Go Hong Kong About traveling & living in Hong Kong. http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong <![CDATA[Hong Kong Disneyland Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

Toy Story Land just opens recently, another reason for that outing!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_Disneyland-208-1488873-219451.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_Disneyland-208-1488873-219451.html Wed, 18 Jan 2012 14:39:17 +0000
<![CDATA[Tai O Fishing village Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
35 mins by bus from Tung Chung MTR station.

http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Tai_O_Fishing_village-208-1774864-214748.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Tai_O_Fishing_village-208-1774864-214748.html Sat, 29 Oct 2011 13:41:40 +0000
<![CDATA[Noah's Ark Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Not to mention the secluded location and inconvenience of getting there. 

Tip: A more interesting outing would be to go to Tai O Fishing Village on Lantau Island.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Noah_s_Ark-208-1774863-214747.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Noah_s_Ark-208-1774863-214747.html Sat, 29 Oct 2011 13:31:52 +0000
<![CDATA[Ocean Park Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

P.S. Do not miss the jellies. They are awesome!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Ocean_Park-208-1774862-214746.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Ocean_Park-208-1774862-214746.html Sat, 29 Oct 2011 13:16:59 +0000
<![CDATA[ It's HOT stuff!]]>
Some of my favorite dishes in this restaurant:
1) BBQ fish (this is not on its menu, you'll have to call in 30 mins ahead for them to prepare it so that it'll be just ready for you when you arrived)
2) Prawn cakes
3) Tungyam soup
4) Tapioca dessert

Make sure you order the fresh coconut drink too. It's the best I've ever tried in HK.

The restaurant is easily accessible by MTR (subways) in Hong Kong. The station is Taikoo Shing. However, you need to look for a restaurant in this district is a little tricky. What you need to do is ask for the location of CCB (China Construction Bank) branch which is just across the street from it. If you are inside the mall, go to the direction of Apita & Broadway. Look also for Columbia Sportswear. There's a high-end furniture store and the Thai Pepper restaurant can be found just across from that very exit.

The restaurant is small, less than 15 tables, I figure. It's not overly crowded if you go early enough (that means before 6.30 pm, especially during the weekend!). Best to call ahead if you want to order the BBQ fish as it takes time to prepare it. The other excellent fish dish is the hot and sour fish with some soup, thai way of cooking.

Prices here are comparable to eating Cantonese food. It is a good restaurant though, simple yet delicious food! For 6 persons, the average is around HK$600-800, ie. HK$100 per person. Very reasonable indeed!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Thai_Pepper_Restaurant_-208-1435748-214478-It_s_HOT_stuff_.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Thai_Pepper_Restaurant_-208-1435748-214478-It_s_HOT_stuff_.html Sat, 22 Oct 2011 07:44:50 +0000
<![CDATA[Italian Tomato 夢見屋國際廣場店 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Italian_Tomato_-208-1750171-210236.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Italian_Tomato_-208-1750171-210236.html Wed, 13 Jul 2011 02:52:23 +0000
<![CDATA[ Fresh as air freshener!]]> My first trial was one from Kokubo that's anti-mosquito and since I was living in China when I first got hold of this Japanese product, it was a real good one especially I did used it in the bedroom. The scent is nice, just like air freshener!

I just got the second one for anti-insect yesterday from City Super (a supermarket in Hong Kong). Apparently, Sasa sells it as well although I haven't check it out at their stores. I did google for it and found it on Sasa.com so for those in the U.S., it's good news for you, if you need one of these. I just discovered that there can be quite a bit of insects in Hong Kong in the summer months, something new to me! And, especially since I live by the seashore, you can imagine what's it like if my windows should be opened! For now, they stay shut in the night!

For those who are going camping, this is certainly a great one to have in your tent!

I'm happy with the brand and am testing out the one for anti-insect right now. It costs some HK$48 (around US$6) a bottle and last for at least 45 days. The beauty of it is that there is a cap on this one so you won't have to use it when you don't need to. The bottle can be sealed again and reuse at some later date (esp. if you just take it along for camping!). 

Interestingly enough, I never knew such products exist until recently. I knew there's those awful smelling insect-repellent where you spray on the insect and then there is air freshener. But, one that combines the two? Wow, only the Japanese can come up with something like this!

I also noted that Kokubo has some 41 products listed for sale on Sasa.com and some of it are a novelty. Check them out if you're interested: click here.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Kokubo_Anti_insect_scent-208-1749467-209986-Fresh_as_air_freshener_.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Kokubo_Anti_insect_scent-208-1749467-209986-Fresh_as_air_freshener_.html Thu, 7 Jul 2011 10:18:38 +0000
<![CDATA[Maxim's Palace Restaurant Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Maxim_s_Palace_Restaurant-208-1733725-207030.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Maxim_s_Palace_Restaurant-208-1733725-207030.html Fri, 6 May 2011 11:55:49 +0000
<![CDATA[Peking Garden Restaurant Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Food is generally good but pricing is a little on the high side!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Peking_Garden_Restaurant-208-1733078-206825.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Peking_Garden_Restaurant-208-1733078-206825.html Mon, 2 May 2011 04:54:09 +0000
<![CDATA[Hot Pot Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
After the hot pot, you may also order skewered lamb (like those from Xinjiang) on the side. Yummy!

There is a very good hot pot restaurant near to the Forbidden City. If anyone needs the location, please email me. I was also told by a cab driver in Beijing that the city of Yangfan (enroute to the Great Wall) is famous for such hot pot. We did go and yes, it was excellent. However, that's a bit of travel as far as I'm concerned. But, if you're on the way, you must try!

Hot Pot is very popular in Beijing and Chongqing due to their cold weather. Outside China, it's extremely popular in South Korea too!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/food/UserReview-Hot_Pot-44-1432238-206817.html http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/food/UserReview-Hot_Pot-44-1432238-206817.html Mon, 2 May 2011 03:47:36 +0000
<![CDATA[Hong Kong Disneyland Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_Disneyland-208-1488873-206711.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_Disneyland-208-1488873-206711.html Sun, 1 May 2011 09:48:10 +0000 <![CDATA[Victoria Peak Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Victoria_Peak-208-1732810-206706.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Victoria_Peak-208-1732810-206706.html Sun, 1 May 2011 07:43:55 +0000 <![CDATA[Centaline Property (中原地产) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Centaline_Property_-1731833-206471.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Centaline_Property_-1731833-206471.html Tue, 26 Apr 2011 11:18:28 +0000 <![CDATA[Tung Chung Property Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Tung_Chung_Property-208-1731832-206470.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Tung_Chung_Property-208-1731832-206470.html Tue, 26 Apr 2011 11:13:17 +0000 <![CDATA[Hong Kong Property Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_Property-1731831-206469.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_Property-1731831-206469.html Tue, 26 Apr 2011 11:06:10 +0000 <![CDATA[Chinese New Year Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Chinese_New_Year-208-1429467-200707.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Chinese_New_Year-208-1429467-200707.html Fri, 4 Feb 2011 05:46:47 +0000 <![CDATA[Chinese New Year Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Lunch.com! Eat, drink & be merry!!!]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinchina/reviews/d/UserReview-Chinese_New_Year-140-1429467-200706.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinchina/reviews/d/UserReview-Chinese_New_Year-140-1429467-200706.html Fri, 4 Feb 2011 05:35:55 +0000 <![CDATA[ What's auspicious & what's not!]]> Time for RED PACKETS!!!
These are given out to children and adults alike during the 15 days of the Chinese New Year Festivities. For the year 2011, it begins on Feb. 3 and ends on Feb. 17 (last day).

In giving Red packets, make sure the money inside is in round figures (like $10. 20, 40, 60 or 80 and 100. odd figures are NOT in practice and discouraged, ie. 30, 50, 70 or 90). If you have to give less than that, then it's $2, 4, 6, 8. $1, $3, $5, $7 and $9 are normally frowned upon. The figure 7 is especially discouraged in the Chinese society. While it may be a godly number in the western world, 7 is the number that's associated with death and ghost in the Chinese society. Heard of the 7th month? In Lunar calendar, that's the month of the hungry ghosts! People try not to go traveling or move homes or get married during that month! Another numerical number which most Chinese do not like is the number 4. 4 sounded like the word death in Cantonese as well as in Mandarin! Hence, it's not considered an auspicious number, especially during Chinese New Year! 

Other than numbers, try not to go to any Chinese homes during this period dressed in BLACK! Black is the color associated with mourning, hence, considered bad luck! The auspicious color during these 15 days of festivities is RED! Hence, you'll see a lot of red color during this period, be it in Chinatown or anywhere that the Chinese reside in.

Some facts about Red Packets:
  • Red packets are mostly given to children and adults (those who are still single). Even if you are 40 and still single, you'd be considered a child by the Chinese tradition.
  • Red packets are mostly red, not any other color. They contain cash and usually NEW notes. Not used ones. The Chinese will head to the bank to exchange new notes before the first day of Chinese New Year. Hence, if you visit the banks a week or two before the CNY, you'll see many Chinese in them!
  • Sometimes some parents (like mine) have become so lazy they give checks (in red packets) or simply do a funds transfer online instead. Those are usually quite a big sum of money. You don't do this unless it's immediate family. Nonetheless, any sum of $$$ is still considered a red packet if given during CNY. Well, if Lunch.com should decide to be generous this year since JR is welcoming a baby girl (who might potentially be born in the Year of the Rabbit!) and it's indeed time for him to give red packets to his nephew/nieces and his own child and some others *hint, hint* (LOL...), then wiring some funds over is more than welcome ;-)
  • Do not ever give coins in red packets!!! (Unless they are real gold coins  ;-))
  • Red packets are never given BY anyone who is still single. You should be married before you give out red packets. Parents normally give out the same (total) amount given to their children. For example, if you've one kid, and someone give your kid $100. The other party may have 5 children. It's not normal for you to return the favor by giving each one of them $100! That would be a hefty sum! Instead, you possibly might give each of your friend's or acquaintance's kids $20 (that works out to $100 for 5 of them). You still have to give 5 red packets but the amount in total is equivalent. Of course, if you choose to give a lot more, it's welcome and you'll see them going to your home EVERY Chinese New Year for red packets, LOL...
  • Lastly but not least, if you've to give a non-round figure, 8, 18, 28, 38, 68, 88 are good numbers. Do not attempt 14, 24, 34, 44, 54, et... 58 and 78 are no no as well. (58 in Cantonese translates to NOT prosperous as the number 5 sounded like no).

So, there you've it all, some of the practice of the giving of lucky money during the CNY (Chinese New Year).
It is also a practice for employers to give employees bonuses in the form of red-packets during this festivity. When employees go visiting their employer's home (if invited, that is), it is usually during the 2nd day of the CNY. Never visit anyone's home without invitation and also NOT on 3rd day of CNY!

You'll also find that Chinese do not open shop on the 3rd day of CNY if that's the first day of the year that the business is opened. That's considered inauspicious. It's either opened on the 2nd day or 4th day. Some even later...

Last but not least, do give Hong Bao (aka red packet) to people who have helped you in the past year or whom you owe some favors to, for example, the security guards of your apartment, the housemaids, the tutors of your children, the restaurant managers where you patron often... as long as they are Chinese, they'll welcome Hong Bao during the CNY! It's a way of saying thanks for a job well done!

Other than the CNY, red packets are often given during weddings

http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Red_Packet_Hong_Bao_-208-1432529-199664-What_s_auspicious_what_s_not_.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Red_Packet_Hong_Bao_-208-1432529-199664-What_s_auspicious_what_s_not_.html Sat, 22 Jan 2011 05:57:26 +0000
<![CDATA[Telecom Digital Wireless Data Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Telecom_Digital_Wireless_Data-208-1691642-199660.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Telecom_Digital_Wireless_Data-208-1691642-199660.html Sat, 22 Jan 2011 03:37:41 +0000 <![CDATA[ Best Kept Secrets Unveiled]]> Time Out is a great publication originally from the UK. It has since published a fortnightly magazine in some 40 cities or so. In the U.S., namely San Francisco, L.A., Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, Boston & Miami. In Canada, Toronto and Vancouver are being covered. In Asia, Tokyo, Kyoto, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong. And, many more in European cities...

The beauty of this magazine is that it is constantly updating the events and eat-outs in each city. Reviews on restaurants, especially the new-comers, are a welcome. Musicals and other art exhibitions are also highlighted in this compact and light weight magazine. 

The first thing I'd do if I'm in a new city is to look out for Time Out (not the book but the magazine!) in the city I'm in. For now, Time Out Hong Kong hasn't failed me. It kept me looking out for new places to dine and also the kind of prices I'm expected to folk out. Other than that, there are also tips on what to order. All that for the price of HK$18 (about US$2.40) a copy. When I moved over to Hong Kong, I'm planning on a full year subscription (HK$234 which is about US$1.20 per issue; that's peanuts for a good evening out!). 

Interestingly, Time Out also recommends some of the best classical and rock music in the city. There are features on upcoming movies and some of the hidden spots within each city. It calls for interesting reads and finds in Hong Kong. I'm sure you'll find some interesting delights in your city too.

I highly recommend this magazine to anyone who's adventurous and look forward to trying out new places and new tastes. It is simply one of the best magazines around. For those who might want to have a sample of the actual magazine before venturing out of your house to get a copy of it, you may find them online in these locations:


Time Out is a magazine that make free and easy traveling not only easy but also exciting. You don't need a guide in a new city and you will still be able to find some treasures. All you need is a bookstore that carries Time Out! (And possibly an Amex or Visa Platinum card would be best, LOL)

{As for William (Woopak_the_thrill), this is a must for you when you get to Hong Kong!}

http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Time_Out_Hong_Kong-208-1688899-199550-Best_Kept_Secrets_Unveiled.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Time_Out_Hong_Kong-208-1688899-199550-Best_Kept_Secrets_Unveiled.html Wed, 19 Jan 2011 14:53:41 +0000
<![CDATA[ It's not a Pad, it's a TAB! A galaxy of delights!]]> Samsung Galaxy Tab by PCCW (the former Hong Kong Telecoms) early in the week as a free bonus for my subscription of a 2-year contract of Netvigator Everywhere (which essentially is a mobile broadband service, aka pocket wifi or mifi as commonly know) in Hong Kong. The TAB feels right in my hand (and that's just one hand even though mine is not that big to begin with) and a sexy one to hold onto (I also love the white backing it has, smooth and lovely to the touch!). It looks a tad smaller (it is 7" as compared to iPad's 9.7") and MUCH lighter than the iPad. I know, I wanted an iPad but I don't fancy getting a toy that has no flash and also no cameras in it! The Samsung Galaxy Tab is another story all together!

The beauty of Galaxy Tab is that it is small (like a paperback), light and can be hold for an extended period of time with just one hand! It is just like a slightly bigger version of my last MP5, except that the screen is so much more beautiful and the resolution absolutely gorgeous. On top of all that, it is a luxury to listen to music (either with the mic or an earphone, yes, it does have an earphone jack) and read a book from the same gadget at the very same time while your mobile is waiting quietly in the background for the next video calls. Hmm, I haven’t tried it but I’m wondering if I can record these video calls onto the Micro SD cards which is available on this versatile gadget. It does have a slot for 16 GB cards (up to a max of 32 GB or almost infinity if you simply swap cards). The biggest bonus of which is that you don’t need iTune to work!

These are simply some of the best features of the Galaxy Tab which the iPad is lacking.
Don’t get me wrong, I was and to some extent am still a fan of Apple. What I am not is to be compulsive buyer with Apple products. I’ve had my share of flops where Apple is concerned, the main of which is its proprietary softwares (highly expensive and not shareable…). My first Apple computer costs me some US$10,000 (yep, can u believe it! that was in 1993 & if you take into account inflation, it's a lot more!) and then I have had the iMac, the Macbook Air and I had since vowed not to go gaga over the iPhone and iPad. All in all, it’s partly my fault that I didn’t want to spend tons of money on Apple’s softwares and partly Apple’s fault that it is not following industry standards! 

Now, the Galaxy Tab is another story altogether. Not only did I get it for free, it is a Made in Korea product (some of you hate those Made in China stuff... &/or the controversies that Apple has had with a few of the workers committing suicide at Foxxcon, see Review on Apple if you're interested). It can be used as a phone with video calls & the earphone jack guarantees that no one can overhears what the caller is saying. What it has in addition to the iPad is a front-facing 3 MP AF camera with LED flash for taking pictures (& the beauty of it all is that it has a 7" WSVGA (1024x600) 169ppi TFT display as a "viewfinder") & a back camera with 1.3 MP camera for video conference. I haven't taken a picture with such a huge TFT screen & it's certainly a delightful experience! Gosh, a 7" viewfinder!!!

Other than flash capability, Galaxy Tab also has a built in Micro SD card slot (which is essential for all those videos and one can simply swap cards whenever one runs out of space without having to worry about files going corrupted on the machine!). Other than that, you can have a card for yourself, another for the kids and another for business even! That's cool, isn't it?!

In addition, there is a SIM card slot if you so wish to connect directly or using wifi connection with a pocket wifi (or mifi). Multi touch support & capability are inherent in this machine as well.

Unlike the iPad which many complained of as heavy, the Galaxy Tab is a mere 380g (which works out to about 0.84 lb). Many users have observed that it is a better e-reader than the iPad although it might still be lagging slightly behind the iPhone 4. I may just be getting back into the reading habit with this baby! 

The Galaxy Tab uses Android 2.2 (Froyo) as its OS and I'm hoping I'll be able to upgrade it to Honeycomb (Android 3.0) soon enough. That will provide users with lots of Android apps to choose for. So far, I haven't tried downloading but I hope so very soon! Any good suggestion from Lunchers? I'd appreciate it if you could point me to some cool gaming apps or news & magazines apps.

According to Samsung, the battery will enable 7 hours of movie playing, that sounds good to me. Other than that, the charger is quite light so there wouldn't be much concerned about added weight if one wishes to lug it around town. Incidentally, Galaxy Tab not only has camera function but also full HD video player & a video recorder which I believe the iPad lacks.

That about sums up the main functions but I'm sure there are more. Tablets are more apps dependent and with Android as OS, I've confidence there are lots more to learn, play and have fun with. Oh, it does have the navigation function where Google Map comes into play. I'd have to figure how to use that to the fullest!

For more on what you can do and how it enriches your life, read this : Keep up with the Speed of Life with Galaxy Tab

(A Lunch Featured Review)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Samsung_Galaxy_Tab-208-1661641-199389-It_s_not_a_Pad_it_s_a_TAB_A_galaxy_of_delights_.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Samsung_Galaxy_Tab-208-1661641-199389-It_s_not_a_Pad_it_s_a_TAB_A_galaxy_of_delights_.html Sun, 16 Jan 2011 08:00:55 +0000
<![CDATA[JW Marriott Hotel, Hong Kong Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/hotel/UserReview-JW_Marriott_Hotel_Hong_Kong-208-1562519-193895.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/hotel/UserReview-JW_Marriott_Hotel_Hong_Kong-208-1562519-193895.html Thu, 18 Nov 2010 13:30:38 +0000 <![CDATA[Samsung Galaxy Tab Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Official site: http://galaxytab.samsungmobile.com/

Engadget has published a great review on the Galaxy Tab & what's great about it compared to the iPad is it has both dual camera & also video recording! Check it out: http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/01/samsung-galaxy-tab-review/]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Samsung_Galaxy_Tab-208-1661641-193068.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Samsung_Galaxy_Tab-208-1661641-193068.html Wed, 3 Nov 2010 07:18:28 +0000
<![CDATA[Dondonya Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Dondonya-208-1659847-192026.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Dondonya-208-1659847-192026.html Wed, 27 Oct 2010 09:31:20 +0000 <![CDATA[Lei Garden 利苑 (Elements) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinchina/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Lei_Garden_Elements_-140-1659814-192012.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinchina/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Lei_Garden_Elements_-140-1659814-192012.html Wed, 27 Oct 2010 07:53:59 +0000 <![CDATA[Chinese Language Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinchina/reviews/d/UserReview-Chinese_Language-140-1433648-154185.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinchina/reviews/d/UserReview-Chinese_Language-140-1433648-154185.html Mon, 13 Sep 2010 11:30:50 +0000 <![CDATA[JW Marriott Hotel, Hong Kong Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/hotel/UserReview-JW_Marriott_Hotel_Hong_Kong-208-1562519-113283.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/hotel/UserReview-JW_Marriott_Hotel_Hong_Kong-208-1562519-113283.html Tue, 17 Aug 2010 07:07:02 +0000 <![CDATA[Property.hk Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/website/UserReview-Property_hk-208-1562518-113282.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/website/UserReview-Property_hk-208-1562518-113282.html Tue, 17 Aug 2010 06:58:12 +0000 <![CDATA[ Value for money at the Elements! Have a superb lunch at Nahm!]]>
I like the open concept of the restaurant. Most of the restaurants in Hong Kong are packed during the lunch hour, same for this one. It looks like a business restaurant but with a relaxed mood to it. Not too big and feels cosy. I decided I like it! On this visit, I had a set lunch. It's definitely a lot more economical to have a quick lunch here than to have dinner, I found out later. 

Let's take a look at what Namh does well for lunch. The set lunch I had consisted of Pomelo salad and Green curry with rice. The Pomelo salad was spectacular, the very best I've ever had so far! The Green curry was pretty decent as well although I've had better in Singapore's Thai Express.

It had been about 3 months since I last visited. Now, I returned for another visit. This time dinner. I had a simple dinner though. Simply the Pomelo salad and Pad Thai. The noodle is great with lots of seafood and quite a huge portion if you're dining alone. I decided that my dining experience at Nahm is a lot better during lunch, especially if I'm dining alone or just need a quick lunch. The set lunch at HK$88 is truly of great value and the portion is more suited to my appetite. A salad (which is quite big in portion) and a choice of the main course (some 7 or 8 choices). If one is still not full, one can opt for a dessert (and it's truly good) at HK$25.

On my second lunch visit, I tried the Mango with black glutinous rice and it was yummy! It's however too much for me and I couldn't finish everything! Hence, my conclusion that it's truly value for money! My friend and I tried dimsum at another restaurant in Elements and it costs a lot more than what I have had to pay at Nahm. I'm truly happy with Nahm and will certainly make regular visits in future :-) 3 Thumbs up!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Nahm-208-1443883-111932-Value_for_money_at_the_Elements_Have_a_superb.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Nahm-208-1443883-111932-Value_for_money_at_the_Elements_Have_a_superb.html Sun, 15 Aug 2010 07:50:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Gute? Not really...]]>  
Housed in the exclusive Elements Mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, a high end mall in Hong Kong, it is indeed in the right spot. The shop looks spotless with friendly staff. Service is good. I was even allowed to take pictures! After having window shopped twice, I finally made it inside and bought 2 slices of cakes, 2 types of bread & a pudding.

I must admit the cakes all look great & a tad more expensive than some of more popular pastry shops in Hong Kong. However, at Elements, that kind of pricing is understandable. La Creation de Gute positions itself with the concept “ordinaries can be extraordinary”. The décor looks upscale and the pastries extraordinary. Taste wise though, it’s simply quite ordinary. Of the 2 types of pastries I bought, they are pretty much forgettable; a mango puff @ HK$18 & a slice of mango blueberry swissroll @HK$30 which I found a little on the high side. Both merely tasted ordinary. Certainly not as good as they looked! The pudding is even worse! At HK$32, it’s not only expensive, it’s perhaps even yucky for some (like my aunt). The only saving grace is the squid ink cheese bread (exotic, isn’t it? ;-)) and the blueberry croissants which was really good!

By the way, I checked with the sales staff. It’s a Japanese creation and not French or German. Typical for Japanese to adopt French names in their bakeries just like what the Chinese loves to do now with their businesses by adopting English names. Why they need to do that is beyond me, other than to create an illusion which might not necessary be advantageous in the long run.

So, my advice for La Creation de Gute (quite a mouthful, isn’t it?) is, forget about the cakes, just go for the bread and pastries! And don’t be tempted by the beautiful looks of its cakes either, although they come with a very nice pamphlet. Thanks but no thanks, I won’t take that chance again! :p]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/food/UserReview-La_Creation_de_Gute-208-1534971-91360-Gute_Not_really_.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/food/UserReview-La_Creation_de_Gute-208-1534971-91360-Gute_Not_really_.html Fri, 6 Aug 2010 14:31:43 +0000
<![CDATA[The Parlour, Hullet House Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-The_Parlour_Hullet_House-208-1503782-70564.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-The_Parlour_Hullet_House-208-1503782-70564.html Tue, 27 Jul 2010 08:27:19 +0000 <![CDATA[Hullet House Hotel Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/uniquehotels/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Hullet_House_Hotel-50-1503780-67779.html http://www.lunch.com/uniquehotels/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Hullet_House_Hotel-50-1503780-67779.html Sun, 25 Jul 2010 11:47:58 +0000 <![CDATA[Hullet House Hotel Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Hullet_House_Hotel-208-1503780-67778.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Hullet_House_Hotel-208-1503780-67778.html Sun, 25 Jul 2010 11:37:56 +0000 <![CDATA[Hokkaido Marche Milk Top Cheese Pudding Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/Gourmand/reviews/food/UserReview-Hokkaido_Marche_Milk_Top_Cheese_Pudding-2-1503036-67505.html http://www.lunch.com/Gourmand/reviews/food/UserReview-Hokkaido_Marche_Milk_Top_Cheese_Pudding-2-1503036-67505.html Thu, 22 Jul 2010 13:25:55 +0000 <![CDATA[Jin Luo Bao Korean Restaurant Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Gogi Gui though!]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Jin_Luo_Bao_Korean_Restaurant-208-1501577-67188.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Jin_Luo_Bao_Korean_Restaurant-208-1501577-67188.html Tue, 20 Jul 2010 15:39:45 +0000 <![CDATA[ What's my fortune? or rather, where lies my fortune?]]>

Frankly, I don't know enough about Fengshui or proficient in it to write a review about it. I do know that one visit by the master can cost thousands if not hundred of thousands of dollars, depending on how big your "project" is. Afterall, I've a friend who paid a 'master' some HK$30000 to simply change her Chinese name! To be fair, I don't think it is necessary. What I think don't quite matter in this case. What I'm trying to tell you about this subject matter may sound quite ridiculous but to people in Hong Kong and Taiwan, they are not.

Below I shall try to outline a few cases. Fengshui is not quite fortune telling. It is based on the elements and also some logical thinking.
  1. Homes that faces the sea with mountains as its back is considered of good fengshui.
  2. In an office, do not place your seat with your back facing a door. Rather, place your front facing the door from the side way. If you sit facing the wall while your back is in the direction of the door, you're liable to be back-stabbed!
  3. In the bedroom, do not place your bed pointing out to the door. That's the Chinese dreaded "coffin" position. Also avoid putting office furniture, book cases & electronics in the bedroom. These objects may have drastic consequences for the quality of your sleep.
  4. In the kitchen, the sink (water element) and the stove (fire element) should not be next to one another. Kitchen should also not be facing north.
  5. Colors significance: Yellow - authority, White - purity, Red - happiness, Purple - wealth.

As you can see, Fengshui really involves the placement of a furniture or some objects in a way to facilitate the flow of the energy or life force (chi). It's a rearrangement, declutter and improving the way energy flows. Personally I'm not sure how true or how workable these things are. Regardless, when we chose a seat in the office, we all make sure we're facing the right direction. For some, north facing is advantages. For others, south. While for some others, it's either west or east!

If you like to find out more, here are some websites which might interest you on this matter:
Lilian Too
World of Fengshui
About.com: Fengshui

Well, if you learn something new and exciting, do make sure to remember to write a review here on Lunch & advise us about it! Good luck!

(A Lunch Featured Review)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Feng_Shui-208-1419139-21672-What_s_my_fortune_or_rather_where_lies_my.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Feng_Shui-208-1419139-21672-What_s_my_fortune_or_rather_where_lies_my.html Thu, 6 May 2010 16:00:17 +0000
<![CDATA[Feng Shui Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Feng_Shui-208-1419139-56602.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Feng_Shui-208-1419139-56602.html Thu, 6 May 2010 10:51:40 +0000 <![CDATA[ Shop til you drop!]]>
When you combine the two, you've got the best of both worlds! That is, at the Elements (圆方)! Elements is almost brand new, well, about 2 year old or so (opened Oct. 1, 2007). It is the flagship shopping mall of MTR at the basement of Hong Kong tallest skyscraper International Commerce Centre. Elements is easy to get to, simply take the MTR to Kowloon Station or the Airport Express from the airport to... Kowloon Station! As easy as that.

is based on Fengshui's (aka Geomancy) 5 elements of nature. The entire shopping mall is divided into 5 zones... Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth.  About 120+ shops, an ice skating rink and the largest cineplex in Hong Kong (seating 1600) are housed within the 5 elements. This is no ordinary shopping mall though. Elements covers a total space floor of 1 million sq. feet! 

Each zone of the mall is designed with an interior theme peculiar to that particular element. For example, the Water zone is represented by the water feature "harmony" while the Earth zone is symbolized by the number 9 as the land where Elements is built is Kowloon which literally translates to Nine Dragon.

I love shopping here. For a few obvious reasons:
  1. Convenience: One can easily get here by subways, taxis or even buses from mainland China or Shenzhen airport!
  2. Great restaurants: A wide choice be it Japanese, Chinese or Western.
  3. Less Crowd: Elements cater to high end shoppers. Hence you can actually shop leisurely without having to worry about being pickpocketed!
  4. Washrooms that are even better than those of 5 star hotels: There are actually sofas outside the washrooms! There are perfumes in the washrooms!
  5. Gift-shopping: I've found this place a great place to look for innovative designs and some truly special-interest gifts like designer Japanese teapots! 

If you've a chance to come to Elements, be sure you look out for a crystal-studded Mercedes Benz. It's quite a spectacular sight! To find it, simply look for Starbucks, it's displayed right outside the cafe!

Some interesting shops in Elements:
Some great restaurants in Elements:
  • Namh
  • Lei Garden
  • Wang Jia Sha

Some top brands anchor stores:
  • Bvlgari
  • Mont Blanc
  • Piaget
  • Chanel
  • Tumi

Be it for shopping or be it for just a quick bite or luxurious lunch, Elements in Hong Kong is a great place to be at! I'm heading there again this very Sunday!
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Elements_Hong_Kong-208-1443185-21662-Shop_til_you_drop_.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Elements_Hong_Kong-208-1443185-21662-Shop_til_you_drop_.html Thu, 6 May 2010 10:00:53 +0000
<![CDATA[International Commerce Centre Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/ArchitectureBest/reviews/d/UserReview-International_Commerce_Centre-168-1452402-56598.html http://www.lunch.com/ArchitectureBest/reviews/d/UserReview-International_Commerce_Centre-168-1452402-56598.html Thu, 6 May 2010 07:20:49 +0000 <![CDATA[Elements, Hong Kong Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Elements_Hong_Kong-208-1443185-55840.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Elements_Hong_Kong-208-1443185-55840.html Thu, 8 Apr 2010 12:24:12 +0000 <![CDATA[Hong Kong International Airport Quick Tip by devora]]> http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_International_Airport-129-1437416-55689.html http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_International_Airport-129-1437416-55689.html Fri, 2 Apr 2010 20:37:04 +0000 <![CDATA[ My favorite airport!]]>
In recent days, I've been breezing through this airport more than any other airports in the world. HKIA is one of the best laid out and well planned airport in the world. It has won 7 of the Skytrax World Airport Awards in last 10 years for customer satisfaction (the other 3 being won by Singapore Changi Airport). HKIA is a 24-hour airport.

For most airlines you can actually check in at 3 transfer or check-in points in town. Hong Kong Station, Kowloon Station & Tsingyi Station when you plan to travel by the HK Airport Express train service  to the airport. 

The baggages will be transferred to the airport without much of a nuisance and then onto the airplane by the HK Airport Express staff. All one needs to do is to simply board the train with cabin baggages. That's it. All set to go. The other best thing about this is one can even check in the day before! This is ideal arrangement for those who are simply transiting in HK for a night or so. No need to carry your bags all the way to the hotel even!

Arriving at Airport
Food! Yes, before you board the Airport Express trains, there are restaurants for your pick above the stations. If those are not what you wish, which is seldom the case, especially with regards to Kowloon Station (where Elements the mega mall is just above it), you can still eat at the airport before going through immigration. There are fast foods, food courts and even snacks for you to buy home. Plenty of shopping at the airport. One can easily spend hours here just browsing!

There are 2 terminals in HKIA, most of the better airlines are in T1 while most budget airlines are in T2. Having been through both terminals, I must say food in T2 is as good, especially the noodle restaurant. However, make sure you go through immigration asap in T2 as there is quite a distance to walk. It does seem that the airplanes actually depart from T1 while T2 simply handles check-in for airlines. Yes, if you cannot check in in town, chances are you'll be departing from T2. 

Immigration Check Point
The beauty of HKIA immigration check point is this. We know that most citizens or residents of a country can go through their respective counters pretty quickly but that's not the case for foreigners arriving as 'aliens'. HKIA took its initiative by giving its frequent visitors VIP treatment. IF you are a visitor who frequent this airport (merely 3x a year), you can apply for a frequent visitor pass which will allow you a different counter specifically designed for this purpose. In other words, shorter queues and a higher degree of efficiency as your data are already prescribed on the digital card. That means it'll translate to more time for shopping! Less frustration to have to wait in long queues too! Don't forget this is one of the busiest airports in the world too!

Inside the passenger waiting area, there are lots of rooms and also shops with local flavor for you to indulge yourself in. If you're not inclined to shop, you can always take out your netbook & surf for free via its wifi services. That's one great service that this airport is providing. In Narita Japan, you'd have to pay for it unless you're inside the airline lounge area. While in Singapore Changi Airport, they make you fill in some details about your cellphone number and I hate the hassle of doing that!

Direct transfer to Mainland China and Macau
For passengers who are heading to Shenzhen, Zhuhai or Macao, you can arrange for your transport by ferry direct to these few cities. Do NOT go through immigration, simply go to the airport service counter and buy your ferry ticket, hand the staff your baggage tags and they'll be taken care of. All you need is to board the ferry & then collect your bags upon arrival in Shenzhen, Zhuhai or Macao. There are a few more cities in mainland China that HKIA do service so that actually save you a great deal of time and money when transiting in HKIA. In General, flights to Hong Kong are a lot cheaper from the U.S. or Europe than flights to Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou. You'll also have less problem transiting in HK as staff in HKIA are more proficient in handling international passengers than those from China since it has a lot more years of experience doing so. Hence, for a smooth transition, I urge you to consider using this as a transfer point or transit hub.

Visa Free
Visits to Hong Kong is visa-free for most nationals. Most Asians are allowed a stay of one month (to my knowledge). If you stay a month, walk across to Shenzhen and then back to Hong Kong again, you are entitled to another month. Hence, it is quite a place to be (provided you can afford the high standard living in Hong Kong). If not, you can always go across and live in Shenzhen, China. One catch is that you must be able to get a visa to China. We Asians normally have no problem with it. However, I have heard some westerners had abused the privilege and visas to foreigners are a little dicier. How true that is depends on the individuals, I think.

(A Lunch Featured Review)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_International_Airport-208-1437416-20476-My_favorite_airport_.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_International_Airport-208-1437416-20476-My_favorite_airport_.html Thu, 1 Apr 2010 17:15:57 +0000
<![CDATA[Hong Kong International Airport Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_International_Airport-129-1437416-55509.html http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Hong_Kong_International_Airport-129-1437416-55509.html Mon, 29 Mar 2010 15:19:52 +0000 <![CDATA[ Yours sweetly]]>
Pappagallo is one fine dessert chain though. It has some truly lovely cakes which I've come to love since discovering it less than a month ago. Some of its best are the Hazelnut cake, Tiramisu & Rum & Cherries Cake. Incidentally, Pappagallo also serves a wide array of ice creams & gelato but I found them a tad too sweet for me.

1. Hazelnut Cake

I just bought this cake for Valentine's Day because they ran out of the Strawberry cake I wanted and I couldn't be bothered to return for another cake on the day itself since it's also Chinese New Year Day. Well, as with the Mont-Blanc earlier, was I surprised! My first cake from PPG and as far as I know, they don't make this cake normally either. It was only available for Valentine's Day & possibly if you beg them with special orders! 

The cake looks like any chocolate cake. However, it didn't taste like chocolate cake at all! It was not too sweet despite its look. That was my original concern as well. I don't like cakes that are too sweet! And for this one, it's an entire cake I was taking home, not just a piece! So, I took it out & tried it on Chinese New Year Day, for good luck. We Chinese eat Nian Gao (Chinese New Year cake) on New Year to bring in good luck and all things superstitious will be observed during this period. So, this year, I ate both the Chinese cake & Western cake since it's also Valentine's Day! Remind me to go on diet now that CNY celebration is over! I badly need to! :-)

The PPG Hazelnut cake is very smooth and moist. Perfect balance! I love its texture and love the fact that it has chunks of hazelnut and also almonds in it. Lovely! Simply the best!

2. Tiramisu

The 2nd cake I like from PPG. Tiramisu I've tried in many countries including Japan. But this Tiramisu is the kind of Tiramisu I can fall in love with! Not too sweet and very light. It doesn't give you the feeling of fullness and hence the need to stop! 

According to the girl from PPG, this is also one of their best sellers. I'm pleasantly surprised that PPG has got excellent cakes, a lot better than their ice-creams & gelato which I've decided not to review on as they are too sweet for my taste!

3. Rum & Blueberries Cake

I recently tried this upon the staff's recommendation as well. It looked like a Black Forest or chocolate cake on the exterior. There is the freshest blueberry inside and the cake is moist and soft. Another winner of PPG's creation.

Not all PPG's cake are awesome though. Some are good but not great. Like their soft cheese cakes. What I find surprising is that cakes which I didn't think I'd like turns out to be stunning! Hence, many a time, I turned adventurous at this chain. 

Generally though, the cakes all look pretty and most of the people who passed by the podium couldn't stop but take a peep inside. It's really quite a nice area with some tables and chairs for shoppers to relax in and also to go online if need be. Yes, I forgot to mention, didn't I? PPG's outlets are wifi ready! That makes having a cup of tea and a piece of cake not only a luxury but also essential! What better way than to pass your time in a mall relaxing amids the hustle and bustle? :-)

Before you leave, you may even want to try out its ice creams and gelato. 

4. Icecream Cakes
One other unique dessert which Pappagallo markets is its ice cream cake. An entire cake made of ice cream. You've to preorder it if you'd like to try. I haven't gotten to that yet as I doubt I could finish an entire ice cream cake on my own since I'm actually living all by myself! But if I do get the chance to try it, I'll definitely let you know how that turns out to be. For now, here are some pictures to get you going. These are not real ice cream cakes but are models. Lovely, isn't it? I couldn't even tell these are not real!

http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/food/UserReview-Pappagallo_PPG_-208-1438107-19653-Yours_sweetly.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/food/UserReview-Pappagallo_PPG_-208-1438107-19653-Yours_sweetly.html Fri, 12 Mar 2010 12:19:51 +0000
<![CDATA[Pappagallo (PPG) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/food/UserReview-Pappagallo_PPG_-1438107-54486.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/food/UserReview-Pappagallo_PPG_-1438107-54486.html Sun, 7 Mar 2010 04:02:25 +0000 <![CDATA[ What a pot of gold!]]>
Hot Pot (typically known as Steamboat in S.E. Asia) is a method of sharing food by cooking within a metal pot in the center of the table. Food are dipped (like beef and prawns) or cooked (like veges and seafood) within that big pot. Most of the food are raw and are bought from the markets or supermarkets. All one has to do is to rinse them before gathering every item & leave it on the table to be shared. It's somewhat like eating Korean BBQ. In this case, it's hot pot. In the case of Japanese, it shall be Shabu-shabu.

What is it?

It's been said hot pot originated since Genghis Khan's days. How true is that is anyone's guess. Perhaps the movie Mongul may have shed some light but you'll have to check with @Woopak_the_thrill on that count. It was written that hot pot has more than a thousand years of history, dating back as far as the Tang Dynasty (AD 600+ to 900). There are some variations as to the ingredients used within the whole of China but generally, it's one popular method of cooking, especially during the winter.

Traditionally, it's known as Huoguo (火锅) in Mandarin or Dabinlou (打邊爐) in Cantonese. Huoguo translates literally to Fire Pot. Other than a steel pot, there is the soup base and the ingredients. As far as the soup base goes in the Cantonese version, it is merely broth from chicken or pork. However, in certain parts of China, there are some variations to this. I'll illustrate later.

What does it constitute?
Common Ingredients
The common used ingredients are some meat, seafood and veges. Noodles, Udons or Vermicelli may be included.
  1. Meat: Beef (I have tried some good quality beef but certainly no Kobe beef, in case you're curious ;-)), Pork, Chicken, Lamb, Offals, etc... (Recently in Shanghai, I have even had pig brain supplied by one fine restaurant which is constantly packed!)
  2. Seafood: Prawns, Cuttlefish (love this!), Scallops, Fish, Cockles, Squid, Mussels, Fish, Lobster, Geoduck or anything else you fancy. (It's really up to you, afterall you're the one eating it!)
  3. Vegetables: Bok Choy, Fat Choy, Spinach, Tongho (this one is esp. great with steamboat), Taro, Pumpkin, Napa Cabbage, Mushrooms (all kinds), etc... Tofu is also a common item served.
Hoisin Sauce, Soy Sauce, Peanut Sauce, Sa Cha Sauce, Chili, etc (again, whatever works for you although in hot pot restaurants, a variety of sauces are available for your selection and mixing). 

Different Types of Hot Pots
Sichuan Hot Pot
This kind of hot pot is mostly served in Sichuan cities of Chengdu & Chongqing. Due to the humid and cold weather in this part of China, people here love to include the spicy version of soup base. As you can see from the picture below, it has 2 different sections. Those who prefer hot and spicy (to which a spice known as huajiao which creates the numb and spicy sensation in the tongue is included). As much as I love spicy food, I do not like the mala (麻辣) sensation. Numb? Not for me ;-) I have tried it more than once though and still don't like it. 

This hot pot has also been called the Yuanyang (鸳鸯) Hot Pot. Honored as Sichuan Innovative Hotpot, it's been said that Deng Xiaoping got his inspiration to govern the SAR (Special Administrative Region), ie. Hong Kong & Macao from his hot pot. In other words, one country, 2 ways of governing. Interesting, don't you think?

Beijing Hot Pot
Shuanyangrou (涮羊肉) is the most popular kind of hot pot in Northern China. This is an entirely different kind of hot pot. Not only is it different from the common type of hot pot (which I'm currently referring to those well known in South East Asia as well as Southern China and Hong Kong), it is also different from Sichuan Hot Pot.

The main difference lies in the way of eating as well as the meat. As the Chinese term Shuanyangrou (涮羊肉) literally means instant boiled lamb. Hence, what you eat mostly is anything that's related to the lamb, be it the heart, kidney, liver, or other offals. Mostly, it's thinly sliced meat that's the main attraction here. I didn't think I'd like lamb that much until I've tried this in the winter during my stay in Beijing. Here, the soup base is not important. Also, every person has his/her own hot pot. Very westernized way of eating :-)
(I must qualify that this is how it's done in some restaurants, not all.)
Condiments are important and makes a lot of difference. One has to try to find out which type one'll like.

Tip: Beijing Manfulou Restaurant (满富楼涮羊肉) is one of my favorites. It is very near to the Forbidden City and hence definitely convenient if you're heading to China for a vacation. 
Generally, this kind of hot pot may be had in cities like Tianjin and Shanghai too. 
You may also ask for bbq lamb in these restaurants. They make great lamb kebab!

Mongolian Hot Pot (Chinese Hot Pot)
In China, there is a restaurant chain Little Sheep Hot Pot (小肥羊) which claims to serve Mongolia Hot Pot. I did go Mongolia but I don't think I've seen this restaurant chain. However, I haven't tried it but was told by many in China that it is really good, one of the very best.

It's official website claims that it has a branch in San Francisco area! So, how about it? Sharrie calling @woopak & @devora, how about giving it a try and do us the courtesy of writing a review on it? ;-) Here's the location: 34396 Alvarado Niles Road, Union City. Tel: 510-6759919.

Japanese Shabu Shabu (or Syabu Syabu)

The Japanese Shabu-shabu originated from China's Shuanyangrou (aka Beijing Hot Pot) as mentioned earlier. Shabu-shabu was a registered trademark. It originated from the "swish swish" sound that was made when the beef slice is being swished around in the hot pot.

Shabu-shabu uses mainly beef instead of lamb. Tender ribeye steak is often used although I'm sure there must be some Kobe beef available in Japan?! The soup base may be made of dashi or simply water. Sometimes, kombu (kelp) is used. The condiment here is mainly ponzu (a citrus based sauce or goma (sesame) sauce.

When it comes to Sukiyaki, it's not cooked in hot pot made of copper. Instead, it's clay or cast iron. This type of hot pot is known as Nabemono (or simply Nabe) in Japan. It's a one pot dish. Portable gas stove  is commonly used in this case. 

Sukiyaki has a sweet inclination in its soup due to mirin & its sugar content. Beef is used and also Japanese mushrooms. Tofu and veges are commonly found in sukiyaki. Stew everything in the soup which may also has some sake in it. Then dip them in a bowl of raw beaten eggs before eating them!  I don't particularly like Sukiyaki as I don't fancy sweet soup that much.

Singapore & Malaysia Steamboat
In this region of the world, hot pot is popularly known as steamboat. The ingredients are mostly seafood (including cockles, cuttlefish, squids, fishballs, etc.) and sometimes precooked yong tau foo. Due to the humid and hot weather in this area, electric or gas portable stove is usually used with the air conditioning blasting around you. There are quite a few steamboat restaurants in Singapore. I've only tried Coca which originated from Thailand. Steamboat in Singapore is mostly buffet style so you can eat to your heart's content ;-) In this part of the world, you can be sure the condiment will be hot & spicy!

Steamboat is fun and engaging. It's one sociable activities and generally enjoyed by adults and children alike. I remembered some great time while in university having steamboats with my friends during those cold winter months in Toronto. Interesting enough, I don't think most Americans have had steamboats or hot pots at home! With electric/gas portable stove so readily available, why not? Considering the long winter in the U.S. & Canada, this is certainly a great way to keep warm & fun!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/food/UserReview-Hot_Pot-208-1432238-18988-What_a_pot_of_gold_.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/food/UserReview-Hot_Pot-208-1432238-18988-What_a_pot_of_gold_.html Sun, 28 Feb 2010 01:10:48 +0000
<![CDATA[ Wo Ai Ni (我爱你) is the way to go, if your Valentine is Chinese!]]> Chinese New Year (the year of the golden tiger begins) for all Chinese and also Valentine's Day for the rest of the world. So, other than uttering Gongxi Facai (恭喜发财) in Mandarin & Gong Hei Fat Choi in Cantonese, the words for lovers are Wo Ai Ni (我爱你) in Chinese. That's Je t'aime in French :-)

Now, the newest trend is to learn Chinese. I've seen and met a great many students who come from across the world to learn Mandarin in Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. Students from U.S., France, Germany, Spain, Norway, Korea and even Kazakhstan. Mandarin is the language of the new decade, it seems.

Well, it's a little complicated where this language is concerned. Chinese Language, what is it? Why do they sound different in different parts of China? Let's differentiate between a language and dialects first.

There is only one language, ie. Chinese Language. It's written form is the same in all of China (but there is a little difference in Taiwan & Hong Kong. The traditional Chinese & the Simplified Chinese. China itself has adopted the Simplified Chinese while Taiwan & Hong Kong still use the Traditional Chinese way of writing (more strokes in the word itself). 

Chinese Language is one of the most complicated, not so much in its grammar but rather in the way the words are written & pronounced; many strokes & same pronounciation may have different meanings under different context as well as with different combination. 

Firstly, the official language of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC, ie. commonly known as China) is the language spoken in Beijing. Known as Mandarin to the West & Putonghua to the Chinese as well as Huayu to the South East Asian Chinese. Aside from Mandarin, China has 6 major dialect groups. Within each dialect groups, there are some differentiation in accent depending on where it's spoken & which village or town it originated. Around 70% of China's population speaks Mandarin but that doesn't mean it's their first language. In some cities like Guangzhou, Hongkong & southern China, Cantonese is spoken more often. Cantonese is also one of the major dialects & it sounds entirely different from Mandarin but in all chinese dialects, the written form is the same.

Trivia: Take a guess, how many Chinese characters are there? 
Answer: About 56,000 characters.

Generally, for the well educated, one would know or use about 6000 to 8000 characters. To read a newspaper, you need to know at least 1500-2500!

Chinese words usually is a combination of 2 or more characters. To make it even more complicated, there are countries outside China which uses different form of the same word, notably in Hongkong & Taiwan. China has in 1954 simplified about 2200 chinese characters by reducing the number of strokes for each of the different characters, while Hongkong & Taiwan prefer to use the traditional full-form characters. In other words, if one doesn't read widely, it is very possible one would not recognised the same character of the 2 different forms when one sees it. So, a young student from China may not be able to read the newspaper in Taiwan even though he/she has no problems reading it had it been published in China!!!

Spoken Mandarin has 4 different tones while 6 different tones in Cantonese. It's said that Cantonese is harder for a foreigner to master because of this.

爱in simplified Chinese.

For example, the word love 爱. It's the 4th tone of the pronounciation ai 4.
The first tone of ai may be a word like 挨(ai 1 骂 ma 4), meaning getting a scolding.
The second tone of ai may be a word like 癌 (ai 2), meaning cancer.
The third tone of ai may be a word like 矮 (ai 3), meaning short.

[BBC has produced a mini tone guide which I found interesting. Check it out!]

So, it is most important to get them right! :-)

I do speak Putonghua/Mandarin and also 3 other Chinese dialects. It comes naturally to me. Having learned Indonesian Language at a young age, it helps in learning Mandarin. I also speak some Japanese. I do find that within these 3 languages, Chinese, Indonesian and Japanese (possibly Spanish too), the pronounciation is similar. Hence, it is easier for those who know these few languages to learn spoken Chinese (may not be so easy to learn the written form though).

In order to learn Chinese Language well, you need lots of time, at least 10 years of exposure. Some may learn to speak in less but to write beautifully, it may actually take a lifetime! Calligraphy is also a trained art which I'm fond of. Generally though, I think the world is at a stage where by Chinese Language will be a major language in the near future (about 5 to 10 years down the road). As it is, about 1/3 of the world population speaks this language! I've read in recent times that some parents in New York City are hiring nannies who speak Chinese to their children from a young age so as to prepare them well in advance where learning Mandarin is concerned. 

From my own personal experience, it pays to pick up whatever languages you'd like to learn from a young age. It's extremely difficult to learn a new language once you reached adulthood. From observing Chinese Singaporeans trying to learn Mandarin, I'd say that's quite the case. I did learn English only from the age of 10, so, it's not too late for many. All in all, the earlier the better :-)

http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Chinese_Language-208-1433648-18346-Wo_Ai_Ni_is_the_way_to_go_if_your_Valentine.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Chinese_Language-208-1433648-18346-Wo_Ai_Ni_is_the_way_to_go_if_your_Valentine.html Sun, 14 Feb 2010 11:23:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ Tiger reigns for 2010]]>

2010 is Year 4707 in the Chinese Calendar. The Chinese Calendar has been in continuous use for centuries, a lot longer than the Gregorian Calendar has been in used. This year, the animal of the year is Tiger. And in the Chinese Calendar the year begins on Feb. 14. The Year of the Ox shall ends on Feb. 13, 2010 which has been believed to be a year of toiling. Ox is afterall an animal associated with working in the field mostly. The Year of the (Golden) Tiger is believed to be an fearless & courageous year. Tiger is a symbol of power & authority. Having said that, Chinese New Year is based on astronomical observations. It has nothing to do with animals, myths or emperors. It is scientifically & mathematically determined; Chinese New Year is the 2nd New Moon (lunar) after the Winter Solstice (solar).                      
The significance of Chinese New Year
1) Spring Cleaning
It is common to clean one's home as the year draws to a close in order to welcome new and better luck. In reality, this is done to prepare open houses to friends and family members who'll come visiting during the New Year period. It is customary to visit people we know, be it your colleagues, friends or relatives during the 15 days of the New Year. Hence, one certainly needs to get the home ready & to stock up on goodies. Let's get ready for party time!
2) Reunion Dinner
On New Year's Eve, everyone in the family goes home to their parents for dinner. In China especially since many left home for another province to work and to faraway places, it's time for return for reunions. All will return to their hometowns and have a feast to their heart's content. Sharing about experiences, about the past year's happenings and about what's new in the new year will be the topic of discussions among family. It's very much like Christmas Eve. No gifts but some may give red packets (with cash inside) to their children and grandchildren this very night while some practice giving it on New Year Day itself.
3) Visiting Friends & Relatives
On Chinese New Year Day, some may choose to stay at home awaiting friends and relatives to visit while the younger generation usually go about town visiting those who are more senior to them. All will dress in new clothes and shoes for good luck. Red is the auspicious color and if you dress in black on this day, it will be frowned upon as black is considered a color associated with death where the Chinese are concerned. One wears black on funeral day and most welcome to adorn oneself in red on Chinese New Year day. The brighter the color, the better it is. For Good Luck, obviously!

4) Red Packets
This is most welcome by kids of all ages and most 'dreaded' by adults. Red packets are given to children by married couples and seniors. The custom is this, if you bring your kids to your friend's or sister's home, the host (only if he/she is married) shall give red packets to your children. AND, if the hosts also have children of their own, you shall return the favor in kind. How much you will give is dependent on your relations with one another and also how economically well off you are. It's a give & take situation. However, if you're married and without kids, then you are bound to be in a lose situation. Hence, it's common for some who wish to avoid making a losing deal by going overseas for holidays instead! 

5) Nian Gao (New Year Cake)
Nian Gao (年糕) rhymes with a Chinese Idiom that translates to Nian Nian Gao Sheng (年年高升), ie. up and up every year. Meaning if you are in business, your business will be improving with each new year. Or if you are working for a salary, your salary & bonuses will be higher than last. Hence, it is a common practice to eat this Chinese New Year cake during the Chinese New Year so that your year will begin auspiciously. New Year Cake is prevalent in Southern part of China while Dumpling is the food on the table in the North. Dumpling also symbolize wealth as their shape is like a Chinese Tael (old form of money in China). Hence, it is commonly practiced by the Chinese that one should only say good things in Chinese New Year and not to argue with others. It is bad chi to argue and in order to have good karma, be nice to everyone during these 15 days. How true that is I'm not sure, but I'm not going to trade in my entire year's luck by swearing at anyone. Well, patience is a virtue. If you can't hold it for long, you must at least control your temper for the first 15 days of the Chinese New Year. Be forewarned! ;-)

6) Lion Dance & Fire Crackers
Lion Dance is a symbolic ritual to usher in the New Year. Chinese businesses love this and will invite the troupe to dance in and around their business compounds. It is meant to evict bad spirits from the business premises. Fireworks & fire crackers are traditionally very popular in China. In fact, last year, in Beijing, fireworks created havoc & burned the entire Mandarin Oriental Hotel which was due to open last year. It was said that CCTV staffs were involved in this case. Singapore & Hong Kong governments have banned this due to fire hazard concerns.

7) Seventh Day of New Year (人日)
This is the common man's birthday, ie everyone's birthday. Human Day.

8) Lantern Festival (also Chinese Valentine's Day)
The last day of Chinese New Year, ie. the 15th day is the day one eats sweet glutinous rice balls (in soup) (汤圆). It is known as Yuanxiao Jie (元宵节). This day marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.


So, here's wishing everyone on Lunch a Happy Valentine's Day & a Prosperous Chinese New Year!

http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Chinese_New_Year-208-1429467-18087-Tiger_reigns_for_2010.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/d/UserReview-Chinese_New_Year-208-1429467-18087-Tiger_reigns_for_2010.html Tue, 9 Feb 2010 13:35:15 +0000
<![CDATA[ Sweet, colorful & yummy...]]>

I love desserts. Desserts are colorful, cheerful and delightful. Yes, all kinds of desserts, especially those from Asia. I wrote about Indonesian and Thai desserts recently and they have increased my appetite for more. So, I thought, why not Hong Kong (style) desserts? Afterall, Hong Kong has a great variety of food and desserts for its visitors so much so that many have spread overseas. You can now find Hong Kong (style) desserts in China, Singapore, Chinatowns in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
Hong Kong desserts orignated in Hong Kong. They differ from those in China. Some small enterprising individuals began serving these desserts decades ago and they are normally found in tiny outlets where tables normally do not exceed 10 small tables. They are highly popular and have sprung up in many parts of Hong Kong. These desserts are no longer cheap, imho. Some from Hui Lao Shan can fetch as much as HK$50 or more (that’s about US$6 or more) which is in fact almost double the price of a bowl of noodle in this part of the world! Yet, the traffic in these outlets kept increasing and dessert lovers have gotten used to these delicious sweets that they can’t go without!
Hong Kong desserts can simply be categorised into 2 types:
  1. The Traditional Desserts
  2. The New Recipes
These desserts may also be served hot or cold. Some can be eaten both ways, depending on your liking
The Traditonal desserts
These are desserts which can be found both in restaurants and dim sum places. Known in Hongkong as Tongsui, they may be in the form of tarts, puddings or soups. Some of the popular Hong Kong Tongsui are:

My personal favorites are Walnut cream or soup, Tofu pudding (Douhua) & Mango pudding.

Walnut Soup

Steamed Egg Custard

Tofu Pudding & Mango Pudding

The New Recipes
These are recent ly spurned desserts by famous outlets like Hui Lao Shan & Honeymoon Dessert. Most of them are fruit based, especially Mango and Durian. I love them because I love these 2 tropical fruits and these desserts are well presented and taste awesome as well.  

http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/food/UserReview-Hong_Kong_style_desserts-208-1429549-14422-Sweet_colorful_yummy_.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/food/UserReview-Hong_Kong_style_desserts-208-1429549-14422-Sweet_colorful_yummy_.html Mon, 2 Nov 2009 05:22:16 +0000
<![CDATA[ Pong! Pong! Pong!]]>
Mahjong is a noisy game. Not only do you have to shout (that's the fun part of it, I think) but you also have to be real quick in thinking and have good memory and eyesight to play it. It is a game played across all ages though, from the teens to those in the 80s even! It is a game best played with friends and during festive seasons like Chinese New Year.

First, the rules of the game. To simplify matter, the basic rules is you try to get tiles of the same suit. Oh no, forget it, the rules are too complicated to be explained here. Try to understand what wikipedia has put up if you are really interested in the game (I've provided a link at the beginning of this paragraph). If not, at least get to visit a friend who's hosting a game in his/her house and watch it in action and try to understand it. The quickest way to learn it (which i did from my 11 year old cousin!) was to play it yourself with another friend guiding you in the process.

I love Mahjong for its complexity, not its simplicity. There is nothing simple about this game. It is dynamic and it challenges your intelligence, your opponents' memories and your social skill. It also has some aspect of poker in it. Playing mahjong is exceptionally entertaining for the Chinese. And for most part, people play with chips but real monies are usually involved. That's the exciting part of the game!

Over the years, I've only found one good game offered online and one that's played on the PC. It's from Nine Dragons Software. If you know of any other, kindly let me know. Thanks!

http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/game/UserReview-Hong_Kong_Mahjong-208-1388796-11978-Pong_Pong_Pong_.html http://www.lunch.com/gohongkong/reviews/game/UserReview-Hong_Kong_Mahjong-208-1388796-11978-Pong_Pong_Pong_.html Mon, 10 Aug 2009 04:49:50 +0000