Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Food: Dish @ Dua Residency, Jalan Tun Razak, KL



Growing up, parents' birthdays were never a big thing in my family. I was never asked to buy presents or dinner or things like that. Now that I'm working though, I seem to be paying it all back with interest! For dad's birthday recently, I shot myself in the foot by suggesting a trip to Dish at Dua Residency. Dad was all ready for a trip to Han Room with his RM50 discount from Oriental Group, but I had to be the smart-alec to arrange dinner at Dish. =D



Dish is housed in Dua Residency along Jalan Tun Razak. Most people know the Delicious restaurant in there, but many may not be aware of Dish's existence. Though the name is shorter, it does not imply a simpler or cheaper menu! 



Dish doesn't really have an enclosed space of its own. Just walk through the doors on the Ground floor and head past the groceries and knick-knacks. For a place like this, I do wish they had some big double doors or something along those lines. It would enhance the ambiance I think. =)



For dinner, Dad cleverly ordered two 6-course Taste of Dish (RM 135) sets for himself and Mum, so for this post I'll go through the set dinner menu first and then move to the ala carte dishes Wendy and I had.

But before all that, we started dinner with some complimentary Eggplant Fritters. This is wonderful snack food, light and crispy on the outside and the kind we could just eat and eat and finish a whole box without realizing! But be careful not to eat too much of this to save space for other treats. =D



Another complimentary starter - Bread!



Not your ordinary bread however; this bread was amazingly light and fluffy on the inside, but totally crispy on the crust. Bread is served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping and a slab of garlic butter for spreading. We swear that garlic butter was one of the most amazing piece of butter we've ever had! I would have gladly paid good money to take home a chunk, but alas, the waiter said it isn't for sale. Again, self-control must be exercised so as not to make a meal out of the bread and eggplant. =P



Not long after gorging ourselves on the wonderful bread, the Amuse bouche of the set dinner arrived, which was watermelon and feta cheese. When we first saw the watermelon all we could think of was the watermelon salad at S.Wine! Thankfully this was much more acceptable to our palates, with the crumbled feta cheese flavour balanced perfectly by the cool sweet watermelon. We're not the most distinguished eaters out there, but even we could appreciate the refreshing combination in this dish. 



Next came the Foie gras and smoked duck ballotine with spiced pineapple - 2 big round portions of of pate wrapped in smoked duck, served with buttered bread and pineapple spiced with cinnamon. Just like the watermelon and feta cheese, this was another combination of perfection. While the pate was very rich and full of flavour, the sharp sweetness of the pineapple made sure the pate didn't get too ahead of itself. Once again, we were all impressed by the thought and balance put into the dish.



Next was the Seared and marinated tuna, pickled radish and crispy quail egg. Another interesting combination, but this didn't have the same perfect chemistry like the first 2 dishes. That didn't mean this was no good though. On the contrary, the tuna and quails eggs, individually, were an exemplary display of culinary skill. The quails egg oozed runny yolk (have you ever seen quails egg with a runny yolk before?), while the tuna was lightly seared on the outside, but wonderfully raw on the inside!  If you're not a fan of tuna you might not appreciate this, but we found this tantalizing to the final mouthful. =)



The start of the next half of the Taste of Dish set was this Sauteed scallop, cauliflower puree, turkey bacon and almond nuts. The scallops were very fresh and plump, but very salty when eaten together with the nuts and bacon bits. It was surprising how those tiny nuts could be so salty! But taken together with a bit of the puree and everything is right again in the world. =)



And last but not least (for the mains in the set at least!) came the Wagyu Striploin presented with truffled potato puree and tarragon poached vegetables. The portion doesn't look very big in the picture but there was actually enough for 2 to share without looking embarrassing. The beef was lusciously melt-in-your-mouth as all Wagyu should be, while the potato puree was a smooth and supple addition to the dish. 



For Wendy and I, we decided to go with the ala carte menu, selecting one fish and one steak each. For the fish we chose the Salt baked cod in red pepper and lemon sauce (RM 69). The whole thing arrived in a big fancy-looking dough pastry with a separate plate of sauce and sliced peppers.The waiter helpfully opens up the pastry, which is inedible by the way, and takes out the glorious fish onto the plate.



And that is how the cod is served, on a bed of vegetables. I honestly cannot say if I have had cod as good as this. I've had fantastic cod back in Ipoh, but that's always done Chinese style, meaning just steamed with ginger. On the other hand this was a lot more creative, with a lemony tomato base that subtly brought out the flavour of the cod. The texture was so smooth, so satisfying that we could never get enough of it!




And the final darling of the night was this 338 gram piece of Australian Black Angus 150 day grain fed rib-eye, costing us a neat RM 87.78.



How do I know the weight and price so accurately? Because Dish lists down all the cuts of meat available at the exact weight and price! It does feel to good to know the exact weight of your meat, and exactly how much you're paying for it. In fact we were lucky; when we arrived the 266 grams wasn't crossed off, so I ordered that. Later the waiter came back and said it was actually sold out, but he still gave me the 338 gram piece for the price of 266 grams! Now that's what I call customer service. =D

(Also available is a cut called the optimum prime rib, which we both mistakenly read as Optimus Prime at first glance! :D)






Though we were already quite stuffed from sharing the starters from the set menu, my tummy quickly made room for this whopper of a steak! Well marbled with a clearly defined layer of fat running through the middle, this is true rib-eye at its best. Ask for it done medium and the chef faithfully grills it just right to maintain the blood red inside while getting it well cooked outside.



The only thing missing from the steak? Some proper side dishes. We solved that by ordering a separate bowl of Triple cooked chips (RM 18). Fries are normally a must-have with any Western meal, but this time we all agreed it wasn't necessary. Amongst all the other fancy dishes, the poor chips just got lost in the crowd, and we hardly touched them in the end because we were too stuffed. Quite a shame though, because I have to say that these chips were cooked to perfection. =D




We were also persuaded to order this Truffled macaroni 'n' cheese (RM 18) since the set dinner had starters and we had none. Again, we realized all too late that this was an unnecessary order, since the 4 of us could actually share the starters in the set dinner, and there was more than enough for everyone to have a taste. Also this mac n cheese was perhaps a little too good, since eating that amount of cheese definitely leaves no space for the other goodies in Dish!




And finally, dessert! Dish doesn't believe in going out without a bang, so finally comes the curtain call, the Caramel chocolate delice, raspberries and lime ice cream, just to prove once and for all that Dish is a master in the art of balancing flavours. The caramel chocolate was as rich and pure as chocolate comes, while the lime ice cream and raspberries were sorely needed to tone down the richness in the chocolate.

Our waiter also brought out some truffles and marshmallows that we enjoyed equally as much. That was the clincher though, we really could barely move after the final sweet treat!


Some truffles and marshmallows beautifully served on a block of wood

So all in all, it was a wonderful dinner at Dish, albeit one that cost me very close to RM600! Note that the ribeye should have actually cost another RM30-40, so the actual price of dinner was well upwards of RM600. It's certainly on the pricey side, but we feel the quality of the food definitely justifies the price. Dad certainly didn't have anything to complain about after one of the most expensive treats we've had in recent years. =P



Dish @ Dua Residency | Site
Lot 1.1, Ground Floor, Dua Annexe,
No. 211, Jalan Tun Razak, 50450 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +6 03 2164 1286
Fax: +6 03 2166 0766
Opening Hours: Daily, 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-11pm



Friday, May 25, 2012

Food: Suzi's Corner @ Off Jalan Ampang, KL



When people ask where's a good place for steak, no one ever, ever thinks of a coffee shop! And neither did we, until we read about Suzi's Corner! We had come across people talking about Suzi's Corner online when discussing about places to go for a good steak. We've had it in mind for awhile now, but because of it's location down in Ampang it always seemed too far out of the way. But it happened on that Saturday we had an appointment for our Bloom The Floral Shop post at Intermark, so Suzi's Corner was just a drive down the road. =D



For those unfamiliar and daunted by the thought of driving to Ampang, don't worry about not finding Suzi's Corner. Just go all the way down Jalan Ampang past Ampang Point on your left and get ready to turn left instead of going up the flyover, Suzi's Corner occupies a plot of land at the corner. Parking is limited, so be prepared for roadside parking. Seats are slightly easier to find, although the place can also be packed on weekends, with a mixture of expats and locals.



Being a food court, Suzi's Corner does actually have other things to eat like Indian cuisine or satay and chicken wings. But we just targeted the steaks at Steak Hut that night! The menu is simple; pick a cut of meat and a choice of sauce. I picked out a Sizzling Ribeye with Black Pepper Sauce (RM 29), as seen above. 



I'm not a big fan of steak with sauce, but if it's a sizzling steak like these at Suzi's Corner, then I think sauce is mandatory. I actually wasn't really paying attention to menu, so it was a mild surprise when it both came out sizzling. I had asked for the meat to be cooked medium but it turned out more medium-well, possibly because of sizzling plate that continues to cook the meat even after serving so eat your steaks fast! The slower you eat, the more well-done a steak you'll have. =D



For Wendy I chose the Sizzling Tenderloin Steak with Brown Sauce (RM 32). All the steaks are served with fries and steamed vegetables. The vegetables are an unusual choice, but it was fine since the beans were sweet and crunchy.



Comparing the tenderloin to the ribeye, we were more impressed with the tenderloin because it we got a tender cut of meat, and it came out closer to medium, with a visible thick strip of pink through the middle. We think it's easier to be more accurate with a thicker cut of meat when cooking sizzling style, since a thinner piece like a ribeye gets cooked all-round more easily. We also preferred the brown sauce to the black pepper, but this is probably a personal preference!


All wiped out - even the sauce!
All in all, for the price we paid (RM 61 for the two steaks), we left feeling quite satisfied, especially since we had been craving for some red meat of late. Suzi's Corner won't satisfy pure steak lovers - it's not the best cuts of meat, and not the best marbling, and not the best methods, certainly not the best ambiance, but what you do get is a down-to-earth, hearty steak, at non-astronomical prices. And there's nothing bad about that! =)


A shot of KLCC as we took a quick drive there after dinner to round off a good night.




Suzi’s Corner
Lorong Ampang Hulu (near Ampang Point, off Jalan Ampang)
Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 03 4256 6720
Opening Hours: Wed-Mon, 6pm onwards; closed on Tuesdays


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Travel: Macau Day #6 - Hotel Sintra, Boa Mesa Portuguese Food, Gelatina Mok Yi Kei 莫義記 & (a failed attempt at) Lord Stow's Bakery


This post was written together by Adam & Wendy, so you'll be seeing a bit of back-and-forth narrative :)

Adam:

It's been 7 months since our trip to Hong Kong and Macau. Truth be told, we didn't expect to take so long with blogging about the trip! But we're finally at the end (and also very happy we managed to recap our entire trip for our memories and hopefully to help anyone who's reading), so we can make way for other more exciting travel posts!

The lobby at Hotel Sintra, Macau Peninsula

Our previous post stopped at our last morning in Hong Kong, with our bags packed and ready to come return back to Macau. Our return leg wasn't as planned out as the rest of our trip, because we still hadn't decided where to stay the night! Wendy had done some research on cheap hotels and had finally booked a night in a cheap backpacker hotel for all of us for about RM 80 per person, but I think we were all quietly hoping for something better to end the trip with... =P

Enter Hotel Sintra!



To be honest, hotels in Macau are not cheap at all. Even the price of a 3-star hotel will set back a traveler by RM 200-300 per night. Of course, there's no arguing with the rack rates when walking in for a room, which is what we did. We chose Hotel Sintra because it seemed the best balance between price and location in such short notice. It's possible there might have been cheaper places, but we were lugging all our big suitcases with us, so we weren't in the mood for hotel hunting just then.. heh.




Although the 2 rooms cost us a small fortune, at least it was comfortable and relaxing. Large and spacious, with comfy beds and fully carpeted with all the necessities of a hotel room, there wasn't anything we could complain about. If you ever find a good deal for this hotel, our advice would be to take it. =)

Wendy:

Location is also ideal; as it is just a stone's throw away from the Praca de Ferreira do Amaral Bus Terminus stop which is the first stop after crossing over to the Peninsula. Most bus routes seem to pass this "terminal" although throughout our time in Macau, we only relied on the Bus 33 route as we weren't so adventurous. Heh.

This link can help you with bus routes if you intend to get around Macau with the public buses. It will definitely help to do some research before your trip as we found it quite hard to get directions from passerbys while we were there.



Coming back for a second time meant we were more familiar with Senado Square this time! We were determined to find some authentic Macanese food for dinner, and we had a restaurant named Amagao on our list for some Macanese food. Thinking we would find it eventually, we set off into the winding roads of Senado Square once again.



Unfortunately, after about half an hour of running up and down streets and backtracking on ourselves, and a whole lot of confused direction-givers who could not recognize Amagao's address, we gave up hope of finding Amagao. We ended up settling for Boa Mesa Portuguese Food, a quiet restaurant all the way up the small lane right next to McDonalds in Senado Square



A quiet and empty restaurant is never a good sign especially when compared to the hustle and bustle of Senado Square just a few steps away, but we were famished and weren't in the mood for anymore exploring. So we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best! 



We didn't order much because we weren't sure about what quality to expect, and prices didn't look all that friendly either.

The waitress recommended the above dish first, a Duck Rice (MOP 83 / RM 32). The serving was smaller than expected, but was fragrant and full of shredded duck. It was largely similar to the lap mei fan with lap cheong in it, which is the popular Chinese Waxed Meat with Rice we have back in Malaysia.



We also gave their Chicken Curry Portuguese Style (MOP 83 / RM 32) a try.

For the whole time we were in Macau, Bryan kept telling us we must try authentic Devil's Curry because mother of his friend had made some before and it was awesome. So when the waitress at Boa Mesa gave us that what-are-you-talking-about look when we asked for some Devil's Curry, the place dropped even more points for us.

It wasn't until we got back from holiday and were eating at Simply Mel's that we found out Devil's Curry is actually not authentic Portuguese but Cristang (Portuguese-Malaccan) instead! Hence we do owe poor Boa Mesa an apology here. =P


Misunderstanding aside, the Chicken Curry here was actually pretty tasty, albeit being expensive in our books. More creamy than spicy, the thick broth and juicy chicken pieces went well with the rice.



The highlight of the night came in the form of the Codfish in Cream (MOP 102 / RM 40) or bacalhau com natas with bacalhau referring to codfish in Portuguese.



This was incredibly sinful, a thick, creamy conconction of codfish bits, cream and mashed potatoes for texture and proclaimed as our favourite dish of the night.

To us, food at Boa Mesa was expensive in general, with small service sizes. I suppose had we been more prepared to sample authentic Portuguese cuisine, we may have been more daring with our food choices and wallets. A quick search on Google after we had returned from our trip shows that many do laud Boa Mesa as one of the great Portuguese food finds in Macau, though.




After dinner, we once again hopped on Bus No. 33 towards Taipa and this time stopped at the Taipa Old City Region stop, to get to Rua do Cunha (Cunha Street, 官也街), a street also dubbed as "Souvenir Street". You can't miss it! A brightly lit street selling lots of trinkets and souvenirs and Macau biscuits. Try not to be too late though, as we reached around 9pm and some shops were already closed.



You can get some cool stuff here, from all sorts of Macau-imprinted souvenirs to shiny gold playing cards like the ones Zhen Han bought above.

There's also a host of other shops there like Pastelaria Koi Kei.

A picture of the Koi Kee crowd on our first day at Senado Square

The biscuits and candy from Koi Kei, found all over Macau.
I finally took the opportunity to visit Pastelaria Koi Kei after seeing it all over Macau, to buy some lou poh "wife" biscuits my family asked for. Koi Kei also has a famous peanut sweet that we decided to try - sticky sweet candy with peanuts and sesame seeds, quite a nice treat if you're one for sweets. 



Also not to be missed is the famous Gelatina Mok Yi Kei, located right at one end of Rua do Cunha, for their Macanese sawdust puddings or known as the serradura



The Sawdust Pudding (MOP 12) was more cream than gelatinous pudding as its name suggests, but still an interesting taste nonetheless. The base is thick and creamy, with a top of finely blended moist biscuit crumbs.



The guys preferred Gelatina Mok Yi Kei's version of the Durian Ice-Cream (MOP 15), far denser and more potent than any durian ice-cream we've tried of late. The ice cream was icy cold and delicious, with a rich natural-tasting durian flavour.

As we chatted to the lady manning the stall, I mentioned our search earlier for Amagao, the Macanese restaurant. To our surprise, her face practically lit up, and she told us that she loved to point tourists there for the food was good. Quickly, she led us on a route amidst the small pedestrian backlanes and in under a minute, we  were there!



We were all set for a dinner #2, but unfortunately the place is tiny, and completely packed even at 9:30pm. Last order had passed, so that dashed our hopes of giving it a try. If you're ever looking for Amagao (pronounced ah-muh-kao), try finding Gelatina Mok Yi Kei first. The shop is located nearby, and odds are, the friendly owner of Mok Yi Kei will bring you there herself.

It was very disappointing to be so near yet so far to trying Amagao food, but that's life for you! We still had one more idea to save the night though, and that was to try Lord Stow's egg tarts at The Venetian. We promptly took a cab there after finishing at Rua do Cunha / Souvenir Street, since we didn't want to miss out on another must-try.



One store that caught our eye before our egg tart hunt was The Manchester United Experience store though! Being both Red Devils through and through, Adam and I were quite in awe in here. The store is rather massive with all sorts of memorabilia you can dream of - from bed sheets to shirts, even a gear shift cover!

Adam at the front of the store and Wendy taking the chance to snap a picture with Gary Neville.

Unfortunately things weren't all that affordable. One shirt for Adam and a deck of Man Utd playing cards later, we continued on to Lord Stow's for some egg tarts!


Do any Google search about good egg tarts in Macau and you'll soon find that there are two favourites - the first being Margaret's Café e Nata 瑪嘉烈蛋撻店 which we tried on Day 2 and Lord Stow's. The original Lord Stow's branch is tucked away in Coloane, but they've also opened up a more accessible branch in The Grand Canal Shoppes.

Having been on our feet most of the day, we got a cozy corner and sat down, resting for awhile before ordering. This turned out to be a bad move, because as soon as we decided to get some egg tarts from the counter, a lady beat us to it, and bought up... Every. Single. Available. Egg. Tart! There were close to 30 of them!

It was already close to closing, and the Lord Stow staff told us they wouldn't make another batch unless we wanted to buy 50 pieces or something. It was an extremely disappointing end to our food journey, and an important lesson was learnt - never assume that good food will always be available, even if it looks like there's tons of stock! :(





Adam:

I have this belief that if I'm having a bad day, most probably I'm going to have bad luck with games too. Unfortunately it was our last night in Macau, so it was the only chance we had for a spot of gambling. Sadly my theory proved to be right again, as I finally cracked and lost patience after an excruciatingly slow night at the poker table. At least Zhen Han had better luck, so one of us went back happy. Lol. (Pictures are taken from the Grand Lisboa hotel, where we went after The Grand Canal Shoppes. =))



The next morning came all too soon, and with a late morning flight to catch, there wasn't any time to sleep in. There was still time to have a last round of egg tarts though! Wendy had a plan to tapau egg tarts back home for family, and because I'm a kiasu f'ler, I also bought a few boxes home! (even though my family isn't even close to half the size of Wendy's. Hahaha!)


Finally, all good things must come to an end. It was an uneventful trip to the airport and on the flight home. Though we faced so many issues in planning the trip, I have to say this was one of my most memorable. Macau and Hong Kong are twin destinations that are perfect for foodies like us, or even if you're just looking to explore a new place. We're glad to finally put an end to this travelogue, 8 months after the trip! We hope all our sharing has helped you plan your own a trip to HK and Macau. =)

*

Hotel Sintra | Site
Avenida de D. João IV,
Macau Peninsula, Macau
Tel: +853 2871 0111
Fax: +853 2856 7769
E-mail:
rsvn@hotelsintra.com (For reservation)
eo@hotelsintra.com (For general enquiries)

Boa Mesa Portugese Food 葡國美食
Shop 16A, Travessa de S. Domingos,
Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau Peninsula
(Turn right into the lane after McDonalds and it's at the top of the lane)

Gelatina Mok Yi Kei 莫義記
No. 9A, Rua do Cunha,
Taipa, Macau

Pastelaria Koi Kei 钜记饼家| Site
No. 5, Rua do Cunha,
No. 46-50, R/C,
Taipa, Macau
Tel: +853 2882 7839 / 7577

Grand Lisboa 新葡京 | Site
No. 2-4, Avenida Da Lisboa,
Macau Peninsula, Macau,
Tel: +853 2828 3838


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