15 Course Tasting Menu – HKK, Liverpool Street

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The Boom decided to splash out and took me to HKK for their 15 course tasting menu yesterday night. The location of HKK is rather obscure, on the edge of Shoreditch and the City. Also, the facade is unassuming, no name of the restaurant, just frosted glass and cool blue lights.

Finally something worth blogging about. Won’t write much since there are so many pictures!

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See! 15 course tasting menu at £95! You can check out their menu online.
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Cripsy taro puff with Canadian scallop. This is the upmarket version of your typical dim sum taro puff. Instead of minced pork, it’s filled with diced scallop. I could happily have a few more puffs. The Boom liked this as well though he thought the mushy taro “dirtied” the fresh taste of the scallop.

wpid-wp-1391865598542.jpeg Cold jumbo crab. Chunky piece of crab meat on a leaf of chicory with a Shao Xing rice wine sauce. We thought the bitterness of the chicory leaf will overpower the delicate taste of the crab but luckily, the inner tender leaf of chicory was used so our fear was moot! Apart from Shao Xing wine, we both think some wasabi was used. Nice and refreshing with a tad of bite.

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Cherry wood roasted Peking duck. This was the highlight of the night! A slice of duck skin, a thick slice of duck breast with skin and a wrap with duck meat, skin and slivers of cucumber and spring onion.

We were instructed (yes, instructed!) to dip the skin in the sugar and hoi sin sauce and eat that first, followed by the breast meat with skin and lastly the wrap. Boy! This was some good stuff. Simply the best Peking duck I have ever tasted. The skin is crispy with a bit of duck fat that just melts in your mouth. The slice of duck breast was juicy and moist, simply delightful! The Boom wanted more and was waxing lyrical about how his life will be complete if he can have a whole duck with a bottle of nice red wine. The Boom and his duck craze, don’t blame him, this duck is top quack!

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The yummy duck roasting away in the kitchen.

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Truffled seafood soup with Osmanthus flower. We were once again instructed to lower the spoon filled with sea bass and scallop into the soup to warm the seafood up slightly before drinking the soup. We were expecting a light bodied soup and thus was surprised this was more like a chowder. Rich and totally umami.

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Dim sum trilogy. We both loved the deep fried dumpling that is wrapped in vermicelli and topped with caviar. The skin of the white dumpling is far too thick and the mouth feel was gummy and not pleasant. The red spicy dumpling fared slightly better, thinner skin but still too thick but have an interesting filling. Ginger, five spice and Szechuan peppercorn. Disappointing overall.

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Braised organic Duke of Berkshire pork with Mantou. I was expecting a white fluffy bun stuffed with the braised pork and so was very surprised by the 50p size bun. Taste wise, the bun was just bad! Slightly crispy on the outside with texture of wholemeal bread on the inside. Totally out of character. The moist and tender braised pork saved this dish to be let down once again by the overly sweet sauce. Even the Boom thought the sauce to be too sweet.

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Sugar snap, lotus root and water chestnut in XO sauce. This dish showcase the different texture of the vegetables. Nice, but nothing spectacular.

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Hawberry red bean cake and glutinous sesame ball served with white peony tea. Junk has done it again! I ate my portion of this dish without taking a pic so had to hijack the same dish from the neighboring table for a snap.

We both thought the the proportion of the hawberry jelly could be more to better balance the coconut red bean cake.

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Wok fried lobster in garlic sesame sauce. The Boom thought the lobster was slightly on the tough side. The sauce was just meh.

wpid-wp-1391865909137.jpeg Char grilled Chilean sea bass. This dish we both love. The smoky char taste contrasted wonderfully with the naturally sweet taste of the sea bass.
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Seared Wagyu beef in VSOP sauce. The Boom say this is like pulled pork which I can understand. There is a slight moo to the beef but could not discern the fatty marbling I would expect from a Wagyu. Perhaps because the cut has been braised?

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Seared Rhug Farm organic lamb with pan mee. This was average. I was expecting handmade pan mee noodles. Instead, the noodles tasted more like pad thai. The lamb pieces was way too salty I thought.

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Lemon cream, citrus sable and yogurt sorbet. Most of the other reviews I’ve read of HKK all said the dessert was a let down. I thought otherwise which is rare as I’m not a big dessert fan. We both loved this dish. The tart of the lemon cream and sorbet balanced the rich butter biscuit base. Only thing I would say is though well executed, this is not a typical Chinese dessert.

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Chocolate velvet, roast banana and five spice crouton. Another non Chinese dessert but utterly delicious! After the tartness of the last dish, this was rich and warming. The roast banana goes so well with the rich chocolate mousse. Slightly let down by the crouton. Way too hard and tough.
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Selection of petits fours. This reminds me of Pick and Mix from Woolworths… meh!
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The final verdict! Not cheap, won’t be repeating it again soon but a worthwhile experience.

HKK
Broadgate West
88 Worship Street
London EC2A 2BE
020 3535 1888

Homemade Savoury Rice Dumpling (Bak Chang) – West London

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Junk is always up for a challenge when it comes to replicating food from my childhood days. Previous endeavours include yam cake, radish cake, samosas, laksa and various other dishes my Mom would make. With time on my hands and a pair of spare hands from Boom, decided to up the ante and try something more daunting.

Bak chang or zongzi is a Chinese bamboo leaf wrapped snack made from glutinous rice stuffed with various ingredients. Depending on the stuffing, it can either be savoury or sweet. There is even a Nonya version which is a hybrid of the two with a slightly sweet minced pork stuffing. I went for the traditional version with pork, dried mushroom, chestnuts, dried shrimp and other bits and pieces with five spice seasoning.

Won’t bore you with the ingredient list and detailed instructions. You can refer to other blogs for that. I know you are only interested in the pics!

The most important ingredient – Glutinous Rice, in original packing. after an overnight soak and fried with seasoning

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The wrapper – Bamboo leaves, in original packing and also after a soak.

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Stuffing – Chinese wax sausage and Salted Duck Egg. Note, you only need the egg yolk and it does not need to be cooked as the salting process solidifies the yolk

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More stuffing – Dried Shrimp, Dried Mushroom and Chestnuts. The dried stuff needs to soaked before frying.

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Shallots – Skinned, thinly sliced and fry till golden. See the amount of steam released while frying the shallots. Dreamy…

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Junk’s bunch – Proudly supported by Boom

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Boom’s bunch – Not bad an effort from the big clumsy cheese!

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The horde – After slow boiling in water for 2.5 hours.

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What we had for dinner! 2 bak chang each and some homemade samosas.

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What I had for breakfast this morning. Reheat in microwave on medium for 2 minutes.

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Best served with Lao Gan Ma’s Flavoured Chilli Oil or Maggi Garlic Chilli Sauce. I had a mixture of both!

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If anyone of you are interested and located in London, I have frozen the reminder of the horde and will be more than happy to share. Just drop me a comment!
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Beef Brisket Noodle Soup – Hing Loong, Borough High Street

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I know the weather is balmy and not exactly right for soup noodles. But when the soul needs warming, the weather is sometime not be enough to do the trick. Last week, managed to find some time to visit a local Chinese joint I have spotted on my wanderings.

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Located along Borough High Street, Hing Loong unlike a typical Chinese takeaway, has ample seating with simple, yet modern decor. The main menu looks like a typical Chinese food establishment but the lunch menu looks to be OK especially the 2 course lunch menu at £7.50 which include a drink. But I was tempted by Beef Brisket Noodle Soup and at £6.50, not exactly cheap, but we shall see.

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My order came within minutes of ordering as 1. The joint is not packed 2. Looking at the menu, they must have a big pot of brisket stewing away in the kitchen. The big bowl of noodle soup steaming which is a good sign, I do like my soup scorching hot. I went for the egg noodle option as I did not feel like ho fun (broad rice noodles) and the waitress promptly provided me with crush chilli oil when asked.

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I would give this 6 out of 10. The temperature was good, the noodles were not overcooked, the chinese leaf and slice spring onion garnish was adequate. The main problem I think was with the beef brisket stew. Can you see the white bits floating in the soup? That’s the fat rendered out of the brisket, probably through over stewing. The beef brisket submerged at the bottom of the bowl were soft but mostly disintegrated. Also, the stew could do with more five spice especially star anise. A good dash of Shaoxing rich wine will not go amiss as well!

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I might visit again when I need some soul healing…. but it will probably be awhile. Do like the hazy border around the closeup shot. If only it was as dreamy as it seem…

Hing Loong
159 Borough High Street
London SE1 1 HR
0207 378 8100

Live from @truckstopLDN

OK people, not going to write much. Just showing all the trucks at Truck Stop and a couple of nosh pics I remembered to take before stuffing my face!

Enjoy!

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The crowd, all well behaved.

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Vanduke, brother truck of Naamyaa Cafe

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Engine, serving hotdogs.

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Yum Buns, we actually had 2 yum buns, a chicken and a pork but Junk forgot to take a picture. £3.50 each or 2 for £6. Highly recommended.

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Baba G, Indian food. I was tempted by the Bhaji Box which at £4 is a good option for sharing.

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Healthy Yummies, they were selling pan fried scallops in the shell. A colleague of mine tried it and she said it was good. Long queues though, be warned!

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Spit and Roast, the Tweet got the Poutin here. For £3.50, you get a big tray of fries topped with cheese curd and rich, full of umami roast chicken gravy. We were not expecting the gravy to be filled with shredded chicken, good thing though! The Tweet wolfed the whole tray down in a couple of minutes. Spudcaterian!

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Cheeky Italian, I think they were serving arancini balls and calzone.

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Gurmetti – Italian pork burgers

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That’s Bleeker St Burger! They won the Young and Foodish burger bash but I didn’t feel like burger today.

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Mama’s Jerk Station – Pretty self explanatory.

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Bell & Brisket – Salt Beef Bagel

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I got this from Mother Clucker. Wanted whole pieces of chook but apparently it takes to long to cook. So settled for cup of cluck. Nice!

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Anna Mae’s – Mac & Cheese. I was truly tempted but the stomach protest

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The bar! The booze!

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Original Fry Up – Typical fry up, All Day Breakfast

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Daisy Green – Frozen Yogurt

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Shawarma Shack – Kebabs

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Fishdog – Coley fish fingers

Anyway, time to get sloshed, over and out!

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Truck Stop
Somewhere in Canary Wharf
Do buy tickets in advance to get tokens for 2 drinks!
@truckstopLDN

 

*Chinese New Year Special – Steamboat, Chez Boom

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恭禧發財! Happy Chinese New Year to all the Chinese readers out there. It is a tradition to have reunion dinner on the eve of the first day of the Chinese New Year and seeing I don’t have family here in the UK, reunion dinner will have to be just Boom and me. Steamboat or hotpot is a typical dish served for reunion dinner and I thought it is a good idea especially when the weather is on the chilly side.

The Boom and I made a trip to a close by Asian supermarket to stock up on in ingredients on Saturday morning and as expected, the shop was busier than usual. Hoo Hing is a smaller Asia supermarket compared to Wing Yip and it caters more towards the trade business than individual shoppers like me. But it is substantially closer than Wing Yip and it has all the things I need for a steamboat dinner.

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Run down of what we had to cook in the steamboat. On the protein side, we had thinly sliced beef and lamb and they take less than a minute to cook in the hot broth. These are pre-sliced, frozen and comes in deep plastic trays. The portion you can see is just half of each box and they are about £4.95 per box.

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For seafood, prawns are a must while the clams are from Waitrose. Wanted to get fresh prawns but they were not available so frozen ones will have to do. If I recall, the box of frozen prawns were about £6.80 while the clams were around £4. Prawns on the shell is a must as the shell helps to impart flavour to the broth.

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Other must have items for steamboat are an assortment of balls! No, not that sort. These are balls made from fish paste or meat paste. We have 2 variety this time, pork and fish balls. Fried bead curd and knotted bean curd skins are also good for steamboat and a couple of noodles to end the meal if one is still hungry.

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As for greens, we have chinese leaf and water morning glory. I also got some enoki and buna shimeji mushroom which adds some texture to the spread.

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Steamboat is never complete without dipping sauces. Decided to be luxurious and we have 3 different sauces. A homemade chili sauce made with chilies, garlic, shallots, ginger, lime peel and fermented prawn paste, this is the one in the big orange bowl. The creamy looking sauce is made with tahini and fermented bean curd and the last one is a Cantonese Suki dipping sauce from the Asia supermarket.

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As for the broth, the fiery looking one is from a soup base used in Chongqing hotpots while the plain looking one is made from juice from the clams and a fish stock pot. Both the Boom and I thought the fiery one is tastier.

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Finally, steamboat in action! In all, a very enjoyable meal and for once, there was minimum leftovers which was a good thing.

Hoo Hing
A406 North Circular Road
Park Royal
London NW10 7UB
0208 838 3388

Chez Boom
Somewhere in West London
Open 24/7
Strictly by invitation
Only for the worthy

Birthday Dim Sum Lunch – Taste of China, Harrow

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So it was Junk’s birthday last weekend and the Boom suggested we go to LPDJ at Westfield Shepherd’s Bush for dinner as I have always wanted to try the joint but never came around to it. Instead, I woke up in the morning craving for dim sum so countered his suggestion with a dim sum lunch instead. As it’s my birthday afterall, he gladly compiled.

There are 2 Chinese restaurants along Station Road at Harrow, Taste of China and Royal China. Royal China actually took over another Chinese restaurant a couple of years back and the Boom and I used to go to that but we jumped ship to Taste of China as I find Royal China tends to be packed on weekends, is pricier in comparison and tends to be snobby.

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For those of you who are not familiar with dim sum offerings, fear not! They have a special menu with coloured pictures of each dish and the price which makes ordering a breeze. Having dim sum is very much like having tapas, the dishes are small and is perfect for sharing. The aim is to order a variety of dishes and each person can have a try. If anyone wants more food, you can always add on to your order.

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I think we ended up ordering perhaps 10 dishes in total. As they are served when each is ready and I was starving, did not managed to get a picture with all the dishes. Clockwise from the left we have Mixed Seafood Hor Fun, Pan Fried Turnip Cake, Salted Egg and Lean Meat Rice Porridge and Seaweed and Beancurd Skin Roll.

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Clockwise from the left again, Steam Pork Ribs with Black Bean, Prawn and Chive Dumplings and Boom’s favourite, Five Spiced Chicken Feet!

Those that did not managed to make an appearance are Fried Seafood Beancurd Roll, Yam Croquettes and Shanghai Dumplings. All in the bill came up to £40+ with 2 Cokes and unlimited Chinese Tea. Not a bad deal for the pigout I would say!

So if you are ever in the area and Royal China is rammed, do give Taste of China a try.

Taste of China
172 – 174 Station Road
Harrow HA1 2RH
0208 863 1140

Chinese Takeaway – Paya, Ruislip Manor

It’s been awhile since I blogged so thought I drop a quick post of some takeaway Chinese Boom and I had before Christmas. It has not been a good Christmas and New Year for me as I was nursing a huge mouth ulcer on the roof of my mouth. Those of you who have had ulcers would understand, it’s close to impossible to eat. I’m probably one of the few who actually lost weight during this feasting season.

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Come to think of it, the ulcer was the result of a big blister caused by the takeaway from Paya, a new Chinese takeaway joint in Ruislip Manor. Boom wanted to start the feasting season with a huge Chinese takeaway and also to endeavor on our ever fruitless quest for a good local Chinese takeaway. Looking at the menu, most dishes are £1 dearer than a typical Chinese takeaway from the area. We are not tight and will be more than happy to pay more for something good.

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Boom left it to me to decide what to have so I went with (clockwise from the left), Chicken Wings with Peppercorn Salt – £5.45, Malaysian Kung Po Sauce Beef, £6.45, Black Bean Sauce Duck – £6.95 and Boom’s must have, Sweet & Sour Hong Kong Style Pork – £6.45. Also ordered a portion of Beef Ho Fan Noodles – £5.45 and cooked some rice to go with the dishes.

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Verdict? Well, it’s not bad, better than some of the other Chinese takeaway we’ve had. Could not really tell the difference between the Black Bean and Malaysian Kung Po Sauce while the Sweet & Sour sauce is the typical fluorescent red. The Beef Ho Fan could be support more seasoning but at least it has some “wok hei” which is essential for a good ho fan. The best dish of the lot was the Chicken Wings with Peppercorn Salt. The wings were crispy but not dry and the fried garlic, spring onion and chili slices added savoury heat. Yum!

A couple of hints, there is a delivery charge so much better to collect in person, the Peppercorn Salt dishes in the main dish section of the menu is £1 dearer than those in the starters section. So if possible, order from the starter section. Lastly, you can order online which is great as it can sometimes be a pain ordering on the phone, differing accent and all.

Paya
20 Victoria Road
Ruislip
HA4 0AB
01895 622 227