Foodie Issue 73: August 2015

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issue 73 | august 2015

The Food Nomad Discover the best bahn mi in the streets of Ho Chi Minh

Countdown Diet The skinny on how to look your best on your Big Day

Wedded to Deliciousness Menus and cakes to fit every wedding

Love in All Its Deliciousness

CEO Lily Ng CTO Derek Kean Interim Editor-in-Chief Celia Hu Editor-in-Chief Alicia Walker Digital Editor Keshia Hannam Creative Director Helen Griffiths Designer Robert Li Foodie Club & Events Manager Hannah Chung Head of Sales & Marketing Joseph Kwok

We ring in August with wedding bells. This month, we celebrate one of the most memorable days in life with a full feature on all things least, the food and drinks department! We’ve got you covered when it comes to selecting the perfect wedding cake, as well as deciphering the often daunting world of Chinese banquets. We’ve racked our brains and consulted esteemed wedding planners to come up with unique wedding venues and bachelorette haunts. And to ensure that our brides stay glowing despite all that glorious eating, we’ve enlisted our nutritionist Michelle Lau to create a month-long countdown fitness and diet regime to ensure the most stressfree walk down the aisle. Speaking of memorable occasions, we’re thrilled to announce the arrival of baby Finnegan Hardy Walker, our Editor-in-Chief, Alicia Walker’s, newest addition. Finnegan arrived at the nick of time the night of our editorial sign-off on May 22nd at 3.4 kilograms, and we’re looking forward to fattening him up with plenty of good food in our Foodie office!

Client Engagement Manager Kathryn Riley Developer Dale Foo Photographer Sophie Jin

Celia Hu Interim Editor-in-Chief

Foodie Panel

Food-loving folks who’ve helped us this month:

Published by Foodie Group, 16/F, Chao’s Building, 143–145 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, HK Printed by Teams Printing Co., Ltd.

Foodie is published monthly, 12 times a year. The contents of the magazine are fully protected by copyright and nothing may be reprinted without permission. The publisher and editors accept no responsibility in respect to any products, goods or services that may be advertised or referred to in this issue or for any errors, omissions or mistakes in any such advertisements or references. Foodie and the Foodie magazine logo are trademarks of Foodie Group Limited. All rights reserved.

Evelyn Mills

Sonya Yeung

Michelle Lau

The mastermind behind Marriage Maestros p.22

Seasoned chief wedding planner of Bliss Creations p.22

Nutritionist and health guru p.31

Love food? Join the Foodie community! foodiehk

@foodiehk #foodieworld afoodieworld

afoodieworld // august 2015

If you’d like us to help you to promote your brand, please contact Joseph Kwok at, 3791 2565


C onte nt s 18 FOOD WAR

We break bread to find the most perfect spear of French baguette in Hong Kong


We lick plenty of icing to “research” the perfect cake to fit any wedding

31 COUNTDOWN DIET Nutritionist Michelle Lau shares tips on healthy food choices leading up to the Big Day

Cover story 36 THE FOOD NOMAD Celia Hu whizzes through Ho Chi Minh City to discover where the best banh mi and spring rolls are hidden

22 MASTERS OF CELEBRATION Our cheat sheet on all things wedding, from venues to bachelorette parties to picking that perfect menu.

40 BEEFING IT UP Scirocco restaurant shares with us their favourite ways to cook with Mexican beef

“By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher” — Socrates

Queen Elizabeth II, England’s current monarch, celebrated her wedding with 12 cakes. The one she chose to cut at her wedding was nine feet tall and weighed 500 pounds! // august 2015

Foodie Quote of the Month

Did you know...


for starters

This month’s hottest news bites NEW ALL-DAY DINING AT JW CAFE


JW Marriott debuted its stylish new JW Cafe this month, an all-day restaurant offering indulgent delicacies in a modern Hong Konginspired setting. The array of international and local cuisines will entice even the most discerning diners, and we couldn’t rave enough about their famed braised fish maw, baked stuffed crab and e-fu noodles with Boston lobster claw. Standout buffet areas include the seafood and siu mei barbeques stations - the Peking duck and roasted pigeon were some of our favourites.

Just in time for summer, Veuve Clicquot recently launched its “RICH” brand Champagne in Hong Kong. Boosting a hefty sugar fix at 60 grams per bottle instead of the regular 20 grams, Veuve Clicquot RICH Champagne is created solely for mixology. Ideally, the Champagne is served either strained through Earl Grey tea, or with slices of cucumber, grapefruit peel or peppers, and diluted with five ice cubes. Currently, the Champagne is exclusively available at Armani Prive and Ozone at the Ritz-Carlton, so make sure you swing over for a cool glass of bubbly this hot summer season.

JW Cafe, 5th Floor, JW Marriott Hotel, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 2810 8366

LET THEM EAT CAKE The grand dame of luxury confections has arrived in Hong Kong, all the way from New York. Lady M recently opened its doors in Harbour City. Renowned for its delicate cakes based on French tradition but with a Japanese sensibility, Lady M’s signature mille crêpes cakes are pillowy light, and features more than twenty paper-thin handmade crêpes slathered with delicate flavoured cream. The confection was named one of the “Top Ten Cakes in America” by Bon Appetit magazine. Our favourite flavour has got to be the subtly fragrant green tea mille crêpes! Lady M, Shop OT215K, Level 2, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, TST 04



Nakamura Tokichi, a Kyoto tearoom renowned for its premium green tea and desserts, recently opened its first flagship store in Hong Kong. As a summer cooldown treat, the famous chain introduces the Uji Kin Ice, with four flavours ranging from matcha, hojicha, brown sugar and a combination of these. The icy dessert is also served with homemade Hokkaido red bean paste and shiratama, a Japanese sweet rice dumpling. We can’t wait to dip our spoons into this refreshing summer treat!

What can be more relaxing than getting buzzed...we mean, “sampling wine”, in the comforts of home? With Sommelier at Home, wine enthusiasts can taste and learn about a bespoke selection of wines specially chosen by Kevin Davy, a passionate sommelier from the South of France who has worked with various partners from fine labels such as Chateau Margaux. Packages range from an one hour Discovery Tasting at $488 per person, to a three hour Grand Cru selection at $1855 per person.

Nakamura Tokichi, 18/F, The One, 100 Nathan Road , TST, 2426 6111


102/F, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, 2263 2270 // august 2015

Take a virtual tour through Italy via the thoughtfully curated tasting menu at Michelin-starred Tosca. Perched on the 102th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, diners can enjoy a panoramic view of Hong Kong’s iconic skyline and Victoria Harbour while sipping on some of the finest selections of Italian wine alongside regional focused tasting menus. A special wine pairing tasting menu is created each month to showcase the unique regional specialities of Italy. A three-course ($598) or fourcourse ($698) wine pairing menu are available throughout lunch on Saturdays until the end of the year.


the best of the bloggers

Q. What is your best ever meal at a wedding? Ale Wilkinson The meal at my brother’s wedding last year was excellent. Each person was served an individual beef Wellington (his favourite dish), which they managed to just about cook perfectly for all 120 people. I think the best is yet to come, however, as I’m getting married in Florence next year, so I just know the food there is going to be heavenly!

Stephanie Ko

Most of the weddings I attend take place in Hong Kong hotels, and they usually serve Chinese banquet dishes that are extravagant, but very predictable. The Thai food served at Phuket or Koh Samui weddings are much more fun for me, but the best meal I had was at my colleague’s wedding in Mumbai. The celebration spanned over 12 days, the food was utterly delicious and the variety was amazing - it certainly lived up to the Indian wedding hype!

Sharon Maloney

Sad to say, but I’ve yet to experience a great meal at a wedding. I missed out on my friends’ wedding where they had a massive hog roast in a field - that is definitely my kind of wedding feast! I can tell you of the worst wedding meal, where we all had to travel hours to get to, only to find it was in a sad little pub, where there were only crisps and soggy sandwiches on offer and we had to pay for all the rest ourselves! Needless to say, it was a pretty miserable wedding atmosphere until we all got drunk and turned the music up!

Michelle Ng The best meal I’ve had at a wedding was a glorious spread of Thai food. As the bride was Thai, it was only natural that they served green and red curry and pad Thai to the guests. The dishes packed a punch but there were no complaints!

FEATURED FOODIE Every month we feature a blogger from our vast array of contributors on the Foodie website. This month’s featured blogger is an Australian correspondent, who makes us dreadfully envious of the brunch spots around Melbourne and various parts of Australia. In this review, we get a peek into a former service station which received a new lease on life with an enticing and contemporary inseason organic menu and wonderful atmosphere: “First stop - coffee! My flat white was vibrant with tasty notes of red apple, caramel, milk chocolate and cherry. As far as benedicts go - this is easily one of the best I’ve tried recently! For me, it came down to two key things: firstly, the ham hock was sublime. It was melt-in-your-mouth tender but still chunky, leaving me with the pleasure of pulling it apart. The serving size was generous and the taste was rich and juicy. Secondly, the thinly sliced fresh green apples were, for me, the perfect accompaniment, adding the necessary crunch and zest to the ham, the gooey poached eggs and the delicate creamy hollandaise.“ Become a contributer on and you could be featured here! 06

the social foodie

Tempting Foodie-grams and funny food tweets we giggled over this month Taiwanese Cuisine @ Yuan is here


Cows even look like they eat a lot of cheese.




People who don’t eat the pizza crust: 1. Why do you do that 2. Can I have it

How to know if you should stay at a party: Is there free food? If “no”: Leave. If “yes”: Eat all the food...

Empanadas @ Gaucho

Then leave.



Get Involved! Join the Foodie community foodiehk

@foodiehk #foodieworld afoodieworld

afoodieworld // august 2015

Microwaving nachos counts as partying.


foodie club

Last Month at...

A Gastronomic Experience at Da Via Nestled in bustling Wan Chai beside Hong Kong’s slithering tramline, Da Via’s big open windows invite passersby with open arms into their warm and relaxing environment. We arrived to find a specially tailored menu for Foodie Club, with Founder Walter Kern and Culinary Host Alejandro waiting to guide us through the menu. They both have years of culinary expertise and embrace the slow food philosophy of providing good quality Italian gastronomy with integrity. We ate our way through a variety of Italian cold cuts with a stew of vegetables, antipasti platters and plenty of freshly baked ciabatta and were full even before we reached the mains, but happily shared their mezzemaniche mancini, a short pasta with tomato sauce and

seafood. Highlights of the evening were the pappardelle dressed in a Tuscan veal ragu with trumpet mushrooms and the wonderfully creamy panna cotta. Served in small jars layered with airy cream and fresh strawberry jam, the tart strawberries balanced the milkiness of the cream perfectly. Walter and Alejandro introduced us to a wide selection of authentic dishes from the North to the South of Italy that transported us to the gastronomic world of Italian cuisine. Da Via offers early morning breakfasts before work, quick snacks during the day, substantial lunches and easy­going dinners and each dish is made with the philosophy of helping people reconnect and rediscover the simple pleasures of authentic cooking.

Da Via 14­16 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, 3956 9873


foodie club

Cucumber Kimchi Workshop at TaKorea Inspired by the food trucks of LA, TaKorea fuses together the complementary flavours of spicy Korean kimchi and meaty Mexican tacos to create a delicious hybrid cuisine. Owner Ah Young incorporates time-­tested Korean recipes in a simple menu featuring baap bowls, burritos and tacos using a firm no MSG policy and filling each recipe with quality ingredients. If you haven’t yet visited TaKorea, we highly recommend their eggplant rice bowl topped with a fried egg. Being a mother of two and owner to newly opened TaKorea, Ah Young has perfected the art of quick, simple recipes and offered to show us how to make her refreshing cucumber kimchi.

The plum concentrate mellowed the chilli flakes and fish sauce, giving the mixture a rounded flavour. We were surprised that the combination could be eaten straight away. Seeing how easy the process was, this kimchi would be the perfect accompaniment to light summery meals. We ended the night with a special shot of Gojingamlaeju. Similar in concept to a Jägerbomb but with a shot of coke and a shot of soju topped off with beer, it made for a dangerously good concoction. Downed in one go, we were tipsy and wonderfully full as we ended the night. We’ll certainly be back for more Korean delights and crazy shots at TaKorea.

Ta Korea 55 Wellington Street, Central, 2362 1999 Read more on // august 2015

Upon arrival, we were given tasters of their delicious burritos and K­-pop chicken baap bowls, which were subtly spiced with chilli sauce and wholesomely filling. We then began prepping the

cucumbers and made the pickling concoction, which was a mixture of ginger, garlic, onion, Chinese chives, red chilli flakes, Korean fish sauce and plum concentrate.


foodie club


foodie club

Food for Thought Sai Ying Pun Explorer Event We took to the streets of Sai Ying Pun and gathered an army of restaurants, bars and shops for our Food For Thought event on 11 July. In collaboration with The Economist, Foodie got the best eateries in Sai Ying Pun to showcase specialty dishes and items related to the unique themes of Food for Thought. From ‘brain food’ to ‘healthy body, healthy mind’, each highlighted item related to a key topic or idea from a recent article published by The Economist. Being avid readers ourselves, we were delighted to learn more about each restaurant, their dishes and how the bigger issues affect us all. By exploring this up-and-coming neighbourhood, we soon realised how multicultural Sai Ying Pun has become. In just a few short years, the ‘Pun has transformed from a quiet local neighbourhood to a happenin’ foodie central where you can find Russian, Italian, Korean, Thai and Chinese cuisines all in one place.

Read more about our exploration of Sai Ying Pun on // august 2015

Our culinary tour was peppered with unique facts provided by The Economist at each vendor, that challenged our perception of food. Not only did we get the full Foodie tour of the area, we filled our minds with plenty of topics on culture, sustainability, commerce and politics. Definitely, a Saturday well spent.


foodie club

Last Month at... Feast at Cali-Mex If you haven’t yet seen or walked passed a Cali-Mex store in Hong Kong, then you’ve either been living in a hole, or are new in town. With nine stores across the 852, Cali-Mex whips up burritos, quesadillas, and nachos made with the freshest ingredients. Their tortillas are made fresh daily with no preservatives or additives and their Australian prime cuts are grilled to perfection on Josper grills. All these thoughtful touches make their ‘rritos delightfully fluffy and filled to the brim with quality ingredients. When the team invited us down to try out their menu, we gathered a bunch of burrito-lovin’ foodies for a cheeky mid-week party. Our droves of guests arrived to refreshing lime and strawberry margaritas served in neon-lit glasses that put us all in the mood for a 90’s rave. Seeing as we were in Wanchai after all, we were ready to party, but not before trying Cali-Mex’s delectable menu.

The signature beef and vegetarian quesadillas arrived piping hot, layered with addictively gooey cheese that stretched seemingly forever as we pulled the crispy slices apart. The nachos, guac’ and salsa were dangerously drool-worthy. The freshly rolled burritos were top of their class, and we were pleasantly surprised by the variety of vegetarian options available for the herbivores in our group. After stuffing our faces like happy piggies, we chortled with delight at the arrival of crispy fried cinnamon churros, drizzled with molten chocolate. Plied with alcohol and great food, we left knowing for certain we’ll be back for more. Word on the street is that Cali-Mex can bring the party to private events with their bountiful array of slushy margaritas, gooey quesadillas and scrumptious burritos.

Calimex 25 Queens Road East, Wanchai 2772 2525 12

tried & tasted

New Me n u

Stone Nullah Tavern 69 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai 3182 0128 灣仔石水渠街69號地下 A neighbourhood favourite: Tucked into a relatively quiet corner of Wan Chai near historical Blue House, Stone Nullah Tavern has been doing a roaring trade serving up “new American” cuisine over the past few years. The menu, using high quality ingredients from Homegrown Foods, reinvents classic American dishes with new ingredient and flavour pairings. The goods: Upon settling down in the cozy dining room, we were tempted with a plate of

New York oysters ($38 per piece) served with a delicious smattering of crumbed polenta, homemade buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing. Not usually fans of cooked oysters, we were pleasantly surprised by how succulent the bivalves were, and how well they paired with the smoky yet creamy sauce. Next, came a martini glass laden with giant prawns ($158), dipped in a tangy homemade cocktail sauce. The pork cheek chilli nachos ($118) were a glutton’s dream, piled high with cheddar, sour cream, jalapenos and crispy pig ears while maintaining a perfect chip-to-topping ratio. Equally delicious was the maple glazed bacon with gorgonzola slaw ($108), and the roasted pork belly with spicy tomato and smoked scamorza. Roasted local organic vegetables ($58) paid a brief nod to healthy living before making way for the Southern fried free-range chicken ($158), mac and cheese ($128), chicken pizza ($138) and maple barbeque glazed half rack of ribs with gorgonzola slaw ($198). Every dish was dangerously addictive. The ribs were fall-offthe-bone tender, while the mac and cheese was made even more silky with the addition of an organic egg yolk, mixed in by our server table side. Our only quibble was that the tomato sauce on the pizza could have been less sugary. We polished off our meal with the eccentrically // august 2015

Mac and cheese

Maple glazed bacon


tried & tasted

named fat kid cake ($80), which manages to cram in components of several desserts all into one hefty slice. We were on a sugar high digging through the layers of red velvet cake, cheesecake, dark chocolate mousse, creme brulee and pop rocks. Verdict: Stone Nullah Tavern doesn’t just do American cuisine right, they make it better. By using creative ingredient pairings to reinvent classics, plus attentive staff and a killer playlist on the stereo, the Tavern ensures many revisits.

New Me n u

China Tang Shop 411-413., Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, 2522 2148 中環中環皇后大道中15號置地廣場4樓411-413 號 Chinoiserie chic: China Tang exudes Chinese refinement with a touch of European opulence and Art Deco accents. First opened in 2007 at London’s Dorchester Hotel, China Tang made its sojourn back to Asia with a second venue on the fourth floor of The Landmark Atrium. A meander through a maze of mirrors and walls lined with hand-embroidered wallpaper and intricate Chinese paintings takes diners into the main dining room, bordered with six private dining alcove for more cozy occasions. We recently sat

Mac and cheese


Stewed pork belly

down in one of their plush private dining rooms, complete with a private kitchen separated by a glass partition so we can catch all the action, to sample the new tasting menu by three Michelinstarred Chef Albert Au. Exquisite Chinese elegance: Our sumptuous supper began with light and fluffy pan-fried imperial bird’s nest and long jing tea smoked pigeon egg topped with caviar. The discs of bird’s nest were golden crispy on the outside with fluffy egg white centers punctuated by sweet, garlicky scallions. The tea smoked egg had an almost gel-like consistency, and melted on the tongue like butter. The double-boiled abalone soup with sea whelk and morel mushroom was comfort in a bowl, with meaty chunks of seafood seeped in a deeply layered consommé. The braised jumbo crab claw with minced Iberico pork was a sight to behold. Imported from Macau, the crabs hail from a region where freshwater meets saltwater, and are well-known for their succulent sweet meat. Silky Iberico pork is mixed with the sweet crab, then braised in a briny black bean sauce to form the most delectable mince, topped with crispy strands of fried ginger. The giant sole arrived in a dome filled with apple wood smoke, and was topped with fried tea leaves, which perfumed the flesh with a delicate fragrance. The pièce de résistance arrived in the form of stewed

tried & tasted

pork belly seeped in red dates and candied fruit. The Japanese pork belly was incredibly tender and sticky with collagen, and the richness of the meat paired seamlessly with the sweet toastiness of the red date puree. A testament to skilled knife work and patience, the steamed tien jin cabbage roulades in pumpkin cream was the most beautiful dish of the evening. The cabbage leaves, used as dumpling wrappers for the vegetarian filling, were sliced so thin they were almost translucent. The pumpkin cream was sweet and deliciously glossy - the perfect dipping sauce for the vegetable dumplings. The fried rice with minced Wagyu came in a giant sizzling claypot, under a blanket of black Australian truffles. Our decadent meal concluded with refreshing taro pudding and pandan ice cream, which were both incredibly aromatic and creamy. Verdict: Refined Chinese cuisine in a beautiful setting, China Tang is the ideal place to impress out-of-town guests with a taste of Hong Kong, or a celebratory meal with family and friends. The intricate details of each dish exemplifies the history and mastery of one of the oldest culinary traditions.

New! Hotshot Shop 114-115, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2515 1661 淺水灣海灘道28號The Pulse地下114-115號舖

Boozy milkshakes: Under the helm of Executive Chef Wes Long, who recently ran the kitchen at Hudson Clearwater in New York, the menu is a mix of new American cuisine and modern European flair. A peruse through the menu left us a little dumbfounded, as, judging from the decor, we expected classic American comfort food rather than fancier variations. Aside from the milkshakes and cheeseburger, everything seemed to be lacquered with a touch of fine dining. We enlivened our taste buds with a round of milkshakes, starting from the montauk ($100), a blend of chocolate, orange and cognac, before moving on to the malibu ($100), a pretty concoction of spiced strawberry and rum. We loved the rich chocolatey taste of the montauk, but wished that the malibu milkshake, although beautifully presented with a fresh strawberry flower motif, could have had a more refreshing edge. The spiced strawberries reminded us of Christmas, instead of a refreshing summer drink. New American cuisine: Our tasting began with blistered shishito peppers ($80), which were dressed with a drizzle of lime and a sprinkling of salt, and although not bad, could have benefited from a few more seconds on the grill. // august 2015

Surfer cool: From the restaurant group Le Comptoir, comes a breezy, design-focused restaurant with plenty of art to rival its sister restaurant Bibo. Hotshot is all about American surfer cool, and occupies a lofty corner of The Pulse in Repulse Bay, just steps from the beach. Two storey tall windows allow plenty of natural lighting, while colourful surfboards and tonguein-cheek artworks by Supremem, Invader and Kaws adorn the walls. Fairy lights add a touch of whimsy and the sight of a 1951 vintage Silver Streak clipper trailer parked inside the restaurant brings us back to the glory days of Americana.

Pan fried duck breast with blueberry compote


tried & tasted

There was high anticipation for the superfood combo of kale and faro grain salad ($120), but the dish underwhelmed with its tiny portion and uninspiring flavours. Despite the runny fried egg on top, the fibrous salad lacked contrasting flavours and textures to hold any interest. The diver scallops ($210) were perfectly seared and arrived alongside an arugula, marinated fennel, orange, and couscous salad, and a crumbled cashew puree. The pan roasted duck breast ($250) with wild rice, confit leg, kale and cauliflower puree came drizzled with a blueberry compote, and was more pretty than tasty. The duck breast was overcooked, and the small smattering of duck confit was rather dry. To bulk up on vegetables, we ordered a side of broccoli with cheddar as well as roasted asparagus with kalamata olives. Both were priced at $60, although the broccoli dish was significantly larger than the thin stalks of asparagus. We concluded our meal with warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream ($70) and a slice of key lime pie ($70). We loved the sugary crunch of the candied walnuts, but wished the brownie was actually served warm with gooey chocolate accents rather than as a cold, densely packed slab. The key lime pie, with a delicious cookie crust and a dollop of sour cream, saved the day with its addictive counterbalance of sweet and tart notes. Verdict: Very cool vibe and interior, although the food didn’t quite match up. The portions are small relative to the price commanded, and we are still scratching our heads about the juxtaposition between the menu and the decor, as we were expecting more relaxed, laid-back classic American indulgences.

Hotshot: Seared Divers Scallops

New Me n u

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Shop 401, 4/F, The Landmark, 16 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, 2166 9000 中環德輔道中12-16號置地廣場4樓401號舖 Food & Life: In the country renowned for its rich, unapologetically decadent cuisine, vegetarianism may sound almost like a dirty word. However, Monsieur Joel Robuchon, the chef with the most Michelin stars on his chef whites, is challenging our perception of French cuisine with a revolutionary vegetarian menu based on the ethos of his newest cookbook Food & Life. Written in collaboration with Dr. Nadia Volf, the book explores the therapeutic qualities of food that goes beyond daily sustenance. Vegetarian a la francaise: Our media preview of the brand new Food & Life menu, a six-course tasting journey, began with an amuse bouche of crispy quinoa globes filled with potato cream, dotted with smoky, spicy piquillo mayonnaise. The first course of “invigorated” tomato candies with citron olive oil and curcuma was filled with sweet, refreshing gazpacho that gushed from the delicate sugar coated tomatoes, rolled in toasted cherry tomato powder. The beetroot, avocado and apple salad was a work of art, for


tried & tasted

Beetroot avocado and apple salad

Verdict: Light, refreshing, and healthful, this is the perfect menu for summer. The variety of vegetables used, as well as the weaving of complementary flavours and textures, made this menu feel more substantial than what one may perceive for an exclusively vegetarian menu. Priced at $1080 for the tasting menu, we would say it’s well worth the price tag.

Quinoa globes with potato cream // august 2015

both the palate and for the eyes, and arrived crowned with fresh herb salad, green mustard sorbet and delicate shiso flowers. The bouquet of fresh tarragon, parsley and chives provided balance to the richness of the avocado, and the green mustard sorbet reminded us of dill pickle. Sweet pops of fresh green peas paired beautifully the velvety almond veloute. The hero of the meal was the succulent white asparagus with miso emulsion and Espelette pepper. Incredibly sweet and tender, the juicy asparagus paired beautifully with the slight fermented aromas of the miso as well as a dash of spice to heighten the senses. The risotto with pimientos and vegetable couscous was made with Japanese pearl rice, which reminded us more of congee rather than the Italian staple. We adored the crunchy texture of the “ice vegetable� greens as well as the tiny florets of broccoli, but felt that the robust briny flavour of the nori competed, rather than complemented, the saffron. We concluded our meal on a sweet note with strawberry sorbet and cherry confits over puff rice and pistachio cream.


food war

La Baguette


JOËL ROBUCHON The price: $30

The price: $28

The look: The golden child of our tasting, this

The look: The smallest of the bunch by being

baguette won in the “Best Looks” category with

almost a third shorter, the baguette had a dull,

its perfect shape and glowing crust. Big holes

darker crust with medium-sized holes in the

are found in the interior due to the fermentation


process. The taste: The most dense and sour of the bunch, this bread also had a waxy texture. It was infused with a delicious yeasty scent.

The taste: The bread lacked the characteristic

yeasty aroma and it was the driest of the bunch. The verdict: This was our least favourite due

to its lack of aroma and dryness. It was also

The verdict: Our winner for both looks and

comparatively more expensive due to its small

taste, this baguette is the closest in our taste


test to the real deal. If we closed our eyes, smeared a dollop of salt flaked French butter on top and crunched down, we can almost imagine ourselves seated in a little cafe beside the Seine. Foodie rating:



Foodie rating:

Our Foodie team broke bread together in the quest for the best baguette in Hong Kong.



The price: $18

The price: $24

The value: This baguette was the palest of the

The value: The baguette had a beautiful, golden

bunch, and had a standardized, almost factory

crust. The interior was dotted with consistent,

assembly line look when it came to shape and

medium-sized holes.


The taste: An alluring yeasty scent whiffed out

The taste: The first thing we noticed was the

as we broke through the crusty bread. Despite

great aroma of this bread, which perfumed our

the fermented smell, the bread itself was not

entire office. However, the bread itself tasted

overly sour and had a robust, chewy texture,

processed, and was very soft and fluffy rather

with a hint of smokiness.

than possessing a crunchy crust with a yeasty

The verdict: We liked the texture and look of this bread, but the smokiness threw us off a bit.

The verdict: This would be a great option

Having said this, we wouldn’t hesitate spreading

for toasting and building canapes with due to

a generous dollop of rillettes on this.

its consistent size and lack of big holes. We love the scent of the bread, but felt it tasted overprocessed. Foodie rating:

Foodie rating: // august 2015



chewin’ the fat

Chewin’ the fat with...

Jemma Wilson Whether you’re a fan of the classics, or an adventurous soul, we can all agree that nothing hits the spot quite like a deliciously decadent cupcake. Natalie Wong chatted with Crumbs & Doilies owner Jemma Wilson about her culinary experiences and journey that led to the opening of her very own cupcake shop in Soho, London.

How did you get started in the industry? I was juggling between bartending and baking recreationally. Then, one day, I woke up and thought “why am I not doing this for life? I love baking”, so I quit my job at the bar and went to work at Rose Bakery. The role really made me realize how much I want to bake for a living, but my trajectory there was somewhat limited because of the small team size, so I decided to start a market stall. How did you get started on FoodTube with Jamie Oliver? He had a TV show called Food Fight Club and one of the episodes was about desserts and 20

sweets. I got a phone call from his production company asking if I’d be willing to come along to do this one bit of the show in England as part of an expert panel. Basically, we met during the 10th anniversary party of his Restaurant Fifteen, when I had set up a street market outside his restaurant, and I guess he remembered me and liked my cakes and tattoos. I thought the cameo on the show would be it but then the team asked me back to contribute further, which meant going to Italy and doing more filming. It was really exciting and fun. I had such a great time. After that, I guess they liked my way on TV so they offered me a YouTube channel and a book as well.

How has this partnership influenced you? Despite knowing the number of subscribers I’ve accumulated over the short period I’ve been on YouTube, I was surprised to see how many people showed up just to see me when I opened the shop. It was such a lovely surprise. Every day at the shop, I sign books and take selfies with people who’ve made the trip just to meet me, and I find that really odd and funny. A lot of people say they are “star struck”, but I always think it’s strange because I’m just a normal person! What problems did you come across along the way? Initially, my biggest problem was just doing it all by myself. I did everything on my own - built up this style and repertoire of baking. For months, I’d get three hours of sleep a night because I was waking up at five o’clock in the morning to bake, and I nearly lost my marbles. When I first started hiring staff, I couldn’t give up control and didn’t trust anyone, and a lot of the staff members came and went because they were bored and frustrated. My first staff member’s sole duty was to sprinkle the absurd is that! So, I definitely think the biggest obstacle was me and my ego, but I feel like (and I hope) I’ve learned to let go. Have you done a bunch of experiments where sometimes, the flavours just don’t work? Loads! Usually, anything with fresh fruits just doesn’t work because it changes the makeup of the sponge and it’s hard to maintain consistency.

There has definitely been incidences where it’s either completely failed or just not quite there yet, as if something’s missing. Our process is very trial and error based. When we do research and development, we break off into teams and work on different flavours. Each team will work towards creating the best version of a certain flavour. A lot of the time, the research isn’t about creating new flavours, but about improving the ones we already have. Which cupcake flavour do you like to make the most and why?

What is your go-to flavour that you know will be well received each time? Definitely Cookies and Cream or Salted Caramel. // august 2015

I have three because I can never choose just one. The Earl Grey English breakfast is a very nostalgic flavour for me and reminds me of stays at my grandma’s, where I would have toast and marmalade with her. The Cinnamon Toast flavour is another nostalgic one for me, and reminds me of my friend Amy, who has all these American cousins. She would come over with these amazing American foods and say “let’s make cinnamon toast!”. At the time I didn’t know what that was, but it turned out to be the best thing ever! And finally, I love the Peanut Butter and Jelly flavour. For me, the best things are sparked by old memories.


Masters of Celebration

Masters of Celebration Between menus, venues, and customs, not to mention choosing the perfect dress and organizing all the logistics, weddings can be a lot of work. But they are also some of life’s most memorable moments. Based on our editors’ experiences, and the helpful tips from our wedding planner consultants, we’ve put together a list that will, hopefully, ease any bride’s pre-wedding jitters.

MEET OUR ESTEEMED WEDDING PLANNERS Evelyn Mills of Marriage Maestros has been planning luxury, large scale weddings in Hong Kong and across the globe for over 13 years. With typical attendance lists ranging from 300 to 1000 guests, it’s safe to say she’s an expert at organization. Recently, she launched Wedding Maestros, which caters to more conservative budgets

Sonya Yeung of Bliss Creations has over 10 years of experience in event and wedding planning, and has created unforgettable moments for lucky couples all across Hong Kong and the AsiaPacific.

Location, Location, Location Whether it’s a rustic country wedding under fairy lights in a barn, or a black tie soiree in a palatial chateau, the venue plays a key factor in setting the tone, and theme, of a wedding. Here are some of our favourite Hong Kong wedding venues: 22

Masters of Celebration

5 STAR SWANK The Ritz-Carlton ICC, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, 2263 2263

The Peninsula Salisbury Road, TST, 2920 2888

Say “I do” from the highest wedding venue in town at Ozone, on the 118th floor of the towering Ritz-Carlton overlooking Hong Kong’s iconic skyline and Victoria Harbour. Several ballrooms are on offer, including ones that can accommodate over 500 guests! We also love the personalized Pierre Hermes macaroons as guest favours!

This historical hotel is all about refined

InterContinental 18 Salisbury Road, TST, 2721 1211 With panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and the city’s largest pillarless ballrooms, Intercontinental is the perfect venue for large, extravagant weddings. With a reception venue that can accommodate up to 720 guests for a sit-down dinner, as well as the city’s largest hotel LED wall, there’s plenty of space for create the perfect ambiance.

elegance, from the gilded ornate ceiling and walls to the classic Rolls Royce and white gloved bell boys. We love the intimacy of the Salisbury Room, which can fit up to 12 cozy tables. There’s even the option of a string trio or a jazz band to enliven the romantic ambiance. Four Seasons 8 Finance Street, Central, 3196 8888 The sprawling luxury hotel is renowned for its panoramic harbour views and impeccable service. Opulent ballrooms are ideal for extravagant receptions of 450 guests for sitdown banquets, while more intimate affairs can be had with special wedding packages ranging from 10 to 60 guests. The blueberry and honey buttercream cake sounds mighty drool-worthy!

BOUTIQUEY CHARM One Thirty One 131 Tseung Tau Village, Shap Sze Heung, Sai Kung, 2791 2684

Auberge Discovery Bay 88 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay, Lantau Island, 2295 8288

Evelyn: One Thirty One, a 3 storey Mediterranean-style house nestled in Three Fathoms Cove in Sai Kung, is a perfect venue for romantic outdoor weddings overlooking the ocean. The outdoor space can comfortably accommodate up to 80 guests.

Evelyn: With an open-air horse-drawn carriage to take couples to the 16 meter seaside White Chapel, and a European tall ship named The Bounty, there’s plenty of fairy tale elements at Auberge. For reception, the massive ballroom can accommodate 570 guests for sit-down dinner, or up to 700 for cocktail reception!

Butcher’s Club ED1TUS 16-17/f, 18 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, 2552 8281

Sonya: Crown Wine Cellar was constructed 80 years ago by the British military as an ammunition bunker during the Second World War and was declared a UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Site in 2007. Tucked in leafy Shouson Hill, the venue boasts six underground cellars and a private members clubhouse. Its 1,500 square foot glass conservatory is the perfect venue for a reception filled with fine wines. // august 2015

Sonya: The industrial chic venue can accommodate up to 120 people for seated dinner, or up to 400 for cocktail receptions. There’s also the massive 7,000 square foot rooftop that can seat 400 guests comfortably. Guests can stop at the food truck before making their way up to the oyster bar, carvery station, and the a hog roast! There’s also plenty of sweet temptations, like the “build your own s’mores station” and the waffle sundae station!

Crown Wine Cellar 18 Deep Water Bay Drive, Shouson Hill, 2580 6287


Bachelorette planning 101

Bachelorette Planning 101 Organising a bachelorette party in Hong Kong can be a challenge, especially if you are not the type to indulge in flashing tiaras and questionably-shaped straws. We’ve done the homework and narrowed down hotspots in Hong Kong and neighbouring Macau, so you can kick up your heels and enjoy some stress-free partying.

THE W HOTEL – WET WEEKEND 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon Station, Kowloon, 3717 2222 Party it up on the 76th floor pool deck, overlooking magnificent Victoria Harbour at the highest outdoor swimming pool in Hong Kong while feasting on poolside barbeque. When: Chill & Grill package available 12noon to 4pm, Wet Weekends package available 3pm to 10pm, Saturdays and Sundays, both available until August 31st What’s included: The Mira

Chill & Grill package includes use of the pool, 1 BBQ platter and 3 glasses of Chandon Brut or beverages of your choice

Wet Weekends package includes use of the pool and 3 glasses of Chandon Brut or beverages of your choice

THE MIRA – NO HEELS ALLOWED 118 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2368 1111 The Mira in TST knows how to spoil soon-to-be brides and their entourage. A pampering session includes spa treatments, access to the hotel’s infinity pool and facilities, alongside mouthwatering teatime delicacies the likes of Iberico ham with caramel fig, and organic chicken terrine with black truffles. There’s also a private session at the Nail Lounge, where the wedding party can goss about the latest wedding planning details.

Price: Chill & Grill at $598 per person, Wet Weekends at $398 per person, 10% additional service charge applies

When: Package runs all year long What’s included: Private use of MiraSpa Nail Lounge for 2 hours Afternoon tea bar stocked with sweet and savory canapés, smoothies for 6 •

2 bottles of house Champagne

6 day passes for swimming pool and fitness centre

Price: HK$6,888 for 6 persons 24

The W Hotel

Bachelorette planning 101

BANYAN TREE – PRIVATE CABANAS Galaxy Macau, Avenida Marginal Flor de Lotus, Cotai, +853 8883 8833 Positioned around the Banyan Tree Macau’s palm tree-flanked pool, these luxurious full service shelters caters to small parties of up to six, and includes personal shower rooms, flat screen televisions and Wi-Fi. Spa therapists offer soothing 30-minutes neck and shoulder massages, and for nibbles, there’s a barbeque package which includes crispy suckling pig. An extensive cocktail menu ensures the party never runs dry. When: Available 10am to 6pm daily What’s included:

Banyan Tree

FOUR SEASONS – NAIL SOCIAL 8 Finance Street, Central, 3196 8888 Pamper those nails before the big “I Do” at the exclusive Four Seasons Nail Bar while sipping Champagne and noshing on tea cakes during the afternoon, or indulging in delicate hors d’oeuvres during the evening. The package includes both a mani and a pedi, and your party can jive to your favourite tunes via the iPod dock at the salon.

arbeque package cooked by a personal B chef

relaxing teaser treatment which includes A a 30-minute neck and shoulder massage

ccess to the pool and private cabanas with A all the amenities

Price: MOP 1,000 day rate for cabana hire, which includes an equal valued credit for food and beverages. The credits are a freebie!

“NYOTAIMORI” - NAKED SUSHI DINNER Interactive games with a topless male sushi model more your style? If you like free-flow beverages and men without shirts, then a sushi night by HK Stag might be just the thing for you. Where: Three venues in Wan Chai disclosed at the time of booking, or at a preferred private location When: Anytime, anywhere! Well...after 7pm that is, with a week’s advance notice

What’s included:

What’s included:

2.5 hours of nail experience for 5 guests in a private salon with panoramic views of Victoria Harbour

A topless male server for 1 hour

Sushi for 8 guests

$3000 of drinks credits

1 bottle of Champagne

a private dining room

Afternoon tea set during day time, or hors d’oeuvres at night

Price: $1,600 per person

Price: HKD 11,888 // august 2015

When: Available all week, additional $1000 charge for bookings on Fridays to Sundays


Wedding Cakes

The Ritz-Carlton

Icing the Deal Weddings are celebrations of the coming together of two lives, and what better way to seal the deal than with something sweet. Wedding cakes have hallmarked marriages since antiquity, with some of the earliest records dating back to the Romans, when wedding ceremonies were finalized by the breaking of a wheat cake over the bride’s head. During medieval times, small spiced buns were stacked into a tower, and if the bride and groom are able to kiss over the tall stack, then they were destined for a lifetime of happiness. Interestingly though, some of the earliest wedding cakes were savoury pastries filled with meat, nuts and spices. Only starting from the seventeenth century did wedding cakes emerge filled with fruits, as symbols of fertility. Every guest must share in the cake to ensure that the newlyweds are blessed with children and prosperity. Colour was also a defining characteristic of the classic wedding cake. During Victorian times, a pure white cake symbolized purity and virginity. It was also a status symbol, since sugar was a valuable commodity and only the finest refined sugar can be used in white icing. Hence, a pure white cake was a shiny display of a family’s wealth. Nowadays, wedding cakes come in all shapes, sizes and flavours. From the traditional to the à la mode, we’ve whipped up a list for the sweet-toothed bride. 26 // august 2015


The InterContinental

Traditional Chinese Banquet Traditions can be fun, but they can also be mighty confusing! We’ve consulted our expert wedding planner, Sonya Yeung of Bliss Creations to put together a simple list of do’s and dont’s to help make planning a Chinese banquet effortlessly delicious. A classic Chinese banquet menu usually consists of eight dishes, and if you are planning to serve beyond this number, then it’s best to stick with even rather than odd numbers. Stay away from serving only four or seven dishes, as they are especially unlucky numbers to the Chinese!

MENU SAMPLE Here’s a sample of a traditional Cantonese banquet menu, and we’ve also factored in the sequence in which each course should be served. Remember, fried rice or noodles are not considered mains, and should always be served last. 1.

Roasted pig






Vegetable stuffed with dried scallop






Red sea bass


Roasted chicken


Fried rice or noodles

10. Dessert - lotus seed and lily soup with red bean 28

The Chinese associates auspicious meanings to many food items, and here’s just a few lucky dishes that have plenty of happy sentiments behind them. Scallops equals fertility. The Chinese pronunciation is a homophone for the phrase “raising children” Chicken served as a whole complete with the head represents togetherness and completeness. It is also a symbol for the phoenix, which represents the bride. Lobster is a symbol for the dragon, which represents the groom. Noodles are a symbol of longevity due to their seemingly endless strands. Peking duck represents fidelity, and when served whole, represents peace, unity and completeness in a couple’s marriage. Red sea bass has a similar pronunciation to the word “abundance” in Chinese, and is always included in a wedding banquet to bring plenty to a couple’s marriage. Abalone in Mandarin sounds similar to “abundance” while sea cucumber in Cantonese is a homophone for “good heart”. A dessert of lotus seed and lily soup with red bean has the auspicious meaning of “staying together for a hundred years”, so really think about it before you drink this soup!

The slippery topic of shark fins… The story of shark fin soup first began in the Sung Dynasty (968 AD), when the emperor served the delicacies at a banquet as a show of power, wealth and generosity. Today, shark fin soup is a symbol of status and “face”, and also a way to “share your fortune” during auspicious occasions such as weddings and birthdays. The shark fin trade has caused catastrophic decreases in shark populations, and has disrupted the ocean’s delicate ecosystem. On average, 100 million sharks are killed by people each year (Worm, et al 2013) while an average of 10 people are killed by sharks each year (Bill Gates Research 2014). In 2014, Spain was the top exporter of shark fin to Hong Kong. However, the tide is definitely turning. In a five year study spanning from 2009 to 2014 by Bloom Association, a Hong Kong-based NGO dedicated to marine conservation, and the Social Sciences Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong, there is a significant downward slope in shark fin consumption in Hong Kong. When citing popular occasions for shark fin consumption, the 2014 survey showed wedding banquets ranked the highest at 72.6% while birthdays followed in second place at 25.5%. The numbers were, thankfully, lower than those from the 2009 survey, which showed shark fin consumption at 90.9% of weddings and 58.4% of birthdays. Public opinion has also shifted, with

the acceptance rate of not including shark fin in weddings jumping from 19.6% in 2009, to 48.7% in 2014. Out of the 1000 participants interviewed in 2014, 81.1% stated the reason behind their decision to be environmental, as compared to only 56.8% naming environmental concerns as the key cause in 2009. This change in opinion shows in trade figures, as the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department in 2015 estimated a decrease of 2,507,872 kilograms in shark fin import to Hong Kong between 2012 and 2014. Shark-friendly replacements Since shark fin itself doesn’t actually have any taste as the flavour comes from the broth which is usually made with Chinese ham, chicken and aromatics, there have been many clever versions of faux shark fin soup using sustainable seafood. Corey Lee, former chef de cuisine at The French Laundry, and James Beard winner at his current restaurant Benu, has come up with a faux version to fool the savviest of food critics.

For more information on ocean conservation, visit and // august 2015

Bird’s nest soup, another prestige ingredient, has also become a popular replacement for shark fin soup. Premium ingredients such as crab and lobster are often added to increase the decadence of the dish.


Classic Western Menu Sit-down dinners with a Western menu usually consists of at least three courses - a starter, main, and dessert or cheese plate. Three options for mains would usually suffice to accommodate various tastes, and it’s always safe to offer a meat, seafood and vegetarian option. Also, be wary of special dietary requirements or allergies - you do not want an ambulance pulling up at the reception! Cross-Cultural Celebrations Multi-cultural unions are commonplace today, and a great way to showcase the newlywed’s ethnic backgrounds is through food. This is where you can get creative, by mixing delicious elements from each of the two cultures. Why not pair French cuisine with Japanese sake, or Indian curries with English beers? Quirky Add-Ons Flip through Pinterest, and you’ll be dazzled by the numerous scrumptious inspirations that could add that extra little sparkle to a wedding. Popular add-ons include churro carts, popcorn bars, and customizable candy and dessert tables. DIY stations are all the rage now, and tantalizing ideas include “make your own champagne cocktail” bars! Open barbeque and whole roasting spits are also becoming popular, especially for outdoor, rustic affairs.


FOODIES MEMORABLE WEDDING MEALS Alicia, Editor-in-Chief “We had a barbeque caterer at our wedding reception, who made a beautifully tender roast on a giant mobile grill. And since our wedding was held in Calgary, Canada’s cattle country, the roast definitely had to be succulent Grade A beef. In fact, our caterer was called “All Beef Catering” and their tag line was “The best bull”!!

Celia, Editor-at-Large “We had three weddings on three continents, starting with Vancouver, where we served a local delicacy - maple syrup glazed cedar plank salmon! Next was our wedding in a chateau in France’s Loire Valley, where all we could remember was copious glasses of wine and armagnac, alongside our classic croquembouche French wedding cake. Our final celebration was in Beijing, with juicy Peking duck at the Opposite House.”

Countdown Diet for the Big Day Every bride deserves to look and feel her best on her wedding day. However, nerves can often frazzle with the amount of last minute planning and anxiety. Not to worry, we have a solution! Our health and nutrition expert Michelle Lau has prepared a guide with practical tips to make that walk down the aisle stress-free.

Michelle is a certified nutritionist and wellness coach who specializes in sports nutrition and weight management. She received her Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from McGill University.

HERE ARE OUR DOS BEFORE THE “I DOS” FOR ACHIEVING THE BEST YOU INSIDE AND OUT: DO choose a workout you enjoy and commit to it.

DO eat a small snack or meal every few hours.

For weight loss, cardio exercises such as running and swimming, combined with high intensity interval training are ideal. If you get bored easily, try joining a group training class.

Consuming a small meal or snack every 2 to 4 hours will help maintain your blood sugar level, keep your metabolism up and prevent you from overeating.

DO focus on diet and find a meal plan that works for you.

Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day, it is a MUST for those who want to lose weight! Skipping breakfast will increase your likelihood of overeating when hunger pangs strike.

DO drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. This simple tip will keep you hydrated and help prevent you from overeating since our bodies’ signal for thirst is very similar to that for hunger.

DO get adequate sleep. Studies have shown that people who get less than six hours of sleep are more likely to gain weight. Ghrelin, a hormone which helps control appetite, is affected by sleep quality and quantity. // august 2015

You truly are what you eat. Increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables so that it fills up half your plate and decreases your intake of processed foods.

DO eat a wholesome breakfast.


Wedding Diet

Healthy fats Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ALA, DHA, EPA) found in foods such as salmon, halibut, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseed are essential for skin health and elasticity. These fatty acids also help protect against the damaging effects of sunlight by suppressing the accumulation of prostaglandin (inflammatory causing molecules). Low-glycemic carbohydrates Beans, lentils, and peas are great sources of dietary B vitamins, a necessity for normal functioning skin. Vitamin B7 (biotin) is a very important vitamin for skin health as it forms the basis of skin and hair cells.

Antioxidant-packed leafy vegetables Spinach, kale, collard greens, and other leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin A, which helps combat skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, wounds, burns, and sunburn. In addition, leafy greens are rich in vitamin K, which helps reverse dark circles under the eyes, zinc that helps collagen formation and calcium that is important for healthy teeth and nails. Water-rich foods Hydration is the key to healthy skin, hair, and nails. Foods like watermelon, grapefruit, and lettuces are not only high in water content but also rich in antioxidants and fibre.

ANTI-BLOATING TIPS: Avoid salty and processed foods

De-puff with these foods

Sodium is one of the most common causes of water retention around the abdominal area. Processed, packaged foods and fast foods are those with the highest amount of sodium.

Consume foods that are high in potassium, which balances sodium levels. Some potassiumrich foods include banana, beets, greens, sweet potato, and prunes. Ginger and papaya contain protein-digestive enzyme which help reduce bloating and gas caused by protein rich foods. Natural yogurt contains healthy probiotic bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium, which aid digestion and normalize healthy flora in the intestines, thereby preventing bloating.

Avoid carbonated beverages Carbonated drinks (yes, that includes Champagne!) causes that uncomfortable bloated feeling. Try water with lemon, or antioxidant-rich green tea if you crave flavoured drinks. Cut down on hard to digest foods Foods that are high in gluten or dairy-based are harder to digest, and can lead to bloating, so keep those mitts away from breads, pastas, and baked goods! 32

Wedding Diet

WEIGHT LOSS There is no magical potion to weight loss, but what we do know is that quicker, long lasting results happen when the body gets enough calories from nutrient-dense foods. We’ve put together a sample meal plan for the month leading up to the wedding, so that brides can indulge in healthy dishes that won’t break the calorie bank. Our sample meal plan aims for a daily calorie intake of between 1500 and 1700 calories.

BREAKFAST Savoury Belgium Cheesy Waffle (400 calories) In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup diced bacon, ¼ cup grated low fat cheese, 1 tablespoon minced chives and 1 cup chopped baby tomatoes. Mix with 1 cup of waffle batter and cook on heated waffle iron.

LUNCH Mediterranean Veggie Wrap (300 calories) Combine 1/4 cup hummus, 1 sliced tomato, 1 tablespoon feta, and 4 chopped black olives and wrap all ingredients in a whole-wheat tortilla.

DINNER BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese (400 calories) In a blender, combine 1 cup steamed cauliflower, 1/4 cup 2 percent milk, 3 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese, and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt. Puree until smooth. Add cheese mixture to 1/2 cup cooked brown rice elbow noodles. Serve noodles with 2 1/2 ounces grilled chicken breast topped with 2 teaspoons barbeque sauce and 1 cup steamed green beans.

SNACK Nutty Professor Protein Bites (300 calories) In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons rolled oats, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1/2 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, and 1/2 teaspoon honey. Form into 2 round bites. The bottom line on weight loss: Cutting 500 calories daily can help you lose a pound per week so fill your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, low-fat dairy, whole grains and a limited amount of healthy fat.

No sweat, no gain (or, in this case, loss) as a daily 30 minutes of exercise is imperative to healthy weight loss, and to keeping the weight off afterwards! Variety is key in order to avoid a weight loss plateau, hence, commit to a combination of calorie-burning workouts such as running, swimming, kickboxing and spinning. Strength training two to three times a week will help build muscle, which consequently, help burn fat more efficiently. We are huge fans of high intensity interval training to work all the major muscle groups and keep adrenaline high. // august 2015




HKTDC Food Expo

Delicacies From Around The Globe This year marks the 26th edition of the wildly popular HKTDC Food Expo. The gastronomic fair will run from August 13th to 17th, with over 1,100 exhibitors showcasing their delicacies.

Star-Studded Cooking Demonstrations & Performances Over 20 renowned local chefs and celebrities will be showcasing their culinary wizardry with cooking demonstrations held at the Star Kitchen in the Gourmet Zone and IC Lifestyle Theatre at Home Delights Expo. The star-studded list of prominent chefs and celebrities include Chan Kwok Keung, Ricky Cheung, Chiu Sze Cheuk, Gabriel Choy, Do Thi Thuy Linh, Fat Boy, Margaret Fu, Wins Hung, Jeffery Koo, Jason Ho & Bong Kwok, Eric Lai, Lau Chun, Ken Lau, Leung Fai Hung, Hilda Leung, Louie Ma, William Ma, Gloria Tsang, Denice Wai, Annie Wong, and Gee Wong. Celebrity chef Gigi Wong will also be joining in on the fun!

Gabriel Choy

Do Thi Thuy Linh

Wins Hung

M.Sc. in Nutrition, Food Science and Technology

Restaurant Chef, Le Soleil, The Royal Garden

Pastry Chef, Wins Goodies

Louie Ma

Gee Wong

Gigi Wong

Executive Pastry Chef, The Royal Garden Hotel

Co-Founder & Head Chef, Peace of Green Rawsome Kitchen

Renowned Actress and Cooking Expert

Premium Goodies The Premium Food Zone, a major highlight of the Public Hall, will be filled with renowned, local brands such as Chewy, Kee Wah Bakery, Maxim’s Caterers, Nissin, On Kee Dry Seafood, Tai Pan Bread & Cakes, Tung Chun and Vita Green Health Products. In additional to local brands, the Public Hall also highlights global gourmet at the group pavilions from Canada, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Chinese mainland and the Philippines will also be showcasing their delectable products. 34


Gourmet Indulgences Upgrade your tickets to include the Gourmet Zone, and you’ll be treated to over 70 exhibitors offering their premium products in four themed zones: Western Delicacy, Asian Cuisine, Chic & More and Sweet Delight. There will be plenty of gourmet goodies to entice appetites, including Wagyu beef, fresh seafood, premium coffee, fine wine, jambon, abalone, fusion ice-cream and speciality cheese. Happy Cow Dairy-free Ice Cream

Superiore - Quail stuffed with Foie Gras

Made from natural and organic plant-based ingredients, Happy Cow enables ice cream lovers to indulge in healthy green alternatives without sacrificing their taste buds. Try a sampler at Happy Cow Ltd (Booth: 3E-E16 )

Succulent quails gently stuffed with delicate duck foie gras, and accented with Port, this decadent dish has graced the menus of some of the best Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris. Try a sampler at House of Fine Wines (Booth: 3B-F02)

Bigorre Black Pig Terrine

Sandara Sparkling Wine

A much-loved regional speciality from South Western France, the terrine is made with the finest cuts of flavourful Bigorre black pig. Try a sampler at BS & Co. (Booth: 3B-A20)

Perfect for summer, these sparkling rosé and white wines conjures up the fragrance of ripe berries, citrus, grapes and mango. Try a sampler at Pro-Wins (HK) Limited (Booth: 3B-E02)

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream By mixing science with food, Lab Made serves up the smoothest, creamiest ice cream, made to order thanks to rapid freezing by liquid nitrogen. Unique flavours include HK Crispy Toast, Custard Bun, and Crunchy Sea Salt with Caramel. Try a sampler at Lab Made (Booth:3B-D18)

DETAILS OF HKTDC FOOD EXPO Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai (Harbour Road entrance). Public Opening Hours:

*Note: special night admission tickets are available from 6pm to 10pm on 13th - 16th August. The price is $10 for the Public Hall and an extra $25 for admission to Gourmet Zone.

Public Hall (10am–10pm, 13-16 August; 10am–6pm, 17 August)

Ticketing Outlets: Starting from 30th July, tickets will be available for purchase at Circle K and 7-Eleven convenience stores.

Gourmet Zone (10am–10pm, 13–16 August)

Online Ticketing:

Ticketing prices: $25 (Public Hall only); $40 (combo ticket for Public Hall and Gourmet Zone). Free admission for children aged 3 and under and senior citizens aged 65 or above.

HKTDC Food Expo: hkfoodexpo/25 Enquiry: 1830 670

Also check out HKTDC’s facebook page at for more details about the Food Expo. // august 2015


the food nomad

Celia Hu whizzes through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City for an authentic taste of Vietnam My earliest memories of Vietnam are from the stories my grandpa used to tell me about the years he spent working alongside Ho Chí Minh as a military intelligence adviser dispatched from China during the Vietnam War. I remember him saying that, despite Ho Chí Minh’s small physical stature, he packed quite a feisty personality. Today, the city in his namesake is the largest city in Vietnam, and a bustling emerging economy. In the city’s core remains the wide elegant boulevards of its French colonial past while northwest of the city, in the Cu Chi district, underground guerilla tunnels give visitors a taste of what it was like as a Vietcong during one of the bloodiest battles in Indochina. Today’s Vietnam is a very different one from the country my grandpa first laid eyes on, and we enlisted the help of our local friend, Jeffrey Tchiu, to navigate through the myriad of local eateries that dot the bustling city. Come along as we weave through the chaotic crowds on motorbikes to discover the city’s best street foods.

BÁNH TRÁNG PHOI SUONG HOÀNG TY 106 Cao Thang Street in District 3, +84 8 3833 2077 To beat the summer heat, there are few things more refreshing than a rice paper roll. Meander through the crowded District 3 to this local favourite diner for some of the best pork belly rice paper rolls in town. This simple, very casual restaurant offers the DIY experience, so guests can pick and choose the exact combination of fillings for each of their rolls. Buttery slices of pork belly are laid out alongside various herbs and vegetables, as well as sauces, all for your choosing. 36

the food nomad


Taken by: Thanh-Tung Nguyen, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Middle of Phan Boi Châu Street in District 1 Locating this traditional “ganh” street vendor feels somewhat like a treasure hunt. Situated opposite the east side of Ben Thanh Market, this is the only vendor on the street that sells bun rieu cua, an iconic crab vermicelli soup originating from Northern Vietnam. The streetside tables open at 2pm, and the noodles are usually sold out by 5pm. Freshwater crab meat is strained through fine mesh cloth before tomatoes are pushed through to make an umami-rich broth. Fried tofu, congealed pig’s blood, and a crab paste topping are served alongside banana flowers, and water spinach in this humble noodle soup.


Banh mi

Bun rieu cua

NHÀ HÀNG A BUU 17 Bùi Thi Xuân in District 1 +84 8 3925 7899 This little restaurant offers live music and vibrant ambiance at very affordable prices. It’s also open 24 hours a day, which makes it a great venue for after hours snacks, and for nursing that hangover. The authentic Vietnamese dishes here, though, are what keep loyal patrons coming back. The quality is always consistent, and some specialities include the lemongrass steamed clams (ngheu hap sa), the tender beef carpaccio salad (bo tai chanh), and frog congee (chao ech). If you’re looking to get your hands dirty, then there’s also the caramelized pork ribs (suon ram).

BÁNH CUÔN HAI NAM 11A Cao Thang in District 3 +84 8 3839 3394 This little hole-in-the-wall establishment is the reliable favourite for locals to get their bánh cuôn fix, as they’ve been doing this dish spectacularly well for over 30 years. Similar to a Chinese cheung fun, freshly steamed rice noodle sheets are rolled around minced pork, shrimp // august 2015

Taken by: Sodanie Chea, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

26 Lê Thi Riêng street in District 1 +84 8 3925 0885 Out of the hundreds of street corner banh mi vendors, Banh Mi Huynh Hoa has risen above the rest with a loyal following that faithfully declares it as the “best banh mi in Ho Chi Minh City”. The shop opens at 3:30pm, and you can smell the fresh toasted baguettes as you stand in line. A blend of French and Asian heritages, the Vietnamese “baguette” is made with wheat and rice flour to give it an unique airy yet chewy texture. The toasted bread is smothered in homemade mayo and pâté before stuffed with an assortment of cold cuts, pork floss and vegetables ranging from cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, onions and jalapenos. Bite down, and prepare to be dazzled!


the food nomad

and wood ear mushroom, then drizzled with sweet and savoury pungent fish sauce, heaped with shredded lettuce and crunchy bean sprouts, and a healthy dose of fried shallots. Although a staple of Northern Vietnam, this comfort food can be found all over Ho Chi Minh city, although Bánh Cuôn Hai Nam is reputed to be the best.

THE CRAB SHACK 84 Dinh Tien Hoang in District 1 +84 8 9101062 As the name suggests, The Crab Shack specializes in one thing only - the soft-shell crab. Locally referred to as cua lot, the front of the restaurant is lined with display cases filled with these little critters. Speciality dishes include soft-shell crabs drizzled with sweet and sour tamarind sauce (cua lot xao me), as well as crispy, fried soft-shell crab accented with fish sauce, ginger and chillies (cuo lot chien bot). There’s also the gooey, comforting glass noodles sautéed with chunks of crab meat and roe in an aromatic black pepper sauce.

FOODIE PICKS: Cup of Joe: Vietnamese coffee is famous the world over for its intense aromas, so while in Ho Chi Minh city, grab a cup or two at the following atmospheric hotspots. • L’usine - a quirky little cafe opened by Viet-Canadian sister from Montreal ( • Runam Bistro - a contemporary bistro that serves up casual meals alongside great coffee ( • The Workshop - this is where the Vietnamese hipster hang out, with its downtown LA loft vibe and great precision in coffee-making ( coffee) Biker Chicks: The best way to see the city (and beat the traffic) is on two wheels. Take a motorcycle tour around the city’s foodie hotspots to the tune of a personalized itinerary. The friendly, informative guides of XO Tours, Vietnam’s first all-female motorbike tour company, have been whisking visitors to delicious hidden eateries for years. (

38 // july 2015



We discover the versatility of Mexican beef with simple recipes created by Scirocco restaurant photography by Sophie Jin of



Mexican beef burritos


Serves: 4 Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time: 15 mins


Ingredients: • 1 tbsp vegetable oil • 1 large onion, finely chopped • 1 jalapeño chilli, finely chopped • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped • 1 tbsp chilli powder • ½ tsp ground cumin • 500g sliced beef • 40g kidney beans • 8 x 6-inch wheat tortillas • 160g iceberg lettuce • ½ red onion, finely sliced • 120g chopped fresh tomatoes • 120g spicy tomato salsa • 120g freshly made guacamole • 10g coriander, chopped • salt and pepper to taste

skillet and cook for another 1 minute. Add in beef and kidney beans and sauté for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, warm tortillas in a dry skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds on each side. Layer lettuce on top of the tortillas before filling with the beef mixture, tomatoes and other fillings. Roll up each tortilla and serve with a side of spicy tomato salsa and guacamole.

CLASSIC ENTRECOTE BORDELAISE Serves: 2 Prep time: 5 mins Cooking time: 10 mins

WWW.SAGARPA.GOB.MX // august 2015

Method: 1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Add onion and jalapeño and cook for 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 2. Add garlic, chilli powder and cumin to the

Ingredients: • 2 x 300g beef sirloin steaks • 100g butter • 2 shallots • handful of asparagus • handful of baby carrots • 100ml red wine • 200ml demi-glace or beef stock • salt & pepper to taste



Classic Entrecote Bordelaise

Method: 1. In a pan, melt half of the butter. Add in the steaks and brown on both sides. Sprinkle on salt and pepper and cook steak to your liking. Set steaks aside on warm plate. 2. Sauté vegetables in the same pan, using the leftover butter from the steak, for 2 to 3 minutes or until fork tender. 3. Add in demi-glace and red wine, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes on low heat. 4. Stir in the remaining cold butter into the sauce in small cubes, stirring until the sauce is reduced and thickened. 5. Plate the dish and drizzle sauce over steak.

SHISH KEBAB Serves: 4 Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time: 15 mins Shish Kebab

Ingredients: For the Harissa • 15g dried red chillies • 50g fresh red chillies • 2 tsp ground cumin • 2 tsp ground caraway seeds • 1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika • 2 garlic cloves • 2 tbsp tomato puree • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar • 4 tbsp olive oil

WWW.SAGARPA.GOB.MX // august 2015

For the Kebabs • 800g rump steak, cut into large cubes • 1 tbsp olive oil • salt and pepper to taste • 1 lemon, juice only • fresh parsley

Method: 1. Place all the Harissa ingredients in a food processor and blend into a smooth paste. 2. For the kebabs, heat up a griddle pan until searing hot. Toss the steak cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper. 3. Thread the meat onto skewers. 4. Place the skewers on the griddle and sear on each side for 1 to 2 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Baste with the Harissa blend every 30 seconds. Once the meat is cooked, squeeze with lemon juice and serve with a side of Harissa sauce and fresh parsley.


Beef caldereta

BEEF CALDERETA Serves: 6 Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 2 hours

Ingredients: • 1 kg beef chuck, cubed • 1 medium onion, chopped • 3 cloves garlic, chopped • 200g tinned tomato sauce • 50g tomato purée • 3 large bay leaves • 100ml unsweetened pineapple juice • 2 carrots, roughly chopped • 3 medium potatoes, roughly chopped • 100g bell pepper, cut into strips • 100g frozen peas • 30g Parmesan cheese, grated • salt and pepper to taste


Method: 1. In a large pan, heat some oil on high heat and brown the beef chuck. Remove from pan and lower the heat to medium. Sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes until translucent. 2. Add tomato sauce, tomato purée, bay leaves and pineapple juice to the pan, along with the browned beef. Add enough water (hot from the kettle) to cover the beef (approx. 1 litre). 3. Simmer on a medium low heat for an hour until the beef is tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper. 4. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for a further 30 minutes. 5. 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve, add the bell pepper, frozen peas and Parmesan. 6. Serve hot on individual servings of cooked rice, or as a stand-alone stew.

POLPETTE AL SUGO Serves: 4 Prep time: 1 hour Cooking time: 40 mins

Ingredients: • 500g ground lean beef • 1 egg • 1 tbsp nutmeg • 30g Parmesan cheese, grated (plus extra to garnish) • 1 tsp black pepper • 3 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped • 5 tbsp olive oil • 1 whole onion, chopped • 3 cloves garlic, chopped • 400g chopped canned tomatoes • 2 tbsp capers • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, whole Method: 1. Combine ground beef, egg, nutmeg, Parmesan, black pepper and parsley in a food processor and pulse for 2 to 3 minutes until well mixed. Refrigerate for 1 hour. 2. Heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat and add onion and garlic. Cook until onion turns translucent, then add tomatoes, capers, and olives. Bring to a simmer. 3. Form the ground beef into small round balls and add them into the skillet. Cook in the sauce for about 20-30 minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink and the sauce has reduced. 4. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

FILETTO AL PEPE VERDE Serves: 4 Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 30 mins

WWW.SAGARPA.GOB.MX // august 2015

Ingredients: • handful of potatoes • ½ tbsp dried rosemary • 2 tbsp olive oil • 50g unsalted butter • 4 slices beef fillet (250g each) • 60ml brandy • 125ml heavy cream • 4 tbsp pickled green peppercorns • sprigs of parsley • salt and pepper to taste Method: 1. Cut potatoes into 1 inch chunks, and toss with some oil, salt, pepper and dry rosemary. 2. Roast in oven at 180°C for 30 minutes, or until fork tender. 3. Heat olive oil and butter in a pan and grill the fillets until steak is cooked to your liking. Transfer onto a heated platter. 4. Pour brandy into the pan and gently stir until the flames have subsided. 5. Stir in the cream slowly, then add the peppercorns. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 6. Plate the roasted potatoes and fillets, pour over with sauce, and garnish with a sprig of parsley.



46 // august 2015


chineasy food

Foodie’s kitchen scientist Kelly Yau experiments with recipes in her tiny Hong Kong kitchen



Makes: 4 glasses Prep time: 1 hour 20 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes





Ginger and Lemongrass Syrup

3-5 limes

350-450g young ginger

1 handful of Thai basil or mint leaves

4 stalks of lemongrass

6 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)

2 cups water

200ml white or dark rum (50ml per glass)

soda water, to taste

plenty of ice

Method: 1. Thoroughly wash the ginger and finely chop it along with the stalks of lemongrass. 2. Combine the water, sugar, chopped ginger and lemongrass in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and allow to simmer for five to ten minutes, depending on how intense you want the syrup to be. Turn off heat and allow the syrup to cool. 3. Once completely cooled, strain away the ginger and lemongrass and decant into a bottle. Store in the fridge for later use. 4. For the mojito, muddle fresh herbs with lime in a glass. Add ice, 50 milliliters of rum and two tablespoons of syrup. Pour over with soda and stir well. 5. Add more ice if needed, and garnish with more limes and lemongrass stems. KELLY’S TIP:


You can replace the rum with vodka or whisky. You can also make this a mocktail by leaving out the alcohol.

If you have leftover syrup, try adding it into unsweetened ice tea! It’s wonderfully fragrant and spicy!

The syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

To see more of Kelly’s fun food experiments, check out

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