Jump to content
All About Hong Kong
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
    149
  • comments
    0
  • views
    5,388

About this blog

thisgirlabroad is an expat living, working, and eating her way through Hong Kong, and traveling throughout South East Asia without any plans to slow down. 

Entries in this blog

thisgirlabroad
local-food-in-penang-3-150x150.jpg

If you’re an adventurous foodie who often finds yourself planning a travel itinerary based around all the food you want to try, then Penang is the perfect travel destination for you. The food found in Penang is insanely good, oh-so cheap, and most of it is difficult to find outside the country. Although I had made a stopover for a few days in George Town about five years ago, I never really explored all the local food this area had to offer. With that in mind, I made sure to do research on the regional food I could find in Penang. I ended up planning my days around pit-stops at local food stalls and night markets, and managed to put together this list of all the local food in Penang that I loved and that you must try.

1. Asam Laksa

local-food-in-penang-2-1024x1024.jpg

Asam laksa is arguably the most well known dish from Penang. While many people have tried the creamy version of laksa that is relatively easy to find around the world, asama laksa is unique to Penang and is difficult to come across outside Malaysia. Asam laksa has a sweet, slightly sour taste from the pineapple and mild fish base. You can find asam laksa just about anywhere – this bowl was from a night market in the beach area of Batu Ferringhi and only cost RM4. While the laksa at night markets was fantastic, a highlight for me was heading to Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay in George Town (recommended to me by the staff at Hotel Penaga) for a bowl of these insanely delicious noodles.

2. Cendol

local-food-in-penang-1-1024x683.jpg

One of the most famous desserts in Penang is Cendol – an iced dessert made with coconut milk, green rice flour ‘noodles’, red beans, shaved ice, and palm sugar. So famous in fact, that above one of the food stalls (Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul )selling this dessert on Lebuh Keng Kwee is a massive mural of a man taking a big spoon full of cendol. There is also a stall directly across from it called Penang Road Famous Chendol where I bought a bowl for RM2.90. We were actually told by a local to go to the latter one because the ‘famous’ one’s quality has declined since many tourists visit it anyway. Regardless of which one you go to, this is the perfect roadside treat to cool you off.

3. Local jelly desserts

moh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-6-760x1

Sticking with the theme of dessert, Malaysia has a variety of local jellied desserts that are popular. I actually didn’t know about this until we went to Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay, where they have a large selection of these homemade desserts for sale. The flavors we tried were: Kuih Bengka – Ubi, Kuih Talam, Pulut Tai Tai (Kaya Kuih), and one Abuk. These desserts weren’t overly sweet, which was certainly appreciated after a heavy meal, and ranged between RM0.60 – RM1.50, and RM3 for the Abuk (the one wrapped in the lotus leaf).

4. Curry Mee

local-food-in-penang-3-1024x1024.jpg

I discovered curry mee rather accidentally when I was trying to eat as much local food as I could possibly consume before my flight. I found this delicious curry mee at Pisa Cafe food market in Bayan Baru. This massive bowl of the most delicious, creamy noodles was only RM4.50 and came loaded with thicker yellow noodles and thin vermicelli noodles, tofu, and cuttlefish balls in a spicy coconut sauce.

5. Nasi Kandar

nasi-kandar-georgetown-2-964x1024.jpg

When I was doing research on the must-try dishes in Penang, nasi kandar came up numerous times with reference to a popular restaurant called Nasi Kandar Line Clear Restaurant. We popped in on one of our first nights in George Town and were welcomed with a mountain (no, literally, there was enough food to feed at least two people) of rice, chicken (you could choose your meat, but one of the staff recommended the roast chicken), fried bitter gourd, okra, green beans, cucumber, and a few other ingredients that I had no clue about. This was one of my favorite dishes I had in Penang and it only cost RM14.30.

6. Iced Kacang

local-food-in-penang-5-932x1024.jpg

This was another surprise dish found in Pisa Cafe on my last night in Penang. Although I had read plenty about Cendol and tried it in George Town, I didn’t hear about this dessert until I was wandering around the food stalls and came upon one selling iced kacang. I asked the lady behind the counter about it and, despite being incredibly full from two big dishes already, I couldn’t leave Penang without trying it. This refreshing dessert was comprised of red beans, grass jelly, nata de coco, and agar hidden under a mound of colorful shaved ice, sweet corn, condensed milk, and a scoop of taro ice cream.

7. Char Kway Teow

local-food-in-penang-4-683x1024.jpg

Char kway teow is another popular dish in Malaysia and can be found at almost any local restaurant or market. I didn’t find this dish as exciting as the others, since I can find it quite easily where I live, but it’s a great dish to order if you’re looking for some simple comfort food. This (rather small) plate of char kway teow was from the night market in Batu Ferringhi for RM5.

8. Street-side Indian Snacks

local-food-in-penang-6-1024x683.jpg

In the heart of George Town you’ll find an eclectic area called Little India. This section of small shops, eateries, and plenty of colorful characters is where you can get your hands on some delicious Indian food. There were a number of food stalls along the road selling a variety of snacks and desserts – I went for the vegetarian samosa (RM0.60) and instantly regretted only buying one. I then went on a mission to find gulab jamun (my favorite Indian dessert) and finally came across a little shop called Mr. Sweets where I filled a bag with 4 pieces of gulab jamun and 5 other mystery sweets that looked delicious for only RM11.90.


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
hiking-tours-in-hong-kong-4-150x150.jpg

When people think of Hong Kong, they often piece together an image of tall skyscrapers, hoards of people taking over sidewalks, and little greenery. While some of this may be true in certain parts of the city (no one wants to be walking around in Central during lunchtime!), there is a whole other side to Hong Kong that many people don’t know about. If you’re a fan of spending the day conquering a hiking trail, discovering the local geology of a place, or hoping on a boat to explore lesser-known parts of an area, then Hong Kong should definitely be at the top of your list. 

Discover Hong Kong is offering three outdoor package tours that will guide you on a fantastic eco-journey filled with picture-perfect views, rich history, and unique experiences. Each of these hassle-free guided hiking tours by locals include a professionally qualified geo-tour guide that will teach you about the history and tell you plenty of stories about everything you’ll see along the way.

Lai Chi Wo Hiking Tour

hiking-tours-in-hong-kong-1-1024x683.jpgPhoto from the Hong Kong Tourism Board

Over 400 years ago Lai Chi Wo was one of the most prosperous villages in the New Territories. Located within Plover Cove Country Park, this Hakka village is located along the coastline and is mainly populated by its older original inhabitants. You’ll begin the hike at Tai Po Market MTR Station where a bus will take you to Wu Kau Tang. Follow the guide as they tell you interesting Feng Sui stories and take you to Sam A Tsuen where you’ll get to stop and have lunch. From there, you’ll make your way to Lai Chi Wo to explore that area. To wrap up this tour, a scenic boat ride will take you to Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier, which is right beside University MTR Station.

Start time: 10:00 am
Length of tour: Around 8 hours
Starting/Ending point: Tai Po Market MTR Station/University MTR Station
Price: HK$1000 including lunch

Book your tour here.

Geopark Hiking Tour

hiking-tours-in-hong-kong-2-1024x683.jpgPhoto from the Hong Kong Tourism Board

Another great option is the Geopark Hiking tour that will take you along the beautiful coastline in Sai Kung. This area has plenty of natural geological landforms and rock formations caused by volcanic activity, waves, and weathering from 140 million years ago. This guided tour will take you through the impressive hexagonal columnar joints, a boat ride to see the natural tombolo on Sharp Island, and an inland water dam at High Island Reservoir. Amidst all of these sightseeing locations, you’ll stop for lunch at Sha Kiu/Pak Lap for lunch.

Start time: 8:30 am
Length of tour: Around 8 hours 

Starting/Ending point: Central
Price: HK$1000 including lunch

Book your tour here.

Geopark Boat Tour: Sai Kung Islands

hiking-tours-in-hong-kong-3-1024x683.jpgPhoto from the Hong Kong Tourism Board

With the longest coastline and most outlying islands in Hong Kong, Sai Kung is best explored by boat. This tour will take you through the areas unique biodiversity including sea stacks, tubular rock columns, sea caves, the volcanic rock columns of High Island, and rhyolite on Sharp Island. While you’ll see most of the sights on the boat, you’ll have a chance to get off and explore Sharp Island at the end of the tour.

Start time: 9:00 am or 2:00 pm
Length of tour: Around 3 hours 

Starting/Ending point: Sai Kung Pier
Price: HK$975

Book your tour here.

 

This post was written in collaboration with the Hong Kong Tourism Board.


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
moh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-2-150x1

I have always been a huge fan of laksa – it’s probably my favorite soup noodle dish. Although I’ve had the popular creamy-based laksa many times, I had never tried asam laksa as it’s really only popular in Malaysia, specifically Penang. At our hotel in Georgetown, I asked one of the staff where to find the best asam laksa and she immediately told us to go to Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay (莫定標娘惹粿廠). Just like that, we were off on what turned out to be a fairly big and long mission to source out the city’s best asam laksa.

The experience

moh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-2-1024xThe cutest entrancemoh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-3-1024xDining area

Finding Moh Teng Pheow was no easy task. It wasn’t until we gave up all hope and popped into a nearby hotel to ask whether the restaurant was close by that we finally sorted our directions out. Finally, after about 30 minutes of walking in the brutal heat, we came upon Moh Teng Pheow down a little alleyway off Lebuh Chulia. I’m not exactly sure if we went in through the main entrance way, but we walked through the kitchen first and then went into the dining area. The restaurant was relatively empty, so we had our pick of tables (unfortunately no air conditioning, so a table by a fan would have to do), and the staff were friendly and could speak English well enough for us to get by.

The food

moh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-1-683x1Menumoh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-4-1024xAsam laksamoh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-5-767x1In laksa heaven

We wanted to try a range of items on the menu, but we knew we had to order the asam laksa so we each got one (for only RM6 – HK$12!). Honestly, this laksa was phenomenal – just look at the huge smile on my face! Asam laksa is very different from curry laksa in that it’s slightly tangy from the pineapple and has a fishy undertone, but don’t let that put you off.. I swear, this bowl of noodles was life changing. Moh Teng Pheow served a decent-sized bowl of laksa, though it was more on the snack side, which is perfect if you’re doing a bit of a food tour in Georgetown like we were. Had we not ordered dessert as well, I definitely would have ordered another bowl to devour.

moh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-7-1024xVariety of Malaysian dessertsmoh-teng-pheow-asam-laksa-penang-6-760x1Our dessert picks

I was less familiar with which types of dessert to order, despite the English names on the menu. Thankfully, one of the staff members told us to come to the counter where we could actually see all of the dessert on display. After a few questions about what the flavors actually were, we settled on the: Kuih Bengka – Ubi, Kuih Talam, Pulut Tai Tai (Kaya Kuih), and one Abuk. I’m not typically a fan of jellied desserts, but I honestly loved all of these.

Moh Teng Cheow is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm, so plan to go during the day

Moh Teng Cheow Nyonya Koay
Jalan Mesjid Off Lebuh Chulia, 10200
Georgetown

 


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
nasi-kandar-georgetown-5-150x150.jpg

Nasi Kandar is a popular local Malaysian dish that originated in Penang. When I was searching for local dishes and restaurants to check out, I came across Nasi Kandar Line Clear Restaurant Penang. I read about how this local canteen-style shop apparently served the best nasi kandar in Penang, so I obviously had to try it out. Let me jump to the point: I loved everything about my experience at Line Clear Restaurant. From the insanely delicious (and messy!) nasi kandar to the friendly and helpful service, this is one local food shop you need to visit when in Georgetown.

Location of Line Clear Restaurant Penang

nasi-kandar-georgetown-6-1024x683.jpg

If Line Clear Restaurant Penang didn’t have a few signs on the sidewalk pointing out exactly where you need to turn to get your nasi kandar fix, we likely would have walked right by. Tucked away off Penang Road, it’s located right in the heart of Georgetown, beside 161 & 177 Penang Road, and is an easy walk from just about anywhere in that area. Plus, it’s open 24 hours so you don’t need to worry too much about when to go (I’d avoid lunch hours during the weekday, as it becomes incredibly busy with locals).

The experience

nasi-kandar-georgetown-4-1024x683.jpg nasi-kandar-georgetown-5-1024x683.jpg nasi-kandar-georgetown-3-1024x683.jpg

As soon as we began walking down the short alleyway to the restaurant, we were eagerly welcomed by the staff. We told them that we had read about Line Clear online and wanted to try their famous nasi kandar. Since we had no clue how to actually go about ordering, one of the staff members simply asked us to choose a type of meat (I went with the tender roast chicken based off of his recommendation) and then told us to sit down while he prepared the dish.

The food

nasi-kandar-georgetown-2-964x1024.jpg nasi-kandar-georgetown-1-1024x683.jpg

After only a few minutes, a whopping plate of food arrived in front of us. For those that don’t know, nasi kandar is essentially a variety of curried meat and vegetables. Aside from the rice and chicken, I wasn’t entirely sure what was on my plate, though I did recognize fried bitter gourd, okra, green beans, and cucumber. I’m less clear about the rest, but it didn’t even matter because this was hands down one of the best dishes I had while in Penang. To top it off, all this food (literally enough to feed two) was only RM14.30 – less than HK$30.


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
penang-150x150.jpg

While spending a few days in Georgetown is well worth it for the delicious food, artsy vibes, and unique architecture, you’ll likely feel like you need a few days’ rest and relaxation afterwards. Most people head to Batu Ferringhi to spend some time at one of the resorts along the beach. My choice was the Golden Sands Resort Penang by Shangri-La because of its overall good value when looking at the price and facilities offered. Although the sea isn’t exactly swimmable at this beach thanks to the copious amounts of jellyfish in the water, there was still plenty of space to lounge around by the pool or on the grass close to the beach to get that much needed R&R.

First impressions of Golden Sands Resort Penang by Shangri-La

golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-10-golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-9-1golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-2-7

After spending two scorching days in Georgetown, I couldn’t wait to throw my bags down and just zen out. Golden Sands Resort Penang is a massive 387-room hotel with great facilities. The hotel lobby is open concept and the hotel staff are quick to assist you with whatever you need. Check-in was relatively seamless, but I had paid extra for a “balcony sea view” room and the original room they put me in was on the first floor with a building directly in front of the room which obstructed any view. After a call to reception to ask for a new room, they managed to switch us to a higher floor with a much better view.

*Note – I would definitely recommend asking for a room that faces the pool/sea, as you’ll likely be able to hear the call to prayer if you’re on the east side of the hotel and are facing the street.

The room

golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-6-1golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-12-golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-7-1golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-8-1

The room was a good size for two and came with a comfy big bed, which was hard to part with at the end of my stay. The spacious bathroom had two sinks, a bathtub/shower, and a range of amenities that came in handy. My favorite part of the room was definitely the balcony. Perfect for early in the morning and later on at night; I enjoyed a morning coffee outside before breakfast and a nighttime tea before bed. Overall, I really did like the room. The only thing I will say is that quite a lot of it does seem to be outdated – as an example, built into the desk is what appeared to be some sort of radio tuner with electric outlets. I do think the resort could use a bit of an uplift, but for the price, I won’t complain (too much).

Breakfast

golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-5-1golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-13-

Breakfast was included and I found it funny that the hotel actually had these traffic light signs up showing the busiest and least busy times to go for breakfast. The Garden Cafe accommodates well over 100 people and was always busy in the morning when we went down for breakfast. The buffet spread had a large international selection of hot and cold dishes, so even the fussiest eaters will likely find something they enjoy. For my breakfasts, I mainly stuck with fresh fruit, eggs, and toast with kaya spread.

Facilities

golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-11-golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-3-1golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-4-7golden-sands-resort-shangrila-penang-1-7

Golden Sands Resort is a great place for families, with slides and water activities, an indoor play area, and supervised kids’ activities throughout the day. For those without kids (myself included), I still enjoyed the facilities here, though for me personally, it was a bit too family friendly at times. There are a number of pools, mainly swarming with children, but there was one pool that was for adults only. If you’re looking for a bit of an escape from the screams of excited children, find a lounge chair on the grass away from the pool area.

I liked that you could order drinks and food that were brought to your lounge chair and the poolside bar also had a good happy hour of buy one get one free drinks (hello pina coladas!). The resort was within walking distance to the night market and a fantastic cooked food center with deliciously cheap eats that you should go to instead of eating all meals at the hotel.

Overall thoughts on Golden Sands Resort

I really enjoyed my stay at Golden Sands Resort. Although the majority of the hotel could use a modern update, the price point for the facilities and quality of service more than made up for it. While I think this hotel is great for families, I also enjoyed my time there though did find the constant running around and screaming of children to be a bit taxing at times. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a quick beach getaway in Penang that’s good value, I would recommend Golden Sands Resort.

Golden Sands Resort Penang by Shangri-La
Batu Ferringhi Beach


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
hotel-penaga-penang-9-150x150.jpg

When looking for a hotel in Georgetown, I came across the lovely heritage boutique hotel: Hotel Penaga. I knew I wanted something with a good dose of traditional charm, but still have a variety of modern necessities. Built in the 1920’s, the building was originally comprised of homes and ground floor shops until 2008 when a couple purchased the property, and carefully renovated and transformed it into Hotel Penaga Penang. The hotel is full of history and fascinating artwork throughout, and the staff are very helpful and welcoming. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better hotel to spend a few days in while exploring the lovely area of Georgetown.

First impressions of Hotel Penaga

hotel-penaga-penang-13-1024x683.jpgHotel Penagahotel-penaga-penang-12-1024x683.jpgLobby

The concierge was all smiles as he opened the main doors of Hotel Penaga upon our arrival. Everything – from check in and out, to getting information about Georgetown and arranging transportation to another part of Penang – was so incredibly easy thanks to the helpful staff. I really did feel at home here thanks to the staff who were always going out of their way to ensure we had a great stay. Aside from the staff, I immediately fell in love with the design of the hotel. It honestly felt like I was taking a luxurious step back in time while walking around this heritage boutique hotel.

The room

hotel-penaga-penang-1-1024x683.jpg hotel-penaga-penang-2-1024x683.jpg hotel-penaga-penang-3-1024x683.jpg hotel-penaga-penang-4-1024x683.jpg hotel-penaga-penang-5-1024x683.jpg hotel-penaga-penang-10-683x1024.jpg

I had the most beautiful room – from the minute I walked in, I fell in love with all of the polished wooden furniture, the subtle Asian touches, and the paintings that adorned the walls. My favorite features of the room itself were the large canopy bed that took center stage and the wooden dresser decorated with red Chinese designs. Hotel Penaga also supplied a good range of fairtrade coffee and teas in the room with a life-saving espresso machine that made a killer cup of joe.

Although it may sound a bit silly, I relished time spent in the bathroom when I was showering and getting ready in the morning. The bathroom was huge (almost the size of my bedroom in Hong Kong!) and I loved the contrast between the light blue tiling and the dark wood paneled floors. I always look out for a big bathtub when I’m choosing a hotel and Hotel Penaga’s massive jacuzzi did not disappoint.

We were also lucky enough to get a room with a balcony that overlooked the pool and other parts of the hotel. Perfect for enjoying a cup of coffee in the early morning before breakfast (and before it became too hot outside!), I loved being able to have a bit of outdoor space. Also, if you didn’t notice from the photos, many of the room’s light switches were actually bells – a really neat added touch.

Breakfast

hotel-penaga-penang-7-1024x683.jpg hotel-penaga-penang-6-1024x683.jpg

Breakfast at Hotel Penaga Penang was a casual affair. They offered a variety of hot items (some changed daily), breads and spreads, and fresh fruit and juice. The service is prompt and friendly and there was a good selection to choose from, whether you liked more of a western-style breakfast or an Asian one. They also offered any style of eggs you’d like (poached eggs on toast, please!) and had a selection of their own Penang homemade bread with kaya spread (a delicious coconut jam) and other unique locally sourced jams.

Facilities

hotel-penaga-penang-8-683x1024.jpg hotel-penaga-penang-11-683x1024.jpg hotel-penaga-penang-9-1024x683.jpg

Hotel Penaga Penang has just about everything you could ask for. The location is perfect in that it’s within walking distance of everything you’d want to see in Georgetown (just be sure to bring comfortable shoes!). There is a lap pool with a handful of covered tables around it and a few loungers if you can bear hanging out in the blistering heat. The hotel also has a spa, library, meeting rooms, and a restaurant/bar. One thing I found quite interesting was the artwork throughout the hotel. Hotel Penaga actually runs an artist residency program where contemporary artists can apply to have their work put on display throughout the hotel, so be sure to take your time while wandering around to read about the artists and their work.

Overall thoughts on Hotel Penaga Penang

Hotel Penaga Penang is a boutique hotel with a whole lot of charm and personality. The service is honestly exceptional here – they even used their own personal phone to call us a Grab (the company that recently bought out Uber in Malaysia) when we couldn’t use the app in order to get to our next destination in Penang. During the two nights we spent at Hotel Penaga everything was fantastic and I would definitely recommend booking your stay here when you visit Georgetown!

Hotel Penaga
Corner of Jalan Hutton & Lebuh Clarke
10050 George Town
Penang
Malaysia

Tel: 04-261 1891

I partnered with Hotel Penaga for this post. As always, all views and opinions are sincerely my own. 


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
sushi-man-hong-kong-17-150x150.jpg

Sushi Man’s latest location in Whampoa (original location was in Tseun Long) has made it much easier to get your omakase fix now. Situated just across from the MTR station, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Japan once you step through the front doors. The seating is intimate without being stuffy, so it’s perfect for any occassion. During lunch, you can order from Sushi Man Hong Kong’s a la carte menu, but I would recommend going for their omakase dinner menu in order to get the full experience.

Omakase – HK$1750

sushi-man-hong-kong-1-1024x683.jpgDinner Menu

Steamed Egg

sushi-man-hong-kong-3-683x1024.jpgSteamed egg with eel to start

We began with the steamed egg dish. Although it wasn’t what I expected, it was still really good. The eel on top made for an interesting contrast to the smooth, tofu-like egg underneath. The overall flavors were quite subtle, helping to ease us into our next courses.

6 Kinds of Sashimi

sushi-man-hong-kong-4-1024x683.jpgBaby sea eel with yuzusushi-man-hong-kong-5-683x1024.jpgBaby squidsushi-man-hong-kong-6-1024x683.jpgOctopus – head & tailsushi-man-hong-kong-7-1024x683.jpgLightly battered fresh scallop with shisosushi-man-hong-kong-8-1024x683.jpgWhite fish with kelp

I was actually quite surprised with the sashimi dishes, as they weren’t your typical cuts of fish. I tried a few interesting dishes like the baby sea eel (not everyone’s cup of tea!), and liked how Sushi Man Hong Kong really tried to separate themselves from other omakase menus by including such a variety of sashimi. My favorite sashimi dish was the octopus tail – the octopus is slow-cooked for 24 hours and has an incredible smokey flavor to it.

8 Kinds of Sushi

sushi-man-hong-kong-9-1024x683.jpgAbalonesushi-man-hong-kong-10-1024x683.jpgBaby Snappersushi-man-hong-kong-11-1024x683.jpgBaby Codsushi-man-hong-kong-12-1024x683.jpgSalmon Roesushi-man-hong-kong-13-1024x683.jpgSand Borer (Kisu)sushi-man-hong-kong-14-1024x683.jpgKuromutsusushi-man-hong-kong-15-1024x683.jpgEelsushi-man-hong-kong-16-1024x683.jpgTuna Cheek

I really loved all 8 pieces of sushi. I’m not a fan of abalone at all, but was pleasantly surprised with the taste of it here. Moving on, the salmon roe balls were so sweet in comparison to other sushi restaurants I’ve been to – I could have literally ate them by the spoonful. My favorite piece of sushi had to be the tuna cheek. It was so incredibly tender and full of flavor – absolute heaven in a bite.

Cup of Uni

sushi-man-hong-kong-17-1024x683.jpgRice, Uni, Ebi

sushi-man-hong-kong-18-683x1024.jpg

We were all patiently waiting for this massive bowl of uni to come out. Although I do like uni when it’s fresh and of high quality, I still don’t quite get the obsession with it throughout Asia. Regardless, this dish was immaculate: layer upon layer of sea urchin covered a small mound of rice.. Sushi Man certainly does not skimp out on portions!

Temaki

sushi-man-hong-kong-19-683x1024.jpgHandroll

We literally had no idea what we were eating when the sushi chef handed us this handroll, but the chef said it was some type of root plant. Not my favorite handroll, but I did appreciate a more subtle dish after the rich uni bowl.

Soup & Kudamono

We finished with a bowl of miso soup and a large pre-sliced wedge of fresh cantaloupe for dessert.

Verdict on Sushi Man Hong Kong

If you’re looking for a new omakase menu to check out, I would definitely recommend Sushi Man Hong Kong. The restaurant is cozy (especially if you’re able to book out the private dining room/counter), service is prompt (although there is a language barrier, which made it difficult to understand all of the ingredients in each dish), and the food is incredibly satisfying.

Sushi Man Hong Kong 
6 Tak Hong Street (Across from Whampoa MTR Exit A)
Whampoa 

Tel: 2794 3995


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
hoi-an-bicycle-tour-12-150x150.jpg

Hoi An is most famous for its Ancient Town – filled with the most delicious food, bright yellow shop walls, and a whole lot of lanterns. Although spending a few days wandering around the Ancient Town is a must, if you’re there in the summer you should rent a bike and head to the beach. There are two main beaches in Hoi An: Cua Dai Beach and An Bang Beach. I honestly wouldn’t recommend either beach. Instead, I discovered a “Hidden Beach” that was a perfect little oasis between the two main beaches. If you’re wondering which beach to check out, you should head to Hidden Beach Hoi An.

Why I wouldn’t recommend Cua Dai or An Bang Beach

Unfortunately, Cua Dai has been severely affected by erosion and the beach is now covered in sand bags with barely any sand to lay out on. An Bang Beach remains a popular choice for many tourists, but, because of that, it’s also a bit of a tourist trap. As soon as you begin biking along the main strip heading to the beach, you’ll have people trying to get you to park your bike in their spot. For a fee, of course (though some places just want you to buy a bottle of water). Once on the beach, you will need to rent a lounge chair – either for a fixed fee or you’ll have to agree to having lunch at their restaurant later in the day. You’ll also likely be pestered numerous times with vendors roaming the beach to buy various souvenirs. I completely understand that everyone needs to make a living, but I’m sure we’re all just wanting to put our feet up, relax, and listen to the waves.

Hidden Beach Hoi An

hidden-beach-hoi-an-3-1024x683.jpgWalking up to Hidden Beach; restaurant on the lefthidden-beach-hoi-an-2-1024x683.jpgHidden Beachhidden-beach-hoi-an-1-683x1024.jpgParadise

After experiencing An Bang Beach the last time I was in Hoi An, I was on the hunt for something more quiet and less intrusive this time around. A few Google searches later and I had come across a number of articles written about Hidden Beach. Located practically in the middle of An Bang and Cua Dai, Hidden Beach Hoi An was just what I was looking for.

Unlike An Bang Beach, you can park your bike AND use the lounge chairs for free. Hidden Beach is a small family-run beach area with a little restaurant (they did mention that they would appreciate you eating lunch at their restaurant if you chose to eat while there) and clothing shop. I went there two times when I was in Hoi An (actually, the first time I went it was because a lovely older couple I met while getting banh mi’s told me about it!) and had a very relaxing and enjoyable time.

How to get to Hidden Beach

I’m a bit apprehensive about giving detailed instructions on how to get to Hidden Beach because I wouldn’t want this quiet oasis to become overcrowded. So, I’ll just say that if you’re coming from Cua Dai and biking up towards An Bang along Lac Long Quan, keep your eyes peeled for a sign on the side of the road that says “Hidden Beach”. Once you spot the sign, turn right down a little road and head all the way to the end.  


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
hoi-an-night-market-2-150x150.jpg

Night markets are one of my favorite parts of traveling throughout South East Asia. I love the food, the knick-knacks, the mix of locals and tourists, and the general buzz that surrounds you. The night market in Hoi An has certainly come a long way since I was there over three years ago. Although the selection isn’t quite as vast as some other night markets, you can still find a good selection of sweet and savory delights, along with numerous stalls selling souvenirs and other trinkets at the Hoi An Night Market.

hoi-an-night-market-1-1024x683.jpgPicture taken from the end of the night markethoi-an-night-market-3-1024x683.jpgThe beginning of the night market – less than an hour later and these walkways were packed

What to buy at the Hoi An Night Market

I would recommend heading into the night market when the sun begins to set, as it gets very busy later in the evening. The little trinket shops sell everything from tableware to purses, though I found it a bit more difficult to negotiate here. I wanted a woven bag and the lady originally wanted to charge US$20 and would not go any lower than US$15, which I found to be expensive when compared to shopping in other markets. Regardless, most of the items you’ll find here you’ll have likely come across on your travels elsewhere.

What to eat 

hoi-an-night-market-6-1024x683.jpg hoi-an-night-market-5-1024x683.jpg hoi-an-night-market-4-1024x683.jpg

There are mainly sweet snacks with a few savory items. Start with a sausage on a stick or a fried shrimp pancake, though I would recommend having something more substantial beforehand. Personally, I went straight for the stalls selling sweets. You’ll find the ever-popular banana nutella pancakes and rolled ice cream, along with some lesser known treats that I hadn’t tried before. This thin crispy waffle with ‘dragon candy’, condensed milk, and chocolate sauce inside was an absolute highlight. I also ordered a thicker version made with shaved coconut and peanuts (both picture above). Most food items on offer will run you between 20,000 VND – 30, 000 VND, but you can sometimes negotiate if there aren’t many people around (I was able to purchase deep fried banana pancakes for 10,000 VND during the day). While I did enjoy the food at the night market, I much prefer these places to eat in Hoi An.

How to get to the Hoi An Night Market

The night market is located on the busy little island of An Hội. To get there, simply head into Hoi An Ancient Town towards the iconic Japanese wooden bridge. You’ll see a small and busy bridge right in front that leads you over the river. Cross over the water and turn right. Walk straight and take your first left – the street will be filled with vendors on both sides.


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
kerry-hotel-brunch-16-150x150.jpg

Hotels often put on a fantastic buffet brunch spread and the Kerry Hotel brunch buffet is no exception. Although it’s a bit out of the way in Hung Hom, the copious amounts of food along with stellar views overlooking the harbor make it worth the effort. I honestly think this was probably one of the largest buffets I’ve ever been to. There was an incredibly wide range of cuisine and it’s quite good value too if you can make the most of it (ie. stuff your face).

Vibe at Kerry Hotel Brunch

kerry-hotel-brunch-4-1024x683.jpg

Big Bay Cafe is huge. There is seating for around 300 people and there is SO MUCH FOOD it’s borderline ridiculous. The brunch buffet is very family friendly – they have a magician and clown walking around stopping at tables to show you a magic trick and make a balloon animal or flower. It was quite cold when I went so we sat inside, but there is ample outdoor seating that is perfect for a nicer day (with great views, too!).

Buffet Spread

kerry-hotel-brunch-1-1024x683.jpgDIY noodle soup stationkerry-hotel-brunch-2-1024x683.jpgIndian food selectionkerry-hotel-brunch-3-1024x683.jpgThe grillkerry-hotel-brunch-8-1024x683.jpgRound 1kerry-hotel-brunch-9-1024x683.jpgMy DIY noodleskerry-hotel-brunch-10-1024x683.jpgFrom the grill

There was so much food that I had to make a strategic plan (no joke!) before I began filling up my plate. I’ve been to my fair share of buffets before, but I can’t recall ever being so blown away by how big the buffet was. Whether you’re a meat-lover or a vegetarian, wanting to eat healthy or go all-out, you’re guaranteed to find something at the Kerry Hotel brunch. I tried to have a nibble of everything and my favorites were the DIY noodle soup (anyone else love fish balls?!) and grill station (the lobster is a must try). If you’re a pasta lover, you’ll be pleased to know my friend loved the make your own pasta station so much she went there twice.

Dessert

kerry-hotel-brunch-6-1024x683.jpgAll the mini cakeskerry-hotel-brunch-13-1024x683.jpgI swear this plate wasn’t just for me!kerry-hotel-brunch-14-1024x683.jpgIce cream with a view

Before you reach the point of no return, don’t forget to save some room for dessert. There is a massive variety of mini cakes, crepes and waffles, ice cream, the most delicious salted caramel macarons, a chocolate fountain, fruit, and a table dedicated to other desserts like donuts.

Verdict

If you love a good buffet brunch that has a wide selection of cuisines on offer, you should check out the Kerry Hotel brunch. I think it’s especially worth the trip over there if you go on a nice day and can sit outside while enjoying the views along the harbor. The Kerry Hotel is also a good brunch for families given the magician and clown that walk around to entertain the young (and old!). The only thing I didn’t love was just how busy it was – the whole restaurant was packed and it felt a bit crowded.

Details

The buffet is available every Sunday from 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm.
Adults – HK$428
Kids between 7 and 11 – HK$214
Free-flow soft drinks and juice – additional HK$40
Above plus wine – additional HK$200
Plus Veuve Clicquot Champagne – additional HK$300

Kerry Hotel – Big Bay Cafe
38 Hung Leun Road
Hung Hom Bay
Kowloon

Tel: 2252 5888


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
hoi-an-bicycle-tour-6-150x150.jpg

Aside from roaming around the ancient town, one of the more popular things to do in Hoi An is to rent a bicycle for a day and head outside of the main town to explore. You’ll come across rice paddy fields, a few water buffalo, and, if you fancy, you can end your ride with a few hours at the beach to cool off. While there are numerous companies that charge for bicycle tours, I’d recommend renting bicycles on your own and mapping out a route based on what you want to see. 

Renting Bicycles in Hoi An

Most accommodation in Hoi An should have complimentary bicycles for their guests to use for the day. If yours doesn’t, they will likely work with a shop a few meters away who rent bicycles to tourists. You shouldn’t have to pay more than US$1 or VND20,000 for a day’s rental. I would suggest you take the bike on a quick test run up and down the street to ensure the breaks and gears are all working (I actually ended up having an issue with the left pedal of my bike that didn’t begin until I was 3/4 of the way to the beach).

Hoi An Bicycle Tour – Route

Starting point and village

hoi-an-bicycle-tour-1-1024x683.jpg hoi-an-bicycle-tour-2-1024x683.jpg hoi-an-bicycle-tour-3-1024x683.jpg hoi-an-bicycle-tour-8-683x1024.jpg

Begin by heading down Cua Dai towards Cua Dai Beach. The road is fairly wide and not particularly “scary” to bike down. Head through an entrance-way with flags on your left before you cross the bridge over the river (see first photo above). You’ll bike through a small street with a handful of homes on either side. There are quite a few dead-ends, so if you find yourself on one, just turn around and go a different way. Eventually you’ll get to the paths along the rice paddy fields.

Rice paddy fields & water buffalo

hoi-an-bicycle-tour-4-1024x683.jpg hoi-an-bicycle-tour-5-1024x683.jpg hoi-an-bicycle-tour-7-1024x683.jpg hoi-an-bicycle-tour-9-1024x683.jpg hoi-an-bicycle-tour-10-1024x683.jpg

After 5-10 minutes of biking through the little village, you’ll come out into the rice paddy fields. There are about a dozen different paths you can take around the paddy fields. We ended up biking around for a bit in hopes of finding water buffalo. When we finally did find one, I felt a bit bad that the water buffalo were being ridden, so we just stayed and watched for a bit, took a few photos, and continued on our way.

We spent some time wandering through the fields – it’s really not that big, so you shouldn’t get lost. Because I was here over Tet, the fields were pretty much empty. There was a tiny bridge over the river we crossed (one of the larger paths you’ll see on Google Maps before Hai Ba Trung Street), which then connects to Hai Ba Trung Street – cross this little bridge and stick to the left. Then, you’ll have to make a right down Hai Ba Trung Street. Follow this busy street to the beach.

Ending at the beach

hoi-an-bicycle-tour-11-1024x683.jpg hoi-an-bicycle-tour-12-1024x683.jpg

If you keep following Hai Ba Trung Street, it will take you directly to An Bang Beach. This is Hoi An’s most well-known beach and while it is nice, I decided not to stay here this time because it’s crowded, you have to pay to rent loungers, umbrellas, and to park your bicycle (or they make you buy a water in order to park your bike “for free”), and you’ll likely get hassled while trying to relax on the beach. If you’re not too fussed about that, just keep it simple and stay there. If you’re looking for something a bit more secluded where you don’t need to pay to use the loungers/umbrellas or park your bicycle, head down the beach a bit to Hidden Beach.


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
okra-hong-kong-9-150x150.jpg

Okra has been in Hong Kong for two years now and, despite living only a few minutes away, I only just dined there for a much-anticipated feast. Over the past years, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about Okra Hong Kong, so my expectations were admittedly quite high. I won’t beat around the bush: every dish that I tried was incredibly unique and delicious, and the atmosphere was cozy yet upbeat; something that most restaurants struggle to provide. If you’re looking for a different dining experience in Hong Kong, I would highly recommend heading to Okra.

Vibe at Okra Hong Kong

The dining space at Okra is small so it’s best to go with only one or two other people. There is seating around the bar/kitchen, which I would recommend trying to snag, and a few tables for two if you’re looking for something a bit more intimate. The music, which is curated by Okra’s chef-owner Max Levy, is a fitting mix of Dead Kennedies, The Misfits, and the like. I also loved the massive risque mural adorned on the wall inside. As the night continued, conversations grew louder, the sake continued flowing, and the vibe kept getting better.

Sake

okra-hong-kong-7-683x1024.jpg“THE COCK” Junmai Ginjo (Fukuoka) HK$108 per glass or HK$798 per bottle

Okra Hong Kong has a great sake list that is broken down into a few different tasting notes. We opted for the hilariously named (although appropriate given that 2017 was the year of the rooster) “The Cock” Junmai Ginjo (HK$108). Aside from the slightly acidic and refreshing tasting points of this sake, I liked that it was made in collaboration with Tsui Hark specifically for Okra.

Starters

okra-hong-kong-1-683x1024.jpgNigari Sai Farmhouse Tofu (HK$98)okra-hong-kong-2-1024x683.jpgGoose Blood Toastokra-hong-kong-3-1024x683.jpgGoose Blood Toastokra-hong-kong-4-1024x683.jpgSalt Tomato (HK$88)

We began with the popular Nigari Sai Farmhouse Tofu (HK$98) with Okra’s handmade Pigeon Sauce. The handmade tofu was silky smooth and paired beautifully with the fresh cherry tomatoes. Although this is not a dish I would typically order, the Goose Blood Toast was on the specials board (sorry, can’t remember how much it was!) and I was curious to try it. The goose blood was somewhat similar to a pate and was full of flavor. We also tried the Salt Tomato (HK$88), which was on the specials board. Despite the simplicity of the dish, this was one of the best tomatoes I’ve had in ages (in case you weren’t aware, Hong Kong is not known for its produce).

Mains

okra-hong-kong-5-1024x683.jpgDry Aged Beef Tongue (HK$168)okra-hong-kong-11-1024x683.jpgDry Aged Baby Tuna (HK$118)okra-hong-kong-8-683x1024.jpgUnabi Fun (HK$188)

Moving onto the mains, we began with the Dry Aged Beef Tongue (HK$168) from the specials board. I wasn’t entirely sold, given that I’ve never tried tongue before, but I have to admit it was really tasty. The thick pieces of cured meat were absolute perfection and I had to stop myself from devouring the entire plate. Another really interesting dish was the Dry Aged Baby Tuna (HK$118), also from the specials board. Dry aging fish heightens the taste, giving it that umami flavor everyone raves about. Despite living in Asia for 6.5 years, I had yet to try eel (I know, it’s shameful), so we decided to order the Unabi Fun (HK$188) – eel on crispy sushi rice. The eel had a delicious smokey flavor and the rice around the clay pot was perfectly crispy.

Dessert

okra-hong-kong-9-683x1024.jpgUji Matcha Cookie Boy (HK$76)

We finished our meal with the Uji Matcha Cookie Boy (HK$76) – a roasted green tea and red bean cookie with smoked cream and lemon salt. Although I liked the overall flavor of the cookie, I wish the outside was crispier.

Verdict

From the cozy yet lively atmosphere to the delicious pours of sake, and incredibly unique and refreshing dishes on the menu, I loved everything about Okra Hong Kong. If you’re tired of the same restaurants in the city and are looking for something different, you need to try Okra. Perfect for a date night or an intimate catch up with a friend, the setting compliments the food flawlessly and I can’t wait to go back and slowly work my way through the rest of the menu.

Okra Hong Kong
110 Queen’s Road West
Sai Ying Pun

Tel: 2806 1038


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
megans-kitchen-7-150x150.jpg

For years I’ve heard people rave about Megan’s Kitchen, the well-known hot pot restaurant in Wan Chai that attracts locals and expats alike. Megan’s Kitchen is best known for its interesting and unique hot pot soup bases – they have everything from tom yum cappuccino to Japanese miso tofu. Although I can’t say I particularly enjoyed my last few hot pot experiences, I decided to give Megan’s Kitchen a shot when a group of my girl friends were organizing a night out. All in all, I ended up having a really fun night (most of which was thanks to the company and the free flow wine we ordered), but like everyone else had already told me, it was expensive considering you basically cook your own food.

Vibe at Megan’s Kitchen Hong Kong

megans-kitchen-1-1024x683.jpgRestaurant Interior

Megan’s Kitchen is pretty plain. There’s not much decor, the orange chairs are less than appealing, and there’s large flat screen TVs playing some type of Chinese soap opera around the room. Thankfully, we didn’t come here for the ambiance. The staff were friendly and nice, and were quick to refill our empty wine glasses (much to my later demise).

What we ordered

megans-kitchen-2-1024x683.jpgMake your own dipping saucemegans-kitchen-5-1024x683.jpgKimchi Dumplings, Pork Dumplings, Vegetable Dumplingsmegans-kitchen-3-683x1024.jpgBeefmegans-kitchen-6-1024x683.jpgRainbow Cuttlefish Ballsmegans-kitchen-4-1024x683.jpgOur feast

We began by making our own dipping sauces (they charge a rather ridiculous price of HK$25 per person for this), though I’m not entirely sure why since the soup bases are already flavored. For drinks, they had a free-flow package available, which included white and red wine and sake for only HK$138 per person, which we all obviously opted for.

The menu is massive, so we ordered a little bit of everything. The kimchi (HK$88), pork (HK$88), and vegetable (HK$88) dumplings were all surprisingly delicious, though I’d say the kimchi ones were my favorite. Since we had a few vegetarians with us, we only ordered two meat dishes: Australia grass-fed rib eye (HK$298) and another beef dish, but I honestly can’t even remember what it was (oops – I’ll blame it on the wine!). We also ordered a range of vegetables, noodles, and the popular rainbow cuttlefish balls (HK$98). As for our soup bases, we went with the tom yum cappuccino (HK$188) and sichuan (HK$168). The sichuan one was a bit too spicy for all of us, so we pretty much put everything into the tom yum soup, which was still a bit spicy for some but I really enjoyed it.

As a heads up, if you don’t want the century eggs or other “welcome starters” they automatically place on your table when you arrive, you need to tell the staff right away. Otherwise, you will be charged.

Verdict

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my time at Megan’s Kitchen. Though, I’m sure that was mainly due to the company and the obscene amount of wine I consumed throughout dinner. The food was good, although nothing really had that wow-factor, except for the kimchi dumplings. For HK$600 per person for a table of 5, we left absolutely stuffed with both food and wine. If you haven’t been yet, I would recommend getting a fun group of people together for dinner at Megan’s Kitchen. That being said, I’m not exactly racing back to spend that kind of money to essentially cook my own food.

Megan’s Kitchen
5/F Lucky Centre
165-171 Wan Chai Road
Wan Chai 

Tel: 2866 8305


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
on-dining-brunch-9-150x150.jpg

There’s  no shortage of places to get together with a group of friends on the weekend for a little (or big) boozy brunch. Just like most expats here, I’ve been to my fair share of them: from a la carte menus to buffets, and cappuccinos to champagne. Although I love all brunches, I was in the mood for something a bit more refined, so I decided to check out the ON Dining brunch – Le Grande Brunch, and boy do they know how to put out a great spread. We went through a whopping 6-course brunch (accompanied by champagne, of course) filled with a wide range of exceptional dishes.

Vibe at On Dining brunch

on-dining-brunch-1-683x1024.jpg

I’ve only been to the bar area of ON Dining (absolutely love their outdoor patio space), so when we went down the stairs to the restaurant portion, I fell in love with the clean, simple, and modern decor. The floor to ceiling windows are also perfect, day or night, to take in the view of Hong Kong.

To start

on-dining-brunch-2-683x1024.jpgBread Basketon-dining-brunch-3-1024x683.jpgOyster, King Crab, Beef Tataki, Cauliflower & Salmon Roe, Caviar Tartlet

We began with the most delicious bread basket that came with croissants, pain au chocolat, panatone, and baguettes. On the side, we had a three-tiered tray with a variety of preserves (passion fruit, chocolate, and strawberry), fruit, and yogurt. Next, we had a beautifully presented plate with a variety of bite-sized snacks including oyster, king crab, beef tataki, cauliflower & salmon roe, and caviar tartlet. I liked that we were able to try a range of nibbles without having to commit to just one.

Starters & mains

on-dining-brunch-4-1024x683.jpgStarter: L’Oeuf d’Okinawa – Chanterelle parmesan cheese & shaved black truffle

There were four options for starters on the menu, but my heart was set on the L’Oeuf d’Okinawa, comprised of Chanterelle Parmesan cheese and shaved black truffle. Simply put, this dish was amazing: the ingredients harmoniously came together and I savored every single bite.

on-dining-brunch-6-683x1024.jpgLes Cavatellis – Homemade cavatelli, seafood ragout, carabinero prawnon-dining-brunch-7-1024x683.jpgLe Boeuf – Prime beef ribs teriyaki, creamy mushrooms, romaine saladon-dining-brunch-5-1024x683.jpgLe Bar de Ligne – Wild sea bass, artichoke puree, spinach, sea urchin emulsion, pearl barley, black truffle julienne

Although all four mains on the menu sounded delicious, I opted for the Le Boeuf – Prime beef ribs teriyaki, creamy mushrooms, romaine salad. Honestly, the picture does not do this dish justice. I could have used a butter knife to cut the beef, it was so tender and the creamy mushrooms were an absolute treat. The other two dishes my food-loving friends ordered were the Les Cavatellis – Homemade cavatelli, seafood ragout, carabinero prawn and the Le Bar de Ligne – Wild sea bass, artichoke puree, spinach, sea urchin emulsion, pearl barley, black truffle julienne. Both dishes were greedily lapped up within a mere minute, so it’s safe to say they really, really liked it.

Cheese & dessert

on-dining-brunch-8-683x1024.jpgCheese selectionon-dining-brunch-10-683x1024.jpgDessert platter: Homemade pastries with fruit and sorbet

After we were done with the mains, a good selection of cheese was brought to our table. Each cheese was explained to us and we were directed to try the cheeses from left to right. I usually prefer more mild flavored cheese (though the stinky ones are beginning to grow on me!), but I actually loved every single cheese here.

To wrap up, it was time for a beautiful dessert platter with a variety of homemade pastries, fruit, and sorbet. My favorite dessert was surprisingly the mini lemon meringue pie (quick background story: my parents used to always buy lemon meringue pie when I was growing up and I absolutely hated it – in hindsight, I think they totally did this because they knew I wouldn’t eat any! – but recently lemon desserts have grown on me and I actually really enjoy them).

Verdict on ON Dining brunch

The ON Dining brunch – Le Grande Brunch – is a fantastic option if you’re looking for an elegant brunch experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the six-course meal and would highly recommend it. Although it is a bit pricier than other brunches, the quality of the food more than makes up for it.

Price

Le Grande Brunch – HK$688 per person + HK$228 for additional 2 hours of free flow champagne, wine, beer, and soft drinks

ON Dining 
29/F, 18 On Lan Street
Central 

Tel: 2174 8100


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
laser-150x150.jpg

I’ve been contemplating laser hair removal for awhile now, but have always put it off (mainly because I wasn’t ready to commit to the pain and price!). I finally decided to take the plunge and tried laser hair removal in Hong Kong. After speaking with a few friends, I settled on two different places to try (I’m a terrible decision maker in case you didn’t know): The Skin Gym for my underarms and Strip for my bikini.  Is it worth the money? Definitely! Is it worth the pain? Didn’t feel any!

Laser Hair Removal VS IPL

Okay, so apparently there are two different types of permanent hair removal (who knew?!): Laser and IPL. If you’re like me and really have no clue about either, you’re probably asking yourself why laser hair removal is more expensive than IPL. After a bit of research and speaking with the lovely team at The Skin Gym, I discovered that IPL is less effective in permanently getting rid of your hair because they emit a range of wavelengths (akin to a light bulb), and therefore aren’t focused and don’t always penetrate deep into the skin. Alternately, lasers emit a single concentrated wavelength, which specifically targets individual hair follicles. Thus, you end up achieving better and faster results with laser.

Laser Hair Removal Hong Kong: Underarms at The Skin Gym

skin-gym-1024x699.jpgImage from The Skin Gym

Try not to judge, but I always found that I get a “five o’clock” shadow on my underarms hours after shaving and I was just tired of having to shave every single day. So, I made an appointment at The Skin Gym to have my first laser hair removal session on my underarms.

Session 1

I walked in without any idea about what would happen next. Thankfully, the staff were friendly and informative, and the whole process was honestly painless. They started off at a lower voltage (I think I’m using correct terminology here..) and the device used almost looked and felt like a warm suction cup. I was in and out of The Skin Gym within five minutes.

After about a week without seeing any results (perhaps in part because I continued with my normal shaving routine out of sheer habit), I began to notice that my hair was much more fine and wasn’t even growing back. I was really surprised, as I didn’t think this would happen after only the first session. I didn’t need to shave for about 2 – 2.5 weeks, at which point random thin hairs began to pop up randomly.

Session 2

You’re meant to go back every 4 – 6 weeks, so I did just that and experienced almost the same results, except I don’t think I shaved for about 2.5 – 3 weeks after the hair began falling out (which happens about a week after the treatment). The second time around, the voltage was turned up a fair bit higher on the machine, and while it didn’t hurt per say, it wasn’t particularly comfortable.

Overall, I’m super satisfied with the results (and I’ve only had two sessions!) and would 100% recommend laser hair removal at The Skin Gym if you’re looking to permanently get rid of unwanted hair.

Laser hair removal for underarm: HK$1690 per session

The Skin Gym 
The Centrium
21/F, Room 6
60 Wyndham Street
Central

Tel: 2810 8088

IPL: Bikini at Strip

strip-1024x379.jpgImage from Strip

Since I was so happy with my results from The Skin Gym, I opted to also get my bikini hair removed as well. Given the relatively sensitive nature of that area and my general curiosity of the difference between the two forms of permanent hair removal, I went with IPL.

For this  treatment, a cooling gel was put on first and then the laser went on top. It was completely painless and quicker than I had thought. My results were surprisingly similar to my underarms: after about a week or so, the hair fell out and didn’t start to grow back for about 1.5 weeks. Afterwards, a few random, thin hairs began to pop up. It’s been almost a month and there’s still very little there. I’m really happy with my results and will definitely go back for more sessions.

IPL hair removal for bikini: HK$1680 

Strip
9/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace
Central

Tel: 3950 3950

Featured image from mtlblog.com


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
koh-samui-night-market-tour-9-150x150.jp

Thailand is well-known for its delicious, inexpensive food just about everywhere you go, so it should come as no surprise that you’ll find plenty of delicious food on the island of Koh Samui as well. Admittedly, I’ve been to areas of Thailand that had a wider selection of food, Samui has a solid amount of options if you’re looking to devour all the Thai food in sight. These are my top 10 picks of what to eat in Koh Samui.

1. Pad Thai

koh-samui-night-market-tour-11-1024x683.

This is a no-brainer. You basically have to have pad thai while in Thailand (and definitely more than once). Although you can get this noodle dish at just about any restaurant, local and western alike, I would recommend heading to one of the night markets that pop up during the week. Here, you can snag a big portion of pad thai (just like the one above) for THB50 or a smaller portion where they’ll wrap it up in takeaway paper for THB10.

2. Thai Milk Tea

eat-in-koh-samui-4-683x1024.jpg

I love all types of milk tea, but Thai milk tea is next-level delicious. I tried some in more western restaurants on the island, but they were around THB80 and not very good. Instead, try to find a tiny drink/smoothie stand and order one there. Better yet, try to find a spot where you can actually see them making the tea (I saw this when I went to the night market in Chaweng where the milk tea was only THB30). If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth (or just don’t want the extra calories), be sure to tell them you want “less sweet”.

3. Mango Sticky Rice

eat-in-koh-samui-3-1024x683.jpg

Ah, the beloved Thai dessert – how can you not love mango sticky rice? Although this is one of my favorite desserts, it wasn’t as present in Koh Samui. They did have it at both night markets I went to, however the thin sugary topping that they have wrapped up in a bag isn’t quite the same as when thick condensed milk is drizzled (read: poured) on top.

4. Grilled Coconut Rice Wrapped in Banana Leaf

koh-samui-night-market-tour-6-683x1024.j

This was a new Thai sweet that I haven’t had before, despite having been to Thailand multiple times. Inside each banana leaf is a sweet mixture of sticky rice and coconut. Although it looked quite plain, this turned out to be one of my favorite foods I had on the island.

5. Papaya Salad

eat-in-koh-samui-6-1024x683.jpg

Yet another Thai staple is papaya salad. I had it multiple times in Koh Samui and each time I ordered it, the dish tasted very different than the last. Healthy, refreshing, and oh-so spicy, it’s a great snack to have midday or a starter to share with friends before a big meal at night.

6. Coconut Ice Cream

koh-samui-night-market-tour-9-1024x683.j

Confession: I’m a complete sucker for Instagrammable food. I found these coconut ice cream stands at the night markets I went to and absolutely loved them. For THB50 you get four scoops of homemade coconut ice cream, fresh coconut shavings, and your choice of a variety of toppings including peanuts, mochi, and dried fruit.

7. Silk Worms

koh-samui-night-market-tour-8-1024x683.j

I’ve seen my fair share of edible insects during my South East Asian travels, but I had never really felt inclined to give them a try (can you really blame me?!). I’m still not entirely sure what compelled me to try silk worms in Koh Samui, but I did. And I gotta say, they weren’t that bad. Oddly enough, the texture reminded me of chickpeas and there was a savory powder that was put on top of them that added a surprisingly nice flavor to the otherwise tasteless bugs. For THB30, you may as well go for it!

8. Thai Noodle Soup

eat-in-koh-samui-5-1024x683.jpg

I found it rather difficult to find local food stalls around the more tourist areas of Koh Samui, so when I found a tiny soup noodle stand I was ecstatic. A bowl of Thai noodles only cost THB30 and I was able to choose which fresh noodles I wanted and how much spice I could handle.. I just wish that I discovered this place sooner!

9. Skewers of All Kinds

eat-in-koh-samui-1-1024x683.jpg

You’ll likely walk past a few street-side vendors in the markets that have an array of skewers on display. Although most look like chicken, you should definitely get a bit adventurous with your choice. I suggest picking a random skewer or two and just take a bite – what’s the worst that could happen?!

10. Grilled Sticky Rice

eat-in-koh-samui-2-1024x683.jpg

I was actually quite surprised when I came across these thick grilled circles of rice at one of the night markets, as this was something that felt much more Japanese than Thai to me. They put a coating of egg wash over the rice before grilling it, which creates that deliciously crunchy exterior while keeping the rest of the rice soft. The grilled rice was so simple, yet so delicious – an easy snack option.


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
new-punjab-club-5-150x150.jpg

There was a whole lot of hype surrounding the opening of Black Sheep Restaurant’s newest addition, New Punjab Club, and I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. As the name suggests, the restaurant serves a mix of Indian and Pakistani, and wanted to bring these authentic flavors to Hong Kong. The vibe is post-colonial with large pieces of interesting art plastered on the walls. If you’re looking for a fun, new place to delve into the world of Punjabi cuisine, New Punjab Club won’t disappoint.Vibe at New Punjab Club

Getting a weekend dinner reservation wasn’t particularly easy (without a month’s notice), but they managed to squeeze us in for the following Friday at 6:00 pm. Upon arriving, we were greeted at the main door by a large man looking sharp as ever in a fitted post-colonial suit. After we we were seated, our waiter (I forget his name now, but he had just moved to Hong Kong to work at New Punjab Club) brought over their gin cart for us to peruse. While we were waiting for our drinks, our waiter came by to explain the concept of the restaurant and the menu. He started by going over the different regions of cuisines offered at New Punjab Club and then went through the entire menu. It’s been awhile since I experienced this level of customer service in Hong Kong and it was incredibly refreshing and welcomed. Aside from the top-notch service, the decor is also very cool; a post-colonial vibe with large leather booths, dark wood tables, and large boisterous art throughout.

To Start

new-punjab-club-1-1024x683.jpgKeema Pau – spiced mutton, milk bun (HK$118)

We started with the Keema Pau (HK$118) – a spiced mutton curry that you’re meant to eat with a milk bun. The fragrant curry was delicious and the milk buns were so damn good that we actually ordered a second plate of them (to be fair, the ratio of curry to bun wasn’t exactly equal).

Mains

new-punjab-club-2-1024x683.jpgRoasted Sirloin Tandoori (HK$268)new-punjab-club-3-1024x683.jpgMughal Room Makhani – braised chicken tikka, spiced tomato & Butter Naan (HK$148 & HK$48)new-punjab-club-4-1024x683.jpgAloo gobhi – cauliflower, potatoes (HK$118)

We knew we wanted to try a dish from the tandoori section, as the tandoor ovens at New Punjab Club are the same ones co-founder Asim Hussain’s father used when he opened an Indian restaurant in the city many years ago. We opted for the Roasted Sirloin Tandoori (HK$268) with a burnt garlic chutney. Unfortunately, this wasn’t our favorite dish – the sirloin was very well done, making it a bit tough to chew. Thankfully, the Mughal Room Makhani (HK$148) made up for it. The large pieces of braised chicken tikka in a spiced tomato sauce were divine. After devouring the meat, we lapped up all the sauce with delicious pieces of Butter Naan (HK$48). We also ordered the Aloo Gobhi (HK$118) on the side, which was underwhelming considering the price tag.

Verdict

I had a really great time at New Punjab Club; partly because of the food and partly because of the service. Majority of the dishes were amazing (save for the sirloin tandoori and aloo gobhi), the presentation was great, and the service was bar none to anything I’ve seen in Hong Kong at a similar-priced restaurant. The atmosphere is fun, yet cool and classy. Overall, I would recommend checking out New Punjab Club if you’re looking for a fun date night or to catch up with a smaller group of friends.

New Punjab Club
34 Wyndham Street
Central
Hong Kong

Tel: 2368 1223


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
is-koh-samui-worth-visiting-2-150x150.jp

Thailand wasn’t my original plan for my Christmas holidays, but life threw a few curve balls my way and I had to look for an alternate vacation destination. I settled on Thailand, a country I’ve been to many times before, but never to Koh Samui. I spent a week there right before Christmas and had a love/hate relationship with the island. Half my time in Samui was spent at a wellness/yoga retreat in the south and the other half was spent in the popular area of Chaweng – two very different experiences. So, if you’re planning a trip to Thailand and wondering is Koh Samui worth visiting, read on to find out more about my experience.

The Good

I spent the first four days in Koh Samui in the south at Samahita Retreat where my days were filled with yoga, meditation, and eating healthy vegan food. Needless to say, it was amazing. I loved how relaxing and peaceful the environment was and I left feeling so refreshed. Afterwards, I made my way to Chaweng Beach for the next three days of my holidays before I flew back to Phuket.

For those that aren’t aware, Chaweng Beach is the largest and most tourist-heavy area of Koh Samui. I chose to stay in Chaweng for a few reasons: it was cheaper than the other areas of Samui, I was simply curious about the area I had heard so much about, and I wanted to have a different, more lively experience compared to the one I just had on my retreat.

The good things about staying in Chaweng is that everything is basically at your finger tips – the beach is big and quite nice, there’s a Family Mart or 7-11 at every turn (perfect for those Chang beer runs), plenty of beachfront hotels, and a plethora of restaurants and cheap massage shops. If you’re looking for a fun night out, Chaweng is where you want to be – we saw some great live cover bands and a few of the beach bars have nightly fire shows.

The Bad

is-koh-samui-worth-visiting-1024x683.jpgHawkers on the beach

At the end of the day, there was nothing special or unique about Koh Samui (cue the hate-mail). Sure, if you’re just wanting to book a fancy hotel on the beach and stay there, it’s great.. but so are a million other places around South East Asia.

Plus, it ain’t cheap to get to: a round-trip flight from Hong Kong to Koh Samui is anywhere between HK$5,000 – $7,000 thanks to Bangkok Airway’s monopoly on the airport. Taxis are also quite expensive compared to other parts of Thailand – a 15 minute drive from the airport to Chaweng will cost you 300 THB and 900 THB to the south of the island.

While the beach itself is beautiful, I was constantly pestered by people trying to sell me trinkets; everything from inflatables and ice cream to sarongs and beach towels. Yes, I am fully aware they do this for a living and I completely respect their ability to hustle, but when it’s happening multiple times an hour and all I want to do is listen to the waves under the sun, it gets annoying.

Basically, the island has capitalized on the tourism industry, which is great in that it provides employment for many locals, but it also means that much of the island’s original beauty has been commercialized (as I’m sure we’ve all seen happen to so many other places around South East Asia).

Overall thoughts on whether Koh Samui is worth a visit

If you’re heading to Samui for a wellness or yoga retreat and don’t mind paying a million dollars to get there, I’d say definitely go for it. However, if you’re planning a trip to Samui because you think it’s a beautiful island oasis, you might want to think again. Instead, I might recommend somewhere like Koh Lanta or even Phi Phi if you’re wanting something a bit more lively.

That being said, I only spent time on my retreat, in Chaweng, and a bit of time in the north of the island to visit a bar for sunset drinks and a feast at a night market. I’m sure there are other parts of the island that are much more chilled out and tranquil, so it would definitely be worth it to look into alternative locations on Samui.

Obviously everyone has different opinions on a destination based on their expectations and experience, so feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt. I would never tell someone not to visit a place, rather, I think people should be aware of both perspectives on a destination instead of making a decision to visit somewhere based on all the insta-worthy photos out there.


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
samahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-11-1

I’ll be honest – I had never really considered going on a retreat before. I’ve had friends who have done ones in various places throughout the world and they talked about juice cleanses and completely detoxifying their bodies (I’ll let you use your imagination there), and slightly bizarre treatments. Needless to say, they didn’t exactly sell it to me. That is until a friend told me about Samahita Retreat Koh Samui – a yoga, health, and all-around wellness center in Thailand. It sounded perfect for people looking for more of a general relaxing getaway, so I spent three days there and left feeling completely refreshed. Here’s what my experience was like..

Programs at Samahita Retreat Koh Samui

Before I get into my experience, I’ll quickly explain what Samahita Retreat is all about. Having been in the business for 15 years, though originally as a yoga-focused center, Samahita offers fixed and flexi-date programs that cater to every individual. The fixed programs usually happen when a guest teacher comes to Samahita or for teacher training courses. If you’re looking for something more flexible in terms of days and length of stay (minimum of three days), the flexi-date programs are perfect. The flexi-date programs available are YogaCoreCycle, Detox, De-stress, Weight Loss, and Wellness Spa. I opted for the Wellness Spa Program because it offered all the classes from YogaCoreCycle along with one spa treatment a day, ranging from massages to facials.

A tour of Samahita Retreat

samahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-6-10Samahita Retreat – from the outsidesamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-21-1Receptionsamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-7-10Walking into the centersamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-8-10Meditation areasamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-9-10Buddha & Ganesh Shalasamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-15-1Cycle studio on the right, beachfront shala on the leftsamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-14-6Swimming pool

Samahita Retreat is located in the southern part of Koh Samui on Laem Sor Beach, about a 40 minute drive from the airport. The center is relatively small (it can accommodate up to 60 people and I think there was around 25 guests at the time I was there) and there’s a real earthy vibe to it. From the moment you step in, you’ll be surrounded by greenery, friendly smiles from the staff and other guests, and tranquility. Overall, I would use the word homey to describe Samahita Retreat Koh Samui.

As you walk through the grounds you’ll pass by their eco-friendly store, an outdoor meditation center, the Buddha and Ganesh Shala (where yoga and meditation take place), the spa, juice bar, steam room, dining area and buffet, swimming pool, cycle studio, and beachfront shala (where I did most of my morning yoga sessions). Though it may sound like there’s a lot going on, I still felt like I had my own space and the communal areas didn’t feel overly busy. Basically, you can be as social or as anti-social as you would like.

For my video tour of Samahita Retreat, click here.

Accommodation

samahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-5-10Walking into the living complexsamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-4-10Entering my roomsamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-1-10Bedroomsamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-2-10Bathroom

Accommodation at Samahita Retreat is comfortably simple: there is no television in the room and minimal decorations. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was very spacious. The only drawback of the room was that the sliding door was a massive window, so I had to pull down the blinds in the evening.

For a video tour of my room at Samahita Retreat, click here.

Delicious vegetarian food

samahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-12-1Dining areasamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-13-1Daily menu displaysamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-3-68Breakfastsamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-16-1Lunchsamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-20-1Lunch 2samahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-10-6Midday snack

There are two meal times at Samahita Retreat: 9:30 am – 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The food served is all vegetarian and is buffet-style, which I really liked. The menu for each meal is written on a large chalkboard and, though I’m not a vegetarian myself, I can honestly say I loved every single dish I tried (especially the curries and pizza!). If you’re doing Samahita’s Detox Program, there is a specific section of the buffet dedicated for you, although anyone at the center can eat that food as well. I walked away from each meal feeling completely satisfied – I actually had to stop myself from getting seconds and thirds a few times!

Aside from the food itself, the dining area has large communal tables, making it easy to meet other people. Or, if you’d prefer, you can head to a comfy couch and enjoy your meal solo.

Daily schedule – yoga, meditation, cycle

samahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-19-1Morning yoga in the beachfront shalasamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-17-1Practising my Warrior IIsamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-18-1Cycle studiosamahita-retreat-koh-samui-thailand-11-1Relaxing on the beach

There is a weekly YogaCoreCycle schedule at Samahita Retreat and you’re welcome to join as many or as few classes as you’d like (there are 6 – 7 classes each day). Personally, I loved starting my day with the 8:30 – 10:30 am Dynamic Centered Yoga followed by a late breakfast. Then, I would relax by the pool or head down to the beach with a book for a few hours until the Core Fitness class at 4:00  pm followed by a Fun Cycle at 4:30 pm. There are also a few off-site activities throughout the week: a temple walk on Tuesday, a snorkeling boat trip on Wednesday, and a night visit to two different walking streets on Friday and Saturday. My program also included a 1-hour massage (honestly some of the best massages I’ve had in my life) and a 30-minute sauna session each day.

Overall thoughts on Samahita Retreat

From the yoga classes and friendly staff to the fantastic food and life-changing massages, I loved my time at Samahita Retreat. I was only there for four days/three nights, and I will say that it wasn’t until the third day that I really started to feel relaxed and get into the whole thing. If possible, I would recommend booking your stay for a minimum of five days. I left Samahita Retreat feeling refreshed, healthy, and positive – I would definitely go back in a heartbeat. The only thing I didn’t expect before arriving was that there would be small children there. While I would have preferred to not see kids running around, I do understand that Samahita wants to create a family-like feeling.

Samahita Retreat Koh Samui
55/20-24 Moo 4 T. Namuang 
Koh Samui Surat Thani 84140
Thailand

Tel: +66 (0) 77 920 090

My stay at Samahita Retreat was on a complimentary basis.  As always, all views and opinions are sincerely my own. 


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
koh-samui-night-market-tour-3-150x150.jp

Being the massive food-lover that I am, I was excited to check out the Koh Samui night market tour after my very healthy wellness retreat. The tour, arranged through Flight Centre Hong Kong, began with a drive up to the north of the island where we ordered a cocktail and watched the sun slowly set in front of us. Afterwards, we made our way to Bophut for the night market tour (the location of the market changes depending on the day you book the tour) to feast on local delights.

Sunset drinks

koh-samui-night-market-tour-2-683x1024.j

My tour guide picked me up at 5:30 pm and we took a 20~minute drive from Chaweng up to Sunset Garden Bar, a funky and chilled our bar just north of the airport. The unobstructed views of the sunset were perfect, though I wish we had arrived a tad earlier to enjoy the experience a little longer. You can order any drink off the menu (one drink was included in the tour), so I went with a classic piña colada which tasted as good as it looked.

Eating our way through the night market

koh-samui-night-market-tour-4-1024x683.jEntrance to the night market in Bophutkoh-samui-night-market-tour-8-1024x683.jStarting off with an appetizer of insectskoh-samui-night-market-tour-7-1024x683.jA wide range of Thai foodkoh-samui-night-market-tour-11-1024x683.I can never resist a plate of pad thaikoh-samui-night-market-tour-5-683x1024.jSlightly sweet, grilled bananaskoh-samui-night-market-tour-6-683x1024.jTraditional Thai dessert of sticky rice and coconutkoh-samui-night-market-tour-9-1024x683.jCoconut ice creamkoh-samui-night-market-tour-10-1024x683.The market

After about 30 minutes, we made our way to the Bophut Night Market. My tour guide, Tok, took me around and explained the different local foods. Since I’ve traveled to Thailand many times before, I was quite familiar with most dishes being served, but there were a few things I’ve never tried before. Tok convinced me to try silk worms, saying they were good for you and were quite tasty. Since I’m fairly open to trying new foods, I went for it. There was a light seasoning on them, which added a bit of flavor. In terms of texture, it almost felt like I was eating chickpeas. I didn’t mind eating a handful, but gave the rest to Tok for him to enjoy.

I also hadn’t tried the slightly sweet dessert of sticky rice, condensed milk, and coconut that was wrapped in a leaf and grilled. This was probably one of my favorite foods of the evening. The prices for food ranged from THB10 – 60, but everything we ate (and we ate a lot) was included in the tour. Aside from the food, I had a chance to browse around the other part of the market and ended up buying a few colorful scarves to add to my (already way too big) collection at home.

So, should you go on the Koh Samui night market tour?

I really loved the first part of the tour – heading to the northern part of the island to catch the sunset with a refreshing drink in hand was truly perfect and something I wouldn’t have done by myself. My guide was lovely and helpful, but there really wasn’t anything special about the night market portion – I could have easily done this on my own instead of paying for a tour guide. That being said, you might find a guide much more helpful if you’re less experienced with Thai food.

Where to book the tour

I booked this tour through Flight Centre Hong Kong before arriving in Koh Samui, so everything was taken care of ahead of time. Flight Centre can literally plan your whole trip: flight, accommodation, and tours, making it a simple and fuss-free experience. They have locations in Central, Happy Valley, and Wan Chai in Hong Kong, or you can call them at +852 2830 2899.

Visit flightcentre.com.hk for more information!

More information about the tour

Time: 
5:30 – 8:00 pm (there was really no set end time – the guide brought me back to my hotel when I had enough of walking around and stuffing my face).

Date:
Thursday, Friday, Sunday


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
curry-bay-private-kitchen-3-150x150.jpg

Curry Bay Private Kitchen is all about regional Indian cuisine with a modern touch. The three ladies behind Curry Bay – Rashmi, Deepali, Iena – have ensured that the food is clean, fresh, and “homely”. As each dish arrived at our table, one of the ladies explained the ingredients used, the region the dish came from, and answered any questions us curious diners had. The sample menus can be modified to include your favorite Indian dishes and the ladies are more than happy to accommodate vegetarians. The kitchen is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 6:00 pm – 12:00 am.

Vibe at Curry Bay Private Kitchen

Although the private kitchen was a bit difficult to find (there’s no signage), the space is quite intimate with a large open kitchen so you can see each dish being put together. The dining area can seat up to 14 people for a 5-course regional Indian tasting menu or up to 35 people for a canape evening. The venue is BYOB, which always makes dining out more fun, not to mention saving your wallet from a bit of a battering.

5-course Indian Menu

curry-bay-private-kitchen-1-1024x683.jpgRoadside Churmuri Chaatcurry-bay-private-kitchen-2-1024x683.jpgDisc Indiana

We began with the Roadside Churmuri Chaat – dough crisps, tangy chutney, potatoes, and pomegranate. This popular street food in India set the tone for our meal. Each bite had a variety of textures and flavors that complimented each other perfectly. We were served the Disc Indiana next – minced chicken discs with mint yogurt sauce and an avocado and pineapple salsa. Although the presentation wasn’t exactly wow-worthy, this dish was delicious. The chicken discs were soft, without crumbling apart when I cut into them, and the salsa was a refreshing addition.

curry-bay-private-kitchen-3-1024x683.jpgWickedly Pickledcurry-bay-private-kitchen-4-1024x683.jpgChennai Special

For the mains, we began with Wickedly Pickled – chicken in pickling spices with fried okra and minced cottage cheese, pea curry, and tomato salsa with multi-grain naan. I was surprised with how much I liked the chicken curry, since I’ve never been a huge fan of okra. The cottage cheese curry was also fantastic. Despite feeling quite full at this point, I polished off the Chennai Special – madras salmon curry with fragrant vermicelli. Normally, I wouldn’t order a seafood curry when dining at an Indian restaurant, but this dish was delicious and the addition of vermicelli as opposed to rice was an interesting change.

curry-bay-private-kitchen-5-1024x683.jpgThe Sweet Ending

We finished our private kitchen experience with The Sweet Ending – baked yogurt, strawberry, and pistachio, and carrot halva tarts with salted caramel. Both were amazing, though I was especially surprised at how much I enjoyed the tart. Along with dessert, we enjoyed a warm glass of masala chai.

Verdict

To put it simply, I had a great time dining at Curry Bay Private Kitchen. The staff were welcoming, and each dish from the menu was intricately assembled and full of flavor. I especially liked that each course offered a dish from a different region in India, and was explained to us as it was served. The 5-course set menu is priced at HK$500 per person with a minimum spend of HK$5000.

Curry Bay Private Kitchen 
Wan Chai 

For inquiries or to make a booking, click here.


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
fang-fang-brunch-3-150x150.jpg

Natural light fills the restaurant and the middle has been cleared away to make room for a long table filled with Fang Fang’s semi-buffet offerings. Although I don’t love the set-up, the display of food is impressive (especially the sushi platter). There’s a decent selection from the buffet along with four main dishes that are brought to your table. The vibe is pretty good, but it’s also very kid-friendly with a play area at the front of the restaurant. While this is obviously great for families, I can’t say I’m a fan of drinking glass after glass of champagne around children. The service was great, although they did run out of sake which we found a bit strange, but the dishes were a bit hit and miss.

Buffet Counter

fang-fang-brunch-1-1024x683.jpgSushi platterfang-fang-brunch-2-1024x683.jpgEntire semi-buffet counter

The menu is divided into different sections like, “from the basket”, “from the ocean”, “from the oven”, and so forth. While I appreciated the breakdown of options on the menu, the buffet counter was a bit disorganized. Perhaps organizing the table in these sections with the name of each item would have been helpful. Thankfully, the staff were quick to point out what each dish was when they saw us standing around the table looking slightly confused. Overall, the options were okay, but nothing really stood out enough to make me want to go back for seconds.

Mains

fang-fang-brunch-4-1024x683.jpgNew Zealand lamb rack & angus beef tenderloinfang-fang-brunch-5-1024x683.jpgAroma duck with crepefang-fang-brunch-6-1024x683.jpgWasabi prawnsfang-fang-brunch-7-1024x683.jpgMui choy pork belly

The first main to arrive was the New Zealand lamb rack & Angus beef tenderloin. I wished they had asked how we would like the meat cooked, as it was a bit well done. That being said, the lamb rack was quite tasty and was cooked more to a medium-rare than the beef. My favorite main was the aroma duck with crepe, which I found exceptionally tasty: the duck was both crispy and tender, and full of flavor. Unfortunately, I wasn’t particularly keen on the other two mains. The wasabi prawns had far too much dressing on them, which was a shame considering how large and juicy the prawns appeared. By the time the mui choy pork belly came to our table, we were both so full we could barely take a bite.

Dessert

fang-fang-brunch-8-1024x683.jpgNibbles from the dessert counterfang-fang-brunch-9-1024x683.jpgSesame ice cream

If I had been more hungry, I likely would have found the dessert table underwhelming. There was a selection of fresh fruit, a mascarpone/cookie crumble/mango cup, and some cake that had a very strange jelly-like outer layer. They also brought a scoop of ice cream to us. The sesame flavor was fantastic: strong in flavor and incredibly creamy. The masala chai, however, was not: it was very icy and didn’t really taste like much.

Verdict on Fang Fang brunch

I’m a bit torn with whether I liked the brunch at Fang Fang. On one hand, I think there was a large selection of food to choose from and the service was quite attentive. Also, everything is always better when there’s free-flow champagne. On the other hand, none of the dishes really stood out besides the duck and the set-up was a bit strange. I’ve been to Fang Fang for dinner and really enjoyed it, so I’m hoping that after a few more brunch services they’ll have things sorted out a bit better.

Price:
Food only: HK$398
Non-alcoholic beverages: +HK$50
Premium beverage package (including Moet champagne, beer, wine, sake, Bloody Mary, and bellini): +HK$160

Fang Fang
8/F, LKF Tower
33 Wyndham Street
Central

Tel: 2983 9083


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
secret-theatre-project-mayhem-150x150.jp

The Secret Theatre Project is back in Hong Kong for its third year, this time with the theme of Project Mayhem. To put it simply, Secret Theatre Project is an immersive show that relies on audience engagement. The secret part comes from not knowing the venue’s location or all that much about the premise of the show. Sure, they give you the title of “Project Mayhem” and a bit of a teaser trailer, but you really have to just buy a ticket and cross your fingers that you’ll enjoy it. This year, the Secret Theatre Project has teamed up with Butcher’s Club to put on a three-course dinner before the show.

The Food

secret-theatre-project-mayhem-1024x833.j

I’m a big fan of Butcher’s Club (if you haven’t already been, you should check out their private kitchen – it’s amazing), so it’s no surprise that I loved the dinner. The three-course dinner consisted of Australian Black Mussels in the most delicious creamy garlic sauce to start. For our main, we each had a generous portion of their 45-day dry-aged Australian Black Angus Ribeye with bowls of salad and my all-time favorite thick-cut fries. To wrap up, we tucked into the most decadent chocolate cake. The meal also comes with a bottle of wine to share between two people. The only complaint I have about dinner is that we felt a bit rushed in the end, as we had to finish up quickly to start the show.

The Show

I obviously can’t say too much about the actual show, considering it’s meant to be a secret and all, but I will say that throughout most of the two hours I participated in the production I was confused. I really wanted to love the show (I’m a huge fan of theatre, especially musicals), but I constantly found myself asking friends questions about what was going on or looking at my watch painfully counting down the minutes until I could leave.

The first half of the show, there was heavy audience involvement – at one point we were doing push-ups and skipping rope, which I hated every second of. However, the second half of the show was when the actors took center stage. Although the acting was quite good, the story line completely lost me until the last 30 minutes or so. I understand that “Project Mayhem” was meant to be chaotic, but it was done in an incredibly unorganized way that left many of us feeling confused and disinterested.

Verdict

Like I said earlier, I wanted to love Secret Theatre Project and I was so excited to go, but ultimately I left feeling disappointed. Thankfully, the dinner was delicious, albeit rushed at the end, which helped to make up for the lack of clarity that followed our meal. Though I wouldn’t necessarily discourage anyone from going (some people might actually enjoy being immersed in disorder and chaos for two hours), if Secret Theatre Project offered refunds based on dissatisfaction, I would have asked for one.

Dinner & Show – HK$1,600
Show – HK$850 

To purchase tickets, go here


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
meats-hong-kong-5-150x150.jpg

Attention all carnivores: Hong Kong’s first meat bar has just opened in Hong Kong and it’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of. MEATS Hong Kong, one of Pirata Group’s newest restaurants, doesn’t mess around when it comes to curating a menu filled with carefully chosen and skillfully prepared meat. They utilize various techniques, such as slow-roasting and grilling over their custom-made Rotisserie and Robata Grill, to bring out incredible flavors. Perfect for a casual group dinner (the menu is all about sharing plates), MEATS is a great addition to Hong Kong’s dining scene.

Vibe at MEATS Hong Kong

MEATS has completely transformed the former Jaspas restaurant into a moody, modern, and casual eatery. There is a good variety of seating options available: on stools around the kitchen bar, tables in the middle of the restaurant, and indoor/outdoor windowsill seats (similar to Pici). The staff are incredibly friendly and the manager is quick to recommend dishes based on customers’ tastes.

Starters

meats-hong-kong-1-1024x683.jpgChicken liver pate (HK$140)meats-hong-kong-2-1024x683.jpgBeef tartare (HK$150)

The chicken liver pate (HK$140) had an interesting combination of PX vinegar balls and cocoa nibs. Although initially hesitant, this actually turned out to be one of my favorite dishes of the evening. The mild mix of vinegar and bitter chocolate bits along with the smooth and rich pate was simply perfect. I also tried the beef tartare (HK$150) with cured duck egg yolk and pickled mustard seeds. The beef tendon crisps used to pile the tartare on added a nice variation of texture.

Mains & Sides

meats-hong-kong-3-1024x683.jpgIberian Presa (HK$170)meats-hong-kong-5-1024x683.jpgRotisserie chicken (HK$180)meats-hong-kong-6-1024x683.jpgIberian porchetta (HK$180)

The Iberian Presa (HK$170) was so tender and perfectly seasoned without overpowering the taste of the meat itself. One of the signature dishes at MEATS is the rotisserie chicken (HK$180), cooked using the custom Rotisserie and Robata Grill. The skin was cooked to a delicate crisp, and the chicken inside was tender and full of flavor (we didn’t even need the gravy!). Surprisingly, I haven’t had porchetta much before, but the Iberian porchetta (HK$180) with a green herb salsa at MEATS made me realize what I’ve been missing out on.

meats-hong-kong-4-1024x683.jpgUgly potatoes (HK$75)meats-hong-kong-7-1024x683.jpgSlightly spicy fried rice (HK$65)

To go along with our meat-heavy mains, we tried two different sides, both of which were fantastic. The ugly potatoes (HK$75) may not be the most photogenic dish, but damn were these fries delicious (and worth every single calorie). We also ended up trying the slightly spicy fried rice (HK$65) after we were told it was quite popular. Although it doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the menu, the rice was so good we (read: I) couldn’t stop eating it despite being utterly stuffed.

Dessert

meats-hong-kong-8-1024x683.jpgCoconut lime pie (HK$80)meats-hong-kong-9-1024x683.jpgPear tart tatin (HK$90)

Growing up, I always cringed when my mom brought home a lemon/lime meringue pie. Looking back, she obviously did this fully knowing I wouldn’t eat any and she could relish in having the whole thing to herself. Over the past year or so, I’ve slowly shifted and began enjoying lemon desserts. Case and point: the coconut lime pie (HK$80) at MEATS. The classic combination of lime curd, meringue, and ice cream was perfectly executed.  Since one dessert is never enough, we also tried the pear tart tatin (HK$90). Both beautifully presented and incredibly tasty (that bourbon caramel, though), this dessert shouldn’t be missed.

Verdict

Although I’m always slightly annoyed at restaurants that don’t take reservations, I will definitely be coming back to MEATS Hong Kong. I would recommend coming here with a few friends so that you can order a range of sharing plates. The price point seemed reasonable for most dishes, especially given the quality of food and careful preparation of each dish. If you like meat, MEATS is a must.

MEATS
28-30 Staunton Street
Central

Tel: 2711 1812


View the full article

thisgirlabroad
the-drunken-pot-1-150x150.jpg

The Drunken Pot has been in Hong Kong for almost two years now (with a newer branch located in Causeway Bay), serving up a range of hot pot broths and unique dishes. After living in Hong Kong for six years, I really want to love hot pot, so I went back to The Drunken Pot (my third hot pot experience) to give it another go. The restaurant decor is dark and modern, with plenty of tables and a small outdoor terrace. For someone who is relatively new to hot pot, the service wasn’t particularly helpful, so we winged it 99% of the time. While I could appreciate the unique flavor concepts and dishes, I did find the price-point to be high.

Vibe at The Drunken Pot

When we arrived at The Drunken Pot TST at 8:30 pm, there was still a fairly large queue outside the restaurant. Although we were seated fairly promptly, it actually took over 15 minutes before we could track someone down who spoke English and who could take our order. That being said, when we did place our order, the food came out promptly, though the staff struggled to explain the dishes to us. While I used to think The Drunken Pot was more of a “Western friendly” hot pot place, if you’ve never been to hot pot before, I would recommend going with people who know what they’re doing.

Hot Pot

the-drunken-pot-4-1024x683.jpg the-drunken-pot-2-1024x683.jpg the-drunken-pot-3-683x1024.jpg

We ordered one of the newest additions to their menu: The Vagabond Pot (HK$298). The pot consisted of four different broths: chicken in Chinese wine (“Drunken Chicken”), fish in beer, seafood in sake, and oxtail in red wine & tomato. My favorites were the oxtail and the spicy seafood in sake. To dunk in, we had the very Instagrammable Local Hand-cut Beef. After only a few seconds in the broth, these thinly sliced pieces of beef were ready to be devoured. Although they were cute, the pink black truffle, beef, and cheese dumplings (HK$88) were a bit of an odd combination. The simple deep-fried homemade bean curd and seaweed rolls (HK$58) were delicious after a quick swim in the broth. We also added a mushroom platter (HK$58) in an attempt to feel a little more healthy. There was a good variety of mushrooms and they soaked up whichever broth we threw them in. Finally, the handmade seven-color cuttlefish balls (HK$88) were a very interesting take on a Hong Kong classic. Personally, I’m a huge fan of fish balls, but some of the flavors here were a bit too far out (like the strawberry and carrot ones) for my liking. We also had a variety of seafood and three “fortune bag” dumplings, but at this point we were ready to be rolled out of the restaurant.

Verdict

The Drunken Pot offers more of a modern take on Hong Kong’s traditional hot pot scene. I would recommend going if you’ve ever been curious about it. That being said, don’t expect exceptional service and don’t go if you’ve never been to hot pot before, as you’re not given much help or guidance from the staff. I liked that the broth had different flavors to it and wasn’t that numbing broth I’ve had from more local hot pot joints. Finally, The Drunken Pot isn’t cheap. There were only two of us (mind you, we did leave absolutely stuffed) and our bill came to around HK$1,500 without any alcohol.

The Drunken Pot 
2/F, 8 Observatory Road
Tsim Sha Tsui

Tel: 2321 9038


View the full article

Sign in to follow this  
×