la carte”… because our friends highly recommended a few must haves and felt it was a much better choice to splurge on a 3 course meal than the tasting menu; total bill $7722 HKD, roughly about $950 USD? Not bad for a party of 4.

We had excellent starters, the amazing King Crab salad and the Lobster salad, the beautifully sashimi Langoustines with Uni and finally the Foie Gras terrains – it was gorgeously presented and the balance of each texture was stimulating to ones palate. We shared the starters and it was a good choice.

The entrees – we went for the Guinea Fowl that comes with a giant piece of Foie Gras & baby fingerling potatoes… it serves 2 (technically it really serves 3! You have the whole chicken and it was served 2 sets, Chicken breast (white meat) and then the Thighs/Legs (dark meat).  It was so rich, robust with flavors and amazingly good – I wish I had an extra stomach!  Good thing we shared with our dining partners!  We also have the Uni Spaghetti w/ egg white foam; which was too rich for one sitting (said friend) and the delicious fried sweetbreads & seasonal veggies.

Desserts – we chose the HK “Dai Pa Dong” Milk Tea – it’s said to take over 20 mins to brew! We also got the cappuccinos, which came with a lovely coffee art of their name (cheeky!) and the deconstructed banana cream pie which came in a dome! Fantastic!  And of course their delicious signature soufflés (chocolate & vanilla)!

It was an epic meal! Cannot wait to return, hopefully in a year.  Highly recommend to anyone traveling to HK and looking to enjoy some fine dining! #splurgeworthy

PS: the Guinea Fowl is like a free range chicken (less fatty) – takes a long time to cook so be prepared for the wait.  Also I would swap out the Foie Gras Terrains – not as good as other Michelin competitors like Eleven Madison Park.

Happy travels!  #HappyFoodHunting!

My Good Eats Review: Yat Lok Restaurant, Stanley Street, Hong Kong

Yat Lok Restaurant – Hong Kong, China

April 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 5

Hey Food Travelers – Put it on your “MUST Eats in HK” list!!!

The best Roast Goose ever! And I’m usually a roast duck fan… what’s the difference you ask?  Roast duck is usually slightly “leaner” than goose (WHAT?! How?! I know!).  Also, I find roast goose to have a much more fragrant flavor over duck.  Yat Lok does not disappoint, the fat to meat ratio is perfect, the goose has a sweet linger flavor and when combined with their homemade plum sauce, your palate will implode in a good way!  Let the yumminess linger and take a sip of their lemon/sugar water… it helps to refresh your taste buds.

2017 Michelin Star – well earned!

Climb those darn hills, tiny walkable “sidewalks”… and watch your steps!

Tiny shop, all tables are up for grabs, share, squish, and Do Not Attempt to “hog” any space w/ your purse or murse…!   Don’t be surprise by the shouting… it’s a norm in HK, Cantonese is loud AF (in general… lol); there’s usually a long line, so come before the lunch crowd (11:40am got us 2 tables of 4!)

Menu w/ English and other specialty on the walls or be like me – just order their must eats!! –  order Roast Goose (can be order by 1/4 or 1/2 or whole!), Roast Pork (ask for half lean/half fat) over rice, over lai-fun, and chow down!

My Good Eats Review: Tim Ho Wan, Olympian City, Hong Kong

Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong, China

April 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 5

It only took me 5 years to return and do a rewrite.  I was very unkind in my original review potentially because my expectations were set too high and wasn’t met plus the 1hr 45 min wait time made me a very unpleasant customer.

This time around – expectations were still high and thankfully it was met with lots of good stuff!  So good, we went twice during our visit in HK! And practically had the whole menu!

 

Everything about this newer location is better – service was slightly nicer, more forgiving if you can’t read Chinese or speak Cantonese (luckily I can still speak the basics!), cleaner, and more spacious.

Tip 1: Tim Ho Wan opens at 10am – queue up by 9:30-45am, guarantees a table for the first seating.

Tip 2: Do not line cut! Hangry folks will tell you to get the eff off!

Tip 3: Cash ONLY (Cheap eats for Michelin Dim Sum!)

Tip 4: Paper menu & pencil on the table, mark the boxes with your quantity of choice (1 or 2) but ALSO circle them because during peak hours – the kitch might miss a few items.

Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to ask “we are still waiting for such & such – can you please check?!”  – or else you’ll be sitting & waiting for quite some time…

The Goods: the list is long! Ha Ha
-Pineapple roast pork buns, Custard Buns (Modern China is better!), Pig Liver Rice Roll (churn fun!) – it’s a specialty!, Har Gaw (shrimp dumping), Watercress dumpling, Chiu Jo Fun Gor, Shrimp & eggwhite spring roll (must get!!!), chicken feet, the big glutinous rice in lotus leaf!

The Not Bad list – everything else on the menu is pretty good but I’ve had better versions of it elsewhere.  Like the “kuai fai go” – the medicinal tonic jelly, or steamed spare ribs, the Malaysian sponge cake, Shui Mai, or even the congee… slightly better versions at One Dim Sum, Jasmine Garden…

Bottomline – everything is worth a shot at your first visit! Enjoy the gluttony feast!

Thank you for reading this very long rewrite!  #happyfoodhunting!

My Good Eats Review: Crab Catcher, La Jolla

Crab Catcher – La Jolla, San Diego

July 2015

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 3

While vacationing in La Jolla, we had a girl’s night out and wanted to grab dinner before hitting a bar.  Not familiar with this area, we relied on Yelp! And found this spot right by the ocean.  It’s fairly big but to be safe, we did Open Table.  Hey, we are tourist in this town!

TIP: If you’re on a date, make sure you get the tables with a view! It’s a beautiful view of the La Jolla coastline!

IMG_catcher1

We had: 2 dozen oysters (really fresh pacific coast oysters) to start and crab cakes, and dived into the entrees.  We ordered to share 2.5 lb lobsters, 2 different kinds of Alaskan King Crab legs (one was orange and one was red)… I found the red one was much sweeter!  And it came with a nice corn salsa.  Ask them to double crack it, easier to eat. There was also a risotto with scallops special – wasn’t memorable.  Definitely go for their seafood, it’s their namesake!

We had drinks as well, think they were generous with their alcohol – my friends had fun being tipsy! I’m was the non-drinker that night so I had many funny moments laughing at their silliness.

Service was attentive at first but once we got our food, hardly anyone came by to do refills or ask if we needed anything else.  That was a bit disappointing because we really wanted dessert and coffee, however after waiting 20 mins for someone to casually come by to clear our table and then another 15 mins for another waiter to ask… our dining experience was done for the night.

Overall, worth a visit, I’ve had better king crab legs in City Island and would have liked a bigger seafood selection; still when in roam in La Jolla, grab a bite to eat here.

My Good Eats Adventure: Paris & Copenhagen!

One of my goal before turning the big 4-0 was to hit up at least 5 (or more if my bank account allows it!) different Michelin Star restaurants (minimum 2 stars).   So my good eats adventure actually started during my work trip to Las Vegas…  #1) Joel Rubuchon, MGM Grand Las Vegas – his namesake restaurant with 3 Michelin Stars  (rumor has it, it may have lost one star) #2) EMP – Eleven Madison Park, NYC.

That’s 2 off my list and knowing I’ll get the rest in Paris & Copenhagen… priceless (actually very pricey… LOL).

Paris, France – September 2015

#3) Le Cinq – 3M Stars (I think they recently lost one)

Tasting menu,  I will only share what’s memorable to me cuz that means it had an impact on my taste bud… good and bad.

  • 1 shot bites, consists of liquid gelatin with fruity taste, foie gras, & raspberry moose with chocolate – this was interesting as it requires you to eat each item in an order, in one bite without chewing (aka 1 shot!).  The fruity gelatin cleanses your palate, then the foie gras sets up the savory and ends it with a bittersweet aftermath… like a child eating for the first time, shocking your sweet & bitter sides of your tongue.
  • Langoustines!  Mmm… the texture is a hybrid between lobster and shrimp, but so much sweeter!  This was cooked to medium well, as we all know seafood is temperamental – under cooked leaves a fishy taste, over cooked leaves you chewing on a tough texture.  Our langoustines were broiled, seasoned with herb butter and a sweet creamy sauce (yes I know French food is heavy on the sauces but this one is creamy & light).
  • Desserts were amazing… like eating ice sculptures and snow fall all blended inside your mouth.
  • Side note: I cannot believe this is my first time having this wonderful, sweet, mouth-watering shellfish.  How is it possible that I’ve never had Langoustine in NYC, a major food scene until now?  Well, I quickly learned – it is actually extremely hard to harvest as it must stay fresh for a certain amount of hours and by the time it ships to NYC eateries, it must then be eaten very quickly.

 

Copenhagen, Denmark – September 2015

#4) A/O/C – 2M Stars

All I could remember were flowers… and those incredibly pretty clay plates.  Almost 40% of the food on the 18 course tasting menu were raw… and I really do prefer my food cooked.  So the only 2 food item that stood out, roasted sweetbread with edible flowers and clay-roasted baby potatoes, which requires you to hammer it out!

 

#5) Geranium – 3M Stars

I’d like to compare Geranium to a Hermes Birkin bag… every dish looks amazing to the eyes, it’s attractive, well presented, just beautiful to look at…  but it’s not an everyday meal, just as the Birkin is not your everyday bag.  It took a few weeks of observing the booking calendar to get a reservation.  NOMA was a no-go, but glad we had Geranium.

I enjoyed all 14 courses of our tasting menu and the oddly juice pairing – we only liked the apple mix – the rest were forgettable.   There were 3 standouts – 1) the Hake Fish with Caviar, loads of it! 2) Razor Clams with edible paper and 3) the mysterious soup where we took a tour of the kitchen.   With all its thought out service and timing, it was incredible to find that they actually “messed” up our courses.   Our servers placed a new plate setting after our amazing hake fish with caviar, which would mean another dish is coming out.  However after 10 minutes have passed, our servers simply came by to clear those ‘new’ plating away.  We didn’t think anything of it.  Turns out, our servers forgot the ‘bread’ course and there were no breads to serve as it was out of sequence by now.  Alas, it was a good feeling that such an impressive restaurant… is still human.

My girlfriends and I really enjoyed our trip, our crazy splurges on food and would highly recommend anyone looking for food excitement to hit up Copenhagen!