Friday, September 22, 2017

Hong Kong - Sang Kee Seafood Restaurant

Sang Kee Seafood Restaurant - dinner on August 29, 2017
This was the first of our three team dinners during our 3-day sojourn with the Asia team. Our Hong Kong host(ess) planned out each dinner to give us the best exposure to her hometown cuisine, balancing between “no, not where the tourists go” and highly rated local favorites. 
Eggs with bitter melon - the eggs were really good

Sweet and Sour Pork
The first night was all about true Cantonese cooking. As she explained, Cantonese cooking doesn’t believe in adding a lot of sauces to their dishes. Instead it’s about making things simply and well to bring out the food’s optimal flavor. 
Yes, the prawns were that big

Similar to our dim sum lunch at Lee Garden, I can’t tell you exactly what everything was or how much it cost since I never saw the menu or the bill; she ordered everything ahead of time since we were such a large group. But there was ample variety and tons of food as you can see from the pictures. I don’t think I took a picture of all of the dishes either since they kept coming and I might’ve lost track.
Everything was delicious. I appreciated the “simple” flavors. Simple doesn’t mean tasteless; in fact, it was the opposite. The food might have been simply prepared, whether it was steamed or poached or fried but the ingredients were fresh and the dishes were straightforward and well done.

Described to me as something similar to pork belly
Oh, and here’s another thing about many Asian cultures. Food equals caring. As our Hong Kong host explained, it’s about sharing and making sure people feel welcome. That’s done through the generosity displayed with the food being prepared well and shared generously. Which means this is a bad place for a diet. I sat next to my coworker from Singapore and she showed her caring by heaping my plate whenever a new dish arrived. “Here, try this!” I tried it, I ate it, I enjoyed it. Can’t be rude by refusing, right? By that standard, I was the most amenable guest. At least until we got to the last few dishes and I had to end up crying uncle “I’m full! I can’t eat anymore!” LOL

After dinner we ended up extending the night by taking the ferry from Hong Kong to the Kowloon side. It was only 2.70 HKD or about 30 cents USD each way. The ferry ride was short and the night was humid but the views were pretty with all the lights. Plus it gave us a small chance to walk off a tiny portion of that delicious dinner.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hong Kong - Lee Gardens Dim Sum

Lee Gardens Dim Sum - lunch on August 29, 2017
On our first full day of our all-day meeting, we broke for lunch at a nearby dim sum place, near the same complex where Passion byGerard Dubois was housed. Although this time, thanks to following a Hong Kong native who knew her way around, we arrowed straight to the place without the previous day’s wandering around wondering “where is it?” The complex was Lee Garden; there’s a Lee Garden One and a Lee Garden Two. The dim sum restaurant was in Lee Garden One and I have no idea if that’s what it was called or not. We were walking into the restaurant en masse and I was busy talking so I didn’t pay attention or get enough pictures of my surroundings.

My food pictures are a bit sketchy and sparse as we sat at large tables and I wasn’t situated well enough to snag pictures of each dish as it came out. Plus, fanatic as I am about snapping foodie pics, I do try to moderate my picture-snapping behavior in large groups where it seems rude to bellow “wait, don’t eat that yet! I need to take a picture!” I can behave on occasion.
Steamed Pork Buns

Consequently, I was only able to take pictures of either the food on my own plate, the partially consumed dish by the time it got to me or extremely zoomed in shots from across the table. I also can’t tell you what each dish was unless it was super recognizable like steamed pork buns because I didn’t order. Similar to Din Tai Fung, there were no dim sum carts patrolling the room (is that a US thing??). Instead, you ordered from a menu and they brought out the plates.

Siu Mai

The food was good. I don’t think I ate anything that wasn’t delicious in Hong Kong on the entire trip. I’d have to give the nod to Din Tai Fung as being better though. Lee Garden dim sum was more typical of the dim sum I can get in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Although that’s a good bar because dim sum in the Bay Area can be really good.

Walking back to the hotel after lunch

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hong Kong - Sogo

Sogo - visited August 28, 2017
Sogo was about a block from our hotel. I’m not quite sure what to call it since it was like a department store in that it had various departments where you could buy a wide variety of things like cosmetics, probably clothes and other things. But it also had a “food hall” on the lower floor, not quite as grandiose as the one at Harrods but did Harrods one better by combining both food stalls/kiosks with a grocery store. So it was like Harrods food hall met Whole Foods met Nordstrom and decided to hang out in the same building.

The reason I can’t tell you what non-food items Sogo sells is because I was only interested in the food hall. I only noticed the cosmetics department because it was on the ground floor, by the door and on my way to the escalator to go down to the food hall. Otherwise, every time I went to Sogo, I beelined down the escalator to my favorite floor and wandered around, taking pictures and living through my visual and olfactory senses as I wandered around.

There were a variety of food stalls, from gelato and high end chocolates to custard tarts, popcorn, meat pies and patisseries. During my time in Hong Kong, I availed myself of the meat pie for 38 HKD or about $5 USD. It didn’t have much filling but it was flaky, almost like a Beef Wellington, and quite tasty. I still fondly remember the meat pies I had in Australia and New Zealand but this had the French influence of much more flaky pastry. I like both versions because, to this carnivore, it was mostly meat and didn’t clutter up the pie with chopped veggies.

There was also a bread shop in the Sogo food hall. If you’re ever in Asia or an Asian bakery, always go for the bread. It’s the best. Perhaps rivaled only by the French but bread from Asian bakeries are my favorite. Not too crusty, slightly sweet, nicely soft and chewy. I like bread more than rice so trust me, they make good bread.

Overall, Sogo was a fun place to explore. It was nearly always crowded whenever I went there and it’s an ideal place to grab a quick snack. The heat and humidity outside was still doing a nice job suppressing my appetite so the individual-size meat pie was perfect as a snack or meal during the few times we weren’t going out to eat.

The Kobe Meat Pie