Hong Kong Restaurant: Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao

Last time I went to Hong Kong, I had praised this restaurant called C-Jade for its Teochew style food located in New Town Plaza. You can read about it HERE.

Unfortunately, it had closed some time during the 1.5 years I was away.  Luckily, in the vicinity there was another one in the same chain but this time specializing in noodles and Soup-filled dumplings. Its called Crystal Jade and located right across from The Spaghetti House.  This was the one where the previous evening we had been waiting on at the same time but didn’t get a seat quick enough. This time, we managed to get a seat relatively quickly.

Here’s what we had to share with each other:

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Vegetable & Meat Buns

Crystal Jade Restaurant

5 Grains Fried Rice with Shrimp and Scrambled Eggs

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Chicken Pot

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Shanghai Ramen

 

Crystal Jade is pretty good at what it does.  Everything tasted really good.  My favorite in this meal has to go to the 5 grain fried rice.  I’m a huge fan of fried rice but not 5 grains however this one was spot-on tasty.  Healthy and delicious? Count me in any time 😉 I’m definitely going to try to replicate this one in my spare time one of these days!

A few days later, I met up with my soon-to-be-wed cousin and her mom (another aunt), along with my mom for lunch also at Crystal Jade.  The menu doesn’t vary very much between lunch and dinner but with another group, we also got to try something new.  My cousin chose for us.  My aunt was on her vegetarian day of the month so we had to adjust a few dishes to suit her diet that day.

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Noodles

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Dumplings with Chili Oil on the side

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Taro Pastry

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Soup-filled Dumplings

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Beancurd rolls

Vegetarian Dumplings

Vegetarian Dumplings

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Fried Pumpkin Pastries

For this lunch, the noodles which I can’t remember exactly what was in it was really good.  The soup-filled dumplings were splendid and the best of all was the beancurd rolls.  They were so delicious.  The fried pumpkin and taro had a very good taste but I’ve never been a huge fan of these sort of dishes.

From what I know, Crystal Jade is a chain that specializes on different types of Chinese cuisine.  I enjoyed this one more than the Teochew style or maybe its just my memory fading from the previous experience.  Plus, I love Shanghai cuisine a lot.  This place is really awesome.  The service is decent and its very accessible in New Town Plaza in Shatin.

I had some great foodie memories here 🙂

Have you ever tasted Shanghai cuisine? Are you a fan of dumplings and/or vegetarian food?

Hong Kong Restaurants: The Spaghetti House

When I’m Hong Kong, I usually eat mostly Chinese food.  It makes up for the crappiness of it right here in Montreal.

However, there are always exceptions and the first Saturday I was there, I was with my mom, her best friend and my aunt and we had to wait for a table at New Town Plaza.  It was between two restaurants right from each other.  Obviously, The Spaghetti House ended up giving us a table first so we went in and at down.

The Spaghetti House is a chain of restaurants specialized in mostly pasta.  I’m sure you guessed that one on your own 😉 The menu doesn’t only have pasta. It has rice, soups, salads and pizza.  I’ve always been curious how it was to go here.

Whats nice about The Spaghetti House (and some selected restaurant) is that if you hold a certain bank credit card, there are some priorities to it. In this one, it was the Standard Chartered Bank which opened up another special set dinner menu for a pretty decent price and some dishes not on the actual menu. My aunt had that specific card so she took a set dinner for two and my mom shared it with her.

Their meal included a soup, an appetizer, a set meal and a meal to choose from a specified list.

The Spaghetti House

Lobster Bisque

Apparently, I heard that The Spaghetti House is supposed to be known for their Lobster Bisque.  Except, I have this vague memory that my mom said that it was a bit on the salty side.

The Spaghetti House

Eggplant Rolls with Scottish Smoked Salmon and Crab Roe (Sesame Dressing)

I actually found this be an original idea.  I never thought of using eggplant as a roll.  Definitely something I would try to make.  My aunt and my mom both enjoyed this one.

The Spaghetti House

Baked Boston Lobster Thermidor in Crab Roe & Black Truffle Sauce with Handmade Fettuccine

This dish looks so beautiful.  Maybe its because I love lobster.  I couldn’t taste this because it had this creamy sauce on top of it. No one had any complaints about this one either 🙂

The Spaghetti House

Fried Rice with Scottish Smoked Salmon and Scallops

My mom especially complimented on her choice of having rice here.  I had a taste of this and it was very good.  Plus, they were generous with the seafood which always is a good.

Moving right along to my mom’s best friend who chose this:

The Spaghetti House

Squid Ink Rice with Grilled Chicken Steak in Fresh Tomato Puree

I’ve always been curious on what Squid Ink rice or pasta tastes like.  Apparently its rather good.  I didn’t get a chance to try this out.  However, she really liked it and said its a nice change. Maybe next time 😉

Finally, we come to my meal.  Up to now, all you’ve read is that I didn’t try a lot of these foods for whatever reasons.  The truth was that I had gone through a slight stomach problem after a week of eating crazily that never really revived so I wasn’t going to be too adventurous.  You will see that for the next few days, things will be tamer in the eating out department. However, it does get back to some form of normality so I still try to enjoy myself as much as I can 🙂 With that in mind, I was careful and chose a “go green” meal with angel hair and vegetables.

The Spaghetti House

Angel Hair with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Mushrooms

I’m a huge fan of Angel hair pasta and it seems incredibly hard to find at supermarkets somehow.  Its easier to digest and has a nice texture.  This one was very nice.  It was a bit oily but the balance of vegetables, both tomatoes and mushrooms were pretty good. It wasn’t too bland and had a good balance of taste.  I’d definitely say its a winner 🙂

Maybe it sounds weird to be eating Italian food in Hong Kong but a little change is always welcome to keep those taste buds alive.  The Spaghetti House may be a chain but it has a lovely menu.  I almost couldn’t make my choice. We all enjoyed what we had ordered and for my mom and aunt, they almost couldn’t finish their own meal.  There was also dessert included in theirs but I forgot to take a picture.

Are you fan of Italian cuisine? What sort of pasta do you like? Are you a seafood fan? 

Hong Kong: Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

A few days ago, when I was talking about Hong Kong transport and how my family lived at the far ends of subway and train lines, I wasn’t joking.  It takes me more than an hour to get to my grandmother’s place on my dad’s side. They live in this faraway close to countryside area called Lam Tei in the New Territories.

On the first Saturday I was back, we coincidentally had a huge family reunion with relatives that visited from China.  It made for a dim sum meal looking like this one.

Red Seasons Restaurant

Family reunion @ Red Seasons Restaurant

That was just the extreme at dinner, meaning there was a few dishes excluded from this view.  I didn’t mean to exclude it, except its a bit tough when I end up spending time with my little nephews and they are young and obviously attention grabbers.  Red Seasons restaurant however is a chain in Hong Kong and I’ve seen them in various areas in Hong Kong. It has decent food.

It was a beautiful (and extremely hot) day, so we decided to go to visit Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery which is literally situated behind the restaurant with the whole group.  Other than my aunt, no one had actually been to visit before.

Whats interesting about Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery is that it was renewed completely a few years back.  Timeline is uncertain here but it has a traditional section which was the old building and the new building is pretty modernized.  We took the traditional side to enter.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Traditional side of the temple

I’m going to say that Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery (very much like other monasteries) have done a good job with the surroundings.  This one is smaller but it still has a very nice atmosphere.  It has a mini waterfall with ponds full of koi.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Pond full of koi

It has a little rock structure where you can walk around in

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Rock structures

Its walkways are lined with desert roses.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Desert roses

The older part of the temple is adorned with gold posts and looks really intricate.  Although it definitely does show its age since it looks a bit worn out here and there, it does hold a certain beauty as well.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Older side of the temple

Walking over to the newer side, we find that its literally a white building.  You have take an elevator to go up to the top.  Up there, it is a walk around the Buddha to be blessed.  Even if you don’t believe in that, you can pretty much look at the awesome scenery.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

The view on top on one side.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

Looking over the older temple

Other than the view, the first attraction is the few golden Buddhas located inside the hall.  I had to take the picture outside because it bothers some people to take a picture inside where people are praying so this really zoomed in..

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

As you walk around, in the back they have a little wheel to turn. Its supposed to bring some sort of blessing, I think. There’s my nephew attempting to turn the wheel.

Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery

I’m not really that knowledgeable to a huge extent of Buddhism. I get the general idea and I like to view it as a philosophy to a better mindset to have a more positive way of life.  If you read both Taoist and Buddhism literature, it has a really calming effect. I’m still learning about it bit by bit.

That’s it for temples/monasteries and religion 😉 We’ll be getting back to food very soon!

Hong Kong: Man Mo Temple

Going to Hong Kong by myself would require a lot of planning.  Except this time, I didn’t really think much of it.  Maybe it was because work was so busy up to the last minute or that I just knew I had some family stuff to help out with and wasn’t sure how much time I had.  However, when daily plans are made and something spontaneously happens that you’ve wanted to do and didn’t really expect it to does actually happen, its a pretty awesome feeling.

My mom and I was taking a nice walk through Central in search of a store and we get to these stairs that I’ve always wanted to go to.

Thats the first spontaneous event. Unfortunately, I don’t really have a good picture for it.  Thats what happens when I’m too lazy to carry my DSLR around even though I did carry it all the way from Canada.  I know, silly, right?

Central Hong Kong

Up the slope

Moving right along, after we go up those steps/slope, we reached this street that we turn onto that eventually dives into the section nicknamed as Antique Street because it has store after store of antique stores with a lot of treasures to look at and take home if you’re willing to pay the price.  From furniture to paintings and ceramics, it all is hidden right here.  Its a pretty nice treat to see all this.

However, I’m not really going to focus on that.  I just bought a house so I don’t have the money for antiques and can you imagine shipping mega heavy ancient furniture back? That would be pretty pricey, and well, lets just say I’m  more of a modern/contemporary style person.

Still, I’m really into looking at temples.  Back in 2009, when I vacationed with my friend to Hong Kong, he built an itinerary consisting of a lot of temples.  We had to take a few off eventually due to time constraints.  This one that I saw is called Man  Mo Temple.  This temple worships the God of Literature and God of War.  Its essentially a must if you are a student because its asking for blessings for better position in your future. In ancient times, it was more related to achieving an administrative role but still, I think it works.  My mom told me to ask for a blessing for a better job.  Haha! Never hurts to try, right? 😉

This temple situated in an interesting area because if you did the path I went, you’d have felt like you travelled through time because I got out of the subway and I surfaced in modern downtown Hong Kong with tall skyscrapers all around and then walking up that slope, it was amazing see the ancient stuff popping up in store windows and then this temple is just another different world.

Temples are normally distinct in their own ways.  Whether its the God thats in there or the set up but there’s one thing thats always there: incense. I’m babbling now, but here it is. Its a temple so no pictures of the God itself especially but in general, I try to dial down on the photo crazy phase because some people find it disrespectful.

Man Mo Temple

The entrance of Man Mo Temple

Going right inside, you step into a middle section with rows of lanterns.  Under them is tagged with a little piece of paper and on it are people who visit the temple and their wishes.  I’m guessing a lot of them will be related to success in some form, perhaps.  Just taking a guess 😉

Man Mo Temple

Lanterns & Wishes

Above is a scene I’ve been wanting to see forever and thats this one:

Man Mo Temple

Spirals of incense hanging above

Isn’t that impressive? I always thoughts this is one of the most beautiful setting for a picture (other than nature).  Inside of those, are also little wishes on the red papers. I believe what happens is that when the incense finishes burning, your blessing is complete.

Leaving Man Mo Temple, my mom and I ventured back home slowly as we skimmed through the buildings in Central and finally deciding to head to Causeway Bay to find a store that I wanted to check out, which apparently had closed. Still, on our way, we found this little area in front of a building.  Don’t ask me the exact location because I don’t remember.

Central

Bulls in Central

Is this possibly the Hong Kong version of New York’s bull? Haha! I thought it was pretty cool plus it does make sense in the working environment.

That was one of the few days on my trip that I ventured into the Hong Kong Island and the busy working world. You will see that I spent most of my time in the Kowloon and New Territories area 🙂

Have you ever visited temples? Do you like to learn about other cultures and history?

Hong Kong Restaurant: Din Tai Fung at New Town Plaza

As you will soon see, I spent a lot of time in New Town Plaza and the Shatin area of Hong Kong as I lived really close by plus my grandmother’s nursing home was nearby as well.  It made for a lot of lunches and dinners there.  Its not a bad thing because most of the food was pretty great.

For lunch one day, my cousin, aunt, my mom and me all went to have lunch at Din Tai Fung located in New Town Plaza tucked away in the corner.  Din Tai Fung is a popular food chain originated from Taiwan (I believe) and its known for its Soup-filled steamed dumplings.  I’m a huge fan of those dumplings specifically and since this is the best of the best, lets just say I was really excited to try this place out.

For starters, we ordered some small platters, well, everything actually is pretty small since its somewhat gourmet food.

Din Tai Fung Shatin

Marinated Pork, Spicy meat dish, Bitter melons and Green Beans dishes

You would be surprised but the bitter melon was marinated really well.  And the pork on the top was pretty delicious as well.  I’ve actually tasted better green beans done that way in Toronto.  As for the dish at the far left, it was spicy so I had to pass 😉

Moving right along, we have the main attraction: Soup-filled steamed dumplings.

Din Tai Fung Shatin

Soup-filled steamed pork dumplings

Keeping it simple: I loved them so much! 🙂 Very much to my liking!

This next one is actually very similar in concept to the top. Its a bit like the dim sum shrimp dumplings (“har gow”) but I remember it having a bit of soup in it too.  Here’s how they look like:

Din Tai Fung Shatin

Shrimp dumplings

These actually had a really nice spin to the normal shrimp dumplings.  I’d say that I still prefer the real deal. Maybe I’m traditional like that.

Next up was a dish I could not eat because it was drenched in chili oil.  I don’t know if thats actually the name but apparently its simply called Dumplings in Chili Oil.

Din Tai Fung Shatin

Dumplings in Chili Oil

This meal was fantastic.  I loved the restaurant and if I had the chance, I’d definitely go back when I head to Hong Kong again.

I know that Din Tai Fung is located in many places.

Have you heard of it or tasted the food? Do you like Chinese cuisine?

Had enough of dim sum and restaurants in Hong Kong yet? We’re going to take a little break tomorrow and do some sightseeing 😉

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

Between. Capture something in the middle of two things. It can be a person or object, or simply the space in between. It can also be a feeling or relationship — a bond that connects people, or a space that separates. This word might also reflect a choice you need to make — the challenge of choosing one thing over another — or any kind of transition, from childhood to adulthood, single life to married life, day to night. – The Daily Post

I’ve been doing this whole Hong Kong trip recap.  It somewhat fits the theme of between as in a transition after their handover back to China, they have the whole 50 years of no change but you can see the influence the change it as has as they transition into a whole new environment.  Plus, crossing into this world from my normal life in Canada is a temporary but in between feeling.

However, aside from those technicalities, Hong Kong is known from their precious land as you look its endless amounts of skyscrapers.

With that, walking in Central, there never stops to have that feeling that you are small when looking between buildings, there are even more buildings.  Its just an endless backdrop of them.

IMG_6029

Between the buildings, more buildings

Hong Kong is always changing even when I only went a year and a half instead of my normal three years.  There’s always something new to see and while walking on the overpass, I saw parallel to us, the interesting location of the Apple Store, between sandwiched between two buildings under the overpass.  It is a catchy location, don’t you think?

Apple Store Hong Kong

Apple store between two buildings

Now, we can’t talk about Hong Kong and not talk about its harbors and the water and this brings us to my always needed Star Ferry ride between the two harbors. Its decreased immensely in time from when I was a kid, thanks to the whole filling the water for man-made land.  I’m skipping that over because I’ll get angry.

Still, on the foggy day, you can see the outlines of the tall buildings on the right in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui on the left.  Between it is between the harbors and it always has some boats sailing about.  Even in the fog, it was a treat to be on there.

Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong

Between the Hong Kong harbors

 Here is my response to the Weekly Photo Challenge this week on Between.  How would you interpret it?

Hong Kong Restaurant: Sharp Star Restaurant

Eating out a lot on vacation is normal, even if we have a place to stay. In Hong Kong, when you have a big group, its generally better to just go out because the space is so tight in the living quarters.

After the outing at Citygate Outlets, me, my mom and her friends ended up spending the entire day running around town.

At the end of the day, we stopped at Sham Shui Po to check out some technology products and to compare prices.

When my mom’s best friend joined us afterwards for a short while, she took us to a rather popular restaurant located in that area right by the subway exit of Sham Shui Po.  This lovely restaurant is called Sharp Star.

Sharp Star is hidden in an alley behind stalls located in front of it but welcoming you in the entrance are snippets of newspapers (if I remember correctly) and pictures of popular Hong Kong stars that went there to dine.

We went at a fairly early dinner time so the place was empty.  As we sat down, the waiter was funny and very nice as he helped us make our choices for the meal.  The service was pretty impressive.

First up, we had the chef’s invention on Fried Spare Ribs with the taste of plum and this other Chinese ingredient that I don’t know how to translate.

 

Sharp Star Restaurant

Next up, we have this Soy Sauce Chicken but its with this soy sauce which is supposed to be like the first batch making it more premium or high quality or something like that.

Sharp Star Restaurant

“Premium” Soy Sauce Chicken

I love chicken and one of my fave ways is eating it after its been simmered in soy sauce.  This one was mega delicious 🙂 The chicken was so tender and even the soy sauce wasn’t all that salty.  I wonder what else they put in there 😉

Following that, my mom’s friend had gone out to pick out a lovely fresh fish.  We took the simple option and decided to have steamed fish.

Sharp Star Restaurant

Steamed Fish

Don’t ask me what type of fish because I seriously cannot remember anymore.  I really should jot down notes while I travel at restaurants.

I can’t remember if there was another dish, maybe plain veggies.  I just can’t because I don’t have a picture of it but its rare we eat out without any veggies included.

Moving on, our last one was a little bonus from the waiter with a little fried dessert.

Sharp Star Restaurant

Dessert

I believe they had some taro paste inside but I don’t quite know and didn’t ask because the restaurant was getting busy. It was pretty good also.

I totally recommend Sharp Star Restaurant. It has some creative and delicious meals. The service is fantastic and…its just awesome!

I had really wanted to go again before I left but I never got the chance….

Here’s hoping  next time it will still be there and I can try some more awesome dishes 🙂

Is there a restaurant that you ate at while travelling that gave you an unforgettable dining experience?