Typical Fish Stew in Croatia

One of the best hearty and filling Fish Stew in the World

Croatia has one of the best seafood there is. Clean waters, local fishermen. Simple cooking. Seafood – Fish, Shrimps, Mussels, Clams, Herbs, Potatoes & Sea Water. Croatia at it’s Best!

A Taiwanese Breakfast Experience

You cannot just go to Taiwan and not experience the full on Taiwanese Breakfast Experience. We read through many blogs and wanted to try out what the fuss was about. We chose to go to Young He Soy Milk as there were so many reviews.

You can see the sign and the Ques from far away!
To Go Que

How to order? There are 2 lines. The lines on the outside are the to go orders. At the left side of the restaurant are the lines for eat in options. Get your friends to grab a table and you go inside to order.

The line snakes outside for the eat in options.
About 10 tables inside and more outside
Steaming Vats of Soy Milk on this side, the aromas make you hungry!

Now luckily there are menus in english however there are some decoding if you have never eaten this before. So tick on the paper given – We matched numbers on the english menu and when it’s your turn hand over your paper to the chefs/cooks behind the counter. (English Menu Pictures at the end of the blog.)

Tick the corresponding numbers on the English menu.
Crueller Station and the Crepes and Crispy Thicker Pancakes.

They will put your food on the trays and calculate the bill according to the food they placed on the trays. They calculate real fast! To the right of the counter there are spoons, sauce bowls etc. Grab that and tissue and start eating.

Making our order now! We ordered 4 Trays of food!
Working so fast but never splashing hot soy milk on themselves. Amazing!

At each table there are soy sauce, chilli oil, some salty bean paste and vinegar to mix your own sauce as well as salt and pepper. We made a blend of soy, chilli oil and vinegar for our table and we squished about 7 people so you can see there’s not much room for pretty picture taking.

Tiny Table for 7 people, and steaming bowls of various types of Soy Milk.

Lets talk about the real reason why i wanted to come here. In thailand we dont have salty soy milk but rather a more sweet version with some toppings like jobs tears, jelly balls, red bean etc. So i was curious about this savory salty soy milk that they call Dou Jiang here.

Condiment Tray for the Salty Soy Milk

As you can see at the counter the condiments are dried shrimp, scallions and i believe a bit of saly and sugar and vinegar to “curdle the soy milk”.

Looks like Tofu doesn’t it?

The result is a warm soft broken tofu in a savory “whey” soup? Honestly it’s like a soupy tofu soup with Yu Tiao or Crueller or Patongo as we call it in thailand – The long sticks of fried dough although i observed that in Taiwan they make it huge and long whereas In Thailand it’s more smallish in size.

You can see the huge cruelly and egg peaking our of the flat bread. Yummy.

Next order of business is the crispy flat bread wrapped around the Yu Tia (Fried Dough or Crueller) and a omelete with scallions. I think they call Shao Bing. Strangely if you put in some chilli sauce it actually tastes pretty good. The Flatbread is piping hot and crispy and with the chewy crispy Patongo and savory egg it’s kind of like a crispy burrito. The crepey one i think is called Jian Bing. Same Concept except this was more of a soft crepey version. I prefer the crispy one but other people in my crew were divided on this.

Thin crepey hotdog?
Sticky Rice Roll with Pork Floss and Egg

The element of surprise was that the most memorable dish which was completely unexpected and i must say hands down the best best most delicious dish was…

Xiao Long Bao
Juicy, soupy soft pork filling. The best i ever had.

Honestly everyone even said it was the best they ever had and sorry better than Din Tai Fung. The wrapper was not too thick and not doughy and lightly chewy. The pork was soft, oozing with juices very well seasoned and all around the best pillows of joy to eat.

The next dishes – Radish / Turnip Cake Lo Pa Ko was fine with the sauce – Now fine was quite good just the Xiao Long Bao just trumped everything. The Sweet Soy milk and unsweetened Soy milk here had a savory creaminess that we don’t really experience with bottled or boxed soy milk.

Still wondering why we ordered that lone fried egg….
Pork Bun was Soft and the filling was great as well…
He definitely prefers the crepey one….

So allocate about 100 – 150 Taiwan Dollar per person if you eat alot but definitely there’s so much more on the menu even though the english is a bit confusing…

Young He Soy Milk –

No. 102 Section 2 Fuxing South Road

Open 24 Hours a day – Monday to Sunday…

High Expectations at InkWell……

Making the trip to New Orleans for work and a quick stop over to LA just for Top Chef favorite M. Voltaggio’s new Inkwell restaurant proved to be a bit sad and disappointing.  Considering the miles flown for food it was a let down.  The hype and maybe the expectation was too high.  First we reserved way advance and the restaurant was quite empty.  Service was friendly but sometimes a bit snobby when we said the food was salty.  I don’t like people to tell me how the way the dish is supposed tot taste.  Salty is Salty.  Period.

Masculine Minimalistic look – Black Leather Sofas, White Walls Clean lines very sleek look.

The drinks we ordered were the blended whisky and sloe gin.  Prices were sort of reasonable i mean for the amount you expect to pay at a restaurant and from a Top Chef restaurant no less.

 

The blended scotch tasted ok not memorable however the sloe gin tasted like a chinese medicine brew with a coffee aftertaste.  Like not good. You can smell it and a lingering after taste in your mouth.  The menus seemed kind of reasonable for some dishes and pricey for others.  Again I ate at Craft many years ago and prices was higher although the food was impeccable.  (Skirt steak was still soft 5 hours later)

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The waitress suggested 5 dishes to share for the two of us but we went a bit over board as it was a loong way from Thailand.  The waitress also said the kitchen will determine the order of the courses according to taste.  Sounded smart to me.

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Heirloom Tomatoes, Watermelon, Pickled Rind, Sheeps Feta

All components was yummy.  Tomatoes fresh – Lovely Taste – Feta strong and Delicious.  Yet the dish had no ooomph to it.  It was not something you remember forever.

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Frisee Salad with Crispy Pork Ear & egg yolk pudding…

Of the evening this was one of the dishes that i will remember.  Simply well dressed greens – Crispy delicious Pork Ears.  And underneath.. A supremely eggy pudding/custard that was so fine, delicate without being too eggy even if it was very egg yolk.  Together the combination was marvelous.  I admit. Savoury, Creamy, Sharp Vinaigrette, Crispy Pork, crunchy greens, soft smoothness on tongue from pudding.   10 / 10

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Eggy Pudding – Soft, Silky Yummy

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Streeet Corn – Foritos with Cotija Cheese

Cheese was delicious and the puffy Chip was delicious.  Stops there.  The creamy corn was saltier with every bite and we informed the waiter but he said that was how it is and that it’s not salty.  So we left it at that.

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Beef Tartare with Banh Mi Flavours

The tartare was yummy (but not memorable) we didn’t see any Vietnamese flavours aside from the asian herbs on top.  The mayo was the star of the dish – Airy, fluffy cloud of deliciousness.  I will remember this mayo forever.  9/10

The interesting part of this was that the fish dishes came after the heartier savoury beef tartare. Even in the menu the meat dishes was listed after the seafood ones.

I thought this dish was rather well executed, i think the delicate tuna meshed well with the celery root.  However I didn’t really understand the tofu mustard.  Didn’t taste like tofu or mustard.

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Tuna Tartare with Tofu Mustard

The balance of fattiness and the crispy celery root was well done.  The green powder wasn’t really needed as there was so little of it and can’t taste the flavour but i thought it was quite fun and easy to eat.  9/10

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Creamy, tangy and delicate Flavours.

Unfortunately things are going downhill.  The octopus was burnt and over cooked.  Like a dog’s chew toy.  Quite awful sadly.  The pasta was way undercooked – Not al dente.  You can see the raw pasta in the middle when you bit into it. The flavours seemed alright however i couldn’t get past the rubbery octopus and hard pasta.  It was very sad.

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Octopus, Ink shells and Pimento

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Lamb Belly and Pine nuts cassoulet and yogurt curds…

I was really looking forward to this dish.  I love bellys of every animal.  It’s fatty, rich and tender.  Strangely it was stringy, chewy and not a great texture of lamb belly.  The pine nuts felt like it’s past it’s prime.  When nuts aren’t creamy but has that stale taste it’s a bit of a huge let down.  The yogurt curds was delicious. Creamy, sourish and thick.  That was it.  Kind of heart breaking at 30 bucks for delicious yogurt.  Curds…..

Sadly it was a memorable evening but i remember more of the bad bits rather than the good.  I think it was the expectation and considering i was a huge fan.  I would rate the overall experience at 4/10.  More of an ink blot than ink.well……

Best Seafood in Moscow – Arbat Street

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Interior of restaurant

Walking along Arbat Street we stumbled across a little sign that showed a cute crab – After 15 days in Russia we were quite sick of meat and the three of us trotted down the stairs to the second level to have a “crab” seafood dinner.  This little restaurant had about 15 tables – seats maybe 50 – 70 people comfortably – clean bathrooms and very friendly service with English Menus.  They specialize in Seafood – Prawns – Oysters – Crabs.

 

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Oysters – Fresh – Briny – Delicious

Pricing isn’t bad at all – The seafood is served in a cold platter but depends on which platter you pick – The prawns arrive hot – get the Russian ones they are big with plump Roe! – The whelk with potatoes is delicious and arrives hot, the scallops are a bit small but hot and tasty – well seasoned – the mussles are excellent and arrive piping hot and a generous amount.  We went there 2 times – First time  we got the platter to share for three people maybe it’s because we are asian or we just eat little and we couldn’t finish it.

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Piping Hot & Delicious Russian Prawns

Second time we ordered ala carte which turned out to be more expensive with less food so get the platter!  Giant Crabs are very expensive in Thailand which can go for over 1000 roubles for 1 piece in the supermarket and here it was about 1800 roubles for a whole plate.

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In many high end restaurants they serve these giant crab legs but are salty – over here its very meaty and not salty at all.  I’m most impressed however with the prawns – the roe is bright and very plump and very delicious – you can taste the sea with every bite.

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Plump Roe

The have a few choices for soup, on the first visit we have the bisque which was ok but not something to order again.  However on our second trip we ordered the milk crab soup and it was absolutely delicious.  Milky, creamy crabby with a hint of spice.  It was very very good.

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Very very good!

We also ordered the little prawns that arrived in a small metal bucket.  It was the same as those you get in the platter so i definitely recommend getting the platter as it is alot cheaper.

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Refreshing and delicious in a strange way.

They recommended us a drink / lemonade – cucumber, mint concoction was just refreshing and actually really nice.  We had 3 jugs as it wasn’t overly sweet and somehow the got the balance right with the cucumber lemonade and basil.  Great way to balance the meal.

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Get a nice 5 percent discout!

Upload pictures on instragram and you get a 5 percent discount.  Which you can go with their free wifi.  Their servers are very friendly and very nice even with limited english.  It’s rare to fins such nice servers in Russia in my opinion and they really went the extra mile to help out.  Definitely one of the best places to come.  It’s located around the middle of Arbat street, next to a Kid’s restaurant.  There’s only 1 seafood restaurant that i saw in Arbat street so not hard to find.

 

Simple Eats – Luang Prabang

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Known in Thai as Khao Jii

Working in Luang Prabang a few weeks ago gave me ample time to taste and try the local laotian food native to Luang Prabang.  I felt that it was a melting pot of Thai, Laotian, Vietnamese and French Cuisines.  I think the Mekhong River helped spread the tradition around this area.  My friends told me that Vientiane cuisine is different to that of Luang Prabang, i guess we will have to wait and see.  Khao Jii or grilled sticky rice patty with brushed beaten egg and fish sauce is one of my absolute favorites.  It’s soft gooey insides with a savory salty crunchy bite coating.  The best part is that it’s offered slathered in a chilli paste, now many chilli pastes in Thailand is a sweet concoction which i’m not in favor off.  This is torpedo spicy.  Served on a banana leaf for 10 baht it was delicious.

At the walking street a cheerful food stall opened for business around 5 pm.  It’s the biggest stall at the beginning of the market (You cannot miss it)  selling Pho, Khao Soy and Noodles etc.  In Thailand Khao Soi is a Thick, creamy curry more islamic influenced with egg noodles and crispy egg noodles on top.  In Luang Prabang Khao Soi is a bean paste / tomatoeish / pork rib soup with noodles which is similiar to that of Chiang Mai’s Naam Ngeo which is similiar except we use fresh rice round noodles or flat wide noodles.  Usually served with fresh veggies, lime and spicy chilli paste it is one of my absolute favorites.  In Thailand we see it boiling in pots, but at this stall as they are serving so many varieties of noodles it seems like they only have 2 pots – one for boiling noodles and veggies and one for the stock.  So they have containers of pork ribs with the bean paste / tomato mixture and they mix with the stock.

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The hanging crispy things are not pork rind but buffalo rinds.  Light airy and delish!

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Fresh Veggie Basket.  Yum.

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Khao Soi – Luang Prabang Style

You choose your noodles, tear your garden herbs and veggies, squeeze some limes and dump crazy amounts of chillis and dig in.  It was around 80 baht which i thought was quite expensive for street food, but again this is Luang Prabang.

My fondness for Khao Soi is great as i had 4 bowls of if at different places.  This place seemed like a local restaurant – although there is no such thing because locals eat at home. They have Shrimp paste on the table complimentary eaten with fresh vegetables.  Thai use it to make a dip but the locals here eat it straight with fresh vegetables.  Quite lovely as i’m used to th epungent smell.

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Khao Soi at a local restaurant

Note that they all serve this noodle soup with fresh mint, limes and lettuce.  Really hearty and savory from the bean paste which is total different from miso which has a different feeling of saltiness to it.  The contrast with the tomatoish broth makes it a fresh sourness to it.

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This place serves their Khao Soi with Pork Rinds inside.  Broth was very savory.

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Plump Rice Grains – Soft and Hot

I have always preferred sticky rice over steamed rice i think its got a good texture and just feels more right.  The sticky rice at this roadside restaurant (only 4 tables) is nicely steamed.  Not tough when cooled.  Still soft and chewy.

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Sai Oua – Pork Sausage

The pork sausage is much blander than the ones in Northern Thailand but quite crispy casing, and juicy insides.  I feel that Laotian cuisine really relies on the tastes of the ingredients and not too much flavoring.  It will be considered bland for Thai tastes who which are so used to so much flavoring.

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Laotian Papaya Salad

Som Tam or papaya salad is one of my childhood favorites.  In Thailand the papaya is shaved in to small strands, in Luang Prabang it’s sliced and wide.  I like it because it had a nice texture and mouthfeel to it although the taste of the pradaek – fermented anchovies is not as strong as the ones in Thailand i feel.  They also have the addition of kapi – shrimp paste in their papaya salad.  I think it’s a taste that everyone can enjoy, a balance of sweet, savory, sour and spicy.  A well rounded dish, although i prefer extreme spicy and sour som tam.

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Naem – Fermented Pork Sausage

This is seriously to die for.  My whole team is still drooling for the grilled fermented pork sausage.  Hands down.  I have never had this good of a Naem before.  I usually dislike cooked Naem I prefer it still raw.  But this.  It’s juicy, slightly sour, very savory and the right balance of the pork rind to provide that teeth resistance when you bite into it.  Chew it together with a chilli and pop a hot sticky rice ball in your mouth.  It’s worth swiping your card, getting on air asia just for this Naem.  It’s been 3 weeks and everyone in the office is still dreaming and talking about this fresh fermented Porky Heaven.

To Die For – Hamburg’s Haerlin

A short trip for work took me to Hamburg and looking around the internet i stumbled upon Haerlin a 2 star Michelin Restaurant which was widely applauded for the smart and creative use of local ingredients which are in season and the interesting fuse with other exotic ingredients.  The price was 185 euros for a tasting menu which was roughly my allowance for this trip but eating alone & early got me a small table in the corner.

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Lovely Table Setting

The restaurant had a nice ambiance, a quiet elegance and decor.  It reeks of luxury but in an understated not in your face way.  The staff was friendly and seemed to have a genuine attitude to want to serve.  There is no snobbery here which ranks high in my book.

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Wish i had a DATE!

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Aperol Spritz

While perusing the tasting menu choices i ordered a pre drink as a refreshing drink to wake me up.  The 14 hr flight left me quite jet lagged and sleepy.

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11 Courses which took me  4 hours!

I already decided to choose the 11 courses but i was surprised that the smaller tasting menu wasn’t like the usual same menus with some items missing.  The dishes were completely different aside from the 3 amuse buche that is compliments of the chef and the complimentary “Forest Dessert”  I was tempted but i held my ground i wanted to taste the most of this awesome chance!

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9 Course Tasting Menu

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Guinea fowl “crispy” with cranberry

The Guinea Fowl green ball was a sharp and sour hit of a tangy and sweetness that came from the cranberry cream. It was a very great mouthful and a extraordinary delicate balance of savory, spicy herby feel with a contrasting sweet sour.  The “cracker” was actually a thin extremely light, flaky if I can describe it like that was actually the skin.  It was a great combination of textures which will follow consistently throughout the meal.

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Beautiful array of choices and breads.

One of the cuter looking waiters wheeled over a chest of drawers which revealed rows and rows of delicious looking bread.  I can’t remember all of them but i chose the cumin and the bacon.  It came with 2 spreads a creamy greeny herby butter and a sourkraut cream cheese sort of dip.  Both were rich, creamy, salty and the cream cheese one was a bit sour.  Nice contrast.

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Generous cute ball puffs of butter and cheese spread.

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Baltic Sea eel with iced Jerusalem artichoke

This smoked eel pannacotta was a creamy cold and smokey taste it was a soft smooth soft tofu mouthfeel.  Delicious. The watercress vinaigrette was a greeny veggie sour contrast.  My second spoon was the jerusalem artichoke ice cream with a woody earthy tasting jerusalem artichoke chips which was a cold creamy with a crunchy texture.  A strong kick of the capers came through a sharp salty lighty sour cut through the creamy woody earthy flavours.  The smoked eel was a firm texture not the usual mushy ones we eat on a sushi.  The red thing on top was crispy yet sour and sweet at the same time like an unripe raw cherry.  It was such an interesting play on flavours.  Really.  Heaven!

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Hamachi with fresh bergamot & mushroom dashi

My third compliments of the chef amuse bouche was seemingly a lightly grilled hamachi with seaweed and mini mushrooms scattered around the dish. A note:  Hamachi is a fish from the family of the sting mackerel and usually eaten raw in Sashimi or as Sushi.  With the first bite the bergamot hits you with with light refreshing fragrance with a creamy ricy crispy texture.  The dashi broth was quite strong with a mushroom flavour, not salty but you feel this intense unami feeling.  The hamachi was very fresh, seared on thebottom and still raw on top, it was a sweet and clean tasting.  I think the pickled cabbage didn’t belong because the dish was already so strong in taste and I thought the spring onion was quite strong.  But it was still a 9.5 over 10 kind of dish.  Thoughtful and carefully prepared.  I’m loving this Chef already!

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Alsatian goose liver with Balsamic Cox Orange & Hazelnuts

I love Goose liver.  It’s one of my favorite things.  Foie Gras.  Fat.  Heart Attack in a mouthful.  At first glance i was overjoyed with so may components on the dish. More Goose Liver for me!  It was like some adorable abstract painting with a variety of shapes and colors and textures to the naked eye.  I went first for the lolly like one and swirled it around in the ground hazelnuts and in one slow mouthful i savored the gamey rich flavour.  The crunch of the hazelnuts and the apple jamy taste help bring out the flavour in each other. The terrine gave me a surprise.  I expected the same tasting liver served 3 – 4 ways but it tasted different.  The terrine was a softer delicate tasting liver with this time a sharp apple and nutty combination.  Apple cabbage apparently is a regional product here.  Yum. Yum. Yum.  Died and Gone to Liver heaven!  The thing was it all tasted different.  I really was.  A M A Z I N G!

 

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tartlet from goose liver & sweet wine foam

The meringue like foam just melted in my mouth and there was an apple balsamic in the center like a surprise when you chewed on the tartlet it felt like this rich soft alcoholic goodness in one bite.  .  The Cox orange was a cold sharp refreshment to all the richness which cleansed the palate with it’s smokey flavor and i scooped up the hazelnut cream with the rolled up apple slice. It was great showcase of techniques, texture and flavours.  Soooo Good.

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Norway lobster with Indonesian salad & kaffir onion cream

Right now the jet lag was hitting me quite hard and i was sleepy sleepy but it was so good i couldn’t stop and i willed myself to stay awake and record all the beautiful yummy goodness.  The bread was so good and I had to stop or I would have been too full!  I dove instantly into the tartare which was fresh and firm chunks of meat which came with the crispy veggies for crunch and texture.  The onion cream and pickled onion was the sourness which is a good change from usual lime or lemon in a tartare.  The foamy thing was a concentrated lobster bisque in a bubbly airy mouthful.  The lobster tail was fresh and a great texture firm chunks of meat not at all salty and water logged.  The weird tamarind blobs helped give an asian feel to the dish i’m not a fan and the veggies were good but the lobster already stole the show. I’m a fan of those dried chippy things if you see in the picture this one was a green horseradish chip.  I once read that some people made a puree and dehydrated them in sheets.  Too much trouble for me but it was crispy thin and really biting in a mouthful.

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Cheese Cart

The cheese cart looked really decadent with such an array of interesting and wide variety of different cheeses.  I think it makes a cheese lover like a kid in a candy store, it didn’t look like your usual boring normal cheeses i liked the many types of mold i see on the cheese etc.  Sounds eeky doesn’t it?

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Smoking & Sitting Room

In a room rightnext to the dining room was a nice sitting room which doubled as a private smoking lounge probably for cigars and after dinner brandies.  So luxurious!

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Large array of after dinner drinks!

They take their drinks seriously! Cognacs and other strange drinks i’m not very aware off.

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Skrei is a certain special type of codfish which lives in the artic ocean.  During Jan – March they are spawning in the Lofoten Islands.

This lovely looking dish is Skrei with chestnut cream, celery and peppered quince compote.  According to the description is skrei roasted in brown butter, chestnut cream seasoned with hazelnut oil.  A celery foam with green celery vegetable with a quince compote with Tasmanian pepper.  Garnished with a small chestnut salad and chives oil with black winter truffle strips.  OMG.  I was full just reading the description.

The fish was firm with a crispy sear on top, the chestnut cream was very rich almost smokey taste.  It’s a nice balalnce with the crunchy fish, smokey chestnut and the fresh sour and sweet from the quince and celery.  The foamy extra was just an extra interesting component which rounded out the dish.  Perfect.  Really.

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Ridge & belly milk piglet with apple vinegar and sweet onion emulsion.

 

The crispy pork belly was so delicious and perfectly cooked, the light and thin crispy belly paired very well with the burnt pear and after the initial top you can squich the pork belly with your tong, that was how soft it was.  My absolute favorite was the ridge part, i think it’s a thicker part of the skin which made it soo soo hard and crispy and with the gridlines scoring made it very delicious.  You can hear it smash between your teeth. I liked the wine sauce which wasn’t so evident but it provided a background for all the flavours to mesh together, the button mushroom foam and chip was just som eof the playful elements i see in the dish.  I was actually too full and sleepy to finish my lentils which had a good taste and texture.

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This lamb is from Limousin a small region from the centre of France.  Limousin lamb feed primarily on fresh grass wihch gives it a tender and soft flavour.

A very pretty dish to look at, perfectly cooked lamb ridge with a crispy fat strip.  Soft not chewy or any lamby gamey smell at all.  The red shallots and wime compote added a sharp flavour to the dish.  The braised lamb belly was so so soft which the light cumin background with the indian cous cous helped with both the texture and flavours.  It was a perfect balalnce of europe and indian flavours.  The argan oil buttery hollandaise had a soft flowery depth to it with strangely meshed well with everything in the dish.

Finally to reach dessert was almost a relief.  Although this is one of the best meals of my life i was too sleepy now to want to stay much longer.  And when the dessert was called Forest I had strange pictures in my mind.

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Forest Dessert

Honestly the description sounded gross to me, buckwheat cream with carmelised buckwheat and apple jelly. Douglas fir cream and spruces oil forest caramel chip and yarrow with apple granite.  First it looked like a mini terrarium which was very impresive but should taste good from any angle. It smelt green like a swamp or forest or fresh rain on grass but somehow the buckwheat cream has a light chocolatey flavour meshed with a nutty taste.  The apple granita was shape and sour and cold but it went so well together. It’s so so strange.  The root like thing on top was crispy and chewy at the same time.  There were little crispy pearls of something not sure what it was, and again perfectly demonstrated was the balance of cold, creamy, nutty, sour soft and light.

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Burnt pear with shiso, sesame and white chocolate.

Again weird weird combination, the candied shiso leaves which was a licoricey taste and white chocolate worked extremely well.  It somehow complemented each other, the weird rocks or stones elements which is a sesame nutty flavour and the rich creamy sweet white chocolate was a beautiful balance of textures and flavours.It was just so surprising that all the elements balanced each other so perfectly and so well.    Not to mention it’s such a beautiful dish.

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Complimentary End

This two small piping hot churro lookalike arrived before my bill.  It’s got like a lime rind and sugar coating.  It was light, fluffy delicate hot and crispy.  It was the best churro if you can call it that in my life!!!

I’m not surprised Executive Chef Christoph Rüffe got his stars plus a whole bunch of other awards and one of the best chefs and best restaurants in Hamburg.  He combined ingredients that other people did not do, executed a balance of texture and mouthfeel made you gasp with wonder with the mix of flavours perfectly.

He really is one of the best chefs of this generation. PERIOD. A total of 230 Euros including tip is the best money i spent on a meal.  Seriously.

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Complementary hand made chocolate

Comfort Food at Chee Kei, Hongkong

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Tsimsha Sui is always one of my favorite spots in HK.  There’s lots of things to see and do, and of course Mong Kok.  There’s cheapo things among the more prestige labels, cheap eats mixed with the affordable and the luxury delicacies.  On our trip we went to Chee Kei which is quite well known franchise in HK with i think a few shops around Hong Kong and Kowloon side.

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Menu with English

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Hot strong tea is served while waiting for your mains to arrive.

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The funny thing is they are famous for crab congee and wontons but I always order plain congee and the pork leg.  Although we ordered the wonton this time.  In Hong Kong the norm here for veggies are boiled and served with a side of oyster sauce.  In Thailand, vegetables are always stir fried with some sort of sauce, the only naked veggies are salads.  And then Thais plop dressing on top.

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Enter a Kailan with oyster sauce.

The wontons came in a steaming piping hot claypot, it was shrimp wontons with pork broth or soup.  Not too salty and quite savory, a good porkiness.  The wonton wrapper was not over cooked like most shops so when they are sitting around for a long time.  This is a firm, chewy lovely consitency.  The Shrimp mixture was a good  mouthful with chunks of shrimp.  Good. It’s a nice professional homey feel to it.  I like mine witha spash of vinegar and chilli paste.

 

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Nice & Plump!

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Spicy, savory, yummy XO sauce.

For those in the know, XO sauce isn’t sauce with congnac, I’m not sure exactly where the real origins are but every seafood restaurant has their own recipe or like amazing traditonal housewives.  It’s made of according to recipie, the black ham, conpoy or the dried scallops, dried shrimps, oil, chillies and garlic.

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Hot, creamy and comforting!

Hong Kong Congee I think is the reigning King of all rice porridge dishes.  The rice is a silky, creamy thick delicate thick soup.  I can’t replicate the taste, i’m not sure why but it’s just not the same which is why every trip back to HK is a treat.  This time we ordered the fish which has raw slices of fish in our boiling congee, it’s cooked within seconds!

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5 spice poweder blend and turnip pork leg stew

Yummy and not at all oily. Usually the feet part isn’t fatty, if you go up the leg then it gets more fatty and less meaty kind of.  This is stwed until soft but has a firm texture, a soft delicate taste with the turnip.  I like the balance of flavours, sometimes the 5 spice blend is too harsh and it covers up everything else.  I think that is for people who like a dark sauce.

 

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Feast for 3!

For a normal lunch or dinner 200 HK bucks is quite steep, still affordable but a bit pricey since cha cha teng or side stalls are like 30 – 40 bucks a bowl but it’s nice to order from an english menu and eat in a nice surrounding.  So i recommend this for an affordable cheerful eats in HK.

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Luxury Crab at Wong Kun Sio Kung Macau!

It does help when you walk along the street and a friendly looking fellow beckons you into a simple looking side street cafe/restaurant with cheap and cheerful looking tables.  How much can it cost?

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Numerous celebs and articles!

You also feel good when you see the clean restaurant and the numerous clippings and celebs plastered on the wall and a sigh of relief when the menu is in english.  Now rewind, we were walking back from ST Pauls to our Royal hotel when we passed this place and decided to have dinner.

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Cheerful Menu Cover

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If i remember correctly they seem to make their own curry blend, their chilli sauce and their handmade egg noodles beaten or dried on bamboo mats like how people used to do it traditionally before.

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Listed in the Michelin Guide

When we got back, we found out the reason for the outrageous pricing is because apparently they were mentioned in the Michelin Guide book so that’s why their pricing went cray cray.

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Track Suit is the owner’s trademark!

The table setting was simple, but yet clean and has everything you need, plastic gloves, crab claw crusher?

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We ordered simple stir fried iceberg lettuce which must be cooked really quickly or else it’s too wilted and looses all crunchiness and will be just wilted lettuce leaves.  This was juicy, crunchy, delicious real skill!

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The pork bone soup was simple, with carrots.  It was porky, savoury with a hint of carrot sweetness.  I didn’t taste any other ingredients, maybe some peanuts but i feel that soup in HK, China & Macau seem to have this depth of flavor that i can’t copy in Bangkok.  No matter what type of bones i use.  I must find out!

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IMG_7864The fried sardines or mackerel was not at all greasy of floury.  It was light, crispy, crunchy, garlicky and if you chew on the chilli pepper it gives it a kick of spicy hot hot hot!

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Star of the show!

This type of curry crab is vastly different from what you get in thailand, their curry sauce is more coconutty, delicate sweetness.  Thailand has a more eggy scrambled egg texture feeling with more spicy oil and let’s say a more rough tasting palate.  This was delicate, creamy a more tender feeling curry crab.  It’s like a ballet vs rock.  Nice to have a balance of both in curry crab once in a while.

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It’s huge!

Note the size of the mud crab, it filled that gigantic bowl.  Now in the menu it just said market price, which is why we didn’t expect all our allowance to be gone into one single dish.  There was another table next to us with 8 people and they ordered one to share which is enough to go around.  We had to force our party of 3 to finish it once we found out the price.  really.  Look at the bill.  We didn’t try to congee or the egg noodles which is supposedly the star of this restaurant however as a splurge come.  Really do not miss this restaurant.  It’s clean, it has english menu, and the people are nice and friendly.  Just dont order this dish if you come less than 5 people or unless you’re rich.  Or you really want to.

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Address:

Wong Kun Sio Kung

G/F, 310A R. do Campo, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro
Ph: (853) 2837 2248

Complex Tastes of Northern Thailand

During our work in Northern Thai province of Chiang Rai last month, we had some time to sample the local delicacies.  Now for those not familiar with Chiang Rai, it is the northen most part of Thailand if I’m not mistaken bordering Laos and Burma commonly known as the Golden Triangle before a high influence on the trade of opium.  Now it’s a great tourist attraction for those who like nature since Chiang Rai is still quite quiet and peaceful.  With being so close to many other countries I think the food is largely influenced as well.  There is quite an Muslim population here which is why many spices not normally seen in Traditional Thai Cooking plays a huge role here.

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The usual laarb or minced por, chicken or beef yam or thai salad is usually, fish sauce, lime, int, roasted rice, shallots, spring onions, thai basil and chillies.  It’s spicy and fresh and sour.  However the Northern Larb is more heavy on the non traditional spices, i think cumin, saltier not sour version.  I feel it’s a more dry and meatier version.  I’m not sure of all the spices but it feels more indianish than thai.

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The Sai Oua or northern thai sausage is not different, the meats and pork fats are chunkier and loosely packed not minced sasages like we are used too.  I’m sure there is cumin or tumeric present in here, chunks of lemongrass, thai basil, chillies and other herbs.  It’s hot, meaty and very very flavorful.  You can taste all the spices, saltiness, porkiness of the entire mouthful.  It’s fantastic served with sticky rice and some side veggies. Not to be missed when travelling there!