What is inspiration?

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I consider this week as a privileged one. I have had the chances to listen to 2 great speakers in a matter of days.

First was one great leader from a major financial institution. It was not about the insights and prediction about the future world economy, but her knowledge turned passion that could turn a few simple retail volume charts into an amazing story of the world economy.

Today, the CEO of Scanadu led the first session at Health Tech Asia. His phrase “Everything that does not learn will disappear” has resonated with me for the whole day. Actually the phrase is quite scary but I think it will stick in my mind for a long time.

What makes a great speaker? It is not just the knowledge, passion, charisma or presentation, but the inspiration that the speaker can bring.  Keep learning. Keep inspiring.

Fusion Cantonese

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Roasted pork (char siu), roasted chicken, roasted duck etc. are a major way of preparing delicious meat dished in Cantonese cuisine.

Recently I ventured to a little place in Shui On Centre, Wan Chai, and discovered this fusion place. A lunch set was very reasonable at ~HK$100 that came with a small appetizer, a bowl of soup and a main dish. Appetizer was only OK, but the soup tasted very home-made. The surprise came from the mains: I had the minced beef in tomato sauce that came with a perfectly cooked poached onsen tamago (hot spring egg).

My colleague chose the fried egg (sunny side up) with pork cheek. It was kind of the upscale version of char siu, but very very tasty according to my colleague.  When should we go again?

Lightning Éclair

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Some friends asked me: since I liked to cook, why wouldn’t I make more desserts. Well… because desserts mean a lot of work and precision. That was exactly the same reaction from another friend who enjoyed cooking and we also liked to improvise as we cook along!

She was talking about the scones at her shop and how people “complained” they were bit too big. But good old scones should be around 2.5 inches and come with a good cup of (Earl Grey) tea. Then she recommended a new store that specialized in éclairs of smaller sizes: L’Éclair de Genie from Paris.

Yes, another famous bakery shop from Paris has opened in Hong Kong. So finally this weekend I had the chance to go to the pop-up store at Pacific Place. I guessed the demand was great so each purchase was limited to 6 only! They were fairly expensive at HK$38-55 each and you would eat the delicious éclair in a flash or a lightning (meaning of éclair in English)!

My choice? Well I used my eyes and concluded on colours and variety of ingredients. The top one was a matcha bambou: a bit blend and light in taste. The middle one was rich (like the classic ones I used to have as a kid: covered in chocolate and filled with cream): elegant dark chocolate one was called choc grand cru 3. The bottom one was the best so far: passion framboise: the right balance of sweet & tartiness. So, next time should I go for chestnut or pistachio or salted caramel?

Back to the question: would I do more dessert? Yes, as long as I can enjoy the process and not be bogged down with the restriction of detailed recipe. I guess just like in life: one should enjoy life and not like the details bogged you down. Happy New Year!

Upper Modern Bistro

imageRecently I have a new destination to explore: Sheung Wan.  Thus to welcome an old friend in town, last Saturday we had brunch at Upper Modern Bistro on Upper Station Road.

A nicely decor French bistro with an open kitchen and the stingy smell of blue cheese when they started to get prepare for the weekend crowd. There was no lunch during the weekend but only brunch or a la carte. Brunch was quite expensive at HK$390 per person, but there was a lot and quite worthwhile.

For brunch, one could choose champagne, but we had mocktail and juice instead, as my friend was scheduled to run the next day. The starter was already a feast to the eyes with Oyster Ponzu (in soy & pomelo); Foie Gras crème brulée; Salmon roe mimosa; Parma ham, Octopus & potato salad; Fish market ceviche; Mini sausage roll.

My main was quail with mashed potato, the portion was small but deliciously done. But the surprise came from the beautiful dessert platter of pastries and cakes. The 3 I chose was pistachio cake, panna cotta and mixed berries cake. Not too sweet, but after this meal, no more heavy food for at least a week!

The two and a half hour went by quickly. Maybe I should come back another time for another celebration.

Shiro Sushi

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I have neglected my blog since my holidays in Spain & Portugal in September. Today I finally got the motivation to catch up with my blog again after a great catch-up with a long lost friend.

This friend was from my days in the UK and she introduced me to some interesting crystal sushi. I have been to Shiro before, but usually I chose their Bento box. However my friend said we had to try their signature spinach first. It was just spinach packed tightly together, sprinkled with sesame and dipped into freshly grinded sesame paste.

Then she picked some great tasting crystal sushi. These are “designer” sushi with crystal topping made with gelatine and other ingredients, e.g. scallops with rose petal & sake topping, salmon with roe and ginger crystal topping. Wow just look at the colours! Of course there was their signature dish of seared scallop with cod roe sushi. Apart from the sushi, we also had some amazing wagyu beef and grilled ox tongue. All these in a 3-hour non-stop talking lunch.

Life is short. We never know what tomorrow will bring. Let’s cherish every moment. “‘Tis the season to be catching-up” has officially begun!

Gulab Jamun

imageToday, I finally have the chance to check out that Indian buffet. The lunch buffet at JoJo Indian cuisine was very reasonable at HK$98 and interestingly the patrons were mainly guys. The buffet was not one with a lot of choices, but sufficient for lunch.

Hot naan bread and choice of drink (I picked the very sour lime soda) were brought to your table. There were 6 choices of starters, 4 meats, 4 curries, 4 veges plus some fragrant long-grained rice. The tandoori chicken was a bit too spicy for my taste but very moist and tasty. I loved the black pepper button mushrooms and couldn’t help but went for seconds.

The surprise came with the dessert of gulab jamun. Initially I thought it was some savoury meat/ vege balls until my first bite. Gulab jamun looks like a dumpling and it is made of milk solids called khoya. It is very popular in South Asian countries. After the balls are deep-fried, they will be soaked in flavoured syrup. Some will soak in rose water as the term gulab jamun came from Persian gol (flower) and ad (water).  I think I will opt for some coconut water to take away the “heatiness” of deep-fried desserts.

5enses Korean bbq

imageFinally I have the chance to try the 5-level steamer of fresh seafood. Yes, it’s another Korean trend. This one is only 5 levels, there are some with 9 levels! And the place is called 5enses n North Point – I guess to stimulate your 5 senses with the 5 levels of seafood!

The top level is shrimp on a skewer. Next level is clam. Then a level of abalone & scallop on top of a level of crab. The bottom level is not seafood, but Korean ginseng chicken soup, where the juices of all the different seafood have triggered down to this level, creating a unique taste.

Of course, there are the many other Korean dishes, such as my favourite kimchi pancake, scrumptious smoked beef ribs, and how can one not have deep-fried chicken for a real Korean meal? Where’s the beer?