Friday, 29 May 2015

Burnest Cafe, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Bird's nest soup has been a prized delicacy among Chinese people for centuries
dating back to the Tang Dynasty. 
Yàn wō (燕窝) as they call it in China literally translates to "swallow's nest".
 They are made from swallow birds' hardened saliva.
Also referred to as "the Caviar of the East" is among the most expensive foods on the planet.
Edible bird's nest can either be cooked in savory soups or dessert and served warm or cold.
 My mom would boil the bird's nest in water with rock sugar for a few hours and add some medicinal herbs. 
Then she would wake me up in the middle of the night  and asked me to drink the soup. 

They say bird's nest soup is best consumed on an empty stomach 
to allow the body to absorb more of the nutrients.
 I really miss having a bowl of this pure deliciousness.

To prepare the soup, the bird's nest is rinsed in water then soaked in warm water 
to allow it to expand. Then you can either steam or boil.
Some bird's nest nowadays come pre-prepared and are bottled for convenience.

Stewed bird's nest with almond soup

Chocolate lava cake with bird's nest and vanilla ice cream

Mango and sago with bird's nest in mango pudding

Burnest 八方燕 
G/F, 35 Jardine's Bazaar, 
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Explore Hong Kong for Free! Nan Lian Garden, Snoopy's World, Antique Street, Ginseng & Bird's Nest Street, Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

Looking to experience the culture and beauty of Hong Kong for free?
Join me as I explore some of the island's hidden gems.

1. Nan Lain Garden, Diamond Hill
Access: MTR Diamond Hill, Exit C2 (Plaza Hollywood)
Direction signs are posted from the station exit. 

This is a Tang-style landscaped Chinese garden based on the famous Jaingshouju Garden in Shanxi Province. It is truly beautiful, serene and peaceful. Visitors can also dine at Chi Lin Vegetarian Restaurant located behind the waterfall while enjoying the panoramic views of the gardens through the cascading falls. 

The Pavilion of Absolute Perfection and Zi Wu Bridge

2. Snoopy's World
New Town Plaza, 18 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin

Kids can roam free and get active in the Snoopy playground or travel and explore Snoopy world in a slow boat ride. Yes, it's all for free!

3. Antique Street (Cat Street)
Hollywood Road and Upper Lascar Row, Sheung Wan 
Access: MTR Central Station, Exit D2. 
Turn right onto Theatre Lane and walk along Queen's Road Central towards The Center
Then take the Central Mid - Levels Escalator to Hollywood Road
Near Antique Street is Man Mo Temple (Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan).
It is one of the oldest and most well-known temples in Hong Kong.

 Chinese bowls in striking colours.

Calligraphy brushes, smoking pipes, vintage Bruce Lee and Mao Zedong memorabilia.

Colourful embroidered bound feet shoes

Antique Chinese glasses and door knockers

4. Western Market
323 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan
Access: Sheung Wan Station Exit B or C

 You can find shops selling arts and crafts in this beautiful Edwardian building called Western Market, 
the oldest surviving market building in the territory.

5. Ginseng and Bird's Nest Street
 Access: Wing Lok Street
Sheung Wan Station Exit A2

Packed ginseng but you can also purchase them by weight. (left)

Dried abalone, dried scallops and dried sea cucumber. (right)
They are expensive and highly prized ingredients in Chinese cuisine.

Dried scallops (left) and bird's nests packed into moulds to yield a round shape.
If you are keen to try some bird's nest, visit Burnest Cafe in Causeway Bay. 
(separate blog coming up soon)

Dried seahorses and antelope horns (ling yang jiao) 
 are being sold in this traditional Chinese herb shop.
When I had fever as a child, my mum would grind the antelope horn
in a clay bowl with a bit of water until the liquid turns opaque and lets me drink it.
 These drinks are thought to have "cooling properties" that can cure fever.
Believe me, it tastes really bad and only made me feel significantly worse.

5. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (click on link to read separate review)
 221 Pai Tau Village, Sha Tin, New Territories

Monday, 25 May 2015

Vivid Sydney 2015 (Circular Quay and Martin Place)

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Vivid illuminates Sydney once again! 
Catch this spectacular light show from 22 May to 8 June 2015, 6pm to midnight every night.
Circular Quay, The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont, Chatswood, University of Sydney, 
Central Park and Chippendale.

A pair of red Siamese fighting fish at the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House.

Paint the Town

Circular Quay


Enchanted Sydney at Customs House

 Colourful musical stairs!

Martin Place pop up restaurants

Martin Place pop up restaurants

Rhythm and lights at the Drum Circle.

  Nature comes to life at the Robotanic in Martin Place.

Never mind the food, you are paying for the location.

 Must be the most expensive San Choi Bao I've ever had at A$15.50 an order!
Sad to say not the best I've tried though. 
Oh well, at least I have views of the country's 
biggest icons in front of me.

Alabacore Tuna Roll
Fish and Chips, Garlic Mayo and Salad 

Just enjoy the stunning views of the Sydney Harbour, the Opera House 
and the spectacular colours of Vivid Sydney while you dine.