Cheung Hing Kee Shanghai Pan-fried Buns @ Sham Shui Po

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The first franchise run Cheung Hing Kee Shanghai Pan-fried Buns outlet is in it’s soft opening phase at 96 Yen Chow Street in Sham Shui Po. Cheung Hing Kee has worked really hard to leverage it’s mention in the Michelin 2016 guide at it’s own stores (and suffered well publicised landlord exploitation). Looking to expand further it’s now taking on franchise owners to spread their love of sheng jian bao.

The menu is the same, the core ingredients are provided by Cheung Hing Kee – all the franchisee has to do is make and fry the buns. At the moment Edbert Tsang’s shop is only offering a partial menu, with only the ‘signature fried-bun’ and some soups available. He expects to be selling the full menu early in 2017.

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And the sheng jian bao? They’re pretty darn good and consistent with the quality at the other outlets. The dough is soft, tasty and chewy with a crispy base, the pork filling though soft and tender lacks a little flavour – but it does create a lot of well flavoured juice.

For those who haven’t eaten a sheng jian bao before, take a small first bite or you’ll have a face and shirt full of hot meat broth.

A box of 4 signature sheng jian bao costs $28. Sham Shui Po is a very working class area, for the same price around the corner you can get a full meal with a drink. As a couple of local customers commented it’s good, but for them a little expensive. That said, we’ll be back for more.

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Cheung Hing Kee Shanghai Pan-fried Buns:
96 Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po. Tel: 2711 6227
Shop 6A, G/F, 48 Lock Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: 2915 0389
Shop G50, G/F, PopCorn 2, 9 Tong Yin Street, Tseung Kwan O
Shop C-D, G/F, 9 Lok Shan Road, To Kwa Wan

Djiboutii 2nd Anniversary – GO Bananas! – 20 December, 2016

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Djiboutii celebrated it’s 2nd Anniversary by going bananas on the 20 December 2016. The alley bar on Landale Street in Wanchai decorated the area with real bananas, banana paintings, costumes, cocktails and food. It was a little bananas, silly and fun.
Click on any photo for the full gallery.

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‘Twas The Week Before Christmas…

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It’s the week before Christmas and you’ve got nothing ready or planned… While the festive season for many in Hong Kong has zero religious significance it is a time for gifts and feasting. And there is no better gift that either cooking someone a good meal or gifting them a tasty bite. Thankfully our local supermarkets are all up to speed and there to make your life easy and Christmas a tasty treat.

bc‘s ‘no cooking needed’ Christmas feast starts with a trip to Great in the basement of Pacific Place with a side stop at Marks & Spencer is all you need – in fact a trip to Great’s website probably suffices as whether you want roast turkey, beef, lamb or pork all can be ordered online and delivered or collected. They also offer all the trimmings: roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, Brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing…. The roasts can be ordered uncooked or cooked and in different sizes depending on your needs.

White truffle and caviar at Great’s luxury food counter

Starter
Smoked salmon: IKEA offers packs of frozen smoked salmon (Lax Kallrökt) $69 for 200g.

Main
Roast Turkey, roast potatoes, parsnips, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce.
Roast Turkey: Great: cooked US roast turkey $120-220/kg (4-6kg). Buy at the cooked food counter including Christmas Day. They also have roast beef, roast lamb and baked gammon if you prefer something other than turkey.
Roast potatoes: Great: cooked
Parsnips: Great: cooked and raw
Brussels sprouts: Great: cooked and raw
Red cabbage: sadly we couldn’t find any cooked this year
Turkey gravy/ bread sauce: Marks & Spencer: $49/400g
Cranberry sauce: Marks & Spencer: $49/400g
Stuffing: Marks & Spencer: sage and onion/ cranberry & orange stuffing
Bacon wrapped sausages: still unable to find this staple side dish in a cooked version.

Dessert
Christmas Pudding with Brandy Butter
Christmas pudding: Great: Cole’s Classic Christmas Pudding ($159/454g),
Brandy Butter: Great: Cole’s Brandy Butter $15.5/42g
Panettone: Great: An Italian Christmas favourite that can be enhanced wonderfully with a can of classic Bird’s custard mixed with a dash of brandy/ rum.

Cheese
Great’s cheese room is one of the wonders of Hong Kong, the choice is varied, constantly changing, delicious and if you’re used to US and European cheese prices, expensive – but what is Christmas without cheese?
English Stilton: Great: $46/100g

Christmas Cake + Mince Pies
A good tasty Christmas cake is a Christmas necessity, especially one with marzipan and Royal icing.
Christmas Cake: Great and M&S have several choices at different prices from $89 (Gluten free – M&S) upwards. Most are sadly more like fruit cakes than Christmas cake which is a shame as the two are subtly different in taste.
Mince Pies: Again Great and M&S have several choices, but after sampling several none are that special that we recommend one over another.

Drinks
Mulled Wine: Great: Shropshire Spice Traditional Mulled Wine Mix: $33.9/8g

Store Details + Contacts:
Great Basement Pacific Place, Admiralty Tel: 2918 9986 www.greatfoodhall.com
IKEA Causeway Bay, Shatin, Kowloon Bay www.ikea.com.hk
Marks & Spencer various stores www.marksandspencer.com

Edit: 21 Dec – Added Christmas cake photo and updated text

Hong Kong v Japan World Cup Qualifier @ HK Football Club – 17 December, 2016

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What an 8 days!!
Today’s match ended in defeat to Japan 20-8, but barring the first 8 minutes Hong Kong held their own against a talented Japanese side. A significant improvement on the Asian Championships when HK were soundly beaten in both games.

In truth this was a good game to lose, amidst the two World Cup pools there looks to be one winnable game for either Japan or Hong Kong and that is Wales – and they’re in Pool C with Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

A lot of work to do between now August 2017, hopefully the HK Rugby Union will properly fund the players and their training! This is a magnificent achievement. Congratulations to the whole squad and the coaches!!!
Click on any photo for the full gallery.

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Pride In The Shirt

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Hong Kong’s historic qualification for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup “sets a real precedent about the potential we have in Hong Kong,” said coach Jo Hull after watching Japan beat Fiji on Tuesday – completing the line-up for next year’s showpiece in Ireland.

Hull’s side opened the three-team qualifying tournament with a 45-7 win over Oceania qualifiers Fiji, and with Japan beating the Pacific Island nation 55-0, Hong Kong are guaranteed a place at next year’s 12-team tournament alongside the Asian champions Japan.

It marks the first-time any Hong Kong team will feature at a fifteen-a-side World Cup. “It’s huge; it’s hard to put it into words. For Hong Kong women’s rugby, hopefully it is going to be a huge turnaround and encourage youngsters and women to get involved and play in that Hong Kong jersey and take a lot of pride in that,” said Hull after having watched Japan run in eight tries against Fiji at King’s Park.

Hong Kong face the Asian champions on Saturday at Hong Kong Football Club to determine the winner of the qualifier and will be looking to avenge their defeats in the Asia Rugby Championship earlier this year.

“We are happy with qualifying for the World Cup, but we are focused on our next task. Japan play the Japan style and are fast and play at a high tempo,” said Hong Kong captain Chow Mei-nam.

“We will look to do our own jobs and play our own style to beat them. We are confident to beat them and be the first team in Asia.”

The winner on Saturday will join hosts Ireland as well as France and Australia in pool C of the tournament which takes place between 9-16 August next year, with those three teams “huge in terms of their skill level” according to Hull.

The runner-up will join 2014 second place finishers Canada, New Zealand and Wales in pool A, which Hull believes “is undoubtedly the most physical pool,” with defending champions England, the USA, Italy and Spain drawn in pool B.

“It will be pretty amazing for these girls. Whoever we play against, it is just about being the best we can be and being in that environment and enjoying it, but most importantly representing Hong Kong and taking pride in that,” added Hull.

“A lot of the girls have played these teams at sevens, but to come together and play them at fifteens will be an amazing experience. We want to do well. We don’t just want to turn up; having earned our place, we want to justify being there.”

Next year will represent a third World Cup appearance for Hull who was assistant coach for Scotland in 2006 before returning four years later as performance manager.

“Going to a World Cup is an experience you will never get in any other walk of your life. It is three weeks of intense pressure, but it is an amazing three weeks, surrounded by amazing athletes and coaches and a really high performance culture. It is about celebrating how far women’s rugby has come,” she said.

“Both my experiences showed how competitive and how far the women’s game has come. To be there you have to be prepared. You have to be ready for the pressure, and you have to be able to perform at the right time.

“We are not getting ahead of ourselves and saying we can go and win the World Cup, but if we are there, we want to give a good account of ourselves for Hong Kong so we get young kids, girls and women saying they want to be there in 2021,” Hull added.

Hong Kong v Japan
Women’s World Cup Qualifier
Date: 4:30pm, 17 December, 2016
Venue: HK Football Club
Tickets: Free

Hong Kong Qualify for Women’s World Cup

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Massive congratulations to Hong Kong’s womens rugby team for qualifying for the 2017 World Cup in Ireland!!!

What an absolutely historic achievement for the players and the coaches!

Hong Kong’s qualification was confirmed when Japan beat Fiji 55-0 at King’s Park today. Hong Kong will play Japan on Saturday at the HK Football Club (4:30pm) to decide the winners of the World Cup Qualifier and who will face hosts Ireland as well as France and Australia in Pool C. The runner-up will join WRWC 2014 runners-up Canada, New Zealand and Wales in Pool A.

Womens Rugby World Cup
Date: 9-26 August, 2017
Venue: Dublin, Ireland

Early Cinematic Treasures

Eight early Hong Kong films will be screened from 11 February – 1 April at the Hong Kong Film Archive as part of the third instalment of the Early Cinematic Treasures Rediscovered series. The films in the series are: Rivals in Love (1939), The Blood-Stained Peach Blossom Fan (1940), The Evil Mind (1947), The Inscrutable Heart of Women (1947), Return of the Swallows (1948), A Poor Lover’s Tears (1948), The Birth of Kiddy Stone (1949) and To Kill the Love (1949).

An exhibition entitled Rediscovering Mak Siu-ha – A Talent of Multiple Trades will run concurrently showcasing Mak as a multi-talented Cantonese opera scriptwriter, composer and filmmaker who was active in the 1930s.

The two pre-war film, So Yee’s Rivals in Love (1939) and Mak Siu-ha’s The Blood-Stained Peach Blossom Fan (1940), are the only surviving prints of the two Cantonese directors’ early work and are immensely precious. In Rivals in Love, Tam Lan-hing is at once alluring and virtuous as a sacrificial mother who hopes to raise her daughter (Tsi Lo-lan) properly. However, after being adopted by an aunt, the daughter grows up to be a spoilt and vain brat. Placing Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan in the Chinese social context with patriotic save-our-country sentiments, the film showcases the contextual changes when adapting Western literature into an Eastern film.

The Blood-Stained Peach Blossom Fan focuses on a group of businessmen as their indifference to the war evolves to a devotion to saving their country. The film features an amazing sword-dance performed by Cheang Mang-ha, the wife of Tong Tik-sang.

Adapted from a newspaper serial by Ling Siu-sang, The Evil Mind‘s (1947) roller-coaster plot, depicts the erosion of humanity and social order after war. Ng Cho-fan turns from do-gooder to evil-doer and heads towards self-destruction, Wong Man-lei is an able policewoman who becomes a helpless woman, Siu Yin Fei plays an immaculate maiden who dies as a victim of assault, and upright teacher Lo Duen becomes blind and succumbs to the evil tricks of his students. The arrangement of the film also reflects the chaos and unrest that rattled the post-war Hong Kong film industry.

In But Fu‘s The Inscrutable Heart of Women (1947), Pak Yin plays a devoted wife who allows her husband to keep his lover, a songstress, as a concubine but later intends to kill her out of jealousy. Pak shines in a darker and more perverse role in a departure from her unusual persona repertoire. Director But Fu builds up the dramatic tension with liberal use of close-ups and consistent application of spatial contrast.

Return of the Swallows (1948) centres on a love triangle between a handsome heir (Sit Kok-sin) and two sisters (Siu Yin Fei and Tsi Lo Lin). A fantastic array of supporting actors is brought in as comic foils to flesh out and give context to the portrayal of hardship and woe of survival in the post-war era.

A Poor Lover’s Tears (1948) follows Pak Yin, who migrates from the Mainland and is employed as the personal secretary of a factory manager because of her appealing appearance. Adapted from a novel by Mong Wan, the film portrays Pak as a woman who does not believe in love, a rare persona in the Hong Kong cinema in the ‘40s, and carrying an unexpected storyline as well.

Featuring the gifted Cantonese opera star Yu Kai, The Birth of Kiddy Stone (1949) tells of Kiddy Stone, who transforms from a son of a destitute family suffering from bullying to a brave and heroic army general. The 10-year-old Yu displays his talents by excelling in a variety of theatrics, and thus became a box office draw with his playful character. The eclectic mix of special effect stone figures interspersed with Cantonese ditties and lyrics makes the film a delight to watch.

Chu Kea’s melodrama To Kill the Love (1949) is an adaptation of a newspaper serial by Yee Hung-sang. It follows two educated sisters (Pak Yin and Tsang Nam-sze) getting married to the same man. The husband who dares to fight for independence and gets rid of his family control is still unable to act according to his own will.

As part of the series the HKFA will also hold eight seminars and screen eight reference films to enhance the audience’s understanding of the atmosphere of the pre- and post-war productions, bringing about new dimensions in their cinematic experience. The seminars will be conducted in Cantonese by speakers including the programmer and researcher of the HKFA, scholars, film critics and researchers.

The reference films are Lady Windermere’s Fan (1925), Ernst Lubitsch’s classic silent film with live music accompaniment centring on an intricate emotional entanglement; The Legend of Lee Heung Kwan (1990), starring towering figures of Cantonese opera Hung Sin Nui and Law Ka-bo; Blood-stained Azaleas (1951), with Pak Yin playing a ruthless manipulator; Leave Her to Heaven (1945), a hybrid of Hollywood film noir, populist romance and family drama; The Sisters’ Tragic Love (1953), telling of two sisters falling in love with the same man; Children of Paradise (1945), following the love affairs between a leading theatre actress and the four men who love her in 19th century Paris; The Birth of Stone Child (1962), showcasing the acrobatic prowess of Cantonese opera masters Lam Kar-sing, Fung Wong Nui and Lan Chi Pak; and Blonde Venus (1932), featuring the bold and avant-garde Hollywood actress Marlene Dietrich.

Leave Her to Heaven and Blonde Venus are in English, Children of Paradise is in French, and all of the other films are in Cantonese. Lady Windermere’s Fan, Blonde Venus and Children of Paradise have English subtitles; Leave Her to Heaven, Return of the Swallows and A Poor Lover’s Tears have Chinese and English subtitles; and the other films are without subtitles.

Early Cinematic Treasures Rediscovered 3
Date: 11 February – 1 April, 2017
Venue: HK Film Archive
Tickets: $45 from Urbtix