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HKDave

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  1. Sher.eats report reminded me that I have a report from my last Macau trip, a month ago, still sitting unposted on my desktop. Here it is: --------- Another Macau update... just back from another 3 days. Taxi fares have gone up 20% since Sept. I was in and out just before the Grand Prix. Day 1 lunch: "Macau Lou Sa Chung Restaurant" (they don't have an English name, that's the best I can do), 185 Shanghai St corner of Av do Rodrigo Rodrigues, tel 2878 9992. Open lunch - 4am. I'd noticed this restaurant on previous trips because its signboard has a background of red chilies, which you also see at many Sichuan places on the mainland. No English but the menu has several photos. The food is authentic; lots of hua jiao, and very good value. Some other aspects are also authentic: service is random, zero English and it's, well, about as clean as a typical restaurant on the mainland. I always wondered if Sichuan restaurants, ahem, 'recycle' the big mountain of dried chili and spice you get with that classic chicken-with-lots-of-dried-peppers dish. Well, now I know the answer, and I wish I didn't. It was only MOP155 for 4 dishes (1 app, 3 mains), more than the 2 of us could eat. Dinner: We went to Carlos in the NAPE area, which a few people had recommended. However, when we got there, the shutters were down (found out later they close Mondays). Plan B: grab a taxi and head to Fernandos. How busy could they be on a Monday? As it turns out, very. My opinions on Fernandos are well documented upthread - I love the place - and I wish people would write more bad things about it so I don't have to wait so long for a table. We had all the usual stuff (again, see upthread) and it was good, as always. We stopped at Sands for a nightcap but this time the bar was so smoky we were driven out after one drink. Day 2 breakfast: The Delectable Ms A (TDMA) had to work so I was on my own. I got a ju pa bao (fried pork chop in a bun; very popular Macau fast food, available everywhere) at a neighbourhood place and wandered through Macau's back streets to Leal Senado for breakfast part 2 at Chua Lam, the Macau branch of HK's Wing Lai Yuen (the dan dan mein place in Whampoa). I found it - it's beside the McD's - but it was closed for renovations, so no dan dan mein for me. As a backup I hit the reliable noodle bar in the Grand Lisboa for a bowl of pork dumpling congee. Lunch: I reconnected with TDMA and we went to Taipa, and found Savory Crab, a new restaurant highly recommended by an American expat blogger. It was totally empty, and the combination of the bored staff and unexciting-looking menu drove us instead to O Santos, a Portuguese place in old Taipa village. The owner welcomed us but then fell asleep at a table, and the Filipino staff were barely going through the motions; our vinho verde was served at room temperature in an "ice" bucket full of lukewarm water, it took 3 tries to get a salt shaker that had salt in it, and despite our ordering appies well before we chose mains, the dishes came out in a random order, with one of the mains hitting the table first. All this while the owner slept peacefully in the corner, although he woke up in time to say goodbye to us. The dishes were servicable renditions of Portugese classics - chorizo, codfish balls, grilled chicken, clams with garlic. It wasn't bad, but there's no reason to eat here when there are better options such as O Manel or Fernando's or just-around-the-corner A Petisqueira, all 3 of which have one thing in common: an owner who gives a damn. Since we were in Taipa village, we then had a quick peek in Antonio's (he was ex-Espaco Lisboa owner, ex-Club Militar chef) new place, called simply Antonio. It's classier than the usual Macau-Portuguese places, with fancier plating and prices that match. I've had his food before elsewhere and while it's good, I'm not sure there's a market for this kind of price point. He had only one table in for lunch. Then onward to Cafe Tai Lei Loi Kei. This stall in Taipa village square is famous for their ju pa bau (the same thing I had for breakfast) which they only serve from 3pm until they run out, usually a couple of hours later. We were able to get one at 3:30pm with no line-up, which is unusual. Frankly, I can't see what the fuss is all about. The pork is good but it's basically a deep fried pork chop. They supposedly bake their own buns, but the one I had sure tasted commercial. OK, it was better than the ju pa bau I had for breakfast, but I wouldn't line up for it. Dinner: another visit to the Educational Restaurant, also mentioned upthread. The problem with this place is sometimes you get a new class in the kitchen, and this was one of those times. Both the kitchen and the servers were apparently on day 2 of their program. TDMA's consomme and fish pie were excellent, but my foie terrine wasn't seasoned or cooked properly, and let's not talk about the main. I didn't mind at all. This place is cheap for a reason; it's a school first and foremost. Day 3 breakfast: I still felt a perverse obligation to try that Savory Crab place - the American blogger was extremely enthusiastic about it - so we headed back to Taipa. Once again, the restaurant was dead. The only visible staff member was eating a meal at another table, which she was still chewing when she brought us menus. She then went back to finish her meal. We kept it simple: egg Benny for TDMA, over-easy w/bacon for me. The Benny came covered with a bright yellow liquid that bore no resemblence to Hollandaise. I asked the server about it, but she didn't know what it was, or, for that matter, what Hollandaise was. My over-easy arrived cooked-to-rubber, with broken yolks. The potatoes were oily, floppy and tepid. My tea was undrinkable Lipton ditchwater, so bad I wondered if they reused the teabag. This place is a joke. Lunch: Back to the tried and true: Club Militar. We both went for the buffet. As usual, the place was packed, and since most of the tables are booked every lunch by the local suit-and-tie crowd, reservations are a must. They turned away several tables of tourists while we were there. No shorts or sandals, and don't take your bags into the dining room (you can check them at Reception). It's not a huge buffet, but it's decent food in a beautiful old room, and it's only MOP118. Best thing was a variation on the delicious black-eyed pea salad we had last time we visited. So, not the best trip, foodwise, but enjoyable none the less. I'm heading back next week.
  2. I know what you mean about that light. Flipping channels in Hong Kong, I can often spot a Vancouver outdoor shot in seconds, even when they've decorated the set to make it look like somewhere else. Nice report.
  3. It's not a pirogi, it's just in that same section of their menu. http://cinderellabakery.com/cafe_menu.html From your description, it sounds like a coulibiac, which is a classic old-school French dish derived from a Russian dish. It's not especially Siberian; that may be a bit of 'menu license'. The Frenchification added puff pastry instead of the traditional crust, but a brioche crust also works well. I've never heard of glass noodles in a coulibiac; the classic fillings are fish (usually salmon), rice, mushrooms (often duxelle) and/or hard-boiled egg. Delia recipe, using frozen puff pastry: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/salmon-...ac,1251,RC.html BBC recipe, ditto: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database...iac_86190.shtml Emeril recipe, scratch dough: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-...cipe/index.html
  4. Try San Xi Lou (Coda Plaza), and you may change your mind...
  5. Is that still 'Ming Kee'? It's been years since I've been there but I loved that place... the ultimate junk trip destination!
  6. I agree. This is completely, totally, absurdly random. Any lingering respect I might have had for Michelin's process just got flushed down the toilet. aprilmei, were there any Bibs Gourmands in Macau?
  7. Is this one in Yuen Long also featured in a TV food show? I remember seeing a Chinese woman running her private kitchen/dining room (only 1 round table) in a small village near Yuen Long. What impressed me was that she made her own baking oven to make char siu with 2 big terracata flower pots (one upside down on top of another). ← That's the one... I think that TV series was called "Diary of a Foodie", or something like that. It smelled like it was put together from the unused scraps of a "No Reservations" episode without Bore-dain; same US production company as No Resos, same local guide, but for a different network.
  8. http://www.peninsula.com/Hong_Kong/en/~/me...463BEF1D5A.ashx menu Been once, food is alright, it's not a foodie place. ← I've been there a few times, although not recently. Back when they opened, they were rocking. They had a couple of hot fusion-ish chefs from Hawaii and the food was fairly unique for HK at that time. The atmosphere was always more about see-and-be-seen than what was on the plate, and the staff could treat you like dirt if you weren't someone important. Since the Aqua/Hutong empire opened at 1 Peking Rd, Felix has lost much of the TST view-and-glam crowd, and the place is now much more tame. Last year they hired an America chef ex-Jean-Georges, and he moved the menu away from Pac-Rim fusion to more mainstream stuff. I haven't been since the menu change.
  9. From what I read, they said 2 inspectors were "Asian" - not necessarily Cantonese or Chinese. There's no way there were at more than a fraction of the reviews. There were 12 or 14 Michelin inspectors reportedly involved in the HK/Macau book. They claim to have visited 800 places, some up to a dozen times. Even if they averaged just 3 visits per place, that's still 180+ meal/visits per inspector assuming they dined alone each time - which would have been totally impractical at most Canto restaurants, so the visit count must have been much higher.
  10. I can't stand the suspense. Please... tell me tell me... Where is the best-best for roast goose? ← I suspect Sher is alluding to Chan Kee or Yue Kee, in Sham Tseng. There are a cluster of famous roast goose places out there. One thing missing from the list above is Macau's Robuchon a Galera, which got 3 stars. Frankly, I find it hard to get excited about what a bunch of French guys think about our food. But I agree with the Peninsula getting shut out. They've been doing a lame job on F+B for at least a decade.
  11. Good find, Rona! This is one of those 'why didn't I think of it?' recipes. I'm definitely cooking something along these lines for the holidays. Turkey doesn't figure much in Asian cooking, but '8 Treasure Duck' is a classic Chinese dish, and it should adapt well to turkey. Just found this similar recipe from Ming Tsai: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ming-ts...cipe/index.html
  12. You mean, stuff like this? http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/31/nyregion...xprod=permalink
  13. OK, here's a theory: Could this be as simple as "oil and water don't mix"? Wood smoke is - judging by the creosote that builds up in the chimney - essentially oily, and also contains water vapour. So if the surface of the product to be smoked is wet, the smoke/oil is going to largely sit on top of the wet surface, at least until the heat and air flow of the process evaporates the water. If the surface is dry - the 'pellicle' - smoke can bond with the dry meat immediately, and also, in the initial stages of smoking, the water vapour in the smoke is going to be attracted to that dry surface. Makes any sense?
  14. There's no point in waiting longer purely for tenderizing purposes, because any additional benefit is so small as to be imperceptible. Re drying, if I'm cooking commercially-processed US (water chilled) chicken and time permits, I like to unbag, salt and refrigerate overnight a la Zuni Cafe. If it's artisanal, or HK fresh-slaughtered or most European (air chilled) chicken, this step isn't needed for drying but I might do it anyway for seasoning. I don't cook with mainland-slaughtered chickens - the kind we often find in HK supermarkets - because I find them to be a thoroughly inferior product.
  15. Good to know; that explains why my butcher's birds are so good late in the day of slaughter. I'm still curious about the hanging part. I've read that meat, including poultry, should be hung during the rigor period, otherwise it won't relax properly. But that doesn't seem to be people's experience here. ← I don't think hanging makes much difference to rigor. Rigor is a chemical process (my understanding is that it's stored glycogen in the muscle contracting, and then relaxing) and it's going to happen regardless of the orientation of the carcass. Meat often is hanging during this process, but I think that's for ease of handling and hygiene. Hanging as done on game birds in the UK is different and happens over a longer time; the objective there is to increase the palatability of lean wild fowl by allowing some rotting (sorry, 'gaminess') to occur, thereby increasing tenderness and compensating for the lack of fat. It's more analogous to dry aging in beef.
  16. Here's a recipe from Len Poli's excellent sausagemaking website: http://lpoli.50webs.com/index_files/Lop%20Chong.pdf I think that the smoker is used in that recipe for cooking/drying, not smoking.
  17. They're sold under the DeLonghi name in the US. DeLonghi owns Kenwood.
  18. Nice report, Sher. My source is Harold McGee, whose book doesn't give many details on the timing. ← The 8 hours I quoted above originally came from a meat science book on Google Books, but I didn't bookmark it and now I can't find it. Here are a few other sources. Figure 2 on this page http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/b1157-w.html shows rigor gone at 8-10 hours. This study http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci...782004000300038 says (re chicken breast) "After this period, the curve had a similar performance, achieving values of less than 1 kgf in 4 hours or more, with complete aging being accomplished at 8 hours." This patent http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/5362507/description.html says "The need for the aging step which, in the case of chickens, turkeys and the like, requires the fowl or the parts thereof to be processed, to be placed in bags or other containers and stored for periods of up to eight hours, is that rigor mortis sets in some 2 1/2 to 3 hours after slaughter, giving rise to a progressive toughening of the meat." This site http://www.redbirdchicken.com/mythsfacts.htm says: "Normally, rigor develops in poultry 0.5 to 4 hours after death, and meat removed from the bone while it is in rigor will be tough. To avoid this toughening, meat should be "rested" before deboning. Red Bird boneless skinless breast meat is generally deboned between 7-10 hrs from initial processing. This resting period results in very tender meat." So there's a bit of variation, but the consensus seems to be that rigor in poultry is gone by 7-10hrs.
  19. Cats instinctively hunt and chase, but even wild cats don't instinctively treat prey as food. They usually learn that from Mom if they're raised in a place where there's an opportunity for her to teach it, or else from hunger. This is often why city cats, especially well-fed indoor cats, 'play' with prey. Mom never showed them that this isn't a toy, that you're just supposed to kill it before it can escape, and eat it before a bigger animal takes it away. Get a cat that was raised on a farm or in the country and you usually don't have this problem.
  20. Rigor mortis starts rising in poultry soon after slaughter and peaks after only 2 to 2.5 hours, so you can avoid it only by cooking a bird very soon after slaughter - like maybe 30 minutes. Hong Kong is one of the few places we can do this, but the government is just this year ending the sell of 'fresh' (=killed to order) poultry in our local markets due to bird flu concerns. Rigor in poultry largely dissipates about 8 hours after slaughter, so in commercial poultry, it's a non-issue by the time you buy it. There's no benefit in aging longer than a day. After that, you've just got a chicken that's not as fresh any more. Re "air dried" - they probably mean air chilled, as opposed to water bath chilled. Lots of info here: http://naturalspecialtyfoodsmemo.blogspot....d-chickens.html
  21. HKDave

    Rump roast

    What you've got might be one of a few different things, depending on where you are (or where your butcher is from). Rump, in the UK (and also Aus/NZ, and also at my meat supplier in HK) is cut from between the sirloin - it starts inside what in the US would be the sirloin primal - and the silverside. It's often sold sliced across the grain into rump steaks. It can be roasted, slowly, to rare, and is best served sliced thin across the grain. The steaks are tasty but very lean which means they can't be overcooked; med-rare at the most or it'll be too chewy. In the US, the rump primal doesn't exist any more, and a rump roast could be any one of several cuts from the round. Top (aka 'topside' or 'inside') round is the more tender area and can be slow-roasted to rare if it's from a well-marbled animal. Bottom (aka 'outside', or in the UK 'silverside') round is tougher, and is a braising cut unless you're really adept at coaxing something better out of it. Most supermarket pre-cooked 'roast beef' is rump/round, as is a lot of carving buffet 'baron of beef'. It's a very tasty and good value roast but because it's so lean, it's not as idiot-proof as rib or loin roast, and is seen less at retail. If you're not sure what you've got, braise it.
  22. Thanks for the detailed report. Interesting to hear about House of Jasmine, because although I eat in Harbour City several times a week, I only stumbled across it last night. H of J is part of the massive Maxim's Catering group, which I normally avoid, but I'll have to give them a try.
  23. It seems the Miele Guide is a production of Singapore's Ate Media, better known as blogger ChubbyHubby and wife. Not sure what it has to do with Meile other than the name. Next up in the pointless Asia restaurant guide series: HK/Macau gets a blessed with a Michelin guide Dec. 5th. Michelin claim to have short-listed 1200 restaurants here, actually visited 800, and will list 250-300. And of the 12 (or 14, depending on which interview you believe) inspectors they sent to do the job, only 2 were Asian.
  24. Reasonably well-marbled (by US standards) primals or sub-primals suitable for grilling benefit the most from aging. In the US, that means Choice and Prime grade strip loins and ribs. Lamb also benefits. Very lean beef (including filet) and primals that usually need to be moist-cooked (like chuck) don't benefit as much and are rarely dry-aged. While feed and breed influence flavour, the benefits of aging would be similar for all. There isn't much point in prolonged dry-aging extremely well-marbled Japanese-style beef because it's already very tender, and given how expensive it is, the cost of losing 25% of it to dehydration and trim would be severe. Another reason this doesn't happen might be that Japanese prefer 'fresher' tasting beef as opposed to the somewhat 'high' aroma of dry-aged (most Americans probably feel the same way these days), and this stuff is mainly sold to the Japanese market.
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