Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Chomping Our Way Through HK and Macau

Chocolate and Egg Mille -feuille at CaffeChocola in Macau
The rissol camarao (shrimp rissoles) beckoned...
A closer look at the deep-fried wonders with shrimp and potato. My friend loved it!
I always have this for breakfast in Macau -pao con chourico (chorizo bread). 90 % bread, 10% chorizo. Yummy, nonetheless.
From top clockwise: galao de maquina (coffee with milk, and, like the chorizo bread, it's probably 10% coffee, 90% milk), pan con chourico, rissol camarao and, peeking from top right, Black Forest cake. The cake was one of the densest versions I've tried. They could have added more liquor and cherries, but the cake's dense crumb was moist , the chocolate shavings on top generous, and I appreciated the fact that there was infinitely more cake than buttercream. We also ordered ham and cheese quiche but it was too dry. Overcooked, most likely.
The last small piece of chorizo bread sharing space with the Black Forest crumbs on my plate. I lugged home a heavy can of chorizos and have served them for chorizo rice; pan-grilled with some garlic; to enliven a chicken and okra stew. I have 3 pieces left. Pasta maybe, and if anyone has ideas, feel free to comment. :)
In Macau, the bread will always be bigger than your fist (unless you have big fists), freshly-baked, with a thin,crisp crust and soft, chewy, fragrant, absorbent core. Mopping up sauces has never been this delicious!
At Fernando's near Hac Sa Beach, Coloane: their FAMOUS, and I mean FAMOUS garlic prawns. Succulent meat, easy- to -peel shell, the sauce a heady mixture of garlic, olive oil and chili. Suck the juice out of the head, use the bread if you can't get enough of the sauce. This dish is simple yet outstanding. You could forget yourslef while eating this. Need I say more?
Sliced and grilled chorizo. Lots of off-white fatty bits on each reddish-brown slice of ecstasy. Woohoo!
Dimsum lunch at Metropol. Top row: Steamed BBQ pork bun (no way can any siopao in Manila compare to this), siomai (only in HK, and maybe Vancouver, do they come as generously-sized as this, with 1 whole crunchy shrimp on top), beancurd sheet roll stuffed with mushrooms. 2nd row: the ubiquitous ha kaw or steamed shrimp dumpling, deep-fried spring rolls, condiments for congee, assorted meat congee. Bottom: Sticky rice dumpling with chicken. Although I miss my Aunt's Fookien-style ma-chang (the pork fat of which I ingest without shame or guilt), this parcel of savory brown glutinous rice is a delightful replacement.
Close -up of the BBQ Pork Bun (or cha siu pao), siu mai and ha kaw.
From a different angle. We were 3 diners. Did we order too much or what?!
Roast crispy pork with a salty sauce that tastes a bit like a quirky blend of hoisin and shrimp paste. I need to research on what this sauce is made of. I think black beans, maybe. The strips are resting on a bed of peanuts in all their pure, fattening, "who-cares they-taste-so-good" glory.

Food Shots II

This is why I love grocery-shopping in HK. Food so fresh, the colors literally leap out! Each detail is a visual caress, igniting tastebuds. The internet grocery site, no matter how convenient, can never ever let food come to life like this. I have to walk the aisles, touch, taste, see, feel, hear, savor. I even love the "beeps" emitted by computerized scanners.
When my friend was here, we ate lunch out but had dinner home most nights. There was a pasta and pizza night, burger and calamari night, and a pseudo-Japanese night. The soup bowl looks out of place, I know. I lack dinnerware. Time for another Shenzhen trip. The miso soup in the bowl came from my sis-in-law in Japan. It's an instant thing: squeeze out the paste and mix with hot water. Not bad for soemthing that takes 30 seconds to prepare.
Japanese fried rice with seafood
Not very Japanese. On 2nd thought, not Japanese at all. Beef and Mushroom with Garlic.
My take on squid teriyaki. The sauce is quite popular with guests.
Heehee.The tempura pieces are packed like sardines. I'll get a basket next time. Shrimp, squash, eggplant, okra tempura.
egg tarts: according to Lord Stowe (who isn't really a Lord), his egg tarts aren't even the orginal ones. He tweaked the recipe, came up with a winner, and everyone has called them Portugese egg tarts since. In any case, the crusts are flaky, lovely vessels of sugary sin.
At the Macau Museum: Cooking implements of long, long ago
A Portugese feast! Very realistic-looking renditions of Macau's festive food. And this is just for afternoon tea! They all resembled Filipino dishes in some way. It's the Spanish influence.

Food Shots I

Tried my hand at capturing images of food as my friend and I traipsed all over HK and Macau seeking to fill our stomachs, expand our waistlines and tip the scales. Hehe. Used both my trusty 3.2 Cybershot and her Nikon D70 SLR. What peanut candy is made of
Chopping peanut candy into bite-sized pieces
Any self-respecting bakery in Macau makes this
and piles of this: beef jerky, anyone?
so much jerky, so little time!
A pavlova-like offering from CaffeChocola in Macau
I love it when cherries are in season: oh so sweet, oh so juicy and oh so affordable!
Wish the same could be said for Manila. Papa loves cherries.

M at the Fringe- The Fig Festival

That wasn't a typo. It was literally a festival of figs for me. But come to think of it, it was a festival of pigs too for hubby and his friend. :)

We arrived at Lower Albert Road and got off in front of the Fringe Club. It being a Sunday, the club was closed and darkness hovered as we tried in vain to look for the restaurant. We almost cried "failure" when viola, the almost hidden sign of M at the Fringe suddenly jumped out and cornered me! I suppose the growls my tummy made led me to the sign and vice versa.

When we entered the dimly lit, unfinished (that's how the floors looked) hallway and climbed up the staircase hubby kept on asking if we were in the right place. Upon entering the richly-decorated French-style dining room there was no room for doubt. We were seated by a Chinese server who was thoroughly knowledgeable, pleasant and discreet; so well-trained it was a treat to be served by such a rarity.

I perused the menu. It was short but sweet. Long lists of food confuse me. To cook only a number of dishes, but to cook them right makes a fantastic restaurant. The prices seemed downright inexpensive for the remarkably huge servings.

I had a salad with gorgonzola crostini and figs. Imagine the flavor of strongly-scented cheese on a crisp base warring with sweet, fleshy figs; with nutty, sometimes bitter greens acting as arbiters. What a sensual battle! I was almost full after this starter. Hubby had foie gras 2 ways: seared and as a terrine, served with thinly-sliced baguette and stewed apples. He forgot to share some with me so I'm not commenting on this dish.

For my main course I ordered their famous slow-cooked lamb leg with fig jam, root vegetables and lamb jus. Hubby and his friend had the equally famous crackling pig on a bed of savoy cabbage and potatoes. The pork was mighty fine, the skin so crisp I could hear the "crack, crack" as my companions savored each mouthful. The meat was tender, a bit on the salty side, but eaten with the cabbage and potatoes it tasted just right. The serving was good enough for two! Or, for someone with my appetite, just 1 1/2. The lamb leg was so soft it disintegrated upon contact with my fork and knife, and while the flavor was intense and paired well with the too-sweet fig jam, I found it too "gamey" for my taste. The first few bites I happily devoured, but by the time I had finished half the serving I was put off by the dish. Maybe because lamb leg reminds me too much of dark meat from chicken, which I can only enjoy if there's more white meat on the plate. Hmmm, next time I'll try the beef or the stuffed quail, if they still have it on the menu.

For dessert we went overboard and ordered the sampler. Cappucino creme brulee (hubby finished this off), napoleon with something, lemon pudding (divine), raspberry and chocolate sorbet, souffle with something, mixed fruit pavlova (their specialty) all took center stage on a long white plate. Artfully presented and all tasting so wonderful, it was a fitting end to our sinful meal. I was too stuffed to take notes and this entry is so delayed I don't remember half of what was on the dessert plate. :( I really should take pictures next time.

M at the Fringe-highly recommended!