Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thai Farmer Restaurant

It's been a long while since we went to Thai Farmer. My last visit caused me such grief (I had gastroenteritis after, although my friend who ate the same food was OK) I stayed away from the place for a while. Unfortunately our new favourite Thai place in Wanchai shut down a while ago so we are now left with nothing but Thai Farmer again.

We got there around 8:30pm on a Thursday and the place was not busy at all...our hearts sank a little. In it's heyday the place was always packed solid until 10pm.

We started off with a papaya salad. The dressing was fragrant but very spicy. If pea is not there I would be eating loads but I was worried about going into labour!

Pork neck salad. The dressing again was very good and spicy, but the pork neck itself left a lot to be desired. It was way too fat and chewy and there was not very much of it.

Steamed fish with lime and chili in broth: the girls' favourite but my husband and K call it the stupid fish. We opted for a sea bass instead of the standard mullet. It was perfect: the fish was meaty and fresh and the broth together with the lime and chili were just out of this world. Even the cabbage on the bottom was enjoyable.

K ordered the Thai roast chicken so he didn't have to eat the stupid fish. It was a good choice as the chicken was very nicely done, the meat was tender and moist. However we didn't think there was a whole chicken there...we were told that it was a small chicken. Either that or it's some weird chicken with only 1 breast, 1 leg and and a set of wings.

All in all dinner was enjoyable and I didn't get sick this time around. Can go back again. Dinner for 3 with drinks came to HK$580.

Thai Farmer Restaurant
98 Lockhart Rd. (nr. Luard Rd.), Wanchai, Hong Kong. Tel: 2520-6607

Green Cottage Vietnamese Restaurant

A quick and solo lunch at my favourite Vietnamese restaurant. My steamed Vietnamese sausage: loved the faint pork taste.

My other favourite: Nem Chua - a Vietnamese salami-like sausage. Slightly sour and spicy, it made a great appetizer.

Beef pho. Simple and delicious. The broth was a little too rich for me and I got a bit thirty after my meal.

Lunch with a lime soda came to HK$125.

Green Cottage Vietnamese Restaurant
2/F, Gigna Tower, 482 Jaffe Rd., Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Tel: 2832-2863

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


My second visit to Watami was out of convenience and not for the food. It was one of the few places in Tai Po which didn't require queueing up for a table (I hate the Tai Po dining scene: too many people and too many mediocre restaurants).

Unlike last time there's now a set lunch menu. For HK$40 to HK$60 you get a main course, a drink, miso soup and a salad. We decided to get a set each as the set prices are the same as the a la carte prices, so they are practically giving the drink, soup and salad away.

It explains for the very lame-looking salad. We didn't want food poisoning and we gave it a pass.
My tangerine drink. Not bad. Didn't try the miso - limiting my intake of salt and MSG.
My spicy kimchi rice with pork. The taste was right but it could use more vegetables and the pork was too fatty. Other than that it was quite tasty!
The mini grilled eel rice and udon combo. The eel and rice were average tasting - OK for what they are charging. The udon noodles were actually not bad.
We ordered an extra pork fillet on hot plate. It was of reasonable quality and quantity for what they are charging (HK$39).Two sets and the extra pork came to HK$145. Not bad.

Shop 273-275, Zone B, Tai Po Mega Mall, Tai Po, Hong Kong. Tel: 2662-3241

Sorabol Korean Restaurant

Another day, another Korean meal for me. I suppose I like beef and I like sweet sauce and so Korean food works for me. Our kimchi spread at Sorabol, one of my favourite restaurants in Hong Kong. I have to say though the selection was a little disappointing this time around (what's with the mayo salad thing?). The quantity was stingy too. What gives?

Ox tongue - V's favourite. I don't eat ox tongue usually but somehow when it's thinly sliced and barbecued it's acceptable.

My favourite marinated beef ribs.

The meat was tender and juicy as always. I was told that the beef was massaged by hand to loosen up the texture. Perhaps I will try it at home sometime.

Marinated chicken. De-boned with spicy marinate, it's always a favourite for us. It would be perfect if the skin was off.
Beef bulgogi - my favourite. Loved that sweet tasting broth, although it could be a little thicker.

And finally the reason for the visit: the handmade noodles with beef.

These were probably the best Korean noodles in the world. The texture was nicely chewy (instead of soggy) and the broth was out of this world. I want more now as we speak.
All in all we enjoyed the meal. We noticed a drop in quality with the meat in used to be better. Something should be done about the kimchi too. I hope it was just an occasional slip.

Sorabol Korean Restaurant
17/F, Lee Theatre Plaza, 99 Percival St., Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Tel: 2375-2882

Monday, July 14, 2008

Under Bridge Spicy Crab

A few days prior to my visit to Under Bridge Spicy Crab I happened to come across Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation on tv and on this particular episode he's in Hong Kong chomping down some spicy crab at Under Bridge! I was literally drooling. As a result on the night of our visit L and I decided to large it. It was also going to be her last visit for at least a year. :-(

I had been telling L about this ugly creature squilla while we were in Shanghai and she was determined to try some. Known as "pissing shrimp" in Cantonese, squilla is a type of mantis shrimp and rumour has it when it's cooked it tends to urinate. Not a pretty thought but the waiter was recommending the giant ones so we went for it. The shrimps arrived as ugly as we had hoped for (it will be a good conversation piece for a while) and they were absolutely massive: the length must have been like the length of an A4 sized paper. Luckily the chef had it chopped in 3 sections otherwise it would have been challenging to peel them (the shell seemed quite hard). We loved it: meaty but tender at the same time, and most importantly it's juicer than lobster. I could have easily polished another one.

Stir fried clams in black bean and chili sauce. I am not usually a fan of black bean sauce at all but somehow it works with clams. The clams were rather big, the meat nice and fresh!

Our token vegetable dish with scallops. If broccoli comes with scallops like these everyday I would be eating a lot more broccoli!

And last but not least the reason to come here: spicy crab! We asked for low level of spiciness and it was just about right for us wieners. I also requested a crab which must have claws bigger than my iphone and we got what we wanted. It was finger licking good! I hope L will be back soon to have another crab feast with me!

With all that garlic and salt we totally expected to get thirsty afterwards but we didn't! I wonder why?

Crab was HK$680 and mantis shrimp was HK$140 each. The clams I believe was around HK$60 and so was the broccoli. The seafood was quite pricey but we thought it was worth it. I want more!

405 -419 Lockhart Rd., Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Tel: 2893-1289

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Indonesian Restaurant 1968

I always wanted to go Indonesian Restaurant 1968 but the one in Causeway Bay is always so busy it's impossible to get in. I was happy to find out about the Shatin branch and it was not very busy at all the day we visited (a weekday afternoon).

The lunch menu was pretty big but we decided to go for the lunch sets. All the sets come with a drink and a pick at the salad bar. Here we have iced tea on the left and guava soda on the right. I wished I had gone for the ice tea because my guava soda was extremely sweet and synthetic tasting.
T's attempt to put together a gado gado. Not bad!
I was not nearly as adventurous and settled for a plate full of prawn crackers instead. I was happy!
T ordered the Indonesian fried rice with satays. While the satays were tasty the rice was funny. It's like the rice grains were burnt somehow and they were hard.
My beef rendang looked so rich and thick I was really surprised at how plain it tasted! Even though the beef was tender there was no hint of spices whatsoever. Upon looking up the recipe on wikepedia the cooking process should include ingredients such as ginger, turmeric, lemon grass, galangal, and chillies. Well I assure you that I didn't taste any of those ingredients. Disappointing!
Two set lunch came to around HK$150. Large doses of MSG came for free. I was so thirsty afterwards I felt so uncomfortable I had to go for my good old thirst/hangover remedy: a can of Coca Cola to get me out of misery. I will not go back ever. Not even if I am desperate.

Indonesian Restaurant 1968

Shop 701 New Town Plaza Phase 1, Shatin, Hong Kong. Tel: 2699-8777

Koreana Restaurant

It was good to be able to meet P for lunch - I hadn't seen him for quite a long while. It was a bonus when he suggested Korean food! It was definitely a nice change from the tiresome Chinese.

I thought Koreana's lunch menu was a pretty good deal. There were at least 20 to 30 different lunch sets with popular items with rice and soup. With prices ranging from HK$40 to HK$60, it's not a bad deal for Causeway Bay at all.

A selection of kimchi was given to each table regardless of what was being ordered.

P's beef ribs set. The ribs were stewed in a slightly sweet sauce until they are extremely tender. He said it's his favourite Korean dish.

My bibimbap set. The portion was huge! I loved every bit of it even though I was initially a bit nervous about the raw egg. The stone bowl was so hot the egg was cooked through by the time I mixed everything up.

P really wanted some Korean glass noodle and instead of ordering from the a la carte menu we decided to order yet another lunch set cos it's cheaper. The glass noodles were yummy but we were a little disappointed to find out that the beef ribs were exactly the same as the stew minus the sauce. They were yummy but we felt cheated somehow.

Lunch came to HK$150. Service was pretty good too. When we ordered the third glass noodles set we told the waiter we didn't want the rice which came with it as it would have been too much food. Half way though our meal the waiter came to check if we had enough and whether we wanted the rice after all. A small gesture but we were impressed!

Koreana Restaurant

Shop G3 to G6, Elizabeth House, Gloucester Rd. (entrance on Jaffe Rd.), Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Tel: 2577-5145

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Lanciano Ristorante

Apparently there is an Italian joint in Tai curiosity immediately peaked. When we got there the place was full - I wondered the popularity was due to the lack of choices in Tai Po, or the food.

The big menu had all the items you would expect, with pasta, pizza, meat and seafood dishes.

To start my dad had the onion soup. It was more like a cream of potato soup with no hint of onion whatsoever. He didn't like it at all.

My bresola wrapped with ricotta with arugula. It was a bit odd that the whole thing was served dry without olive oil. Once I softened the beef with olive oil the dish was actually not bad.

Pappardelle with Italian sausages and mozzarella. The sauce was way too sweet and I could use more cheese than the 5 cubes of mozzarella.

Linguine with clams and mussels in white wine sauce. Our jaws dropped when we saw how big those clams were. The sauce was actually not bad and not too garlicky.

Spaghetti with foie gras. I didn't try the foie gras but the pasta was cooked to perfection! It was very fragrant with duck oil with a hint of chili...too bad the portion was small.

Tip: if you pay with a HSBC credit card you get a free dessert of the day. On that day it was pistachio and hazelnut "ice cream". It was actually semifreddo and it wasn't bad.
Dinner for 3 with 3 glasses of house red came to around HK$750, which is quite pricey given the quality. I guess when you don't have competitions in the area you can do what you want.

Lanciano Ristorante
31-35 Yan Hing Street, Tai Po, N.T., Hong Kong. Tel: 2651-6660

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Al Dente

After my not-so-bad experience at Al Dente last time I decided to take my husband there for lunch. The place was rather busy but we managed to get a table. He started off with hummus (HK$49). The bread was nicely toasted but the hummus was really runny. It had a distinctive lemony taste - which was not bad at all but if you wanted hummus you would be disappointed.

Next he had the linguine with salmon (HK$89). For some reason I thought it would come with a white sauce so I was a little disappointed but my husband said it was OK.

I went for the lunch set instead. For HK$98 you get a 3-course lunch, which I thought was an excellent deal. To start I got to pick between soup or salad. I went for the onion soup and it was delicious.

For main the choices were penne with bacon, steak and chicken parmigiano. I had the chicken. It was edible but tasted rather blah. It was like something I would do for a quick fix at home with ready-made sauce.
I gave dessert (tiramisu) a pass as I was too full.

Al Dente
16 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong. Tel:2869-5463

Tsim Chai Noodles

Highly recommended by our Aussie friends, It was actually my first visit to the rather famous Tsim Chai Noodles. When we got there it was almost 3pm in the afternoon and yet the line up extended out of the shop! Must be a good sign. We finally settled down and took a look at the small menu. There are only three types of toppings you can have with the noodles: wontons, fishballs made with mud carp, and sliced beef. My husband got a noodle with 2 toppings - wonton and fish balls (HK$21). Note how huge those fish balls were! He preferred the wontons more and was equally impressed with the noodles and the broth.

My noodle with 1 topping (HK$16). I don't normally like this kind of fish balls (they can be fishy and bony) but these ones were excellent. I ended up having another bowl - well I am eating for two you know. :)
Tip: the chili sauce is fierce!

Tsim Chai Noodles
98 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: 2850-6471

Friday, July 04, 2008

Man Fai Cuttlefish Balls

The very famous cuttlefish balls with seaweed soup (HK$26). Philippe Starck's favourite. The balls are very different than your regular cuttlefish balls...the texture and the taste actually resemble cuttlefish. These days it's not that often where you find cuttlefish balls which taste like squid. Scary thought.
Man Fai Cuttlefish Balls & Noodles
22-24 Jardine's Bazaar, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Tel: 2890-1278

Crystal Jade

Unlike Crystal Jade in Shanghai, which serves mainly Cantonese food, the Hong Kong branches specialise in Shanghaiese fare. Clever! We started with some pork dumplings. The fillings were very tasty and full of soup but the pastry was a little too thick for me.

Braised lion heads. Very disappointing to say the least. The consistency was all wrong: they were very soggy probably because the mince was way too fine. The sauce was pretty blah and it did nothing to the dish. It didn't even come close to the version I had in Shanghai two weeks ago.

Wonton in soup. Didn't try the soup, the wontons were tasty enough I wanted more.

Noodles with deep-fried pork chops. The chops were extremely greasy and the seasoning was nothing special.

The noodles were hand-made but they were nothing special. Let's say I've had better ones before. Don't think I'll be back in a hurry. Why do people line up to eat at this place?
Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
Shop 169, L1, New Town Plaza, Shatin, Hong Kong. Tel: 2699-9811