May 14, 2012

Hong Kong: Lord Stow's Bakery

Not only can you get great Cantonese egg tarts in Hong Kong, you can also find some of the best Portuguese egg tarts in the country. I was extremely delighted to discover that Macau's Lord Stow's Bakery has a franchise outlet in The Excelsior Hong Kong, which is conveniently located at Causeway Bay.
lord stow's
While I am unsure of whether the egg tarts served here are as good as those at Lord Stow's main outlet, they were the epitome of Portuguese egg tarts to me. The caramelized crème brûlée-like custard is sensuously velvety and wobbly, and is cushioned by a bed of remarkably crisp and none-too-greasy puff pastry that flakes into buttery layers.

An interesting fact: The popular Portuguese egg tart purveyor Margaret e Nata was set up by the ex-wife of Lord Stow's owner! Has anyone tried the egg tarts from both shops? How do they compare?

Price: Each Egg Tart EXpress set (two egg tarts with a cup of illy coffee) goes for HKD28 and is available between 11am and 5.30pm

Expresso @ The Excelsior Hong Kong
281 Gloucester Road, Causebay Bay
Tel: +852 2894 8888
Opening hours: 6am-7pm (Mon-Sat), 8am-6pm (Sun & PH)

May 8, 2012

Hong Kong: Yung Kee Restaurant 鏞記酒家

Along with Tai Cheong's egg tarts, Yung Kee's roast duck and preserved century eggs were my sole reasons for visiting Hong Kong. The gilted exterior of Yung Kee building is hard to miss; bookings are mandatory during peak hours unless you want to suffer a long wait or do not mind dining from the lower-tier menu at the first floor.

Free of the unwelcome ammonia odour that pervades some century eggs, Yung Kee's pidan was right on the mark. The yolks are divinely molten, and the orbs are served with the best pickled ginger I've ever had. I would have lugged home cartons of these if not for their steep price at HKD10 (S$1.60) for half an egg.
century eggs @ yung kee
Yung Kee's roast goose deserves to be crowned as the national bird of Hong Kong. I loved the juicy and wickedly tasty meat, I loved the lightly crisp skin layered with flavorful fat. Being a roast meat specialist (albeit one with a very extensive menu), we decided to order a platter of char siew, and we're very glad that we did. I forked up every piece of the laudably well-caramelized and highly marbled 'half-lean half-fatty' barbequed pork with as much gusto as with the goose.
roast goose @ yung kee
As with any Cantonese restaurant worth its salt, Yung Kee dishes up great fried rice. Perfumed with the savory aromas of diced char siew, scallions and egg, every grain of the Yangzhou chow fun was firm and full of wok hei.
yangzhou fried rice @ yung kee
The four of us shared a plate of tender pea shoots and straw mushrooms to fulfill our fiber requirements. The portion was sure generous!
veggies @ yung kee
I cannot remember the exact pricing of the dishes but the bill worked out to around HKD200 per pax, which is not too expensive for the quality of my dining experience. I've heard that the roast goose often sells out, so do reserve a bird in advance. The online booking system was down in late December and I'm very grateful to Daniel for helping me to make a reservation by phone!

32-40 Wellington Street, Central
中環威靈頓街32-40號
Tel: +852 2522 1624

May 4, 2012

Ah Tai Chicken Rice

In case you missed out the article in the Straits Times, the disgruntled former chef of Tian Tian Chicken Rice has started his own business- just a few stalls away from the former. I shall not comment on the ethics of this move, but I'm sure that office workers in the area will be pleased about the shorter queue for a good plate of chicken rice at Maxwell Food Centre.

To me, the most important component of chicken rice is the rice, and Ah Tai dishes up a stellar rendition. The toothsome rice grains packed a punch in flavor without being overly oily.
ah tai chicken rice (small)
Like Tian Tian, Ah Tai uses premium large chickens which are valued for their tasty meat. While the chicken breast was quite tender, it could have been more succulent. The chicken liver that I requested for was decently executed as well.

As it has been a long time since I last had Tian Tian's chicken rice, I am unable to compare it against Ah Tai's. But my memory clearly remembers the former's calamansi-spiked chilli to be far better than its competitor's, which also too spicy for my liking.

Has anyone tried both Ah Tai's and Tian Tian's chicken rice recently? How do they compare against each other?

 Price: $3 for a small portion

Ah Tai Chicken Rice
Stall 7, Maxwell Food Centre
Singapore 069184
Open daily: 10.45am to 8pm (or till the chicken rice is sold out)