Category Archives: Travel Adventures

Beef Noodle Master – Yong Kang, Taipei

Yong Kang Beef Noodle1

Even though I go to Taipei regularly, I still manage to find new and old eateries I’ve never been before. Yong Kang Beef Noodles (永康牛肉麵)is one of these places, it is one of the most traditional and well-known places in Taipei for beef noodles. It’s a very old school looking store and probably hadn’t been renovated since it opened, with tables and stools filling the restaurant to the brim. They open at 11am, and we got there at around half past, already there was a queue forming and we were told that it will be a 15 to 20 minute wait.

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We were given a small round table and shared with another party of 3, you don’t have a choice here. You either share a table or you’ll have to wait again for your own and they’re most likely not going to give it to you :) This is quite a common practice in Asia ~ The menu is all written on the wall in Chinese, which is a little concerning because I’m not sure how non-Chinese speaking people will be able to order what they want. But perhaps if you ask the waiters or waitresses they should be able to help you.

Side dishes approx $35TWD ($1.5AUD)

Side dishes approx $35TWD ($1.5AUD) each

We started off with some cold side dishes, which you can see in the photo above, you go to the counter and tell the waitress what you’d like she’ll scoop it onto a plate and you will need to bring it back to your table. From the top left, we got a soy braised octopus, braised mung and also cucumber with konnyaku jelly. The octopus and cucumber had a nice hint of spiciness to it and these were great starter.

Beef noodles small $200TWD ($7.2AUD)

Beef noodles small $200TWD ($7.2AUD)

Within a couple of minutes the beef noodles we ordered arrived. They come in two sizes but we decided to go the small because we knew we’d be eating all day :P For those who are unfamiliar with Taiwanese beef noodles, its very similar to the ones made in China, they both use beef brisket and perhaps tendons. What makes Taiwanese beef noodles special is the soy sauce used to make the broth and also the spiciness along with the herbs such as star anise used. I personally prefer this Taiwanese version as flavours are stronger. Anyhow, back to these famous beef noodles from Yong Kong, they certainly lived up to their name! All three of us were so impressed by the tenderness of the beef, the al dente noodle but most importantly was the broth! Happy to declare probably one of the best I have up until now :)

Clear broth beef noodle soup $160TWD ($6.6AUD)

Clear broth beef noodle soup $160TWD ($6.6AUD)

My other sister Bianca can’t really eat spicy food, so she opted for the beef noodles with a clear broth instead. There was definitely a contrast between the two beef noodles, as the clear broth the beef flavour is more prominent and becomes the hero, as opposed to the spicy broth in the other one. The beef didn’t feel as tender but wasn’t tough and the clear broth was nonetheless tasty. I think both beef noodles were delicious really depends what you prefer :)

Wonton in chilli sauce $100TWD ($3.8AUD)

Wonton in chilli sauce $100TWD ($3.8AUD)

Because it was our first meal of the day, we were pretty hungry. We decided try the wonton in chilli sauce as well. One of my favourite ways to eat wontons! A slight disappointment compared to the beef noodles, as I found the filling a little bland and expected the chilli sauce to be a lot spicier.

When I was doing research about Yong Kang Beef Noodles I found their website which is all in Chinese but the URL for their website is ‘Beef Noodle Master’ :P Find the name a little tacky but their noodles are everything but the best ~ really enjoyed our meal at Yong Kang, only advice is to get there early and go with an empty stomach!

永康牛肉麵館

No. 17號, Lane 31, Section 2,
Jīnshān South Rd, Daan District
Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Opening times: 11am-9:30pm
PH: +866 02-2351-1051

My favourite Matcha Softserve – Via Tokyo, Hong Kong

My Dearest Readers! I’m back :) I arrived back home in Melbourne on Monday morning. And even though it’s great to be home, I’m already starting to miss my family, friends and one of the best matcha soft serve I’ve had! I don’t use these words lightly, but I honestly liked the matcha soft serve so much from Via Tokyo, I visited 3 times in during my short stay.

Via Tokyo in Causeway bay

Via Tokyo in Causeway bay

Via Tokyo is one of Kosei Kamatani many ventures in Melbourne, he’s also the owner and operator of Ramen Jo which is just a stores down from Via Tokyo and believe it or not he also owns a Shisha bar. A lot of my foodie friends in Hong Kong are friends with Kosei so I was lucky enough to meet him in person. He was surprisingly young, friendly and very dedicated to his businesses, I’ve visited both Ramen Jo and Via Tokyo and they’re both brilliant, will have to try the Shisha bar as well next time :)

Via Tokyo Menu

*Warning* Via Tokyo is definitely designed for matchaholics! More than half of their menu is matcha based and the rest is focused on soft serve made from Hokkaido milk and a range of coffees. My first visit was on my 3rd night in town and I dragged my friend Mary to come with me. We arrived at around 8pm and there was already a queue outside. We were told to stand line up and given the menu to look at, I couldn’t decide I just wanted it all!

Matcha Azuki Parfait $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

Matcha Azuki Parfait $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

We were both quite full from dinner so we only ordered two things, the first was the Match Azuki Parfait, the base is a matcha soft serve, Azuki beans puree, mochi (glutinous balls), sliced banana and rice puffs. I didn’t even pay much attention to the toppings and just dived straight into the matcha soft serve, and it was everything I expected but more! It had the smoothest texture but what really impressed me was the strong matcha flavour. That is the main issue I have when I go to most places for matcha soft serve, it always look green in colour but usually the matcha flavour is really light and merely tastes like green vanilla ice-cream. But here at Via Tokyo the matcha flavour is not only strong enough but it doesn’t have that bitter aftertaste :D

Sample Set $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

Sample Set $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

We then got the sample set with mochis azuki beans, matcha soft serve and a soft jelly served with a brown sugar syrup. Once again I had my eyes and mind set on the matcha soft serve, which was just as nice but the other two sides was also nice and shouldn’t be ignored especially the mochi which was chewy on the outside but still soft in the middle. That concludes my first visit to Via Tokyo and I can only describe it as ‘impressive’.

Matcha Addicts!

Matcha Addicts!

I went home with a huge smile on my face, and kept bugging my other matcha loving friends (Ivan, Minnie, Winnie, Margaret and Ann) and kept telling them we have to go back together as soon as possible. So about a week later we finally found the time to go, conveniently, we had dinner at Ramen Jo first (blog post to come) then walked over to Via Tokyo. Its a small store and we had 5 of us so we wanted for a good 20 minutes before we got a table. And we went nuts hahaha we ordered a whole table of matcha desserts and drinks!

Matcha Affogato $42HKD ($6AUD)

Matcha Affogato $42HKD ($6AUD)

I’ve heard and seen so much about the Matcha Affogato that I was so excited to try. But note that this isn’t on the menu so if you want to try simply order it at the cashier :) It’s basically a serve of matcha soft serve topped with matcha latte. It’s a genius idea! Because we get the best of both worlds.

Matcha Affogato

Moving on we got the Okome Shiratoma Matcha Soft serve, which is similar to the Azuki Parfait with the matcha soft serve base and I found out the Shiratoma are not really mochi but more sweet rice flour dumplings. I particularly liked the rice puffs which gave the soft serve a little crunchiness.

Okome Shiratoma Matcha Soft Serve $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

Okome Shiratoma Matcha Soft Serve $45HKD ($6.3AUD)

Nope we still weren’t matcha-ed out and Margaret suggested we get a matcha latte, and I was so surprised to see the latte art. It was a very cute Winnie The Pooh face and also the word ‘Pooh’ with a little heart on the side! Definitely one of the prettiest lattes I’ve seen! Didn’t even want to drink and wreck the face! The matcha flavour wasn’t as strong because we’ve been overdosing in matcha but I know if I drank this first it would’ve had enough matcha flavour ~

Matcha Latte $32HKD ($3.5AUD)

Matcha Latte $32HKD ($3.5AUD)

Ok to give you guys a relief from matcha, we also shared a regular Affogato with Hokkaido milk soft serve and a shot of Espresso. I loved this shot! Thanks Ann for being such a great pourer hehe even though it’s not matcha, I still enjoyed this soft serve it has the richest and creamiest texture probably because they use the milk imported from Hokkaido to make all their soft serves.

Affogato $38HKD($5.30AUD)

Affogato $38HKD($5.30AUD)

That’s the second time I visited and I was left thinking about the matcha soft serve again, and I knew I would’ve visited even more often if it was closer to where I lived. So on the last day I was about to leave, we had peking duck with the family for lunch and then we had a couple of hours before I had to fly out … and there was only one place I wanted to visit before I left and that was Via Tokyo for the matcha soft serve yet again :) And I really wanted Win Win (sister) to try because she also likes matcha ice-cream ~

Matcha affogato

Matcha affogato

I got another Matcha Affogato all for myself and no sharing :) I mean it was my last day so I think I had the right to be selfish hehe still just as good! Win Win got a simple cup with the matcha soft serve and she was also impressed with the strong flavour.

Okome Shiratama Soft Serve $38HKD($5.40AUD)

Okome Shiratama Soft Serve $38HKD($5.40AUD)

My nephew Aden isn’t a fan of matcha yet probably because he’s 3 and doesn’t like the slight bitterness which comes with matcha. So got him an Okome Shiratama Soft Serve with ‘milk’ instead and the shiratama again. Aden really liked the soft serve and kept asking for more haha I think soon enough I will be able to train him to like match as much as his Auntie Daisy done :D

And that there sums up my 3 visits to Via Tokyo and trust me when I tell you, I really really like the matcha soft serve here. One of the best I’ve had and if you’re a matchaholic like me or like really rich and creamy soft serves, I highly recommend you trying Via Tokyo! Now I can’t wait till the next time I get to visit :D

Via Tokyo
Shop nos. 1A-1B, G/F., Leishun Court,
106-126 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣禮頓道106-126號禮信大廈地下1A-1B號舖
PH: +852 
2895 1116
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/viatokyocafe

Meeting Nami (JOC) – Hanlai Hotel, Kaohsiung

Big huge hello to all My Dearest Readers! How have you all been? I have been keeping up with most of you through Instagram and other forms of Social Media, but boy I’ve missed blogging. Have been so preoccupied trying to catch up with everyone in HK and also doing some (erm…maybe a LOT) of shopping :D

Hk 2014

Have so so so many new stories, restaurant and cafe to share with you. But the first one would have to be meeting Namiko Chen from Just One Cookbook! If you like Japanese food and have tried to Google for Japanese recipes, I’m sure you would have come across Nami’s amazing blog with easy to follow recipes, step-by-step photos and she has recently added videos for her recipes!

Just One Cookbook

Nami and I have followed each others blog for quite some time now, and we’ve always talked about meeting up one day. Coincidentally, last week Nami posted up on Instagram that she was flying to Kaohsiung, Taiwan to attend her brother-in-law’s wedding. I was ecstatic! Because I too was going to Kaohsiung the next day, so I boldly messaged Nami and asked if she would like and have the time to meet up. So excited she said yes, so we quickly organised to meet on the Tuesday afternoon at the hotel lobby lounge cafe at the Hanlai Hotel.

Hanlai Hotel

Hanlai Hotel

I got out of the taxi and started looking around the cafe when I saw a lady wave at me and I recognised that was Nami and her husband! She was everything I imagined her to be, the sweetest, gentlest and most genuine people you can meet! We had such a good time talking about everything from how she started her blog all the way to how she moved from Japan to the US and the challenges there are. I also shared all the crazy things I get up to down under hehe

Hello Nami!

Hello Nami!

Moving onto the food, we decided to get the tea set which was $299TWD ($12AUD) each including a drink. It was such a generous serving and we simply did not expect so much food, the food was served on a little 2 tier stand with sweets on the top and savoury on the bottom.

Afternoon Tea set $299TWD ($13AUD) + 10% Service Charge

Afternoon Tea set $299TWD ($13AUD) + 10% Service Charge

Starting with the savoury items, there were two tuna sandwiches, a baguette with a piece of ham and a petite serving of pasta prawn with a spicy tomato sauce. I really enjoyed the baguette with the ham as it had good flavour and crunch from the bread. The prawn pasta was a little spicy for Nami but I thought it was quite nice maybe because I like spicy food.

Savoury

Then there were the sweets, we all got a small serving of fruit which I thought was really nice as it’s quite refreshing, a small square sponge cake with vanilla custard which was my absolutely favourite. The sponge cake had the lightest texture. Last but not least we all got a different piece of cake, I got the strawberry shortcake which I knew Mr Bao would’ve loved because this is one of his favourite cakes! There was, however, a little too much cream for me.

Sweets

We were also given an extensive list of drinks to choose from, not just tea or coffee. I ordered the iced coffee latte with coffee jelly and it was lovely with a strong coffee taste but what really impressed me was the coffee jelly which I kept scooping into my mouth~ I also like how most restaurants and cafe have set meals which include a drink, while it doesn’t seem as common in Australia.

Iced coffee latte with coffee jelly

Iced coffee latte with coffee jelly

Would highly recommend anyone going to Kaohsiung to stay or visit the Hanlai Hotel and try the afternoon tea. I think it’s really good value for money, for less than $15AUD you get to enjoy a wonderful afternoon tea with delicious food and drinks. The atmosphere is also really nice for a bunch of girls to get together and chit chat.

Once again would like to thank Nami and Mr JOC (her hubby) for meeting me! It was such a pleasure to finally put a face to a blog and I really admire their dedication to their blog and have become so inspired by them to really put more effort and time into my own little blog! Hope you have a safe flight back to San Francisco and I’m sure we will meet again either :D

Hanlai Hotel
No.266, Cheng-kung 1st Rd
Kaohsiung City 801, Taiwan R.O.C.
高雄市前金區801成功一路266號
PH: 886-2-2751-7527
Website: http://www.grand-hilai.com.tw/english/index.htm

Black Truffle Mac N Cheese – BLT Steak HK

My Dearest Readers, do you remember a few posts back I was telling you about how my family and friends in Hong Kong always ask me to buy them Tim Tams and other Aussies sweets. Something else my family ask me to bring back (I’m not sure it’s legal) is bacon and steak! Yup they will ask me to go to the butcher get them a kilo or two of bacon, wrap it up and chuck it in my suitcase. I’ve never done it myself, but my parents have done it for them and our relatives LOVE IT :P

BLT  Steak in TST

BLT Steak in TST

Talking about steak, I think we’re putting lucky in Australia we have really good beef so I know it’s a little strange that I decided to try out BLT Steak in HK. But it was in a good location and I’ve heard good things about the dessert there, my partner in crime that night was Margaret, perfect person to go with.

Heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, burrata, ginger sherry dressing $138HKD ($18AUD) +10% service charge

Heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, burrata, ginger sherry dressing $138HKD ($18AUD) +10% service charge

We started our meal with something light, a heirloom tomato salad with watermelon, burrata and ginger sherry dressing. All elements complimented each other quite well and the type of salad I like, but I did find the heirloom tomatoes to be a tad firm. While Margaret found the burrata not as fresh as she would’ve liked it more if it was creamier and not as watery.

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Popovers with butter

Popovers with butter

BLT Steak is quite well known for their popovers, and I know they’re quite common in America, but it’s actually the first time I’ve actually been. They reminded me very much like yorkshire puddings or Chinese donuts (You Char Gwey) but they’re lighter and are hollow inside. I’m not sure if this is the right way to eat them, but I ripped it apart and spread butter over it hmmm yum!

IMG_4693

American USDA Rib eye with bone marrow $398HD ($54AUD) +10% Service Charge

American USDA Rib eye with bone marrow $398HD ($54AUD) +10% Service Charge

We then shared a Rib eye steak with bone marrow, apparently Margaret was telling me, it’s quite difficult to find good quality steaks in Hong Kong. Even though the steak was cooked very well, perfectly medium rare with a good chargrilled smokey flavour to it. The steak wasn’t as flavoursome or tender as we would’ve liked.

IMG_4718

As our side we ordered the Black Truffle mac and cheese, it was served in a little cast iron pan and I could immediately smell the cheese and truffle as the waiter was walking towards our table. Instead of using macaroni pasta, they actually used penne covered in a rich creamy sauce, covered with tasty cheese and topped with a few thin slices of black truffle. Hmmm so good turns out to be my favourite savoury dish that meal :)

Black Truffle mac & cheese $78HKD ($11AUD)

Black Truffle mac & cheese $78HKD ($11AUD) +10% Service Charge

Now moving on to desserts, the Banana spice cake with candied walnut and mascarpone sorbet caught my eye so that was the first dessert we ordered. I thought it looked quite appealing with the layers in the cake, unfortunately, it was very dry and even though the mascarpone sorbet was nice and helped add some moisture it didn’t really deliver.

Banana Spice cake with candied walnut and mascarpone sorbet $98HKD ($13.5AUD) + 10% service charge

Banana Spice cake with candied walnut and mascarpone sorbet $98HKD ($13.5AUD) + 10% service charge

Margaret did some research and said that this crepe souffle with passion fruit sauce was one of their signature desserts. I’ve never had any crepes like this before, it’s puffed high and fluffy and has the texture similar to a souffle omelette but instead of a savoury filling it had custard instead. It was quite nice especially the vanilla custard, yet we found it lacked a pronounce flavour and was slightly bland.

Crepe Souffle with passion fruit sauce $98HKD ($13.5AUD) + 10% service charge

Crepe Souffle with passion fruit sauce $98HKD ($13.5AUD) + 10% service charge

I have heard mixed reviews about the BLT Steak in HK as well as their branches in America, overall, I enjoyed my meal here and find that they have some good dishes to offer, I think they would be even better if they were able to source better quality produce and work a little on their desserts ~

BLT Steak
Shop OTG62, G/F
Ocean Terminal, Harbour City
17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
尖沙咀廣東道17號海港城海運大廈地下OTG62號舖
PH: +852 2730 350

Lollipop cake – C’est La B HK

Hello Dearest Readers, it’s finally Hump day meaning there’s only two days until the weekend :) Work has been insanely busy for me lately so I’m definitely looking forward to relaxing this weekend! Anyhow, today I have a confession to make…and that is apart from being a sugar addict, I’m also a shopoholic! Yup I’m one of those crazy people who can’t go to the shops and leave without buying one or two things. And you know what’s worse…I’ve recently started shopping online, something I’ve purposefully avoided in the past! My first parcel arrived everything fit and looks great…so I’m worried I think this is a start of another addiction :P

C'est La B in Tsim Sha Tsui, HK

C’est La B in Tsim Sha Tsui, HK

Let’s move back to my addiction for sweets, back in July I managed to catch up with my friend Mary and she suggested that we try out the new C’est La B in Tsim Sha Tsui. I’ve had their cakes before when they were stocked at a nearby cafe and was quite impressed so was even more excited about visiting their actual cafe. We arrived at around 5pm on a Thursday and was surprised to find it quite empty, I liked the slightly eccentric and quirky interior design ~

Cake cabinet

Cake cabinet

My eyes glued to the glass cake cabinet as soon as we walked in, all their cakes are intricate and pretty, I’m not sure if you can see but that black and white checked cake on the top right is so perfectly made! I also liked how they had a lot of little individual cakes which is great when you want to order and share a few more flavours.

Awesome cake stand!

Awesome cake stand!

And we did exactly that, Mary suggested that we get 3 cakes and asked for them to be placed on a cake stand because she knew it’ll look great for photos. I love how my friends are so thoughtful :D and how cool is this cake stand with the Owner’s (Bonnae Gokson) initial on the bottom. Now I want to know where they got this and want to get one with ‘D’!

Madame Butterfly $60HKD ($8.2AUD) +10% Service fee

Madame Butterfly $60HKD ($8.2AUD) +10% Service fee

This is the ‘Madame Butterfly’ it has a sable base, followed by a chocolate sponge cake, pistachio and lastly an intensely red beetroot cake. I found the flavours for all the layers to be quite light and hard to distinguish from each other, however, the texture was moist and fluffy.

Paradise $60HKD ($8.2AUD) +10% Service fee

Paradise $60HKD ($8.2AUD) +10% Service fee

I wasn’t sure what the ‘Paradise’ cake was but Mary assured me that it’s good, turns out it was a Lavender Taro Chiffon Layers with a hint of Coconut Cream & Glazed Young Coconut and it was amazing! The taro flavour was pronounce in the sponge cake, but the taro buttercream was definitely my favourite. I knew Lianne would’ve loved this cake because we’re both fans of Taro!

Cheesecake with Queen Anne Cherries $60HKD ($8.2AUD) +10% Service fee

Cheesecake with Queen Anne Cherries $60HKD ($8.2AUD) +10% Service fee

The last on the stand was the ‘Vanilla Bean Cheese cake with Queen Anne Cherries’, I’m not too sure what Queen Anne Cherries are but I’m pretty sure they’re a type of variations and these ones were covered in a type of sugar syrup. Mr Bao liked the cheesecake the most, it had the same sable base as the first cake, the cheesecake filling was soft and full of vanilla bean flavour.

Lollipop Cake $60HKD ($8.2AUD) +10% Service fee

Lollipop Cake $60HKD ($8.2AUD) +10% Service fee

We were already pretty satisfied but you know me… still wanted to try more. I really wanted to try the colourful rainbow cake, which is the ‘Lollipop Cakes’ it is actually a limited cake and currently only available at the Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s a Vanilla chiffon cake with rainbow tones and in the middles there’s a  cherries and jelly mousse, white chocolate crisps and served with colourful popcorn. The chiffon cake was made very well, and the filling wasn’t too rich, overall really impressed.

Green tea latte $55HKD ($7.5AUD) +10% Service Fee

Green tea latte $55HKD ($7.5AUD) +10% Service Fee

Mary and I both got the Green Tea Latte, we found that it had too much ice and quite watery and definitely did not have enough matcha flavour which is a shame because it would’ve complimented the cakes so well.

Peach tea $65HK ($8.5AUD) +10% Service Charge

Peach tea $65HK ($8.5AUD) +10% Service Charge

I prefered Mr Bao’s Iced Peach Tea more as it had more flavour and less ice, we also liked the pieces of peach in the tea, it was definitely refreshing and welcomed as it was so hot and humid in Hong Kong.

C’est La B is located in Harbour City a super busy shopping centre on Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, perfect place to place to chill and relax after you’ve maxed out your credit cards :P We enjoyed the cakes we had at C’est La B and will return to try their other cakes, I know that they’re releasing a cookbook soon, so I’m excited about getting that too so I can try making some of their cakes at home.

C’est La B
Shop G111, G/F Gateway Arcade, Harbour City,
Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui,
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3102 2838
Hours: 9am-11pm daily

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