Browse Month by January 2011
Food, Travel

Sailing Trip to Seafood Restaurant

Hong Kong is probably one of the most exciting places I’ve ever been to (although Moscow comes pretty close). You get to experience everything from partying at a club on the 30th floor to attending art shows and the Philharmonic to haggling at local markets and being severely ripped off to exclusive Ferrari showcases to stuffing myself silly with mango desserts. Sorry, you get the idea.

But what I also got to do, was go sailing. For the first time. All because we wanted to go to a famous seafood restaurant for lunch. I have a terrible case of motion sickness (ferries, cars, buses) but I thought this would be so much fun. My friends were “helping” me prepare by telling me to practice going to the toilet on a wobble board. Fat lot of help they were.

Sailing

I always try to remember to carry travel sickness pills with me. Remembering to actually take them 30 minutes before a journey is the problem. When I get excited, I always forget the little things that seem to be completely insignificant at the time. I took a pill just as we were heading out but it obviously didn’t have time to kick in. I didn’t throw up (thanks goodness!) but I was feeling so ill and looking green. I was like a leprachaun, looking forward to my pot of gold that was dry land! We arrived a few hours later and walked up to the restaurant.

This restaurant.

Ming Kee Seafood Restaurant

I know what you’re thinking. This dingy looking place?! This is Asia for you. You get amazing restaurants that actually look amazing like L’atelier de Joël Robuchon and also amazing restaurants like these that look not so amazing. But trust me, it’s some of the best seafood I’ve ever had. Plus it has such a local feel! So this is Ming Kee Seafood Restaurant on Po Toi Island, a fishing village. On certain days you can take a ferry from Aberdeen (Aberdeen, Hong Kong) or the Stanley Blake Pier. But it was easier to sail out ourselves.

They had the world’s best fried black pepper squid. I have always hated squid and would pick it out of my plate, so this is saying a lot.

World's Best Fried Black Pepper Squid

There was also a strange shellfish that I have never tried before but was really delicious. I don’t even know what it’s called, so if anybody does, I’d like to know!

Shellfish I Don't Know The Name Of

Their lobster was fantastic. Though I was so excited to eat that I forgot to take a photo. It’s lobster, can you blame me? Plus it was all gone as soon as it came. The crab, fish and tofu were SO good too. Makes up for the boat ride, that’s for sure.

I was told that Po Toi Island is somewhat of a tourist attraction too. And apparently, there are famous rock formations there such as Tortoise Rock, Monk Rock, Buddha Hand Rock (how do they come up with these names?). Rocks just look like rocks to me so I was much more interested in the food. But hey, if you ever visit Hong Kong and decided looking at rocks would be an interesting addition to your itinerary, then this is the place to be! Just don’t take a geologist with you or you might be there for days.

I remembered to take my travel sickness tablet early before heading back. The only problem was I fell asleep on deck, exposed to the afternoon summer sun for hours, without sunscreen on (because I’ve never used it and was fine), and well, got terribly sunburnt for the first time in my life. The joys of sailing. I had not meant to fall asleep in the sun for hours.

In any case, it was a fantastic seafood restaurant. If you’re one of those people who think it’s all about the ambience and atmosphere then you’ll probably not like it so much. But if you’re up for something a little different and adventurous that will satisfy your palate, you’ll love this. Really. And it’s very fresh because you choose what you want from their aquarium then they take it out to cook.

Food

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

I was digging through some archives as I frequently like to do and stumbled upon this recipe on www.rasamalaysia.com. Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken. I love garlic, lemongrass, shallots and spicy food so I was really tempted to cook this dish. I tried to follow the recipe exactly, but as always, I overdid the garlic and sometimes I miss steps. So you can view the original recipe here.

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into chunks
Olive oil
2 fresh inner white bulbs of lemongrass stalks, minced
1 large shallot, sliced thinly
3 chillies, minced

Chicken Marinade:
2 tbsp fish sauce
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 tsp sugar

Caramel:
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar

Method

  1. Coat the chicken chunks with the chicken marinade ingredients.

    Vietnamese Chicken Marinade
  2. Prepare chopped lemongrass, shallot and chillies. A little tip when you’re cutting chillies: Don’t touch your eyes!! I learned that the hard way while making this dish. It stings slightly if you touch your face, but it’s the worst pain if you touch your eyes. Take my word for it. It took me ages to stop my eyes watering so I wouldn’t cut my fingers when chopping the lemongrass and shallots.

    Lemongrass, Shallots, Chillies
  3. To make the caramel, mix 1 tbsp of water and 2 tbsp of sugar in a small pan over high heat until sugar dissolves. The original recipe says to cook without stirring until a deep amber caramel forms. My pan had a black base so I couldn’t tell and probably did this whole part wrong. Remove from heat, add in remaining 2 tbsps of water and transfer to a bowl. I think my caramel looks too watery. Looks more like sugar water.

    Caramel-ish Syrup
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Stir-fry the lemongrass, shallot and chillies until fragrant.

    Frying Shallots, Chillies and Lemongrass
  5. Add the chicken and caramel and fry until fully cooked and sauce thickens. Serve with rice.
    Stir-fry Chicken

    Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

It was really good, but sooooo spicy! I can normally take quite spicy food but it felt like my tongue was on fire. I thought it was strange that my eyes were watering as I was stir-frying the chicken. Surely it couldn’t be the extra garlic! I re-read the recipe thinking I did something wrong and guess what?

I was supposed to de-seed the chillies!

Misadventures

A Tale of Train Travels

I do quite a bit of travelling, whether it is to visit friends or attend courses. And quite often, I have to take the train. It goes without saying that no matter how old you get or how independent you are, parents never cease worrying about you. They’ll always see it as their little 5 year-old taking the train by herself, dragging a humongous suitcase that is twice her size and impossible to lift (I’m a girl, what can I say?). To ease their worries, I always try to take an early train so I arrive at my destination in the daytime when it is still bright. But one day I had no choice but to take a later train that would arrive at night.

As usual, my parents had plenty to say.

Now make sure you keep very warm, wear many layers, don’t forget your thermals, boots, scarf, gloves and hat. (Would there be a chance I’d suffer from heatstroke in the winter?) Bring some food and water in case you get hungry on the train. (She knows her daughter eats constantly.) Make sure you pack enough clothes and don’t forget to buy good thermal socks, they’ll keep you warm. (The obsession with thermals!) Might want to buy some ear muffs too. (Bless her, she’s even worried about my ears!) Be careful and very observant because you’re arriving so late and it’s dark. (Yes, yes.) And make sure you bring a flashlight with you so you can see where you’re going. (Mom, really. A flashlight?)

Dad had a few things to say himself.

Make sure you haven’t forgotten to pack anything. (I probably have, but let’s hope it’s not important.) Do you have your tickets? (Oh wait, where are they?) Make sure you have your phone and it’s not on silent. (I know, I know – tracking device in disguise.) Remember to text when you get on the train, when the train leaves the station, when it arrives at the other end and when you get into your accomodation. (It’s almost as if I would get lost somewhere in between my journey. Clearly, he has no faith in my sense of direction.)

Parents.

Just as I was about to rush off, dad hands me a surprise. Here’s some packed food to eat on the train, it’s your favourite – duck! So sweet, I love you. I finally got on the train, which was full and I didn’t have much space in front of me. But who cares, I wanted to dive into my food!

Packed Food

YUM. Though it looks quite a lot for a packet of duck rice. I dig in anyway.

Aromatic Duck Wraps

Waaaait a minute. This is not duck rice, it’s aromatic duck wraps! When dad said ‘duck’ I thought it was an easy-to-eat pack of duck rice. No wonder he said it was my favourite because I love duck wraps. But how was I going to eat it without any space in front of me? The people who packed it had also kindly forgotten to give me a spoon, fork or chopsticks. Great.

I sat there for the entire journey, the smell of aromatic duck just taunting me until I started to feel incredibly hungry. I was slightly agitated. Why, why couldn’t it just have been a pack of whatever rice (that I could easily eat!)?

Because parents always want the best for their kids. And sometimes, they just love you too much. It’s why they pack your favourite food instead of something mediocre and tell you to take a flashlight with you. And though you will never understand what goes through a parent’s mind (until you become a parent yourself), and even though sometimes they succeed in driving you crazy without even trying, it’s why I want to keep them with me forever. In the words of the lovely Jenn Besonia, this is why I would “never swap my parents for two goldfish.” Sometimes we just have to see the humour in their ways, just like they see the humour in ours. After all, having seen the kids my parents had to put up with, they certainly deserve an award – I’m talking more about my sister here *look of innocence (followed by a cheeky grin)*.

I did get to enjoy my duck wraps later though.

Enjoying Food

See why it would be impossible to eat on the train?

Duck Wrap

Delicious. Definitely beats my own cooking.

And it turns out, the weather became a lot worse so mom was right about the thermals after all. The flashlight? Not so much.

Parents.

How can we not love them?

Food

Turkey Meatballs

I’ve been using the same turkey mince I made for my Stuffed Peppers, Wonton, Fried Rice, and now I’m making meatballs with them. I haven’t actually kept raw meat for so many weeks (it would completely smell by then!), I’ve just posted the recipes later. So I don’t repeat myself, you can find the original turkey mince recipe here.

Ingredients

Olive oil
Turkey mince made in previous recipe

Method

  1. Scoop the turkey mince into mini round pattie shapes (about the size of a tablespoon).
  2. Pour some olive oil into a non-stick pan and fry the turkey patties until fully cooked.

    Frying Meatballs
  3. Serve with some rice and stir-fried Chinese cabbage with some sweet chilli sauce drizzled on top.

Turkey Meatballs

A light and simple lunch!

So easy.

Misadventures, Travel

Asian Massage Places

I love massages. Nothing feels better than relaxing for an hour while someone kneads all the knots and tension out of your body. Simply glorious. I find that Asian massages are the best, because they get right deep into your muscles. It’s slightly uncomfortable but you come out feeling like every bit of tension has melted away, especially in the neck and shoulders. And you feel like a brand new woman!

Although I love Asian massages, it is well-known you have to be careful where you go because some places are notorious for being, let’s say, rather dodgy. Luckily, we had a friend, Miss Mango Bun, who took us to a good place somewhere in Tsim Sha Tsui.

We approached an old run-down looking building and deserted stairwell. Talk about dodgy – this looked seriously dodgy. Being young and mindless, we were curiously excited to check it out. On our way up to the massage place, we saw this sign.

Massage Sign

Well this is…rather…comforting. My camera actually fogged up. Literally. Hence the blurry image. In my mind I was thinking “Only in Asia…”

But whaddya know, we went inside and it looked simply classy and cosy. I was so pleasantly surprised I completely forgot to take photos of the interior. Don’t you hate it when that happens? But take my word for it, good massage at a reasonable price in Hong Kong, Zen Spa on Hankow Road is the place to be. Simply glorious.

I decided to be a tour guide the next time and took another friend there, a Miss Custard Bun (Is it terrible I give my friends food names?). She seriously doubted my judgment as we approached – it was written all over her face. But she loved it in the end. We both had full body massages, and it was heavenly. Then the masseurs left us to change back into our clothes.

And the unthinkable happened.

By sheer stupidity, we managed to lock ourselves in the room. And we couldn’t get out! I panicked. This place was dodgy after all! Again, by sheer stupidity, we didn’t know how to unlock the door even though we were on the inside! (in my defense, even if it’s not a good one, it was a complicated door!). The masseurs were shouting instructions to us, we were shouting back asking what they meant. Didn’t do much good, we couldn’t understand Cantonese, and I doubt they could understand my abysmal Mandarin-mixed-with-English. Finally they took the boss’s key to open the door for us. It was such a hoohah. We stepped out into the hall (which had been empty but was now full of customers), looking rather embarassed.

I think I’ll just go back and lock myself in the room again. And this time, I’ll just stay there.