dishesandplaces

Posts Tagged ‘radish cake’

getting down to it as soon as you arrive in HK: tim ho wan

In places on December 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm

much ado has been made about tim ho wan – cheapest michelin star restaurant – and we will ado with everybody else because hey, we’ve never had michelin star food before. we went to the branch at the IFC mall because that was the easiest to get to. as soon as we got off the airport express at the hong kong station, we took the lift one level up and looked for the crowd. so there we were with our backpacks milling about like everybody else.

because this was our very first time, we ordered what a lot of people had already recommended, starting with the roasted pork bun (HKD 19, P105 for 3 pieces)

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the short of it is this is toasted siopao. but of course it is a little more complex than that. the bun is very light with a thin layer of crispness on the outside. it is also slightly sweet. then the filling is thick and sweet and salty. yes, rather delicious. but cloying, the sweetness becomes overwhelming and a tad one-dimensional. we could only eat one apiece. making us the only people we’ve read about who aren’t willing to gobble these down by the dozen.

another house specialty is the steamed egg cake (HK$14, P75)

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aka, puto binan. very good, but unremarkable.

now the next dish is what bowled us over. a favorite of ours – radish cake (HK$14 P75)

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this we found most delicious. delicate, subtle. adjectives you wouldn’t normally use when describing radish cake. but there you go. so good it puts us at a loss how we can ever eat radish cake anywhere else.

on another visit (we ate there twice in 2 days in HK – would’ve done a 3rd but our flight left before they opened in the morning), we had chicken feet (HK$26, P145)¬†and beef ball wrapped in bean curd skin (HK$15, P75)

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very tasty. the chicken feet were exceptionally plump – and we honestly don’t want to think about that too much. this beef ball is also rather delicate and fragrant – full of flavor, but not in any way that dulls the flavor of other dishes. something to order again.

we also had har gaw (HK$25, P130) and kutchai dumplings (HK$25, P130) which had exceptional texture and great freshness.

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we realized that one big differentiator was the wrap. the dumpling wrap at tim ho wan is at once light and thin and sturdy. not at all like the clumsier thick wraps of a lot of chain places and even some of the more specialized restaurants. we also had the rice roll stuffed with pig’s liver (HK$20, P110) which also demonstrated this balance.

and then dessert. tonic medlar and petal cake (HK$ 12, P70)

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everybody at the restaurant would order this and with good reason. it’s so good. very cool, refreshing. floral, yes a little. actually the perfect end to a tim ho wan meal. don’t skip this.

in the end, we mused about the whole michelin star thing and realized that a lot of what separates cooks (even good cooks) from great cooks and professionals is technique. it’s not just the flavor, but – for example – the making of a dumpling wrap that is so light it doesn’t interfere with what’s inside. or getting that bun the right crisp.

so does tim ho wan deserve a michelin star? well, we don’t have the creds to answer that. but we have eaten enough to know that what they do is certainly exceptional and you must try it.

and just a couple of days ago we got news that they are opening in megamall. how about that.

le ching. when you’re not sure where you want to eat, eat here

In eating in manila on September 21, 2010 at 10:48 pm

i love dimsum. and so when i got the text “i’m hungry. le ching tayo.” i hopped into the car and went.

thank goodness this gem exists at the UP Technohub. good, reliable dimsum and noodle soup – two food groups that always have to be in close proximity.

so first, the noodle soup. i asked the waiter for a recommendation and he suggested the beef and wanton noodle soup (P115)

this was good – pretty much what you’d expect from a non-expensive but non-fastfood place. the serving is big enough for one hearty meal, but if taken with other dishes can serve two easily.

then the dimsum. first the ones in steam baskets starting with the must-have in any chinese place, hakaw. steamed shrimp dumplings

hakaw definitely makes my list of top 10 favorite food. it’s a delicate balance of cooking the shrimp right but showing off its freshness and at the same time making sure the wrap is firm but delicate. each time i go to a new chinese place, hakaw is the first thing i try and the one in le ching at the hub is really good.

we also had shark’s fin and pork siomai

the pork siomai was surprisingly tender and tasty. it almost never is, in my experience. will have this again

then it was on to the fried stuff. first up in that set, my favorite – radish cake

again, well done. crisp on the outside, tender on the inside with just the right amount of chewiness. it’s been a while since i’ve had this and i’m glad to be able to eat this with someone again.

and last on the table, taro puffs

a light crispy exterior housing pleasantly soft and glutinous mashed taro (gabi).

this was, in a way, a lot of food for 2 people – but we did it justice. hard not to. it all tasted good. and i didn’t detect any msg (usually my head feels like it’s swelling up). total bill? a shade under P500. i was floored. considering we both consumed copious amounts of food, we were paying only around P250 each. another good surprise.