Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Good Eats - Hong Kong Edition - One Dim Sum (Ep. 4)

Address: Shop 1 & 2, G/F, 15 Playing Field Road, Kenwood Mansion, Prince Edward
On this lovely day, I will be taking a break from my sweetie Good Eats posts and sharing with you my experience eating at One Dim Sum, a Michelin Guide Recommended dimsum restaurant located in Prince Edwards (also known as Tai Zi in Cantonese). It is only about a 5 minute walk from one of the Prince Edward MTR subway station exits (I forget which one ;P) and you can easily spot it by the long line of people waiting in front of it. Nicely enough, they have stools outside for waiting customers to sit on (uncommon for most Hong Kong restaurants!) and Fa Yuen Street is also located closely by so you can walk over there (about a 5-10 minute walk) and shop around while you wait for a seat. My cousin and I arrived around 3 PM on a Saturday afternoon expecting not much of a wait seeing as dimsum is most popular from 11 AM to 1 PM, but when we arrived at One Dim Sum, we were surprised to see quite a bit of people waiting in front of the shop. We were given a number and told that the wait would be about half an hour so we decided to walk over to Fa Yuen Street to do some shopping and returned a little less than half an hour later and were given a seat about 10 minutes after returning.

Obviously we were pretty hungry as we hadn't eaten since breakfast (aka 8 in the morning!) so we decided to order 6 dishes (yes my cousin and I can EAT!). As a standard, we ordered siu mai, baked (not steamed as there is a difference!) barbeque pork buns, ha gao (although I've seen online people spell it har gao), deep fried tofu skin (also known as fu pei), cow intestines (not sure if that's the exact right English translation and I know it sounds a bit gross but trust me, IT'S DELICIOUS!), and turnip cakes (pronounced lo bah gou in Cantonese).
Siu Mai - basically shrimp dumplings with orange fish eggs on top and covered in a yellow rice sort of wrap
Baked Barbeque Pork Buns - this type of pork is known as cha-siu (or char siu) which is sweet and super yummy!

My attempt to beautifully rip the bun in half to show you the inside which obviously didn't turn out so well but hey at least you can see the delicious yummy inside! As you can see, the top is shiny which, I'm not sure what they do, but it makes the bun super sticky so be careful if you want to use your hands to eat these little suckers!
Ha Gau (or Har Gau) - another shrimp dish which is literally just a steamed shrimp inside a glutinous rice wrap but is SO freaking yummy.
Fried Tofu Skin with vegetables inside

Cow Intestine - I absolutely love this dish and always love to get it when I go eat dimsum so don't be afraid to order it!
Turnip Cake - another one of my favorites. The turnips are mashed into a fine paste and then mixed with some tiny dried shrimp and some other goodies and then pan fried to create a firm somewhat crispy on the outside but soft on the inside cake.
One thing I love about soley dimsum restaurants are their incredibly fast service. We received our first plate (or well wooden dimsum container.. not sure what they're called really) steaming hot in about 5 minutes after we had ordered and all our other dishes came in about 15 minutes so we were soon overwhelmed with our six dishes crowding up the tiny 4 seater table we were sharing with another couple (yes most small food shops will shove multiple parties into large tables in order to get you in and out as fast as possible). The food was definitely fresh and straight out of the kitchen and I thought all the dishes were delicious except... (try and guess? ;D) the fried tofu skin. Honestly I'm not sure why we ordered it since I've never gotten it at any other dim sum restaurant but my cousin suggested it so we decided to just go for it. I like tofu skin when it's normally cooked (usually steamed or in a soup) but the whole fried thing.. not really my thing. All the other dishes were definitely good, but I'm not exactly sure why One Dim Sum is Michelin recommended as the dishes I tried seemed to be at the same level as any other dimsum restaurant I've been to in Hong Kong. But then again, my grandma and relatives usually take me out to dimsum so I'm assuming they know the better places in the area so I've never had to try a particularly mediocre dimsum restaurant ;P Nevertheless, I think One Dim Sum is a good dimsum shop for tourists as it has an English menu and I think lots of tourists do stop by it because when I went, there were quite a lot of foreigners (myself included really). The shop has a wide selection of traditional dim sum items for you to try and the food is definitely fresh and tasty and best of all, it's cheap! My cousin and I split the bill and if I recall correctly, it was only around 100 HKD in total (maybe give or take a few but IT WAS LIKE CHEAP!). The service and waiters are also quite nice which is a plus for a Hong Kong restaurant as most places have pretty meh service because waiters want to just get you out of the shop quickly and are more about efficiency than politeness really. So yes another successful shop knocked off my list of food places to try ^__^ Leave a comment if you've been to One Dim Sum or any other dim sum places you thought were better and would recommend me to try out ~! xoxo.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Good Eats - Hong Kong Edition - Teakha (Ep. 3)

Address: Shop B, 18 Tai Ping Shan Street,
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Located in the quiet street of Tai Ping Shan, Teakha is a low-key must-stop-by cafe in Hong Kong. Aimed at being a "lifestyle concept tea cafe" and "zakka store", the shop is decorated with many little tiny decorations that each add their own touch and life to the cafe. It took me a good half an hour to find Teakha from the Sheung Wan MTR station, but for a typical person with a well-developed sense of direction and Google maps, I would reasonably say it would only take you about 10-15 minutes to arrive at Teakha. Tai Ping Shan street is located just a little ways from Holllywood Street which there are many signs leading to (yes in English!) so as long as you follow them, you'll be headed in the right direction!
The outside front of Teakha. Just around the corner is another entrance to a seating area that you can go to after ordering and obtaining your food if the front seats are already taken (which they likely will be as there is only one table and a small bar area in the front of the cafe).

Looking down the alley nook (away from the front of the store). The horizontal street is Tai Ping Shan.
Once inside the cafe, I was greeted with a nice cool breeze of air conditioned air (well what else?) and then an awkward stare from the three staff members all situated at the front of the store behind the counter. I'll admit that I must have looked a little funny covered in sweat in an awkward post-interview outfit with two giant bags but I did feel a bit uncomfortable with me being the only customer in the shop at the time and three workers just standing in front of me with nothing to do really. I'm not sure why they need so many staff since the cafe is so small, but perhaps it gets busier later on in the day. I arrived at the cafe around 12 PM and there were two other customers before me but when I entered the store front, they had already gotten their food items and had headed to the additional seating room making me the only one in the store front. The first impression I got from walking in to the cafe was "Wow..this place is so.. hipster." Hipster is really the only way to describe it. With all the bits and bobs cluttered in the small area, it's hard to think of anything else. The decorations are very nice though and the light pale blue color really catches the light nicely in the cafe. On the counter with the cashier, they have their freshly baked pastries lined out in glass covered displays and upon walking up to the cash register, I was handed a paper bound menu with a list of items.
In my awkward Cantonese, I managed to ask one of the staff what was the most popularly ordered item from their menu. The lady told me it was their Green Tea Cheesecake along with a hot cup of Masala Chai tea. Looking at the price of the cheesecake ($40 HKD so about $5 USD) and seeing as I was TRYING to eat healthy, I decided to opt out of the heavy cheesecake (though it looked absolutely delicious) and try for the "Scone of the Day" which was recommended by a few on OpenRice (a site like Yelp for Hong Kong diners). There were two scones of the day and I decided to go for the Roselle scone. I wasn't exactly sure what kind of fruit (or if it even was a fruit) Roselle was and the staff wasn't sure how to explain it either but they showed me a pot of dried Roselle and it smelled decent enough that I decided to go for it.

As mentioned on OpenRice, the staff warmed up my scone for me right on the spot in a small conventional oven before serving it to me. This allowed me to take the time to look around the cafe some more and enjoy its nice arrangements. I noticed they also had a blackboard with specials of the days and lunch sets like sandwiches with tea that I could have ordered had I been a bit more observant (as these weren't on the menu) or more hungry. I'm glad I just got the scone because along with the Masala tea, it filled me up quite a lot (mostly the tea filled me up really since it was so large!). The Roselle scone turned out to be extremely delicious though different from the kinds I might get in America at Panera or some other bakery. It was soft and warm due to the heating but had just enough of a crumble without being SO crumbly that it fell apart. I was able to easily cut into the scone using the side of the fork (meant to be used as a butter knife) and the Roselle tasted somewhat like dried cranberries. It had the perfect amount of sweetness and moisture without being too over the top and maintained scone like qualities. I just wish they had waited a little bit to serve me the scone because it didn't take long to warm it up and my tea wasn't quite ready so they served me the scone about 5 minutes before they served me my Masala tea so the scone did cool a little bit before I got to enjoy it with the tea. I'm not generally a big tea drinker but as I was at a placed called Teakha, a tea cafe, I decided it was only appropriate to order tea and the lady did say Masala was a popular tea drink. Though it was a hot day, the air conditioned cafe made drinking the hot Masala tea bearable and it was quite good. It came in an extremely large mug (so large that I actually couldn't finish the last 2 sips D; ) and was freshly brewed and steaming hot (yeah I was the fool who burned her tongue). The tea had a unique taste.. I'm not really sure how to describe it, maybe like English Breakfast tea but with a more sweet taste? Maybe I shouldn't even bother trying to describe it because I'll make you think it's something it's not and either disappoint you or make you NOT try the tea when you really would like it haha! Regardless, it was quite good and I'm glad I did try it out.

All in all, I had a pleasant experience at Teakha. I did feel a bit awkward with the 3:1 staff to me ratio, but the food and decor were so nice that I could get over it. I would definitely suggest you stop by Teakha as it is a unique and urban "hip" cafe with yummy food. If you go check out their website (teakha.com), you can see part of their menu (not the whole thing!) and decided if you want to check it out :) Hope you enjoyed this review and have a lovely day~!