Sunday, August 31, 2008

From Kota Kinabalu To Hong Kong

The day (19th August) we left KK was the first day the new KK terminal opened for operation. The new airport is beautiful - very spacious and bright. It is quite similar to KLIA in design with great expanse of steel and glass. A hugh improvement over the old terminal next door which will be renovated to further extend the new terminal. 

About to land in Hong Kong, not sure where this place is, could be part of China? The first time I ever saw Hong Kong skyline looking so clear without any sign of smog. 

From the airport, we purchased (for Bryan and myself) the MTR cards that give two trips on the Airport Express line and unlimited 3 days MTR travel for all the other lines in Hong Kong for HK$300 each (~RM130). For Leanne she gets to travel the Airport Express Line free of charge by purchasing an Octopus card with a value of HK$76. We planned to travel extensively around Hong Kong and Kowloon on the MRT as the hotel we stayed was located right in front of the Sheung Wan Station in Hong Kong Island.
Disneyland Hong Kong is the only item in Leanne's agenda, electronics in Bryan's and food in mine when we arrived in Hong Kong. Can you imagine a more united front? I figured my agenda would prevail as everyone gets hungry, right? And most importantly, I hold the purse string. Hehehe! The minute we put down our bags, Bryan, a first timer to HK asked to go to Wan Chai (must have been doing his homework on the Internet) where a whole building supposedly stocked three floors of any electronic gadgets you can ever dream of (I, never but I am sure many do). From cellphones to cameras to computers to devices I don't know anything about. 
Anyway, let's get back to the more important things in life, namely, food. I did some homework too in the internet before the trip. As we were in WanChai, I looked up my note book and checked for any eateries here. Yes, a roast shop very near...but wait, I spotted the dessert shop with the most famous mango pudding, Hui Lau Shan.

Leanne had the fresh mango + sago + mango juice. Very good and so refreshing in this 30C weather.

I was greedy. I ordered the Mango Combo which has the famous mango pudding with fresh mango, top with mango ice cream, a sprinkling of pomelo and coconut milk. The coconut milk was unnecessary, tasted like canned coconut milk and spoilt the overall taste.

The pudding was super smooth and with the sweet fresh mango, ice cream and pomelo, every mouthful was a delight.

This roast shop in Wan Chai on Hennessy Road was recommended by one HK blogger and there was a queue in front of the shop. Once again, according to my dad's rule of thumb that's a good sign. Got Bryan to queue while I took pictures. There were no seats left in the shop so we had to take away. There was a special HK$50 (RM 22) for half a goose and I added some siew yoke. Rushed back to the hotel couldn't wait for my two to have a taste of this Hong Kong delicacy which I had been bragging about non-stop.

Boy! I was totally unprepared for the let down. I was so eager for the two who never had Hong Kong roast goose before to have a memorable first. I asked Bryan as soon as he took his first bite 'How's it?' Replied 'No different from our roast duck.' What?!! Took a bite myself, dry and didn't taste like goose at all. Oh no, could I have order duck instead of goose with my half-past-six cantonese?? Should have heeded Leanne's suggestion that I speak mandarin instead of cantonese... 

The siew york didn't fare any better as the meat was dry, the skin tough, thin and had none of the crunch factor at all, so so disappointed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tango in Buenos Aires

To most Argentineans Tango is more than just a dance, it is a passion and culture. 
We were told a tango show is a must for first timer to this city (that's me) and I really didn't need much persuasion as that was THE top item on my list for coming to BA. Made a few enquiries at the hotel counter and we chose Carlos Gardel for no particular reason except it had gourmet(!) dinner included. 
For the show and dinner it cost US$100 each which we thought was over priced but by the end of the evening we had to admit that it was worth the price. Only much later that I learnt that Carlos Gardel was referred to as the King of Tango, not for the dancing but for the tango songs he wrote and sang. 
Transport was provided (pickup from the hotel) so we felt safe to bring along the camera and very glad we did as we would not be able to capture anything with the phone camera given the lighting conditions. 

The 'gourmet' meal...

For appetizers we chose tenderloin carpaccio and buffalo mozzarella with parma ham. Both fantastic. We made the mistake of ordering the same main course which was quite disappointing considering BA's reputation for great steaks.  

Free flow of the wine. Desserts (especially the mascarpone ice-cream) were just as good as the starters and I had this tiny cup of expresso which was so potent and thick but as I figured I couldn't sleep anyway, why not?

The show that followed was truly awesome, very professional yet with such passion and gusto that made me want to learn Tango so badly knowing very well that would surely give me a twisted back on my 1st try. All the superlatives I know won't be able to describe the amazing show. Hubby took all these photos as I was too overwhelmed by the show (tried so hard not to blink my eyes and at the same time, tried hard to keep my mouth that look like that (:0) close). Poor K complained about having to come back for another show as he didn't get to see it at all as he was behind the camera the whole time because whenever he put down the camera, I kept saying'Take that, take that. Don't miss that!' I better post more of these shots to justify his efforts :p.

The dance troupe

And the orchestra with a 'mermaid' at the violin.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Buenos Aires

I know, I am so behind in my posting! It is more than a month since my trip to Buenos Aires, my photos are still not fully sorted out yet and in the midst of all these I had to, yes so willingly, chaperon Leanne and Bryan to Hong Kong last week for the school holiday.
Yes, Hong Kong for three whole days with one full day doing nothing during the onslaught of Typhoon Nuri which disrupted most flights and we only managed to get back to KK yesterday! That will be in another post soon, I promise! 

Buenos Aires. 
We arrived at 3 pm. At the immigration there were close to 300 (just from one 747) and more arriving passengers! It's alright, told myself, I've seen longer queues at airport security and they cleared pretty fast. An hour later and I was no way near the end of queue. The line was just crawling and when I saw there were only 3 counters manned I knew I was in for a long, hot and stuffy wait. All I wanted to do then was to lie down somewhere and sleep as my internal clock tells me it is about 3 am back home in Malaysia! 
I was a total zombie when (at almost 5.30pm) questioned by the immigration officer in Spanish but still managed to answered very proficiently with 'si, si, si':-p. 
By the time we got to the hotel, I just crushed and slept. Woke up in the middle of the night and watch Spanish speaking TV for the rest of the night until the wee morning dozing on and off on the sofa. The cough that I was nursing before the trip which mysterious disappeared in Cape Town resurfaced here in BA with a vengeance probably due to the extremely cold and dry air.  
The next day was not any better as it was colder and rained the whole day.

We did managed to strolled along the famous stretch of Florida Street for pedestrian. This is a shoppers' paradise for leather goods - handbags, shoes, jackets and accessories.  
We were told not to bring that big conspicuous camera of mine as it would attract unfavorable attention. Pick pockets and snatchers are very prevalent here in the city and so are the beggers. So all the photos you see on this post were taken with hubby's hand phone camera. 
Here are most of the food we had in BA and I really didn't get to enjoy them as much as I'd like to as I was coughing, cold and jet-lagged most of the time, a real bummer when traveling. 

1) Breakfast in the hotel (PanAmericana, very conveniently situated right along the shopping street).

2) Cheesy in-between snacks

3) A buffet joint run by Chinese,

4) An Estancia (cattle ranch) in the middle of the city,

The estancia way of cooking the meat - pork, beef, mutton...

Our order of  ribs and steak with the pickles accompanying. 

5) By the waterfront

A meal I didn't quite remember...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Till We Meet again...

We left Cape Town for Buenos Aries on the 20th July at about 11am. 
The last lingering glance at the beautiful city. Taken from the plane after we took off. Can see the Table Mountain, Lion's Head, the city and even the waterfront. I seldom feel sad when leaving a visiting city but this was how I felt leaving Cape Town. I felt the four days stay was just too short as there were still so many places we didn't get to see.

The city gets smaller and smaller...

as we gets further and higher. 
Bye and hope to see you soon.
We arrived Buenos Aires on the 20th july at about 3pm after almost 9 hours of travelling. Another 5 hours behind Malaysian time, that means a total of 11 hours behind, which translate to 'total chaos' for me. 
See you next in Buenos Aires!   

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chicken Pie

Chicken Pie in Shortcrust Pastry
Just as I was at a lost about what food to blog as I am so out of touch with cooking, Bryan asked for chicken pie. So, chicken pie it is but it must be years since I last made one. 
Very tempted to grab a packet of frozen puff pastry when I stopped by a supermarket but I don't like puff pastry as I find it so light it is like biting air and always leaves a waxy aftertaste in the mouth. 
That means I would have to do my own pastry. As I like my pie wrapped top and bottom with pastry so shortcrust will be ideal. I think I like the pastry part as much as the filling. 
There was the siew york guy and he had some roasted chicken. To make lighter work, grabbed half a chicken and half the dish is ready.

I used the same shortcrust pastry recipe as in my apple pie but bind using eggs instead of water for a richer pastry and added salt as this is a savoury pie. 

For the filling
Cube some onion, celery, button mushroom, leek, cooked chicken, carrot and ham or whatever you have in the fridge ;p. I like to add more veggie in to balance off all the butter and cream used in this dish. 
Heat some butter in wok, sauté some chopped garlic and add in the harder to cook veggie like carrot and leek first. Then add the rest of the ingredients, half a can of Campbell's cream of chicken, 1/2 cup of cream with 1 cup of water or stock and season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce thickens, off heat and let cool. 

To assemble pie, follow the same procedure as in the apple pie recipe.
As the pastry is not baked blind beforehand, place a baking tray in the oven when preheating oven. This ensure the bottom pastry to be cooked properly. Be sure to egg wash the top of pie before popping it into the oven if you want a nice glossy finish. Place the pie on the lowest shelf when cooking. Bake at 200c for about 25 - 30 minutes until golden brown.

When the bottom of the pie is well cooked, the pie can be lifted as in this picture. Not very often I get to achieve this so I would like that in print!! 
A ten-inch pie, half gone before I even get to sit down at the dinning table. Warms my heart to see the the children enjoying their food so much. Glad to know that my brood isn't that hard to please after all.