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“Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are” – Brillat-Savarin

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Weekend brunch buffet @ Al Molo Ristorante Italiano, Hong Kong

Last Sunday was one of those days where if anything could go wrong, did go wrong. I was out on my own with both kids (what was I thinking?) - one who was too excited taking in her surroundings to go down for her morning nap, and another who was just his usual over-excitable self. I was exhausted and moody by the time hubby met up with us (late!). We binned our original lunch plans at a nice restaurant as we didn't fancy dealing with an overtired infant during the meal, and we had resigned to just doing what we needed to do, then head home. On our way there, baby fell asleep (3 hours after her usual time for nap), my mood lifted after reinforcement arrived (albeit late), and I felt hungry! The first restaurant we came across was Al Molo, an Italian restaurant at Harbour City with a nice waterfront location. Service was pretty good - we were well-looked after by staff, and the manager/owner was on the floor ensuring that everything was well. He even picked up one of our baby's toys off the floor, and had it cleaned before giving back to us. The weekend brunch buffet was on, but we could also order from the a-la-carte menu. The brunch buffet was quite affordably priced at HK$250 for the salad buffet only, and HK$338 for the full brunch which included the salad buffet, a choice of main course, and tea/coffee. The boy was adamant he didn't like anything from the buffet and wanted a pizza, so I shared one with him while hubby went for the full brunch. Hubby was pretty happy with the quality and variety of the salad brunch, and the boy polished off half the pizza.

Clean and spacious interior at Al Molo:

Soup and arancini station:

Smoked salmon, cured meat and various salads:

Cheeses:

Desserts:

Hubby's first plate - I see lasagna, salad, quiche and some breads:

Second plate with some cold cuts, cheese, smoked salmon and more salads:

The boy and I were given some bread at the table to munch on while waiting for the pizza:

Capricciosa Pizza (HK$168), with cooked ham, artichokes, black olives and mushrooms. A winning combination for the boy who loves ham, black olives and mushrooms, but he wasn't that keen on the artichokes - more for me!

I convinced hubby to get the Seafood Risotto for his main course, and it was deliciously umami with a good amount of cuttlefish, prawns, calamari and scallop in it. Baby girl loved it too:

Hubby's modest helping of desserts:

We had a pleasant experience at Al Molo, which was nice after the rough morning I had. A lovely family-friendly venue with good quality food.

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

Al Molo Ristorante Italiano
Shop G63
Ground floor, Ocean Terminal
Harbour City
7-23 Canton Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Telephone: +85 2 2730 7900

Friday, 19 September 2014

Roti kahwin, Nonya kueh and Musang King durian @ Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

A few months ago, we spent a few days in Kota Kinabalu on the eastern part of Malaysia, together with my younger sister and her husband. We rented a nice apartment in Alam Damai, and had a pretty laidback schedule as we had an infant in our travelling party. On our first day in KK, we explored the nearby Damai area for food and then took a taxi into the main part of town to check out the various specialty markets at the Filipino Market (aka Handicraft Market).

Fook Yuen shopfront:

After our second breakfast in Damai Plaza, we walked the short distance over to Kedai Kopi Fook Yuen (translates to "Fook Yuen Coffee Shop") for some roti kahwin ("marriage bread"), as we had been told by some KK residents that Fook Yuen makes the best roti kahwin in town. So just what is roti kahwin? Two slices of bread sandwiching the combination of butter and kaya (a delicious coconut spread that I grew up eating). Basically kaya toast with butter. Honestly, I think roti kahwin is lost on me. For one, I don't like butter, and much prefer eating kaya by itself on bread. Secondly, unlike most Asians, I love crusty breads (think European-style breads), and Fook Yuen's bread was pillowy soft. I do like the kaya made in-house, and I bought one small bottle to enjoy back in Hong Kong. Service at Fook Yuen is a bit spotty at best. The staff at the counter seem to speak and understand English, yet on both occasions that I visited, my order got jumbled up. Fook Yuen also sells hot and cold drinks, a range of cakes and breads, and warm pre-prepared food from the bain marie near the front of the shop. It's open from 6:30am to 2am, so I can see why Fook Yuen is a popular choice with the locals. If I had to choose, I would say I prefer the kaya toast in Singapore (because we could order soft-boiled eggs with them!)

Two untoasted roti kahwin and one toasted. I actually requested one to be made with toasted wholemeal bread, and one white to be toasted, but received all three white bread and only one toasted:

A pandan kueh (cake) from Fook Yuen, which appeared to be made from glutinous rice flour:

Kedai Kopi Fook Yuen
Block A, Damai Plaza Phase 4
Jalan Damai, Luyang
88300 Kota Kinabalu
Sabah, Malaysia
Tel. +60 88 232 794

Opposite Fook Yuen was a shop with tables set up filled with a variety of Nonya kueh. My sister and I were drawn there like bees to honey, and we bought a few kuehs to try later. They were all good, and I wished we went back again for more!

Tables filled with kueh goodies:

Pretty colours:

A fried pandan kueh I'd never before encountered. It was a little greasy, and not to my taste:

This kueh was like Kueh Talam, except it was green and yellow, not the usual green and white. Perhaps the yellow was from yellow split peas? Whatever it was, delicious!

Kueh Talam, upside down. Actually, I'm not sure if this is Kueh Salat (aka Kueh Seri Muka) or Kueh Talam, and it was too long ago for me to remember if the white part was glutinous rice or just a coconut pudding that took on the crumpled pattern of the plastic it was in. Also delicious:

Pandan kueh - second one of this type encountered on this trip to KK. I don't think I've seen it before. I guess it's like an unbaked kueh bakar pandan. Another delicious one:

We took the short taxi ride into town, to check out Pasar Kraftangan (Handicraft Market), or better known as the Filipino Market (so-named because many of the stalls are run by Filipino immigrants). There are other specialised markets along the same street, one part being the Pasar Besar Kota Kinabalu (Central Market), and there are also hawker stalls at the Pasar Malam (night market) and Pasar Ikan Masin (salted fish market).

The hawkers were just beginning to set up their stalls when we arrived. By nightfall, the place would be heaving with buyers and vendors alike:

Inside the Handicraft Market, literally stuffed full of merchandise and souvenirs. Rows and rows of jewellery, scarves and various knick-knacks. It was pretty impossible to navigate with a baby stroller, and I got a little claustrophobic after a while:

We indulged in some expensive Musang King Durian (I think it was RM50 for this amount). It was good, but the one we bought from a street vendor in Penang (that converted hubby) was still so much better:

We also drank some delicious young coconut water. This one was called pandan coconut, which was more expensive than the normal coconut, but half the size. I asked the vendor why it was more expensive, and he said it was sweeter:

So we got the normal coconut water for research purposes. Sure enough, the pandan coconut was sweeter!

This was a productive foodie day in KK. We then headed back to our rental apartment, and enjoyed more food from the Damai Plaza for dinner.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Desserts galore @ various places in Hong Kong

This is a dessert-centric post, of the sweets we ate on revisits to some of our favourite restaurants in Hong Kong.

French Toast with sliced banana, mixed berries, maple syrup and whipped cream, at Oolaa Petite. My friend Steph ordered this from the breakfast menu for dessert after her meal, and it was a bigger serving than expected. It was delicious, and I was happy to help her out!

Green Tea Mochi Ice Cream from Inaniwa Udon. Lovely matcha ice cream and adzuki beans wrapped within a sticky mochi skin:

Love in Belgium (classic chocolate ice cream, Belgian Chocolate ice cream and warm chocolate puffy cake) at Haagen-Dazs (phone camera):

An okay version of affogato, also at Haagen-Dazs (also phone camera):

Green Tea Tiramisu at IHEI Japanese. Heavy on matcha powder and lots of custard, and we quite liked it:

Mango Tofu Cake, also at IHEI. It was interesting, with each layer having pudding-like texture. It wasn't overly sweet nor rich, so it didn't sit heavy on the stomach after a carb-rich lunch of sushi and rice:

Berliner has become our favourite German restaurant in HK (though to be honest, we haven't tried any other!). Good sausages and pork knuckles, and their desserts are yummy!

On a visit last December, we tried the Pan-fried Vanilla Pancakes with ice cream and dark cherries (nuts and raisins are usually sprinkled on, but we requested them to be served separately as our son has nut allergies). Good, but very filling (especially after a hefty meal of sausages and pork knuckle):

The following two photos were taken on hubby's phone camera (significantly better quality than the photos taken with my phone!)

Two Sundays ago, it was Father's Day in Australia (which we celebrate in this household), and hubby liked my suggestion of German sausages for lunch. He decided to indulge in Berliner's Dessert Platter, featuring Berliner's Black Forest Cheesecake, Vanilla Pancakes and Apple Strudel. What he didn't expect was for all three to be full-serving sizes - good for sharing between four or five adults, not two!

The only dessert we hadn't yet tried was the Black Forest Cheesecake. Little sponge cake rolls with cream cheese filling and coated with chocolate flakes, served along with cubes of cherry jelly and a pot of vanilla ice cream with strawberries and blueberries. This was the nut-free version, and I don't know if the usual version is any different:

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Misokatsu Yabaton [Centrair], Nagoya (Japan)

This is the last post on our trip to Japan almost half a year ago! It is taking me so long to work through my backlog of photos, but I'm getting there! On this particular trip, we went to Nagoya for a few days, then to Kyoto for a couple of days before returning to the Centrair Airport in Nagoya for our return flight back to Hong Kong. We hadn't managed to eat all of Nagoya's specialty foods that was on our list before heading to Kyoto, so we wanted our final meal (at the airport) to be something that was on our foodie list. We found Misokatsu Yabaton which made hubby pretty happy as he loves tonkatsu. Using miso as a condiment for tonkatsu is not the usual combination in Japan, but it works! Service at the airport branch was polite and courteous, and staff spoke English, making it easy for foreigners to order. Mostly deep-fried breaded items were on the menu, but thankfully for me, there were a couple of salad options too. The boys totally relished this mostly deep-fried meal (which they never get at home as deep-frying is too messy and not healthy!).

Teppan Tonkatsu (deep-fried pork loin cutlet with cabbage on hot-plate), recommended to hubby by our waiter. Yes, he enjoyed it:

Two types of miso sauce condiments to go with the tonkatsu:

A serve of Ebi Furai (fried prawn) and Hire Tonkatsu (fillet) combo plate, for the boy who loves fried prawns. The pork fillet was supposedly the healthier option than the other pork cut from the loin, though deep-frying it probably closes any nutritional gap between the two cuts:

My friend ordered the Kushi Katsu (skewered deep-fried pork) set that came with miso soup, rice and pickles:

Yabaton Salad, with shredded meat that was perhaps too tasty to be healthful:

Hubby still wanted more deep-fried food after his teppan tonkatsu, and ordered Kani Korokke (crab croquette):

It was actually pretty good! We liked seeing actual crab flesh in the croquette (usually it is more processed and integrated into the croquette mix):

If deep-fried pork is what you fancy while in Nagoya, the misokatsu at Yabaton is a pretty good choice!

Misokatsu Yabaton [Centrair Airport]
4th Floor, Sky Town
Chubu Centrair International Airport
1-1 Centrair
Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture
Japan 479-0881
Tel. +81 569 84 8810