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eG Foodblog: melkor - The blog that almost wasn't - se asia with t

Foodblog

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#31 SobaAddict70

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 12:13 AM

Cool!

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Star Wars food, right here on eGullet. :raz:


Soba

#32 melkor

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 12:14 AM

It's an interesting experience trying to upload a bunch of pictures at random internet cafes around Phnom Penh. It's a city of a million people; there is at least one internet cafe per block on the main roads yet this is the third place we've been this morning and I think we've got a 50/50 shot at getting anything online today. We'll be in Bangkok tonight - access is much more readily available there.

Having spent the past 40 minutes waiting for a 2meg archive to copy from a cd here to my webserver in California let's see if we can get ourselves caught up on photos.

Yesterday we decided to take the bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh since it takes 5 hours and flights here are often delayed for longer than the entire trip takes over land. A 5 hour bus ride costs $4 USD here and takes the main road through the countryside. The road is mostly paved and 2 lanes wide (1 in each direction in theory). The experience is completely surreal - the general theme for 5 hours is a bus careening down the center line of a narrow road, drivers hand firmly planted on the horn with cars, motorbikes, carts pulled by cows, bicyclists, and pedestrians scattering in all directions. Meanwhile the TV is either blaring Khmer music videos that seem to be a cross of Yanni and Celene Dion which for some reason about half the people riding the bus feel the need to sing along with. The alternate entertainment when the TV isn't playing music videos is a Cambodian comedy routine which was far more entertaining for everyone else on the bus than it was for us. Clearly the volume on the TV has to be brutally loud or it wouldn't be audible over the blaring bus horn.

Backtracking to two days ago where we left off with our photos.

pre-lunch refreshment was provided by a can purchased purely based on the name printed on it:
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It tastes just like the stuff inside a young coconut plus the delicious flavor of tin-can and sugar.
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The view from the restaurant at lunch (with the appropriate number of walls)
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watermelon juice
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lok lak
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vermicelli salad w/chicken
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this is what we tried to order for dessert, but unfortunately they were out of ice scream.
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mid-day refreshment, this stuff is amazing.

In the afternoon we climbed all over Beng Mealea temple, which is where they filmed Tomb Raider (having been there I'm somewhat interested in seeing the movie). The jungle has spent the last thousand years reclaiming the temple. What isn't rubble is fair game for climbing which makes for a hugely fun, somewhat dangerous, and extremely tiring afternoon.
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As MsMelkor mentioned earlier we had tea for dinner, which I believe is the lamest dinner I've ever had. No picture necessary.

Breakfast yesterday still in Siem Reap:
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MsMelkor's porridge
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Melkor's baguette french toast (redundant?)
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the restaurant's resident cat.

For lunch before our bus adventure our driver took us to a restaurant recommended by our guide which he had not previously been to. Depite the fact that it had no walls and had chickens running through it the food wasn't as good as it should have been.

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a couple of the chickens are somewhat visible in the center of this pic, uploading a larger one would be far too painful at the moment.
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most of the restaurants we've visited in Cambodia deliver silverware to foreigners this way - the glass is filled with boiling water and brought to the table still simmering.
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Khmer chicken soup, which is a chicken broth and coconut milk based soup with those little round eggplant similar to thai eggplant, shallots, cubed chicken, onion, cilantro, and minced red chilis. The spice seemed to have been toned down for us, so we added some more chilis and a pinch of sugar.
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Cashew chicken, which was stirfried with a bunch of veggies. Aside from being somewhat bland it was pretty good once it was tossed with some chilis.

They brought us the largest young coconut we've ever seen to drink after we finished our iced coffees.

On our grand bus adventure we had a couple of snacks, purchased from stalls at the bus depot.
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Packaged foods that we've tried here have had far fewer ingredients than those at home - the chocolate corn (??) thing had all of 5 ingredients all of which are naturally occurring and easy to pronounce. Despite the promising ingredients list the package contained this:
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Not that they tasted all that bad (MsMelkor disagreed), sort of like captain crunch that someone had dumped a packet of instant hot chocolate mix on.
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These were far better, and we weren't the only people on the bus eating them :laugh:

We've been sitting here for the past 90 minutes so we'll finish getting caught up later.

(Happy new year)

#33 Pan

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 03:04 AM

[...]As best we could figure it's a coconut gelatin carved into a perfect cube and dyed blue for some inexplicable reason.[...]

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Taro?

That coconut baobing looks Chinese to me.

#34 melkor

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 03:22 AM

When we arrived back in Phnom Penh we went directly to our hotel. On this trip we've stayed in a huge range of places. In Phuket we stayed in a semi-lux bungalow resort on a hill overlooking the white sandy beach:
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It's amazing to think that's what the place looked like a week ago.

In Cambodia, we stayed at a guest house where the toilet and shower are disturbingly close together:
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Our next hotel also provided the same toilet/shower system (common in inexpensive guesthouses in this part of the world), and posted a very specific list of rules posted in the room including: no ironing in the room, no explosives, no prostitution in the room(!!), and guests must fill out the registration form. Just for good measure this is the check-in booth:
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As we were both dangerously overdue for a proper shower and a comfortable bed we checked into the hotel Amanjaya in Phnom Penh upon our return yesterday.
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While the hotel is expensive by Cambodian standards it's a spectacular deal for a luxury hotel. Once we arrived at the hotel we decided to stay in for the rest of the night.

For our New Year's Eve dinner we started with the hotel's welcome drink of pomelo, watermelon, and orange fruit punch
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The garnish that looks like a giant slice of lime is a green-skinned orange, which we assume is what all the restaurants we've had orange juice at have been using to create a fresh-squeezed orange juice drink that tastes frighteningly similar to sunny delight.
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Once finished with our fruit punch we moved on to a pitcher of mojitos.
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Since we were at a restaurant where the greens are less likely to cause lasting harm to our bodies we ordered a salad with goat cheese and puff pastry. The aged goat cheese and hot puff pastry was nice, but it'd be difficult for it to match the joy provided by the first fresh greens we've eaten in a few weeks.
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Fish amok - this was beautifully presented. It didn't look like a lot of food (we've seen it in large bowls previously), but it turned out to be plenty. It could have used a little more sauce, however, since it was a bit dry.
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Seared tuna with fried zucchini and an orange sauce - the orange sauce was made from those same green oranges which are nowhere near as sweet as the oranges we are used to and made for an excellent savory sauce. The zucchini, tuna, and sauce worked very well together.
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Chocolate ice cream drizzled with melted chocolate for dessert. All of the dessert options were western and they make their ice cream on site.

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When we woke up we had tea and the plate of fruit the hotel provided in our room

For a late morning breakfast MsMelkor fared far better than I did with her duck noodle soup:
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MsMelkor has been starting the day with rice or noodle soup nearly every day here, but this was the first time we saw duck as an option. The broth was delicious, flavored by lots of duck meat (yummy) and skin (rubbery).
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Strawberry yogurt drink. We didn't realize this came with the soup, as it wasn't listed on the menu, and were very confused when it was delivered by our non-English-speaking server. Not bad, though.

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A surprisingly good pain au chocolat, buttery and flaky, was the best of the bread plate.
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A very bad idea, the doxycyclene pill was the best part of this course aside from the breads.

We're off to the airport, more from Bangkok.

#35 melkor

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 03:26 AM

[...]As best we could figure it's a coconut gelatin carved into a perfect cube and dyed blue for some inexplicable reason.[...]

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Taro?

That coconut baobing looks Chinese to me.

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Tasted just like coconut, but really it could be anything.

The coconut baobing was from Vietnam (purchased for 60 cents at a roadside stand halfway between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh during one of several stops along the way).

#36 melkor

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 06:00 AM

Since we've got really fast wifi access at the Phnom Penh airport we'll get ourselves fully caught up.

We had lunch at Friends the Restaurant. We were both happy to eat there since it's a great cause - the fact that the food was really good was just a nice bonus.

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As strange as it is to eat in a Western restaurant here, this is a place that could be boxed up, staff and all, and deposited in San Francisco and be packed all the time. The menu is all small plates, some western, some regional. We had a fairly light lunch:

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Smoked eggplant dip - the stuff on top that looks like dill much to our surprise is actually fennel tops. Otherwise it's just a very creamy and very good version of baba ganoush served with really good baguette slices that are passed under a broiler before being served.
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Sweet potato french fries with curry mayo - much less sweet than our sweet potatoes, like a regular french fry (twice fried) but rather than fluffy inside they are creamy and they have a nice crispy outside.

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Mushroom and leek springrolls - fairly standard, just good. More mushrooms than leeks.

Total bill was $7, and any tip you leave goes to the foundation supporting the students.

Flight is boarding in a minute, and we've had some iced coffee while posting this.

#37 Dejah

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 08:59 AM

Your travelblog is a wonderful read for a snow bound prairie foodie.

Thank you for refreshing my memory on the sugar cane juice! That used to be my childhood treat after I drink my weekly cup of bitter tonic tea at the market in HK. :smile:
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#38 LaurieA-B

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 12:11 PM

The garnish that looks like a giant slice of lime is a green-skinned orange, which we assume is what all the restaurants we've had orange juice at have been using to create a fresh-squeezed orange juice drink that tastes frighteningly similar to sunny delight.

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Yes, our hotel in Bangkok served that very intensely colored orange juice every morning, and then I saw street vendors squeezing it from small oranges that looked like limes. I thought it was delicious.

The first place I tried mango with sticky rice was Sara-Jane's in Bangkok. The atmosphere is kind of odd (it's in an office building, and has a very Western-type decor), but the dessert and all their Isaan dishes were very, very delicious. Eat well in Bangkok!
Hungry Monkey May 2009

#39 pim

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 05:25 PM

Strangely we've been unable to find sticky rice with mangos when we were wandering around Thailand. 

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It's out of season. During the season, about March to June-ish, they are everywhere. It's possible to find good mango now, but not superlative ones.

There is a very good sticky rice shop in soi Thong Lor (or Sukhumvit 53-I think). You could take the skytrain to Thong Lor, at the beginning of the soi, on the left side of the street there's a Khao Neow or Sticky Rice shop, don't remember the name, but the are famous and there's just the one on that street. You should be able to find it.

Another famous vendor is Kor Panich, near Sao Chingcha (the giant swing used in old royal celebrations). I can't give you direction, but just go to the vicinity of Sao Chingcha and ask anyone around,. This vendor is the most famous in Bangkok and most people shouldn't have any problem pointing you there.

Both of these sticky rice shops will have some out of season mango as well--not great, but still far better than what we get here.
chez pim
not an arbiter of taste

#40 arbuclo

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 10:59 PM

Melkors, fascinating stuff! Thanks for sharing it all. Must be hectic trying to see what you want to see plus posting this all for us to enjoy. Much appreciated and you're makin' me very hungry!
A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness. – Elsa Schiaparelli, 1890-1973, Italian Designer

#41 melkor

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 04:57 AM

Yes, our hotel in Bangkok served that very intensely colored orange juice every morning, and then I saw street vendors squeezing it from small oranges that looked like limes. I thought it was delicious.

The first place I tried mango with sticky rice was Sara-Jane's in Bangkok. The atmosphere is kind of odd (it's in an office building, and has a very Western-type decor), but the dessert and all their Isaan dishes were very, very delicious. Eat well in Bangkok!

View Post


We've seen those small green oranges all over Thailand as well, but in Cambodia they have baseball sized green oranges that make genuinely bad orange juice. The best OJ so far this trip came from an orange grove near Tha Ton in northern Thailand, fresh squeezed from orange oranges.

We're having dinner tonight at Sara-Jane's - we'll post about it tomorrow, but having found sticky-rice and mangos at lunch today we'll likely order something different tonight.

#42 melkor

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 05:14 AM

Last night dinner was provided courtesy of Bangkok Airlines.
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Fish which seemed at first to be coated in some sort of breading turned out just to be gummy-skinned, overcooked, bland white fish. The rice was passable and the veggies inoffensive. The best part of the meal was the coconut ice dessert which was surprisingly decent.

Today we didn't so much have breakfast as snack on stuff as we wandered around Bangkok.
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Grilled potato and corn dough balls - very heavy and a perfect start to the day. At least until we made it to the end of the block by which time they were cold and no longer delicious, having turned into balls of lead.
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Random chocolate/hazelnut filled almond cookies from some bakery along the road - crispy and satisfying.

After walking around the garment district near our hotel for the morning we took the sky train to the weekend market which is absurdly huge and packed full of vendors, tourists, and locals. We'll likely need to purchase another bag to bring home all the crap we've bought. All that bargaining required sustenance.
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Clean kitchen, busy restaurant, no tourists inside - perfect.
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Pineapple shake, which is simply a pineapple, some ice, and a few moments in a blender.
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Healthy deep-fried cashews - salty, a little spicy, with some chopped green onions.
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Strange fried spring rolls - the skin was like 10 layers thick and it was stuffed full of unidentifiable veggies and served with curried peanuts on top. Tasty if a bit odd.
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Finally found sticky rice with mango - As Pim said earlier there are green mangos all over the country (which MsMelkor loves to eat with chili powder/sugar/salt) but the ripe ones are far harder to track down. This one was quite good, nicely ripe and sweet. The rice could have been a little creamier though.

Off to Sara-Jane's for dinner then a flight to Hong Kong after breakfast. We'll likely have wireless access at the airport lounge in Bangkok so we may post from there.

#43 Pan

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 05:34 AM

Too bad about the mediocre food on Bangkok Airlines. I remember Royal Thai Airlines as probably the best airline food I've ever had (I suppose Sabena would have been second). I recall a savory curried chicken. But times change, and that's a different airline, anyway.

#44 melkor

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 07:41 PM

Too bad about the mediocre food on Bangkok Airlines. I remember Royal Thai Airlines as probably the best airline food I've ever had (I suppose Sabena would have been second). I recall a savory curried chicken. But times change, and that's a different airline, anyway.

View Post


In economy class the food on Thai is pretty bad, in business it's OK. Bangkok air is worse and President is even worse. Singapore has really good food in business class, having never flown in economy on Singapore I've got no idea what the food is like. Our flight to Hong Kong in a bit is on Thai, hopefully the food will be better this flight.

#45 MsMelkor

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 07:45 PM

In economy class the food on Thai is pretty bad, in business it's OK. Bangkok air is worse and President is even worse. Singapore has really good food in business class, having never flown in economy on Singapore I've got no idea what the food is like. Our flight to Hong Kong in a bit is on Thai, hopefully the food will be better this flight.


Of course, in the US you would never get a hot meal on a 1-hour flight.
allison

#46 melkor

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 07:54 PM

Of course, in the US you would never get a hot meal on a 1-hour flight.

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Or a cube of blue for dessert!

#47 melkor

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 08:26 PM

Dinner at Sara-Jane's was excellent. Having eaten curries of one kind or another for most every meal the past few weeks this was a nice change. The restaurant as was mentioned earlier in this thread is in an office building and is quite strangely decorated inside, looking more like a cafeteria than decent restaurant.

The sign didn't instill much confidence in the place either.
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Thai-Esarn and Italian?!

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Lemon juice and tea - the tea arrived both hot and cold having been brewed and then poured over ice and delivered without stirring at all, quite strange to sip through a straw a beverage which is both hot and cold - switching from one to another completely at random.

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Gai Yang (chicken and sticky rice) - chicken marinated in coriander root, chili, garlic, and black pepper. Since we are all "curried out" it was a great departure from what we've been eating for the past few weeks. Very balanced flavors and moist meat.

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Beef Larb - minced beef with shallots, chilis, mint, and chives. This had good texture and flavor, but we both preferred the gai yang.

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Another fruit-juice welcome drink at the hotel bar

Breakfast this morning was perfect on all counts.
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Roti on the griddle on the food cart. Roti starts out as a tiny ball of miracle-dough, it somehow stays together while the roti-guy stretches it from a ball maybe 2 inches across to a disc that is 18 or so inches across. It then goes into the oil on the griddle, crisps up a little and is folded into a square, it's flipped over and fried a little more. Then it goes onto a piece of paper, has a little sweetened condensed milk drizzled on it and it's ready to eat.

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Perfection - it even passes the Dr Nick test. Crispy and greasy, the perfect thing to eat first thing in the morning in the cab on the way to the airport.

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MsMelkor's real breakfast in the Thai lounge in Bangkok Airport.

#48 melkor

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 03:49 AM

Lunch and snacks on a Royal Thai Airways flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong.
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Champagne and orange juice before takeoff - both were better than expected with the champagne being fresh and clean with a bit of citrus (Lanson is the producer, neither of us have seen it elsewhere).
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Cashews with an ingredient list that includes 11% butter can't possibly be bad.
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This was just strange. That's some sort of wasabi mayo in a hollowed out tomato. Each of those two slices of stuff are from different terrines, salmon makes the center of one and the outer layer of the other, and kapong fish fills the same role in reverse.
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A surprisingly tasty pretzel (once salt was added) and a roll - it's not clear why we were served a pretzel to go with the fish, but it tasted good nonetheless.
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Duck breast cooked in red wine sauce (to an interior temp of 500*F it would seem) - MsMelkor found it completely inedible, I was hungry enough to overlook its flaws. The noodles and veggies were reasonably good. The veggies included pumpkin, a translucent white thing, a non-beet beet looking thing, and a bunch of standard mixed veg - carrots, zucchini.
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Cheese plate with no description - one was a mild semi-firm cheese which was fine, the fruit-studded soft cheese was less fine.
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Green tea cake and cappuccinos - the bottom layer was a green tea sponge; the middle layer was sweet bean paste, and the top was a green tea mousse.

While we were checking in at our hotel in HK we had afternoon tea and some berries.
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English breakfast tea, raspberries, blueberries, whipped cream, a couple of tarts - all very good and a welcome improvement over the no-guns/no-whores check-in booth in Siem Reap.
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Bowl of fruit in the room - grapes are in need of a bath and neither of us is motivated to clean them so our fruit intake will have to wait till we leave the room.

We've got excellent connectivity here, so updates will be more frequent. We're here for another three days and have planned little more for this leg of our trip other than the next hour so any ideas/recommendations are welcome.

#49 Pan

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 05:08 AM

Starting with this post, there is some discussion of what to see and do in Hong Kong in Shanghai and Hong Kong, A girl's gotta eat! Have fun! I found Hong Kong a very beautiful location and fun city when I was there in 1987. Good eating, too.

#50 bleudauvergne

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 06:30 AM

Looking forward to your stay in HK! Great international blog! I really enjoyed a meal I had at Felix at the Penninsula :smile:

#51 little ms foodie

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 01:35 PM

English breakfast tea, raspberries, blueberries, whipped cream, a couple of tarts - all very good and a welcome improvement over the no-guns/no-whores check-in booth in Siem Reap.



That has got to be the best thing I have read all day!! LOL!

This is all so interesting to me, thanks again for all your time in doing it.

Wendy

#52 melkor

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 04:12 AM

We've been running around more or less non-stop since we landed here in Hong Kong. Internet access is extremely easy to find as there is wifi available everywhere in this hotel - not that it has made our posts more frequent as you must be in the hotel to use the service available there.

Our first few food experiences here were less than earth-shattering, primarily due to our laziness. We're staying at the six-month old Langham Place hotel while we're here in HK. As we are on a club floor, they include breakfast and an afternoon tea, and an evening cocktail hour in the lounge each day.
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Snacks in the hotel lounge, served with glasses of completely uninspired Veuve Cliquot yellow label.
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More lounge snacks - all three were well made but were quite strange together. Grilled veg, tandoori chicken, and thai beef salad. Granted, I'm the idiot that put them together on a plate....
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Creme brulees (the custard was too firm) on top, tiramisu (unremarkable) in the middle, and banana fritters (not a good choice to serve buffet-style since they were soggy) at the bottom of the plate.

We were exhausted last night so we made a somewhat poor decision to eat dinner at the hotel restaurant. This hotel is in the middle of Mongkok, a train ride away from the restaurant-oriented parts of town - the easy answer clearly isn't always the best one.
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Sesame walnuts with a slightly sweet glaze - we had heard that it's common for restaurants in HK to serve you appetizers you haven't ordered then charge you for it - this is an example of that. They were a good start to a mediocre meal, but I don't think we would have ordered them if given the choice.
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Veggie egg rolls on the left, sauteed bamboo shoots on the right. The egg rolls were the highlight of the meal, with fresh tasting filling, crisp skins, and an excellent sauce.
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Half-chicken baked in salt - extremely moist, though the chicken was a bit bland. It was served with two sauces, one described as 'special sauce' and the other was a puree of garlic/ginger/green onions/sugar in vinegar. The skin was very rubbery, which we neither expected nor ate.
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Shortribs with a dark and spicy sauce, onions, and peppers. A complete pain in the ass for us to eat with the chopsticks, the dish tasted good but strangely the beef shortribs on the Singapore flight from SFO to Seoul used better quality beef and overall tasted better.
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So our waiter drops off the previous two dishes then asks 'Do you want rice?'. We say 'Sure'. He asks what kind. I stupidly say, 'Whatever you think would be best with this'. He delivers a small bucket full of this - fried rice with sea cucumber, duck (we think), prawns, and assorted veggies. An inoffensive dish, but also a worthless contribution to the meal overall.

Breakfast....It's hard to get motivated to go down 38 floors to then hunt down breakfast when you can just ride down two floors on the elevator and have a decent bite to eat. This morning MsMelkor was the only one who remembered to photograph her breakfast.
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Egg custard with crabmeat at the bottom, apple turnover, fresh fruit. The egg dish had very little flavor aside from the crabmeat at the bottom. It's hard to go wrong with an apple turnover, though, and fresh fruit is definitely a good thing.

I had french toast - tasted as you would expect french toast that's been sitting in a steam tray long enough to still be there when we dragged ourselves out of bed at 9:30am. Smoked salmon on toast - surprisingly good, the fish was clearly cured in citrus before being lightly smoked, it was as good or better than the smoked salmon we buy from Dean and Deluca at home.

Fortunately for us, we fared much better at lunch, which we'll write up in a separate post.

#53 MsMelkor

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 04:57 AM

The first thing we did today once we left the hotel was find a tailor for Melkor, since custom tailoring takes a couple of days to turn around. After picking out fabrics and deciding on specifics, we spent the rest of the afternoon in the area (Tsim Sha Tsui) walking around the many interconnected malls. Of course, all that shopping makes you hungry, so we had a late and fairly large lunch at Hutong. We'd seen recommendations for this restaurant on the Shanghai & HK thread here on eG, and the tailor said it's one of his favorite places to eat, so we figured this would be a good choice.

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Again, we started with something we didn't order, but in this case we don't think we were charged for it (the bill is itemized in Cantonese, so we're at a bit of a disadvantage in trying to audit). This was raw (unroasted) peanuts and "Chinese pickles" - pickled daikon. I would have preferred a slightly spicier version, but this was OK.
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Asparagus with white sesame - Melkor wanted to get this but I thought it would be steamed asparagus with a few sesame seeds sprinkled on top. He was totally right - these were amazing. The asparagus was perfectly cooked (crisp-tender) with the bottoms dipped in a thick sauce and covered in toasted sesame seeds.
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Crispy and drunken pigeons - we thought this would be one pigeon that was both crispy and drunken, but as it turns out, these adjectives describe different pigeons. The drunken one definitely tasted like alcohol (not sure if it was wine or sherry) and was served with a bowl of sherry (superfluous). Like last night's chicken, this had soggy skin but was moist. The crispy pigeon, thankfully, was much better. It was crispy as advertised, with wonderful spicy skin and the same moist meat. This one was served with a dish of salt that had a pinch of dried spices (unidentifiable) in it. So crispy pigeon wins over drunken pigeon.
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Veggie dumplings - we could have eaten about a hundred of these. They were steamed, and had mushrooms, spinach, tofu, glass noodles, and probably a bunch of other stuff too. There were two sauces served with this - soy/garlic (not bad) and a distant cousin of hoisin with chili paste added (phenomenal). Wonderful harmony of flavors and textures.
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I did not want to over-order (when we eat out by ourselves we often do, since there are so many dishes to try), and I was still smarting from the fried-rice incident from the night before, but the waiter was convinced that we would not have enough food without another dish, and Melkor insisted that he would eat more, so we ordered the braised veal dish with some sort of flower sauce. I will try to find out what the flower was, but it was not one I had heard of, and the waitstaff had already scolded us for taking photos of the dishes (apparently we should only take pictures of our individual plates, not of the serving dishes) and I didn't want to press our waiter for details after that. For some reason I was expecting a heavy, tomato-based braised dish, since that's how we make braised veal/beef/lamb. This, however, was delicate and ethereal. The meat was tender, falling off the bone (which greatly improved the chances of making it to our mouths via chopsticks), and very flavorful. If I hadn't been so full I think I would have eaten the rest of the sauce as a soup.
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Fried apple rolls (sorry for the blurry picture) - too much skin and not enough apple. The oil taste overwhelmed the apples. We liked that they weren't very sweet, but they needed more filling.

Despite the so-so dessert, this meal was fabulous. The view was great too, although it's really hazy outside and hard to make out the details.

A brief word on our restaurant experience here so far: We both have used chopsticks for countless meals, but have never before been expected to de-bone a chicken or consume a giant cube of meat with them. The entire table setting is somewhat foreign and a bit confusing - neither of us have been presented with multiple sets of chopsticks in a place-setting before (as we learned, the outside set is for putting food on your plate, and the inner set for putting it in your mouth). Not wanting to offend, we've both asked our share of absurd questions to the poor waitstaff. We'll get the hang of this by the time we leave, and we might even figure out the appropriate time in our meal to use the endless stream of airplane wet-napkins we're presented with.

Off to the night market for more shopping and street food.

Edited by MsMelkor, 04 January 2005 - 04:58 AM.

allison

#54 johnnyd

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 06:42 AM

This blog underscores why the weekly food thread makes eGullet so amazing. Among all the interesting threads about all-things edible, a visit with a society member for a week is always illuminating. I realized that for the first time in a while, we have a week where not a thing is made at home and instead we are treated to a gastronomic tour of Asia. Wow!

The variety of these blogs is limited only by the number of kitchens on the planet's surface it seems, affording those who are of limited means to experience distant cultures and cuisine.

Fascinating blog, Famille Melkor! Your pictures are terrific. Is a ferry ride to Macau on the menu? I hear the portuguese/chinese fusion is pretty interesting.

Edited by johnnyd, 04 January 2005 - 06:48 AM.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II
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#55 melkor

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 09:54 AM

We unfortunately have neither time nor the required visas for a trip to Macau. We spent a few hours walking around the Mongkok night markets, which had surprisingly few options for street food - all of which looked or smelled bad. Having been smelling donuts for some reason all day we decided to skip dinner and have coffee and donuts in bed while watching a DVD.

#56 Yuki

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 10:13 AM

The entire table setting is somewhat foreign and a bit confusing - neither of us have been presented with multiple sets of chopsticks in a place-setting before (as we learned, the outside set is for putting food on your plate, and the inner set for putting it in your mouth). 


It is common practice for some people to ask for extra pair of chopsticks for serving if they are not provided during meal to avoid germs. It annoys some people at the table but it just makes others feel much safer. :wink: The strange thing is that we do it during family meals at home too.......

Hope that you will have a great trip! :smile:

#57 bleudauvergne

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 10:51 AM

Wow it looks wonderful. :rolleyes:

#58 melkor

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 05:32 AM

Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks:

We started our day with the standard hotel club breakfast - nothing amazing, but better than yesterday. Neither dish really merits much description, but here are the pictures and what's on each plate.
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Smoked salmon on crackers, chocolate muffin, croissant with blackberry/elderberry/ginger jam.
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Yoghurt with dried fruits and nuts, croissant with the same jam as above.

Lunch was another story altogether. We spent the morning around Hollywood road, checking out the antique shops. The Yellow Door Kitchen can be found in the middle of a busy market in the area:
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The contrast between the ultra-modern archectecture and the street vendors is amazing. It's also interesting to see that most of the street vendors and all of the grocery stores list country of origin on all the produce/meat displays.
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That small yellow sign, above the green beer sign lets you know you're in the right place.
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It's only six flights of stairs to climb to get to the restaurant.
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Finally. The restaurant lists its address as 6th floor 37 Cochrane Street, Central. It's worth finding, it's worth the hike up the stairs, and it's amazing that you can eat there for a quarter of the price of Hutong. Not that Hutong is overpriced, this place is just an amazing deal. There are set menus for 2 and 4 at lunch, and probably something similar for dinner.
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Glass noodles with shredded chicken in chili sauce - the noodles were thick and roughly cut, the ideal texture for holding the spicy sauce. A wonderful start to the meal.
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Szechuan dan-dan noodles - thin noodles with minced beef (it's often made with pork, but luckily for us, it was beef today), toasted sesame seeds, peanuts, green onions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, chilies, and I'm sure several other mystery ingredients. This was waaay too much food but was at least as good as the previous dish. It had great spice, but the heat did not overwhelm the other flavors.
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Deep-fried fish in chili sauce - as you can see, this was served whole and was drenched in a delicious chili sauce with garlic, ginger, green onions, minced chilis, cilantro....The fish itself was perfectly cooked (most of the fish we've had on this trip has been somewhat overcooked, which is probably for the best when we're eating on the side of the road). The chili sauce was moderately spicy and thick.
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Braised chicken - this tasted surprisingly similar to something you'd have in the south of France, and was very well-prepared. The sauce was white-wine based, and the dish included whole cloves of garlic, whole shallots, and celery. There was a bit of minced chilis, and the chicken was hacked, which makes it a bit more interesting to eat. It was strange to have something that reminded us of the food we make at home.
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Carnage - we did our best but there was just too much food!

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While we shopped after lunch, Melkor needed fuel: Le Gouter Bernardaud chocolates (caramel on the left, cashew on top, pistachio on right)
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POCKY!!

We're off to dinner at Felix at the Peninsula. Supposed to have great decor, which is always a bit suspicious, but we hear the food is good too. Hopefully we'll enjoy it as much as Lucy did.

#59 SobaAddict70

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 08:06 AM

I was wondering if eating patterns in Hong Kong are the same as mainland China or if they're mostly Westernized. Or if they're a weird fusion of the two cultures.

Soba

#60 hathor

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 09:21 AM

Many thanks for sharing!! I am sooo missing Hong Kong food now! It is without a doubt one of the finest eating cities in the world.





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