Hot Pot for the Soul…..Megan’s Kitchen

Megan’s Kitchen caught my eye many years ago when i stumbled across an article about a hot pot restaurant actually being in the Michelin Guide. Of course I asked my cousins in HK about it and all i got was posh posh and very expensive.  I checked out their website and indeed it was very very expensive – it can run almost 80 – 200 HK dollars just for the soup base.  Very expensive indeed even for HK pricing.  6 years later working alone and no one to have lunch with i gave it a go.  I went to the website to reserve a seat – and there was a special promotion – Lunch set for 148 dollars.  Off i went….

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Choice of Japanese Miso, Malaysian Satay and Coriander & Salted Egg and I chose Winter Melon Soup

It was interesting that hotpot is a communal activity – Even if you had individual pots you almost never see people eat hotpot alone.  I’m not surprised when the waiter asked me “How many Miss?”  “For one?”  Nothing bothered me as I settled for the Beef Hotpot Set with the Winter Melon and Yunan Ham broth.  With the lunch set i suppose as it’s the bare minimum you wont get much of the usual things you might get with the normal price – but i think it was good enough as it is.  The condiment set came with Chillies, Spring Onion, Garlic, Shallots and their soy sauce.  I asked for some vinegar – Chou which they gave me at no extra charge.

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Condiment Overload – Chillies-Garlic-Shallots-Sesame Seeds-YUM…

 I peeked at the other tables though and some people paid another 25 HKD for the big sauce condiment – I thought i saw OX sauce, fried shallots etc.  I honestly believe you don’t need anything else as the broth was so good already.  Eating for one gets you the luxury of being able to do as you please – I ordered the Shrimp Paste (Which was almost 70 HK Dollars – GASP) this is something you don’t get in thailand.  Fresh beaten and flavored shrimp is pounded until it’s a sticky paste, when you drop in boiling broth it becomes sort of a misshapen meatball with non of the fake floury taste.  It transforms into a soft, sticky chewy deliciousness.

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A giant Scoop gets you around 8 mouthfuls

In the set there was 2 meatballs and 2 wontons.  I”m not really a boiled wonton person, i feel sometimes the wrapping is too thick and the filling is sad.  I also have a mistrust with meatballs – Either you get rubbery icky borax filled bits of minced mystery meat or you hit the jackpot with something very good.  The meatballs here is a delight – you can feel how fresh the beef is with a carrot filling.  Usually meatballs come precooked which you jsut sort of reheat, these ones were fresh beef which were a bit bouncy and very juicy and with the carrot in the middle it was a surprise.  However the wonton actually won the show.  It was pieces of chopped beef with cheese.  The wrapping was a perfect ratio to the meat.  IT wasnt smushy but chewey and nicely dense.  It was amazing!

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Lovely Chunks of meat in Cheese Sauce

The set itself was quite plentiful – The beef is nice marbled and not too thickly or thinly cut.  It was amazing.  I think it’s very important and I judge alot of these hot pot places by the thickness of the beef – It’s crutial to have extremely good thickness – Too thin and the beef has freezer burn, too thick and it’s too tough and chewy.  You really can’t find problems with Megans Kitchen except for the fact that it’s expensive.

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Good Quality Beef – Perfect ration of fat to meat 

The set came with 3 different kinds of lettuces, 2 giant shitake mushrooms, 3 tomatoes, some Eringi Mushrooms, Rice noodles, the 6 slices of beef (Quite big sized slices) and 2 meatballs and 2 wontons.  The soup is great it’s bubbly and always topped up by the nice staff.  It’s really delicious and great for spending that lunch hour alone.  It’s a treat noone should miss….  (Theres a 12 HKD for the tea and a 10 percent service charge.

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Megans Kitchen

5th Floor Lucky Centre –

Wan Chai Road

Hongkong

MALA Hotpot – A plethora combination of addictive deathly ingredients…

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A duo of soups – Spicy and Calm…

What is a Mala hotpot you may ask.  It is a deathly delicious combination of bubbling stock, oil fried with Szechuan Peppercorns, dried chilies, garlic, Chinese bean paste, dried jujubes, and a mix of other herbs and spices.  Each restaurant blends their own special recipe or they just use a ready mix.  This is my favorite style of hotpot, usually you would get a half and half which you can numb and burn yourself on the spicy mala side and cool down with the normal stock.  I believe that in the olden days this was used to help mask not so appetizing smells from using the cheaper cuts of meat.

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Hand cut shank is tender and melting

This restaurant is a gem hidden in on of the off sois located in Silom called Boon restaurant.  We ordered just enough for two and it was a great way to cure a hangover…. Amazingly the fishballs had a soft chewy texture, not too fishy and went well with this spicy oil.

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Watercress, Taro and Fishballs

Taro is usually flash fried to help keep it’s shape in the bubbling broth.  Personally i like to mash the taro in my soup.  It gives it a creamy texture to the soup. A creamy spicy, hot and numbing mouthful of soup.

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Pig’s small intestines – Gross but delicious

It may look gross but it’s got a chewy, porky flavor that is either a favorite or you can’t stand the look of it at all.

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Lightly Battered Squid – Garlicky, Spicy – Very delicious!

Hard to understand why this battered squid works so well.  Its lightly crispy, spicy when chewed with the Chilies, extremely garlicky and just so soft and perfectly chewy.  No calamari can beat this dish.

This restaurant doesn’t rank high is nice atmosphere, clean bathrooms and smiling service.  It’s a no frills, inexpensive family styled restaurant – the menu has pictures!!!!!  Drop by for a good time.

Boon Pochana, 152/8-9, Silom Rd.,

Bangkok, 10500 Thailand

Pan Seared Tenderloin with Pasta

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Cooled & Sliced – Perfect Medium & Medium Rare Parts

Another rough day at work and wishing for a sumptuous dinner.  Sister says want beef the night before.  Nice beef tenderloin defrosting whilst at work.  Everyone arrives home and demand to be fed.

45 Mins Dinner Challenge:

  1. 1 Beef Tenderloin – Rubbed with Olive Oil and Smashed garlic with salt into a puree
  2. Package of Pasta from Italy
  3. Home Made Tomato Puree (Roasted Tomatoes and crushed)
  4. Home Grown Basil from Garden
  5. Salt & Pepper

Heat Pan to HIGH.  Use non burning oil, I used Rice bran.  Sear Beef on all sides – 3 Mins on each side, lower and cover pan for 5 mins.  Reheat to high and sear again on all sides (pouring off juices to make gravy)  Cover and set aside.

At the same time I have boiled a medium salted water and threw in the dried pasta.  This type takes around 9 mins to cook on the pack. I turned of the heat at 6.  And took pot of stove.  In another pan, heated the tomato sauce, threw in the beef drippings and flavored with salt, pepper and a touch of sugar to help balance the acid.

Drain pasta and mix with sauce.  I find that if you time pasta correctly you can turn it off the heat before cooking time is over but this takes experience and lots of mistakes on my part.  I find that you dont need to add any more pasta water as the pasta has water in them.

Slice beef and place on pasta, sprinkle basil to each person’s liking and serve.  Usually i serve with thin slices but Sister said she was hungry.

Guaranteed it was soft and tender.  Was hoping for leftovers but everyone devoured it.  Completely.  Happy Tummy, Happy Family.

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Dinner in 45 mins

Khao Soi aka Chiang Rai Curry Noodles

Khao Soi is usually served with a side of lime for squeezing and vegetable relish, this rich coconut curry egg noodles is served with beef or chicken, bean sprouts and spring onions with  crispy fried egg noodles on top for that crunch.  It’s a savory meaty, creamy dish best served with lots of freshly squeezed limes and dried chillies.  It’s a rate Thai dish that combines all aspects of Thai ,Chinese and Islam heritage together.  No one knows exactly how the dish came about but it originated from Northern Thailand, supposedly from the border of Myanmar and Chiang Rai.  There are dominant Chinese and Islam heritage in this dish, I also heard from the locals it was a Burmese Chinese Muslim family who emigrated to Thailand and created a dish with all the local influences.  I’m sure this dish must be from Islamic creators since I’ve never seen this dish available in pork, only beef and chicken as well as usually they sellers are often Muslim.

It’s a must try if you venture into the the Northern part of Thailand,  (ranges from 40 – 60 baht depending on the amount of Chicken and Beef) and dont forget to add the spicy chilies and fresh limes and cool it down with a nice herbal lemongrass drink!

Best Place to eat in Torino, Italy!

Around 20 minutes walk from Piazza Castello, on the left at the section is Solferino Cucina. When you see this fountain at the intersection the restaurant is right across of it.  I forgot to take a picture as i was lost and starving when i finally found the place.

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tabledisplay

It’s a homey & comforting with generous seating, with a simple but elegant setting.  The menu was quite extensive but i ordered their Torino Steak Tartare and the ravioli with butter and sage.  First came the bread basket, hard rolls and the grissini sticks.  Yum.  Nice and crunchy!

bread

The steak tartare is served table side where they mix it right in front of you with Olive oil and salt.  I think they want to showcase their local beef which is why there is hardly any dressing at all, Olive oil and a hint of lemon.  Personally the beef was savory and delicious but it was too bland for my taste.  Although the tableside performance was quite enjoyable!  Eating it with the mustard was yummy with the bread sticks, i think the bread rolls were too hard for me.

tartare

tartares

The portion was so generous i admit that i was already quite full, however the ravioli arrived at the table and it smelt so so so good.  You can smell the delicate touches of sage, Parmesan and the butter.  It was piping hot, meaty, salty, cheesy and oh so delicious.  It was so simple but beautifully done.  The pasta was al dente, giving that delicate bite before you sink into the meaty savoury deliciousness! Look at it up close, it’s really really sooo good.

 

 

ravioili

Of course i couldn’t move but i had to have an espresso afterwards the “Italian Way” and it came with 4 ginormous biscuits!  Delish, delish, delish!!!

coffee

Piazza Solferino 3 – 10121 Torino

Tel:011535851

email : info@ristorantesolferino.com

Laura’s Steamed Mini Burgers….

Stumbling upon copy cat recipes of White Castle Sliders on the internet, i was curious to see how different “steaming” a patty was to grilling a patty.  We were all taught to believe that the caramelisation from grilling adds flavor so let’s try it out.  I actually tweaked the recipe a little bit, i grilled the chopped onions with salted butter and a bit of olive oil with white pepper on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.  My beef patty was a mixture of chuck, brisket and lean mince with a bit of salt, pepper and paprika.  I didn’t take any pictures but i shaped it into little squares and froze it (30 mins)  with holes poked into it like white castle.  I used 2 types of bread, a soft buttery bread and a hot dog bun cut into squares.  In goes the bread in the mini oven and i placed the beef patties on the onion, and steamed fried it for 2 – 3 mins on each side and assembled it with a little dijon mustard and kewpie mayo.  I like lettuce, tomato and a pickle on my mini burger so thats how i assembled mine.  The buttery buns were my favorite although the bread was really soft and squishy… I think it depends on people’s tastes.  The beef was juicy and flavorful, i think the best is to find a good butcher, choose the cuts of meat and ask them to mince it for you…  Yum!  It was juicy without being too oily, at first i was a bit frightened with all the fat chunks in the meat but it made the beef nice and juicy.  Small Burgers are easy to eat and it doesn’t go cold before you finish it.  Plus you can change the dressings and veggies with every one you eat!

My Heat was a bit high at first....
My Heat was a bit high at first….

 

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Buns, Buns, Buns

 

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Can you smell the beef?

 

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Assembling the buns…
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A blob of mustard n mayo…
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Yum Yum Yum!!!

Chinese Hot Pot, Cheap and Cheerful… Ruen Petch Bangkok

Diamond House!
Diamond House!
Bubbling pots!
Bubbling pots!

First, you tick off what you want from their menu, and then they serve it to your table with a hot pot bubbling in the centre.  They actually offer other ala carte items which are actually equally yummy, but we didn’t order any..

It's in english!
It’s in english!

Having a sunday family feast, us being well, Chinese, we like to have something ferociously boiling, even during the hot weather… HOTPOT!  Now, there are so many varieties of hotpot around, but this one is a traditional family favorite, it’s a simple hotpot but their meats come adorned with some sort of a marinade which is maybe fermented bean paste and an egg.  I really don’t know what they put in it since i’ve tired to replicate it so here it is.

You get a choice of their fermented pink tofu and bean sauce which is indescribable but so delish.  You flavour it with more garlic, lime and chilies to your liking or you can opt for a soy sauce.

Add at your own risk!
Add at your own risk!

It’s hearty, salty, flavourful, (due to the copious amounts of msg no doubt) even i get a rash afterwards it’s well worth it.  Not much to say but all chinese after we’re done with the meat and veggies and all that’s left is a soup pot full of boiling stock and marinade, we would pop in bowlfuls of rice to make like an instant congee and either keep with for breakfast or eat it off… Cheers!

See the bright yolk on the marinade? BEEEFFFF
See the bright yolk on the marinade? BEEEFFFF

 

Happy Family Lunch!

 

Seafood Galore!
Seafood Galore!
Veggies...
Veggies…

 

Happy Family Lunch!
Happy Family Lunch!


Bistro Soori

Bistro Soori
Bistro Soori
Lovely seating
Lovely seating
Lovely looking bar
Lovely looking bar


Great little gem.  I would give it a B, minimal looking place, nice decor very cosy and great service.  A bit hard to find but a great place for lunch.  Upon arrival we were greeting with a welcome cocktail.  Boozy, fruity cold and refreshing.

Interesting looking cocktail
Interesting looking cocktail

They offer quite alot of choices for a set lunch.  I like that, usually you get a 2 – 3 choice in most lunch sets, there’s quite a variety to suit every picky eater.

Yummy looking food!
Yummy looking food!
So many choices!
So many choices!

Complimentary:  Mushroom espresso

I liked the creamy mushroomy goodness.  Too bad it was an espresso cup i could have devoured a bowl!

YUMMY!
YUMMY!

I mopped up the soup with the warm hearty bread, i loved the garliky, herby butter.

Good bread n butter
Good bread n butter

 

Starter:  Pan seared scallops, Truffle Vinaigrette, Pistachio Pesto & Arugula

I admit it was beautifully presented and looked too good for words. A pair of decent sized scallops came perfectly seared, alas, it appeared that the scallops were soaked in brine either to plump up or some weird cooking technique i’m not aware of but it made the scallops unbearably salty.  I liked the pesto, bitterish, nutty it was a good contrast i’m just so sad it was salty.

Beautiful, Beautiful....
Beautiful, Beautiful….

 

A bit too salty...
A bit too salty…

 

Main Course:  16 hour braised US short rib, creamy polenta, mushroom and spinach.   Melt in the mouth, rich and delicious.  I would have preferred a thicker gravy since polenta is rather delicate in nature and maybe something crunchy for a different texture.  I like bittery foods, so the spinach was a great addition.  I would liked more of it but surprisingly the dish was rather fillling.

Wholesome & Hearty
Wholesome & Hearty

My Friends Main Course: Pan roasted striploin, sunchoke, greens, tomatoes, sherry vinegar.

Looks beautiful and i'm sure tasted excellent
Looks beautiful and i’m sure tasted excellent

It was the same dish on the cover of the menu!  I really need to come back to taste this dish.  It looks so so so yummy, smelt delicious, beautifully seared, and plump looking tomatoes.  I love love the presentation.

Desserts: Mine was a Vanilla Panna Cotta, Morello Cheeries with Brandy and Cornflakes, and my friend had the banana loaf, caramelized banana, and vanilla ice cream.  My friend said his dessert was perfect, mine was over powered by the sourness of the cherries.  It was so sharp that i couldn’t finish my dessert.  The panna cotta was yummy but too bad the topping killed it.   I liked the crunchy of the cornflakes, and the coffee was excellent.  I liked the luxury of 2 types of sugar, i felt that it was attention to detail.  It was 39.90 per person for lunch.  It’s a luxury lunch but in singapore i thought it was reasonable.

Looks delish!
Looks delish!
Too sour!
Too sour!
I take my coffee black but the sugars looked too nice!
I take my coffee black but the sugars looked too nice!