Saturday, July 26, 2014

Good Eats - Hong Kong Edition - Phoenix Sweets (Ep. 2)

The lighting is pretty off since the place is very well lit but I think the white walls made my camera get confused and dim all my photos a tad.

On the rare occasion that I didn't have anything to do on a lovely Friday, I was able to go out and explore a couple of cafes I had on my bucket list of places to go before I leave Hong Kong. One of these places I stopped by was Phoenix Sweets - partially on accident - but I was in the Central and Sheung Wan area and found PMQ. PMQ is a sort of like a shopping plaza but not really since it's basically just a building filled with lots of hipster type small shops that are either dessert/sweet shops or ridiculously overpriced clothing shops or random small useless item boutiques (you get my point.. basically places you take pictures of but don't actually buy anything from besides the foodies). Anyways, Phoenix Sweets drew me in right from the start with the elaborately decorated cakes all across the shop and the super cute pastel coloring. They can do personalized cakes which you can order in stores or online at their website (definitely go look at their site if you're looking for cakes for a wedding or some sort of party because they are freaking amazing looking). On display, they have beautifully decorated cupcakes and the lady was super nice and friendly and helped me pick out the Rose Earl Grey cupcake. Honestly my current pictures don't do it any justice because I walked around the entire day before getting back home and taking the photos so the frosting sort of dropped BUT I think it still tasted quite nice. I actually had difficulty getting it out of the container which was like a good and bad thing. The lady put my cupcake in this nice plastic cup with a lid and their logo on it which was super cute in my opinion and a really smart way to hold the cupcake to prevent it from getting squashed or anything. The only problem was actually getting out my cupcake because, as you can see from the photos, I sort of ruined the frosting while trying to get it out T__T I mean there's no other way other than to shake the cup/tap it gently to sort of wiggle the cupcake out and.. well you get the point hand + cupcake coming out of cup = not so pleasant. 
The Rainbow Vanilla is supposed to be a special that is not always around but it seemed pretty standard in flavor and just different looking so I decided to go with the Earl Grey :)
Sooo cute although a bit pricey but I love the packaging and detail.

Admittedly I had high hopes for the Rose Earl Grey cupcake. I mean first off it cost $40 which is pretty pricey for a cupcake (about $6 US dollars!) but it also just looked very nice and the lady said it was one of the more popular flavors. I liked the bottom cake part of the cupcake as it was very moist and I could definitely taste the Earl Grey with hints of rose and it wasn't too sweet at all. Sometimes cupcake bottoms are too sweet or they're not sweet enough but this was the perfect middle. The frosting however... wasn't as amazing. It wasn't exactly a smooth texture in my mouth and felt more grainy like I could feel the sugar particles in the frosting, but then the frosting actually wasn't even very sweet, like not sweet at all! I suppose you can say that it's a good thing for those of you who aren't too fond of overly sweet treats but I do feel like the frosting could have had a bit more flavor. I could taste a little bit of rose but that was really it. I ended up scraping off most of the frosting because I just couldn't get over the strange grainy-ness of it but the cupcake part still tasted delicious!

Taken inside Holly Brown Cafe earlier in the day so the frosting is a bit higher haha!
Despite the slight mishap with the frosting,  I had a pleasant experience at Phoenix Sweets and would recommend you check it out if you are in the Central area and stop by PMQ. There are a lot of other sweet shops (that I'll be sharing in later episodes!) but make sure you leave room to stop by Phoenix Sweets. The decor and presentation of the shop is nicely put together creating a pleasant atmosphere and there are two small tables (though outdoors) for customers to sit and enjoy their sweet buys. The lady who helped me out was absolutely nice despite my horrendous Cantonese and she even helped tape up a box I had got from another shop that I had accidentally torn. The shop is definitely a bit pricey but if it's just a one-time thing, it doesn't hurt to try their cupcakes ;P They also have gluten free ice cream for the hotter days which apparently is pretty good and is also sold at the PMQ night market. Though I'm not particularly fond of the frosting on my cupcake, I did appreciate the "not-too-sweet" aspect of the cupcake and the way they were able to incorporate the earl grey and the rose without it being too much or too little.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Good Eats - Hong Kong Edition - Awfully Chocolate (Ep. 1)

I'm currently staying in Hong Kong with one of my aunts volunteering at a research lab in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Maybe not as prestigious as the University of Hong Kong but it still has an amazing research faculty and I'm definitely honored to be able to participate in the lab that I am currently in. Of course it's been taking up a lot of my time and I've been studying for the MCAT - a test that you really have to do well in to get into medical school in the United States - but that hasn't stopped me from getting my yummy Asian food. Unfortunately, being a fatty in US has backfired on me as I'm currently trying to diet while living in one of the best food places in the world. Oh the delights I've missed out on... But still, I've been able to splurge every now and then so I wanted to share a bit of my food adventures, or good eats might I say (no copyright infringement on Alton Brown's original Good Eats show which BY THE WAY I LOVEE <3) with all of you.

So here's my first episode of Good Eats - Hong Kong edition. The first place I wanted to share is called Awfully Chocolate. You can click here to redirect to their website - after you read this post of course ;D. I visited the Awfully Chocolate store in Tsim Sha Tsui which is located in the K11 Shopping Plaza. You can find this shopping plaza about a minute walk away from the D1 exit of the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, but really if you're not sure, just Google map it and you'll easily find your way.

Honestly I wasn't sure what to get at first and wasn't exactly planning on buying anything from the store (never really gravitate towards the all chocolate shops) but to be honest, the "Free Samples" sign totally drew me in LOL. I was able to try the Super Premium Dark Chocolate cake but well, you know me. I prefer the sweet unhealthy chocolates, not the at least somewhat healthy antioxidant rich dark chocolate ;P The lady who helped me out was super friendly and nice despite my gosh darn awful Cantonese and she helped me decide between the White Chocolate Creme Brulee Tart and the White Chocolate Butterscotch Block. I ended up choosing the latter one but I kind of wish I got the creme brulee just because I lovee creme brulee in general, but the White Chocolate Butterscotch Block was still quite delightfully yummy.

I love how you get this cute plastic spoon although it's a little awkward because the handle is so small but hey, I love little mini things~! Honestly I should have taken a picture before I took a bite but the delicious look and smell of the entire thing won me over and I "accidentally" took a huge scoop out of the cake before I got a decent shot of it haha. You can't blame me.. it looked and smelled soo good! The texture was definitely a bit of a shock to me at first. I thought the white part would be more of a standard vanilla cake or like a Japanese Swiss roll so spongey and fluffy. Instead, it's actually some sort of cream like texture but it's so light and still fluffy..just in a different way. The brown rolled part was more like the standard cake that I'm used to but super moist and then the inside and top brown coating is milk chocolate with butterscotch bits sprinkled throughout (probably my favorite part of the cake). The cake is definitely sweet so you'll need coffee or tea to go with it and I definitely couldn't finish the whole thing, but it's still something nice to try. I didn't realize they had ice cream until I went on their website later that night but from what the reviews say, it's pretty good so maybe I'll try it next time! (Though I'm not particularly a fan of all chocolate ice cream). If I were to go back, I'd definitely try the creme brulee but I would recommend this to anyone who wants to try something unique and new. I'd also see if you can get smaller than a 100g slice (mine was a little bit under) as it cost $40 HKD per 100g - not too bad since I expected everything at the shop to be crazily overpriced. I would suggest less than 50g if they let you buy that small of a slice and even then that's probably quite a lot in my opinion.
Anyways overall I thought the place was nice. Not a sweet shop you absolutely MUST try, but if you are looking for a cake for a celebration and you know that the people who will eat it like dark chocolate, I'd definitely go for their famous dark chocolate cakes (the one I got to sample). They have one filled with banana and another with Rum&Cherry or just a standard all dark chocolate for the less adventurous folks ;P I'll be posting up more Good Eats blog posts so subscribe or follow me if you want to be updated ^__^