Thursday, December 29, 2011

Seafood Banquet and Breathtaking Sights in Guilin, China



Breakfast started with a bowl of spicy noodle soup, steamed BBQ pork buns, and some luo han guo tea.



There were more dumplings and stir-fried noodles too.



Instead of sweet potatoes we had the previous day, there were taro fingerlings. There was also glutinous rice with corn and red beans wrapped in banana leaves.

Everyone enjoyed our breakfast at the hotel. Although it wasn’t the best food, it hit the spot.

Our tour group gathered together on the bus and we were told that we’d be going up to the mountains. I didn’t find out what was going on until our tour bus pulled into the parking lot though. It sucks not being able to understand and/or speak in Cantonese.


We took a sketchy-looking chair lift up to the top. For some reason, we weren’t allowed to ride in the safer-looking cable car. The chair lift brought us over three or four mountains. When we got off, the tour guide told us that the lookout was famous. As I walked through the snaking barriers, I peered over to my right. My jaw dropped and my eyes shrunk with happiness. What? I have Chinese eyes.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hello everyone! I hope you and your loved ones have an amazing holiday with lots and lots of food.



Christine and Lucy

Friday, December 16, 2011

Breakfast and Tea Tasting: First Day in Guilin, China

Breakfast in Guilin, China, was actually enjoyable. I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but there were many yummy choices.


Starting clockwise from the top: youtiao, vegetable dumplings, stir fried noodles, steamed brown sugar cakes, mantou, and steamed egg.




There were veggies, vegetable-pork filled dumplings, and even small sweet potatoes.



Being a carb addict, I loaded my first plate with a bunch of noodles and dumplings. I also had some youtiao to enjoy with my hot sweetened soy milk. The flat rice noodles were quite bland, so I stuck with the thinner noodles. As for the black speckled mantou, they tasted like the normal stuff. I really enjoyed the hot soy milk that morning. It was so smooth and fresh.



I thought it was interesting to see a noodle soup station. But that’s what people ate for breakfast. There were three gentlemen from another tour who had a bowl of noodle soup and a plate of veggies and youtiao for their first round. Nice.

The flavour of the soup itself was seasoned lightly. I mean, there was enough salt but I couldn’t really tell what kind it was.  But that was the point. The star of the dish, I believe, is what you put in your bowl. There were spicy beans, two kinds of spicy preserved vegetables, some sliced meat, salted peanuts, soy sauce, hot sauce, and cilantro. The overdone noodles, which I didn’t really like, was just a vehicle for all the condiments. A spicy bowl of noodle soup was a great way to start the morning.




For dessert, there were small tomatoes, slices of watermelon, and deep fried red bean filled sesame balls. I didn’t try any tomatoes, but I saw this during my trip to Asia last year as well. Do people really eat small (cherry?) tomatoes for dessert in China and Taiwan?

Once breakfast was over, we took a boat tour along a shallow river, which cut through the city. It was definitely a touristy thing. We were luckily one of the first groups that morning and ended up being second in the caravan of tour boats.


I saw Lassie swimming with its owners. The tour guide made a point to remind us that some people still hand washed their laundry in the river. And sure enough, we saw a few locals doing their laundry along the riverside. Can you imagine doing your laundry by hand every few days? Yikes…

We were then herded into the Ming Tearoom for some tea tasting.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Wonton Egg Noodle Soup and Dinner at the HK Airport

Aunty wanted to bring out some Caprice des Dieux cheese that another friend bought her. The cheese came from France this time. She said that it was quite strong and that it had been in the fridge for a few weeks. I was willing to try it.


When the lid was taken off, the pungent smell of the soft white cheese poked my nose. It was quite smelly, but I wasn’t deterred.


That is, until I took a bite. I needed two bites of baguette with the apricot jam to get the taste out of my mouth. The cheese is apparently supposed to be served room temperature. I think the cheese would taste much better with fruits.


Breakfast was really light because we wanted to try some wonton egg noodle soup for lunch. I was giddy all morning – I couldn’t wait!

Law Fu Kee Congee and Noodle Restaurant
G/F, 144 Queen's Road Central
Central, Hong Kong
+852 2543 3881

Law Fu Kee Congee and Noodle Restaurant was packed when we arrived. We had to wait outside for a table, which was surprising because it was pretty late (2 pm). It was probably the end of the lunch rush. Aunty told us that this was her go-to restaurant for wonton soup, congee, and fish balls. In fact, the fish balls are famous.

When we were finally sat down on a tiny table, I looked around and noticed that everyone had a bowl of wonton soup or congee, a plate of veggies, and a plate of fish balls. That had to be a good sign. I love restaurants that serve a tiny menu.


Aunty did the ordering. (Head over to Camemberu's write up for the menu.) We started with some veggies with the braised beef brisket soup. Nice! The soup was slightly thickened with what felt like over boiled tendons.


Aunty ordered a bowl of congee and a bowl of wonton soup for herself. She mentioned that you can't go wrong with ordering their congee. She frequently drops by after playing golf, just for a comforting lunch.



AI and I got the wonton egg noodle soup. The wontons were hiding underneath the al dente egg noodles. The shrimp wontons were small, but they were sweet and soft. It would've been nice if they were a bit larger, but it's okay. They were quite bouncy and juicy. The shrimp wontons complimented the egg noodles so well.


Dad tried their beef brisket and tendon egg noodle soup. The brisket and tendons were tender and soft – not over boiled at all. I hate when you take a bite out of the brisket and the meat gets stuck between your teeth.


Aunty said that we needed to try their deep-fried fish balls. Bring it on!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Dim Sum at Tung Yuen Banquet and Plain Congee

It was hard to refrain from devouring a large smoked salmon and cheese baguette in the morning. We had an early dim sum brunch with my cousin at a fancy restaurant called Tung Yuen Banquet. According to Aunty, this is one of the better dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong.


According to Aunty, the restaurant invested a lot of money in upgrading their dining lounge and private rooms. The restaurant was nice and brightly light by “crystal” chandeliers. I wasn’t that impressed with it all. We were here for dim sum. But people who like to eat at fancier places will enjoy eating here.

We didn't have to wait to be seated at a table at all. The sharply dressed hostess directed us to a table that had not been clean yet. Why didn't they just sit us at a clean table? There were plenty of empty tables around. Ah, no biggie. The staff swiftly cleared the table and gave us our pot of tea and hot water.

In Hong Kong, people tend to rinse out their dishes and utensils (chopsticks and soup spoon) in the hot water. All the hot water was put in a bowl and taken away. This process was quite noisy but I quite enjoyed it.


There were a few menus to look at, but majority of them were in Chinese. There were some pictures to help out people like me. Of course, you can always point to other tables and tell the waiter/waitress that you want such-and-such. Aunty took the helm and did the ordering.



These bouncy fish balls were stuffed with a salted egg yolk. It was a surprise addition to the fish balls – a delightful surprise for Mom and AI.



We enjoyed cha siu and beef cheung fan, though not as much as the Chiu Chow Garden version. Like the cheung fan in Ottawa and Toronto, cheung fan we got here were soft and slurpable.




Aunty ordered wontons in a sweet soy sauce, stewed beef tripe (stomach), and a steamer each of shrimp and fish siu mai. As we were enjoying dim sum, Aunty mentioned that most Hong Kong people have lunch at 12:00pm. And as if on cue, the restaurant became flooded with hungry locals at noon.



There was also one decent steamer of soup dumplings (xiao long bao). The meat filling was very tender and unlike any other I've had, which tended to be firmer like a pot sticker. The slightly sweet soup wasn’t very oily (click photo to see it more clearly), but it was an odd orange colour. Was this a special soup? Cause it didn’t taste like it. It tasted like a regular pork soup dumpling to me.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Window Shopping in Macau

We started our early Friday morning with a little breakfast before heading out to catch our ferry to Macau. Instead of touring Macau ourselves, we joined a day trip tour which included our ferry tickets to (and from) Hong Kong, as well as lunch. They gave us free time too.





Most of us enjoyed slices of smoked salmon (which we brought over from Ottawa) and smoked cheese from Holland (which was a gift Aunty received) between warm baguettes.

The fresh baguettes were the best ones I've eaten. The fluffy sweet carbs were protected by a thin, delicate golden armor, which shattered when it was bitten. Just the baguette alone was dangerous for a carb addict like myself. Add creamy smoked cheese and tasty smoked Canadian salmon and I was in bliss. I could've eaten this every morning!


Others had some baked goods we picked up the previous day. The top bun had pieces of chestnut, while the bottom one was a plain milk bun.


At the ferry terminal, we tried the Portuguese egg tarts and although we weren't in Macau. It's still legit, right? They had two different egg tarts: yellow and white.



The difference was the egg filling was either made of yolks or egg whites. We tried the white ones which was a bit weird. The egg white flavour wasn't overwhelming. It was kinda nice. The pastry was salty and greasy though.


The hour and a half ride to Macau was surprisingly smooth. Lining up to go through customs was not. All the tour groups from China were so pushy and impatient. We eventually made it through and met up with the group. We boarded our bus and began the tour.


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