April 30, 2012

Hong Kong: Tai O Egg Waffles 大澳炭燒雞蛋仔叔叔

Charcoal-grilled egg waffles are few and far between and if the breathtaking scenery at Tai O isn't sufficient to warrant a trip to the fishing village, you simply must make a visit for the gan dan jai.
This popular streetside eggette vendor (above) churns out glorious waffles with crunchy shells that shatter to reveal fluffy, custardy sponge. The charcoal fire lends a slight smoky fragrance to the addictive snack. Unexpectedly, these turned out to be the highlight of my food expedition in Hong Kong!
I am unsure of the stall's operating hours, but CNNGo states that it is open in the afternoons.

Tai O Egg Waffles 大澳炭燒雞蛋仔叔叔 
59 Kat Hing Back Street, Tai O

April 29, 2012

Plain Vanilla Bakery IV

Pardon my obsession with Plain Vanilla's cupcakes of late. Their Strawberry White Chocolate cupcake is extremely charming but I fell deeply in love with their limited-edition Salted Caramel cupcake at first bite. This amalgamation of Maldon sea salt caramel buttercream and feather-light caramel cake base is just crazily delicious!! It's currently only available till May 6 but I'm praying that it'll be listed on the regular menu. Pretty please?
salted caramel cupcake!! @ plain vanilla bakery
Once in a while, PVB also doles out peanut butter brownies ($3.50). These are good but I personally prefer my brownies sans frosting for a stronger chocolate punch.
peanut butter brownies @ plain vanilla bakery

Plain Vanilla Bakery
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

April 26, 2012

Hong Kong: Tai Cheong Bakery

Trying Tai Cheong's egg tarts has been on my bucket list for a long time. Just imagine my excitement as I sprinted along Lyndhurst Terrace towards the legendary institution!
egg tart @ tai cheong
Egg tarts are always best eaten fresh out the oven, hence I slurped up the satin smooth and quivery custard while standing along the sidewalk. Unglamorous, I know, but it was certainly a wonderful gastronomic experience. The buttery, crumbly shortcrust was also exceptionally fragrant, probably due to the almond flour incorporated into the mix. I wouldn't travel all the way to Hong Kong just for this egg tart, but a visit to Tai Cheong is surely a must if you're visiting the country!
sha weng @ tai cheong
While the Chinese donut (沙翁) was nicely crunchy on the outside with an airy interior, I didn't take to its eggy taste.
almond cookies & butterfly cookies @ tai cheong
Tai Cheong also stocks an assortment of packaged snacks. While the sugar-coated flaky butterfly cookies (top) are worth a try, I thought that the almond cookies and coconut egg crepes tasted rather ordinary.

It was a real pity that my family was too tired to trek from our hotel (at the far-flung Disneyland Resort on Lantau Island) to Central for Honolulu's egg tarts on the last day. Has anyone tried them? How do they fare against Tai Cheong's?

Tai Cheong Bakery
35 Lyndhurst Terrace
Tel: +854 2544 3475
Opening hours: 7:30am–9pm (Mon-Sat), 8:30am–9pm (Sun and PH)

April 17, 2012

Hong Kong: Hoi Tin Tong

I never knew that turtle jelly could be so delicious before I tried Hoi Tin Tong's. Thick and concentrated with herbal goodness, this tastes eons better than the watered-down versions stocked locally. It made for a refreshing antidote for detoxification after all that eating as well.

A must-try, definitely....gui ling gao probably doesn't get any fresher or purer than this!
herbal jelly @ hoi tin tong
I was most delighted to discover that Hoi Tin Tong has branches in Malaysia. I'll be packing truckloads of these into my luggage on my next visit!

Hoi Tin Tong

April 12, 2012

Hong Kong: Law Fu Kee Congee

It was a tie between Law Fu Kee and Sang Kee for my congee fix in Hong Kong, and I headed to the former on the account of it being just a stone's throw away from the renowned Tai Cheong Bakery.

Soon Lee Porridge at Clementi Food Centre serves an excellent Hainanese pork porridge and I was hoping that LFK would do even better. While LFK's version was smooth and tasty, I would have liked it to be thicker in consistency. (However, I have heard that a good Cantonese porridge is supposed to be watery.)
No complains about the flavorful and generous assortment of meat in my mixed pork porridge though.
mixed pork porridge @ law fu kee
I loved the dace balls in my mum's porridge though. Fresh and tender with a bouncy bite, this is a dish not to miss out on if you visit LFK!
fish ball porridge @ law fu kee
The deep-fried dace balls were pretty good as well. These crisp and springy fish balls incorporate dried flounder and dried tangerine peels and are served with clam sauce.
fried dace balls @ law fu kee
I love munching on chye sim stems and the version here was blanched perfectly.
cai xin @ law fu kee
  Like many eateries in Hong Kong, LFK's quarters are rather cramped, but the food makes up for it. I guess squeezing into a narrow booth fitted a table that's about a half metre wide could be considered as an authentic Hong Kong experience!

Law Fu Kee Congee and Noodle Specialist 羅富記
G/F, 50 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
Opening hours: 8am – 10pm

April 10, 2012

Hong Kong: Mak's Noodles

Does one need to know Cantonese to get around Hong Kong? Judging from my experience, not really. But you might want to find yourself a dining partner who understands the dialect before visiting Mak's. Not being acquainted with Cantonese, I found myself stumped for words while ordering my food at the famed establishment.

My experience started off on a bad note with the brash elderly waiter barking a string of Cantonese at us, probably demanding that we remove our bag of Tai Cheong Bakery goodies from the table. Not knowing what beef brisket was in Mandarin (牛腩), I asked for wanton noodles with beef (牛肉). Possibly wanting to clarify my order, the waiter replied in Cantonese and my dad had to bail me out.
beef and wanton noodles @ mak's noodles
I have never been a fan of wanton noodles and I was hoping that Mak's would change my opinion about them. The noodles were springy with a firm bite that's almost crunchy, but I didn't particularly like them because I dislike noodles made with kee (alkaline water). The soup, said to be brewed from powdered dried flounder, dried shrimp roe and pork bones, was pleasant. But it was the wantons- comprising fresh, crunchy prawns ensconced within a thin and slippery smooth wrap- that stole the limelight. Do order the slow-cooked beef brisket with your wonton noodles- it's fall-apart tender and the sticky gelatinous parts were just fantastic.
dry shrimp roe noodles @ mak's noodles
The dried shrimp roe lo mein was far less memorable though. I would suggest skipping this.

Mak's is infamous for its petite portion sizes, but they're perfect for greedy tourists like me who eat their way round Hong Kong with their tummies perpetually stuffed. Wanton noodle lovers should definitely check this place out.

Mak's Noodle
G/F, 77 Wellington St, Central
Tel: +852 2854 3810
Opening hours: 11am-10pm daily