September 13, 2014

Ho Hung Kee, Hong Kong…one slurp of this wanton noodle and you’re hooked

Affordable Michelin star restaurants, which started with Tim Ho Wan, seems to be unique to Hong Kong’s culinary landscape. Ho Hung Kee was even able to hold it 5 years in a row and that must surely speak something about this place.

The menu seems to go on forever. The house specialty wonton and shrimp dumpling soup was four shrimp wonton with chewy noodles in a clear broth with a twinge of white pepper – the restaurant’s signature dish is everything you could ask from a bowl of wonton noodles. The wok fried beef hor fun noodles was done exceptionally well. Too good. This is the place to discover the delights of congee. This is Chinese porridge, made with rice instead of oats. The salted lean pork and preserved egg congee is really good. The rice noodle rolls filled with twister cruller is also very tasty. The deluxe glutinous rice dumpling with preserved meat is super duper yummy. The char wanton with sweet sour dip is awesomely tasty and nom! Yeah, they’re all as good as it sounds.

But as all good things come to an end, the rice noodle rolls filled with barbeque pork was the only dampener. The skin of those rice noodles are too thick.

Many things on their menu appeal to me.  If I lived in Hong Kong, I would certainly be here much more often…As best of a bang for your buck as it can get! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…



September 11, 2014

Jardin de Jade, Shanghai…Hits and misses but overall they are 100% on the good list

This place is grandly decorated with supreme stylish high ceilings, translucent unadorned glass and marble floors. Non-Chinese motif is used to complement the modern city life style of Shanghai.

The Shanghainese cuisine here is a compilation of influences from old gastronomic capitals such as Yangzhou and Suzhou, with a few western touches. Specialities include the scrumptious black barbecued pork from Suzhou. The BBQ pork itself was succulent  and so soft, you don’t need any effort to bite right through it and the (char siew) taste was deliciously thick and amazingly rich. The river shrimp (sauteed, dried braised with chili sauce) was also done just right with great seasoning. Tasting a tad like chili crab flavour with a hint of vinaigrette, it was flavourful, crunchy and absolutely delectable. Those two dishes got me started with a bang but the House special marinated beef ribs was from the minor league. It was dry, not at al tender nor flavourful.

In my book, they are 100% on the good list! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

jardin de jade SHA

jardin de jade SHA (2)

September 7, 2014

Shake Shack, Washington DC…A burger is just a burger, right? NOT Shake Shack…

Shake Shack was rated in the local newspapers here in Singapore as the BEST burgers and fries in the USA. I could not understand what the hype was about until I tried the food. Then it made more sense. There was an inner struggle going on where I was trying to compare the food at Shake Shack to In-N-Out. It’s hard to say whether one is better than the other. The taste is just different. They use different sauces, and I like them both.

The burgers are smaller than I had anticipated. I had the Shackburger…cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and shacksauce and it was truly fresh, juicy, tender, delicious – an explosion of flavours. They even have root beer on taps!

Shake Shack is not just about the food, it’s about the whole experience of standing in line with friends, trying to round up tables and chairs while waiting for the food. The outlet I went to at 10.30 at night has more hot, sweaty people packed into it than a train headed for Mumbai.

Do not go for a quick bite, there is no “quick”. That line is serious and another 15 mins. to get my food but  it’s completely worth a try. What a huge tease….This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

shake shack

Waterbar, San Francisco…go for the oysters and the view

Waterbar is a grand restaurant along the Embarcadero with a sweeping view of the Bay Bridge. I opted for the patio and had to be patient but was eventually seated with a gorgeous view of the Western span of the Bay Bridge. The ambience exceeded my expectations and I would return in a heartbeat.

I had the Marin Miyagi oysters (rack and bag grown by marin oyster co; briny, crisp lettuce and bitter herb finish) and Grilled Monterey Squid (green chili harissa, black eyed pea salad). The oysters are beautiful to look at and exquisite to eat. The meats are full and plump, firm and mild flavored. And most importantly, the taste of these oysters cannot be beat. The flavorful squid with its fine texture truly nails it too.

For all my fellow oyster lovers who believe in aphrodisiacs then bring your date here for happy hour and load up for a happy ending! You will leave oyster wasted! Happy shucking! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…


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