Jan 10, 2006


Shortly before Christmas, I went snowboarding up in North Lake Tahoe with a couple of other guys, taking advantage of a $15 a night at the Fitzgerald's hotel in Reno (the deal is gone, but it's been replaced by another one). On the saturday evening we went to a casino buffet at the Atlantis, where Billy commented that the excess of food was a demonstration in gluttony. I actually didn't eat all that much, considering buffet food is rarely all that great, and casino buffets are no exception.

I present the following however, as an answer to the common question "How was Hong Kong?", and as an exhibit of true gluttony. It's a list of our meals in HK with some of the highlight menu items (unfortunately, I can't remember everything I ate):

Dec 25th
Lunch: Chesa (the Penninsula Hotel)
- waldorf salad with smoked duck breast and duck confit
- filet mignon with foie gras ravioli and salsify
- cheese fondue
- blackberry charlotte
When was the last time I had a 3 course lunch?




Dinner: Lei Yu Mun
This is an area in HK known for seafood. Generally you peruse one of many stalls that feature live seafood (fish, shrimp, bivalves, lobsters, cuttlefish etc.) in large tanks. Many stalls also have a large (huge!) specimens of fish or lobster that are not for sale, but mostly to attract visitors. You select your seafood and tell them to deliver it to one of a number of restaurants, that will then cook your meal for you. You then pay at the restaurant, a combination of the seafood price plus cooking and service charges.
- shrimp
- fish "so mei" (parrotfish?)
- deep fried "pissing shrimp"
local delicacy that looks something like this, about a foot long and light green in colour. Tastes something like shrimp or lobster
- steamed abalone
- steamed scallops
- shark's fin soup

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Dec 26th
Breakfast: at home
- noodles with hairy crab meat
Hairy Crab is a seasonal Shanghainese delicacy. The crabs are small, maybe 3-4 inches wide with small legs. They're desired for the tasty eggs, which are in season in late November/early December. My grandmother usually freezes some of the crab meat for our visits. Yum.
Lunch: Cuisine Cuisine Dimsum (IFC Shopping Center)
- fancy cha siu bao (with a sweet crust)
It seems to be a new trend to have baked bbq pork buns with some sort of sweet crust (if you're familiar with chinese "pineapple buns", or "mexico buns", it's similar). The traditional steamed rice flour buns are of course, still available.
- stir fried rice cakes with roast duck

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Dinner: Amigo
I think this place was one of my introductions to fine dining, decades ago. It comes complete with candlelight, flowers, attentive waiters in bow ties and white gloves, and a seranading mandolin and string trio that makes its way around the restaurant, from table to table.
- Escargots
- Caesar Salad
- Lobster and Rock Clam Linguine

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Breakfast: at home
- stir fried rice cake
I was gonna skip breakfast this day, but when it came out, I couldn't resist!
Lunch: Sabatini (Royal Garden Hotel)
- antipasti buffet
- Ravioli Amatriciana
- Profiterole cake
Dinner: AMC
My aunt booked a karaoke suite for dinner. Half the suite included a long dining table for our family, and a small dance floor. The other half had a living room type setup with couches, a front projection screen and a karaoke setup. Family Karaoke night! There is a house in New Orleans...
- garlic prawns
- sharks fin soup
- steamed abalone
- baked tapioca pudding with lotus seed paste

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Lunch: Dimsum
Had lunch at some fancy new Dimsum place in Wanchai. Miss CoolBeans came along, but even she didn't remember which restaurant it was.
- deep fried tofu excellently crispy on the outside, velvety on the inside.
- crab meat xiao long bao
- fancy cha siu bao
Same concept as the ones at Cuisine Cuisine, but better here.
- drunken chicken
Dinner: The Wai residence
Miss CoolBean's uncle invited me over for dinner at their home, catered by a vietnamese chef.
- deep fried spring rolls
- stuffed crab shell
- soft-shelled crab (an entire platter of it)
- curry beef brisket

Lunch: Hugo (Hyatt Regency)
The hotel was closing at the end of the year, and apparently the 30+ year old restaurant's reservation list was filling up with nostalgic customers. Luckily my Dad's uncle got a lunch spot before the place closed its doors.
- appetizer platter
They have an appetizer cart (essentially a buffet they cart to your spot at the table, you select items and they put it on the plate for you) which features enough delectable items that the cart would suffice for a meal. The mangoes are always popular. I haven't quite decided whether it's a good thing or bad that there's an excellent prime rib to follow. It just makes it hard to decide what to save room for.
- prime rib
- fresh berry bowl for dessert
Dinner: hotpot at Aunt Lily's
I'm not a big fan of hotpot, but this dinner was good. It qualified as the best hotpot, ever.
- kobe beef (5 lbs of it!)
- top sirloin
- fresh shrimp
- various fancy clams, including baby geoduck
- mussels
- gourmet fishballs
- a variety of mushrooms
- ... too much good stuff

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Lunch: Sapporo Ramen
- ramen
- gyoza
- deep fried chicken
The chicken was well done in terms of crispyness, but too garlicky for my taste.
Dinner: Shanghai Fraternity Association
Private club requiring Shanghainese ancestry for membership. Good food though, probably the best xiao long baio I had on this trip to HK.
- jellied pork, preserved duck egg, other appetizers
- sauteed shrimp
- "dee pong" braised pork leg
- sharks fin
- deep fried duck
- sweet glutinous rice with red bean paste
- crabmeat xiao long baio featuring hairy crab meat... yum!!!

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Lunch: Maxim's (Hong Kong International Airport)
Had dimsum with my grandmother and my parents before my parents left
- dim sum
Dinner: Four Seasons
My grandmother treated the whole clan (sans my parents, plus Miss CoolBeans) to a fancy dinner and countdown at the Four Season's Hotel (as opposed to the AMC party we went to in previous years). I was quite surprised when it turned out to be the Hong Kong Dental Association's Annual Ball. I got a bad vibe from the speeches (in which all the Hong Kong Dental Association Ball Committee organizers praised each other), and the well-dressed hag that gave me a dirty look for not contributing to their raffle. After that though, we ended up having fun with my family. The unlimited (bad) wine was enough to get the whole family in a conga line by the end of the night.
- cream of forest mushroom soup
- braised beef cheeks
- many other courses, spread out over hours

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Afterparty: Chapter 3 (SoHo)
All the cousins went out for drinks after the countdown. I only stayed for two rounds before Miss CoolBeans had to be sent home to bed, but I think we need to do this again sometime. Too bad none of my cousins took me out for underaged drinking when I was 17!

Lunch: "Mak's noodle" (Central), "Law's Congee?"
- wonton noodles
- congee with salted pork and preserved egg
- deep fried fish balls
- fresh samosas
- fresh roti
- fresh squeezed grapefruit and starfruit juice
Miss CoolBeans declined lunch at the Peak's Cafe Deco for some more down to earth delights as we hit up the best wonton noodle place in HK, as well as a nearby congee spot and some street food stalls for lunch
Dinner: "So jeet"
I don't know what the English name for this restaurant is. I think it was "The X and Y Residents Association", where X and Y were some unpronounceable Chinese provinces or towns. Another member's only place, but supposedly the best Shanghainese food on the island. The xiao long baio were a close second to the Shanghai Fraternity Assocation (they had a thinner skin), but everything else was probably better here, especially the "dee pong".
- shaghainese pork and vegetable wonton
- sharks fin soup
- "dee pong" braised pork leg
- fish in wine sauce
- crabmeat xiao long baio
- "tai koo choy" with bamboo shoot shanghainese vegetable resembling a flattened baby "bok choy"

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