February 28, 2012

Hong Kong: Lunch at Po Lin Monastery

The chefs at Po Lin Monastery's vegetarian restaurant easily put their Singaporean counterparts to shame. I avoid local Chinese vegetarian food stalls' greasy fare and icky mock meats like the plague, but my opinion of vegetarian fare has been transformed after lunching at Po Lin Monastery.

Not only was my meal tasty and inexpensive (a standard lunch set costs an inexpensive HKD65/pax while a deluxe meal comes at HKD100/pax, my family of four opted for the former), it did a fine job of detoxifying my system after four days of non-stop eating!
vegeterian lunch @ po lin monastery
I'm not a fan of Luo Han Cai, but as with all the other courses, the flavors in this dish were very clean and light. It's quite amazing how the chefs bring out the natural flavors in the ingredients without employing commonly-used aromatics such as garlic and onions, which are prohibited in Buddhism.
vegeterian lunch @ po lin monastery
Who knew that soup prepared without meat could be so flavorful?
vegeterian lunch @ po lin monastery
I adored the superbly fresh and silky beancurd in this sweet corn dish as well. As with the soup, the vegetable dishes came in very generous portions and we were all stuffed at the end of the meal!
vegeterian lunch @ po lin monastery
Plump with crunchy turnip ribbons, the spring rolls were fried to crisp perfection. While they were the only deep-fried items on the table, the spring rolls contained barely a trace of grease.
vegeterian lunch @ po lin monastery
The firm tofu pieces tossed within this colorful mix of vegetables were delightfully chewy (somewhat reminiscent of fish cakes!).
vegeterian lunch @ po lin monastery
I daresay that no visit to Ngong Ping is complete without sampling the food at Po Lin Monastery. Do give the food here a try on your next visit to Hong Kong!

Meal coupons can be purchased at the base of the nearby Giant Buddha or at the monastery itself.

Vegetarian Kitchen
Po Lin Monastery
Ngong Ping Road, Ngong Ping, Lantau Island

February 26, 2012

Plain Vanilla Bakery

I was most delighted when a sweet friend of mine sent me some goodies from Plain Vanilla Bakery! Cupcakes stores are dime a dozen nowadays, but PVB distinguishes itself from the fray with its refined offerings.

 If you only have space for one cupcake, I urge you to try Strawberry White Chocolate. The vanilla cake was faultlessly airy and moist and surprised with a center of fresh, sweet strawberry bits. My favorite component had to be the cloudlike white chocolate frosting though...this was arguably the yummiest cupcake I've ever had and possibly the best cupcake that I'm ever going to have.
strawberry white choc & choc hazelnut cupcakes @ plain vanilla bakery ♥♥
Chocoholics will surely take to PVB's chocolate hazelnut cupcakes. Swirled with impeccably smooth chocolate hazelnut frosting that's sweetened just right, the dark chocolate cake base is suitably richer and denser than its vanilla counterpart, and comes filled with a gooey Nutella centre. Although these cupcakes are best kept at room temperature as storing them in the refrigerator may cause them to dry out, I like to stow them into the fridge right before serving such that the frosting hardens up slightly!
brownies from plain vanilla bakery ♥♥
This cupcake oasis dishes up mean brownies as well. Rich and fudgy with a gorgeously crunchy crust, they are best savored at room temperature if you like your brownies with a bit of chew. Alternatively, heat them up before serving if you like your brownies on the gooey side. 

If you're too lazy to head to Holland Village, PVB does delivery for a charge of $8 with a minimum order of six cupcakes. Or you could spread the love with a gift of these mouthwatering delicious cupcakes!

Price: $3.20 per cupcake, $18 for a box of six

34A Lorong Mambong
Look for a doorway leading to M.A.D. about Hair (which shares a unit with PVB), located near El Patio
Tel: +65 6465 5942
Opening hours:
12pm – 8pm (Tues-Sat), 12pm-6pm (Sat), closed on Mondays

February 15, 2012

Hong Kong: Mickey Waffles & Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

Chicken Little steamed lotus paste buns or Little Green Man pork and vegetable buns, anyone? It was a pity that I didn't have enough time to try Disneyland Hotel's Crystal Lotus restaurant dishes up Disney-themed dim sum, but at least I managed to get my hands on Mickey waffles!
mickey waffles @ hong kong disneyland
Made upon order, these fluffy and spongy waffles made for a perfect snack on a cold winter night. As with all theme park food, they were pricey at HKD45, but boy these were some of the tastiest waffles I've had! Do not miss these if you're visiting Disneyland. The waffle stall is located near Corner Cafe at Main Street.

Here're some photos of Disneyland Theme Park and Disneyland Hotel. The Disneyland Resort Line MTR trains are really adorable!
disneyland resort line
Unless you have children or am a huge Disney fan, I would suggest giving Hong Kong Disneyland a miss. Most of the rides and activities there are suited for the young- the only rides which teenagers and adults would enjoy are probably Astro Blasters, Space Mountain (thrilling, but not as much as Universal Studios' Battlestar Galactica), RC Racer and Toy Story Parachute drop. While the two shows I caught- Mickey's Philharmagic (a 3D show) and The Golden Mickeys- were decent, I felt that my overall experience wasn't really worth its HKD 399 price tag.
disneyland hong kong
disneyland hong kong
disneyland railroad
A firework display is conducted over Sleeping Beauty's Castle every night. Quite pretty but not spectacular.
sleeping beauty castle
The Flight of Fantasy Parade
flight of fantasy parade
Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel is perfect for families. The rooms there are really spacious for their price! Aside from an indoor gym and swimming pool, there is also an outdoor swimming pool, playground, a tennis court, a soccer/basketball court and a Mickey maze (below). 
disneyland hotel
I would have loved to stay at this hotel as a kid- little girls get to dress up as a Disney princesses in the salon and be entertained by storytellers over milk and cookies at night!

However, the hotel is inconveniently located on Lantau Island, causing me to rack up much traveling expenses on my Octopus card. Now that I've finally experienced staying at a Disneyland hotel, I will opt for more conveniently-located accommodation on subsequent visits to Hong Kong.
disneyland hotel
A live band entertaining hotel guests on a Saturday afternoon! A pianist also performs familiar Disney tunes in the lobby on weekday nights.
disneyland hotel

February 3, 2012

HK-SIN on Cathay Pacific

While I love exploring foreign lands, I have a phobia of eating on the plane. I gag at the idea of being engulfed with the aroma of airplane food and hold my breath whenever I walk pass the pantry.

I mustered the courage to attempt the main course on my recent flight to Hong Kong back. Unfortunately, I found the fish too salty for my liking and abandoned it thereafter. No complaints about the al dente pasta though! Interestingly, Chinese tea was served when I requested for tea, and Häagen-Dazs cookies and cream ice cream was served for dessert!
airplane food
Although the entertainment system on my flight to Hong Kong was sufficiently varied, the one on my return journey proved to be painfully limited. The food trolley took ages to arrive on both occasions as well. Nevertheless, taking comfort and comfort into account, I was satisfied with my overall Cathay Pacific experience- especially with the fact that they served my favorite Häagen-Dazs strawberry ice cream on my flight to Hong Kong!