Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hung Kee Eggettes – ( 鴻記極品雞蛋仔 )

   Came past this housing development in HK’s Sai Wan Ho as I regularly do for no other purpose than being nosy!    I noticed a big signboard stating that Hung Kee Eggettes has been casted the No. 1 vote by CNNGo in 2010, apparently serving the best Gai Daan Jai in Hong Kong.  What intrigued me the most is that the article was written by the very friendly and humble Charmaine (aka: 猛人), whom I’d had the pleasure to meet during our last piggy fest rendezvous together at Kimberley’s and also some dessert trips afterwards.    She’s also a long time contributor to London’s Timeout Magazine and as well as freelance writer to multiple publications such as CNN Go.  I think I can trust her palate, yes !

The CNN Go article to be found online here - Hong Kong’s Best Egg Waffle Challenge:

29052011745-129052011744-1Owner Mr. Lai  -  黎先生
A Talkative Guy, whom carried across as someone thinking that he’s the Best Eggette Master
in the World!   Confident !

Eggette, Gai Daan Jai, 雞蛋仔  (Literally translated as Mini-Chicken-Eggs!) -
Very Crispy exterior, with soft cakey interior.  Definitely right up there with the best!
According to the owner, not only did Charmaine the article contributor came to eat it but it’s her boss at CNN Go who always comes past for a treat now and then.   A good recommendation indeed.   Whether this is the best version available in HK awaits verification however as I haven’t eaten that many and everyone has different opinions!    The Tai Hang 大坑伯伯 version had a lot more Charcoal Aroma compared to this, which is a different beast compared to this cleaner but eggier version.   I would say it’s about similar performance to 低調高手, but just a smidgeon better over here.  Definitely better than the original North Point 利強記 by a square mile!  ~    8/10

Price:  $10 Per Person
Score: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Opening Hours:
Closes at 23:00pm sharp

Address: 西灣河太安樓第二街A34
A34C Tai On Lau, Sai Wan Ho

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Don Don Ya - (丼丼屋)

Don Don Ya, a Japanese Donburi Shop (Rice with Topping) @ Elements, opened by Maxim’s Group.  The quality is not bad, but it seems slightly localised somewhat.  


Nice Clean interior..

三色丼 (3 Colored Sashimi Rice) -
Unlike a normal Chirashi, this type of rice should have more distinct colors – in this aspect, this failed to impress.   The Scallops were ok, so were the ikura.  I think the Ama-ebi sweet prawns were a little too mushy compared to what it normally could be like!   ~   7/10

Pickles -
Cucumber, Daikon (沢あん) and Shiso pickled Eggplant

黒豚 ミルフィーユトンカツ セット 
(Mille feuille Kurobuta Tonkatsu Set) -
The panko coating was good.  Surprised me!  But half of the layers were fat, only half were meat.  @ $168 for this?  Way over-priced for this meat quality…   Would rather go to Saboten ~  5/10

White Rice -
Not bad.  Doesn’t have much taste but its cooked well.


Price:  $168 Per Person + 10%
Score: ♕♕♕ 1/2

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -  11:30am - 23:00pm
Address:  尖沙咀柯士甸道西1號圓方(Elements)2樓2103-04舖
Shop 2103-04, 2/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ph: 2196 8589

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Saboten - (勝博殿)

The Causeway Bay opening of 勝博殿 (Saboten) is a blessing to local tonkatsu fans being granted their wish of discovering yet another authentic fried pork-chop experience.   Although there has been another local Saboten outlet for a few months already, confined within the restricted areas of the HK Airport, this is the first time it became accessible by everyone at will!    Saboten in Japan is not really considered a top tier Tonkatsu shop -  it’s affordable, but certainly less famous than the likes of Maisen (まい泉),  the 40 layered tonkatsu @ Kimikatsu (キムカツ 恵比寿本店),  Ginza Bairin  梅林,  Tonki (とんき, vastly over-rated!) or even the chain stores of Wako (和幸), etc.  

Personally I found a lot of the branded name Tonkatsu shops in Japan to be quite over-rated anyway…   so whether a shop is any good or not, should be judged purely on taste, not by brand!


P1100169P1100167Started in 1966…

P1100160Inside CWB Store -

Roasted Tea -

キャベツの千切り  (Refillable Cabbage) -
With 2 types of dressings…
Not that sweet, but at least sliced very thinly! 

Tonkatsu Sauce and Grinded Black & White Sesame -
Pretty decent.  Better than Ginza Bairin in my opinion…

”雪 ”-  元祖梅紫蘇ヒレ巻きかつ、 海老フライ、 ロスかつ(小)   $168 -
The fluffy bread crumbs are made in-house, and are a whole heap more better than the flat-type Tonkichi (豚吉) version.   There were small problems with the panko layer separating from the meat, but THAT HAPPENS in the best of the best tonkatsu shops in Japan as well.  ~  7.5/10

Pork cutlet was ok-juicy, the Rolled Fillet Maki was appetizing with the Shiso and Plum filling.  Fried Prawn was slightly mushy but better than a lot of local shops already.  Mustard was of the powdery type, rather than real Japanese Karashi mustard.    Acceptable quality vs the price point!   I mean with all the pickles, cabbage, soup and rice being refillable!! 

漬物 Pickles -
Not bad, and with unlimited refills too!

御飯 (White Rice)  &  麦飯 (Rice with Wheat) -
The former is ‘too wet’, and doesn’t have much taste.  The latter seems to be better on this occasion.  Unlimited refills as well!   ~  6/10

味噌汁 Miso Soup -
With a bit of nameko mushrooms and seaweed, but no signs of tofu.
This can also be topped up, but quality was only passable ~  6/10

@ HK International Airport, the 1st Terminal 1 Store -
There’s less selections than the bigger Causeway Bay store here.  But it’s also a little cheaper.
Similar to Burger King in HK,  the Airport outlet is run by a different franchise company.  On average the Tonkatsu and Furai Sets are around $40 less per order at the airport store. 

Price:  $168 Per Person + 10%
Score:  ♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
Mon to Friday -    12:00pm - 15:00pm, 18:00pm - 23:00pm
Sat to Sun - 12:00pm - 15:30pm, 18:00pm - 23:30pm

Address:  銅鑼灣恩平道42號亨利中心地庫
Lower Ground Floor, Henry House, 42 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay
Ph: 2895 4111

Sunday, May 22, 2011

花之家 - (Hananoya)

The Chef of 花之家 is one of my more respected chef encounters eating around Japanese restaurants.   Sharing linkage to his home base of Hokkaido in Japan,  which is pretty much the same case with the head chefs at  Tensho (天勝) and Sushi Sase (鮨佐瀬),   Hana-san’s cuisine is half based on general Japanese cuisine,  but  look carefully and you’ll notice he has never forgotten about his original Hokkaido heritage and still pays homage to the theme of a well structured, true Hokkaido styled dinner cuisine.   So much so that  he adheres to the regional Hokkaido spellings of certain dishes hardly used in the rest of the main Japanese continent.    My previous lunch here was their  幕の內弁当 @ Hananoya, a experience that was slightly over-priced vs the average quality.   But having visited the chef’s old shop before,  I guess it is dinner time when he really thrives with his recipes. 

I still find it slightly over-priced during dinner versus it’s peers however.  But that’s the premium you must be willing to pay if you want to experience authentic Hokkaido 鄉土料理 cuisine  -   not to be confused with 家庭料理, which means another thing altogether but somehow often associated with this shop for some unknown reason..

おとし -
An appetizer of bean curd and ふき (菜蕗).  Refreshing..

谷中生姜 (Japanese Young Ginger Roots) -
A special type of young Japanese imported ginger root, eaten with a miso based dip.  This was refreshing without being too spicy.   Similar to a 子薑 but with a different DNA  ~  10/10

Shochu -
Recommended by shop.  Not bad.

そら豆鞘焼き (Grilled Fava Bean) -
蚕豆 is offered during every spring/summer here, which is the same in French restaurants so this is merely more than coincidence!   Eaten like a salted Edamame but only larger  ~  9/10

山わさび -
This whitish type of Wasabi plant is representational of Hokkaido cuisine, and sits somewhere between a green wasabi plant and a horseradish plant.   A usual item featured in Hokkaido cuisine –  green wasabi purists often look upon this with disdain as its used in 練りワサビ.   I have no problems with this as long as it compliments the food!!

桜鱒 ルイベ  (Frozen Hokkaido Spring Trout) -
A famous Hokkaido dish, according to well trained and personal friends of know-how Japanese sushi chefs having a discussion about this topic.  This was actually invented by Hokkaido Aborigines by accident, it’s a type of  北海度 郷土料理 only found in certain regions in Hokkaido but not usually served at top end sushi shops.   Hokkaido is famous for their cooked or raw salmon & trouts,  but back in the days someone discovered that Salmon/Trouts carry either parasites or ring-worms.   Freezing the Salmon/Trout by burying it into very cold snow-piles apparently solved this problem of recurrent stomach upsets.    Modern servicing of Japanese Salmons learned from this traditional technique therefore freeze their Salmon to beyond –55C (or -60C for Hon-Maguro Tuna, due to the extra fat layer) in order to kill off any nasty worms and parasites.    This is also the reason why Raw Salmon is becoming popular again throughout Japan nowadays, due to a variety of reasons – Japanese locals who’ve studied abroad have come to love this raw red fish, or those who’ve opened up their mind to this Hokkaido based delicacy lately.   Served with the above presented Whitish Wasabi imported straight from Hokkaido.  It’s lovely, and exquisite to find…  ~  8.5/10

ふきと鯛の子の煮物  (Snapper Sperm Sac with Celery-like 菜蕗) -
Broth cooked 鯛の子 is simlar to Cod Sperm-sac 白子, except this is from a different fish and much more of a Spring dish.  Eaten with the fragrant spring vegetable of 菜蕗! 
Lovely ~  8/10

菜の花 てんぷら (Spring Broccoli Flower Tempura styled) -
This young flower is fried then served like any tempura.  A very seasonal offering ~ 

うど天婦羅  (A type of Root Vegetable, Fried) -
Famous in Kyoto during late Spring and early Summer, this reminds me of something between a burdock root vegetable and yam.  To be served with salt and lime.  ~  9/10

牛タンの塩焼き (Grilled Salted Ox-Tongue) -
The thinner type, but made well.  Seasoned to its intents ~  8/10

つくね (Minced Chicken with Cartilage) -
With a smoky sauce, but not enough of the cartilage crunchiness I’d wanted. 
There are a few other shops in town which does this better ~   6/10

鮎の一夜干し (Ayu Sweetfish sliced opened and Dried for One Night, Grilled) -
Served with pickled Hajikami red ginger.  There are those in the camp who argue that Ayu Fish should always be grilled as fresh as possible and NOT butterflied in cut or been previously salted.  But then again, why are Japanese kitchens making this version anyway, you should ask!   It is because the overnight drying intensifies the watermelon flavour of the fish and its organs, much like what Dry-Aging does to a chunk of beef muscle.   They also serve the fresh type here, if you insist on eating it more fresh, & un-aged  ~  8/10

子持ち やりいか煮 (Grilled Spear Squid with Eggs) -
During in-season, the pointy Spear Squid is filled with its own eggs, the latter is transparent and quite protein like.   Cooked perfectly, this was certainly a delicacy I’ve yet to find anywhere else ~  9/10

Home Made Ume-Shu (Plum Wine) -
I usually make my own Umeshu each year, and with this to compare, I think this tasting of the 花の家 version made me realised how great this could become when it’s made properly.  I’ll just have to work a little harder with my own formulae !!   ~    10/10

Melon from Shizuoka, Japan -
Sweet and very Japanese in taste.   One takes for granted how good a melon can taste, but this is as good as it will ever get.  AMAZING piece of fruit.  But then again, kudos only to the Farmers rather than the Restaurant itself,  the latter needed to do nothing other than importing and slicing it   ~  9/10

Price:  $400 Per Person + 10%
Score:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: 尖沙咀寶勒巷10號2樓
2/F, 10 Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ph: 2366 7128


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