Monday, April 30, 2007

Xin Wang Hong Kong Cafe

It was one of those days when I was craving peanut butter toast that I made my friends come here for dessert / supper :)

I'm a big mango fan so could not resist ordering the Mango Snow Ice $6.90++ -

This dessert had all my favourite things - mango, ice cream and shaved ice... but it's a Herculean task to finish it by youself so definitely order to share.

Of course I had to order Peanut Butter Toast $3.90++ -

It was pretty good - had a fair amount of peanut butter and the bread was soft and fluffy. HK Kim Gary is still cheaper though...

We noticed the other table having a fried bun thing and after scouring the menu, ordered what sounded closest to what they had : Deep Fried Custard Bun $2.50++ -

Not quite we expected coz when it said custard, we thought it would be the kind of custard that's more, erm, wobbly. It was a pretty solid consistency, but went quite well with the deep fried bun.

The decor was a bit too glaring and the place just a bit too noisy for me - crap, is that a sign that I'm getting old or what?? But it's a great alternative when you're craving cha chan teng (hongkong-style cafe) food in the middle of the night (it's open 24 hours on weekends). Will probably come back to try more of their extensive menu...

Xin Wang Hong Kong Cafe
8 Grange Road
#02-11 Cineleisure Orchard
Tel : 6235 6480

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tiffin Room

S felt like having high-tea one weekend so we decided to try the one at the Tiffin Room at the Raffles Hotel. This place is really popular, especially among tourists, so you definitely need to make reservations.

Not very much variety here though - the spread consisted of the usual high-tea items and some local favourites. My first round consisted of some finger sandwiches, a scone with jam and cream, chicken pie and of course I had to grab a few siew mai :)

The finger sandwiches were pretty good. Just something about sandwiches cut into little pieces that makes it taste better than usual :) The scone was quite good too. Nothing quite like a simple scone with fresh cream and jam...

I also did a 'local' plate :

All my favourite dim sum - siew mai, egg tart, char siew pao, char siew so, and the slightly-out-of-place otah. Everything was pretty decent, but nothing was exceptionally good.

Went on to dessert :

I love kuehs especially onde onde so I just had to grab some - it was pretty ok... but what was horrible was the waffle! It was rock hard and totally inedible.

Hmm, I guess the main reason why people come here is not so much the food but more the atmosphere...

All the decor here definitely adds to the colonial atmosphere - from the iron gate right in the middle of the restaurant (so pretty I just had to take a picture of it), the elegant paintings, the little potted plants on each table... and the harp player definitely helps to transport you back to the days of Sir Stamford Raffles.

I do have to mention though, that I was a bit disturbed to find that the plates and cutlery were old in a scratched-up way (as opposed to being old in an antique way) and the napkins had little holes in them. Maybe the grand dame is due for a makeover....

For $37+++, this is not the best place to come for high tea if you're looking for a good spread. But definitely worth coming at least once, just for the experience...

Tiffin Room
Raffles Hotel Singapore
1 Beach Road S189673
Tel : 6337 1886

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


We walked past this place the last time we were at St James and it came to mind when Auds recently had a meat craving. It's a pretty small place and we managed to get the last available table. Seemed like we ordered a ton of food but ended up being quite manageble. For grilling, we ordered -

Marbled Beef $14.00+++

Beef Tongue $14.00+++

Combined Seafood $12.00+++

Australian Rack of Lamb $12.00+++

and Mixed Vegetables $5.00+++

It's self-grilling but the staff kept intefering, telling us to use the tongs and not the chopsticks to pick the food off the grill as the chopsticks would "melt". Huh?? I think something got lost in translation...

The food itself was only ok. Auds love weird meats hence the beef tongue. In the spirit of being adventurous, I tried it and it was f.u.n.k.y. A bit tough, and the whole time I was eating it I was thinking "I'm eating a cow's tongue"... Well, I can say "been there, done that" and think I can also add "never again" to it.

The rest of the stuff was not marinated as well as I expected and the dipping sauces were pretty plain. Also the portions were quite miniscule - considering the shrinkage that occurs with grilling.

When I saw the Enoki Mushroom Soup $5.00+++ on the menu, I just had to order it. It didn't look very appetizing, and really didn't taste all that good.

Even worse, we found a rubber band in one of the bowls -

Totally camouflaged! It's a good thing we spotted it... when we told the waitress about it, she just said "oh!" and cleared the bowl. I was totally stunned by her near non-reaction to it.

Not very good food, very unimpressive service... not much chance I'll come back here willingly. Oh well, chalk it up to experience.

The Station Kitchen
St James Power Station
3 Sentosa Gateway #01-11/15
Singapore 098544
Tel : 6376 8085

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sunflower Vegetarian (Closed)

I shop at Far East nearly every week and never even knew this place existed till a few months ago! It's got a pretty quirky arrangement of having the shop itself (where you place your orders and where the kitchen is) located separately from the dining area. Now on to the food!

I love the Sesame Tofu $3.50 (Small) here. It is fried to perfection then served in a thai-chilli type sauce.

I never fail to finish every crumb of this dish... even tried ordering the larger one before and totally finished it too :)

Another starter that's really good is the Potato Fingers $3.80 (Small). I never ordered this for the longest time coz it didn't look terribly appetizing, but on a particularly adventurous day I tried it and it was really quite good...

Cut open one of the potato fingers and you find it's mashed potato inside. Dip it in the surprisingly spicy chilli sauce and it's really yummy!

The other thing that I nearly always order here is the Fried Glass Noodles (Tang Hoon) $5.80.

I used to have vegetarian bee hoon for breakfast every Sunday and I've always liked glass noodles (tang hoon)... so this is the perfect combination to me - got the mock char siew and deep fried beancurd strips from the veggie bee hoon, fried with tang hoon... Love it!

I've also tried the Mee Goreng $5.80 -

Not quite spicy enough for me but I love the fact that it has deep fried beancurd strips.

If you're craving something soupy, the Glass Noodles Soup $6.50 is pretty good too -

Like I mentioned in my HK posts, as long as it has enoki in it, I'm happy!

Got plenty of other ramen and pasta dishes that I haven't got round to trying it yet...

Sunflower Vegetarian
14 Scotts Road
#05-120 & #05-27
Far East Plaza
Tel : 6737 2854

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hong Kong Trip - Part IV

Last post on HK *phew!*

What else did I do in HK besides eat? Shopping, of course! Went to my usual shopping haunts in HK - the Far-East-type shops along Granville Road, Pedder Building for BCBG/Catherine Malandrino/DVF clothes, Ladies' Market (loi yan kai) for all the fake stuff (this time it was Tiffany's!), and lots of random shopping in the Causeway Bay area.

But the best shopping this trip was done in H&M. I've been a big fan of H&M since I first walked into the store at Oxford Street in London over 10 years ago. Most recent trip to H&M was in Barcelona two years ago and still loved it... unfortunately there's no H&M in this region :( So I was really excited when I read in the Life! section of the papers a month ago about H&M opening in HK.

For some photos of the opening of the store in HK, check out this blog.

It was totally crazy in the store even though I was there two weeks after it opened - the queue for the changing room was at its best five persons deep and at its worse fifteen persons deep... which is why many (including me) ended up just finding a mirror and trying clothes in front of it.

And thanks to its great return policy (refund in 30 days with receipt and tags attached), I ended up buying quite a few things which I returned the next day coz it didn't quite fit.

Apparently more H&M stores will be opening in Japan, China and Australia but none in Singapore :(

Hmm... what else did I do in HK?? Oh yes, and I watched rugby too :) Here's a picture of the stadium as proof that I was there -

Watched a few matches on Saturday and was at the stadium most of Sunday. Many upsets including England (winner of the HK7s the last four years) losing to the All Blacks 0-26 in the Cup Quarter-final, Wales beating Argentina 26-19 in the Plate Final... and the most exciting match of the tournament, Samoa was victorious over Fiji 27-22 in the Cup Final after having held them score-less at halftime.

What's really great about the HK7s is the atmosphere - people getting up to dance whenever the music comes on, looking at all the people who turned up in silly costumes (a bunch of guys wore the Borat swimming costume!)... everyone's just having a generally good time.

Here's an example of some of the craziness that takes place at the 7s (my very first embedded video! If you have your speakers on, watch out for auds yelling out "Welcome to Hong Kong!" :) -

If you stare really closely, especially at the bottom of the screen, the little things flying about are plastic jugs being (randomly) thrown. You can even see people ducking to get out of the way of the flying jugs. And THAT is why I haven't sat in the South Stand for years - way too many drunks doing totally crazy things. I normally sit in the West Stand at a safe distance away from the nonsense... but close to enough to watch and laugh at the silliness.

That just about covers all the best things about this trip - the eating, the shopping and the rugby. Should be heading back there again for next year's HK7s barring any unforseen circumstances... Can't wait! :)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hong Kong Trip - Part III

Tai Cheong Bakery
This egg tart shop was made famous by the patronage of Chris Patten (the last British governor of HK) - apparently he loved the egg tarts here.

I finally made it here on the last day I was in HK and bought one to try. It cost just HK$3.80 (S$0.75)! Ok, I'll admit it - I was in such a rush to try it that I totally forgot to take a picture...

but take my word for it, it was delicious! The pastry was super flaky and the custard still warm and wobbly - it totally fell apart in the paper bag that it was in. Totally wished I had found this place earlier so that I could have had more!

Another place to add to my list of "must go the next time I'm back in HK" places...

Tai Cheong Bakery
35 Lyndhurst Terrace

Ajisen Ramen
Another one of my favourite places to eat at in HK is Ajisen Ramen as they have a different menu from Singapore. I love enoki mushrooms so one thing I must always have is the Enoki with Butter HK$20 (S$3.90) -

Mmmmm... yummy! I tried to do something similar at a BBQ recently and everyone complained that I put too much butter :P

As if I didn't get enough enoki from that dish, I also ordered Beef Enoki Rolls HK$20 (S$3.90) -

What can I say, I really really like enoki mushrooms :) The combination of beef with enoki is just brilliant. Not a very common dish in Singapore but it was available at practically every place I went to in HK...

Ajisen Ramen
Various branches - check website for more information

Tong Chiu
This place is very famous for its desserts... and while I have always known of the existence of this place, I was never quite into tong shui (sweet soup, i.e. desserts) till of late. So on this trip I decided to try this place out...

I wasn't particularly hungry when I got there, but just had to try a few dishes so ended up ordering Carrot Cake HK$13 (S$2.50) -

BBQ Pork Rice Noodle Roll HK$28 (S$5.40) -

and rounded off the meal with Almond Soup HK$15 (S$2.90) -

First time I've ever had Almond Soup (I normally have Sesame or Walnut) and was quite surprised by the strong almond taste... Everything I had was just ok, nothing particularly spectacular... but I realised that I should have tried the tofu pudding (tau huay), which is one of their signature desserts. And the next time, must remember to order their set meals - very worth it!

Definitely coming back again to try more of the desserts on their very extensive menu!

Tong Chiu (The Sweet Dynasty)
88 Canton Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel : (852) 2199 7799, 2199 7788

Still one more post on HK to come but it's the last one, I promise :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hong Kong Trip - Part II

Krispy Kreme
Everyone knows how much I love Krispy Kremes so I've been kept happy with a constant supply from people coming back from overseas... but nothing quite beats a "straight out of the fryer" fresh Krispy Kreme donut so the very first thing I did after landing in HK and checking in at the hotel, was to go straight to Krispy Kremes :)

Decided to go to the one near Central and could barely contain my excitement while taking the seemingly endless escalators up to Elgin Street. Probably my imagination but I thought I heard angels singing when I finally saw the store :o

Marched in and ordered one Original Glazed HK$10 (S$1.90) and finished eating it in seconds... I had at least one Krispy Kreme every day while I was there, and tried a new flavour too - see the Cinammon one below :

but Original Glazed is still the best :)

They have thematic ones too - here's the one designed specially for the HK7s, isn't it cute??

A new store opened in Mongkok and we happened to be there that night... and they were giving out free donuts! But we were so full from eating all that street food before that we decided not to have any. I'm sure you can imgaine how full I must have been to have turned down free Krispy Kremes...

Krispy Kreme @ Central
51 Elgin Street

Krispy Kreme @ Causeway Bay
63-71 Lee Garden Road

Krispy Kreme @ Times Square
B219-B220 Basement 2 Times Square
1 Matheson Street

Tsim Chai Kee
I read about this place on this blog - the blogger raved about the palm-sized wantons so I decided to look for this place.

And the wantons were seriously huge! Not quite palm-sized but pretty damned close to it...

This bowl of Wanton Noodles cost just HK$14 (S$2.70) - even cheaper than the street-side stall... and this place is very clean, air-conditioned and has friendly service too!

Am quite glad I bypassed the 'Anthony Bourdain-endorsed' Mak's Noodles to try this place. A truly satisfying meal at an amazingly low price. Another must-try if you're ever in HK!

Tsim Chai Kee
98 Wellington Street

Hang Fa Lau
While waiting for my friends to finish up shopping at H&M, I decided to get a seat here to rest for a while, and maybe have a light snack before lunch... But the menu is so extensive and I wanted to try everything!!! So, *ahem* it turned out to be a little more than a 'light snack' :P

I settled on Deep Fried Pork and Chives Wanton HK$20 (S$3.90),

a glass of Ice Tea (dong leng cha) HK$13 (S$2.50),

and I just had to try a dessert so I ordered Sesame Soup (jee mah hu) HK$15 (S$2.90).

Everything I tried was good, will definitely head back here the next time to try more of the stuff on the menu.

There are various branches all over HK Island but this particular one was at 34 Cochrane Street, along the Mid-level Escalators, near Wellington Street.

Still more Hong Kong eats on the way...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hong Kong Trip - Part I

Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities to visit! I've been making the trip here nearly every year for the Hong Kong 7s since 1999, missing one year due to SARS and missed another two years when the Singapore 7s were on and my friends were too busy organising it to make it for the HK7s.

The trip here for the HK7s gives me the chance to do all my favourite things - eat and shop... and I get to watch some fantastic rugby!

This is the first time that I've been there since I started my food blog so I decided to try out some places that I've read about on other people's blogs, and also take this opportunity to tell everyone about my favourite eating places in HK.

Rong Yuan
I was first introduced to this place years ago when my friend, Jade, brought us here to eat... and what a great recommendation! I've been here every single time I've been back to HK. If you're looking for street-side stalls, it doesn't get any more authentic than this - this place is located in an alleyway, and only locals eat here...

What is good here is the Beef Brisket Noodles (ngau lan meen) HK$17 (S$3.30) :

You can also order it with hor fun (ngau lan hor)... but what totally kicks ass at this stall is the chilli. In HK, chilli is eaten out of the spoon - scoop some chilli into your spoon and dip the food into the chilli before taking a bite. Gets kinda tiring holding the spoon throughout the whole meal so the alternative is dunking all the chilli straight into the soup. The chilli is a bit on the salty side, but it's seriously good...

The other good thing to order here is the Wanton Noodles (wanton meen) or Wanton Hor Fun (wanton hor) HK$17 (S$3.30) :

I don't have the exact address but here are the directions : take exit E2 at Mongkok MTR station and you will see Body Shop on your left when you get out of the MTR station. There is a Hui Lau San (the mango dessert shop) diagonally across from the Body Shop and this stall is at the alley just behind the Hui Lau San. You *must* check out this place if you are ever in HK!

Street Food
Before this trip, my favourite street food was Egg Balls HK$10 (S$1.90). I would always buy one to eat while I walked from Causeway Bay to the Hong Kong Stadium. Also a great snack to have while you're shopping :)

But on this trip I discovered something new - Spicy Fishballs (Yu Dan, Lat) HK$6-7 (about S$1.30). For that price, you get one stick with about 6 fishballs. The best one I had was at the street stall near Rong Yuan (see above for directions) - the one here is so spicy that my mouth takes a good half hour to recover, but it's so good that I can't help but eat more of it despite the discomfort! My mouth is watering just thinking about it now...

Another one of my favourites is the Deep Fried Squid Tentacles HK$10 (S$1.90). Also a great snack to have while you're shopping :)

On this trip, I finally decided to give Smelly Tofu (chow dow fu) a try. The one from this stall used to be really smelly - approaching it, I would wonder if the smell was coming from a drain - but for some reason this time it wasn't that bad... and as expected it wasn't smelly when I bit into it. It was pretty much just normal deep fried tofu, a bit of a let-down really... but maybe I will change my mind when I try a really good one.

Hui Lau Shan
I love my mango desserts so Hui Lau Shan is one of my favourite things about Hong Kong. I patronised the stall a few times when it was open in Singapore but it just wasn't the same and was considerably more expensive.

My standard choice is the Mango with Sago and Pomelo (lup lup mong gor sai) HK$20 (S$3.90). Unfortunately I didn't plan my eating too well and only managed to go to Hui Lau Shan once this trip :(

More Hong Kong eats to come in the next few posts!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Esprit Café by Canele

A meal with the gal pals always has to end with dessert and coffee so we trooped over to the Esprit Café at Centrepoint - my suggestion as I wanted to try the desserts there :)

We were pretty full from lunch so just ordered two things to try -

Le Royal $6.50++

and Kalamansi Ice-Cream $8.00+++

The cake was good - enough chocolate to satsify any chocolate lover. Despite it being such a small piece, we had quite a bit little difficulty finishing it (party coz we were pretty full from lunch). The kalamansi ice-cream was super sour, but was a nice balance with chocolate-y cake. The white chocolate thins were a nice touch.

It's a great place to catch up with your best girlfriends as it's got lots of privacy, being tucked away in a corner of Esprit. And the window seats give you a great view of Orchard Road too. Must come back here to try the food...

Esprit Café by Canele
176 Orchard Rd #03-100
Centrepoint Shopping Centre
Tel : 6733 7898
Open daily 10:30am-9pm

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Kushigin Japanese Restaurant

Me and my gal pals were in the area trying to decide where to eat for lunch and ended up here. This place specialises in yakitori as you will be able to tell from the yakitori-dominated menu. And apparently the chef is from Nanbantei, and is supposed to be relatively famous too (found this out on the makansutra forum)...

D ordered the Yakitori Bento $12.50+++ -

Look at how much food there is in this bento! And so reasonably priced too!

In comparison, my Gyu Yaki Set $15.00+++ looked kinda miserable...

but it tasted pretty good, and was really quite enough food for me.

G had the Saba Set $12.00+++ -

The food was generally quite good. I was kinda worried our clothes and hair would smell what with the open kitchen and the yakitori grill... but we made it out without any lingering smells.

Kushigin Japanese Restaurant
5 Koek Road
#01-01/02 Cuppage Plaza
Tel : 6238 6860