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

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Birthday yummies

I am quite a simple girl, and I've never liked making a fuss over my birthday. It's only another day that marks another year to my age (which starts to not be a good thing from here on). Still, Rob despaired at not having had the time to book a fancy place for a celebratory meal, but I assured him that all I wanted was to have some congee at a simple congee eatery that I had came across on one of my exploratory ventures around the area on foot. That didn't stop him from surprising me with a box of expensive French chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat the moment he got out of bed that Saturday morning. Given that he did the same for my two previous birthdays, I should have at least expected a box of Godiva, but I was honestly surprised yet again.

Box of fine chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat:

This box of chocolates bore the title Tamanaco, and featured small squares of chocolates from different origins: Maracatou, Moroni, Acarigua, Soledad and Malambé. These little beauties are "fresh" chocolates with smooth melt-in-your-mouth ganache fillings, and each type has quite different flavours when eaten one after another, something I undertake with great enthusiasm. My favourite is the Soledad ("full-flavoured and refined dark ganache") followed by Acarigua ("sweet and mellow dark ganache"). No surprise that Malambé scores the least points ("milk ganache with caramel notes"), but it was pretty good for a milk chocolate. These won't last very long, both the fact that these fresh chocolates only have a short shelf life of 2 weeks, and that they will be long gone before then.

The weather sucked on my birthday, but the pouring rain didn't stop us from heading out to that congee shop on Jordan Rd. It is always an experience trying to place an order when no one in the shop understands you, and vice versa, and we somehow ended up with an extra bowl of congee. We didn't mind too much though, because congee is mostly fluid and not very energy dense, so it wasn't difficult to finish off everything. We got Century Egg and Lean Pork Congee (this was only so-so, but can't complain about the price - only HK$13 (~AU$1.70 or 140yen), Congee with Beef (raw minced beef placed in a bowl, and it gets cooked when the hot congee is poured on top), Fried Noodles (simple fried noodles that contained nothing else except for a small amount of cabbage), and a Savoury Rice Dumpling (with mung beans and pork, which was pretty yummy although Rob wasn't a big fan).

Carbs galore: two bowls of congee, noodles and rice dumpling:

There was Bak tong gou ("white sugar cake" aka Chinese White Honeycomb Cake, Steamed White Cake, White Sugar Sponge, Steamed Rice Cakes) at the entrance to the shop, and we ordered one because Rob had never eaten one before.

Steamed white sugar cake:

The serving given to us was huge, and we felt bad that we couldn't finish it, but we wanted to leave room for pastries at King Bakery I knew was nearby. We'd bought pastries from another franchise and liked them, so we knew that these would be pretty good too. We got an egg tart which was delicious enough, though not quite as good as the one at a certain teahouse. We also had the lao por peng ("wife cake" aka sweetheart cake) which is a popular Chinese cake yet I don't remember ever eating it before. It has a lovely filling made from winter melon (which, by the way, is yummy when candied, usually eaten during Chinese New Year), almond, sesame and five spice. These cakes were really cheap too, at HK$2.50 each (roughly AU$0.30 or 25yen). So far our buys from this bakery have been good, and I look forward to trying other baked goodies at King Bakery.

Sweetheart cake and egg tart:

I had a lovely birthday, eating lots of yummies, and spending it with the two people dearest to me. Couldn't have asked for anything more.