Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Maxim's Palace, Shun Tak Centre

Finally. Dim sum in an air-conditioned room, with clean tables which you don't have to fight for or share, and waiters who actually serve you. I never thought I'd say this but dim sum can actually be a very relaxing affair. I used to think Maxim's was far too loud and hectic, but that was before paying visits to Lin Heung, Tim Ho Wan, and Xin Xing Shi Jia which brought a whole new level to the word madhouse.

My recent visit to Maxim's Palace in Shun Tak Centre was met with newfound appreciation. Everything was efficient, hygienic, organised, and so so quiet. I forgot how much space you could have between two tables, and was so happy to be able to communicate through words rather than random gestures and iPhone texts.

The restaurant was recently refurbished and it looks pretty amazing. It's more spacious now, though there must be at least 80 tables still. The wait time was only about 10 mins (we went at 1pm on Sunday) but what made me even happier was getting to sit in front of the kitchen:

It looks so much cleaner than the recent kitchens I've seen in local dim sum joints! Such a relief! This is how a proper kitchen should look.

What I loved most about the change to this restaurant is that they've brought back the trolley cart ladies! And with improved carts - on the front of each one is an electronic display with a slideshow of all their delectable dishes. They also had all this dim sum I can hardly find anymore - including deep fried shrimp wontons with mayo and my favourite wu gok! Unfortunately, I was suffering from ulcers so stayed clear of the fried foods on this trip.

The har cheong was okay la... The rice flour was delicious and prawns were sufficiently plump but the sauce was just soy sauce!! :( Would've been so much better with the sweetened soy sauce...

Ham sui gok was quite fried but my friend seemed to find it alright.

Cha siu bao bun was really good! Filling wasn't bad either :) Happy with this.

Har gau was yummy!! The skin had a great texture and look how big the shrimps are!

This was under their signature dishes. Can't remember the exact name but it was just rice flour wrapped around chicken. It was SO BLAND even when doused in the sauce. Definitely don't order this.

Chiu Chow dumplings were super tasty! Loved the fillings, though I probably shouldn't have eaten them with all the peanuts and my ulcers kicking in. However, it was well worth it and I was good enough to at least stay clear of the chili oil this time round.

All the diligent workers waiting to serve food :) I was quite impressed with the service which was on the whole pretty efficient. Also, one trolley lady was pushing around a cart full of goodies and we asked her if she had cha siu sou but she had all run out. She came around a while later and was quick to stop at our table presenting her trolley full of cha siu sou's. It's the little things eh?

Unfortunately, it took forever for us to get our bill...But that's only a minor glitch and we weren't in any hurry. I enjoyed my meal and look forward to going back to try all the unhealthy items I couldn't eat this time round!

Maxim's Palace
B13-B18, Shun Tak Centre
168-200 Connaught Road Central
Sheung Wan

Monday, May 30, 2011

One Stop Food Supply Co

I love steak, be it ribeye, filet mignon, sirloin, or really any other cut. We decided to pan-fry some steak over the weekend (though my role was essentially holding out my plate and waiting for my food). We were going to just pick up some steaks from International but were walking around High Street and noticed this new meat shop:



It only opened two days ago and right now they're doing an opening promotion where everything is 10% off. They had a variety of cuts including ribeye, sirloin, and the much coveted Australian M5 & M7 Wagyu beef. Prices range from $26 to $150 per 100g. Needless to say, we opted for the $26 cut of ribeye from the US. (They also import from New Zealand and Canada).

This turned out to be a HUGE portion. We asked for two steaks, roughly 1 inch thick, which were far bigger than expected! It was actually a bit intimidating and cost close to $100 per steak! Glad there was some discount.

steak and rice :)

Okay, presentation isn't great but it was definitely yummy comfort food! I'm 100% sold on the steak and rice concept. The rice tastes delicious soaked in all that meaty juice. The meat didn't blow me away but it was still highly enjoyable, pan-fried with only a hint of oregano and salt, and cooked to perfect medium rare by my wonderful chef :) We did eat a salad as well so it wasn't completely unhealthy :P

Do visit One Stop if you're in the neighbourhood and take advantage of their discount! The meats they import are of good quality and prices aren't bad for the cuts they're offering. I think the M5 Wagyu was about $118 per 100g at this store, whereas I saw it for over $150 at Fusion Gourmet. They also have a variety of chops, smoked salmon, and cured meats. OOH, and they stock a whole range of Jamie Oliver products including sauces and pasta, all of which range from $20 - $40. It doesn't hurt that the owners were lovely as well!

One Stop Food Supply
G/F, 59 High Street
Sai Ying Pun

Sunday, May 29, 2011


I absolutely love carbs and bagels are definitely up there on my list of top bready items. They were so delicious in the States - smoked salmon cream cheese bagels, lightly toasted with a hint of dill, or my go-to breakfast of a honey wheat bagel slathered with cream cheese. Bagel perfection.

Bagels in Hong Kong used to be a pretty sad affair - of the commercial frozen variety or steam baked which are never as good as water-boiled bagels. Even worse, every bagel I tried lacked the chewy consistency that's characteristic of New York bagels. They were doughy, like eating any normal sandwich albeit in round shape, and often too sweet.

However, I've managed to find a few decent joints in HK to get my bagel fix. My favourite place is the Press Room where they import H&H bagels - my favourite from the States! Perfectly firm crust and chewy innards make for bagel heaven. Add to that a really generous amount of smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers and I can't think of a better brunch. The bagels come in overnight from New York so they are super fresh :)

press room, H&H bagel with smoked salmon ($92)

On a sidenote, the Press Room also does amazing eggs bene! Perfect brunch spot (the bagel and eggs bene are only available over the weekend).

I also enjoy Yo Bago in Quarry Bay. Their bagels are pretty substantial and well-priced. I always get the Vancouver Breakfast which tastes best on honey wheat bagels. The pineapple is an especially nice touch, but they do skimp on the salmon and the consistency isn't great. Their plain and honey wheat bagels tend to fall on the doughy texture side, and lack the yeasty flavour you get from traditional bagels. However, it's still satisfying with fresh ingredients. I do want to try the steak and cheese bagel next time!

yo bago, vancouver breakfast ($39)

Finally, Harvest Bagel & Cafe is pretty decent too. I love their smoked salmon bagel served with fried egg. They're generous with the fillings and the bagel is pretty dense and chewy. Their bagels are typically around $50, unfortunately I forgot to snap a photo of this one.

I will however leave you with my perfect bagel:

Smoked salmon (yes I know, I never veer from my salmon fillings) cream cheese on an egg bagel. This was from Absolute Bagels in New York - the best in my opinion. See that layer of cream cheese?? And egg bagels are my favourite :) But they're hard to come by in HK...

The Press Room
108 Hollywood Road

Yo Bago
G/F, 80 Pan Hoi Street
Quarry Bay

Harvest Bagel & Cafe
G/F, 36 Lyndhurst Terrace

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sweet Classroom

My adventurous side has taken a backseat recently as I've found myself drawn to the same familiar spots these past few weeks. Sometimes, it's just easier choosing something you know - No disappointments, No fuss, No dashed expectations. But while I've been sticking to the same restaurants, I'll never pass up trying new dessert joints!

Sweet Classroom, again conveniently located on Third Street, is a tiny dessert shop that is said to have amazing tiramisu. The decor is quite cosy, imitating a classroom as the name suggests, and the menu is written on old exercise books. There's a number of Western and Chinese desserts but the Western ones sound far more decadent and exciting.

I was tempted to try the Chocolate Lava Cake or Vanilla Souffle, but I've been looking for good tiramisu everywhere in HK and was determined to stick to the game plan.

Looked so pretty when it came with ample dusting of cocoa powder :) This was delicious - though definitely not your conventional tiramisu. It hardly tasted like cake at all, more akin to tiramisu ice cream as it was so soft. Though I'm definitely not complaining - it was super creamy and melted in my mouth. Pretty decadent :D Needs a bit more coffee flavour though.

I'll be back to try their signature desserts like the Hokkaido Milk Souffle as well as their Taiwanese shaved ice! Yum!

And on a sidenote, My Sushi (reviewed below) have recently introduced new mini rice bowls to their menu. Check out this beauty:

Mini salmon rice bowl with avocado. It was simply delicious and only cost $23 (though the size of the bowl is pretty tiny). They also have mini unagi rice bowls and I believe a mini uni rice bowl but must confirm the latter.

Sweet Classroom
G/F, 150 Third Street
Sai Ying Pun

Open 15:00-00:00
Closed Tuesdays

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Sushi

Like I said, there are so many yummy things around my area and My Sushi is testament to that. I've been there three times in the past week and still want more! Luckily it's only a minute's walk from where I live so it's pretty easy to satisfy my cravings.

My first time here, I made a life-changing discovery - snowfish. We had initially wanted to order yellowtail but it was sold out for the day and the waitress recommended us try snowfish, or white tuna. I will be forever grateful to her for introducing it to me! It's absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious. I couldn't stop thinking about it, so naturally on my second visit I had to order more.

tuna, salmon, snowfish ($18, $12, $20 for 2pcs)

Their regular tuna pales in comparison and I wouldn't bother with it to be honest. The snowfish seriously is out of this world. And for only $20, I find it quite the steal! The salmon is also really good here - super fresh and great quality. I could not believe it was only $12 - I think that's as cheap as conveyor belt sushi!!

fatty tuna and lobster salad warships ($25, $18 for 2 pcs)

I enjoyed the fatty tuna but didn't try the lobster salad - not a big fan of that semi-sweet mayo dressing they use though my friend seemed to enjoy it immensely.

unagi handroll ($15 for 1pc)

This was the only thing I wasn't pleased with and couldn't bring myself to finish. The sauce of the eel was sickly sweet and overpowering. Made me a bit upset because I really wanted to try their grilled eel don which looks amazing in their photos and had lots of "thumbs up" and smiley faces on the menu..

rainbow roll ($50)

This was okay, though I tend to prefer sushi to rolls (unless they're of the Hatsune type). It had cucumber, crabmeat, and avocado inside, topped with salmon/tuna/scallops and more avocado. Good thing I'm a big fan of avocado! How I miss avocado milkshakes in Boston...

Delicious meal for about $100pp (we ordered ice cream mochi for dessert too). Definitely worth trying if you're in the neighbourhood. I was surprised by how fresh the fish was considering the prices. Really well prepared by the Fujian man behind the counter! And the service is great, particularly as there's no service charge!

They also have delicious rice bowls for really decent prices. I got this salmon & salmon roe ikura-don for only $49 ($45 if you order it without the miso soup). What a steal and perfect for an easy meal at home.

My Sushi
#23-35 Water Street
Western District

Opens 11:30am - 10:00pm

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fuel For Studying

I don't know how I would get through exams without all these goodies I've been munching on in the past week or so:

goodies from London :)

My favourite Mcvitie's penguin bars!!! I polished off four of these in less days than that, even while trying to ration! Joke of the day: Why did the 2 penguins jump when they first met? ... To break the ice! Hehe.

(NB: for all you Penguin lovers, I've finally located them in Hong Kong at Oliver's supermarket in Prince's Bldg. Unfortunately, they're like $45 a pack...)

goodies from switzerland :)

this one was absolute heaven.

mandarin easter bunny

I've only allowed myself to pick at the flowers so far. This is much too pretty to eat!!

Courtesy of my amazing mother and her numerous trips around Europe, as well as to Foodie magazine for the bunny! I'm probably the only one who ever bothers entering contests but it works out well for me :)

Post-exam dieting much needed. Er, as well as some Kettle chips to offset all this sweetness...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fusion Gourmet

I came to Fusion Gourmet for a light lunch and absolutely fell in love with it. Dad and I were meant to grab a quick bite seeing as I'm in the midst of exams, (I thought we were going to hit up a cha chaan teng), but we ended up here instead and to be honest, I was happy to spend the extra hour or so enjoying delicious food.

Fusion Gourmet is part restaurant, part grocery store, but considering the price of their fresh produce, I'd much rather dine in as their lunch sets are quite good value.

We ordered their portobello mushrooms to share which cost something like $60. Not bad considering if you bought their mushrooms raw in their store it'll already run you $45. The mushrooms came out looking like beef patties (made me crave a mushroom burger!) and were pretty juicy though I probably wouldn't order it again.

I opted for their 'healthy combo set' which was a big salad with soup, and 3 slices of freshly baked bread. Alternatively, you could opt for a big soup with salad - though the size of the bowls are huge and I can't imagine anyone getting through that much soup!

healthy combo set ($78)

I liked the presentation - very simple, clean and fresh. The soup was delicious - it was sweet potato that day and while it wasn't as thick as I expected, the flavour was spot on. I tend to like my soups lighter too, so this was pretty perfect. The salad was one of the best I've had in a while (besides the pesto grilled chicken salad at Oolaa which is huge and divine.) It was basically just mixed greens with delicious proscuitto (and a lot of it!), cherry tomatoes, and bacon bits. But I liked that the sauce wasn't overpowering and you could really taste how fresh everything was. The bread was also freshly baked and a perfect amount for a carb lover like me. I particularly enjoyed the walnut one, dunked in soup or enjoyed with a huge slathering of creamy butter.

My dad opted for the linguine with grilled mixed vegetables and toasted pine nuts, tossed in a pesto sauce. This was also served with a small side salad.

linguine ($128)

I took a couple bites of this and was initially surprised by how warm it was served, though the linguine was cooked al dente with a pleasantly firm texture. Thought it was a bit lacking though, I always prefer my pastas with some kind of meat!

You can add $20 for additional dessert which is always a must when the option is there :)

new york cheesecake

chestnut cake

The chestnut cake was amazing!! It was super creamy, not too heavy, and left me wanting lots more. Also helped that I thought it looked pretty stunning :) I wasn't a huge fan of the cheesecake - though it could be because I ate the chestnut one first and anything would pale in comparison ;)

This meal was absolutely worth the lost studying hours, though I should probably end this review and get back to work!

Fusion Gourmet
1/F, the Pemberton
22-26 Bonham Strand
Sheung Wan

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ping Kee Thai Restaurant

My first meal out since moving to my new place was a great success! While I am just down the street from my last apartment, there's so much more to eat here and everything so far has been pretty amazing.

Saturday night I stopped by Ping Kee Thai Restaurant, a restaurant that caught my eye since the day I was moving in. There are loads of newspaper clippings and pictures adorning the walls, and the sign looked pretty authentic. It only opens at night, from 6pm - midnight, but it sure gets busy then. Luckily we managed to grab the last free table. A lot of the customers seemed to be regulars living around the area - always a good sign!

The menu is pretty extensive with a long list of BBQ items, rice & noodles, and seafood. Not quite knowing where to start, we solicited the help of the couple to our left (regulars) as everything they had on their table looked absolutely delicious.

First, we ordered a number of their BBQ dishes which were all prepped and grilled in the open kitchen.

whole chicken wing, lobster balls, and grilled scallops ($15, $10, $30)

My favourite were the lobster balls, though next time I think I'll get the cuttlefish ones instead. Not hard to mess up but they had a nice addition of peanut sauce (tasted like satay sauce). The chicken wings were quite good too, though a little too oily for me. I wasn't a big fan of the scallops though. Flavour was there but texture seemed a bit off to me.

chilli minced pork salad $68

This was delicious!! It's pretty spicy (even after asking for it to be less so) but it was dangerously addicting. Each mouthful put a huge smile on my face. The couple told us that this was one of their favourite dishes here and their recommendation was spot on :)

jumbo prawns in 'green' curry $98

Despite loving the previous dish, this was the one that really blew me away. The price was slightly more than on the menu because they said their order of prawns were especially big that day. I think that's a bit of an understatement - the prawns were huge! They were so juicy and cooked perfectly. And the curry was amazing doused in rice. I'd go back again and again for this. Totally worth getting my hands filthy dirty for :)

Super happy and full after the meal. Can't wait to be back again and try their salted fish - almost every table ordered one and the whole fish only costs $78/$98 depending on size!

Ping Kee Thai Restaurant
155-157, Third Street
Sai Ying Pun
Hong Kong