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9th trip to Hong Kong - Need something special and different

I better withdraw my recommendation for Hing Fat. I went there tonight and was charged a rather astonishing HK$48 for tea! I'm a local and they've never charged me this before (I live nearby and have eaten there often; this wasn't even my first time there this week), but it turns out they do have this absurd price at the bottom of the menu cards on the table. So unless you want to fight, you have to pay. Yet another good old-fashioned HK rip-off, aimed at tourists, but this time it caught me as well.

Jul 04, 2009
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Has anyone tried Shatin 18?

Forgot to mention - reserve a duck when you make your reservation, and tell them you'll want it ready when you arrive (if that's what you want). While you are not required to do this, they're disorganized enough that it's a good idea to do this if you want to be sure of getting a duck with less than a 90 minute wait.

If you have a big group, the private rooms (especially those with windows) are quite nice.

Jun 12, 2009
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Has anyone tried Shatin 18?

I went there this week. It's in the Shatin Hyatt, which is next to KCR University Station.

It has 4 show kitchens, which is a bit gimmicky; one for dumplings/noodles, one for roast meat, one for wok cooking and one for desserts.

The duck is good; the skin is almost translucent and melts on the tongue, as opposed to the usual HK crispy/glazed skin. To my taste it's different, rather than better. Their other dishes are quite serviceable.

The service was lousy. This is a hotel restauarnt and you're paying $70 for a beer, so it's not unreasonable to expect a decent standard of service. But the staff were inexperienced and disorganized, to the point where it detracted from the meal. I'll spare you all the details, but basically I'd give them some more time to get their staff trained before visiting.

Jun 11, 2009
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Deacon's Corners the market on breakfast in Vancouver

I've eaten at Deacon's several times, and I'm with you on the hash browns; they can be crispy one time and soggy the next, or (too) spicy one time and bland the next.

But other than that, they do a pretty good job in breakfast-deprived Vancouver.

Jun 11, 2009
HKDave in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Best Burger In Vancouver

It's not against the law, otherwise how could any restaurant serve beef tartare?

But most burger places buy frozen pre-formed patties and these days it's not considered good practice to cook them anything less than well done. Places that grind their own (Hamilton St is one; the counter at Save-On Meats was another but not sure where they get their beef now that the butcher shop there is closed) will usually cook it however you like.

I should add that the HSG burger is available at dinner, not just lunch as I posted many months ago upthread. Save-On's is available until 6pm, I think...

May 11, 2009
HKDave in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Holiday Brunch (YVR)

Old thread here:

There's nothing in Vancouver that even remotely compares with the better Asian hotel breakfast buffets, but Pan Pacific comes closest.

Kalamata brand olive oil in Van

I know what you mean... the stuff that used to come in the blue square cans... it used to be available all over the place. I've definitely seen it at Parthenon and all other of the Greek grocers on West Broadway in the past. If they don't have it, they probably know what happened to it.

Yat Lok in HKG

Aqua and Hutong are from the same company, in the same building, but are different concepts (other than that they're both trendy and very expensive). Details:

Close to your hotel, there's a branch of Guangdong BBQ at 43 Hankow Rd. They're rude and slightly more expensive than others, and serious foodies pooh-pooh them because they're popular, but I haven't found better BBQ in the immediate area.

There are a lot more options if you're willing to walk a bit further, in Jordan and Mongkok, or if you take a short ferry to Wanchai.

Nov 19, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Looking for name of Cheesecake shop in Repulse Bay, HK

Things change fast in HK, so it may be gone. There's a branch of Pacific Coffee in that mall... could that have been be it?

Nov 18, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Yat Lok in HKG

I live not far from the Sheraton and I wouldn't go all the way to Tai Po for roast meat when there are many options much closer to home, but I admire your enthusiasm.

Another couple of drinks-with-views near your hotel:
Felix, atop the Peninsula. It's a little less trendy now that Aqua has become the Tsimshatsui bar-of-the-moment, which is a good thing. Best view is from the men's bathroom.

The lobby bar at the Intercontinental, across the street, mixes a nice cocktail. It's a lower-level view.

I would check with both Aqua and Felix re dress code; Felix at one time didn't allow sport shoes, not sure if that's still the case. Shouldn't be an issue at the Intercontinental.

If you want to cross the harbour, there are a few modern lounge/bars with views on top of the IFC Mall, near the Star Ferry in Central. The only one I've been to much is Isobar, above Isola restaurant. Good drinks, nice view, with the tallest building in town on one side, and also some (rare for HK) outdoor seating.

The weather is nice this week, but our legendary air pollution is pretty bad today.

Nov 18, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Cheesemaking -- Vancouver

Famous Foods had Junket Rennet in stock the last time I was there.

Info on how to use it, just in case you need it:

Best Sichuan in Hong Kong

You mean the bones in the dry chili chicken? Yes, that's the norm at San Xi Lou, and also anytime I've had this dish in China. I had the dish once in North America made with sliced boneless chicken breast, and it was just plain weird. The whole point is fishing around in the mountain of chili and hua jiao for little morsels...

Nov 12, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Best Sichuan in Hong Kong

San Xi Lou would be my first choice, no question. English menus, English spoken by several of the staff, but the food is authentic enough to draw in homesick mainlanders.

Yunyan isn't bad but the cooking and ingredients are not up to SXL's standards. It's also English-friendly (owned and operated by the Miramar hotel group).

Wing Lai Yuen is ok - especially for their dan dan mein - but they tend toward HK tastes rather than full-on Sichuan explosions of flavour. English menu but not much spoken. Truth is, since Crystal Jade arrived in HK, I haven't felt the need to trek out to Whampoa for a bowl of WLY's dan dan mein any more...

Nov 10, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Nose to tail Vancouver

Colleen is no longer at the Irish Heather.
Scroll down the page after the bit on Diva.

Best Value Downtown Grocery Vancouver BC

The Waste End is pretty bad for food shopping, unless you want Korean stuff. One place I avoid is the Super Valu on Davie near Jervis. I've twice caught them overcharging by faking the weight labels on meat. If I do have to shop there, I check the meat using the produce dept scales...

Nearby, there's a smaller independent store called West Valley on Bute just north of Davie that has a pretty good selection of produce and dry goods, even things like passata that are hard to find elsewhere in the neighbourhood. They've got basic meat and dairy as well, and their prices aren't bad.

For a bigger (Asian-oriented) selection, I go to T+T. It's worth the walk.

Nov 09, 2008
HKDave in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Address of homemade noodle place in Bourdain No Reservations

kobetobiko is 100% correct; Mr Ping's (the guy in the TV episode) noodle stall is in the Tai Po district public market on Heung Sze Wui St in Tai Po. Bourdain and Josh ate at this stall, and also visited Ping's small noodle factory, which is in another building and isn't open to the public. For some reason none of this is on the travel log for this episode.

Nov 09, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Burmese in HK ? if not, Thai? Taishan?

While HK might be a wasteland for Burmese dining, tiny Macau has several options.
The only one I've heard anything about is Nga Heong, and what I hear is good. I'm in Macau at the moment but probably won't have time to try it.

Nov 09, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Burmese in HK ? if not, Thai? Taishan?

The only Burmese place I ever heard of was Rangoon, in Causeway Bay. And yes, it's closed.

You're in China. Hong Kong's population is 95% Chinese, the vast majority of whom are Cantonese and are not big fans of spicy food. So you shouldn't be particularly surprised that HK isn't as good for Burmese or SE Asian food as the very multi-cultural Bay Area, which has about a 25% immigrant population, including 20,000 Burmese.

On the other hand, if you like Cantonese food...

Nov 07, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Vancouver Magazine's 101 Local Things to Eat Before You Die

Veal Bones in Calgary?

Most veal in Canada comes from Quebec, so I doubt you'll find anyone butchering veal in Calgary. If you can find an old-school Italian butcher, that'll be your best bet.

Restaurants get veal bones from their food suppliers (like these guys or - there are probably some smaller, better suppliers but I don't know who's who in Calgary), usually frozen in 20kg boxes. Not sure if they'll sell you just one box, but they might if you tell them you're willing to come pick them up.

If you have a choice, veal bones from Australia make better stock than the ones from Quebec, IMHO. The GFS bones are usually from Quebec, not sure about Sysco. Should be $1.00 - $1.50/lb.

Recommendations for Steak and Frites in Vancouver?

My votes would be Pied a Terre and Hamilton St Grill. Both have very good hanger steak frites for under $30 - in fact I think P-A-T's is only $22 for the lunch set meal.

Nov 06, 2008
HKDave in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Ultimate Dim Sum in HK!

Go here: the "Best Dim Sum In Hong Kong" thread...

Nov 05, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Hong Kong: Innards delight, fish balls

Re "Cho Choi Koon"... if you were at the place in the photo here: then you were in the right place. It's called "Tso Choi" in English, for those of you wondering why you couldn't Google it...

If you like Yunyan, I recommend San Xi Lou (7/f Coda Plaza, Mid-Levels). I live just a couple blocks from Yunyan, and let me put it this way - since SXL opened, I haven't been back to Yunyan. SXL is run by the same people that ran the (now closed) Man Jiang Hong in Causeway Bay.

Nov 05, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Buying Japanese Knives in HK

None of the Shanghai St shops have a good selection of Japanese knives.

The area of Tokyo is Kappabashi, not kapanabashi. Kamata knife shop's website is here: but unless you read Japanese it's not going to help; I can't even tell if they ship to HK. You're still better off with; excellent selection and service and you don't have to go to Japan (and get fingerprinted on arrival) to shop there.

Nov 03, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Nose to tail Vancouver

I suggest Fuel. They're literally 'nose to tail'; they bring in whole organic sides of pork, butcher them in the front window facing the street, and use the whole thing. They make their own sausage, salami, prosciutto, bacon... and the standard of cooking is excellent. If you like to watch a kitchen at work, ask for seats at the 'kitchen bar'.

The only thing I don't like about Fuel is their website; it's screamingly painful. Don't let it put you off.

But if by 'nose-the-tail' you mean a place that has lots of offal and marrow on the menu... hmmm. Nothing immediately springs to mind.

Shanghai Food in Hong Kong?

The two HK branches of Ye Shanghai serve good modern, somewhat upscale Shanghai (and regions nearby) food, and they also have dan dan mein on the menu. I assume by 'steamed dumplings' you mean xiao long bau, and yes, they have very good ones, but I like the ones at Din Tai Fung (in Silvercord, Canton Rd) better. Ye Shanghai is in Pacific Place on the Island, and also in Marco Polo HK Hotel in TST. If you want to eat lunch/dim sum at the latter location, you can currently get a 20% off coupon from their website here:

For dan dan mein, the most famous place in HK is Wing Lai Yuen, which has been making this dish, with handmade noodles, since 1947. This is a Sichuan restaurant, not Shanghaiese. They're in Whampoa Garden. There's usually a long line-up, so be prepared to wait. Not fancy. Here's a photo of their dan dan mein:

If price and convenience are the main concerns, the various branches of Crystal Jade (a chain from Singapore, but don't hold that against them) restaurant all have very reliable dumplings and excellent - big bowl, handmade noodles - dan dan mein, at very good prices. But be warned, they are usually packed, almost cafeteria-style, and the service can be random even by HK standards. The location in Wanchai is better-managed than the one in Harbour City. Here's a photo of their XLB and DDM...

Nov 01, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia

Restaurants near W. Hastings (Vancouver)

A couple more nearby...
Chambar for dinner
Salt for noon-midnight wine/charcuterie
Irish Heather for pints and very good pub grub (their website is out of date; here's a recent review: ).

two nights in vancouver

Kamei Royale is ordinary at best. They got a bit of extra publicity when they were briefly closed earlier this year (links below have details) for major health code violations. Their kitchen is largely staffed by underpaid Japanese students whose cooking skills are about as good as their English. You can do much better at just about any other place recommended on these boards.

Day trip to Vancouver (via Amtrak) - Any recs?

It would help if you gave some idea about what kind of food and price range you are interested in.

With the current train schedule, you'll be in Vancouver from about noon-5pm, so you're probably looking for lunch. The area immediately around the train station is not wonderful.

If you're coming in late November, there's a slight chance that a much-anticipated new restaurant will be open at 1022 Main, quite close to the station. It's called Campagnolo, and will be run by the folks from Fuel.

Aurora Bistro would only be an option if you're coming on a weekend as it isn't open for lunch weekdays, and it's an uninteresting walk up Main St. Reservations required.

If you are into Asian food, Chinatown is about 3 blocks North. One popular option there would be Phenom Penh.

Otherwise, fmed's suggestion to take the Skytrain (which leaves from in front of the station) to Yaletown and/or Robson St area would make the most sense.

Hong Kong without a sportcoat??

Hutong: 28/F, 1 Peking Road (at the corner of Canton Rd; but the elevators to the restaurants are on the other side of the building). Tel: 3428 8342

Expensive, reservations a must. You don't need a jacket, but it is a 'dress-up' restaurant. The AquaSpirit bar upstairs (same owners) is good for a pre- or post-prandial cocktail, if you like that sort of thing.

BTW, the address and a map is on their website - it's under 'Reservations'

Oct 21, 2008
HKDave in China & Southeast Asia