Friday, December 28, 2012

Hong Kong: King of Coconut

I was making faces when J told me about the King of Coconut 椰汁大王. Located pretty much everywhere. It's a small stand where they make juices, but better known for their coconut milk drink. If you're wondering, this is the same place we got the Sugar Cane Juice from but different location.

Apparently, according to J, this specific one makes the best Coconut Milk drink and I certainly concur.

Delicious! Not overly coconut-y at all. Didn't know why we didn't go back and get another one since we've been walking around the same place in circles. Not your average coconut juice, because this taste like a blend of the juice and the actual coconut meat which is why it's milky white...yum!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hong Kong: Yoshinoya

There were days where J and I weren't so hungry, we needed something small but yet filling. There are tons of street food in HK but sometimes we just want a break from it.

J told me about Yoshinoya since it was literally right below our building and around the corner, so convenient. Took us a while to decide what we want. I ended up asking them if they have a extra large size...and they did!

It's great how it came with a drink, we chose tea, and nicely packed utensils.

We ordered the Beef Bowl - extra large baby! Doesn't look like much but it filled us up. The rice was fluffy soft.

Might look a bit dry, but the beef was really tender and when you bite down into the beef along with some onions, the flavor burst everywhere. So gewd! It's probably overpriced here in the states so I'll just get it when I can when I'm in HK =D

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hong Kong: Wonton Noodles - Part 2

Arriving at this specific wonton noodle shop was a bit of a hike. There was a lot of slopes and "mini" stairs in the sidewalks. But we finally found Mak's Noodle 麥奀雲吞麵世家, the one where Anthony Bourdain visited when he was in HK.

Shared a small round table with another fellow HK-er. Menu is in Chinese but no worries, they do have an English menu for non-Chinese speakers.

The pre-stack bowls, extremely tiny bowls.

Two Wonton Noodles and a plate of veggies again. J likes the veggie here, I prefer the other wonton place better.

The bowl, like I said was extremely small. If I didn't watch myself, I could've finished it in 3 bites. Soup base was good though and the noodles were cooked perfectly. They should put up different bowl sizes for different price so I can just order the big one.

Wonton was nice and plump but I wish it was made with translucent dumpling skin, that would've been cool. Otherwise, wonton wasn't anything special. The wow factor was in the broth and noodles. Plus, I would've liked it more if the bowl was bigger!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hong Kong: Sugar Cane Juice

J knows that I love sugar cane juice, so it was no surprise that he wanted to take me this place that squeezes it fresh.

They're actually known for their coconut juice (will have that in another post) but for this specific location, it's the sugar cane that he said was good.

The aftermath of the poor sugar canes.

So, the verdict?
I didn't like it. It tasted weird...must be the difference in where it was grown and the weather temperature and whatnot. If you compare this to the sugar cane I had in Vietnam, the colors are totally different and it definitely taste different (it's a lot richer) also. J likes it, which is a good thing cause he can finish it. Haha

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hong Kong: Afternoon Tea-in' @ Dai Pai Dong

One of the best meals I had in Hong Kong was at Stanley, a little town near the waters - beautiful.

This spot was one of those hole in the wall places and thanks to my awesome J, I was able to experience the best Hong Kong Style French Toast in the world - I am so not exaggerating.

This little dai pai dong might be a bit hard to find since the name on the awning is almost completely washed out. 泗益 is the name you must squint and look for when you're in Stanley, HK.

See how faded the name looks?
Or you can try finding the fruit vendor with a faded sign...haha
There was an insane line when we left 泗益. Good thing we went there early and was able to grab a table.

Delicious Iced Milk Tea wherever I go. HK just makes it right and I'm reminiscing every time I write about HK.

This had a long name in Cantonese and took a while to get it right when the waitress barely even pays attention to you. You just have to literally get her attention and then yell out your order - no eye contact involved here. Satay Beef with Egg Sandwich was the bomb! Omg how can a simple sandwich be so divine?! Also, I absolutely love that they cut out the crust xD

Lastly, the infamous HK Style French Toast! Look at that hunk of butter! I have to say, just typing about this makes me so darn excited. It tasted so fluffy and awesome, no need for syrup here. J and I ordered another one towards the end. The greedy part of us definitely took over and we were so stuffed! The wait for these sucker takes a while, probably 10-15 minutes but it will be the best 5 minutes of your life when you devour it!

I really need to go back to HK just for this. I'll take the long treacherous bus ride from Central, HK if I have to. If only I can have this every week...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hong Kong: Honey Fishballs

Walking around HK is killer, which is why it's great to have little snacks here and there. We found a small shop within a mall that sells ice cream. Sadly, nothing of the ice cream sort appealed to us so instead we got fishballs!

Honey fishballs to be exact, kind of skeptical of the honey part since I only had plain, fried, savory, salty types.

We also got Vitasoy to go with it, although it probably would've been better with spicy food than sweet food. We couldn't find the smaller carton of Vitasoy but this size will definitely suffice =D

So it looks like a regular fishball but it gives off a bit of sweetness with each bite. So weird yet quite addicting. Pity we didn't go back and get more. Maybe I should just try and squirt honey on my fishballs...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hong Kong: Wonton Noodles - Part 1

So I told J that what I want to eat most in HK was Wonton Noodles. I've been dreaming of this day ever since I was a kid and knew about HK. I was so pumped about the idea because I just know they make it the right way in HK.

The night I reached HK, we were looking for this noodle spot. J said he thinks the place turns into a hotpot/shabu shabu kind of place at nightfall. And of course, he's right! Dammit! So the next morning, which was more like brunch, we headed back and voila!

Sing Kee (成記) was such a cute place. Felt like I was in Alice in Wonderland with all the plants and books. There was even an open garden in the center of the restaurant. So relaxing and pretty.

They had lunch specials where you get any bowls of noodles and drink for a fix price. Number 17 FTW!

My first true Iced Milk Tea, it was delicious. Very authentic and how all milk tea should be like! Plus, it's a pretty big glass, me like =]

I had the Wonton Noodles, may not looks so great but taste so good for my first bowl. The egg noodles were the best, cooked al-dente with a nice bite to it. Soup was broth-y and chicken-y with msg. Wonton was decent, but I just couldn't forget about the noodles.

I made J order the Braised Cow Tripe and Innards Noodles just because he gave me the "ok." Plus he said whatever I want to try, so thoughtful =D
It wasn't that memorable though. The soup was just mediocre, but the noodles were once again the bombbb.

And how can you go wrong with an order of greens - Yau Choy in Oyster Sauce. Apparently they're called Rapeseed, so odd. I'll be like yes sir, can I please have an order of rapeseed (with emphasis) with some sauce; the look on those waiter's faces will be priceless.

Fulfilling meal that was cheap, less than 10USD total.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hong Kong: Breakfast for Dinner - Congee

For my first full meal in Hong Kong, J and I decided on porridge. I was being picky and we finally found a decent place to order, sit and eat.

I liked how easy the process was. It's not like your average restaurant where you sit and a waiter/waitress comes and takes your order. You basically order on a separate line, pay for it. Bring your ticket to another line, put your ticket on a tray, slide it down for the staff to see what you order and slowly all the food appears on your tray. Carry your tray of food to a table and enjoy. The best part is when you're done eating, just leave and go. Hahahaa spoiled-ness.

J and I literally just shared this. Might look like there's really little food, but it filled us.

Top left clockwise: Fresh Soy Milk, Soy Sauce Noodles, Fried Cruller wrapped w/ Rice Crepe and Preserved Pork and Thousand Year Old Egg Congee.

Delicious! Loved the fried cruller and rice crepe the most, especially when you dip it in soy sauce. I would eat this breakfast for dinner any day.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hong Kong: Street Skewers

After my trip to Vietnam, I met up with J in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is a beautiful country, the food there is even better.

We lived off from street foods when we stayed in HK. They're known for that stuff, literally 10 minutes away there's a place you can grab some food on-the-go. Extremely convenient and addicting also.

It's even better when the place we were staying at is a plaza which means we were surrounded by food stalls at the bottom of our building...dangerous.

One of the first places J took me to (he spent 2 weeks prior to my arrival), claims to have some really good mango slush and skewers.

The Mango Slush was really different, tasted naturally sweet and not the overly loaded with sugar kind. Worked great with our food.

Mmm...Gai Dan Jai aka egg waffles or eggettes. Slightly hollow in the center with a good crunch to it.

Cow's Tongue anyone? The mustard was a bit weird, I would've done perfectly fine with just the sweet sauce and just that. They served this cold, I wish it was hot.

Fish Balls was amazing. We had them make it spicy and boy it was spicy! This is where the slush comes in handy haha

Lastly, Siew Mai or Shumai, we actually had 3 and then I remember to snap a picture. It was really that good. I don't care if it was frozen, it was steamed instead of being microwave and it was fresh. Add some soy sauce and I can eat like 50 of these.

J has been my model for holding foods in HK so you'll be seeing a lot of his tummy, hand, shirt, etc... yea...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Vietnam: Shellfish/Sea Snails

I personally love seafood, in whatever shape or form it is in. Although, don't ask me to cook anything because I can totally get freaked out by it. Being in Vietnam I knew I should try their seafood because I was told it was uber fresh.

Here are different types of ocean creatures with shells. I really have no idea what they're called so we're both out of luck here. But if you do know what they are called, enlighten me!

Ok, this is one of the few that I know because I've been longing to try this. Blood Cockles are rare in the states and even if they have cockles, it's not the blood type. Call me a vampire but I always wanted to try it. It definitely is on the irony side but texture-wise is similar to clams. Odd thing about these creatures is they don't usually open up like clams do when they're cook, you have to manually open them which can be a pain when you just got your nails done.

One of my favorites, they might look creepy but taste just like the sea snails in the states at those Chinese restaurant. These are a lot easier to hold and "suck."

The patterns on the shell were a real eye-catcher. It tasted like conch but slightly harder and tougher. Not really a fan.

This is like a marriage between a clam and mussel which then had a baby and voila! Tasted like clam but with a softer texture of a mussel, dip it in fish sauce and it was pretty darn good.

Lastly, this weird looking shell. I actually completely forgot how this taste like, wasn't so memorable nor did the sauce work with it. Reminds of those round toffee/butterscotch candy, weird.

There were so much more in Vietnam but with the limited amount of time we had and our relatives having to go to work, we lucked out. Must be more prepare next time.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vietnam: Bo 7 Mon

I was utterly excited when I had the chance to dinner with my parents, and dinnering in Vietnam made it that much more special. I can't remember the last time I ate with my parents at a restaurant, my dad can be extremely picky and lazy.

I knew my mom wanted to try beef 7 ways in Vietnam, supposedly better? This was definitely my first true experience.

The set up for Beef 7 Ways, looks like Korean banchan here.

A pot of vinegar, onions and an egg. Bo Nhung Dam is like a fondue but with vinegar, love the sweet and tartness it gives off. The egg was actually something different because when we make this at home, we don't usually add an egg but it was a nice touch.

The beef and cow's stomach which you boil in the pot of vinegar. The beef looks beautiful!

Get some rice paper, add some herbs, throw in the beef and onions and wrap it up. They have this type of dipping sauce, not nuoc mam but it's called mam nem which is fermented anchovy sauce, very pungent but works really well with the vinegar-ed beef.

Right in the midst of beef fondue, I asked my dad to order me a bottle of Vietnamese beer. He ended up ordering me Tiger which was definitely not from Vietnam, should've just told him I wanted a 33 beer...

Goi Bo is my favorite so far because the thin slice of beef was absolutely perfect. I didn't need to dip this into anything, wrap the beef around the greens, onions, and cilantro and bam! Orgasm in mouthhh.

This plate is a little crazy because they fit 4 different kinds of beef here. Starting from top left going clockwise -- Bo Cha Dum (steamed beef that comes with this crunchy sheet of rice paper (shown below) but a lot of places uses shrimp chips), Bo Nuong Mo Chai (beef wrapped with fat), Bo La Lot (lolot leaf wrapped in beef) and Bo Nuong Hanh (scallions wrapped with beef).

This was definitely not the shrimp chips because it tasted like rice. Tasted great with the Bo Cha Dum.

And the 7th course was Chao Bo, beef congee aka porridge. Most likely they just grilled the grains of rice to give it some aroma and throw it in the beef stock/soup hence the grains of rice looks weird and nothing like congee. I find that Vietnamese don't like the thick congee but they prefer it less dense.

That was not enough so we ordered...

...two large crabs! Cua Rang Me which is crabs in a sweet tamarind sauce was the total bomb! My dad says otherwise, see what I mean when I say he's picky and hard to please. I thought the crabs was delicious and the sauce was seasoned just right. The crab meat were so sweet and fresh. I regret not eating much seafood in Vietnam...

After stuffing ourselves with the crabs, to finish the meal off we were offered Banh Flan. One of the things the Vietnamese picked up from the French. Delicious, strong, lightly sweetened flan was a great finale.

And if you're curious and/or adventurous...

...tada! The address and name of the restaurant. Mind you there's no air conditioners, just fans. It can get pretty darn hot there. But all worthwhile with the delicious food.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Flex Mussels - Special Happy Hour

This past Monday, Flex Mussels sent out an e-mail stating that they would be having Happy Hour for the entire night. Which means, $20 for all-you-can-eat pots of mussels (with only 3 different flavors to choose from), $1 oysters and half off all their wine and beer selection. That's pretty dam awesome.

J and I had been to Flex before, specifically the one downtown (they have 2 locations) and loved their Happy Hour, we just never found the time to go again after last year.

It was a full house when we got there, you can only get the Happy Hour special at the bar or counter. The wait wasn't bad, especially when you have some booze in your hand. We got seated at the bar and fun began.

I had white wine the entire night, love how smooth and light they are compared to red wine. I switched between their Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc ($5.50 - half off).

Mmm...Bread and Butter. I like places that serve their butter soft, not brick hard. I like to be able to spread them on the bread, I know you're thinking the same.

We wanted the $1 oysters but by the time we sat, they were all out. We ended up getting their special West ($3.50 each) and East ($3 each) Coast. They tasted divine. I would go for another round if it wasn't for the mussels.

Complimentary Flex House Cut Fries that comes with the Happy Hour special. They're pretty darn great. Also not a bad idea to soak up the sauce from the mussel pot either.

So, there were three choices you can alternate from for the all-you-can-eat special. Classic, Dijon and Fra Diavolo.

Fra Diavolo is just a very classic Italian sauce. It has chunks of tomato, basil and spices.

Dijon, which is J's favorite, was very buttery with a hint of mustard kick to it. I personally don't like because the mustard seems too strong for me.

My favorite of all, the Classic is just a simple herbs, garlic and white wine. It's not overpowering and you can definitely taste the freshness of the mussels here.

J and I keep saying how we should go back and try their other pot of mussels, like the one with bacon and lobster.

Flex Mussels
154 W 13th St
New York, NY 10011
(212) 229-0222