Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hong Kong: Four Season Pot Rice

We hung around in McDonald's until right before Four Season Pot Rice opened at 5:30 pm.  When we got to the restaurant, we were surprised to see that we weren't the first ones there.  However, there definitely wasn't a line quite yet.  Unlike what we found outside when we left:
















Nothing fancy inside:
















That's how you know the food is good.  If the decor is as basic as it can get and yet there's a line out the door, something's being done right in the kitchen.

We were supposed to take it easy since we were planning on getting dim sum afterwards.  (It certainly didn't help that we ordered a McD meal right before either.)  But of course, that didn't happen.  Apparently, neither AF nor I know the meaning of "taking it easy."

We were very curious about the duck egg oyster cake, so we absolutely had to order one.  We thought we were being smart by ordering the small, which came with two pieces, instead of the large, which came with four.  We didn't feel quite so smart after our "small" arrived:
















There's another piece just as big right underneath the top one.

It tasted so damn good though.  Deep fried to perfection, the edges were super crispy.  There were also eggy parts and a nice distribution of oysters.  And some greens to make it healthy.

Continuing with the healthy theme, we also ordered ong choy with fermented bean curd sauce:
















If you've never had fermented bean curd, you're in for a surprise.  Its flavor is quite strong and quite distinct.  And very salty.  I love the stuff.

There were a lot of claypot rice options to choose from.  We ultimately went with the Chinese sausage and pork chops:























The claypot is cooked directly on the fire.  The fats and juices from the meat soak into the rice, making it fragrant.  But you can't just eat it like that.  Oh, no.  You have to drizzle on the soy sauce:
















If you forget this step, your rice will be bland and dry.  Soy sauce is key.

We were enjoying our meal so much that we didn't realize our miscalculation until we stood up and discovered how full we were.  Oops.

So much for taking it easy.


Four Season Pot Rice
46-58 Arthur St, Yau Ma Tei
Kowloon, Hong Kong

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hong Kong: McDonald's

After brunch at Australia Dairy Co., AF and I walked.  We walked from Jordan down to Victoria Harbor.  We caught our breath at the Hong Kong Museum of Art before meandering down the Avenue of Stars, where I geeked over Andy Lau's handprints.  We found Indonesia Restaurant and bought lemper (which wasn't nearly as good as what we had in Jakarta).  We ate some eggettes.

We wanted to fit in claypot rice and a late night dim sum run before we left Hong Kong.  We timed everything so that we could have claypot rice for a light first dinner and then chow down on dim sum for second dinner.  What we failed to take into account was how fast we both were at walking.  When we arrived at the claypot rice restaurant, it wasn't yet open for business.

We had an hour to kill, so we found a McDonald's and plopped ourselves down to wait:
















What we should have done was order a drink and maybe a sundae.  Instead, AF went and ordered a meal.  The prosperity burger combo meal to be exact:























The prosperity burger is a limited-time special for Chinese New Year.  There were two prosperity burgers to choose from, beef and chicken.  Both came smothered in black pepper sauce, but while the beef was sprinkled with chopped onions, the chicken was topped with shredded lettuce.

We went with beef:
















I think I might have hyped up the prosperity burger too much in my head.  I saw ads for it all the way back while we were still in Indonesia.  Even the name "prosperity burger" sounded cool.  But the actual burger?  Meh.  It didn't look nearly as appetizing as the ads made it look.  No surprise there.  The pepper sauce was good, but nothing too special.  I didn't feel all that prosperous after eating it.

The curly fries were good though.  And the free "red" envelope (which was actually golden) that came with the meal was a cute bonus.

I love visiting McDonald's in different countries because you can always find something new and tailored to the local population.  The prosperity burger is one example.  The day before, we'd also stopped by a McD's while waiting for a food joint to open.  That time, I couldn't resist getting a red bean pie:
















Deep fried and filled with burning hot red bean paste:
















Only in Asia.  The first two bites were good (and very hot), but then it quickly became too sweet to eat.  No regrets though.  It was worth the experience.

The prosperity burger though...lots of regrets there.  Especially by the end of the night when we were so full that we wanted to pass out and never wake up.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hong Kong: Australia Dairy Co.

On our first night in Hong Kong, T, AF, and I actually walked by Australia Dairy Co. while looking for a place to eat dinner.  It was pretty empty inside, so we barely gave it a second glance before walking on by.

Then T left and CL told us that she had to spend our last day in HK with family, leaving AF and me to figure out what we wanted to do by ourselves.  Or more accurately, what we wanted to eat.  A bit of Internet research later, we discovered that Australia Dairy Co. is actually a big deal.

As in check-out-this-line big deal:
















Apparently Australia Dairy Co. is a famous cha chaan teng (tea restaurant) and where all the cool kids go for breakfast.  Which is why we gamely got in line that morning.  AF and I were prepared to buckle down and wait, so we were stunned when we were pulled out of the line not five minutes after we arrived because we were a party of two and there just so happened to be two seats open.

We entered the restaurant to find a complete 180 from what we saw when we walked by our first night:
















Our "table" turned out to be a counter built into a niche in the wall with just enough space to fit two stools.  Worked for us.

We ordered a ham and egg sandwich to start:


















The sandwich was heavenly in its simplicity.  So heavenly that I wanted to weep.  The bread was so soft and the eggs so fluffy that it felt like biting into a cloud.  I haven't had eggs that well scrambled in, well, ever.

To get a bit of everything, we ordered the morning special (available between 7 am and noon) for 28 HKD.  It came with buttered toast, two eggs, and ham macaroni soup:





















It was my first time having Hong Kong-style macaroni soup and I was kind of befuddled by it.  I mean, look at it.  What the hell?  It's not Chinese.  It's not exactly Western.  Just what is it?  According to AF, it's comfort food, plain and simple.  And while it was all shades of weird, I have to say that I enjoyed it.  It tastes exactly as it looks.  Don't expect any culinary epiphanies with this baby, but as AF said, it was...comforting.

The morning special also came with a choice between milk tea and coffee.  We went with milk tea:
















I immediately dumped in two bags of sugar.

We were curious about the steamed milk with egg whites, so we ordered one hot:
















It was super smooth and really warmed us up from the inside.  The texture was a cross between soft jello and boiled egg whites.  Kind of strange at first, but it definitely grows on you.  Not overly sweet, the taste is subtle and milky and quite delicious.

My favorite thing at Australia Dairy Co. was hands down its egg sandwich.  I don't care if the line goes all the way to the moon, I would get in it in a heartbeat.  Some things are worth waiting for.

Sorry, T.  You missed out.  Big time.


Australia Dairy Co.
G/F, 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan
Hong Kong
2730 1356

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hong Kong: Toast Box

AF and I said goodbye to LW after surviving the flower market and headed back to our homestay.  I was more than ready to hit the sack, but AF had other ideas.  She wanted to get dinner.  After a long day of meals disguised as snacks, I was stunned by her announcement.

But I went along, because I'm a glutton for punishment.

We walked around a bit before settling on Toast Box:
















We didn't figure out until later that we'd entered through the back entrance:
















The main entrance is actually inside a mall.  You place your order at the counter and find a table to wait with your number.

Even though I was full to the point of pain, I still ordered a bowl of noodles with luncheon meat and an egg (28 HKD) for myself:
















Toast Box hails from Singapore and its menu is made up of Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine.  I was tempted by the laksa and Hainanese chicken rice, but ultimately my curiosity over "luncheon meat" won out.  The luncheon meat turned out to be very similar to Spam.  The noodles and soup base tasted like they were made from an instant noodle bag.

Which may have been the point.  Instant noodles make the best comfort food.

I really should reevaluate my life choices.  I need to learn to say no to food.


Toast Box
Shop B, G/F, JD Mall, 233-239 Nathan Road, Jordan
Hong Kong
2156 9100

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hong Kong: Lung Fung Cafe

After T left for the airport, we met up with CL's friend, LW, to trek up to The Peak.  Well, not that we did any trekking.  A tram did all the work.  We just had to wait over an hour in line to get onto the damn thing.

Since LW has been working in Hong Kong for a while, we took the opportunity to pick her brain on where to eat.  She mentioned that there was a very good thick toast place near her home in Causeway Bay.  When we told her that we were going to follow her home, she thought we were kidding.

We weren't.

We really followed her home and made her take us to Lung Fung Cafe:
















It was dinnertime, but we weren't there for dinner.  We were there for pre-dinner snack.

Pre-dinner snack included a fresh butter pineapple bun (23 HKD):
















So soft and warm.

And baked fries with cheese (55 HKD):
















Which could have used a bit more salt.

And finally, the entire reason why we stalked LW home in the first place, the french toast (22 HKD):


Just as LW described, the toast was super thick and uber buttery.  Don't be scared by the huge dollop of butter on top.  Trust me, it's crucial.  Butter is love.  And I love thick toast.  It's so soft and fragrant and lovely.

Lung Fung Cafe is what's known as a cha chaan teng or tea restaurant.  As such, there are a lot of Western dishes with a notably Hong Kong flair.  Hence the fries and the french toast.  Wish we had more stomach space to try more.  I was still pretty stuffed from all the eating earlier in the day and poor CL was actually expected to have dinner with her family afterwards.

CL had to peace out for her family dinner, but LW was kind enough to take AF and me to a giant flower market nearby.  Flower markets are sprawling street markets set up for Chinese New Year.  While there are definitely aisle after aisle dedicated to flowers, you can find just about everything at a flower market.  From pillows in the shape of the Instagram logo to political caricatures of the unpopular president to sweet snacks to shower heads.

The flower market we went to spanned what felt like multiple lots.  At first, there was a decent number of people wandering around along with us.  Then all of a sudden, we found ourselves caught up in an alarming tidal wave of people, bumping shoulder to shoulder, struggling to squeeze our way through.  Where did all those people come from?  It was moderately terrifying.  Vendors from the stalls (mostly college-aged kids) were yelling in our ears, trying to get us to stop to view their wares, and people pushed in from what seemed like all sides.

I can't believe that couples actually go to flower markets for dates.  Can someone please explain to me what's so romantic about being squished like a sardine?


室冰鳳龍
大坑浣紗街6A號地舖
2618 1800

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hong Kong: Tong Shui Lo Dessert

While we had some time for dessert before T had to leave for the airport, we definitely did not have any stomach space.  But that didn't stop us from dropping by Tong Shui Lo Dessert:
















It was actually closed on our first attempt, so we took a break at McDonald's.  (I'll post about that later.)  When Tang Shui Lo finally opened for business, we trooped in to find that plenty other people were eager for dessert too:
















Instead of ordering one dessert as we should have done, we ordered three.  Of course.

We got the simple coconut sago:























The mochi with peanut sugar:
















And this sago beast:
















I don't remember what it was called, but it was filled with all kinds of beans:
















Beans, even sweet beans, are good in moderation, in my opinion.  When I'm looking at a bowlful, I lose interest after a few bites.

My favorite was the coconut sago.  CL, on the other hand, loved the mochi.  Or at least she loved the peanut sugar.  She was scraping the peanut sugar off the bowl and looked so pitiful doing it that I actually felt kind of embarrassed.


糖水佬甜品
深水埗桂林街48-50號地下
Hong Kong
+852 2708 4484

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hong Kong: Siu Ngo Daai Wong

The smart thing would've been to take a break after having dim sum followed quickly by rice noodle rolls and congee.  But no, that's not how we roll.

Instead, we walked a few doors down and into Siu Ngo Daai Wong:
















AF wanted roast goose and lo and behold, there were roast geese hanging in the window.

The place was pretty quiet.  Strangely enough, we were the only female customers inside:
















As we really weren't hungry, we asked for a small order of goose with no rice:
















Kinda wish we asked for the rice too.  The goose was very, very salty.  It would've been better had it come freshly roasted, but it wasn't bad.  Probably wouldn't go out of my way for a repeat experience though.


燒鵝大皇
深水埗福榮街119號地下
Hong Kong
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