8 things I got for Chinese New Year

cny 2014

Chinese New Year is coming up! Here’s 8 things (a very auspicious number) I bought for Chinese New Year:

1. CNY Hamper – Majestic Spring

hamper cny

I got this hamper for my dear’s family. There are heaps of hampers at BIG in Publika and I wanted to get one that doesn’t contain a lot of cookies (coz she already makes them). This hamper is called Majestic Spring.

cny hamper

I like how the hampers nowadays are packaged with this wrap – it makes it look nicer than the old “pyramid” style hampers. Her parents have been absolutely bang on awesome to me and I thought that the least I can do is send a hamper their way as a token of my appreciation.

2. Pineapple Tarts from Maxim, Hong Kong

maxim cny cakes

This is a wonderful CNY metal gift set from the famous Maxim bakery in HK. They have two versions – one contains biscuits and cookies (sold out) and the other is pineapple tarts (there’s only a couple left and I got one). It’s mahjong themed so each pineapple tart is shaped like a mahjong tile and *individually wrapped* with the tile picture! It’s RM 88 per box though.

cny cookies

My dear also baked my family some awesome Chinese New Year cookies! Thanks for that! <3

3. Jeep Trainers

jeep shoes

No, I didn’t get myself a Jeep! Haha! These are their footware apparel. Jeeps were used during World War II – it played the role that Humvees are playing in theatres of war today. That’s the interesting fact of the day, if you didn’t know it already.

jeep

I got myself a pair of trainers at just RM 149. It’s 50% off from it’s original RM 300 price tag. I reckon it’s a good buy, it’s my footware for CNY!

4. Sanbanto Pork Jerky

sanbanto bakua

I nearly didn’t manage to get the coveted organic Sanbanto pork jerky made from free-range pigs with no added preservatives. It’s RM 48 for the minced ba kua and RM 49.50 for the sliced pork jerky. It sold out real quick!

sanbanto pork jerky

Luckily, I managed to secure myself six (6) packs – 3 of each type. You just can’t get it now, they sell out really fast! The individually wrapped packages you see are already booked and ready for collection. I told my dear I’ll get her these last year and I gave her some this year! :)

5. Arrowhead Chips

arrowroot-= chips

Yup, this is the famous ngaku chips. It’s made from arrowroot. I can never figure out why these are so popular. My dad even got some from Kuching at RM 19. Mine was cheaper at RM 11.

6. Dorothy Perkins

dorothy perkins cny

I *didn’t* suddenly decide that I’m a female trapped inside a male’s body. I’m *not* saving up for gender reassignment surgery. I just wanted to get my dear some CNY clothes! smirk

dorothy perkins

She had bought me my Chinese New Year shirts and I wanted to buy her some too! I wanted to get her shoes as well but she didn’t see anything she liked.

7. Oink Floss

oink floss

Pork floss! It’s a must for CNY! I got three flavors – pork, chilli pork and seaweed pork. It’s RM 16 per can but I got it for RM 45 for 3.

8. Empurau Fish

ikan empurau

This is the (in)famous empurau fish from Sarawak! I saw it on sale while driving my dad and aunties out for a spot of CNY shopping just now. It’s *notorious* for being expensive, the prices are driven up by consumer demand over here since rich tycoons snap them up as if they’re going out of style.

empurau fish

This empurau fish is slightly longer than 1 meter and costs thousands. It’s the most expensive fish here, much more expensive than white cod, due to the unique qualities of the flesh – it doesn’t degrade much after chucking it into the freezer.

I’m neither rich nor a tycoon so unfortunately I didn’t get it. I was sorely tempted to but we don’t even have a steamer big enough to cook it. Happy Chinese New Year everyone! :D

Braised pigeon, roasted meat (siu mei) and waxed meat (lap mei) in Hong Kong

hong kong siu mei

Siu mei shops can be found all over Hong Kong. These places specialize in Cantonese-style roasted meat – they have everything from plain steamed chicken to roasted goose. They also serve up a gamut of pork dishes – I’ve even seen an entire pig being displayed at one of these restaurants.

roasted meat hong kong

It was a rainy night when we stumbled upon one of the best siew mei (roasted meat) places in Hong Kong. We weren’t really hungry, we just wanted a place to sit down.

eating pigeon

We had spent the best part of the night browsing at Temple Street and I noticed this hole-in-the-wall place which is dirty, slightly dodgy, very loud, and thronged by locals.

lap mei

It serves waxed meat (lap mei) as well! I’m quite fond of the stuff so I decided to check it out.

hong kong local siu mei

The interior had a couple of tables and chairs thrown together and it’s full of old men. There’s definitely no English menu – it’s a place catering to locals. Perfect, that’s just the way I like it. :)

eating pigeon hong kong

Anyway, we ate about five meals a day while on vacation in Hong Kong so we decided to order a braised pigeon to share. The pigeon (squab is the proper name for a young pigeon like this) is served whole so you can see the small head and beak perpetually frozen in a mid-squawk of dismay. ;) It doesn’t have a lot of meat on it, but it’s very tasty. The meat is slightly tough but the flavor is excellent. I absolutely loved it.

braised pigeon

The lap cheong (waxed Cantonese sausages) in Hong Kong is pretty good too. The flavor is almost neutral. I know, that doesn’t sound very appetizing but it’s great! It’s not as salty as the usual lap cheong we get over here – this one is slightly sweet and has a good ratio of pork fat and meat.

hong kong siu yoke

I had worked up an appetite eating the pigeon so I ordered a plate of siu yoke as well. Besides, it was still raining outside and I got the distinct impression that you’re supposed to leave when you’re finished with your meal coz there were people waiting and the tables are shared. Heh.

siu yoke hong kong

Now, Hong Kong siu mei shops takes great pride in their product and although I was pretty full by then, I couldn’t resist eating it all. The siu yoke tends to lean towards the fatty side (smirk) and has a crispy layer of skin on top. You get the whole experience of crispy skin, fat and meat and it’s very tender and juicy – positively orgasmic when you eat it with the mustard it’s served with.

siu yoke takeaway

Hell, it was so good I ordered a portion to take away and eat in the hotel for supper.

temple street siu mei

I also noticed that they serve steamed fish with rice, which a lot of people ordered. It’s an unassuming shop specializing in roasted meat, waxed meat and the odd fish somewhere near the fringes of Temple Street. It’s one of the best discoveries we made in Hong Kong, totally loved the pigeon and siu yoke. I wish I had tried the fish though, it looked very promising.

eating siu mei

However, it wasn’t very cheap – the dinner and takeaway cost HKD 340 (about RM 142) for the two of us. You can’t say much about the presentation but it’s the best siu mei we had in Hong Kong and it was worth every single red cent. :)

Che Jai Meen in Hong Kong

che jai meen noodles

Che Jai Meen is one of the great hawker delights of Hong Kong. It’s literally translated as “small cart noodles” but commonly called peddler noodles.

small cart noodles

These wonderful push carts carries a mind boggling array everything from pork, eggs, veggies, beef, offal and of course, the all important fishball.

che jai meen

You choose the ingredients you want and it’s served up in a huge bowl with noodles and hearty beef-flavored broth.

che jai meen hong kong

This is one of the local delights that you just have to try out. I first saw it in a Stephen Chow movie. Heh. The shop that we went to has very limited seating but that’s part of the deal – it adds to the ambiance.

che jai meen hk

This is Jeanie’s bowl – it has a fish slices, meatballs, sausages, stomach and some vegetables. Each ingredient you choose adds to the total price of the dish.

che jai meen bowl

My very own che jai meen is much more opulent. I think I ticked half of the options that were available and would have gone for more if the cook had not stopped me and said it won’t fit into the bowl. You can barely see the noodles as it is. smirk

peddler noodles

It makes for a very hearty breakfast – the piping hot broth is flavored with a stock that tastes as if it’s been boiling for a long time. However, the beef balls is hands down the highlight of the che jai meen. The huge beef balls practically squirts its juices when you bite into it and it’s springy and chewy. Superb!

meen

Hong Kong does beef balls really well – it seems to be a cultural thing and a pride of the nation…but don’t quote me on that as I gleaned the information from Stephen Chow’s God of Cookery film. ;) However, it is one of the most delicious bowls of noodles I’ve ever tasted in my life – it ranks up there with the best!

che jai meen us

Don’t forget to order the beef balls when you’re eating from a humble che jai meen stall in Hong Kong – it’s delicious and probably one of the best you’ll taste in the world.

toothpick

…and if you’re up to it, you can do like the locals do and stick a toothpick in your mouth after the delicious che jai meen meal to clear any pesky debris sticking to your molars. I’ve never seen Jeanie use it before but she seems to have gone native during our trip there. smirk

Tim Hou Wan Dim Sum Specialists in Hong Kong

Tim Hou Wan

Tim Ho Wan is reportedly the best dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and even the concierge at our hotel recommended the place when we asked where we can eat dim sum.

Tim Hou Wan queue

I was already dead set on eating here before I even got to HK. I finally convinced the ex to head down to Mongkok to check out Tim Hou Wan Dim Sum on our very last day there.

Tim Hou Wan kowloon

You see, the problem was that the concierge told us that it’s the best dim sum in Hong Kong but you might have to wait up to 3 hours. I have heard about the legendary waiting time but also about the equally impressive food so I really wanted to go.

Tim Hou Wan order

Tim Ho Wan has a lot of branches now but the original is in Mongkok. It is run by an ex Lung King Heen (a prestigious 3 Michelin star restaurant in Four Seasons Hotel) chef and the reason why it’s so popular with the locals is coz it’s cheap and delicious.

Tim Hou Wan HK

We waited for over an hour before we managed to get in – the menu is very limited and you choose what you want before you enter the restaurant. There’s a perpetual long queue in front of the dim sum shop. I think Tim Hou Wan has had some altercations with its neighbors coz everyone was told to keep within the confines and not stand in front of the shops beside it.

Tim Hou Wan dim sum

Anyway, we were finally seated in the extremely small and cramped dim sum restaurant. I love the ambiance though – it’s just people enjoying dim sum and you don’t feel pressured to leave (which I half expected).

har kow

Har Kow (Steamed Fresh Shrimp Dumplings) – HKD 22
I loved it! I always like har kow, it’s an order I judge each dim sum place by and Tim Ho Wan did not disappoint. The prawns are huge and juicy and the wrap is delicate and thin. It’s perfection!

chicken feet

Steamed Chicken Feet With Black Bean Sauce – HKD 14
I like how the chicken feet came out just right. Dim sum is cooked fresh in Tim Ho Wan and the black bean sauce complements the chicken feet nicely. It has a spicy note from the chillies too! Delicious.

pork knuckle

Braised Pig Knuckle in Sauce – HKD 15
Hmm…this was a major letdown. There’s more bone than meat or skin/fat and I’ve had much better braised pig knuckle in Malaysia. I would avoid this. It’s very meh.

pig liver chee cheong fan

Vermicelli Roll Stuffed with Pig’s Liver – HKD 16
OMG! This is like an orgasm in your mouth! It’s chee cheong fun, except it’s stuffed with pig liver.

pork liver chee cheong fun

Here’s what it looks like. Don’t be fooled by the simple presentation – the vermicelli roll wrapping is translucently thin and the pig liver is extremely creamy with a very rich mouth-feel. Highly recommended!

dim sum rice

Steamed Rice with Beef and Pan-fried Egg – HKD 17
This was a mistake. I wanted to have the lou mai kai but my ex accidentally ticked this one instead coz she thought it was lou mai kai in Cantonese.

rice beef egg

It was alright, but we didn’t come here to eat a rice dish.

lou mai kai

The actual lou mai kai (sticky glutenous rice) looks like this – unfortunately it’s our neighbors and we didn’t know them well enough to ask for a bite. ;)

famous bbq pork bun

Baked Bun with BBQ Pork – HKD 14
This is what Tim Hou Wan is famous for. It’s their signature dish – almost everyone I saw ordered at least one basket of this. There are three buns in a basket and it’s not enough!

crispy baked char siew pau

The bun is has a layer of crispy goodness and the rest is exquisitely soft and fluffy. I don’t know how they managed to achieve that texture complexity but it works very well. It’s basically a baked char siew pau but it’s so delicious that I was tempted to order more. The BBQ pork filling is sweet and savory, tender, done to perfection. I could eat this all year! You *have* to order this.

Tonic Medlar and Petal Cake

Tonic Medlar and Petal Cake – HKD 10
I don’t know what this is. The translation doesn’t even make sense but Jeanie told me that it’ll be delicious…and damn was she right!

goji berries chrysanthemum flowers dessert

It’s made with goji berries and Osmanthus flowers. Those are the only two things I could identify, but there’s a host of herbal goodies inside the jelly. You can taste the flowers and berries when you bite into the jelly – they’re whole and intact! It’s like drinking (eating?) tong shui that has been solidified into Jello. This chilled jelly is wonderful – a perfect ending to a near perfect meal.

dim sum hk

Tim Hou Wan Dim Sum Specialists might be a tad overrated but it’s still great dim sum at unbeatable prices. It only cost us HKD 112 (about RM 46) for two, inclusive of tea. The baked char siew bun is absolutely fabulous!

Tim Hou Wan Hong Kong

However, be prepared to wait to get into Tim Hou Wan in Mongkok – it’s usually about an hour, so it’s not too bad. Also, the tables are really small so if you order a lot of non-stackable items, you’ll have to eat them really fast, lest you invade another table’s space. :)

Guns. Lots of guns.

guns

I just love this shop. I found heaps of them in Hong Kong around Mongkok. They have exact replicas of most firearms – except these aren’t replicas per se. It uses 6 mm BB pellets loaded into a shell casing, which goes into your magazine. The Airsoft guns are remarkably realistic – you rack the slide back and a shell goes into the chamber. The pellet is released when you squeeze the trigger with a burst of propellant.

It’s made with stainless steel parts so it’s about as heavy as a real gun. I really like how these things work – they can be used as a prop or for paintball games, with a harder hit (steel BBs can kill a bird).

Unfortunately, you can’t get these things into Malaysia. The person told me he can break it down into three parts and I’ll have to take the risk in bringing them back. However, the largest part still looks like a piece from a firearm and replicas like these (realistic make, color, shape and to a certain extent – function) is not legal in Malaysia.

…and guess what? It just so happened that we were selected for secondary inspection at customs when we got out. It’s a good thing I didn’t buy it then. ;)

Wanton mee in Hong Kong

wonton mee hong kong

I guess if you’re pressed to name a dish that is representative of Hong Kong street food, the answer would be wanton mee (wonton noodles). I’ve had it several times during my recent trip to Hong Kong – it’s a very light meal with subtle notes – there are no overpowering flavors here.

wonton mee

The best wanton mee I had came piping hot with al dente noodles and a couple of wontons in a savory broth garnished with a healthy sprinkling of scallions (spring onions). Simple, but delicious.

wonton

It is interesting to note that the wontons in Hong Kong are made with prawns, with just a little bit of pork. It usually is made of pure pork over here and I much prefer the prawn wontons in HK.

wonton noodles

You’ll be very surprised at just how such a simple dish can taste fabulous. I was told that it’ll be difficult to find a place that serves bad wonton mee in Hong Kong and they were right! Just walk into any establishment in HK and you’ll find great wonton mee. :)

No, I don’t know why there’s a shirtless man behind me either.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...