Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bangkok - Dubliner

Pub grub seemed like a good option to rid my husband's lingering hangover and Dubliner is not far from our hotel.

The place was packed solid when we got there! We never thought we would need to reserve a table at a pub. The manager was nice enough to squeezed us in - I think my bump might have played a part.

My husband's gammon ham with fried egg and home made chips (~US$12). It was very nice but what's with the stingy portion?

On the other hand my sausages and bubble and squeak (~US$11) was a plate full. I didn't think the pile of fried onion was necessary. The sausages were not bad, although I wouldn't say they were excellent as the guide book suggests. The bubble and squeak was a little sloppy too - it was too wet and the cabbage was way overcooked.

Service was still pretty good consider how busy it was.

440 Sukhumvit Rd. (nr. Soi 22), Bangkok. Tel: 204-1841

Bangkok - The Sala pool restaurant

I have to say while the pool at Sheraton Sukhumvit is small, it's rather private and nice. It's an oasis in the middle of the city. Needless to say I spent most of my time there just lounging and swimming and here are some of the things I ordered from the pool restaurant.

Squid and glass noodle salad. I like the fact that the chef was not shy with the use of chili..in fact I got a little worried about it being too spicy! Loved it but the portion was a bit stingy.

On a different day I tried the satays. The chicken ones were really really nice but the beef was so fat! Yuck!

Stir-fried beef with basil. Very nicely seasoned and cooked and I forgave them for cremating my fried egg.

Pizza. It took a long time to arrive and the toppings were not right. A bit of a let down really. The cheese and the base were nice but the rest was pretty ordinary.
Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok.

Bangkok - Il Mi Jung Korean Restaurant

Half a block away from our hotel I stumbled upon a courtyard packed full of Korean restaurants and they all seemed very popular. I thought to myself they can't be bad and the one I picked (like the rest of them) was full of Korean customers so I felt good before I even sampled the food.

I liked my kimchi spread. Like in Korea you get everything even if there's just the one of you. Grilling happily in the middle were my marinated beef ribs. I have to say while the marinate was excellent the meat was a little too fatty. I prefer the 100% lean cut.
I tried most of the kimchi dishes (not that I was anywhere near finishing them) except this one. It looked authentic enough and if I am not carrying "pea" I would definitely give it a go. Right now I can't risk having food poisoning!

A Korean salad which came with the kimchi spread. Loved the spicy dressing.

Beef bulgogi. It's a strange way of cooking it (usually you get a shallow pan to hold the meat and sauce in) but a piece of foil did the job as well. Again the marinate was good (could be slightly sweeter even) but the beef was too fatty for me.

Somehow I craved noodles and the only thing available was instant Korean noodles. Not bad but what the heck happened to the fried egg?
A very scrumptious meal came to around US$27. The amount of food I had could easily feed 2!

Il Mi Jung Korean Restaurant
Sukhumvit Plaza, Soi 12, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok. Tel: 251-8787

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bangkok - Siam Paragon Food Hall

Siam Paragon is huge with designer labels but the most interesting place had to be the food hall in the basement. I spent at least an hour looking at all the fabulous stalls, thinking I'd be 300 pounds if I live in Bangkok.

Thailand's national dessert: mango and sticky rice. Although you can't really see it in the picture but the size of the mangoes was so much bigger then the regular ones we see in supermarkets. I love mango!

Some kind of chicken BBQ skewers. I saw similar ones being sold by street food vendors everywhere in the city and I thought if I had to try one I'd probably do it here at the food hall. Maybe next time.

More street food - BBQ meat balls with glazed Thai chili sauce. Too bad I had a big lunch.

But then of course there's always room for dessert. I was more than excited when I saw the ice cream mochi counter. I inhaled 4 (~US$3) in no time. Yum! I wish there is a way to get a regular supply of those.

Then I saw the gelato counter. I was practically drooling! When will we ever get something similar in Shanghai?

Bangkok - Nippon Kai

After two rather disappointing Thai meals at the hotel I was somewhat tired with the stuff. For some reason the Paragon seems to be full of Japanese restaurants and I was more than happy to try one.

Ika sashimi. Not the best and it was a little chewy. the chef should have trimmed off the tough bits off. I liked the freshly grated wasabi though.

California roll. Totally not up to standard. I thought rice is getting very expensive these days so why was there so much of the stuff? It's 80% rice, 5% avocado and 5% cumcumber, then 10% crab stick. Totally boring.

My katsu don was actually pretty good. The pork chop was juicy and there was just enough sauce.
Lunch came to around US$15. Acceptable in terms of value for money.

Nippon Kai
Basement, Siam Paragon, Bangkok.

Bangkok - room service

With all the work my husband had to finish that day we decided room service was probably our best option.

Samosas. Looked good and tasted just as good!

I can't say the same about my Thai fried rice. I picked it because I thought it would be fool proof. The result was surprisingly bad. The rice was tasteless and without a hint of Thai spices. It was extremely unsatisfying!

My husband continued the Indian theme and when I saw his spread I was getting jealous.

It even came with nan bread and poppadums!

The chicken makhani looked good also. I was beginning to wonder perhaps the chef was Indian and not Thai?

My mango and sticky rice dessert. At least it was good. I don't know why but mangoes in Thailand always taste sooo good all year round. How do they do it?

Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok.

Bangkok - Basil

Our flight to Bangkok was delayed for more than an hour and by the time we got to Bangkok it was way pass lunch time. We were so hungry we could have eaten a horse. We headed down to one of the hotel restaurants, knowing that prices would be high and the food most likely average at best. We were right.

I have yet to work out what that brown-color dip is. It's very pungent and I suspect fish sauce is the culprit. It's not really my cup of tea.

Spicy Thai beef salad (~US$10). It was average at best. We appreciated the mostly lean cut with the beef but the dressing and seasoning were nothing spectacular. You'd think they can do much better with all those fresh ingredients right on the doorstep.

Deep fried grouper topped with chili sauce (~US$17). It sounded and looked good but the fish was actually really chewy. It was like chewing leather. Was it overcooked? Or perhaps the fish was once upon a time frozen?

Fried glass noodles with egg and mixed vegetables (~US$9). Not bad as I like both glass noodles and egg. Taste wise it was rather plain. I wonder if it's meant to be plain?

Roast duck in red curry (~US$9). It was probably the best dish (and best value) for the entire meal. I guess it's difficult to screw up a red curry dish.

Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok. Tel: 649-8366

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

China Earthquake Relief

For those who have HSBC internet banking there's a very easy way to donate money directly to Red Cross in China.

Here's the link. Otherwise just log on as you normally would and click on donations.

To see more info click here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bistro Le Saleya

There are so many mixed reviews about Saleya so it was interesting to finally go there and try the place out.

None of the starters grabbed us so we went straight to mains. L's lamb chops. She said they were nice.

My beef fillet. There was nothing bad about it but then it wasn't anything special.

Our creme brulee. Not bad but the top wasn't crispy/caramelised. A bit disappointing!

Will go back for lunch if I am nearby but certainly won't make a special trip down there. The place is also too cramp/small to us for dinner.

Bistro Le Saleya
570 Chang Le Rd. (nr. Xiang Yang Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 5403-6957

M on the Bund

A farewell lunch. Seems like I'll be having a few of those in the near future. :-( Good luck B and have a safe journey home!

For the special occasion we met at M on the Bund. Here are a number of starters from the monthly luncheon menu:

White gazpacho.

Bruschetta with goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and egg plant caviar.

Crispy fried river prawns with aioli and chili oil. It wasn't what I expected as I didn't think the size of the prawns would be so small. While they were crispy it was very scratchy for my mouth and throat when I tried to swallow the prawns. I tried taking the shell off but they were just way too small and I ended up just taking the heads and the tails off. I heard shell is supposed to be nutritious? I hope so anyway.

Selections for main included the Ploughman's platter. I was literally drooling over the scotch egg!

My crab cakes. They were very creamy and too soft for me. I prefer the firm chunky and meaty version. Seared Mongolian lamb with sweet potato salad and yogurt sauce.
For desserts we had mulberry clafoutis.

Mango with coconut ice cream.

There was also a chocolate brownie with white chocolate semi freddo but the person wolfed it down so quickly I didn't have a chance to take a picture. Must be extremely good!

Petits fours.

Starters, mains, and desserts were RMB58, RMB118, and RMB48 each respectively.

Every one of us enjoyed the food! It's a cheap way to enjoy the view and the food of what M has to offer.

M on the Bund
7/F, 5 on the Bund, Shanghai. Tel: 6350-9988

Al Dente

A girls' night out! I don't get to do that too often these days so a big thank you for V for organizing dinner.

We were kind of curious to see what Al Dente is like as it's often very busy. We booked a table in advance and even so could only pick between the 7pm or 8:30pm slots. Good thing I don't mind eating early these days!

We decided to have a couple of starters to share between the 3 of us. Our antipasta had salami, parma ham , artichokes, roasted peppers and smoked salmon - strange and that out-of-bottle tartare sauce was a little out of place (and not to mention off-putting). Everything tasted rather average, just like the packet stuff you buy from supermarkets.

Deep fried calamari. Again it came with that same tartare sauce. Eck. The calamari was OK but nothing special.

S's seafood spaghetti. It had tons of fresh seafood such as mussels, prawns, scallops and fish. She said the tomato based sauce was nice also.

My lobster with angel hair pasta was very nice. The sauce had the right consistency and it was not garlicky for a change like most white sauce. The chunky lobster meat was sweet and fresh. It was a winner!

S's surf and turf. We definitely liked the size of the dish - it was just sheer volume. The quality was not bad as I was told.
The meal for the 3 of us (no room for desserts!) came close to HK$800. I will probably go back again for the pasta dishes. I have to say I'm never too keen on the restaurants in the Soho area as most of them are way too small with too many tables. Al Dente was the same: we ended up with a table in a small second floor loft and at least 6 other tables. It wasn't exactly relaxing!

Al Dente
G/F, 16 Staunton St., Central, Hong Kong. Tel: 2869-5463

famous Yuen Long snacks

Finally I made it to Yuen Long aka cow pat country. Sorry V I had to take the piss.

I had heard so much about Victory beef balls I was genuinely excited with anticipation. With at least 3 shops in the block the place was still packed - must be a good sign.

There wasn't really a menu. You can have beef balls or beef brisket with noodles. I decided to try both.

The beef balls were good - quite beefy with a nice consistency.

Beef brisket with rice noodles. The soup base was very very strong with a star anise base. Not bad. The brisket was a bit fatty but very tender. I think I like the beef balls better. I found the portion very stingy though. I walked out half full....

Next stop: some kind of dai pai dong famous for its French toast. Man it was good. I wish I could have more (V insisted that we shared). :-(

Pan-fried pork chop with noodles seemed to be a hit also and I wasn't going to let the opportunity pass. The verdict: loved it! The chop was really tender and had that melt-in-your-mouth texture. The seasoning was surprisingly nice as well - I wonder what the secret marinate was. It was well worth the wait!

And thank you V for treating me!

I am not sure whether I would go all the way to cow pat country to have these, but they are nice if you happen to be there.