Thursday, June 28, 2018

Trying Something New

I didn’t expect the restaurant would be full when I made a booking for lunch at Chun, the Chinese restaurant at the new MGM Cotai hotel right next door from where we were staying, so glad that we did. After 2 spectacular meals at the City of Dreams complex right across the street, I figure it’s a good idea to check out something new before we headed back home, and MGM Cotai is the newest addition to this area at the time of our visit (since then, the Zaha Hadid-design Morphus has just opened its door 2 weeks after)

Monday, June 25, 2018

Catching Up with Old Friends

It seems easy enough when CYY requested dinner at The Tasting Room in Macau as part of her birthday celebration this year – at least it’s not some almost impossible to book place that required my arms and legs for deposit or something.  We did exactly the same the year before, just as the restaurant was about to re-open after a 6-month makeover and our friend Fabrice settled in at his new post as Chef de Cuisine there. So I quickly shot an email to the restaurant to book, and told Fabrice we were coming to visit and eat.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Overdue Encore at Chef Tam's Place

We went for a repeat of last year’s birthday celebration with a weekend stay in Macau, and dined at the same restaurant on Saturday night as the highlight of our itinerary. But before we got to that, we went to visit a few restaurants as well – with temperature soaring to mid-30s during day time, there’s nothing better to do to hide away and eat (or gamble, I guess, though we didn’t quite manage to do that this time since we were too busy eating)

Friday, June 22, 2018

Re-visiting Grissini

It’s a pure coincidence that we were eating at Grand Hyatt pretty often recently – after decent dinners at the Steakhouse and One Harbour Road, I thought we may as well check out Grissini as well, so here we were on a Friday night to kick off the weekend. Let me be straight first – we were never huge fans of the restaurant and our previous experience has been so-so at best. But still, we figured it didn’t hurt giving it a try every now and then, and check to see if one day our opinion might be swayed the other way.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


A birthday celebration brought us to the new Imperial Treasure Restaurant in Causeway Bay. Its Tsimshatsui branch just got its first Michelin star in the latest guide so naturally I was curious how this one fared on the other side of the harbor. Interestingly, Imperial Treasure is one of the two independent restaurants operating under the roof of Crowne Plaza near Times Square and seem to be super popular with a full house on the day of our visit.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Facelift at Our Old Club

I was surprised to see a few familiar faces at The Refinery Club when I was invited to a lunch tasting there recently. The members-only club at Quarry Bay’s Taikoo Place complex was re-opened earlier this year, taking the place of The Butterfield’s, a similar social/dining club at the same spot which we were members of for a number of years and over time, became our go-to eatery regularly, especially when we couldn’t think of something else different to eat around this neighborhood (that happened at least once a week)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Stars Not To Be

A chance encounter in Tokyo a few months ago led to a meetup in Hong Kong with my Dutch friends M and J over lunch at Tang Court of The Langham Hong Kong. They were on a trip to travel around Asia for some nice restaurants and wines which brought them to Hong Kong and Macau this week as their first stop.

Friday, June 15, 2018

A Few More Food Stops

We made a few food stops in Wakayama on our last day of the journey as we made our way back to the airport for the late evening flight home. After the morning hike along the Kumano Kodo trail, we picked up our car and headed west on Route 311, another scenic driving route through the forests, rivers and tunnels. Along the way, we made a stop at a roadside restaurant called Kawayoshi near Tanabe.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Onsen in the Hills and a Morning Hike

Kumano Kodo is the generations-old pilgrimage route through the Kansai region, linking many of the temples and shrines in the area. Its religious significance aside, just by looking at the picturesque scenery and immersing ourselves in the nature filled with forests, mountains and rivers, I can totally see the charm of spending a few days following those footsteps with a hiking trip along the route.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Drive Up and Down the Mountains

From Katsuura, where we had a fabulous tuna lunch at a shokudo near to the first market, it’s a quick 20 minutes car ride up the mountain into Kumano Nachi Taisha, one of the three holy shrines in the Kumano region and part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s an enjoyable drive with the many twists and turns through the narrow roads lined with beautiful cherry blossoms, with the small town right underneath the temple offered the perfect spot to park, rest and shop before we made a small hike up to the temples.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tuna Lunch at a Fishing Port

It’s a pity that this time we couldn’t stop by the Katsuura Fish Market to witness the famous tuna auction that happened in weekday mornings – we were way too late for that by the time we drove over from Shirahama plus the market was closed on Saturday. But that didn’t stop us from making a pit stop at this small coastal town for a seafood lunch right by the fish market.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Plant-based Tasting Menu

I was at Man Ho at JW Marriott in Pacific Place last week when their chef Jayson Tang was tasked with creating a tasting menu using Omnipork, the new plant-based “meat” developed and marketed by the Hong Kong-based Green Monday team. Most other plant-based products launched recently (Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods etc) have been focusing their marketing effort in western cuisine – burger in particular – but it’s good to know there are ones like Omnipork targeting Asian palate and cooking. That's actually a sensible business move given the large Chinese market (twice as big as United States for food consumption), and pork has traditionally been the preferred meat choice in most Chinese cuisine and still formed the majority of all meat consumed in China by a comfortable distance (in fact, 3 times more than poultry which is the second most, as I found out from research reports)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Long Lombard Lunch

I always love the idea of Tosca’s weekend lunch menu with a regional focus, each time featuring dishes from a specific area and paired with their wines as well. A few weeks ago, we were there again on a Saturday afternoon, just as they were wrapping up the series focusing on Lombard dishes and wines. While we may not particularly appreciate the heat wave going on in town with temperature soaring to mid-30s, but that meant we had a few days of stunningly clear sky, making our visit to Tosca near the top of The Ritz-Carlton especially enjoyable with the perfect viewpoint of Hong Kong’s skyline from Level 102 of the tallest building in town.

Monday, June 4, 2018

PMQ Taste Kitchen Experience: After

"Will you do it again?" is the question I was asked most often after my brief stint at the PMQ Taste Kitchen was dusted and over. For the first few times I thought about that, feeling totally shattered after consecutive days of clocking 18 hours standing in the kitchen or running around, I was like… "no freaking way!" and I was just happy to play my old role of judging and criticizing chefs instead of being one.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

PMQ Taste Kitchen Experience: During

"Service!"… midway through the PMQ Taste Kitchen pop-up event I was still getting used to the notion that someone would come to assist (almost) immediately in the kitchen once the dishes were plated and ready to serve - sometimes I wish it's like that at home. Rewinding a few days back, as the dates of the pop-up approached, I began to feel the pressure as the seats starting to fill up even before we posted the menu and other details online. At the same time, everything else appears to be on schedule - that gave me some sense of comfort until the "real fun" began (or all hell broke loose, depends on how you see it) when we opened for business.

Friday, June 1, 2018

PMQ Taste Kitchen Experience: Before

"Food is so good that you should open your own restaurant!" – any amateur cook who hosted dinner party at home must have heard compliments like this from time to time. While I believe in my case many of those comments were made only out of appreciation for the effort rather than merits, it does made me wonder what it is like working in a kitchen in a real restaurant other than my own home's. And that random thought, plus an unplanned meet-up and chat with my friends J and D one afternoon led to myself taking over a pop-up restaurant for a few days in May.