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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.

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.

Miscellaneous, Photography, Travel

It’s 2011!

Sunset at Marina Bay

It’s that time of the year again – when the sun sets on 2010 and rises into 2011. Most of us in wonderment at how time flies whilst also resolving to lose the weight we’ve piled on from indulging in many a Christmas dinner (come now, admit it *wink*).

As amazing and fabulous as 2010 has been, 2011 will hold far more excitement, fun and lots more food! I can’t help but think each year will be better than the last.

Saying that, I wish everyone reading this post the most fun-loving, food-indulging, madly-exciting New Year!

Travel

A Mango Love Affair

I love mangoes and all things mango-flavoured – mango juice, mango cake, mango candy, mango ice cream, mango jello, mango macaroons – well, you get the idea. One time I even ate 30 mangoes in one week! By the end of it I thought I was turning into a Giant Mango. So of course when I was taken to a shop in Hong Kong dedicated to mango desserts and all things mango, there was no stopping me from indulging myself. The one I went to is called Hui Lau Shan and you can find them all over the city. It was mango heaven. Mango pieces in a mango-ey syrup with mango ice cream and glutinous rice balls. What more could a mango junkie ask for?!

Mango Dessert

They also had really gorgeous peach pudding with an oozing sweet yoghurty thing.

Peach Pudding

When talking about mango, one is not a true mango lover if one does not talk about mango from the Phillippines. I can’t wait to visit that country to try their fresh mango. As yet, I’ve only had their dried mango from friends who made a trip there. They don’t bother with souvenirs anymore, food will do. I was delighted to find some packs of Phillippines mango the other day. Aside from the fact they are outrageously pocket-burningly expensive here, they were so delicious I practically inhaled them. Western dried mango is nothing but a tasteless, shrivelled up, tough-to-chew piece of leather.

Phillippines Mango

Then of course, there is a favourite mango story.

I was going through the most stressful few weeks, struggling to finish what was my non-thesis. I’m so glad I’ve left writing research and literature reviews behind me, for now at least. I was buried in what felt like a tsunami of papers, typing frantically away at my computer while killing whole forrests in the process. For weeks, my family had to put up with a little grouchy brat who could not even crack a smile. Then this came…

Mango Hearts

I felt so loved. Then I also felt very sorry for being so unlovable. It took two mangoes and two hours to cut out all those heart shapes.

Just doing my part to spread a little mango love =).

What’s this? Never tried mango? Get your butt over here right this instant, I’ll have to sort you out.

Food, Travel

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

The food by world-renowned French chef, Joël Robuchon, is probably the best food I have ever eaten. No surprise, since his restaurant in The Landmark boasts 2 Michelin stars, among the 25 others he has from his restaurants in other major cities of the world.

They start you off with the best bread in the whole world. I had to restrain myself because they let you have as many as you want. I knew there was more food coming, so I had to strategize and save some room to maximize the amount of food I could fit into my tummy. I know that sounds incredibly greedy. But as much as I would love it to be or think it is sometimes, my stomach is not a bottomless pit. So I just had a couple of tiny croissants. And I mean tiny.

Mini Croissants

I have never been more in love with croissants.

Then they gave us what they call ‘palette cleansers’. I can’t remember what it was really called. It was warm, creamy and had a bit of a coffee taste to it.

'Palette Cleanser'

After the ‘palette cleanser’, they served us artichoke soup. I wish I had a photo of it now but I was preoccupied with trying to swallow each spoonful. I couldn’t say I didn’t like it in a sophisticated restaurant like this now, could I? I’ve just never had artichoke before and I think it’s somewhat of an acquired taste.

But the starters were absolutely genius. We had the King Alaskan crab wrapped in crispy noodles with mango purée and thai green curry sauce, and duck pâté. I wasn’t too fond of the pâté but the crab was simply gorgeous.

King Alaskan Crab
Duck Pâté

Now for the main. We had cod, salmon with mango pieces and, if I remember correctly, something like raw minced beef. They serve it all with mashed potato on the side. And it is the most thick and velvety mashed potato you will ever taste. I just have to learn the secret to making it. I had the cod, and it was simply beautiful. I have never tasted fish THIS good!! With each bite it was like I died and went to heaven.

Fried Cod With Sauce
Salmon With Mango and Mashed Potato

The mashed potato are the two scoops on the side. See how thick, velvety and creamy it is?

I can’t quite remember exactly what the next dish is called. And I think it’s potato on top, or maybe cheese. But it’s raw minced beef underneath I think. I remember thinking there is no way I could ever eat raw beef.

Minced Beef Topped With Potato

And now to indulge in dessert! I ordered passionfruit pudding with pieces of mango and clementines topped with homemade mango ice cream. But they also had a little dessert trolley loaded with everything any person with a sweet-tooth could possibly love. My stomach felt like it was going to explode and I was still trying to stuff my face with dessert, cake, pies and pastries.

Passionfruit Pudding With Mango and Clementine
Assorted Dessert
Pies And Pastries

And if you love your wine, there’s always a great selection of every cheese possible.

Assorted Cheese

And as a goodbye, they leave you with strawberry macaroons accompanied by gold-dusted chocolate pieces and sugar-coated gummies.

Strawberry Macaroons

It was a hugely satisfying and lavish lunch with superb food and great company. I had the best time, even if I had a slight disagreement with the artichoke soup. It was a great atmosphere and the service was fantastic. Slightly embarassed to be snapping photos of the food in the restaurant, but I couldn’t help myself. I just had to chronicle the wonderfulness that is Joël Robuchon’s food. There is no rival.

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