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Friday, May 31, 2013

KitschSpotting - Yong Peng Pit Stop

It's no big secret that I just adore over-the-top, larger-than-life, kitschy public materializations of ostentatious wealth, bewildering government spending (think of those wacky centrepieces in some of the Arab nations' roundabouts...Oman, Qatar and UAE, I'm looking at you) and well-meaning yet gloriously gaudy representations of Asian prosperity symbols. 
That last category is nicely brought to life in Yong Peng at a pit stop for buses plying
the North-South Highway in West Malaysia.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Photo Essay: Shek-O

This is one of my favourite places in Hong Kong, which is particularly apt as I only go there at the end of my favourite hiking trail - the Dragon's Back.  Shek-O (literal translation: Rocky Bay) is a sleepy fishing village perched on a peninsula on the south-eastern part of Hong Kong.  During the summer, it's packed with locals, expats and tourists when they flock by the dozens to the public sandy beach for all-day sun-and-surf frolicking and BBQ parties  Best to avoid it during that entire season and instead plan a visit during the winter months, when the mood is more subdued and the village has (more often than not) dramatic overcast overtones that lend a distinctly retro-nostalgia glow to its rustic weather-beaten surroundings.

Here are some of my own visual memories of Shek-O and the Dragon Back hiking trail.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Freshly Baked Goods....with Passion. Lots of It.

This corner bakery in Wan Chai opened just a year ago in June, but the somewhat-funny story is that I had dined in its predecessor's restaurant in the same location about a couple of months before Passion by Gerard Dubois became a reality.  It was one of those typical non-memorable local Hong Kong joints - you know, the type that sells macaroni with bits of ham in soup, scrambled eggs with meanly sliced toast, staffed by indifferent waitresses, that sort of thing - I remembered thinking it was a total dump.  Imagine to my astonishment to see that the space had quickly transformed into this wondrous baked-goods wonderland, complete with a fine selection of technicolour pastries, fresh breads of all types, and a gorgeous array of inventive salads and tasty sandwiches.  My only gripe about this place is the lack of seating spaces, but then again, it has resurrected my dormant talent of hovering over tables until its occupants flee for less personal-space-invading eateries.  Having a thick skin and a voracious appetite for freshly-baked carbs can come in handy at times.

Pain au Raisin, as held by the manicured digits of Evelyn Yo.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

My personal favourite: Quiche Lorraine

Passion by Gerard Dubois - G/F, Fraser Suites, 74-80 Johnston Road, Wan Chai.  Open daily.
Telephone +852 2529 1311

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Bites of The Big Apple

No, I didn't eat my way through my week in Manhattan, although it sometimes felt (and looked) like I had.  And yes, I know the theme of this particular post is not going to support my first sentence, but what the hey.....the city is a gastronomic Jezebel and my appetite is its adoring slave.

Here's a quick look at (some of) what I noshed, and where:
Buttery baked pork bun and milk tea at Simply Bakery - 70 Bayard St, between Mott St and Elizabeth St, Chinatown, NY
Fried squid with lemon and chili at Roberta's - 261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206. +1 718 417-1118

The Axl Rosenberg pizza (tomato, mozzarella, sopressata, jalapeno, mushroom and loads of garlic) at Roberta's

One of my favourite Chinese comfort foodie haunts in Chinatown
Roasted meats galore at Big Wong Restaurant on 67 Mott St, Manhattan
Always a classic, especially if done well: roasted duck and BBQ pork with rice at Big Wong restaurant.
Stopping by for pastries at Little Big Cupcake Bakeshop at 30 Prince Street, New York

Sneaking a peek into the busy kitchen of BCD Tofu House in the heart of Korean Town on 5 West 32nd St, New York
Best appetizers I've ever had in a Korean restaurant - the new-ish BCD Tofu House - open 24 hours, no less

My Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap at BCD Tofu House
Excellent naan at the teeny Lahori Kebab on 122 Lexington Ave, between 28th St and 29th St, in the Flatiron district
So good, so spicy: LOVED the tandoori chicken, mutton curry and sekh kabab in this authentic Pakistani hole-in-the-wall
Junior's New York cheesecake : absolute stick-to-the-roof-of-your mouth yum

The hungry horde waiting in line outside Nyonya on 199 Grand St (between Mott St and Mulberry St) in New York
I liked this rojak at Nyonya a lot...the waiter cautioned us that the sauce will taste "fishy."  Well, d-uh, I should hope so.
My delish bowl of pho, complete with beef brisket and a whole lot of tripe, at Pho 32 and Shabu on West 32nd Street

Fresh summer rolls at Pho 32 and Shabu
The wonderful calamari at Porsena at East 7th Street, New York.
Another must-have in the city: durian and lychee ice cream at The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory on 65 Bayard St

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Photo Essay: Springtime in New York

After braving the cold, somewhat dreary climes of London and Toronto, and enduring the bizarre rain storms (and snowfall) in Chicago, it was a huge relief to spend a week soaking up the vitamin D in New York City.  Yes, it was a bit chilly but I'd take that any time if I can have cloudless blue skies and gorgeous sunshiny days as a trade-off.  I'm saving the foodie shots for another post, but these are my other favourite images of the city.

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