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The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Revisit: Sunday buffet @ Yamm, Hong Kong

A few months ago, we invited our Hong Kong-resident relatives over to our side, which is jokingly known amongst expats as "the dark side" (no offence meant to any locals reading this - we ourselves have lived on Kowloon side for seven years, so the joke is at our expense as much as any Kowloon-side locals). We had Sunday brunch at Yamm at The Mira, which we had previously enjoyed five years prior. Back then, there was only our boy at preschool age, and we could enjoy the ease that Yamm provided for dining with children. With two more little ones to join our brood, the buffet brunch at the Yamm once again proved to be a good choice to dine with children. Service was attentive and excellent as before, and the food was delicious. There was a good variety of dishes from Japanese, Indian, Western and South-East Asian cuisines, and the price (HK$438 per adult) was reasonable for the offering.

Salads and cold dishes:

The carving station:

Sushi:

Seafood:

Homemade pandan waffle station! With a variety of ice cream flavours in addition to various cakes and sweets:

My first plate:

Hubby's choice of desserts:

[Prices quoted above do not include the 10% service charge.]

Yamm
Ground Floor
The Mira Hong Kong
118 Nathan Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Tel. +852 2368 1111

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Sightseeing Taipei: Elephant Mountain, Bopiliao Old Street and Longshan Temple

I went on a girls' trip to Taipei earlier this year with my friend and her then 18-month-old. I brought along my youngest (then just shy of her first birthday) and a nanny to give us an extra hand. Bringing the nanny was the best decision. For the most part, we did everything as a group. But being able to leave the little ones sleeping while we go out at night to explore the night markets was awesome! And while we initially planned to hike up Xiangshan (Elephant Mountain) as a group with the little ones strapped onto us in carriers, we rejoiced when the babies fell asleep in their strollers on the way to the hiking trail, and we could leave the sleeping bubs at the bottom of the mountain while my friend and I did the hike. And oh my, while we were climbing those countless steep stairs up Xiangshan, we were so glad the babies were not strapped on to us. We also joined a free night walking tour through Bopiliao Old Street to Longshan Temple - without kids! So yes, getting our nanny to Taipei with us was a good investment of my airline miles!

Just a small portion of the stairs we climbed to get up Xiangshan:

The view of Taipei from Elephant Mountain (click image for larger photo):

My friend and I, glad that we didn't hike up the mountain while carrying the babies!

On the night walking tour, we walked through Bopiliao, a historically important street in a district that was once a prosperous trade center. Just a tad spooky walking through here in the dark:

The exterior gate of Longshan Temple, built in the 18th century:

Beautiful and ornate detail on the gate eaves:

Lighting joss sticks for temple worship:

A huge joss stick holder:

One of the offering tables in the temple:

One of the altars to a deity popular with students who pray for good grades:

There were a few large lanterns, celebrating the Spring Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar year. People were bowing and walking under these lanterns:

Outside Longshan Temple:

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

X-treme Chinese dinner @ Bo Innovation, Hong Kong

A couple of months ago, hubby got quite spoiled with an extended period of celebrating his birthday. It's not even a big milestone birthday, like an 18th or a 21st or a 30th! He wasn't one to complain, and I don't blame him! He celebrated with his friends, with me, with the kids, and then finally with his aunt and uncle who loves to spoil us. And wow, this dinner at Bo Innovation did not disappoint! (And to top off the night, they brought us to Ophelia, which is indeed something to experience at least once in Hong Kong! It's hot and cool and awesome all at once - words just don't do it justice. These in-laws of mine are more trendy than me!) The last time we were at Bo Innovation was more than three years ago, when I was in my ninth month of pregnancy with our second child, and we loved our first experience with molecular gastronomy. Quite a lot has changed in the last three years - the restaurant is now in a completely different room (but same building), with a rather unique, modern and almost eccentric style for its interior. Service was top-notch and faultless, and staff were attentive and discerning without being intrusive. The food was elaborate and extravagantly presented, and there were many dishes. Only two menu options were available: The Red Menu (HK$2100 per person) offered 11-courses of food with one course having a choice from three options; and The Blue Menu (HK$2500 per person) offering 14 dishes. There were some overlap of courses, and the dishes in the following photos were in both menus, unless specified. If you're looking for a unique take on Hong Kong Chinese food for a special occasion, Bo Innovation is highly recommended. Here are some of the photos of the food we ate that night.

Interesting wall mural depicting a wide variety of themes related to Hong Kong:

A cool, chic and modern space:

Hubby's first drink of the night - the Black Devil cocktail (HK$150), a mix of Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos, Creme Cacao Brown, Frangelico Grand Marnier, fresh-brewed espresso and chocolate bitters:

Even the wet towels were presented in a fancy way:

As our waitstaff poured water on the towels, they grew and expanded surrounded in a mist:

The first course was titled Child's Play, consisting of bite-sized pieces of popular HK dishes served on a colourful Go Board. They were tasty little morsels!

Dim Sum Extreme - a smoked quail egg nestled in a crispy fried taro shell and topped with caviar:

The famous 'xiao long bao', a sphere of delicious pork broth that captures the essence of the Shanghainese soup dumplings, without the meat and flour wrapper. This was as good as how I remembered it:

The third dish was the Aberdeen Floaters, featuring spot prawn. This was sweet and juicy:

Part two of Aberdeen Floaters was the dried shrimp "har mi" vermicelli and pickled fuzzy melon:

The Ode to the Dragon was unique to the Blue Menu, an oyster tofu with black garlic sauce:

Hubby's second drink for the night was the Bo Fashion (HK$150), with Maker's Mark Bourbon Whiskey, homemade dried mandarin peel syrup and Angostura bitters:

Bamboo Matrix was foie gras with "chu yeh ching" miso and green apple, served with charred bamboo mantau (not pictured). This was decadent, only a small portion but more than enough for me. The slice of apple helped cut through the richness, and I wished there were more apple!:

60000 A Year was a chili crab that was included in the Blue Menu but an optional extra to the Red Menu (for an additional HK$180). Cutely presented like baby food in a jar, and eaten with child's cutlery. The chili crab was delicious:

Postnatal Fancy with "pat chun" sweetened vinegar and tomato; the ginger, cucumber and dill carbonated ice cream were added in at the table (see picture below) for added special effect:

It was delicious, and I savoured every drop of the sweet, sour and savoury vinegar sauce:

Classic Upgrade was a twist to the traditional Cantonese steamed fish - wild black cod with iberico ham, shimeji mushroom, dried mandarin peel and yuzu. The flavours were kept simple to allow the beauty of black cod to shine:

The Imperial Beggars Banquet - Brittany blue lobster and sea urchin with hawthorn berry, green peppercorn and pineapple.
The lobster was beautiful, as were the sea urchin, but the accompanying ingredients seemed dysjunctive. Still an enjoyable dish
:

Qing Cocktail of "mou tai", calamansi and egg white. This was a boozy sip with a citrus flavour:

Back on the Street was unique to the Blue Menu, with A3 Saga-gyu beef, black ruffle, "cheung fun" and soy sauce. A nice take on the ubiquitous street food:

The A3 Saga-gyu beef also featured in one of the three choices for the final course of the Red Menu (with a supplement of HK$450 per 4 oz), but presented in a different way to the Back on the Street course of the Blue Menu. The A3 Saga-gyu beef was well-marbled and full of flavour, and served on top of black truffle cheung fun, soy sauce and taro:

Organic "Long Jiang" Chicken was also one of the three choices for the final course of the Red Menu. I loved the fragrant and flavourful "Bo" chicken rice, and the roulade-style chicken was stuffed with golden pin and shiitake mushrooms:

Hubby's third (but not final) drink of the night - Snowing Plum, a mix of Bacardi Silver Rum, KuwiHuaChen, fresh lime and plum powder. I think this one was my favourite of the three cocktails he ordered, because it was light and sweet and fruity:

The Chicken Bowl in the Blue Menu also featured "Bo" chicken rice, which was simply garnished with dried abalone:

Everything Lotus was also another dish unique to the Blue Menu, featuring all parts of the lotus - the seed, root, leaf,
flower and lily bub. It was refreshing and light, a great way to end the long meal and cleanse the palate for the sweets
:

Red Menu dessert was simply titled Coconut, and was a colourful ensemble of coconut sugar, dessicated coconut chocolate, pina colada, cherry and pandan avocado:

Blue Menu dessert was called No Shark Fin, made with mango, coconut and grapefruit. A refreshing dessert:

Eight Treasures was the title of the petit fours presented to us right at the end, featuring walnut, dried mandarin peel,
dragon eye (longan), osmanthus, jujubue, pandan, wolfberry and rose in tiny bites of sweets, cakes, chocolates and pastries
:

[The prices quoted above do not include the 10% service charge.]

Bo Innovation
Shop 8, 1st Floor
J Residence
(Private lift entrance on Ship Street)
60 Johnston Rd
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel. +852 2850 8371



Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Another brunch @ Sprolo, Perth (Australia)

We revisited Sprolo when we were in Perth a few months ago. I got to try out the Traditional Singaporean Breakfast with kaya and I loved it! I also got to try the Chicken Congee which was tasty and satisfying. The coffee was great, and the kids kept themselves busy playing in the small play area.

Traditional Singaporean Breakfast (AU$13) with housemade cultured butter and kaya with slow-cooked eggs

Chicken Congee, topped with two slow-cooked eggs:

The congee with condiments (which includes soy sauce, white pepper, cut chili and crispy fried ikan bilis (anchovies):

The Scrambled Eggs on Toast (AU$12.50) is a favourite of my son's, which was simple and delicious:

Sprolo
138 Canning Hwy
South Perth WA 6151
Australia
+61 401 625 134

Sprolo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato