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Culinary Delights in Southern China

Our family spent 10 days during Easter break in China and Hong Kong. Fears of dirty water and fried scorpions had us packing our suitcases with granola bars and beef jerky. I am happy to report that we never touched the snacks from home because we LOVED the food in China and Hong Kong. Super fresh shrimp and lobster that's pulled out of an onsite tank was the norm for every restaurant not just the high end ones. Lots of greens, as in broccoli sprouts, spinach, and chards are a delicious mainstay while eating out.

American Chinese food is like qualifying Domino's Pizza as Italian food, REAL Chinese food is served in small portions similar to French portions, but boy do they make up for quantity with quality. Noodles of every kind are serve rather than rice, which I only saw once brought to the table for a young boy. The noodles are boiled in flavorful broths of duck, shellfish or pork. Yes, the fish is served with the head on but I'm sure the fish would be happy to see us all enjoying every last bit of his tasty body including his cheeks. Stuffed hot peppers, dim sum with delightful pork filling, and savory soups satisfy even the heartiest appetites.

Our favorite place was Laurel Restaurant in Shenzhen, we ate at three locations throughout China all delicious. In Asia it is common to request private dinning rooms so that was where we ate most of our meals. Our hosts ordered everything from shark fin soup (not so great) to fried wontons with honey and sesame seeds sprinkled over them (tasty). Laurel is known for their Peking Duck and I can vouch for their reputation, its spectacular! They slice the crunchy duck skin off the duck at the table and serve it with a tortilla (Asian), plum sauce and thinly sliced cucumbers. Moo Shoo oh so good! The rest of the duck is taken away and served later within several dishes, pulled duck meat w/veggies, duck soup etc. Remember in China they eat everything but the quack.

My hubby was craving a steak, so we ate "Western Style" food for the only time in ten days.
Nansha Grand Hotel has an awesome steakhouse and their dinning area is beautiful with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Pearl River. California red wines along with many Aussy wines. English is very limited this far into China but they speak volumes with their food. The steak and fish were perfect along with the baked potatoes and veggies. No fear about the fixings, butter and sour cream are imported from Australia, with the wine I guess. Our first time trying Russian Soup, very good. Nansha Grand Hotel is worth staying at, great place to have breakfast too, which we did the following morning.

In Huizhou the Kande International Hotel is the only place to stay because of their awesome restaurants. The Imperial Palace served everything under the sun, Asian, Western, French,
you name it, they bring it. There were six of us and we all ordered a different cuisine, I was very impressed. They have an onsite French pastry shop that we visited several times and enjoyed wonderful desserts.

In Shenzhen the Portofino Village has several wine tasting shops, restaurants and cafes, that all have alfresco seating lakeside. Twinkle lights reflected off the lake as we enjoyed late night lattes and wine. All the restaurant are good in this area.

Wish we could remember all the restaurants we ate in, but fear not, enjoy Hong Kong and China because they really treat Americans like family. If you saw the Olympics you will understand that China is a wealthy country and health and food standards are strictly enforced.

May 06, 2009
food4lilli in China & Southeast Asia

Yummy Mutant Lobster in Hong Kong

Our family spent 10 days during Easter break in China and Hong Kong. Fears of dirty water and fried scorpions had us packing our suitcases with granola bars and beef jerky. I am happy to report that we never touched the snacks from home because we LOVED the food in China and Hong Kong. Super fresh shrimp and lobster that are pulled out of an onsite tank was the norm for every restaurant not just the high end ones. Lots of greens, as in broccoli sprouts, spinach, and chards are a delicious mainstay while eating out in China.

American style Chinese food is like qualifying Domino's Pizza as Italian food, REAL Chinese food is served in small portions similar to French portions, but boy do they make up for quantity with quality. Noodles of every kind are serve rather than rice, which I only saw once brought to the table for a young boy. The noodles are boiled in flavorful broths of duck, shellfish or pork. Yes, the fish is served with the head on but I'm sure the fish would be happy to see us all enjoying every last bit of his tasty body including his cheeks. Stuffed hot peppers, dim sum with delightful pork fillings, and savory soups satisfy even the heartiest appetites. Here are a few of our favorite spots in Hong Kong:

Lei Garden Restaurant upscale chain with several locations (photo of lobster)
Royal Park Chinese Restaurant (ShaTin) upscale fine dinning
Cafe de Coral great place to have lunch if you are in a hurry
Chinese upscale "food court" in New Town Plaza shopping mall OMG yummy galore!

Wish we could remember all the wonderful restaurants we ate in, but fear not, enjoy Hong Kong and China because they really treat Americans like family. If you saw the Olympics you will understand that China is a wealthy country and health and food standards are strictly enforced.

May 06, 2009
food4lilli in China & Southeast Asia

Fresno Límon's Peruvian Restaurant Going Strong

We were pleased to see this fine restaurant full of happy dinners and few empty seats. Lately, it seems as if Tommy's, Elbowroom, Cheesecake Factory, etc. have not had the crowds of customers waiting to be seated. We have been crossing our fingers and spreading the word about Fresno's only Peruvian restaurant, other people must
be doing the same because Límon was packed.

Our son, visiting from college, was craving some Peruvian food so that was our excuse to head to Límon. Wow, am I glad we did, another mouthwatering meal so full of flavor and cooked to perfection. We started off with two appetizers, the ribs and the antichucos. Simply delicious.

All the entree were off the hook yummy, but the lomo saltado seemed to be the best of the best, the rib eye coming in a close second. Our 13 year old sticks with his favorite, the pollo latino with the Peruvian mac & cheese. It's made with truffle oil, too bad it does not come in an "easy mac microwave version" for home, i'd never
have to cook again.

OMG the desserts send you straight to heaven, peach bread pudding (we ordered two just to be safe), flourless chocolate lava cake with homemade ice cream, and compliments of the house, passionfruit mousse. Shame on us but we scraped every last calorie off the plates.

Add two CichaTinis, Peruvian beer, and Chicha Morada and we were completely stuffed. Límon is a wonderful place to enjoy spending time with friends and family while
savoring a taste of Peruvian cuisine.

May 04, 2009
food4lilli in California

Where does a foodie eat in Fresno?

Lemóns Peruvian Restaurant is “eyes rolling in the back of the head” ambrosia. It is located at 7735 N. Blackstone Avenue, a couple of doors down from Hooters.

They don’t serve tapas however their appetizer menu is quite awesome. If your family likes fish, the Ceviche de Pescado is a good choice to start off with followed by Anticuchos de Carne, grilled marinated beef skewers that will knock your sock off. A side of Peruvian Mac and Cheese and you should be set for an afternoon in Fresno.

Inka Cola and Chicha Morada are two cool drinks the kids will be talking about all the way back to Oakhurst. Hope this helps on your next trip.

Feb 21, 2009
food4lilli in California

SF's Limón opening Fresno location

Lemóns Peruvian Restaurant is “eyes rolling in the back of the head” ambrosia. It is located a couple of doors down from Hooters and a world away in culture and cuisine. My husband and I have enjoyed dining at Lemóns in San Francisco and were pleasantly surprised to see them open a restaurant in Fresno.

Our server Raina, new to Peruvian cuisine, was amazingly informed on all the Peruvian dishes and Cocktails that Lemón has to offer. She started us off with a Pisco Sour that was Peruvian perfection in a glass. With a dozen appetizers to chose from, Raina suggested the Costillas a la Barbacoa, Peruvian BBQ spareribs seasoned with aji Amarillo that will knock your socks off. The meat was so flavorful and tender, hands down the best ribs this side of Memphis.

My hubby selected the Saltado de Pollo, Peruvian comfort food at it’s finest. The chicken, onions, tomatoes and fries had my husband’s fork working overtime. Raina was kind enough to select my entrée because I just could decide from all the wonderful choices. She brought a fillet of Sole in a yummy aji sauce, plated with spinach and soft potato medallions. If I was home, I honestly would have licked the plate, it was that good.

During this time we had full view of every dish passing from the chef to the servers, which caused us to do something we never do, order another appetizer while still working on our entrees. OMG I am so glad we did, the Antichuchos de Carne at Lemón are unbelievable. Grilled marinated beef skewers with wickedly awesome Peruvian spices and a green dipping sauce that really will have your eyes rolling in the back of your head.

Raina kept the party going with a suggestion of my new favorite cocktail “Chichatini,” a martini prepared with a purple Peruvian corn mixer, sounds weird but in Peru, purple corn is pressed and prepared much like grapes. The “Chichatini” is similar to the “Pomatini,” but with a hint of cinnamon and citrus. Really, if you don’t sample the Peruvian Cocktails Lemón’s offers, you are missing out on half the fun.

I am ashamed to admit it, but we could not leave without dessert, Raina was kind enough to select for us since all the dessert items sounded fantastic. My husband and I could smell the caramelizing sugar aroma wafting in over the counter prior to Raina placing the Coffee Crème Brulee in front of us, another hit for Lemón.

Driving in from Hanford we were preparing ourselves to not expect too much from a fairly new restaurant, Peruvian cuisine is not common to the valley and if the food and service were O.K. or just good, we would have been satisfied. WOW were we surprise to find such a gem right here in Fresno. Lemón’s Fresno location is even better that Lemón’s in San Francisco, and that is saying a lot, the S.F. Lemón’s receives rave reviews from the S.F. food critics year after year. Congratulations Fresno, Christmas came early this year, December 27, 2008, Lemón’s opening date.

Feb 21, 2009
food4lilli in California

Latin Chef - San Diego

Thx Cookieshoes, I have wanted to try Nory's and now that you recommended it I will try it out the next time we are in the area. La Pizza Grotto Harbor for Peruvian? Who would have thought?

I will be in Pasadena for the FRESNO STATE vs UCLA with a large group of people, any Peruvian food there? If not Peruvian any suggestions? Good food is good food.

Jul 04, 2008
food4lilli in San Diego

Latin Chef - San Diego

Yes, Enorah, this was my first post however I have been a fan of Chowhound for about two years. I love this site and use it whenever we travel which is quite frequently. I was encouraged by my bitter husband who was so let down by not being fed at the Latin Chef. I guess we had the bad luck to catch the Latin Chef on an off day.

We did head up to L.A. the next day and ate at El Pollo Inka. As always the meal was fantastic and sizzling hot. Their Pisco Sours are awesome and their servers are seasoned in the art of treating every diner as a welcomed guest.

I don't think we will try Latin Chef again but I truly hope my post will encourage him to complete one table prior to starting another. My love of Peruvian food outweighed by manners to wait until my husbands food was served (or not served in our case).

Jul 03, 2008
food4lilli in San Diego

Latin Chef - San Diego

Peruvian food in San Diego is hard to find so my husband and I were tempted by the good reviews of LATIN CHEF in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. The restaurant was empty save for one couple that was waiting for their meal. A friendly food server asked if we had reservations? Mind you the restaurant was empty. She told us to take a seat anywhere. We ordered Chicha and a Coke, which both arrived cool however no ice in the glass. My husband requested ice and she said "oh?" Then she sent someone from the kitchen to go buy a bag of ice, when he returned the ice was given somewhat reluctantly. Fine so far, we ordered antichucos, pollo saltado, and tallirin verde con bistecka. The antichucos were tasty but the had been reheated in the microwave and were not very warm. A table of six arrived and the server took their order. They had to request ice after their drinks arrived. I have been to Peru many time and ice is not commonly found in drinks however in the states all Peruvian restaurants serve ice with their drinks.
My food arrived and was O.K. the server said my husband's pollo dish would be coming. I waited a couple of minutes and then I started eating slowly while my husband watched. Five minutes passed and the server brought one plate out to place in front of one of the six diners at the other table. My husband wanted to leave but I had aready eaten 1/2 my food and did not want to waste the other half. He told the server to please get his meal. She said, "it's coming." Every five minutes for the next 15 minutes a new plate arrived in front of a person on the table of six. They were as frustrated as us however they did not complain to the server only amongst themselves.
After thirty minutes my husband went to the kitchen/front counter and requested his bill, he noticed a man in the kitchen eating a freshly prepared dinner and talking to the chef. The server asked if my husband would like his meal to go. Mind you the only meal in the back was the chef's friend's meal. My husband said he had waited thirty minutes from the time I received my meal to the time he requested his bill. He paid for what we ate and he grab dessert in Old Town San Diego at the FireHouse Cafe, YUMMY and we listen to live Bossa Nova out on the twinkle lighted patio.

Latin Chef has a talent for food preporation however he lacks the ability to serve more than one person at a time. Also first come is not always first served in his restaurant. I don't understand why he would start on a table of six before he served the other half of a table for two that had sent two requests to the kitchen in regards to when the second meal would arrive. SADLY, LATIN CHEF is a disappointment in the Peruvian Restarant Catagory.

Jul 02, 2008
food4lilli in San Diego