Some of you may know that I have just spent a couple of weeks in Korea and Hong Kong, and whilst I had promised myself I wouldn’t blog, I couldn’t resist taking at least some happy snaps of the glut of food that I ate, so here they are!
I got off the plane, and revelled in being able to read the menus by ordering myself a hearty Beef Brisket and Fish Cake Rice Noodle Soup from a hole-in-the-wall restaurant.
Chris was less adventurous, so he had the Wonton Noodle Soup. Funnily enough we both liked the other’s choice just a smidge more.
We were lucky to have a traditional cha chaan teng just across the road from our hotel, so we ended up having a lot of our breakfasts there. A Cha Chaan Teng translates literally to ‘tea restaurant’ – a commonly found type of eatery in Hong Kong that serves a hodgepodge of eastern and western dishes from the crack of dawn to the small hours of the morning.
Case in point: after almost 2 solid weeks of nothing but Korean food, Chris decided he wanted the Omelette with BBQ Pork and Toast. This was about as boring as things come, but hey, to each their own.
I went with a much more traditional Prawn and Chicken Congee, which was slurped up gleefully at the detriment of my burnt tongue.
We stopped during the day to have a snack of Glutinous Rice and Mango in Coconut Milk, which was rich, sweet, and sustaining. Despite our long day, we didn’t actually have a whole lot more to eat, because we were saving room for a hefty family dinner that evening. Now, I was too busy chatting to take much note of these dishes (aside from the fact that they were delicious); here’s what I can remember:
These were some juicy Pork Ribs, cooked in a savoury sauce with onions and a hint of chilli.
Speaking of pork ribs, these Fried Garlic and Chilli Pork Ribs were even better.
Less exciting were the Fried Whitebait.
And significantly more exciting were these fat Fried Prawns Coated With Salted Duck Egg Yolk.
Adding just a smidge of greenery was the Stir-Fried Duck Breast with Garlic Sprouts. I’m almost definitely sure there was more food, but I’m afraid my camera roll lies empty.
We also had a food-courty thing around the corner, but unfortunately choices were pretty limited between 6am and 11:30am. Still, what kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t check it out at least once?
This is the Instant Noodles with Pork and Pickled Vegetables and Fried Egg. What I didn’t realise prior to ordering was that the noodles would be of the instant variety and I have to say, I am neither a healthy nor happy chappy as a result.
Somewhat slightly marginally better was the Vermicelli Noodles with Five-Spice Pork. As much as this was on the boring side, as least it wasn’t instant noodles.
My very first Hong Kong Milk Tea!
And the first Roast Duck on Rice! I wanted roast goose, by they had sold out by this point.
There was also a massive plate of Fried Rice Noodles with Beef, which actually wasn’t as flavoursome as what you’d normally get in Australia!
More breakfast noodles! This time they were Sausage and Pork Cutlet Instant Noodles. Unfortunately for me, the instant noodles caught me unawares once again, so I left this well alone.
Thankfully the Prawn Rice Noodle Rolls were very tasty; not as good as their yum cha counterparts but hey, you get what you pay for!
We spent the rest of the day checking out Hong Kong’s street food scene, including the famous Fish Balls in Curry Sauce.
We also picked up some tasty Egg Tarts at 3 for 8 HKD – that’s less than 50c AUD per tart! These were warm, crumbly, and delightfully home-made. For some reason Chris was under the impression that he didn’t like egg tarts, but whether or not that was true, these ones changed his mind.
Unfortunately the days of traipsing around in the sun caught up to me, and I found myself with a touch of heat exhaustion. I sent Chris off to have dinner with family, and I holed up in the hotel room with a room service Smoked Turkey and Bacon Panini. Although this was more of a club sandwich than anything, it is nice to have something non-Asian after so long. I was upset that I missed out on fried stinky tofu at the markets though.
I felt way better after a good rest, which was just as well, because this was the day that Chris’ sister got married! With the promise of a feast later in the day, we ate simply.
The Black Bean Pork Ribs were a delicious mess of tender pork pieces and sauce on a bed of white rice. I had to exercise every bit of self control I had so I could fit into my dress for the wedding later.
Just as good was the saucy Beef Brisket on Crispy Noodles. As delicious as this was though, did the noodles really need to be fried?
SUCKLING PIG! Fast forward 6 hours or so, Jacky and Heather are married (congratulations!), and we were all sitting down to a 14-course banquet. I have never had suckling pig before, and this crispy-skinned specimen lived up to all my dreams.
The Sautéed Scallops with Asparagus was fresh and tasty, the scallops practically melting in the mouth.
The Deep Fried Tofu and Pumpkin was a novel dish, but it wasn’t one I had high hopes for. As it turns out, the tofu battered with salted egg yolks was just about the best tofu dish I’ve ever had.
Then came the classic Winter Melon and Seafood Soup, which was warm, meaty, umami, and served in an actual winter melon to boot!
More roast! This time it was delectable Peking Duck. I’ll admit that I like the one at Simon’s a little bit more for its slightly thicker slices; not that that stopped me from gobbling this up of course!
Next up were grouper fish cooked two ways. The first was the Sautéed Grouper Fish with Vegetables, which was light and refreshing after the richness of the duck.
The other was the Steamed Grouper Fish Head and Brisket (sic). This was less of a hit around the table. Despite the tender fish and wonderful ginger flavours, the small pieces of fish had too many little bones for good eatin’.
Everyone had started hitting their own respective walls at this point, but the kitchen was ruthless. Out came a pot of hearty Curry Beef Brisket with a side of Garlic Bread. The chunks of beef and tendon in the creamy curry sauce were delicious, but alas!
I managed to fit in a little of the Braised Assorted Vegetable with Bamboo in Pumpkin Bowl. This looked better than it tasted, but frankly by now I was too stuffed to care.
Dessert time! It’s a pavlova! Or so we thought.
Turns out this was a dish of Fried Rice in Soufflé Egg, which once again everyone managed a couple bites of.
But we all had room for the Wedding Cake – a delicious fruit sponge with fluffy layers of cream.
The classic Silken Tofu in Ginger Syrup has been given a revamp here, the tofu painstakingly carved into a beautiful flower. It’s quite apt really, given that this dish is called ‘tofu flower’ in Chinese.
At least, we were done. I managed half a Mango Pudding before collapsing back, barely conscious.
Oh wait there was a Fruit Platter too. Not that anyone touched it.
As you’d expect, we were pretty tired and full after yesterday. We wandered around lethargically for a few hours before our flight home, and had a selection of Sushi, Takoyaki, and Yakisoba for lunch.
And yes, we did seek out these Cheese Tarts from BAKE after all. We had 2 each, and got the cravings out of our systems once and for all.
I had a great time on my trip around Asia, but I was surprised to find that the thing that I was most impressed with by the end was just how good we have it here in Melbourne, food-wise. Never before have I appreciated just how lucky we are to have such an abundance of cuisines available at our fingertips. I have to admit, I’m feeling pretty patriotic right about now.