Friday, February 25, 2011

Hong Kong 2010 :)

It's about time I documented what I did for a huge chunk of the holidays, which was, of course, going overseas -to a place I've been a billion times but I still LOVE- Hong Kong :) I know I'd never get around to writing about everything during my trip so here's a few of my more memorable meals, mostly for my future reference :)

Egawa Sushi (江川壽司)

Sashimi Rice $36 (~$5 AUD) with miso soup, seaweed and dessert (mochi)

One of our first meals out in Hong Kong was at Egawa Sushi, which we found after walking around the whole shopping centre just to find something to eat. It had an extensive illustrated menu but we stayed with the afternoon menu which was ridiculously cheap (by Australian standards anyway) and the food did not dissappoint either. We ordered a sashimi rice which was a deliciously colourful array of small sashimi cubes on a very big mound of rice, lightly flavoured with soy sauce and vinegar.

Pork Bone Ramen $34 (~$4AUD) with salmon nigiri and mochi

I ordered the pork bone ramen, thinking that the pork bone referred the broth - so I was surprised to find actually pieces of pork bones within the ramen! The soft bones tasted like hard tendons were really yummy along with tender and flavoursome pork meat.

Sam's Place (天然居海鮮酒家)
Corn and Fish Cakes

Who could go to Hong Kong without having Yum Cha? With breakfast/morning specials (here, $11.8 HKD per dish), yum cha is extremely afforable. At the bright hours 10 in the morning (I'm not usually awake at this time if I'm at home...), the restaurant is fairly quiet, mostly with small groups of old grannies and grandpas. The system of choosing food by ticking from a piece of paper makes sure that everything arrives very hot and cooked to order. Unfortunately, it makes ordering a lot more difficult for people who can't read chinese- thank goodness I have my mum :)

These corn and fish cakes arrive steaming hot. The golden brown fish cakes are essentially fritters of fish paste, dotted with kernels of corn. Both flavoursome and crispy, we have no problem gulping them down within seconds.

Steamed Thousand layer buns/cake

The layers on this are clearly countable and nowhere near a thousand but this is an addictive treat, with layers of steamed bun and yellow custard.

Fried Salad Rolls
One of my favourites are these rolls, deep fried with a thin crispy exterior, and a delicious salad like filling of prawns and various fruits in a pool of mayonnaise.

Tum Yum Thai

Thai restaurant
My uncle recommended this local thai restaurant to us which was popular with the locals due to the authentic and affordable food. We didn't find the food that great but it did however turn out to be one of my most unforgettable meals, thanks very much to this fish.

Grilled Fish

This is basically a big fish stuffed with herbs, marinated with lots of salt and grilled until pretty much half burnt. The fish itself was tender but tasted quite ordinary- the crispy skin looks very appetisting but is covered in a layer of salt and is probably not meant to be eaten.

Yeh lam Kok (椰林閣餐廳)
Fried Vermicelli with Duck Breast
Vermicelli $24HKD (~ $3AUD) with hot drink
This small comfy restaurant is the perfect place for us to rest our sore feet after hours of shopping amongst the busy streets of Mong Kok. The vermicelli is fairly generous for its price and very flavoursome. Unforunately, the vermicelii is a little on the stiff side, leaving us wishing they'd cooked the whole dish a little longer. (We later ordered this again at another branch and it was much better)
Coconut Curry
Baked Coocnut Chicken Curry $25 HKD (~$3AUD) with drink
The coconut curry is a lot better, with its addictively delicious coconutty sauce and tender chicken pieces. We particularly like the edges, where the sauces has dried up and gone crunchy (if a little burnt).

A Shanghainese Restraurant with no english name :S

We stumbled across a Shanghainese restaurant whilst shopping at Diamond Hill. Not wanting to eat any thai, japanese or vietnamese (as we were buffeting at night) we chose something we didn't eat often. The meal itself was memorable, both because of the fact that we rarely eat shanghainese food in Hong Kong and because it was delicious.

The xiao long baos (from memory which came with my la mein meal) were easily the best xiao long baos I've ever had with a thin wrapping and insides filled with water which didn't burst too easily. We almost ordered anoter steamer of them!

Red Ant Restaurant

Noodles $40HKD(~ $5 AUD) with drink
I've always liked red ant restaurant, not for its food but more for it's very pretty interior design which makes me feel that I'm eating at a much more expensive restaurant. We stopped here for afternoon tea after shopping and shared 2 meals between the three of us as we were going to dinner shortly after. The portions were pretty big for afternoon tea and weren't dissappointing either!

Japanese Curry $40HKD (~ $5 AUD) with drink
This japenese curry tastes almost identical to the ones we make from the box sauces but it wasn't expensive and I loved it all the same :)

Metropark Hotel (Mong Kok)
We had lunch at metropark hotel which was rather cheap for a hotel but also slightly dissappointing as I'd always imagined hotels looking much prettier and have a better selection of food. Still, it was a far cry from the usual RSL buffets in Australia and I had a great time!

I loved that they had baked snails because I hadn't had them for AGES....but was dissappointed as they were not hot and the snails themselved were really chewy :(

The dessert selection was the highlight for me- I think I tried 90% of all the desserts. The cheesecake was delicious and it wasn't only me who thought so- they dissappeared so quickly that my mum missed out :( The chestnut tarts were also really good- they had a deliciously flaky tart shell with a sweet creamy chestnut cream filling :)

So, I'm not too good with long posts, so I'll stop there for now...there'll be more up soon!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Honeycomb Crisps/Cookies (糖環)

It's only just starting to hit me that the holidays are ending soon, and I might never have this much time to bum around again until the end of the year :( So I've gotten off my lazy butt and started doing the things I had meant to do since I came back from holidays.

Just yesterday, I turned on the oven for the first time since I came back and baked a couple of pots of creme caramel -a recipe which I've made a billion times (but have yet to upload onto this blog) But then I went to watch a movie .......and completely forgot about it until a whole hour later (double the time they should have spent in the oven). Strangely enough, they turned out to be the best batch I've ever made- almost perfectly smooth and silky (perhaps because my electric oven is a lot cooler than my gas one which I usually use?)

So yes, I've officially re-entered baking land and have started going through all those recipes I've bookmarked over the last couple of months (most of which I'd completely forgotten about). Meanwhile, here's another chinese new year snack we made a while ago. I'm not quite sure how to name them but they're basically a sweet coconutty batter (sort of like a pancake batter)deep fried until crispy- and they're terribly addictive too!

To make, these, you need a special mould (like the one in the instructions on this site). I'm not sure whether you can buy them in Australia... We bought ours in Hong Kong- we're buying one or two different moulds everytime we go to there now and are slowly building up our 'special mould' collection :) So I might have a few interesting Asian snacks up on this blog soon!(egg waffles anyone?)

Coconut Sweer Rings (糖環)

140g plain flour
140g cornflour
3 eggs
140g sugar
1 cup each of coconut milk and evaporated milk, mixed

1. Beat the sugar and the ggs until fluffy
2. Add flour and mized milk in batches alternately to the egg mixture. This should be done in 4 additions (beat thoroughly after each addition). Set aside for 1 hour.
3. Heat oil (to deep fry) to meadium heat. Place mould in the oil for a few seconds (until hot) and then remove from oil.
4. Coat mould with flour mixture carefully (dip the mould into the batter)
5. Place the mould in the hot oil. The cooked rings will separate from the mould after frying (we used chopsticks to help them off). Deep fry until golden brown. Drain well and place in an airtight container when cold- they should keep for 1-2 months.
Note: If the oil is too hot, the rings will become brown really quickly and not shape well

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chinese New Year Snacks ....

I'm back!

So. I realise I've been gone for quite a while now, half because of holidays but mainly because of reasons associated with laziness, but let's not worry about that now :)

Well, since it's a little past chinese new year, and I have so much time on my hands right now before uni, I got a chance to try out a couple of Chinese new year snack recipes! We make these fried pastries almost every year but this is really the first time we've come close to success- perhaps because of the recipe or because of experience. In chinese, they're called 角仔, which litterally translates into 'litle horns' because of their shape but are actually pastries filled with a sweet peanutt-y filling.

I'm pretty terrible at pleating the dough though- mine all turn out more ike a child's first attempt at pleating dumplings than anything (the ones in the photos are probably my mum's ) but it's still fun getting my hands all oily and sugary :)

New Year Crispy Triangles (角仔)
(as named by the chinese cookbook I got the recipe from)

640g flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup lard (I replaced with butter)
125g water

320g fried shelled peanuts (I'm not quite sure what that means- I just used plain peanuts)
80g fried white sesame seeds (we used plain white sesame)
240g white sugar
2 Tbs desiccated coconut
(I doubled this becuase I like coconut)

1. Grind peanut and mix with sesame, sugar and coconut to form filling
2. Sieve flour onto tabletop and make a well in the middle
3. Add eggs and lard and mix. Gradually pour in water, kneading at the same time until a soft dough is formed
4. Cover with damp cloth and set aside for 30 minutes
5. Roll dough out with a rolling pin and cut rounds with a saucer (we used a cup). Wrap in filling and fold edges in a zigzag pattern.
6. Deep fry on low heat until golden brown and the pastries float to the top (about 8-10 minutes although I'm pretty sure ours didn't take that long.....)
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