Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Mott 32, Central, Hong Kong (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

In the lead up to our 2015 trip to Hong Kong, I happened to be walking through the local supermarket when I noticed the latest issue of Gourmet Traveller fortuitously featured an article about new restaurants in Hong Kong. The informative article featured a number of restaurants we had heard of and were considering booking tables for, with one in particular catching our eye. Named Mott 32 after the location of New York's first Chinese convenience store, the restaurant's eye popping interior design and the promise of unusual and luxe Dim Sum was enough to convince us to reserve a table for our visit, and it served as our last meal in Hong Kong before catching our flight back home to Australia.

Blogger Tricks

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Butao Ramen, Central, Hong Kong (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

When making our initial plans for our 2015 Hong Kong trip, our dining options were significantly more fanciful and upmarket, including an ambitious plan to dine at no less than three separate restaurants with 3 Michelin Stars. The serious decline of the Australian dollar over the year really put a damper on those plans, and we realigned our meals to better reflect the changed economic situation. Thankfully, Hong Kong has many excellent restaurants at the more affordable end of the spectrum and we refocused our energies on trying many of the city's best bowls of Tonkotsu Ramen. Having tried Ichiran in 2013 (and revisited it as part of this trip) as well as the equally excellent Kamitora Ramen, Alissa and I decided to visit Butao - the noodle shop often credited as having started Hong Kong's Ramen Craze.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Lung King Heen (Weekday Dim Sum Lunch), IFC, Hong Kong (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

During our honeymoon, Alissa and I had the great pleasure of dining at Caprice, the then 3 Michelin Starred restaurant located in the Four Season Hotel in Hong Kong. Almost two years on, our dinner at Caprice remains one of the best meals of our lives, with the excellent standard of cooking equalled by some of the finest service we have ever experienced in a fine dining restaurant. With such fond memories of our meal at the Four Seasons, Alissa and I had often wondered about Lung King Heen - the hotel's 3 Michelin Starred Chinese restaurant - especially since it was the place where Mak Kwai Pui worked as a Dim Sum Chef before going on to open Tim Ho Wan. Particularly keen to try the restaurant's Dim Sum selection, Alissa and I made a lunch reservation at the first Cantonese restaurant to ever be awarded the top star rating.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Chicken Hof & Soju (AKA Lee Family Chicken), Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

Who doesn't love Fried Chicken? It's such a simple dish in a lot of ways, but there is something immensely satisfying about well breaded and fried poultry, with a crispy exterior encasing perfectly juicy meat inside. For many people growing up in most places with a strong American influence on their fast food, the Colonel's Southern-style secret recipe would have been their first taste of Fried Chicken but in the hipster-driven shift away from fast food conglomerates, smaller restaurants serving more idiosyncratic takes on Fried Chicken have come to the fore. Although the ascendency of independent American-style food establishments has seen many a 'craft' take on the Southern Fried style, it is Korean Fried Chicken that I find particularly interesting given the Asian influences on the Fried Chicken format. Having tried versions of Korean Fried Chicken in Australia, Alissa and I were keen to visit a specialist while in Hong Kong, and we decided to check out Chicken Hof & Soju (AKA Lee Family Chicken), a restaurant credited as having started Hong Kong's love for this other KFC.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Oddies Foodies, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

Along with Dim Sum, Wanton Noodles and Roast Goose, the Egg Waffle must rank amongst Hong Kong's most iconic must-try dishes. Shaped as rounded bubbles rather than the gridded waffle shape more common in the west, Alissa and I ran out of time to try them during our last Hong Kong trip in 2013, and as such Alissa wanted to ensure a dessert of Egg Waffles was added to our dining itinerary this time around. Scouring blogs and Instagram feeds, Alissa came upon Oddies Foodies, a Wan Chai hole in the wall serving a particularly food porny take on the Egg Waffle.  Little more than 500m away from our ramen dinner at Kamitora, we decided to pop into Oddies afterwards for dessert.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Kamitora Ramen, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

During our last trip to Hong Kong in 2013, Alissa and I had the great pleasure of dining at Ichiran Ramen. A branch of a well regarded Japanese chain, their Tonkotsu Ramen was the most refined we had ever tried, and it remains our benchmark for the Hakata-style. The only problem with Ichiran is that a bowl of porky goodness comes at a price - you have to earn your bowl by queuing up outside the restaurant for quite a significant amount of time, only to then have to wait in another line inside the building! During our 2013 trip, the wait was made acceptable due to the mild December weather, however we were greeted with uncomfortable humidity during our recent return visit, making the wait not very fun at all. Given Hong Kong's well known addiction to Ramen, Alissa and I were keen to try a few of the city's other Ramen joints of repute to see if we could find a bowl as good as Ichiran without the queues. We decided to check out two places - Butao Ramen (the shop often credited as started Hong Kong's Ramen Craze) and the lesser known Kamitora Ramen in Wan Chai.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Little Bao, Central, Hong Kong (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

Although a long time favourite order at Dim Sum restaurants and as a snack throughout Asia, the humble steamed bun or Bao has reached even greater heights of ubiquity in the post-Momofuku culinary world. The Momofuku Pork Bun must be one of the most heavily copied and replicated dishes of modern times, with entire restaurants and menus almost obsessively based around variations on the steamed bun theme, such as Wonderbao in Melbourne. Given its almost viral spread and continuing influence over a decade since the opening of Noodle Bar, it begs the question - have we reached Peak Bao? Not yet, if Little Bao in Hong Kong is anything to go by.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

To say that Alissa and I are fans of David Thompson would be an understatement. Earlier this year, Alissa, my parents and I cooked a Banquet Menu from Thompson's Thai Food Cookbook (as well as Grilled Pork Skewers and Mango Sticky Rice from Thai Street Food) and it was one of the best Thai meals we've had the pleasure of eating. I thoroughly recommend both books as essential reading for Thai Food enthusiasts; Thompson's encyclopedic knowledge of Thai cuisine results in recipes that are at once familiar and yet unusual as they revive recipes and versions of recipes from centuries ago.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

"Oh shit... Gaggan is #1!"

Such began my panic in March for a meal that was at that stage 6 months into the future. Having originally planned for a holiday to Japan with stopovers in Bangkok and Hong Kong, only to have our Bangkok time extended (and Japan leg cancelled) on the strength of Nahm and Gaggan's ascendency to the upper echelons of the restaurant world, a table at Gaggan was one of the highest priorities of our trip. I'm pretty organised when it comes to reservations, and had already planned a rough schedule for our holiday when the news broke that Gaggan - the Progressive Indian restaurant in Bangkok of all places - had beaten such luminaries as last year's winner Nahm and perennial favourite Narisawa to be voted Asia's Best Restaurant (later coming in at #10 on the World list). Having had some experience with how tough this kind of reservation can be once a restaurant gets this level of good press - booking a table at Attica when it came #21 in the world was hard enough - I immediately got onto Gaggan's website reservation system and made a booking. Thankfully, it was a fairly painless process and Alissa and I managed to secure a table for our visit in September.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Err Rustic Thai, Bangkok, Thailand (Alissa and Don Eat Asia)

When planning for our trip to Bangkok and Hong Kong, Bo.Lan was one of the restaurants high on our list of places to check out. Unfortunately, the poor Aussie Dollar vs Hong Kong's pegged currency meant our time in Hong Kong was set to be much more expensive than we had initially planned, so cuts had to be made to our initially more extravagant plans for both countries. Bo.Lan was one of the restaurants that was unfortunately cut, however we were alerted to the existence of Err - a new 'urban rustic' Thai restaurant from chefs Bo and Dylan of Bo.Lan. Excited by the chance of trying their food (albeit in a more casual setting), Alissa an I quickly added it as a last minute addition to our itinerary.