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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hong Kong Dinner: Lin Heung Kui

 Lin Heung Kui
2-3F 46-50 Des Voeux Road West
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
852-21569328

Authentic. Traditional. Locals only. The only round-eye in the building was me!


We come into this bustling family-style restaurant and things get interesting right off the bat. We are joined by relatives who are Hong Kong natives, and they begin to bathe our chopsticks, cups, bowls, and spoons in boiling water and tea. I learn quickly that this is common practice in mid-range restaurants to sterilize utensils, just in case. At first sight, I think the wait staff might find this insulting, but I have come to realize it really is a normal thing to do, and maybe I shouldn’t think too hard about why


Let’s fast forward. A few Tsing Tao’s down and the chickpea and chestnut stuffed duck arrives with Chinese vegetable. That is by far the most amazing dish of the night. The duck literally falls apart in shreds, no knife needed! 


Other dishes included squid and celery, spare ribs, fish stomach soup, fish and eggplant, chicken, and jellyfish. None of it was bad. The fish stomach soup was a new one for me but the broth was tasty with chunks of shrimp and tofu. 
Spare Ribs

Squid and Celery

Fish and Eggplant

Fish Stomach Soup

Chicken and Jellyfish


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hong Kong: Tian Tan Buddha


Tian Tan Buddha 
The main event for me in Hong Kong was the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island. After a 20 minute subway ride from Hong Kong Station to Lantau, we lined up for the cable car ride up to see the Tian Tan Buddha. I was silly to think it would be a quick ride up. After a half hour of dangling over water, bridges, and steep mountains, we got there. We climbed through thick masses of fog at a glacial pace before making it up. At first, no Buddha was to be found thanks to the fog. But it cleared up partially to allow us some eerie photos of the massive statue. The closer I got to the Buddha, the more clearly I could make out the silhouette and features. It was the world’s tallest outdoor bronze seated Buddha (until 2007) so it was an impressive photo-op I found myself in front of. Walking up the 240 steps to get a closer look of the Buddha would have been a lot easier if I didn’t stop working out for the past few months prior to this trip. I’ll go back I swear. Soon. 



 After exploring the Buddha up close, I strolled around the Po Lin Monastery. I witnessed the largest incense in the world (my own assumption) burning a fragrant scent into the air. To end the tour, I spent $1 on a coconut peanut bun, and a vegetarian BBQ bun. It was a sweet ending to my trip to the Buddha.

It was all so spiritual until exiting the area through a strip of gift shops with a Cold Stone and a Subway. Because nothing says “sacred” like a nice 6-inch sub!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hong Kong: First Meal!

Lunch in Hong Kong


My first glimpse of the “Western” area of Hong Kong was not at all like what I remember Hong Kong being. It's more residential and less polished than the "Central" business district which has clean sidewalk platforms and skyscrapers blasting with air conditioning. 
We came across a small open-air restaurant serving pork buns out front. The sign was neon lit and flashing like a scummy NYC adult video store. We decided this would be our first meal of the trip. Thanks to pictures of food on the wall and Cantonese-speaking travel companions, we were able to order a few plates without a problem. I can’t tell if they are arguing or exchanging pleasantries at first.
The food comes and I know it’s not going to be a disappointment. Steamed pork buns, fried dumplings, vegetable with oyster sauce, and dumpling soup. The soup had noodles, clear broth, and cooked lettuce. Cooked lettuce was unusual to me, but tasty. The broth was very bland, so there are several vinegars and sauces at the table for flavoring. 
After dabbling in soupy, fried, and saucy things, I needed some serious clean up. Especially with my chopstick skills (or lack thereof). Thankfully, there’s a roll of toilet paper on the table for us! All is well again!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Chicago Brunch

The Publican
837 W Fulton Market, Chicago
312.733.9555  

After spending the week prior to my Chicago trip researching the best brunch spots, I stumbled upon The Publican. The online menu jumped out to me when I saw red wine poached eggs, pork schnitzel, and bibimbap as some of the entrée options. The interior was simple, with a pig theme. Therefore, it was surely my calling. High ceilings, pig portraits on the walls, wooden communal tables, and pig-pen booths closed in with sliding doors. Making a pig-theme look elegant is not easy I’m sure, but The Publican made us feel like a couple of classy swine on this brunch date!

To start, we had a Bloody Mary garnished with a pickle, radish, and a lemon wedge. It came with a beer accompaniment. We chose a beer called Zombie Dust. It was a great start to the day! 
We shared the pumpkin bread with ricotta cheese, honey, apples and hazelnuts to start. For our entrees, we had the sirloin steak with sweet potatoes, red onions, mustard greens, and cider crème fraiche. Also, pork belly bibimbap. It was our favorite meal of the whole weekend in Chicago.