HK Choi: A Family Feast

Isabelle and Dad

My dad recently celebrated his 62nd birthday last March 20th.  After attending the ordination of new deacons at San Carlos Seminary, my brother’s alma mater, we headed over to HK Choi at SM Megamall.

HK Choi is part of the popular restaurant group Choi Garden which, in my opinion, makes the most wonderful sauteed noodle dishes ever.  While HK Choi serves some scrumptious noodle dishes, it’s the rice bowls that are worth coming back for.

Roast Duck on Rice

This one, in particular, disappeared fast: the roast duck on rice.  You get tender, properly seasoned strips of duck on fluffy rice with a healthy drizzle of drippings to moisten the dish.  Quite good, though I wish the duck skin had been crisper.

Four-Kinds Combo on Rice

Here’s my plate: the four-kinds combo on rice.  It’s a very simple dish involving two meats (sweet roast pork and savory soy chicken), tofu braised in soy, and a quarter of century egg.  If you’ve seen Stephen Chow’s movie The God of Cookery, this will remind you of the Sorrowful Rice (roast pork on rice with a fried egg) he whipped up during the competition.  This is so simple, but so good.

Pork Chop Baked Rice

If you’re a fan of tonkatsu or rice au gratin, the Hong Kong-style pork chop baked rice will be your favorite in no time.  A tender pork chop is dredged in panko, deep fried, put on top of a bowl of rice, smothered with a sweet-savory tomato sauce (yes, it’s kind of shocking: tomato sauce – in a Chinese restaurant!), and baked.  So.  Incredibly.  Good.

Beef and Wanton Noodles

We were supposed to order the beef hofan, but my mother felt that it would be a bit much in light of all the rice we ordered (!) and ordered a platter of beef and wanton noodles instead.  It was a good choice: tender beef redolent of anise atop eggy noodles and dumplings stuffed to the gills with shrimp.  Yum!

Lo Han Mixed Vegetables

Even if you aren’t the sort who likes vegetables, you’ll certainly scarf down HK Choi’s lo han mixed veg.  Why?  Think: lots of mushrooms, crisp-tender baby corn, sweet carrots all in a moreish sauce.  Healthy and delicious; enough said.

We rounded out the meal with bowls of pearlescent tapioca suspended in either pureed mango, liquefied cantaloupe, and crushed watermelon.  It was a most refreshing way to end the meal on a hot summer day and my dad enjoyed every bite of it.  🙂

Incidentally… Don’t forget tomorrow’s workshop at Heavenly Chocolates!  For more info, click here.  Hope to see you all there!

Chocolate Appreciation 101: An Invitation

Chocolate Appreciation 101

I apologize for the increasing rarity of posts on this blog.  Between work and my newest writing project, I’ve been pretty darned busy!  😦

But here’s some good news for all you long-time SybDive readers: I am cordially inviting you to the next round of Chocolate Appreciation 101 at Heavenly Chocolates on Saturday, 27th March 2010.  There will be two sessions, one at 4:00 PM and the other at 7:00 PM – and I will personally be guiding you through the rich history of chocolate and we’ll be serving a delectable selection of hot chocolates and nama.

And one other thing…

Truffle Making 101

I will be doing a live demo on how to make your own truffles.  On Saturday’s menu: Dark Chocolate Truffles infused with Lavender Vodka.

Please RSVP with Mike Ngo Dee at the email address in the picture on top of this post or call the shop at 666-22-08.

Hope to see you guys there!

The Best Fish and Chips in Town?

The BEST fish and chips? Hmm...

It’s Lent – you know what that means: fish on Fridays.

Not that I’m complaining, of course, I like fish – especially fried fish!

Fish and chips have long been a favorite.  Batter-fried fish are a Lenten staple at our house and fried potatoes are just plain damned sublime in my book.  I love the stuff they used to sell at a shop called Sea Beauty Fish Treats when I was much younger: my brother and I used to fight over the chips and the tartare sauce.  As the years passed, there were more chippie haunts to choose from: TGIFriday’s does a jim-dandy seafood and chips platter and Racks used to do the dish in a tip-top manner.

But the platter – no, skillet – shown above takes the cake for the most confident name ever: Fish & Co.‘s The Best Fish and Chips in Town.

It’s essentially a large, batter-fried creme dory fillet with a splash of lemon-butter sauce and thick-cut fries.  A platter with some mayo, chopped pickles, and chopped jalapeno peppers rounds out the setting.

The crust on the fish is properly crisp and seasoned nicely and the fish within is toothsomely tender, almost melting, with a mild, savory flavor.  I recommend mixing the jalapenos into the mayo to add some zing to the fish, though the lemon-butter sauce works fine on its own.  I just wish there was more of the lemon butter, though…  :p

I’ve had better fries, but the ones here work well, too: crunchy on the outside, mealy on the inside.

I wouldn’t really call these the best fish and chips in town, but I have to admit they’re very good.  😀

L’omelet Parfait: Tips for the Perfect Omelet

L'omelet parfait!

As a rule, I don’t usually work with eggs except as an ingredient, a mere component in a recipe.  Eggs on their own, however, a completely different matter all together.

I confess: I can’t fry eggs properly.  My sunny-sides usually end up scrambled for one reason or another.  Boiled eggs usually end up extremely hard-boiled in my hands, and the only time I can poach eggs properly is when they’re cooked in the broth of a pot of instant ramen.

But omelets are a completely different story.  I like making omelets; I can usually make them as perfect as I want them to be, all modesty aside.  Barring simple fried eggs, they are as simple as pie to make and usually involve just four ingredients: eggs, butter, salt, and pepper.

To make a perfect omelet calls for whisking two eggs – just the eggs, no milk and no cream.  You want eggs that have a bit of structural integrity to them , some sturdiness.  Add milk or cream, and you have scrambled eggs – large, fluffy curds that don’t fold so well.  Take my advice and skip the milk and cream; you don’t need ’em here.

A dash of salt and pepper will flavor these beautifully.  You may add herbs or spices, but I suggest that you use fresh herbs and they have to be finely chopped.  The dried stuff just doesn’t cut it at all.

Butter – not oil and definitely not margarine – should be the only fat of choice for making proper omelets.  The flavor it imparts to the finished omelet is just fantastic.

To make a proper omelet, be sure to heat your pan over medium heat.  Drop in about a tablespoon or so of butter and let it melt, swirling it over the surface of the pan to make sure that every inch is covered.  Heat till it browns a little, then pour in the beaten eggs.  As the edges begin to set, swirl out the rest of the eggs around the pan to ensure even cooking.  When the outer edges are set, ease them up and drop your filling of choice in the center: mushrooms and spinach are nice, and I am partial to cheese omelets.  Carefully ease one side and fold the omelet over – et voila: un omelet parfait!

Serve with some hot buttered toast with a proper smearing of artisanal mango jam and a mug of cafe au laitTres irresistible! 😀

Gelatissimo e Molto Bellissimo!

Molto bella!

The thing about summer is that it isn’t exactly the sort of season that encourages appetites.  The blistering heat isn’t conducive to good eating and most body-conscious girls (God, I hate them!) would actually skip out on trying new things because they dread not fitting into their skimpy bikinis.

I, however, have long decided that I will never be the same caliber as a Brazilian supermodel.  That said, I – unlike all the rest of the bikini-addled cows – would rather treat myself to an icy indulgence from Gelatissimo as a break from the unrelenting heat.

P 190.00 gets you three scoops of different flavors; not a bad deal, I must say.  I should warn you, though: if you find yourself standing in front of Gelatissimo’s store-front display filled with tubs of frozen fancies, you might go mad.  Luckily, you can ask for free samples before you make a decision.

My choices were a bracingly-tart lemon granita (sorbet), the buttery caramelized fig, and the breathtakingly fab chili chocolate. It’s best to start with the granita as it works as a palate cleanser and the lovely acidity serves to get your tastebuds ready for the unctuous gelati to come.

I don’t really like figs, but the caramelized fig has a buttery base with resiny hints of vin santo.  There are chunks – not bits – of candied fig: sugary, syrupy lumps of fruit whose dark, raisiny character balance the creaminess of the base.

The chili chocolate, on the other hand, is magnificently dark and peppery.  Bittersweet, rich, almost truffle-like in texture, it goes down smoothly – and then hits you with an eye-popping snap of chili.  Very, very good.

So, be sensible about your body weight: not all of us can be supermodels.  We just need to accept who we are, how we look.  Gelato, anyone?  😉