Sunday, August 31, 2014

Taipei - 7 Tea House (七三茶室)

Cafe entrance

Rose Osmanthus Roselle Herbal Tea

Bacon quiche 

Grilled taro paste with cheese

Lemon tart

Restaurant Name七三茶室 (7 Tea House)
Location : 台北市忠孝東路四段553巷46弄16號

Rating : 3 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around US $10 / person (with tea drinks)

Summary : In an ever-so-busy city such as Taipei, finding a tranquil spot to take a break and rest those tiring legs is a necessity.  7 Tea House provides a spacious and peaceful sanctuary, that serves up tasteful snacks and a wide selection of organically grown teas.  This is a good place for either a short pit-stop, or a long chatty afternoon with friends.  

Spacious interior

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hong Kong - Doppio Zero

Heirloom tomato salad

Prime beef cappaccio

Pan roasted heritage farm chicken

Grilled USDA prime ribeye (10 oz)

Restaurant Name : Doppio Zero
Location : G/F The Pemberton, 22 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Rating : 2 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $450 / person (with alcoholic drink)

Summary : The dishes were all quite oily and did not have any outstanding flavour.  Even the aperol spritz we ordered lacked the usual refreshing taste I expected in this typical Italian summer time aperitif... The only reason this place is not rated 1 Marylicious Stars is that the food is not horrible... ^_*  But I don't think I'll come back here again anytime soon... 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tainan, Taiwan - 阿裕牛肉火鍋 (Hot Pot)

Street view (to help you guys find the shop...)

Hot pot base

THE MOST AMAZING beef soup hot pot, EVER!!!

Restaurant Name阿裕牛肉火鍋
Location : 台南市仁德區中正路一段525號

Rating : 5 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around US $15 / person (with non-alcoholic drinks)

Summary : Those who know me would know that I am obsessed with soup!  I can drink soup anytime, even if the temperature outside is a scorching 30+ degrees!  I love soup!  Which also means, I'm very critical of the taste of soup ^_*  So, when I say that I LOVE the soup at this hot pot place, you can trust me that the soup there is simply AWESOME!!!  Apparently, people would drive hours from Taipei just to have a meal here.  And, after having had a meal there, I can totally believe that kind of insane behaviour.  The soup is just AMAZINGLY AWESOME!  Even after cooking lots of beef and vegetable and the standard hot pot ingredients, the soup was still clear and so yummy to drink!!!  I was totally blown away!  The quality of the beef is also very delicious, and only needs a few seconds of "tipping" in the delicious soup, before it is enjoyed.  This was an exceptional meal in a very unassuming and low-key location!    

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Taipei - 繼光香香雞 (deep-fried chicken)

Overview of the stall

Freshly deep-fried chicken bites

Up close and personal view of golden yumminess! 

Restaurant Name : 繼光香香雞
Location : various locations throughout Taiwan

Rating : 5 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around US $4 / 200g 

Summary : One of the most iconic Taiwanese street snack is this deep-fried chicken that every kid in Taiwan would have had while growing up!  Usually found in the night markets operated by individuals, this franchise has created a new way for Taiwanese to enjoy this amazingly delicious deep-fried golden yumminess! And, this is definitely something you don't wanna miss when visiting Taiwan!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Taipei - 好年年豬腳 (Hao Nian Nian Pork Knuckle)

Ultra colorful neon signs of the restaurant

Super delicious pork knuckle

Another super delicious pork knuckle

Restaurant Name : 好年年豬腳 (Hao Nian Nian Pork Knuckle)
Location : 台北市萬華區西園路一段314之1號

Rating: 5 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Average US $4 / plate of pork knuckle

Summary : Simply put, if you like pork knuckles, you HAVE TO go to this place when you're in Taipei!!!  You will not regret it!!! The value for money is simply out of this world!!!

Taipei - 麵屋武蔵 (Ramen)

View from the alley entrance

View of front entrance

Tonkotsu and fish broth ramen

Restaurant Name : 麵屋武蔵
Location : 台北市中山北路一段121巷18號

Rating : 4 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around US $10 / ramen (without drinks)

Summary : For a self-proclaimed ramen snob, who judges the ramen based on the flavour of the broth, I have to say that the tonkotsu and fish broth at this ramen shop ranks quite high on my favorite ramen broth list!  The strong and fatty tonkotsu flavour is counter balanced with the fish stock that slightly dilutes the fattiness but still adds a new dimension of flavour.  The char siu is a very generous portion and was bursty with flavour!  And the egg was also very yummy!  Overall, this is a great tasting bowl of ramen, and I would definitely revisit this place again!   

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hong Kong - GoGyo @ IFC

Tenrei Shio ramen set with sushi

Shiro ramen set with almond crusted asparagus

Restaurant Name : GoGyo
Location : Shop 3020, Podium Level 3, IFC Mall, Central, Hong Kong

Rating : 2 Marylicious Stars
Price : Around HK $160 / person (without drinks)

Summary : The 2 Marylicious Stars rating is based on the Tenrei Shio ramen.  While the presentation was very appealing, the chicken broth was slightly bland, and the noodle was slightly overcooked.  On the other hand, the char siu was well cooked, just the right amount of fat and tenderness and flavour.  So, while I enjoyed their Shiro ramen last time, I will not be ordering the Tenrei Shio ramen in the future.

Whilst I did not enjoy the meal itself, I need to make a special note about the service.  Towards the end of my meal, after I had pretty much finished the noodle and working on emptying the chicken broth, I noticed a small black dot floating on top of the soup...  at first, I thought it was a black sesame seed, however, this ramen was not served with sesame seeds... So, upon closer inspection, I realized the small black dot was a small bug!  Yikes!!!  

Even though I was almost done with the meal, I decided to notify the wait staff of my discovery.  To my pleasant surprise, the wait staff immediately apologized and even asked if they could replace my noodle with extra sushi.  Since I was almost full, I declined her offer (plus, the sushi was not the greatest...) 

While I was still surprisingly shocked at this treatment, the same wait staff came back a few minutes later and informed me that she will take my lunch set off the bill as a goodwill gesture.

Double shock!!!

This NEVER happens in HK!!!  As such, this gesture deserves a special mentioning in my blog!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hong Kong - Bouchon

Cauliflower soup

French onion soup

Cod with mussel

Steak frites

Restaurant Name : Bouchon Bistro Francais
Location : 49 Elgin Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong

Rating: 3 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $170 / person (with non alcoholic drink)

Summary : Bouchon is a quaint French bistro with decent French dishes.  The lunch set menu has a 2-course (HK $128) or 3-course (HK $148) option, which are quite good value in Soho district.  On our visit this time, the cauliflower soup was very delicious, not too creamy yet still very solid cauliflower taste. The cod was also delicious, nicely cooked so the fish was still juicy.  The steak frites, which used to be one of my favorites, was disappointing.  The steak was a bit chewy and there was a strange taste that reminded me of medicine...  Not a good flavour for steak...  I would still revisit Bouchon, although I believe the wait staff needs to step up their service...

Relaxing and country-style interior of Bouchon

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hong Kong - Lei Garden (Wan Chai)

selection of dim sum dishes

selection of dim sum dishes

egg tart

Restaurant Name : Lei Garden
Location : 1/F, CNT Tower, 338 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Rating : 4 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $ 150 / person (without alcoholic drinks)

Summary : This Hong Kong institution did not disappoint at all.  In addition to delicious dim sum dishes, the service from the wait staff was exceptionally good and attentive, unlike other Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong with rude and horrible service.  Plus, the restaurant was spacious and clean, and you could actually engage in conversations with your friends without raising your voice in order to be heard.  It was a very comfortable dim sum dining experience.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hong Kong - Mama San

Soft shell crab rujak salad with green mango

Chicken and pomelo salad with lime leaf white coral mushroom

Burmese chicken curry with lemongrass ginger turmeric
and yellow dahl

Restaurant Name : Mama San
Location : 1/F, 46 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong

Rating : 2 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $300 / person (with an alcoholic drink)

Summary : While the ambience looks quite hip and fashionable, the food was quite a disappointment.  According to Gloria, the soft shell crab salad was not worth the price, given that the crab was tiny and not flavourful at all.  The chicken and pomelo salad also lacked flavour, and the chicken curry was actually quite bland...  Needless to say, I will probably not eat at Mama San again...