Going veg

5 Jul

I have been eating vegetarian at home for some time now, as I get plenty of meat as it is whenever we eat out, which is most of the time. And considering this week I have practically no lunch appointments (I know, what a loner I am…) I thought I might as well go where few have ventured before, and that is to some vegetarian restaurants in Wanchai. By no means am I an expert in this area, but fortunately I do know of two places with good, affordable vegetarian selections.

First up – I went to Loving Hut Vegan Cuisine, which I had visited once before for dinner and was curious to see what it’s like on a weekday lunch. Surprisingly, business was good this time, yet not too full. After considering the wide range of dishes available, I settled for a typical vegetarian fried rice with some kind of special herb called heung chun (香椿). Portion was big, and came with a side of veg. All in all, I was satisfied, though feeling a little bloated from all that starch. I should try something else next time.
An interesting point about this place is it actually is an international chain, with all over the US, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and has some affiliation with a spiritual teacher called the Supreme Master Ching Hai and they place videos from this network that have subtitles in so many languages they take up more space on the screen than the video itself. Go check out ‘supreme master ching hai’ on youtube and you’ll see what I mean.

Next up, finding myself again without any lunch appointments today I ventured a second time to this other place called Happy Veggies. [More to come, with pics too]

Pet-Friendly Places

5 Jul

Hong Kong doesn’t rank very highly on pet-friendliness, but there are the odd restaurants here and there that somehow manage to get away with allowing customers bring along their pets. The local food and hygiene authority pretty much rules out all pets in any establishment that serves food, but most places with outdoor areas allow pets as long as they don’t wander inside. Then there are ‘dog cafes’ which have cropped up around the city areas, but I have yet to find one that decent food. Below are two places we’ve been to recently which have decent, Chinese fare and even allow dogs!

This first place is out of the way from town, in an area called Shum Tseng, that’s famous for roast goose. As with any area famous for a particular dish, all the shops selling roast goose in this area claim they are the original and best. Though I do have my personal favourite amongst the lot, having our dog with us this time limited our choices somewhat. I had heard this other place called Fu Kee has decent goose and with their spacious outdoor covered area the choice was clear.

DSC_6282
Continue reading

Lunch in Central

17 May

Ironically, I don’t have much to talk about lunch in Central because typically I like to get away from the financial area to avoid the workday rush hour in favour of more variety at more affordable prices elsewhere. There’s a saying in HK that Central is 搵食艱難, which can mean either it’s hard to “find a meal” or “make a living”. You either have to make a booking, which would mean somewhere upwards of HKD200, or find yourself spending most of your lunch hour in a queue for something easier on the wallet. Of course, there is the alternative of bringing something back to the office, but I like to go for a walk after a long morning at the desk. Being a creature of habit, today I headed out in search of new culinary delights in Wanchai.

Just over the weekend I stumbled upon this chic-looking vietnamese place just at the edge of Wanchai and a stone’s throw from a tram stop. Though it isn’t within my typical budget for a meal in this area, around HKD100 for a set, I wasn’t up for wandering further and was curious to check it out. Not being much of a food critic, I’ll just say the chicken salad with cabbage, beef brisket stewed with tomato and mung bean coconut drink were all satisfying and surprisingly good.

A final word on lunch in Wanchai is generally I would expect a meal for about HKD30-50 but with all these swanky establishments cropping up these days and the rising food costs perhaps it’s time revised my lunch budget.

Places I’d try if I had the patience to queue

16 May

Maybe I’m just not enough of a foodie to queue, but if I do one day find myself itching to stand for hours for a bowl of ramen or dimsum or scrambled eggs I would go to these places:

Butao – renowned for its authentic pork-stock ramen made by an authentic Japanese ramen chef. Apparently they only serve something like 100 / 200 bowls a day and unlucky individuals at the end of queue are denied their reward if supplies run dry before they get a seat.

http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=48338

Tim Ho Wan – I heard of this place from two independent sources, one from Singapore and one from Australia, completely unknown to each other. How disgraceful of me! Apparently it’s the cheapest Michelin one-star restaurant in the world. One of those small-sized dim sum places that are cropping up around the place these days as an alternative to the more traditional ‘Jau Lau’-style Chinese restaurants.

http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=30806

Australia Dairy Company – Back when I last ate here, must have been up to 10 years ago, I had no recollection of any queues and thought this was just a regular milk pudding place. Then all of a sudden I recently hear it’s always been a big hit and the queues just never go away. Apparently they also do a mean scrambled egg with real Aussie milk. I wonder what people go for – the pudding or eggs… must be the milk pudding. I mean how good could scrambled eggs possibly be?

http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=90

My New Contributor

16 May

Just a quick introduction on my new contributor.  Mr. Baseball from Hong Kong!

Mr. Baseball (obviously not his real name) is a native of Hong Kong who has been friend of mine since I was 12

and he’s a foodie…!

Since Hong Kong is a major food hub in Asia,  I am so excited that he’s going to write about the food scene in Hong Kong and hopefully beyond.  I hope that you, my dear readers are enjoying his posts like I do.

Welcome Aboard ! 

Top 8 Thai food (According to “Daco”,Free Japanese Magazine)

28 Apr

I used to love picking up all the free magazines available in Bangkok, including “Daco” a Japanese free magazine, cater for Japanese expats in Bangkok.

Yesterday before I went to the foot massage, I stopped by a Japanese bookstore and they happened to have a new edition of DACO.  The front page basically saying “Top Eight Thai Food”

I was curious, so after I settled into my foot massage chair, I had to check it out to see what are their “Top Eight” .  So here it is,

1 )  Tom Yam Goong (Spicy Thai soup with shrimp) – OF COURSE!  Japanese are Crazy about them

2 ) Somtam (Papaya Salad) – My Ex-boss (Journalist) loved Somtam

3 ) Noodles – The Japanese are crazy about ” Bamee” or the eggs noodles

4 ) Pad Thai – Obviously

5 ) Khao Pad (Fried Rice) – They have that too

6 ) Khao Man Gai ( Chicken Rice) – They probably go to Pratunam for that.

7 )Gaeng Kiew Wan (Green Curry) – Easy choice to order in any Thai Restaurant.

8 ) Curry Crab – ….???!!!???…..

…..

I’m not sure where the Chicken Rice and Curry Crab come from, and I’m surprised that they don’t have the Chicken Basil Rice. But it’s understandable though since the Curry Crab place, “Somboon Restaurant” is very famous among  the Japanese. If you grab any Japanese Guidebook on Bangkok, you’ll definitely see the restaurant’s name in it, after all, their ex-prime minister went there and loved the place.

Anyway, What I love about how they do it in the magazine is that they dedicate the whole page to each dish, explaining thoroughly what the food are, from the background to  ingredients and how to order them, and their Thai staff’s take on each dish.

I love how they really do the research.

It would be interesting to know what your Top 8 Thai dishes are. I’d love to hear your feed back.

—————–

DACO (www.daco.co.th) is available at Japanese Bookstores (Kinokuniya, Tokyodo Book), Isetan, Fuji Supermarket and various Japanese stores and outlets in Bangkok

Checking out the street food price in BKK : Quick walk on Wireless Road

23 Apr

I’ve read more and more complaint about the rise of street food in Bangkok both from twitter and from a Thai web board, so I decided to check it myself.  I have to admit that I haven’t been eating the food from the street for a while, and when I do, I usually go around Silom, Sathon and Ploen Chit area, where the food price there tend to be more expensive than in other area anyway.

According to a survey by Adecco, who published “Thailand Salary Guide 2011” , it stated that average salary for a junior position with 0-5 year experience are between  6,200(US$200) THB  to  15,000 (US$500)THB. The minimum daily wage in Bangkok according to Ministry of Labor of is 215 THB or about US$7 per day. When I look at the figure, it is quite difficult for me to imagine living on very little money. Being a  freelancer, sometimes I have to live on a small budget, and trust me, it is tricky to survive on 200 THB a day.

Office Lady buying lunch from the Khao-Raad-Gaeng Stall on Wireless Road

I’ve read on a popular Thai web board that a plate of rice with curry, stir-fries or others on top  (Khao-Raad-Gaeng) would cost between 35- 40 baht  and if you want some kind of eggs on top, then you’ll add 8 more baht. For drink, soft drink is between 7-10 baht, iced coffee is between 25-50 baht.  When you add all that up, it’s easy to spend 100 THB for a meal.

200 THB is not an ideal budget to survive a day unless you don’t have to travel and only spend the money on food.

……………….

Yesterday I had an appointment in All Season Building on Wireless Road, after the appointment I decided to do a quick walk to check out on the street food price.

Wireless Road street stalls at lunch time

I only checked out the snacks sell around the area, as I thought it was more interesting than the rice/noodle shops. Thai office women usually buy snacks back to the office for their afternoon break, so even if they pay 50 baht for lunch they would certainly buy coffee, fruits or other snacks after as well.

Thai omelette with rice pric

But I was surprised that amongst the snacks sold by the street, there’s a cart that sell Thai omelette.  So I took the photo of the price list.  15 THB for omelette with rice, 20 baht for adding minced pork, 25 baht for omelette only and 30 baht for 2 eggs omelette with rice.

30 baht for just omelette with rice??!!  That sounds crazy but consider the price of the eggs now is very high, it is understandable.

Corn, Sweet Potato and pumpkin seller

Now, lets check out some snacks, I walked past the lady who was selling corns, sweet potatoes and pumpkins and decided that I wanted a bag of corn already cut off from the  cob. I asked her the price, and it was 15 baht per bag, which wasn’t bad at all.

fried chicken on stick and friend chicken tendon

The fried Chicken on the stick price, how ever, I thought it is a little on the expensive side, It is 15 baht per a tiny stick where as fried chicken tendon is 30 baht /100 gram which is not much. As much as I like fried chicken I don’t think that I would be a customer.

There’s also several other stalls that sell interesting snacks, and the price over all is acceptable (except the omelette rice and the chicken on the stick) I would not mind going back there and try some of the snacks I haven’t seen before and spend more time talking to the street food sellers checking out on their thoughts on the food price hike.

That would be fun.