All posts filed under: Restaurants

Food Tales: Beautiful Kyoto

After just a few hours on the Shinkansen (high-speed train), I was transported from a vast, vibrant city to the historical and cultural hub of Kyoto. As it was the old capital city, it comes as no surprise that Kyoto is filled with ancient sites, high culture and many traditional customs. Kiyomizudera Temple Kiyomizudera (Pure Water Temple) is particularly beautiful in the spring. The panoramic views of the city are well worth the climb and there are many places of worship located within the site – you’ll find yourself walking around for hours!         On the way to the temple, I picked up some steamed beef buns from Cafe Kihachiro. While I’m used to Chinese steamed pork buns, these Japanese beef filled ones were a whole new experience for me. A soft, airy bun filled with a tasty, rich beef filling. A must-try if you’re in the area!     Gion Gion is the famous Geisha district in Kyoto and although sightings are rare during the day, you’ll often find them fleetingly pass between the restaurants and tea houses …

Food Tales: Waking up in Tokyo

After the first few hours of arriving in the city, I didn’t feel like I was there. The Japanese characters greeting me at every signpost in the airport, the train journey through quaint Japanese towns, the taxi ride through Shibuya – it just didn’t seem to register as reality. Was I really here? Was this really Tokyo? Forgive me, while this may sound like the ramblings of someone who had boarded the wrong flight, it was just a case of sleep deprivation and long-awaited excitement after an overnight journey. Plus the fact that I hadn’t eaten in a good few hours – after a few convenience store snacks to keep me going, it was time to explore the city. Harajuku Harujuku – animated, extravagant and brimming with contemporary Japanese culture. With so many colourful treasures lining the streets, the food is no exception. The first thing that I noticed was the abundance of sugar-laden snacks which were just as visually intriguing as their surroundings. Every other passer-by seemed to have their hands clasped around crêpes rolled up into cones …

Four Seasons Claypot Rice

While the weather has stayed cool and my appetite is still very much in ‘Winter mode’, I decided to indulge in something hearty and served piping hot. Located just off Temple Street on Arthur Street, Four Seasons Claypot Rice is renowned for its delicious food and is especially popular in the colder months for its honest, no-nonsense approach to dining.     There is always a queue outside so expect to wait around 15 minutes most nights. However, menus are handed out while you wait and you are able to place your order before being seated to ensure a quick turnover for the high demand.  As you’ve probably guessed they specialise in serving steaming pots of rice cooked in clay pots containing a variety of meats, vegetables and seafood.     One thing that I was desperate to try was the oyster pancake. Although I’m not a fan of oysters generally, this deep fried version was incredibly scrumptious and consumed within a couple of minutes. When it came to the claypots we ordered one chicken and one pork both served …

Winter Warmer: Spicy Chicken Hot Pot

Hong Kong has experienced one its coldest winters of late which has left everyone in need of a little something to take the chill off. And what better way than to try a Sichuan chicken hot pot? A quick search on OpenRice uncovered Chuanpopo -川婆婆 – in Tsim Sha Tsui which offers a variety of hot pots including a ‘Spicy Chicken Dry Pot’. It took us a few minutes to figure out how to order the hot pot as it’s bit of a two-step process which you’ll read about later on. First you need to select either a half chicken or a whole chicken and then decide how spicy you want it from the options of ‘big spicy, ‘medium spicy’ and ‘small spicy’. I hate to say it, but the ordering system isn’t too far removed from ordering at a Nando’s restaurant. The price is very reasonable with a whole chicken coming in at $248 and half a chicken at $138. While waiting for the hot pot to arrive, you can create your own sauce to accompany the chicken. The pick …

Mong Kok: Street Food by Night

Mong Kok possesses a certain charm that had me seduced from my very first visit. Dazzling lights and advertisements at every street corner, the ability to get lost at each turn, and swarms of people charging at you from all angles. The unmistakable chaos and disorder of the place can leave you with an appetite so it’s a good job there’s an abundance of local street food vendors to cater. From seafood and offal, to deep fried goodies, it’s a great chance to try lots of different new foods for as little as $4. You’ll often find Youtiao – a deep fried stick of dough – sold from street vendors and takeaway restaurants. Here they are all stacked up and ready to go. A typical street food vendor in Mong Kok with fishballs, seafood and vegetables waiting to be cooked. Waffles are also popular and can either be eaten plain or with peanut butter and condensed milk. Octopus balls being prepared on a hot grill. The process involves constantly turning the balls with little sticks to ensure …

U-Hang: Contemporary Korean Dining

I must admit I was dubious at the thought of contemporary Korean food. I have been spoilt with the likes of Korean street food (see previous post A Korean Street Food Feast) and still enjoy the novelty of a Korean BBQ. So with U-Hang, I was fearing the worst – small portions, dishes with more garnish than substance, and overpriced gimmicks. However, I could not have been more wrong. Stepping into the restaurant, I was greeted with high ceilings, exposed brickwork, low hanging bare bulbs and an assortment of wooden bar tables. It certainly looked the part but was the food up to scratch? The dinner menu was divided into ‘Small Bites’ and ‘Bigger Plates’ which was ideal for sharing and sampling a little bit of everything. The Bulgogi Beef Tacos which were under ‘Small Bites’ were impressively presented and each tortilla was overloaded with that unmistakable Korean flavour. I don’t eat beef very often in Hong Kong so it was a real treat to bite into succulent juicy beef pieces marinated in Bulgogi sauce accompanied with salsa, sour …

Simplylife Bakery Café

Simplylife is a Western restaurant/café located inside the Festival Walk shopping centre in Kowloon Tong. Set among the glossy floors, endless clothes stores and and shiny escalators, the European-style restaurant fits right in. There is normally a queue for a table but I only had to wait around 5 minutes and was seated underneath some patio-style covers, we were technically inside, but it added to the atmosphere nonetheless. The menu changes quite frequently but you can expect to find fish and meat dishes, healthy options, pasta, and burgers. I ordered the fish burger in a black charcoal bun. For an extra $30, you can get this as part of a set meal which comes with a salad, bread and a drink. The burgers cost between $100 – $150 and come with fries. When the burger arrived, the first thing I noticed was the generous slab of fish in the bun. There was also a dollop of accompanying tartar sauce and a little garnish. The fish was really delicious and flaked away as I bit into it. However, …

Sweet Review: Lucky Dessert

Dessert shops are on every street corner in Hong Kong which is why I’ll be regularly writing reviews dedicated to all things sweet. The first place I shall review is Lucky Dessert in Tsim Sha Tsui. The culture of going for a late night dessert and catching up with friends over a sweet treat is one that has my full attention. Mango dumplings, mango ice cream, mango pudding – no prizes for guessing what you can expect at Lucky Dessert. First up was the mango puff rolls which consisted of fleshy mango chunks encased in a crispy roll topped with icing sugar, sesame seeds and melon balls. Not only does it look heavenly but it tastes pretty good too – the crispy roll has a filo-style texture which reminded me of a fruit pie. Non-mango options included the chocolate fondant pudding. As promised, the middle gives way to a rich, gooey chocolate sauce. It is also served with a large scoop of ice cream placed on top of a mini waffle. This is definately one for …

That’s how I roll: Ba Sushi

Arriving in a new city can be daunting.  Not so much the thought of making new friends, adjusting to a new climate and culture, but more that all-important question: where do I  go to eat?! Thanks to endless information on the internet, OpenRice and local pals, I wasn’t left to starve. I was introduced to Ba Sushi by a friend and it has remained my go-to for a cheap and convenient sushi fix ever since. Located just off Wan Chai Road on Burrows Street, it can take a while to find and admittedly it doesn’t look like much from the front but I often find these are the best places. Once inside, the restaurant is warm and accommodating with a mix of communal and individual seating. The service is really efficient and you can easily spend a couple of hours there as you never feel rushed. You can also see the sushi chefs behind the counter freshly preparing the dishes which are made to order. The first thing that was ordered was a half portion …

Sunday Review: Breakfast at The Proud Archivist

Manoeuvring along Regent’s Canal through Haggerston on a Sunday can be treacherous with all the morning runners and cyclists. It’s also very hard to ignore the smug people sitting by the waterfront sipping on lattes and laughing over some exotic delicacy. Well if you can’t beat them and all that…The Proud Archivist which is also used as an exhibition and event space offers lots of natural light, high ceilings and outdoor space. The breakfast menu is available from 9:00-12:30 and displays a limited but well-thought-out selection. All items are under £10 and although a Full English is not offered, there are bacon and sausage butties complete with HP sauce for those who are feeling a little delicate after a hard weekend. I was feeling fancy so I ordered the poached egg and avocado on toast which not only tastes good but is also beautifully presented. Perfectly cooked eggs carefully place on smashed avocado and sourdough bread before being finished off with some chilli jam and olive oil. While trying to work out whether this was a piece …