10 Best Bang-for-Buck Michelin Restaurants

So I’ve been hibernating (yet again) and I was enjoying my long break from siuyeh when THIS came knocking on my door and woke me up! Forbes’ 10 best value Michelin restaurants … in the world. First of all … is there such a thing?! In relative terms, I suppose there is … but L’Atelier de Robuchon and Hutong?!

Apple Daily 10 Best Value Michelin Restaurants

Apple Daily 10 Best Value Michelin Restaurants

Lest you have forgotten, dinner for 2 set us back HK$ 3,300. Well, I blame my brother … his stomach is a bottomless pit (no one in the family knows how deep it goes, we tried throwing a light stick in there once, and we didn’t see or hear it hit the bottom) … but still. Well, in retrospect … I was pretty full to the point of gluttony by the time I was done with the sea urchin pasta (What do they mean by the “best value” Michelin restaurants anyway? What are their criteria?).

Does anyone know? I can’t be bothered to find out. The level of my laziness recently is beyond my comprehension.

Here’s the other 8:

  • Sushi Saito (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Quintessence (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Jean-Georges (New York, USA)
  • The Burger Joint (New York, USA)
  • Ad Hoc (California, USA)
  • Assaggi (London, UK)
  • La Bastide de Moustiers (Sainte-Marie, France)
  • Le Bar Plage Restaurant at the Royal Palm Hotel (Mauritius)

Oh, I found this the other day. Amazing. Hat tip to HaoKouFu (好口福).

Back to hibernating. Wake me up when September ends.

Wing Cheong Tea House (榮昌茶座) in Fanling

Another Fanling post!

So is there a place in Hong Kong where snobby rich people and not-so-wealthy truck drivers can co-exist? Yes! And that would be Wing Cheong Tea House, located off of a narrow highway leading in and out of Fanling and within walking distance from Hong Kong Golf Club, one of HK’s most exclusive golf clubs. And there isn’t a restaurant within a 2 mile radius of this restaurant so where else can you go?

Fortunately, this isn’t just some restaurant that picked a good spot to run its business. Their food is pretty darn good, especially their pork (fried pork).

Salt & Pepper Pork Rice

Salt & Pepper Pork Rice

The photo looks really orangy because the plate and the spoon is orange and I was underneath an orange tent under a scourging sun at noon. But man, was this salt & pepper pork rice good! It wasn’t too oily, and the portion was just right. Best of all, the pork really is quite tender.

Turnip & Pork Soup

Turnip & Pork Soup

The soup of the day that comes with your rice if you order a set. Really quite “清” and not too heavy on the stomach. Tastes and feels like soup from home … and there wasn’t any sign of MSG (at least I don’t think there is).

Preserved Veggies & Pork Rice

Preserved Veggies & Pork Rice

And this is what my friend had. Steamed pork and preserved veggie with rice.

Here’s people just chilling.

@ Wing Cheong in Fanling

@ Wing Cheong in Fanling

Remember to bring some insect repellant!

Siu Yeh Rating: 7/10

Note: Photos taken with an iPhone

Wing Cheong Tea House (榮昌茶座)
粉嶺粉錦公路蓮塘尾村1號(近哥爾夫球場)
Tel: +852 2670 3388

18 Brook Cantonese Cuisine (十八溪粵菜館)

There are quite a few “All You Can Eat” hotpot places in town. I still remember when I was in highschool … back in the day when quality means less to me than quantity, my buddies and I would go to Hei Yuet Hotpot Seafood Restaurant (喜悅火鍋海鮮酒家) for HK$ 98 all-you-can-eat-AND-DRINK (!!!) hotpots. Can you imagine what a table of 10 pubescent boys can do to a business when there’s an endless supply of food and beer? We were their worst nightmare. Granted, they served some unknown “German” beer … which probably cost like HK$1 per can. I can never quite understand how a business model like that would work in HK, but apparently, it works for a few places. I try not to think too much about where they get their food though.

Last time I walked past Hei Yuet, I think I saw “HK$ 88” for the same deal. Probably a “Tsunami Price”. Lucky for them, my buddies and I are more concerned about our weight now … and we do appreciate good quality over quantity.

So where do you go when you want all-you-can-eat in Hong Kong but decent food? 18 Brook Cantonese Cuisine at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel in Wanchai. For HK$ 188 + 10%, you get all you can eat hotpot (drinks are extra and that’s where they kill you on the margin). They give you a “complimentary” shark’s fin soup … which really is shark’s fin, but of lower (very low) quality, of course (see picture below).

Sharks Fin at 18 Brooks

Sharks Fin at 18 Brooks

You each get a pot to yourself (nothing new there), which is basically shabu shabu … you choose your soup base from around 10 options … and order whatever you want …

Shabu Shabu at 18 Brooks

Shabu Shabu at 18 Brooks

I just realized there isn’t much to talk about for hotpot. Their stuff is just really fresh (well, fresher than most places).

The End.

All You Can Eat Hotpot for HK$188

All You Can Eat Hotpot for HK$188

Not. Hahah …

Actually, it was a friend’s birthday that night and the lady who served us said we’ll get complimentary dessert as well as Sou Bao (壽包), which roughly translate into “longevity buns”. They’re white and pink and are shaped like a peach, but within, it usually contains really sweet lotus seed paste and egg yolk. Anyway, we did get our complimentary dessert, but it turned out we were charged for the buns too! Not that they cost much, but it just wasn’t right how they said its free, but ended up charging us. Maybe we ate too much.

While I wouldn’t compare this to Fong Wing Kee  in Kowloon City or Po Po Gourmet Hot Pot (寶哥味館) in Happy Valley, the quality of the food they serve is, I believe, above average compared to most other hotpot restaurants in the city.

Eighteen Brook Cantonese Cuisine
8/F., Convention Plaza
1 Harbour Road, Wanchai
Hong Kong
灣仔港灣道1號萬麗海景酒店8樓
Tel: +852 2827 8802

Soho Place (聚豪坊) on Caine Road

July 14, 2009 Edit: This restaurant is open for business again.

This new restaurant I’m about to talk about is one you’ll never be able to try (i.e. no amount of money will you get you a seat here) … because I think they closed down already … effectively making this the most pointless entry ever. Soho Place opened its doors to the public about a month ago … operated for about a week and was closed for the last 3.

The renovation and everything is pretty nice too (not great), but imagine throwing that kind of money into rent, renovation, kitchen equipments, utensils, staff, uniform and countless other things … only to try out for 1 week? Hmm … I wonder what the problem is. So, as the professional food blogger that I am … I will call to ask what’s up and to send my regards (another real time blogging here).

Wow. Their number wouldn’t even connect.

Anyway, during that one week that they were operating (maybe for trial?), I did manage to squeeze a Sunday lunch there. When we got there at 12PM, we were one of the first tables … but when we left at 1:30PM, I’d say 14 of the 19 tables were filled. So it remains a mystery why they place is closed if they’re doing well. But maybe on Sunday businesses are good … from Monday to Friday, I don’t think anyone would eat there.

The manager prides himself in the fact that Soho Place is the only Chinese restaurant on Caine Road (ever since Tai Woo 太湖 Seafood Restaurant on Castle Road closed its doors a couple months ago). Err .. I guess now we know why?

So here’s the menu at Soho Place.

Menu at Soho Place (聚豪坊)

Menu at Soho Place (聚豪坊)

And here’s what we had: Salt and Pepper Squid, which was pretty good.

Salt & Pepper Squid

Salt & Pepper Squid

Umm, I don’t remember ordering shark’s fin and I don’t think this was. It was pretty much the same kind of broth / soup but without the shark’s fin, which for environmental and ethical reasons, I really enjoyed. When we drink shark’s fin soup, its really the soup anyway 🙂

Shark's Fin Soup? I forgot ... I doubt it was though!

Shark's Fin Soup? I forgot ... I doubt it was though!

This spring roll was also pretty good (looks like their fried stuff is not bad). The shrimp is fresh and the amount is pretty generous … I mean the whole spring roll was like eating shrimp dumplings but the outside is crunchy. Definitely an A for this dish.

Shrimp Spring Rolls

Shrimp Spring Rolls

They had 菜螃蟹 (egg white and crab meat) on the menu, which I thought was pretty odd considering I saw somewhere that this place is a Cantonese restaurant. So what’s a Shanghainese dish doing here? Well, the manager claims that they intend to include dishes from most popular Chinese cuisine into their menu … eventually (but I guess never is more appropriate now).

This dish was so-so. I can only take the egg white … I don’t think I can taste the crab meat at all.

菜螃蟹 ... in a Cantonese Restaurant?

菜螃蟹 ... in a Cantonese Restaurant?

Yeh … maybe you didn’t miss that much.

But this is the fastest I’ve ever seen a restaurant fold. Or maybe business was so good the first week, they’ve decided to take a break.

Soho Place (聚豪坊)
Shop A-D, G/F., On Fung Bldg.
110-118 Caine Road, Mid-levels
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3968 0328
Fax: +852 3968 0327

Are You Cool Enough for Drinks at ZUMA?! Talk to The Hand!

Gee, this blogging thing really is a full-time job isn’t it?

I just realized I haven’t written anything in about 2 weeks! A week into this “honeymoon” period, I was already feeling a little guilty … subconsciously, I wanted to see how long I can go for without updating Siu Yeh. The threshold is 2 weeks people … TWO. WEEKS. I guess laziness got the better of me too … actually, I kept taking pictures whereever and whenever I ate, but I just haven’t gotten around to writing it. Now I have a backlog of about 1.5 month’s (45 entries) worth of stuff to write about … err, stay tuned.

Anyway. Yes. Zuma.

Known for its vast selection of rare drinks and innovative cocktails, Zuma “brings a sophisticated twist on the traditional Japanese Izayaka style of informal eating and drinking.” Yeeeahh, I can sort of see that. The place definitely fits the description of trendy and upscale but doesn’t quite hit me as pretentious (even though its “located at Hong Kong’s most pretigious address”) although they’re not far from the line. In fact, it was pretty chill just sitting at the lounge, mingling with friends … it wasn’t cozy per se, just … comfortable. Apparently they shuffle around their furnitures every now and then (or so I was told anyway) just to give people a different vibe when return customers visit.

And traditional Japanese with a sophisticated twist it was. The first thing that caught my eyes were “Sparkling Sake”. How often do you hear that? It was my first. I had to get it.

Sparkling Sake, Kotsuzumi, Sparkling (Yuzu Flavour)

Sparkling Sake, Kotsuzumi, Sparkling (Yuzu Flavour)

The quality of the photos taken with the my new *ahem* BlackBerry Curve 8900 is pretty darn good, huh? I was pretty amazed myself … and that flash (in that environment we were in) was blinding. I kid you not. Go RIM! Go Waterloo!

Here’s how the Kotsuzumi was served. In an equally Japanese-y Japanese wooden box and in it, the Yuzu sparkling sake with Japanese writing on the label that looked almost like it was written in Egytian hieroglyphs. This sophistication was too much for me to handle. I am a young, energetic, dare-I-say trendy (and good-looking) individual born, bred and lived in Hong Kong 75% of my life … but clearly, at Zuma, I felt like I came from the boonies just yesterday.

Yuzu Sparkling Sake at Zuma

Yuzu Sparkling Sake at Zuma

And to add salt to the wound, Yuzu (as the ultra-hip would know) has apparently been quite the cult ingredient lately. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus that tastes like a mix of lemon and lime.

We took a whiff from the opened bottle and it smelled like the ginger aroma oil from Thai massage/spa! Seriously. Anyway, they serve the sake in double-shot glasses (tall ones) that are chilled, which was a nice touch … and nothing short of what I would expect from a place like that. Once you drink it though, the imaginary ginger smell goes away, but came the citrus taste (more citrus than lime I would say). It was also a little too sweet for my liking.

Zuma Signature Cocktails

Zuma Signature Cocktails

My second drink was the Rubabu, which is a “rhubarb infused sake shaken with 42 Below vodka and fresh passion fruit” … served as a martini. What the heck is a rhubarb anyway? Gotta Wiki …

(don’t you love how this is like real time?)

A Rhubarb.

Right, okay … I didn’t taste that at all. Not that I would know anyway. What I did taste (and liked) was the strong passion fruity scent and taste. Again, this was a little too sweet but there’s a bit of sourness to it too, which was a good touch … not by the bartender, but probably the passion fruit itself.

After I was done with the drink, I also felt my oestrogen level hit an all-time high.

Rubabu at Zuma

Rubabu at Zuma

In a nutshell, I was a man from the city going into Zuma. I left feeling like a woman from the countryside.

Siu Yeh Rating: 8/10

Note: Photos taken with BlackBerry Curve 8900

Zuma
The Landmark, Level 5 & 6
15 Queen’s Road
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3657 6388
Fax: +852 3657 6399
Website: www dot zumarestaurant dot com/zuma_hk.html