Hongkong


I’ve been looking forward to trying another of Hong Kong’s speakeasies since Bo Innovation. Private kitchens were all the rage a few years ago, and only the truly good ones survived, and Xi Yan has proved that they not only survived, but has grown with outlets in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Xi Yan’s cuisine can be described as Asian fusion. Drawing inspiration from Thai and South East Asian cooking techniques and flavors, Xi Yan serves up multi-provincial Chinese food infused with other Asian influences.

Southeast Asian influences include the use of lemongrass or calamansi, infused into traditional Sichuan and Shanghainese dishes.

Their private dining outlet showcases the best of their menu. Unassuming outlook is an inadequate description when you reach the place, unnoticeable is more accurate: there is no signage for the whereabouts of it on the streets, not even on the very building it resided. It is on the third floor of a run-down commercial building in Wanchai, quiet, secluded and exclusive. Enter, sit down and enjoy

$430 per head

Salmon and jelly fish in Wasabi sesame sauce

Salmon and jelly fish in Wasabi sesame sauce

Grilled potatoes with salt and truffle

Grilled potatoes with salt and truffle

Shrimps in superior pickled sauce

Shrimps in superior pickled sauce

Crispy duck stuffed by glutinous rice

Crispy duck stuffed by glutinous rice

Sichuan spicy chicken

Sichuan spicy chicken. The menu changes every other night but this spicy chicken is a stalwart.

Stir fried spicy clams with basil

Stir fried spicy clams with basil

Chrysanthemum mandarin fish with lemongrass calamansi sauce

Chrysanthemum mandarin fish with lemongrass calamansi sauce

Satay shrimps with salted egg yolks and basil

Satay shrimps with salted egg yolks and basil

Longan and jujube sorbet with bird's nest

Longan and jujube sorbet with bird’s nest

Stewed chicken with pear and white fungus

Stewed chicken with pear and white fungus

Stir fried mix mushrooms with pickled cucumber

Stir fried mix mushrooms with pickled cucumber

Custard glutinous dumplings with sweet potato ginger soup

Custard glutinous dumplings with sweet potato ginger soup

Rating :  Love It

Food   :  Sichuan Spicy Chicken, Crispy Duck Stuffed with Glutinous Rice

Summary : A must try in Hong Kong. Contemporary chinese cuisine at its best.

3/F, 231-233 Queens Road East, Wanchai
Hong Kong
Tel:                (852) 9020 9196        
http://www.xiyan.com.hk/hk/

On my Manila to Melbourne flight, I got upgraded on the Manila – HK leg of my trip. Yey! Being a loyal CX frequent flier does come handy as it increases the chances for flight upgrades.

CX MNL - MLB Breakfast 

Sigh… the two hour HK trip seemed much shorter as I enjoyed my roomy seat. I enjoyed the dimsum platter for the in-flight breakfast.

 CX MNL - MLB Lunch

On my HK – Melbourne leg… where are the ceramic plates!!! Back to reality and plasticware.

 CX MNL - MLB Dinner

Noodles were better than my Pineapple Chicken dish for dinner.

Summary : Cathay Pacific’s meals are decent enough. Business class meals would of course be good since you’re paying top pesos for your seat. My experience with their economy class meals have been passable. Chinese dishes I have had would be prepared better than continental dishes like a generic chicken or fish dish. I normally would choose noodles and pile on the chili sauce to give flavor to my meal.

Here’s a related post on a Philippine Airlines flight I took. Share your plane food stories.

Gindaco is a Japanese franchise specializing in takoyaki. They have a small shop in Causeway Bay, HK which has a really long queue whenever I passed through it. Since I was still in my Kozui addiction phase, I decided to brave the queue and try out their takoyaki balls.

Gindaco

The octopus, diced and mixed with pickled ginger and green onion into battered balls, is fried in a special pan, then finished off with a drizzling of mayonnaise and a sprinkling of shaved dried bonito and aonori (seaweed).

Gindaco uses cast-iron griddles produced in Iwate Prefecture, a material chosen for its excellent heat conduction property. The thickness in the metal prevents a sudden drop in temperature when pouring the cold batter mixture.

The result is takoyaki balls which are crispy on the outside and thick and soft on the inside. Yummm… just how takoyaki balls should taste like!!!

Takoyaki

The boat shaped containers for the takoyaki balls apparently has a purpose too!!! The container boats are made from Russian white pines that absorb excess oil. The plastic container has six tiny holes to prevent condensation that could make the takoyaki’s soggy.

For HKD $33, you get six big, crispy takoyaki’s that fill you up in no time. Just watch out for burning your tongue. =P

Summary : Didn’t realize that there was a lot of science behind takoyaki making but Gindaco sure has mastered the art.

Rating : Love It

Food : Takoyaki Balls of course!

Gindaco

Matheson St., Causeway Bay and Shantung St. Mongkok

( The Causeway Bay stall is just across Times Square )

My sister ordered the set menu which had less dishes.

Set Menu

5

Foie Gras lettuce wrap, sauternes white miso sauce

17

Roasted duck “char siu”, mandarin coulis, bamboo shoots in pesto

“Bo” fried rice

Dessert

HKD $450

(plus 10% service charge )

Summary : A visit to Bo Innovation is certainly a culinary adventure. A fusion restaurant which gives us a peek into molecular gastronomy, Bo served us some extremely innovative dishes such as the 3-way salad and duet of oysters. We absolutely loved the lobster with preserved duck egg and wasabi foam. What was disappointing were the three mains we had ( Angus Beef, Smoked Cod, Roasted Duck). They were not as good or innovative as the starters. As this is a fusion restaurant, visit the place with an open mind. There would be hits and misses but the innovative mix of ingredients in a single dish sure makes for interesting table conversation. I recommend that visitors order the degustation menu to sample a larger array of this innovative menu.

Rating : Like It

Food : Crispy Lobster with preserved duck egg and wasabi foam

Ice House Street

32-38 Ice House Street, Upper Floor,

Central. Hong Kong

Tel. (852) 2850-8471

This is the second tasting menu we tried.

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Duet of Oysters

4

Pan fried foie gras, pea shoot soup, crispy “jin hua” ham – Foamy pea soup was very good. Light and the foie gras texture matched with the pea soup.

16

Slow cooked cod in white miso, saffron, braised lotus root in osmanthus

9

Pan fried scallop, mandarin “yu lo” sauce

14

Caesar in a cone, Nicoise in a slice, Waldorf in a glass

Mains

19

Smoked Cod, sea urchin, apple fennel foam – Looked good but this tasted really bland for us.

22

“Bo” dan dan noodles

23

“Bo dessert” – Sticky rice ball with melted chocolate, passion fruit eggtart, chestnut pudding, white chocolate with caramel salted kumquiat – Might not be outstanding dessert but points for offering desserts with an interesting twist.

HKD $600 per person

(plus 10% service charge)

Private kitchens are intimate eating places that have sprung up in people’s homes and have become, for locals and those in the know, some of the best places to eat on the island. Private kitchens started several years ago when some Hong Kongese, gastronomes and cooks with limited means, decided to set up one or two tables in their sitting rooms and offer a fixed-price multi-course menu of distinctive home-style dishes.

One of the most deservedly renowned of Hong Kong’s “private kitchens,” Bo Innovation serves a kind of Japanese-Chinese-French fusion. BO is Hong Kong chef Alvin Leung’s interpretation of innovative modern Chinese cooking, presented in a series of dishes that is intended to create a cascade of sensations .

The concept of private kitchens intrigued me as it has just started to take off here in Manila whereas there were countless ones opening their kitchen doors in Hong Kong. I was looking forward to trying this place to try out Chef Alvin’s take on Chinese fusion.

With three different tasting menus in our group, we were able to sample a lot of dishes. Part I is the more expensive of the degustation menus.

The menu

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Duet of Oysters – The tofu with fish roe was excellent. The saltiness of the fish roe balances the smooth taste of the tofu. Unforgettable taste.

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Smoked quail egg, taro crust, oscietra caviar

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“Bo” sashimi – toro, snapper, hamachi – The meat was so sweet and melts in the mouth.

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Foie gras potsticker – Dumpling with Foie Gras for the filling inside.

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Crispy lobster, preserved duck egg wasabi foam – I loved this dish. The lobsters were crunchy and mixed well with the salted duck egg and extra bite from the wasabi.

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Ox tail porcini “tong gau”, lobster essense

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Slow cooked pork lasagna in chinese vinegar, pickled ginger in rose essence

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Caesar in a cone, nicoise in a slice, waldorf in a glass – Interesting take on how salads can taste the same but look different. Without the familiar form of the dish served in front of you, you rely on your sense of taste to distinguish the salads. The nicoise comes in a slice of crispy chewy tuna flavored rectangle. Caesar has the salad and anchovy mashed into a paste and stuffed in a parmesan cone. The Waldorf comes chlled and tastes of an apple drink.

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Organic angus striploin, black truffle “cheung fan” – Interesting how the common cheung fan (rice rolls) can be mixed with black truffle.

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“bo” fried rice

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“bo” dessert – Sticky rice ball with melted chocolate, passion fruit eggtart, chestnut pudding, white chocolate with caramel salted kumquiat

HKD $880 per person

(plus 10% service charge)

I’ve always been partial to Japanese burgers ever since I tried MOS Burger 10 years ago in Singapore. Compared to American burgers, Jap burgers have better tasting meat patties and seem less oily for me. It also comes with the most interesting chili sauces on the burgers.

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I jumped at the chance to try Freshness Burger when I saw the small eatery in Causeway Bay, Hongkong. I ordered the Classic Cheeseburger HKD30 and Den had the Menchi HKD22 which is minced pork burger.

Classic Cheeseburger

Menchi Burger

Yummmm….both burgers were juicy. They came with oh so thick slices of tomatoes which gave a cleaner, fresher taste to the burgers. Had good ol’ fashioned Hongkong Iced Lemon Tea to top it all off.

Rating : Like it
Food : Burgers!!!

Freshness Burger
1st Floor, Windsor House
311 Gloucester Rd, Causeway Bay HK
Tel : 34262833