I recently went on a two day getaway to Brighton during my “reading” week (in my defence, I did work beforehand!) and tried out a number of restaurants in this vibrant seaside city. One such place was Talk of Tea, an adorable little hideaway specialising in loose leaf teas and afternoon teas- I’d highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area! Continue reading
After a few incredibly hot hours wandering around Lamma Island, there were just two things that I wanted: air con and food. My friend and I chanced upon Bookworm Cafe on our way back to the pier and decided to have a quick pit-stop for tea. With its colourful vegetarian food and relaxing settings, Bookworm was a nice place to wind down and chill after a sunny day out, but portion sizes could have been more generous. Continue reading
I thought I’d take a break from writing about restaurants in Hong Kong and instead write an incredibly long-overdue post on the Blackbird Tea Rooms, a delightfully quirky and vintage-inspired tea room in the heart of beautiful Brighton…
Teakha is a cosy little corner cafe located in Sheung Wan. Whilst I loved the aesthetics and the “feel” of the place, my visit was a little bit dampened by the lack of space and loud noises throughout…
G/F, 38 Kweilin Street, Sham Shui Po
Sham Shui Po is definitely one of HK’s most interesting neighbourhoods in terms of culture, history and food. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never really explored the area much until now, but I guess it’s never too late to start! Amidst the plethora of decades-old restaurants in this area is a very well known store which specialises in beef and egg sandwiches- 新香園. My friend, who really likes this place, took me on a trip to try it out for myself. I have to say that, looking at photos online, I was a little bit dubious as to how such a thin, normal looking sandwich would be such a stand-out dish. Obviously, first impressions aren’t always what they seem! Upon arrival we were promptly seated amongst a tightly-packed table of strangers and we ordered our food.
I first ordered a pineapple ice drink which was deliciously refreshing and sweet, and contained numerous chunks of tinned pineapple. It was nice to have something icy to drink and something to chew on as the restaurant is pretty much exposed to the outside heat- however, it’s all part of the experience!
Next up were the beef and egg sandwiches themselves which were served on lightly toasted bread. The scrambled egg was crispy on the edges and bits were spilling out of the sandwich, and was well-seasoned. The beef was presumably minced beef- I was surprised because I thought it would taste something along the lines of a corned beef sandwich, but the overall taste of the beef was a lot more natural than I expected. All in all, the juicy, tender little morsels of beef complemented the smooth egg to create a satisfying and simple dish which I gulped down in a matter of minutes.
I’ve decided to start a new segment of posts titled Street Food Sundays,as a tribute to all the cheap yet tasty snacks available in Hong Kong. For my first post, I decided to venture to Hung Hom in search of what many deem the best gai dan jais in Hong Kong.
What exactly are gai dan jais? A literal translation amounts to the term “little chicken eggs”, which doesn’t really help. In reality, gai dan jais are bite-sized, egg-shaped waffles, cooked upon a stove-top iron and are available all over Hong Kong. As these are one of my all-time favourite street food snacks in Hong Kong, I’m always on the lookout for them.
Address: Shop 2A, G/F, Whampoa Street, Hung Hom
Mammy Pancake consists of a small shop which primarily sells gai dan jais, although they also sell drinks and other popular street snacks such as siu mai. The gai dan jais come in 3 flavours- original, chocolate and sesame. I picked original as I wanted to compare these gai dan jais to ones I’ve tasted previously. However, most people in front of me opted for the chocolate variety which looks deliciously decadent, so I may try it next time I come.
Upon receiving my paper bag containing a set of plump, golden gai dan jais, what I first noticed was that they were surrounded by a ring of crust- namely the crispy excess from the gai dan jai batter. Although I’m not entirely sure whether or not it was just a fluke or standard procedure, it definitely gave these particular batch of gai dan jais an extra “kick” of uniqueness in both looks and texture.
Biting into the gai dan jais, I immediately felt a slight crunch, followed by a pillowy, eggy interior. The gai dan jais were of a perfect consistency and were not hollow unlike many others I’ve tasted in the past.
With the perfect sweetness, and great balance of crust versus chewiness, I think that I’ve found one of my favourite gai dan jai stalls. Shame that it’s so inaccessible or I’d go there every week!
The Lounge, Four Seasons Hotel
Address: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central
High tea is all the rage in Hong Kong right now, and for good reason too. After all, who doesn’t like having tea in beautiful surroundings, eating minute bites of Instagram-perfect, aesthetically pleasing scones/sandwiches/cakes whilst listening to live music?
The Lounge is located on the lobby floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Central, which is located within the IFC mall. I found this extremely convenient as it meant that I didn’t have to walk all the way in the rain and stuffy humidity. The interior was relaxing, airy, and spacious- yet not overly pretentious.
We ordered the two person tea seat which came in three layers- the top consisting of sweet cakes and desserts, the middle consisting of scones, and the bottom, sandwiches and little savoury treats.
Obviously no high tea is complete without drinks. I settled for the “Chocolat tea”, which was a type of chocolate-infused red tea. The taste was quite unique, with the faintest hint of chocolate aroma. I’m not entirely sure how this was achieved- maybe the leaves already had this flavour to begin with? The tea was served in a huge teapot, shown below, and you could ask for unlimited refills of hot water. The tea was also served with milk but I found that the milk didn’t really add much to the flavour of the tea, which was already quite rich on its own.
Now for the high tea set itself. We began the tea set from the bottom– the savoury dishes. It’s quite hard to see from the photo (sorry about the iPhone quality), but the bottom tier had an assortment of the following: ham and cheese sandwiches, open faced sandwiches with pineapple and pâté, choux pastries with what I assume was an egg salad with tomatoes, chicken salad on top of puff pastry, and my favourite- parma ham sitting atop a crunchy cracker. The overall saltiness of the parma ham complemented the otherwise bland cracker, and the combination of the two textures was delectable.
Next- the middle tier. These were scones prepared two ways- plain and with raisins, served with clotted cream, apricot jam, and strawberry/raspberry jam (or maybe it was both- the jam tasted like strawberries but had a raspberry-like aftertaste). The scones themselves were delicious- plump and fresh, with a crunchy exterior and a soft, buttery interior. I think that a lot of people associate high teas with scones, so in my opinion if the scones in a high tea set aren’t up to standard then the high tea just goes downhill from there.
Finally, we tackled the top tier of desserts. Although they were beautifully presented, I was quite full whilst eating them and so my overall perception of the desserts was that they weren’t particularly impressive – except for the Praline chocolate crunch bar, shown below. The creaminess and crunchiness of the “crunch bar” paired really well with the rich, dark chocolate rolled wafer on top. The gold leaf topping added an extra classy touch. The other three desserts were fruit based, with a berry verrine, a cherry dessert (cherry cream, half a cherry, white chocolate and a cookie), and a lychee biscuit- which had an almost slimy texture which I did not enjoy.
Towards the end of the tea though, we were surprised with some complimentary ice-cream shaped macaroons, which had a strawberry filling and had that chewy interior I love in macaroons.
Overall, it was a relaxing and tasty high tea experience :)
^ Note the lovely surroundings of the Lounge :)
NOTE: Looking at other reviews around the web, the high tea seems to change quite regularly every couple of months. Also, try to book in advance as it can get quite full! Afternoon tea is served from 3-5pm.