Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Touring Middle East 17: Art Walk on Sabbath Day

The taxi driver seems baffled when we asked him to take us to the Mahane Yehuda Market in the afternoon - "you know everything is closed on the last day of Sukkot, right?". Of course little did we know he literally meant just that. When we were dropped off at our destination, we found ourselves standing on an empty street, with absolutely NONE of the shops - Jews or non-Jews - were open for business.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Touring Middle East 16: The Two Ruins and the Dead Sea

We spent the later parts of our trip enjoying the magnificent sights of more archaeological sites near Dead Sea and in Jordan. On our last full day in Israel, we were taken on a scenic route along the coast of Dead Sea and paid a visit to the popular tourist spot of Masada, an ancient fortress built on top of a rock plateau in the middle of nowhere.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Touring Middle East 15: The Two Museums

We spent the whole day museum-hopping in Jerusalem as part of our itinerary. Our first stop is the Holocaust History Museum as part of the Yad Vashem complex, built by the Israeli Government as the memorial to the victims of Nazi Holocaust.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Hairy Crabs at the Club

Turned out it's a blessing in disguise that our annual crab feast at Shanghai Fraternity Association was pushed back for an extra week this year because of some scheduling conflict, as the Shanghainese hairy crab season was also delayed by some government bureaucracy, so we barely caught the early part of the season even with the later date. It's already the third year we joined our friend C and A who organized this friends' gathering at their home club famous for the exquisite Shanghainese cuisine. (previous ones in 2015 and 2016)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Bar Crossover

A few days ago I dropped by Okra in the afternoon for a sneak preview of the upcoming collaboration dinner menu featuring dishes by Chef Max Levy and drinks by Yuta Inagaki of Bar Butler in TST. The full menu was a 10-course long meal completed with 9 different cocktails but this time we had the abbreviated menu with 6 of those dishes.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

White Diamond Dinner

Price for white truffles this season has been ridiculously high this year (low production due to uncooperative weather), so that means I had to be frugal and thought twice on where I put my truffle money on - First World problem, I know. I have always heard the restaurant at Hong Kong Club serves one of the best valued white truffle menu in town so it's too big an opportunity to miss when a group I am (somewhat) associated with was organizing a dinner there.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Full House at Caprice

Our weekend of non-stop eating began with a buffet dinner at a hotel near our home Friday evening then with lunch at Caprice on the next day. It's good to see the familiar faces of the front and back teams at the restaurant returning from holidays or guest chef appearances elsewhere - we certainly picked the right time to visit with a full house at work.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

#DimSumDuets

For all the how-many-hands dinners we have attended, the Dim Sum Duets series by Hong Kong Tatler Dining (now with the hipster-like name T.Dining) was by far the most impressive, and we said this not because our friend C was organizing it. For 4 evenings in November, four different chefs known for their innovative cooking were paired up with two chefs specialized in traditional Chinese cuisine for a series of pop-up dinners featuring new dimsum dishes.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Sasa Sushi Lunch

I happened to walk by Sasa Sushi in Taipei on Friday afternoon so I went inside to make a booking for lunch the next day. A bit random I know, but we are always eager to check out sushi restaurants while we were in town, as they were often of great quality and reasonably priced.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Xiaoqi in Taipei

I tried to load all my shopping needs in Taipei in one single afternoon on my first day before CYY arrived later at night. I called that my "Golden 6 hours" that I could be on my own and get everything I want without someone nagging over my shoulder. So I dropped by bag at the hotel, briefly said hi to my friend S who works in the hotel over a cup of tea at the lounge, and went straight to Chifeng Street a few bus stations away to a series of shops owned by the "Xiaoqi" (小器) team.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Already a Fan - Two Nights at MO Taipei

Speaking of lounge and luxury travel... this time in Taipei we spent both nights at the Mandarin Oriental, courtesy of the hotel's PR team. And I must say our experience was perfect from the moment we arrived at the door to the time we (reluctantly) bid farewell.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Centurion Lounge

I don’t usually write about airport lounges - cuz doing so made me sound like a humblebrag - but then this is the one I was truly excited about. I have never visited the American Express Centurion Lounge before - they started operating a few in US after my time (would have loved to have a few of those when I was flying regularly for work), but recently they expanded to a few overseas locations, starting in Hong Kong this past October, which obviously is a good news to me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bring Your Own Seafood

Dinner at one of those seafood restaurants in Saikung is our event of choice whenever we got out-of-town friends visiting Hong Kong. I guess there's nothing more iconic to what Hong Kong culture is about with a meal at a restaurant with live seafood picked fresh from the water tanks and cooked any way you want.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

New at the Fringe

It’s strange that the space which once housed the legendary and popular M at the Fringe restaurant hasn’t quite found a long-term tenant able to bring it close to its heyday for almost a decade. Over the years we have seen changes from a café to art gallery to kitchen studio, all relatively short-lived, but the latest project did catch my attention and sounds promising, with a cozy restaurant specializing in Franco-Japanese cuisine.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Family Style Shunde Dinner

When our friend H and A asked whether we were free to join the dinner at Shun Tak Fraternal Association, we didn’t hesitate to say yes. It’s one of those private, members-only places in town that has quite a reputation in delivering authentic regional Chinese cuisine, with this one specializing in Shunde Cantonese cuisine.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The New Seasons

The restaurant Seasons at Lee Garden turned a new page recently with Chef Olivier departed (hence his name was dropped from the name of the restaurant) and taking his place is the new head chef Lorenz Hoja whose last stop was in Singapore with L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon there. I normally would wait a few menu iterations to let any new chef settled in before trying their food, but the restaurant’s PR team graciously extend an invitation to me to try some of his new dishes recently, so I guess it doesn’t hurt having a sneak preview.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Steakhouse Makeover

There's a constant carousal of restaurants opening and closing in Lan Kwai Fong's California Tower - just a fact of life in this highly competitive area in terms of F&B business. But this time it's a case of new wine in an old bottle, with the steakhouse Porterhouse recently got a new owner with the new makeover. I haven't been to the old Porterhouse before so I can't tell how dramatic was the change when I went for dinner recently, but I was assured those are changes for the good, replacing everything from the chef to the concept to the menu and to the tableware ("basically everything except the interior", I was told)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Touring Middle East 14: Kosher Dinner

Searching online for "Best Kosher Restaurant in Jerusalem" led us to Eucalyptus near the Old City. I felt one can't get a full grasp of Jerusalem cuisine without trying at least one proper Kosher meal, plus we were right in the middle of Jewish Sukkot celebration so it just seemed culturally appropriate doing so too. So one afternoon after returning from our sightseeing activities, I asked the hotel to make the booking for us for dinner at the restaurant in the same evening.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Touring Middle East 13: Italian in Jerusalem

We were out again for dinner in Jerusalem - this time with a bigger group of six fellow travelers in our group. As the evening fell under a special Sabbath day after sundown (as part of the Sukkot festival) and many restaurants closed early (it's Jewish tradition to fast during Sabbath), the hotel concierge recommended this non-Kosher Italian restaurant called Adom to us

Monday, November 20, 2017

Touring Middle East 12: The Walled Off Bethlehem

Of course, almost EVERY tourists who come to Jerusalem will spend at least half a day in Bethlehem, just a quick drive away from city center by distance. After all, this is the "little town" we sang about every Christmas (in whatever tunes you are familiar) with the video footage of the annual Christmas eve midnight mass at Basilica of Nativity being broadcast worldwide as the key event of Christmas celebration. This all traced back to Jesus Christ was born in this Judean town in a meager manger some 2000 years ago (Gospel of Luke 2:1-7), the event now known as "The Nativity of Jesus".

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Touring Middle East 11: Discovery by Accident

Machneyuda restaurant in Jerusalem checked every boxes of the type of place I would be dying to try - one specializes in local cuisine, with open kitchen, a creative team and menu which changes daily based on seasonal ingredients sourced from the market next door, not to mention it came highly recommended by just about every travel guide/website/reviews I managed to read before the trip.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Touring Middle East 10: Dinner at Chakra

We were curious to check out the Jerusalem dining scene the moment we arrived, despite this legendary town is probably better known for its political and religious significance than being a culinary destination. Once we checked in to our hotel after a long bus ride from the north and dropped our luggage in our room, we hopped on the tram to Jerusalem's city center, where it was packed like Causeway Bay with Orthodox Jews celebrating the festival of Sukkot.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sweet Wine and Cheese

A few weeks ago I was at a luncheon at On Dining in Central hosted by Sweet Bordeaux, the marketing consortium of 10 Bordeaux appellations.with production of sweet and semi-sweet wines. I am not a particular fan of the Wine and Dine Festival held this year at the Central Harbourfront (too crowded, too consumer-oriented) but this annual event did bring a number of overseas people in F&B industry with a string of special events on and off the venue including this one, with the theme of sweet Bordeaux wine and cheese pairing.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Reminiscent of Yester-year

I felt like going back to the college days when I walked into Morty's Deli in Wanchai with the familiar American diner décor and 90's and 00's music playing in the background. I walked by the restaurant a few times before but this is only my first visit - this time at the invitation of the restaurant and their PR team.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Crabs at Restaurant Petrus

I admit I don't come to Restaurant Petrus often - my last visit was more than a year ago - but I remembered my meal last time was pretty decent and since then I have been hearing good things about its chef Ricardo Chaneton’s cooking too. So I was pretty excited to come with some friends for a dinner earlier this week to try their special “Crabalicious” menu featuring a few crab dishes.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Light Sushi Lunch

I felt I needed a proper sushi lunch to satisfy my crave for Japanese food, so I made a booking at Sushi Wadatsumi in Sheung Wan for a Saturday afternoon. I have been to its predecessor, Sushi Iwa, in its old location before and thought it’s right in the middle of the pack, so I am curious how the restaurant fared, now that they have changed the name and moved to its current location in Sheung Wan, and managed to keep its Michelin star.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Touring Middle East 9: Walking Around the Local Market

It's unfortunate that we didn't spend quite enough time to explore the modern side of Jerusalem, as one can never see the full picture of this town so steep in history just by looking at century-old buildings and artifacts in the Old City and other religious sites in the proximity. We tried to spend as much free time as we could exploring on our own, but we probably hardly scratched the surface in such a short period of time.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Touring Middle East 8: The Old City Jerusalem

Obviously, we spent most of our time in Jerusalem in the Old City (and its surroundings), just like every tourists who come over to visit. There’s no other places with a longer, more colorful history (believed to be more than 3000 years old) yet relatively well preserved, despite being fought over again and again for the past 2000 years. First and foremost, this small walled enclave of slightly less than 1 square kilometer (just to give you some reference – Hong Kong Island is 80 times bigger) is the heart of much religious significance, whether you are Christian, Jewish or Muslim, and that’s our major reason why we were here – to visit some of those Holy Sites key to Jesus’ life, especially in the last days before He’s betrayed, arrested, crucified, buried and rose again.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Touring Middle East 7: Runaway Dinner in Tiberias

I (not so) secretly kept a list of places (well, mainly restaurants as you can imagine) I would like to visit on our own in case our group tour itinerary allowed any free time. So on one evening we (with our partner in crime T) made a side trip to a restaurant called Magdalena, which happened to be just 10 minutes away by car from where we were staying in Tiberias.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Touring Middle East 6: Following the Footsteps

For any "Christian pilgrim" itinerary, Galilee in the northern part of Israel is just as important a stop as Jerusalem. This is the place where Jesus grew up (in His hometown of Nazareth), where most His apostles were from, and many of His ministry works and miracles took place.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Touring Middle East 5: Crossing Jordan and Full Moon by the "Sea"

After spending 2 nights at Petra, we crossed the Jordanian border into the Palestinian-administered West Bank via Allenby Bridge (or King Hussein Bridge as the Jordanians call it) without much fanfare. This is no longer the most hostile border to cross (after the peace treaty signed between Jordan and Israel a couple decades ago) but traces of hostility remained with both sides still heavily armed and the no-man's land between the 2 countries stretching a couple kilometers with only a narrow road for authorized vehicles to cross with signs warning against mines along the way.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Beer Pairing Dinner

Recently I was at a dinner at Lobster Bar of Island Shangri-La featuring a beer-pairing menu with a few specialty bottles by the folks at Young Master Brewery. I have been a fan of this fast-expanding local craft brewery and think event like this benefits both the restaurant in offering something new to its customers and for the brewery to introduce its great products to a wider audience.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Three-Course Celebration

Still recovering from the long trip which ended just a couple of days before, I was not in particular mood for a lengthy meal to celebrate my own birthday. So I suggested to check out Arcane, a place that I thought it's good enough as a venue for special occasion yet not those 10-course degustation menu kind of place. And most importantly, it's a place that I have never been before (at least for a proper sit-down meal) I honestly don't know why as I have always been a fan of Chef Shane Osborn's cooking.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Four-Hands Preview

I was not able to make it to either nights of the special Vicky Cheng x Margarita Fores dinner at Chef Vicky's restaurant VEA in late October, but was glad to get a sneak preview of the menu a couple of days before it was launched. I have never tried Chef Margarita's (of Grace Park Restaurant in Manila) cooking before but I always wanted to, ever since she received her Best Female Chef award by the Asia's 50 Best Restaurant last year.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Touring Middle East 4: Dining Under Starlight

We wanted to reward ourselves after an exhausting day at the Petra, so for dinner, we ditched the buffet at the restaurant downstairs at our hotel and opted to eat at the lush Al Ghadeer on the rooftop. With the temperature dropping significantly in the evening and on a clear night, we just thought that’s a good idea to chill and relax, and try something different.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Touring Middle East 3: Petra by Day

The thought of having to walk twice the distance during the day as we did in the previous night didn’t sit too comfortably with me, but I guess I just had to forget the pain and sweat and made the hike up to the magnificent sights in Petra again. We began our journey at 8am in order to avoid the heat on mid-day as much as possible.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Touring Middle East 2: Petra By Night

We arrived at the town of Petra in the southern part of Jordan right before sunset after a 3-hour bus ride through the King’s Highway (an ancient road even mentioned in Numbers 21:22). While our official itinerary of Petra wouldn’t start until the next day, some of us decided to join the Petra By Night show after dinner at our hotel. Well, we have seen Petra in numerous photos and documentaries before (plus of course, the Indiana Jones movie which was shot there) but this is one of those places you just have to visit by yourselves to experience. If you haven't put this in your bucket list, you should.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Touring Middle East 1: Madaba and Our First Lunch

In just slightly less than 12 hours, our uneventful Royal Jordanian flight (a new Boeing 787-Dreamliner by the way) landed at Amman Airport at day-break. We try to do at least one long trip every year and this year our destination is Jordan and Israel. It’s only our first time setting foot in the Middle East.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sukiyaki at the Counter

It’s my fault that I had to rush across the harbor to make my 6:30pm reservation at Sukiyaki Mori, but I was glad I made it right on time (okay, I was more like 15 minutes late) at the doorstep of this new restaurant at the junction of Elgin and Hollywood. I couldn’t recall any other restaurant specializes in sukiyaki in town, and being meat lovers as ourselves, we were eager to check it out.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Beer Crossover

I think it's a brilliant idea for Beef & Liberty to join hands with Brooklyn Brewery for this interesting project to deliver an unique drink-pairing dining experience which normally reserved for wine people. One corner of the restaurant was converted into a private dining area (think Krug Room but for beers) completed with wooden insignia on the wall and the collection of Brooklyn Brewery beers on display, and a special menu designed by Chef Uwe was served matching with several beers, some not commonly found in Hong Kong market.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Proper Kaiseki

I came to know this Japanese place through a rather unusual source - sponsored ad on Facebook how about that? (just to show it does occasionally work you marketing people!) I was intrigued by the fact that the restaurant, called Tenkuni, is specialized in Tempura and Unagi, or freshwater eel, as they advertised. You know, there's only a handful place in town that serves even half-decent Unagi dishes that can be somewhat close to any random ones in Japan, so that got me curious enough to give it a shot on one weeknight.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Loading up on Canto

I was back at Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira in TST just a few days before we embarked on our long trip to the Middle East in October. I was lucky to have a series of fine Chinese meals around town lately and this one was definitely ranked right up there. I was here only a couple months ago attending a wine tasting followed by a sumptuous feast and I loved the food prepared by Chef Edwin Tang then, so I was interested in checking out more of his creative dishes, this time over dinner with the hotel's PR team.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Not The Usual Lounge

It's just unfair to put The Lounge at Four Seasons Hong Kong on the list among other hotel cafes. True they all serve the somewhat predictable menu trying to cater to a wide spectrum of customers, from proper breakfasts to sandwiches to salad and pasta, and of course the must-have "Asian Delights" section (whatever it's called in individual places) with dishes like wonton noodle soup and chicken rice. Plus the afternoon tea completed with the silver-plated tower with all the sweet and savory goodies. That's what this kind of restaurants are designed for in the first place.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Wine Dinner Avant Premiere

Late last week I attended the preview dinner of the new collaboration project between Conrad Hong Kong and Burgundy wine powerhouse Maison Albert Bichot. One of the private rooms of the hotel's Chinese restaurant Golden Leaf was transformed into a wine-themed dining area, completed with tableware and stemware with engraved Golden Leaf and Albert Bichot logos. Special menu designed by Chef Wan will be served with wine pairing selected from Albert Bichot’s wide repertoire, from some harder-to-find village wines to ones from the premier cru and grand cru climats owned by the winery.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Serious Kappo Dinner

Maybe it’s what I heard from others who have been, or I am just curious about this interesting combination of the chef and the concept and the venue, but Haku is one restaurant I have been wanting to visit for some time, and we worked out of the way to arrange this dinner date there in September before our long trip out.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Flavorsome Dialogue

Sichuan cuisine is perhaps one of the most well-known yet least understood style of cooking in our culture. As representative Sichuanese dishes like Kung Pao chicken, Mapo Tofu, Hot and Sour Soup or Dan Dan Noodles are now enjoyed by people all over the world from college kids sitting in their dorm rooms holding the Chinese takeaway box to workers squatting by the curb in the province capital of Chengdu with food from a street-side stall, to a certain extent and to many, Sichuan cuisine is their entry point of knowledge about what constituted "Chinese food" in their minds. But the popularity of those dishes all with intense flavor also causes a general misconception that Sichuan food is all about being hot and spicy, which is far from truth.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Celebration at Man Ho

I keep hearing great things about the food at Man Ho of JW Marriott at Pacific Place so we decided to check it out one evening to celebrate papa's birthday. And I solicited help from Chef Jayson Tang to set up the menu for us as I was interested in trying some of the signature and seasonal dishes by his team.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Late Summer at Caprice

Four months on since Chef Guillaume settled at the kitchen of Caprice of Four Seasons Hong Kong we saw another change of menu with even more new dishes being introduced by the team, just as we were about to say goodbye to the long summer season in the beginning of September. Like last time when we were here a couple months ago, we left it entirely to him to decide on the menu for us and we had a blast with a series of delightful dishes.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Korean Brunch

With the latest typhoon just brushed by us, we managed to come to Jinjuu to check out their new Sunday brunch menu as scheduled. I did enjoy having a leisurely stroll up to Lan Kwai Fong during weekend day time, with the street cleared of the crowds, the curb properly cleaned up and most of the places just generally quieter and more comfortable, for someone who just wanna chillax.