Ramsay Plummets From World’s 50 Best Restaurants; El Bulli Wins

Siuyeh’s Comments: I can’t help but wonder whether Ramsay’s foul mouth got him to where his is today!

Bo Innovation made it to Top 100? Hmm … suspect.

**********

Ramsay Plummets From World’s 50 Best Restaurants; El Bulli Wins
2009-04-20 19:00:01.0 GMT
By Richard Vines

April 20 (Bloomberg) — Gordon Ramsay’s flagship London establishment dropped out of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list tonight and kept falling. The three-Michelin-starred venue failed even to make the Top 100 after coming 13th last year.

To add to the woes of the British chef, known for TV shows such as “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares,” his former friend Marcus Wareing’s new venue came in at No. 52. Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley — on the site of the old Ramsay-owned Petrus — also won the Breakthrough Restaurant award, meaning it’s most likely to enter the Top 50 next year.

El Bulli, Ferran Adria’s experimental restaurant north of Barcelona, topped the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck came second for the fourth year in a row. Noma, chef Rene Redzepi’s venue in Copenhagen, jumped to third from 10th and also took the Chefs’ Choice award.

Ramsay’s empire spans the world, with establishments in Asia, the U.S., the Middle East, Africa and Europe. In London alone, the chef has eight restaurants, plus Foxtrot Oscar and three pubs. He plans to reopen Petrus and Savoy Grill this year. Ramsay came under fire last week when the Sun reported that a central kitchen supplies dishes in bags to Foxtrot Oscar and the pubs. The highest Ramsay venue in the Top 100 is Maze, at 91.

“Gordon takes all these sort of surveys with a pinch of salt,” according to an e-mailed statement issued by his public-relations company, Sauce Communications. “As always, Gordon regards his thousands of customers as his most valued critics. They are his judge and jury.”

New York

The top placed U.S. entrant was Thomas Keller’s Per Se, in New York, which came sixth. The same chef’s French Laundry, which won in 2004, came 12th this time. Other U.S. winners included Alinea (10th), Le Bernardin (15th) and Jean Georges (19th).

Wareing split from Gordon Ramsay Holdings last year. Ramsay kept the name Petrus and Wareing held onto the site at the Berkeley hotel, retaining the business he had spent nine years building.

The awards were announced at the Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden. The World’s 50 Best is one of the foremost gatherings of chefs from around the world. Among those planning to attend were Adria, Blumenthal, Daniel Boulud, Joel Robuchon, Tetsuya Wakuda and Wareing. Ramsay wasn’t planning to be there, the organizers said.

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay came second to El Bulli in the inaugural list in 2002, which was dominated by U.K. restaurants, It placed fifth in 2003, eighth in 2004, fifth in 2005, 14th in 2006, 24th in 2007 and then 13th in 2008. The list started life as a way of promoting “Restaurant,” a U.K. magazine.

Five Votes

The S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards and List is organized and compiled by “Restaurant,” and sponsored by S. Pellegrino. The winners are chosen by a total of 837 food writers, critics and commentators around the world, organized into 26 panels. Each panelist has five votes, of which a maximum of three can go to places in his or her region.

For the first time, I was a member of the U.K. and Ireland panel, chaired by Jay Rayner of the Observer. I voted by post and don’t know who else was on the panel or how they voted.

Noma knocked Pierre Gagnaire from third place. El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona, Spain, was the biggest gainer, jumping 21 places. The other notable change this year is the presence of Asian restaurants in the Top 50. Les Creations de Narisawa, Tokyo, ranked 20th. Iggy’s, in Singapore, which the new “Miele Guide” named Asia’s best restaurant last October, came 45th.

The Fat Duck, which topped the list in 2005 and now comes second each year, was closed for more than two weeks earlier this year after 529 diners reported falling sick. Health officials later said the cause was norovirus Winter Vomiting Disease.

The Top 50:

1 El Bulli, Spain (=)
2 The Fat Duck, U.K. (=)
3 Noma, Denmark (+7)
4 Mugaritz, Spain (=)
5 El Celler de Can Roca, Spain (+21)
6 Per Se, U.S. (=)
7 Bras, France (=)
8 Arzak, Spain (=)
9 Pierre Gagnaire, France (-6)
10 Alinea, U.S. (+11)
11 L’Astrance, France (=)
12 The French Laundry U.S. (-7)
13 Osteria Francescana, Italy (New Entry)
14 St. John, U.K. (+2)
15 Le Bernardin, U.S. (+5)
16 Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville, Switzerland (+11)
17 Tetsuya’s, Australia (-8)
18 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, France (-4)
19 Jean Georges, U.S. (-2)
20 Les Creations de Narisawa, Japan (New Entry)
21 Chez Dominique, Finland (+18)
22 Ristorante Cracco, Italy (+21)
23 Die Schwarzwaldstube, Germany (+12)
24 D.O.M., Brazil (+16)
25 Vendome, Germany (+9)
26 Hof van Cleve, Belgium (+2)
27 Masa, U.S., (Re-entry)
28 Gambero Rosso, Italy (-16)
29 Oud Sluis, Netherlands (+13)
30 Steirereck, Austria (New Entry)
31 Momofuku Ssam Bar, U.S. (New Entry)
32 Oaxen Skaergaardskrog, Sweden (+16)
33 Martin Berasategui, Spain (-4)
34 Nobu U.K. (-4)
35 Mirazur, France (New Entry)
36 Hakkasan, U.K. (-17)
37 Le Quartier Francais, South Africa (+13)
38 La Colombe, South Africa (Re-entry)
39 Asador Etxebarri, Spain (+5)
40 Le Chateaubriand, France (New Entry)
41 Daniel, U.S. (=)
42 Combal Zero, Italy (Re-entry)
43 Le Louis XV, France (-28)
44 Tantris, Germany (+3)
45 Iggy’s, Singapore (New Entry)
46 Quay, Australia (New Entry)
47 Les Ambassadeurs, France (-2)
48 Dal Pescatore, Italy (-25)
49 Le Calandre, Italy (-13)
50 Mathias Dahlgren, Sweden (New Entry)

51 Zuma, China
52 Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, U.K.
53 Spondi, Greece
54 L’Arpege, France
55 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, China
56 Hibiscus, U.K.
57 Aqua, Germany
58 Le Gavroche, U.K.
59 Chez Panisse, U.S.
60 Les Amis, Singapore
61 El Poblet, Spain
62 Maison Pic, France
63 Cafe Pushkin, Russia
64 Le Meurice, France
65 Bukhara, India
66 Varvari, Russia
67 Schauenstein, Germany
68 RyuGin, Japan
69 La Maison Troisgros, France
70 Wasabi, India
71 The River Cafe, U.K.
72 Enoteca Pinchiorri, Italy
73 Le Cinq, France
74 Allegro, Czech Republic
75 Quintessence, Japan
76 Restaurant Dieter Mueller, Germany
77 Geranium, Denmark
78 Caprice, China
79 Jardines, South Africa
80 Amador, Germany
81 Biko, Mexico
82 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon U.S
83 Fasano, Brazil
84 Mozaic, Bali
85 Obauer, Austria
86 Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, France
87 L’Ambroisie, France
88 Maison Boulud, China
89 De Librije, Netherlands
90 Babbo, U.S.
91 Maze, U.K.
92 Zuma, U.K.
93 Manresa, U.S.
94 Pier, Australia
95 De Karmeliet, Belgium
96 Aubergine, South Africa
97 Bo Innovation, China
98 Rust en Vrede, South Africa
99 Del Posto U.S.
100 Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire, UAE

Figures in brackets indicate change on last year.

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Bloomberg News Opinions expressed are his own.)

Jia Jia Tang Bao (佳家汤包)

I voted on the Miele Guide a month or 2 ago and I’m really happy to see Jia Jia Tang Bao (佳家汤包) on the list! And then I realized I’ve been meaning to write about the restaurant since June last year (yes, 10 months ago) … and I still haven’t gotten around to doing it. I will do so right now.

Let’s just say no food blog would ever be complete if Shanghai was the subject and Jia Jia Tang Bao wasn’t mentioned. And that’s saying quite a bit about the restaurant already. If you think Din Tai Fung is good (well, it is), Jia Jia Tang Bao is better – by quite a bit … but DTF is still pretty good (notice I’m being very cautious not to aggravate the Din Tai Fung camp here). And if I were to ever put together a “Top 10 Best Culinary Experience I’ve Had”, this restaurant would also be up there on my list. Wow. Along with Xiao Yang Sheng Jian (小杨生煎馆), which I’ll briefly mention later.

Anyway, given how good this place is, I think it deserves a little story-telling about how I (or rather, my very good friend Vince) found out about the restaurant:

It was in late 2005 when both Vince and I were working as consultants in Shanghai and let’s be honest – what else is there to do then, other than watch pirated DVD’s, eat and clubbing? I think he grew sick of always dining at fancy restaurants (he stayed at the Marriott serviced apartments for 9 months, paid for by the client, of course) and so he went on a mission to scout out good local hideouts. Jia Jia Tang Bao was relatively unknown at the time and he found out about it by asking a taxi driver where he goes for xiao long bao, and you can’t really go wrong with that! Btw, I really think the restaurant should write Vince a cheque and cut him a piece of their profit for spreading the word back in the day … but we’ll have our legal department do that later.

And that was the original Jia Jia Tang Bao, which was located on Henan Nan Lu near Zhong Hua Lu Wen Miao Lu (Thanks for the correction there V). It was literally, a hole-in-wall restaurant with really dirty floor, tables, chopsticks, etc. You can probably fit about 10 customers inside the restaurant and another 10 outside. Opening hours are usually from 11:30AM to about 5-6PM; and that’s because they have limited food supplies every day. Once they’re done selling all their xiao long bao, they’re closed for the day. And just like Din Tai Fung, all of their xiao long bao’s are made fresh every minute.

Because of Huangpu District’s plan to expand Henan Nan Road, that original store had to make way for the district government. If you try to visit that same location today, you’d be standing in the middle of a very busy road. But the owner had strategically opened a newer (and cleaner) branch on Huanghe Road near Nanjing Road (north of People’s Square). This location has been around for close to 3 years now and continues to be frequented by a lot of tourists (mostly from HK), expats working in Shanghai and some locals as well.

Here are some pictures from the Huanghe Road restaurant and their fooooood:

Menu at Jia Jia Tang Bao in Shanghai

Menu at Jia Jia Tang Bao in Shanghai

If you try to visit the restaurant from 11:30AM to about 2:30PM (or maybe even 3PM), expect to wait in line for about 20-30 minutes. Either you go really early, like before 11:30AM, or you go after the lunch rush, which is around 3:30, but if you go any later than say 4:30PM – 5PM, you’ll risk missing out on some of the dumplings since they only make so much each day and if they’re sold out, then they don’t bother making any more!

Jia Jia Tang Bao at 4PM

Jia Jia Tang Bao at 4PM

See, no holes in the wall!

Here’s a Seaweed and Egg Soup (紫菜蛋皮汤), which cost RMB 2 and is absolutely tasteless and MSG-filled. I don’t know why I get this every time – I guess I like the seaweed, but I think its a good way to warm up for what’s coming next.

Seaweed and Egg Soup (紫菜蛋皮汤)

Seaweed and Egg Soup (紫菜蛋皮汤)

The Pork Dumplings. This can be quite salty sometimes, but it really brings out the flavour from the fatty pork, which is basically what the juice / soup is inside the thin layer of skin. I really like my xiao long bao skin thin, and while this might not be quite as thin as the ones from Din Tai Fung, the ones here are really damn close.

Whats even more important than thin skin, is how tough it is. I don’t think I’ve ever had a soup-breakage accident here unless the tang bao’s been sitting in the steam basket for much longer than it should’ve. You know that feeling when you think you have a good grip of the xiao long bao with your chopsticks, only to have the pork ball and soup fall out, leaving you with only the skin? Yeh, non-existent at Jia Jia Tang Bao. Its almost like they had a team research on the skin in a science lab.

Pork Tang Bao (纯鲜肉汤包)

Pork Tang Bao (纯鲜肉汤包)

Btw, if you want to try all of the different flavours, you must work your way up (i.e. have the “simpler” dumplings first … and then proceed to the more “complex” dumplings). Using the price of the dumpling to tell is generally a good gauge, but make sure you tell the lady at the counter that’s how you want it. During the lunch rush, they might just throw whatever is ready at you … which could potentially ruin your culinary experience there.

Here, we made sure the flow was:

  1. Pork Tang Bao (纯鲜肉汤包) – ¥7.5
  2. Crab Roe & Pork Dumplings (蟹粉鲜肉汤包) – ¥19.5
  3. Pure Crab Roe Dumplings (纯蟹粉汤包) – ¥81
Crab Roe & Pork Dumplings (蟹粉鲜肉汤包)

Crab Roe & Pork Dumplings (蟹粉鲜肉汤包)

Next up was the Crab Roe & Pork Dumplings (蟹粉鲜肉汤包) (above), which is a mix between what we just had and what we’re about to have. But I would say its still 80% pork and 20% crab roe. The strong and sharp flavours from the crab roe is unmistakenly there, but it was still pretty much a pork dumpling mixed with small orange oil drops from the crab roe.

Pure Crab Roe Dumplings (纯蟹粉汤包)

Pure Crab Roe Dumplings (纯蟹粉汤包)

All of their dumplings come in a dozen in a steam basket, but the pure crab roe dumplings come in 6 per baskets and they give you 2 baskets. At RMB 81, this is definitely not cheap by Shanghai standards, but what they give you is, as the name suggests … PURE crab roe, crab meat and crab roe oil / essence. Til this day, I have yet to find anything close to the quality / quantity of roe they give you in these pockets of culinary orgasm. Each piece of this dumpling is like eating a mouthful of the best part of a hairy crab – only without all the effort. Enough said.

What remains a mystery to me is that the hairy crab season is between late September to December of each year. So how are they able to serve this dish throughout the year? And how is it that the quality remains the same (assuming they have folks taking out the crab roe and meat from hairy crabs during the fall / winter season every year and put the stuff in the freezer).

Well, that’s not something I should dwell on anyway.

What I should really be concerned about is what a dozen of these pure crab roe dumplings would do to my cholesterol level after every visit. I swear, this or sea urchin will kill me one day.

Pure Crab Roe Dumplings (纯蟹粉汤包) - Close Up

Pure Crab Roe Dumplings (纯蟹粉汤包) - Close Up

Just look at that!!!

The Essence!

The Essence!

Our battle trophies.

One of the most satisfying meals you'll likely have

One of the most satisfying meals you'll likely have

This place continues to be one of my gratifying culinary experiences ever … but to those 2 ladies below … it was just another day at Jia Jia Tang Bao. Such simplicity and zero-pretentiousness = Shanghai’s most underrated restaurant.

Taking a break from the lunch rush

Taking a break from the lunch rush

Two items were sold out already as we were leaving …

If you're late, you might miss out!

If you're late, you might miss out!

Jia Jia Tang Bao  (佳家汤包)
Huanghe Lu (near Nanjing Road West)

Oh and if you’re still not full (although I’m pretty sure you will be stuffed) … look across the street and you’re find the equally famous Xiao Yang Sheng Jian, but that definitely deserves its own little post. Here’s a glimpse of the Huanghe Lu branch (not Wujiang Lu branches).

Yangs Fry Dumplings (小杨生煎馆) on Huanghe Lu

Yangs Fry Dumplings (小杨生煎馆) on Huanghe Lu

If you want to do it the Shanghai way, try visiting the restaurant in your PJ’s, just like that gentleman you see in the middle. It was like 4PM!

Waiting for the next batch of Sheng Jian Baos

Waiting for the next batch of Sheng Jian Baos

If you’ve never seen how real shen jian dumplings are made, have a look … it always amazes me how they’re able to handle a burning metal plate with ripped cardboards as grips.

Menu at 小扬生煎馆

Menu at 小扬生煎馆

These 2 are must-try restaurants in Shanghai. And yes, you can quote Siuyeh. You won’t regret it … but be warned. If you’re having more than 4 shen jian bao’s from 小扬生煎馆 for lunch, you can pretty much forget about dinner.

World Got PWNED by Susan Boyle

YOU have a fan in Hong Kong. And a customer too when your album comes out.

Wai Kee Noodle & Cafe (維記咖啡粉麵)

So I got a little tired of looking for places to eat in Hong Kong Island. The cool thing to do now  (for me anyway) is to venture out into the heart of Kowloon (Tsimshatsui, Jordan, Yau Ma Tei, Shamshuipo, Prince Edward, etc.) and even Kowloon City … because there are just so many small finds there that have rich histories and not-your-usual-type-of-food.

Case in point (or point in case, whatever floats your boat), in my quest to explore a little more of Kowloon, I was recommended this place called Wai Kee Noodle & Cafe (維記咖啡粉麵) in Shamshuipo. Apparently, its been around since 1957 and they have 3 stores side-by-side (well, a real estates agency got sandwiched in between) and their specialties are:

  • Milk Tea, Coffee (奶茶, 咖啡)
  • French Toast (咖央西多士); and
  • Pig’s Liver and Beef Noodles (豬潤牛肉麵)

We got there at around 1PM and usually, there would’ve been a long line-up already, but we got lucky. Surely enough, as we left the restaurant, there was a small queue outside the restaurant.

Anyway, part of the reason why I think the restaurant saw a rise in popularity is because Donald Tsang came here to eat a while back and there was a picture of him on the wall. It was just like the British-days (pre-1997) when Chris Patten would go around the city having herbal teas and egg tarts.

Anyway, this is what I had which is the Pig’s Liver and Beef Noodles (豬潤牛肉麵). For noodles, you get to choose between variations of vermicelli and instant noodles. I had the latter.

Pig's Liver and Beef Instand Noodle

Pig's Liver and Beef Instand Noodle

Pig's Liver and Beef Vermicelli

Pig's Liver and Beef Vermicelli

I don’t know what all the fuzz is about. It was really just instant noodle with beef and pig’s liver and I can’t really taste the beef either. The soup base isn’t the really flavorful type you would expect from say, Kau Kee … it was more the really clear broth (清汤) that cooked the beef and livers. Hence, all that residue from the liver’s blood floating on the soup. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as I had expected. That said, however, the liver is pretty fresh and even after sitting in the soup for a while, it was still chewy / tender … and wasn’t too tough or flaky.

French Toast

French Toast

What was good though, was the French Toast (咖央西多士), which I had after the noodle. It wasn’t too oily and the “咖央”, which is the filling, whatever it is (I still can’t quite describe it) isn’t too sweet, which is good. I believe the filling is a a mixture of butter, sweetened concentrated milk and syrup and it was done just right. I would go there just to have another French toast right now!

Wai Kee Noodle & Cafe - The Original Shop! Circa 1957

Wai Kee Noodle & Cafe - The Original Shop! Circa 1957

I’ll go back for the French toast and milk tea next time!

Siu Yeh Rating: 5/10

Note: Photos taken with an iPhone

Wai Kee Noodle & Cafe (維記咖啡粉麵)
62-66 Fuk Wing Street, Shamshuipo
Kowloon, Hong Kong
(Exit B2 at the Shamshuipo MTR exit)
深水埗福榮街62及66號地下
Tel: +852 2387 6515

Here Are 50 Reasons Not to Eat Out on April 20: Gourmet London

Here Are 50 Reasons Not to Eat Out on April 20: Gourmet London
2009-04-14 23:00:01.3 GMT
By Richard Vines

April 15 (Bloomberg) — Here’s a tip: April 20 is the night of the year to avoid dining out in London. It’s the date of the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards and you’re more likely to see a top chef there than in a restaurant.

Joel Robuchon will head to Freemasons’ Hall from Paris, Daniel Boulud from New York, Ferran Adria from Barcelona and Tetsuya Wakuda from Sydney. They will join U.K. counterparts who include Heston Blumenthal, Marcus Wareing, Rick Stein, Fergus Henderson and possibly Jamie Oliver — he’s filming. In case you wondered, Gordon Ramsay won’t be there. He’s out of the country.

It promises to be quite a gathering — there are 500 people on the guest list — for awards that are greeted in the food world with a mixture of both amusement and annoyance, as well as a touch of boredom.

The top three places have gone to El Bulli, the Fat Duck and Pierre Gagnaire — in that order — for three straight years. China and Japan don’t feature in the Top 50 and the Asian winner is usually Bukhara, an unexceptional eatery in New Delhi.

This year, new panelists have been named in an attempt to freshen things up. I am one for the first time. I have no idea who everyone else voted for, but I can tell you who will win the Lifetime Achievement award. It goes to Robuchon, Michelin’s favorite chef, the organizers said in an e-mailed release.

Red Eaters

There’s good news for steak lovers in London who can’t get enough even now that Goodman has joined Maze Grill, Hawksmoor and other restaurants that cater to those who like their meat red. Palm Restaurants plans to open a London branch on May 25 on the former site of Drones, on Pont Street. The look will be similar to that employed in the U.S., with banquette seating, hardwood floors and caricatures of famous customers. The menu will feature favorites such as lobster, creamed spinach, New York cheesecake and, of course, USDA prime-aged steak.

Blumenthal was one of the judges last week in the finals of the Roux Scholarship, which seeks to recognize and support the U.K.’s most promising young chefs. (The age limit is 30.) He’s busy after the Fat Duck, which won the Best Restaurant award in 2005, was closed for more than two weeks following a breakout of the norovirus. Blumenthal is popular in the industry and received plenty of sympathy from fellow judges who included four members of the Roux family — Michel, Albert, Michel Jr. and Alain — and chefs Gary Rhodes, Andrew Fairlie and Brian Turner. I was a judge, too, so I know. The winner, Hrishikesh Desai, of Lucknam Park, near Bath, stood out at London’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel on April 6 when finalists had to cook Brill Cherubin, an Escoffier recipe.

Miami Fab

Hakkasan, the Chinese restaurant known for being fabulous, is to open its first U.S. branch on April 19. Hakkasan Miami, in the Fontainebleau hotel, Miami Beach, will replicate the venue’s formula of fashionable food and cool cocktails. It’s more than a year since the restaurateur Alan Yau sold majority control of Hakkasan and its sister Yauatcha for $60 million to Tasameem, the property arm of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. There’s already a Hakkasan in Istanbul and Yau last month opened a second London branch of his budget Chinese eatery Cha Cha Moon at the Whiteleys shopping center in Bayswater.

Yorkshire Portions

David Moore, co-owner of Pied a Terre and L’Autre Pied in London, has opened an eatery in Harrogate, in northern England. Van Zeller — the chef is Tom van Zeller — uses local Yorkshire ingredients in its modern British cuisine. I’ve yet to make it there but I did finally try the cooking of another Yorkshire chef, Anthony Flinn, at Piazza by Anthony in the Corn Exchange, Leeds. Portions are large for dishes such as warm salad of Bury black pudding with a soft-poached egg, and fish pie with creamy mash. My family is from Yorkshire and I can’t say how welcome such good cooking is. In my home town of Doncaster, I’ve given up trying to find a restaurant serving food I would want to eat.

(Richard Vines is chief food critic for Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

Fanling Kwan Kee Beef Balls & Pork Knuckles (群記牛肉圓豬手)

If you don’t live in Fanling or if you’re not going to Fanling for anything in particular, I don’t see how you would ever visit this restaurant. I know, what a start to this entry 🙂

For those of you who don’t know where Fanling is, it is 2 railway stops from Shenzhen’s Lo Wu / Luo Hu and Lok Ma Chau (Futian Port) station on MTRC’s East Rail Line. In other words, Fanling is 1 of 2 north-most districts in Hong Kong … and not coincidentally, because of its close proximity to the mainland, these 2 districts see the most “water goods” going in and out of Hong Kong. So other than that and the Hong Kong Golf Club, I don’t think anybody in Hong Kong ever think much of Fanling.

But.

In the heart of Fanling’s town centre, there lies a family-run business serving the best (apparently) beef balls and pork knuckles in the New Territories. As my friend and I got lost driving somewhere in that area, we decided to find this place. Its funny how we (guys) don’t stop and ask for directions … but we would, if it was for food. Good food. You see, we’re slowly breaking away from the stereotype.

Anyway, after a couple missed turns … there it was: Kwan Kee Beef Balls & Pork Knuckles (群記牛肉圓豬手).

Kwan Kee Beef Balls and Pork Knuckles in Fanling

Kwan Kee Beef Balls and Pork Knuckles in Fanling

You just know when a restaurant actually names itself “Something Beef Balls & Pork Knuckles” … they had got to serve some serious beef balls and pork knuckles. Unfortunately for us, when we got there, it was already 4PM and all the pork knuckles were sold 😦 further reinforcing how good they really are. But don’t use our experience as a gauge for your trip (if you ever make it to Fanling) … this lady who works there told us that sometimes, they’ll sell all their pork knuckles by 2PM … and sometimes, as late as 7PM … so go figure!

Anyway, they still had beef balls so we both got a bowl of plain beef balls. Unlike most Chiu Chow-style beef balls which come in Jaw-Breaker sizes, these ones come in little bite size, which was a good change. They’re small, crunchy (in the Chinese-cuisine-description-sense) and is loaded with mucho beef flavours.

Beef Balls at Kwan Kee

Beef Balls at Kwan Kee

But a Chiu Chow beef ball wouldn’t be complete without an equally potent and spicy hot sauce / oil.  They don’t serve the numbing-type of hot from Sichuan … Chiu Chow hot sauce is more about fragrance (香) a little more than about spicy. And Kwan Kee delivers well.

What Kwan Kee looks like at 4PM

What Kwan Kee looks like at 4PM

Finally, I should also mention that there were about 8 servers just chilling in the restaurant, notably exhausted from their hectic lunch shift. I can only imagine what its like during lunch time at the restaurant.

2 bowls of plain beef balls came up to something like HK$ 28 (HK$ 14 / bowl) … or something like that.

Siu Yeh Rating: 7.5/10

Note: Photos taken with an iPhone

Kwan Kee Beef Balls & Pork Knuckles (群記牛肉圓豬手)
5 Luen Cheong St., Fanling
New Territories, Hong Kong
新界粉嶺聯昌街5号地下
Tel: +852 2675 6382

Jeremy Oliver Wine Seminar & Dinner: Old World vs New World

Jeremy Oliver Wine Seminar & Dinner: Old World vs New World

ASC Jeremy Oliver Wine Seminar

ASC Jeremy Oliver Wine Seminar

Renowned Australian wine critic Jeremy Oliver and ASC Fine Wines request the pleasure of your company at a Wine Seminar and Dinner on Thursday,  16th April, at Cucina, Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel.

At this seminar, Jeremy will bring you through a journey of Old World and New World wines.
Please see below for more details and the wine selection. We look forward to seeing you there!

Event: Jeremy Oliver Wine Seminar & Dinner
Date: Thursday, April 16th, 2009
Time: 7:00pm Wine Seminar / 7:30pm Dinner
Venue: Cucina, 6/F, Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel
Address: Harbour City, 3 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Price: $650 +10%

Seminar Wine Selection: Old World vs New World

Old World: France
Ayala Brut Majeur (Champagne)
Louis Jadot Puligny Montrachet 2007
Maison Bouachon Crozes Hermitage Rouge 2005
Louis Jadot Cotes de Beaune 2004
Moulins de Citrans 2002

New World: Australia
Croser Sparking 2006
Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay 2005
Bridgewater Mill Shiraz 2005
Stonier Pinot Noir 2007
Knappstein Cabernet Merlot 2006

Dinner Wines Selection:
Louis Jadot Bourgogne Blanc – Couvent Des Jacobins 2007
Peter Lehmann Barossa Art Series Shiraz 2006

RSVP:

Grace Leung   graceleung@asc-wines.com
Tel: 3923 6712

Martin Li  martinli@asc-wines.com
Tel: 3923 6785