Saturday, December 30, 2017

Lunch for 8 at The 8

Burning off some calories with a quick walk of the historical district of Macau got me in the right mood (and appetite) for lunch at the Eight as part of our weekend getaway at the Grand Lisboa Hotel. We knew full well the lunch was going to be awesome given the caliber of the restaurant (with the Michelin 3 stars and all), the chef and the fact that we dined at the invitation of the hotel PR team, and somehow they still delivered beyond our heightened expectation.

Friday, December 29, 2017

New Perception of Grand Lisboa

Several times in our previous trips to Macau we stopped over at the Lisboa Hotel complex for meals, whether that be for a formal dinner at the top-floor Robuchon au Dome, classic Chinese at The 8 or lunch at the casual Portuguese Guincho a Galera, but for whatever reasons it never came to our mind of staying at the hotel. And that's partly because there's always something newer that we were more curious to check out. So I was glad that the kind PR team put us up for a weekend at Grand Lisboa Hotel so we could experience what it's like staying inside this legendary hotel with so many nice restaurants under one roof.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Morning Heritage Walk

Staying over on the Macau Peninsula side meant it's much easier to explore the historical part of this city known not only for its gaming industry but being rich in the unique architecture style left over from over 400 years of Portuguese colonial rule.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Revamped Don Alfonso

A few weeks ago we spent part of our weekend in Macau courtesy of the PR team at Grand Lisboa Hotel. Our ferry from Hong Kong in one late Friday afternoon got us in right on time for dinner at Casa Don Alfonso at the hotel after we checked in and settled. The restaurant just recently completed the transformation from Don Alfonso 1890, the restaurant serving fine Italian cuisine, to Casa Don Alfonso, still under the same culinary team headed by Chef Claudio Favero but in a more casual setting and a menu geared towards family-style dishes.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Très Bon Tairroir

With a few other Hong Kong friends happened to be in Taipei for the weekend, we met up for lunch at Tairroir on Sunday. I felt like we have booked out the whole place when the eight of us took up the two big tables in the cozy dining room of the restaurant.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Gen Creative

We followed our friend and fellow Instagrammer deeseebeaucoup's IG post and booked for dinner at this casual Taiwanese restaurant called Gen Creative. This 2-year-old restaurant was often mentioned as one of those new establishments following the latest trend of combining western cuisine with local ingredients.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Then and Now

We usually came to Taipei with no specific itinerary, and just eating and drinking and shopping our way through at our familiar spots. But this time we managed to follow a similar routine but with a few new shops just for a change to try out something different.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Stars Gala

It's highly unusual that I made a second trip to Macau in less than a week (more on that on the post later this month), but then this is for a highly unusual event. Michelin is celebrating its 10th Anniversary in Hong Kong/Macau this year with a grand gala dinner as part of the annual announcement event, this year held in Macau's City of Dreams complex and I was invited to attend.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Post Concert Yakitori and Cheese

We were desperate for food the moment we stepped out of the Cultural Centre after a classical concert on a Friday night, and I remembered there's this new bistro/bar which just opened in TST East just a few weeks ago. So after a quick phone call to make sure their kitchen is still open this late  (we wanted some hot food), we hopped on the bus and made a quick ride over for a late night supper.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Evening with Snakes

A bad flu I caught over the weekend didn’t stop me from joining some friends to the Pottinger private kitchen for dinner. I was there late last year for what I thought was the last time at this venue (since the building is poised for re-development), but turned out it’s been delayed for another year, so maybe this time it is the last.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Touring Middle East 18: The Finale Feast

Before the trip I have been told by those who joined the same tour previously that the first and last meals were usually the highlights as far as food is concerned. So that gave me something to look forward to as we were drawing our 2-week-long journey in Jordan and Israel to a close at our last stop of Amman, the Jordanian capital.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Touring Middle East 17: Art Walk on Sabbath Day

The taxi driver seems baffled when we asked him to take us to the Mahane Yehuda Market in the afternoon - "you know everything is closed on the last day of Sukkot, right?". Of course little did we know he literally meant just that. When we were dropped off at our destination, we found ourselves standing on an empty street, with absolutely NONE of the shops - Jews or non-Jews - were open for business.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Touring Middle East 16: The Two Ruins and the Dead Sea

We spent the later parts of our trip enjoying the magnificent sights of more archaeological sites near Dead Sea and in Jordan. On our last full day in Israel, we were taken on a scenic route along the coast of Dead Sea and paid a visit to the popular tourist spot of Masada, an ancient fortress built on top of a rock plateau in the middle of nowhere.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Touring Middle East 15: The Two Museums

We spent the whole day museum-hopping in Jerusalem as part of our itinerary. Our first stop is the Holocaust History Museum as part of the Yad Vashem complex, built by the Israeli Government as the memorial to the victims of Nazi Holocaust.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Hairy Crabs at the Club

Turned out it's a blessing in disguise that our annual crab feast at Shanghai Fraternity Association was pushed back for an extra week this year because of some scheduling conflict, as the Shanghainese hairy crab season was also delayed by some government bureaucracy, so we barely caught the early part of the season even with the later date. It's already the third year we joined our friend C and A who organized this friends' gathering at their home club famous for the exquisite Shanghainese cuisine. (previous ones in 2015 and 2016)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Bar Crossover

A few days ago I dropped by Okra in the afternoon for a sneak preview of the upcoming collaboration dinner menu featuring dishes by Chef Max Levy and drinks by Yuta Inagaki of Bar Butler in TST. The full menu was a 10-course long meal completed with 9 different cocktails but this time we had the abbreviated menu with 6 of those dishes.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

White Diamond Dinner

Price for white truffles this season has been ridiculously high this year (low production due to uncooperative weather), so that means I had to be frugal and thought twice on where I put my truffle money on - First World problem, I know. I have always heard the restaurant at Hong Kong Club serves one of the best valued white truffle menu in town so it's too big an opportunity to miss when a group I am (somewhat) associated with was organizing a dinner there.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Full House at Caprice

Our weekend of non-stop eating began with a buffet dinner at a hotel near our home Friday evening then with lunch at Caprice on the next day. It's good to see the familiar faces of the front and back teams at the restaurant returning from holidays or guest chef appearances elsewhere - we certainly picked the right time to visit with a full house at work.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


For all the how-many-hands dinners we have attended, the Dim Sum Duets series by Hong Kong Tatler Dining (now with the hipster-like name T.Dining) was by far the most impressive, and we said this not because our friend C was organizing it. For 4 evenings in November, four different chefs known for their innovative cooking were paired up with two chefs specialized in traditional Chinese cuisine for a series of pop-up dinners featuring new dimsum dishes.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Sasa Sushi Lunch

I happened to walk by Sasa Sushi in Taipei on Friday afternoon so I went inside to make a booking for lunch the next day. A bit random I know, but we are always eager to check out sushi restaurants while we were in town, as they were often of great quality and reasonably priced.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Xiaoqi in Taipei

I tried to load all my shopping needs in Taipei in one single afternoon on my first day before CYY arrived later at night. I called that my "Golden 6 hours" that I could be on my own and get everything I want without someone nagging over my shoulder. So I dropped by bag at the hotel, briefly said hi to my friend S who works in the hotel over a cup of tea at the lounge, and went straight to Chifeng Street a few bus stations away to a series of shops owned by the "Xiaoqi" (小器) team.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Already a Fan - Two Nights at MO Taipei

Speaking of lounge and luxury travel... this time in Taipei we spent both nights at the Mandarin Oriental, courtesy of the hotel's PR team. And I must say our experience was perfect from the moment we arrived at the door to the time we (reluctantly) bid farewell.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Centurion Lounge

I don’t usually write about airport lounges - cuz doing so made me sound like a humblebrag - but then this is the one I was truly excited about. I have never visited the American Express Centurion Lounge before - they started operating a few in US after my time (would have loved to have a few of those when I was flying regularly for work), but recently they expanded to a few overseas locations, starting in Hong Kong this past October, which obviously is a good news to me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bring Your Own Seafood

Dinner at one of those seafood restaurants in Saikung is our event of choice whenever we got out-of-town friends visiting Hong Kong. I guess there's nothing more iconic to what Hong Kong culture is about with a meal at a restaurant with live seafood picked fresh from the water tanks and cooked any way you want.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

New at the Fringe

It’s strange that the space which once housed the legendary and popular M at the Fringe restaurant hasn’t quite found a long-term tenant able to bring it close to its heyday for almost a decade. Over the years we have seen changes from a café to art gallery to kitchen studio, all relatively short-lived, but the latest project did catch my attention and sounds promising, with a cozy restaurant specializing in Franco-Japanese cuisine.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Family Style Shunde Dinner

When our friend H and A asked whether we were free to join the dinner at Shun Tak Fraternal Association, we didn’t hesitate to say yes. It’s one of those private, members-only places in town that has quite a reputation in delivering authentic regional Chinese cuisine, with this one specializing in Shunde Cantonese cuisine.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The New Seasons

The restaurant Seasons at Lee Garden turned a new page recently with Chef Olivier departed (hence his name was dropped from the name of the restaurant) and taking his place is the new head chef Lorenz Hoja whose last stop was in Singapore with L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon there. I normally would wait a few menu iterations to let any new chef settled in before trying their food, but the restaurant’s PR team graciously extend an invitation to me to try some of his new dishes recently, so I guess it doesn’t hurt having a sneak preview.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Steakhouse Makeover

There's a constant carousal of restaurants opening and closing in Lan Kwai Fong's California Tower - just a fact of life in this highly competitive area in terms of F&B business. But this time it's a case of new wine in an old bottle, with the steakhouse Porterhouse recently got a new owner with the new makeover. I haven't been to the old Porterhouse before so I can't tell how dramatic was the change when I went for dinner recently, but I was assured those are changes for the good, replacing everything from the chef to the concept to the menu and to the tableware ("basically everything except the interior", I was told)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Touring Middle East 14: Kosher Dinner

Searching online for "Best Kosher Restaurant in Jerusalem" led us to Eucalyptus near the Old City. I felt one can't get a full grasp of Jerusalem cuisine without trying at least one proper Kosher meal, plus we were right in the middle of Jewish Sukkot celebration so it just seemed culturally appropriate doing so too. So one afternoon after returning from our sightseeing activities, I asked the hotel to make the booking for us for dinner at the restaurant in the same evening.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Touring Middle East 13: Italian in Jerusalem

We were out again for dinner in Jerusalem - this time with a bigger group of six fellow travelers in our group. As the evening fell under a special Sabbath day after sundown (as part of the Sukkot festival) and many restaurants closed early (it's Jewish tradition to fast during Sabbath), the hotel concierge recommended this non-Kosher Italian restaurant called Adom to us

Monday, November 20, 2017

Touring Middle East 12: The Walled Off Bethlehem

Of course, almost EVERY tourists who come to Jerusalem will spend at least half a day in Bethlehem, just a quick drive away from city center by distance. After all, this is the "little town" we sang about every Christmas (in whatever tunes you are familiar) with the video footage of the annual Christmas eve midnight mass at Basilica of Nativity being broadcast worldwide as the key event of Christmas celebration. This all traced back to Jesus Christ was born in this Judean town in a meager manger some 2000 years ago (Gospel of Luke 2:1-7), the event now known as "The Nativity of Jesus".

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Touring Middle East 11: Discovery by Accident

Machneyuda restaurant in Jerusalem checked every boxes of the type of place I would be dying to try - one specializes in local cuisine, with open kitchen, a creative team and menu which changes daily based on seasonal ingredients sourced from the market next door, not to mention it came highly recommended by just about every travel guide/website/reviews I managed to read before the trip.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Touring Middle East 10: Dinner at Chakra

We were curious to check out the Jerusalem dining scene the moment we arrived, despite this legendary town is probably better known for its political and religious significance than being a culinary destination. Once we checked in to our hotel after a long bus ride from the north and dropped our luggage in our room, we hopped on the tram to Jerusalem's city center, where it was packed like Causeway Bay with Orthodox Jews celebrating the festival of Sukkot.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sweet Wine and Cheese

A few weeks ago I was at a luncheon at On Dining in Central hosted by Sweet Bordeaux, the marketing consortium of 10 Bordeaux appellations.with production of sweet and semi-sweet wines. I am not a particular fan of the Wine and Dine Festival held this year at the Central Harbourfront (too crowded, too consumer-oriented) but this annual event did bring a number of overseas people in F&B industry with a string of special events on and off the venue including this one, with the theme of sweet Bordeaux wine and cheese pairing.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Reminiscent of Yester-year

I felt like going back to the college days when I walked into Morty's Deli in Wanchai with the familiar American diner décor and 90's and 00's music playing in the background. I walked by the restaurant a few times before but this is only my first visit - this time at the invitation of the restaurant and their PR team.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Crabs at Restaurant Petrus

I admit I don't come to Restaurant Petrus often - my last visit was more than a year ago - but I remembered my meal last time was pretty decent and since then I have been hearing good things about its chef Ricardo Chaneton’s cooking too. So I was pretty excited to come with some friends for a dinner earlier this week to try their special “Crabalicious” menu featuring a few crab dishes.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Light Sushi Lunch

I felt I needed a proper sushi lunch to satisfy my crave for Japanese food, so I made a booking at Sushi Wadatsumi in Sheung Wan for a Saturday afternoon. I have been to its predecessor, Sushi Iwa, in its old location before and thought it’s right in the middle of the pack, so I am curious how the restaurant fared, now that they have changed the name and moved to its current location in Sheung Wan, and managed to keep its Michelin star.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Touring Middle East 9: Walking Around the Local Market

It's unfortunate that we didn't spend quite enough time to explore the modern side of Jerusalem, as one can never see the full picture of this town so steep in history just by looking at century-old buildings and artifacts in the Old City and other religious sites in the proximity. We tried to spend as much free time as we could exploring on our own, but we probably hardly scratched the surface in such a short period of time.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Touring Middle East 8: The Old City Jerusalem

Obviously, we spent most of our time in Jerusalem in the Old City (and its surroundings), just like every tourists who come over to visit. There’s no other places with a longer, more colorful history (believed to be more than 3000 years old) yet relatively well preserved, despite being fought over again and again for the past 2000 years. First and foremost, this small walled enclave of slightly less than 1 square kilometer (just to give you some reference – Hong Kong Island is 80 times bigger) is the heart of much religious significance, whether you are Christian, Jewish or Muslim, and that’s our major reason why we were here – to visit some of those Holy Sites key to Jesus’ life, especially in the last days before He’s betrayed, arrested, crucified, buried and rose again.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Touring Middle East 7: Runaway Dinner in Tiberias

I (not so) secretly kept a list of places (well, mainly restaurants as you can imagine) I would like to visit on our own in case our group tour itinerary allowed any free time. So on one evening we (with our partner in crime T) made a side trip to a restaurant called Magdalena, which happened to be just 10 minutes away by car from where we were staying in Tiberias.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Touring Middle East 6: Following the Footsteps

For any "Christian pilgrim" itinerary, Galilee in the northern part of Israel is just as important a stop as Jerusalem. This is the place where Jesus grew up (in His hometown of Nazareth), where most His apostles were from, and many of His ministry works and miracles took place.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Touring Middle East 5: Crossing Jordan and Full Moon by the "Sea"

After spending 2 nights at Petra, we crossed the Jordanian border into the Palestinian-administered West Bank via Allenby Bridge (or King Hussein Bridge as the Jordanians call it) without much fanfare. This is no longer the most hostile border to cross (after the peace treaty signed between Jordan and Israel a couple decades ago) but traces of hostility remained with both sides still heavily armed and the no-man's land between the 2 countries stretching a couple kilometers with only a narrow road for authorized vehicles to cross with signs warning against mines along the way.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Beer Pairing Dinner

Recently I was at a dinner at Lobster Bar of Island Shangri-La featuring a beer-pairing menu with a few specialty bottles by the folks at Young Master Brewery. I have been a fan of this fast-expanding local craft brewery and think event like this benefits both the restaurant in offering something new to its customers and for the brewery to introduce its great products to a wider audience.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Three-Course Celebration

Still recovering from the long trip which ended just a couple of days before, I was not in particular mood for a lengthy meal to celebrate my own birthday. So I suggested to check out Arcane, a place that I thought it's good enough as a venue for special occasion yet not those 10-course degustation menu kind of place. And most importantly, it's a place that I have never been before (at least for a proper sit-down meal) I honestly don't know why as I have always been a fan of Chef Shane Osborn's cooking.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Four-Hands Preview

I was not able to make it to either nights of the special Vicky Cheng x Margarita Fores dinner at Chef Vicky's restaurant VEA in late October, but was glad to get a sneak preview of the menu a couple of days before it was launched. I have never tried Chef Margarita's (of Grace Park Restaurant in Manila) cooking before but I always wanted to, ever since she received her Best Female Chef award by the Asia's 50 Best Restaurant last year.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Touring Middle East 4: Dining Under Starlight

We wanted to reward ourselves after an exhausting day at the Petra, so for dinner, we ditched the buffet at the restaurant downstairs at our hotel and opted to eat at the lush Al Ghadeer on the rooftop. With the temperature dropping significantly in the evening and on a clear night, we just thought that’s a good idea to chill and relax, and try something different.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Touring Middle East 3: Petra by Day

The thought of having to walk twice the distance during the day as we did in the previous night didn’t sit too comfortably with me, but I guess I just had to forget the pain and sweat and made the hike up to the magnificent sights in Petra again. We began our journey at 8am in order to avoid the heat on mid-day as much as possible.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Touring Middle East 2: Petra By Night

We arrived at the town of Petra in the southern part of Jordan right before sunset after a 3-hour bus ride through the King’s Highway (an ancient road even mentioned in Numbers 21:22). While our official itinerary of Petra wouldn’t start until the next day, some of us decided to join the Petra By Night show after dinner at our hotel. Well, we have seen Petra in numerous photos and documentaries before (plus of course, the Indiana Jones movie which was shot there) but this is one of those places you just have to visit by yourselves to experience. If you haven't put this in your bucket list, you should.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Touring Middle East 1: Madaba and Our First Lunch

In just slightly less than 12 hours, our uneventful Royal Jordanian flight (a new Boeing 787-Dreamliner by the way) landed at Amman Airport at day-break. We try to do at least one long trip every year and this year our destination is Jordan and Israel. It’s only our first time setting foot in the Middle East.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sukiyaki at the Counter

It’s my fault that I had to rush across the harbor to make my 6:30pm reservation at Sukiyaki Mori, but I was glad I made it right on time (okay, I was more like 15 minutes late) at the doorstep of this new restaurant at the junction of Elgin and Hollywood. I couldn’t recall any other restaurant specializes in sukiyaki in town, and being meat lovers as ourselves, we were eager to check it out.