Taste of Hong Kong 2017

The Taste of Hong Kong returns for a second year to Central Harbourfront from 16 to 19 March. This year’s festival features an increased number of Hong Kong’s top restaurants, confirmed so far are Amber, Arcane (Sunday only), Cafe Grey Deluxe, Chino, Duddell’s, Kaum at Potato Head (Thursday & Friday only), Mercato, Okra (Saturday only), Rhoda, Tin Lung Heen, Tosca, Yardbird and Zuma with perhaps three more to come. Each restaurant will serve four taster portion sized plates: three standard items at prices $50-$200 and one iconic dish that could cost anything…

So what is Taste? The concept is that you can sample taster size portions of dishes from restaurants that you might never visit and create a meal from a range of cuisines. It is a interesting idea, sort of like changing restaurants between each course of a meal – and organisers IMG have turned it into a very profitable global concept.

bc was underwhelmed by last year’s event, not by the concept but by the execution – read the report here. We do love food though, so we spoke to IMG about how they’re looking to ‘improve the experience’ this year.

As HongKongers we’re accustomed to queuing but IMG have said they’ll be working with the participating chefs and restaurants to improve the service efficiency. Increase the information about which dishes are still available, including having far more of the icon dishes per session. As well as having drinks carts serving people in the queues.

There is to be more seating, covered and uncovered. A wider range of entertainment and more artisan shops to purchase food and drink from. Plus an expanded range of talks about food and wine.

The invited chefs look to have a better understanding of the concept and several of the icon dishes show they’re looking to offer something unique at Taste.

IMG appear to have addressed a lot of the frustrations that dampened enjoyment last year with some more improvements yet to announced but it all sounds promising for a tasty event in March.

Taste of Hong Kong
Date: 16-19 March, 2017
Venue: Central Harbourfront
Tickets: $678, $198, $168 from Ticketflap

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Chocolate Lovers High Tea Delight

Attention chocolate lovers, Three on Canton‘s latest offering looks to sate your desires. The ‘Divine French Chocolate High Tea Set’ features an array of chocolate-themed savoury and sweet treats. What’s immediately obvious when the three-tiered high tea arrives is the amount of food. Too often tea-sets feature micro-bites, here each is at least two bites and you’ll certainly not leave hungry.

The tea set features 11 beautifully presented offerings, 4 savoury and 7 sweet, and you can enjoy your food with a cocktail, mocktail, tea or coffee. The savoury chocolate bites are a chicken nugget in a delicious dark chocolate dip – what a fine combination – and a mango and prawn brioche with white chocolate yoghurt sauce, it sounds delicious and is. These are served with two popular favourites Toast with fig, blue cheese and Parma ham and Smoked salmon asparagus rolls.

The sweet bites cover a broad range of flavours and textures and include: Chocolate and pear panna cotta, Dark chocolate mousse with mixed berries pie, Double chocolate cream puff, Milk chocolate mousse with vanilla apple filling, White chocolate mousse with apricot cake, Dark chocolate brownie, Coconut and chocolate chip butter scone with real clotted cream and jam. All are tasty and while none stand out, there are also none you’ll want to ignore.

The ‘Divine French Chocolate High Tea Set’ ($488/2 people, 3-5pm daily) offers a fine way to spend a relaxing afternoon, sitting inside or out. The portions size are good and although there’s a lot of chocolate the chefs have cleverly balanced it with other flavours and textures to ensure that it doesn’t overwhelm your taste buds.

Three on Canton / Be on Canton: Level 3, Gateway Hotel, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: 2113 7828

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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

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Pei Ho Gift a Meal

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Start the season of giving early by giving a person in need a free meal. Pei Ho Counterparts charitable meal voucher scheme allows anyone to buy a meal for someone else for $24.

Restaurant owner Ming Gor (Chan Cheuk-ming) who has been running the restaurant since 1997, after starting work there in 1983, has been giving out free meals to the needy since then. This year the restaurant and it’s team of volunteers have been giving out around 500 free meals a week.

The new fund raising effort is simple you buy a voucher for $24. On various days in Sham Shui Po the vouchers are handed out to the homeless, elderly and others in need who can then visit Pei Ho Barbecue Restaurant and it’s sister outlet and enjoy a hot meal and a drink for free.

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The vouchers can be bought directly from the restaurant at 278 Tai Nan Street in Sham Shui Po, from 7-11 or from the pop-up store in Lan Kwai Fong until the 15 December – where you can also buy a lunchbox featuring one of Pei Ho restaurant’s nine signature dishes for $32. There will be a choice of three dishes each day, served from 11:30am -2pm, or until stocks run out.

The fundraising scheme is targeting 40,000 vouchers, enough for a year of free meals. Checkout the website www.peiho.hk for more details, while the meal gift is charitable the format of the scheme means your donation is not tax-deductible. Not that that should stop you contributing.

If you would like to be involved as a volunteer, please contact Pei Ho directly info@peiho.hk

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5th Annual Nebraska Beef Macau BBQ @ Studio City – 14 November, 2016

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The 5th Annual American BBQ, Nebraska in Macau took place at Studio City on the 14 November, 2016. Over 300 people including US Consul General Kurt Tong and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts enjoyed Nebraska and US beef, pork and lamb cooked and prepared in over 20 different ways.

Sponsored by the Nebraska Beef Council and organised by US Meat Export Federation and the Nebraska and US Agricultural Trade Offices in HK with assistance from Angliss. The annual event looks to raise awareness of the quality and taste of American meat and agricultural produce.
Click here or on any photo to see all the images.

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Wine & Dine 2016 – A Few Things to Enjoy

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It’s Wine & Dine! After a walk around under the blazing sun here’s a few things to enjoy. We can’t say it’s a ‘best of’, there’s over 400 booths to explore taste and savour. Have fun finding your own favourites.

It’s not cheap! While many outlets are offering discounts on their regular shop prices for buying bottles (with many happy to home deliver after the festival). Food is pricey, most places are averaging $50-75 per portion.

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In an attempt no doubt to break up the massive crowds this year’s Wine & Dine Festival is laid out in short blocks set at sharp angles. It’s not instinctively easy to find your way back to an outlet/booth so eat /drink what you want when you see/find it. This layout also makes it hard to direct friends to a spot they’d enjoy – take a photo of the booth number.

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Wine Whiskey and Beer

There are more wine companies and stands than you can possibly sample… decisions, decisions. Your wine tokens get a tasting portion – not a full glass. Ensure they rinse your glass first! Check out the Riedel tent, the glass manufacturer has an ongoing selection of talks and tastings.

There’s a large, essentially craft, beer area – towards the Admiralty end, far side from the harbour – with a wide range of local and international beers to sample. Several stands have special beers only available at Wine & Dine. Want a bite with your beer? Next to the beer stands at booth E814 you can find a mixed sausage platter of black cuttlefish and traditional German cheese sausages covered in melted cheese for $40.

If you like whiskey there are single brand whiskey stands, most are grouped in the middle of the festival. Except for the Jack Daniels booth which is in the American area. Celebrating it’s 150 anniversary, you’ll be able to taste a wide selection of Jack Daniels.

Food

It won’t mean much to many but one of the booths in the American street is offering a free drink to those who kiss Hillary and or punch Donald 🙂 For for a simple snack try Millennium Seafoods lobster soup.

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Enjoy a big tasty sausage? Opposite the stage the 30cm Mega Jumbo Wurst ($75) offers a nice meaty custom made German sausage. Cooked over a massive circular BBQ, the team is organised and ready for the rush, their target to serve you in 60 seconds. There’s also a 15cm version ($65) which is the same type of sausage but sold more like a hotdog in a bigger bun. Wash is down with some Fruh Radler (lemon beer).

Flavabomb (E506) has a lovely light refreshing Gelato di Moscato – a choice gelato ice-cream, topped up with moscato and we added in a few dried strawberry flakes (top photo). A light refreshing option perfect in the summer sun or after dark. They also have a range of bakery products including croissants and pain au chocolat and some tasty beef balls with truffle.

Seafood: Abalone more abalone plus a bit of shellfish. There several booths offering abalone from a variety of different locations, in different sizes and farmed or wild. On the harbourfront edge of festival The Gold Coast Hotel has a bowl of their signature tasty Sri-Lankan crab for $98 and a hearty German sausage with sauerkraut for $60. Both portions sized to be almost a complete meal in themselves. Next door the Panda Hotel has a lobster bun ($40) and salmon, crab, cheese tarts ($40).

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If want a change from seafood, U Banquet is offering Grilled Assorted Balls for $20 a portion

While you’re picking up your free cookies from Lucullus check out some of their other offerings the predominantly Kowloon side chain has a range of tasty bakery and desserts on offer including cheese tarts (original, durian or green tea, $30 for 2) and stuffed baked parmesan cheese rolls (chicken, Thai green curry, sichuan spicy pork $35 for 2) and some cute looking chilled offerings.

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There are lots of desserts on offer, one of bc’s favourites from last year returns at booth E507. A rich silky smooth egg custard served in a real egg shell. $40 for  box of 4, it’s seriously delicious.

Other food booths to check out –pork knuckle specialists Golden Pig, K-Town, Butcher and Baker who are offering hotdogs ($40) and baked chocolate fondants topped with ice-cream $30. And for something a little different, next to the Admiralty entrance, Kwun Tong private kitchen Wines Buddy and Dining at Home.

Basic things: A reminder there is little shade! Sun cream and a hat or expect to boil during the day. Bring water, there’s lots and lots and lots of wine, beer, whiskey – but little water to keep hydrated. There are very few seats.

NO refunds on coupons! In fact, unless you want to sample wine, there’s very little point in waiting in the long lines to buy coupons at a rough estimate over 80% of booths accept cash.

It’s outside, there’s food, wine, beer, whiskey, live music… what’s not to like, have fun!

Wine & Dine Festival 2016
Date: 27-30 October, 2016
Venue: Central Harbourfront
Tickets: $30

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Megabites: Enjoy US Beef and Pork at Wine and Dine 2016

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This year’s Wine & Dine Festival has over 400 booths split across 5 sections, where to start? How about the Tasty Bites section where, sponsored by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), you can find premium US pork and US beef served up by two local restaurants Frites (Booth C311) and Crft-Pit (Booth C317).

crft-pit-wine-and-dine-2016Located in Ap Lei Chau Crft-Pit specialises in American BBQ and their booth features a four item menu. The Texas Brisket Beef Dip ($60) is oak smoked USDA brisket with a peppercorn rub served with creole mustard in a baguette. The Pulled Pork Slider with Pickles ($55) has hickory smoked USDA pork served in a brioche bun withcrft bbq sauce and shredded cabbage. They also have Mini Burger Sliders ($55) and Jalapeno Mac and Cheese ($30). Add a drink to create a combo for $80

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frites-wine-and-dine-2016Frites the Belgian bar with four outlets locally will be serving mini versions of two of it’s popular menu items. The palm sized “US Pork Mini Good Wife Sausage with Mash Potato’ $60 is very tasty. Or get healthy with a ‘US Beef Protein Salad’ $80.

US PORK US Beef

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