A family photograph at Oriental Yum Cha as we finish lunch!
My youngest daughter turned fifteen last week and I have spent this weekend in Brisbane celebrating with her.
First things first breakfast. Getting close and personal with a Queensland nut (Macadamia) tart served with too much cream from a can. The base was a little too thick and dry making the eating experience difficult.
I spent the morning with Ms20 shopping for birthday invitation stationery for her 21st birthday party.
Around lunch time I fought the Westfield Chermside traffic to pick up Ms18 and Miss15 from Gymnastics training while Ms20 drove my parents into Fortitude Valley so we could meet at Oriental Yum Cha.
When we arrived we were taken to a large table up the back. Mum was worried it may be too far out of the main area for trolleys to visit. At first things were a little slow but it picked up and we really didn’t have to worry.
It would have been nice to be on the upper deck but that was pretty empty.
So on weekdays you get the all you can eat option. We visited on a Saturday so we paid standard rates. We also took heed and did not waste food.
In fifty years of eating this was the first mango and cream omelet I’ve eaten. I need to go back for more them. Truly delicious. A must have and equal to custard tarts IMHO.
So what did I think about Oriental Yum Cha? It was my first time but my daughters and parents had been there a few times before. They reckon it is consistently good. Not the best they’ve ever eaten but always good. I’d agree it was good. The food appeared and tasted fresh. The flavours were good. The service was friendly, helpful and easy going. We were able to get some things cut with scissors and if something was in short supply we could ask for more to come out. The meal was also reasonable in terms of price. It didn’t break the bank and my wallet didn’t suffer a knock out punch. I’d be happy returning and eating more Oriental Yum Cha
We spent the afternoon recovering and trying not to move too much. I was charged with cooking dinner so I went simple and baked some salmon with some kale coleslaw and avocado. Mum made a hazelnut chocolate cheesecake which she served with salted caramel ice cream.
Have you been to Oriental Yum Cha? What did you think?
Hellenic Club Chicken Schnitzel Three times a year we front up to provide evidence at Senate estimates. I’m in an unusual position in that I enjoy the experience.
I also have myself a little ritual, I like to go to the Hellenic Club and have a chicken schnitzel for dinner. Unlike the Tradies Club the Hellenic Club chicken schnitzel does not serve Hollandaise sauce with a schnitzel, i.e., a Courtney. That said the chicken schnitzel is quite delicious at the Hellenic club.
The schnitzel is flat and tender and well crumbed. On my latest outing I had it with the pepper sauce plus chips. This is a perfect dinner before driving up to Parliament house to appear before senators. I just wish the Hellenic Club Chicken Schnitzel was a Courtney!
Have you enjoyed an Hellenic Club chicken schnitzel?
How do you feel about being a member of a club like the Hellenic Club. I like being able to walk in whenever I like to the Hellenic Club, The Tradies and the Canberra Southern Cross clubs. The memberships aren’t really excessive and most do a discount for members. I’ve never gambled in a club so that attraction isn’t a thing. On average, clubs in Australia serve reasonable food at reasonable prices and rather than take away fast food you can get a better option for not much more.
It’s Monday morning and we fly back to Brisbane later in the evening. Today we had our last and best meal in Hong Kong before the flight home.
No it wasn’t breakfast. This is the last breakfast I had at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. It was certainly not our best meal in Hong Kong.
After breakfast we set about packing our bags. Our check out time was 12 noon and Miss14 and Ms18 had done most of their packing the night before. As for Ms20 and me, we needed to sort out our suitcases and things. We’d agreed that we would try to check out at about 11.30 so we could have one final meal somewhere close.
I was very impressed with my daughters. They had planned for a long time for this holiday. They came with plenty of room in their suitcases and they bought enough to fill the gaps without any extra bags necessary. Ms18 in particular had packing down to a tee. She was like a travelling expert. Her suitcase was immaculate in the way everything went together. She is so neat.
Me on the other hand, I travel a lot but for this trip I just threw everything into my bag. My focus for this holiday had been keeping my daughters happy and shooting some photographs for Yummy Lummy. I brought along a bag for my camera body, lenses and power supplies.
We were ready by 11.30 and set off for Times Square. My plan was to get a table at Lei Garden which I had heard was a very fine Chinese restaurant. When we arrived we secured a table on the understanding we would be finished by 1.30 pm. That wouldn’t be a problem.
The yum cha menu looked pretty good and we set about discussing and agreeing on what we’d like to eat.
You can see what we asked for in this photograph of our request sheet.
The steamed dim sum came out first and occupied most of the table.
Everything was delicious.
The deep fried dim sum came out next.
I love turnip cake. My grandmother used to make it for me. I could eat it all day.
Then things got a little out of order. We were served egg custard tarts but there was one more fried dish to come.
This was simply the best meal in Hong Kong of our holiday. That’s not to say we didn’t also enjoy the hospitality and ambience of cheap and cheerful local establishments like Toby Inn and Eat Together.
After lunch Miss14 was determined to spend her last Hong Kong dollars on her Octopus card so we explored some little shops.
As we walked back to the hotel to wait for our bus to the airport we stopped at McDonald’s for a soft drink.
The bus ride to the airport was uneventful. I wrote a couple of quick TripAdvisor reviews for the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Buffalo Tours.
When we got to the airport we were allowed into a lounge and had an afternoon snack.
Of course the girls wanted to do more last minute shopping. They found another Victoria’s Secret shop!
We boarded QF98 HKG to BNE without delay or problem and were on our way back to Brisbane after a fantastic holiday.
Yes, we shared an overnight flight with two babies!
The food on the flight home was pretty good.
I had a nice duck salad and caramel mousse for dinner and eggs for breakfast.
When I got to my parent’s place I said goodbye for my daughters. It had been such a great holiday and their absence left a hole in my heart. It had been my best ever holiday. We made the most of everyday and every waking hour. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
To satisfy my craving for Atlantic salmon I had salmon for lunch and tea in Brisbane.
The following day I flew back to Canberra. I managed to get an upgrade seat (thank you Qantas) and enjoyed a toasted sandwich for breakfast.
So this isn’t the last post for this Hong Kong holiday. I’ll post a summary with tips on travelling soon.
If you’ve been to Hong Kong what was your best meal in Hong Kong?
On our last full day we decided to visit the Big Buddha Hong Kong. I didn’t know much about the Tian Tan Buddha, I just knew it was a must see in Hong Kong.
We woke up to a cloudy day with drizzle. It didn’t look good but we weren’t going to waste the day.
First up breakfast!
Getting to the Big Buddha would take a couple of hours so we made an early start. It was good that we did because the fog and mist were getting thicker.
On the way to Causeway Bay MTR station we stopped at a McDonald’s because Miss14 wanted a hash brown.
We’d become so familiar with the walk to Causeway Bay MTR station and catching the trains it didn’t feel like a long journey at all. From Tung Chung MTR station it was a short walk to the Ngong Ping Cable car terminal. We bought return tickets for the crystal cars so we could see through the bottom of the car.
The cable car ride would be spectacular on a fine day or even a cloudy day, on this Sunday we were enveloped by foggy mist and at times couldn’t see the next car in front of us let alone anything around above or below us. When we got to the Ngong Ping station high up on Lantau Island we couldn’t even see the ground at sea level.
There was a whole “Hello Kitty” thing going on up at Ngong Ping with the Ngong Ping 360 company. I don’t understand the Hello Kitty phenomenon. It’s beyond me. That said, I know people who are into it so here is one photograph.
I felt a touch cold up there
There are 268 steps to the Tian Tan “Big” Buddha. Fortunately it’s not a continuous climb, while steep there are flat sections every dozen or so steps. The cool misty morning was a good time to do a stair climb.
At the top the foggy mist was such at seeing the Buddha’s visage was impossible. I had to do a lot of post process editing to get this amount of detail.
At the top there are signs asking visitors to refrain from photography. Inside the buddha is a lot of information material on the construction and history of the statue itself. Nearby is the Po Lin monastery and a temple of gold buddhas which is beautiful.
After visiting the Big Buddha and monastery we spent some time in the Ngong Ping village looking around the shops.
Feeling hungry we decided rather than eating the monks’ vegetarian delights we’d head into Tung Chung and try some more food at the Food Republic.
Miss20 and I had a Japanese inspired rice omelet with pork chop and scallops.
Ms18 had mentioned a few days earlier that she would like to visit the Dragon Garden in Sham Tseng which was a bus ride away from Tung Chung.
When we arrived at the front gate we discovered it was closed. On further inquiry the garden is only open one day a month. Ms18 was quite annoyed.
So what to do when there are no gardens with dragons to walk around? More shopping of course!
We went to Mong Kok and spent some time in Langham Place.
We also had afternoon tea.
For dinner we went to a cheap and cheerful place called Eat Together. Like Toby Inn on our first day this place had character. The owner sat at one of the tables when we entered and offered us her table. She sat with another customer. After we received our menus she was at our table again expecting us to have decided what we wanted to eat. This place was where locals ate. We had some of the best fried dumplings there we’d had on the whole holiday.
After our meal at Eat Together we went back to langham Place so Ms20 could have some green tea ice cream.
Our plan had been to return to McDonald’s near Times Square but when we arrived the ice cream machines were broken. We were disappointed.
While the weather had been less than ideal the day turned out to be quite enjoyable. As a last full day in Hong Kong we were pretty happy.
Ocean Park Hong Kong is a place I’m in two minds about. I loved the rides and I loved learning about the fauna there but that fauna is held captive.
Before we get to Ocean Park Hong Kong we need to show a photograph of my breakfast from the Cosmopolitan Hotel.
Prior to leaving for Hong Kong, Ms20 had arranged ground transport with Buffalo Tours from our hotel to Ocean Park Hong Kong. After breakfast we waited for our shuttle bus. It was delayed but not too delayed. The guide on the shuttle bus was very good at explaining what we should see and do when we got to Ocean Park. He was also very careful to explain our pick up point and pick up time.
The Hair Raiser was the best ride we experienced in Hong Kong.
I found this YouTube video which shows just how much fun it is.
Best ride in Hong Kong.
There are four giant pandas held captive in Ocean Park Hong Kong. Two are kept in the open and the other two in a closed in enclosure.
After the cable car ride and visiting the Giant panda and panda exhibit we went back to the area of the rides. We went on two roller coasters which were great. As good as any roller coaster ride I’ve had in Australia and as good as Space Mountain at Hong Kong Disneyland.
After the rides we went for lunch. We thought we’d try the Terrace cafe. It looked nice but the maître d’ was incompetent beyond imagination. we walked away after 20 minutes of waiting and being ignored while others (who could speak Cantonese) pushed through and got tables.
We ended up in the cheap and cheerful eatery. I had roast duck and pork with rice.
After lunch we went to the arctic and antarctic exhibitions.
In the arctic exhibit there were seals and a couple of walruses. The walruses were huge.
After the arctic and antarctic exhibits we went to the dolphin show. I shot about a hundred photographs but when I looked through them all I saw were dolphins held in captivity. Ocean Park Hong Kong makes a strong point about conservation, animal welfare, protecting marine ecological systems and zöological research. I still feel uneasy about these animals being trained for entertainment.
In the south American rain forest area there were some Capybara. These rodents are huge.
It was an enjoyable day at Ocean Park save for the lunch episode at the Terrace Cafe.
After we left we went to Times Square in Causeway Bay and enjoyed dinner, albeit an expensive dinner at Greenhouse.
I had Singapore noodles with lobster and bacon.
After such an expensive main course we went to McDonalds for dessert
And so ended Saturday in Hong Kong. It was a good one.
After a late evening out watching the new year’s eve festivities we slept in a little on new years day. We didn’t get back to the Cosmopolitan Hotel until about 1.30 am and we weren’t ready for bed and sleep until about 2 am. Of course I was awake at 6 am because I don’t really sleep in but the girls were out until about 8 am.
We took our time about getting breakfast. When I got there I was hungry so I went with the abominable breakfast, i.e., scrambled eggs and baked beans on toast covered in condensed milk and served with a croissant, jam and butter along with dim sum. Have you ever had such a combination? I say fusion cuisine and my daughters said, “That’s disgusting Dad!”
This is my new years day breakfast
After breakfast we went on a bus to a local temple to take a look. The Man Ho Temple is an historic building and monument in Hong Kong.
Unfortunately the museum was closed on New Year’s Day.
We discussed our options and the girls want to travel to Lantau Island to visit the Citygate Outlets shops. These are discount outlet shops near the airport and apparently travellers will check in to the flight and then catch a bus there for last minute bargains.
The girls found this place to be ideal for their needs.
I found the black sesame and vanilla soft serve ice cream at the local McDonalds to be delicious. A lovely new years day treat.
After phase one of shopping we went to Food Republic for lunch and had yum cha.
After lunch we found a grocery store called Taste. This place was awesome.
After an afternoon of shopping we went to Causeway Bay MTR and walked to Time Square and found a place for dinner, viz., Chungs Kitchen.
Apparently when it was Chungs Cuisine it was a pretty good place. We had mixed feelings. The food was good but the service was not so good. The food was served one dish at a time rather than all together and it took nearly 45 minutes from the first to the last dish. That said, this was my first goose and the beans were the best I’ve ever eaten. I also love wood fungus. This wasn’t as good as Mum’s but it took me back.
When we got back to the hotel the girls put all the purchases to date on a bed. It was a huge haul. I remain surprised they fit everything in their bags to bring back to Brisbane.
It’s new year’s eve 2015 and what better way to start the day than visit a wet market. I had explained to Miss14, Ms18 and Ms20 before we embarked on this holiday that while I was happy to spend hours in shopping centres, there would be times when I would need to indulge my own interests.
After a breakfast of toast with scrambled eggs and baked beans combined with dim sum and pickles we were off.
We caught the Number 10 bus from outside the Cosmopolitan Hotel and went to Chun Yeung Street where there is a wet market.
Wet markets are my idea of the best part of an overseas holiday. I was very conscious I was with my daughters who do not necessarily share my interest in seeing raw flesh, raw vegetables and live animals being dispatched and butchered fresh for the consumer. One of the things I think we really miss out on with our ‘modern’ approach to food technology and processing is freshness. Sure our modern approach is safe and I’m the first to stand up for food safety and food security, however, there is something to be said for watching a fish monger pull a live fish out of a tank, club it on the head and immediately remove it’s head, bleed it and then fillet it. If I was alone I would have tried to video record the process. I was conscious my daughters wanted to keep on the move.
I’m also fascinated by seeing how produce is presented. I love seeing a pig’s chest pluck hanging up as well as a whole pluck in some cases. Being able to identify organs and see how clean and smell how fresh they are is amazing.
When it comes to vegetables, being able to see how fresh the vegetables are is really good. That’s not to say there wasn’t a good supply of preserved and dried foods. My father would have loved some dried sea scallops. I didn’t want to appear on an episode of Border Security so I refrained, after all I’m also a human quarantine officer.
I should also mention I had ample opportunity on this holiday to eat shark fin soup. I refrained. My grandmother used to cook me shark fin soup when I was a little boy. I loved it. I will no longer eat it because of the cruelty to sharks being finned alive and then dumped to die in the ocean depths.
I’m so proud that none of my daughters gagged or objected to what they saw, smelt or heard. The wet market is really a place a food lover should visit. I would have loved to have visited more wet markets but time wasn’t available. Have you ever visited a wet market?
After the wet market we caught a bus back to Causeway Bay MTR station and looked to have lunch at Times Square in Causeway Bay.
As we’ve experienced the people have no sense of personal space nor spatial or situational awareness. People crowded in on us and really had no idea how offensive it was to have such close contact and to ‘trespass’ onto staked out territory. When I say ‘staked out territory’ I mean about 30 cm around each of us. It got to the point closer to the countdown to midnight and I had almost full body contact with strangers.
Close to midnight I started experiencing colicky abdominal pain. As someone with irritable bowel syndrome a sense of urgency developed and I started to look for a rest room. The closest one was quite a walk away. When I got there the only toilet was a squat. My last bowel motion for 2015 will long be remembered for the duration of the event, the discomfort and the quadriceps burn I felt. I’m just grateful the flushing mechanism worked and that I had brought ample hand sanitiser.
Here is a gallery of the fireworks. These photographs are not processed. I’ve run out of time.
The number of people watching the fireworks was huge. I have no idea how many of thousands of people who were there. It was amazing to see so many thousands of people move to trains and then disperse so quickly at the end.
The best thing was there were very few drunk revellers. The most drunk were English and very few Australians. The local Hong Kong people and other Asians were all sober. As far as I know there were no coward punches and no one punch deaths unlike the situation in Australia and other non-Asian centres.
How did you celebrate new year’s eve? Have you ever been to a wet market? What did you think?
It’s been a while since I wrote a “what I ate today” post. It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post. I’ve been pretty busy with work. I arrived home from Washington, D.C. on Sunday afternoon and on Tuesday evening I was in Melbourne for an all day work appointment on Wednesday.
So before I can today write about today I have to mention last night. I was invited to dinner by friends Peter and Li Peng. Peter is a fabulous cook. Peter is also a dab hand at back yard construction. He’s built himself a pizza oven from scratch. It’s pretty impressive. In winter it’ll warm up a suburb I reckon. For dinner we started with some mouth watering and refreshing nummus and nuts. For a main course we had a delicious pizza and for dessert Peter had made tiramisu. In my mind everything was perfect. The tiramisu was bloody amazing. A perfect combination of cake, cream, and coffee.
So today I started with cold leftover homemade pizza and tiramisu. I justify the tiramisu for breakfast on the basis it had coffee and cream in it.
Being Friday I was working in ACT Pathology at The Canberra Hospital and today was our work Christmas lunch.
I forgot to shoot a photograph of the black forest cake, salted caramel cheesecake and pavlova.
For dinner I rounded out the day with the last of the pizza and tiramisu while drinking Agrum in my LMG glass.
I feel so fat!
In other news Peter and Li Peng made me a Christmas hamper all contained in a colander
On Tuesday night I had fish and chips
On Wednesday morning I had a hotel breakfast
The room also had a decent coffee machine. I’m just glad George Clooney wasn’t around.
I’m in Washington, D.C. for work at the moment. I was recently chatting with an American friend on Twitter about barbecue food and she mentioned chicken wings. I love chicken wings. As much as I am a ‘thigh man’, chicken wings are fantastic. The meat is always tender and sweet and it’s relatively easy to get the skin to be nice and crispy.
I thought I would take the opportunity while I am in the USA to try some barbecue chicken wings.
I ordered some from the room service menu. They arrived hot and smelled really good.
Unfortunately, the room lighting was poor. I had all the incandescent lamps on and in a dark room the yellow cast was very pronounced.
The wings were good. The skin was crispy, salty and sweet with a little tang. The meat was moist, tender and soft enough to be sucked off the bone. The serving size was also generous. I forgot to add the blue cheese sauce into the photograph. My friend asked if I had some. Indeed I did.
I’d happily eat these again.
I also ate a nice ribeye steak with the bone in last night.
I’m developing a real liking for Mac and cheese with my main meals
I went to another place with colleagues and enjoyed a nice pork chop with Brussels sprouts cooked with bacon and a side of Mac and cheese. That was really nice.
I spent a little time at the Capitol building and got to sit in and watch a couple of senators make speeches on national security.