The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Fong Da Coffee, Taipei

I am not a coffee connoisseur, but I do appreciate a good brew. When I was planning for our girls-and-bubs' trip to Taipei last month, I turned to Eating Asia for ideas, as Robyn's recommendations for good eating experiences had proven to be excellent in both Hanoi and Kaohsiung. (She has recommendations for many other locations and countries on her blog, and I'm sure I'll be turning to her website time and time again when I need ideas for my future travel.) It was one of her articles on Wall Street Journal that pointed me to Fong Da Coffee, one of Taipei's original coffee shops that has been in operation since 1956. Fong Da retains much of its heritage, choosing to use vintage equipment to roast, grind and brew coffee. There are many varieties of coffee beans to choose from, and several ways to have your coffee. It's very popular, and the dining rooms both on the ground floor and upstairs were filled to the brim on the weekday afternoon we visited. It was hence not by our choice to order our coffees to go, but we weren't going to wait around for a table - not when we have two 1-year-olds in our midst. We still had to wait about 10 minutes for our coffees, and I used that time to admire the machines and buy the snacks at the front of the shop.

The queue (for takeaway and tables) was long:

I'm guessing this is a grinder (it was not in use when I was looking):

Roasting in a action:

Iced drip coffee, anyone? This apparatus makes four cups in six hours!

Enjoying our coffees with the snacks I bought from Fong Da - almond, peanut, sesame and mung bean flavours (in the background are two bottles of freshly-pressed sugar cane juice, bought at a street vendor on our way home, not at Fong Da):

Fong Da is worth a visit for coffee lovers in Taipei.

Fong Da Coffee 蜂大咖啡
No. 42 Chengdu Road
Wanhua District
Taipei City
Taiwan 108
Tel. +886 2 2371 9577

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Sunday brunch @ Cafe Deco [The ONE], Hong Kong

Our favourite restaurant at the Peak closed down after 22 years due to mall renovations last year. Café Deco reopened in Tsim Sha Tsui a few months later, and we tried out their Sunday brunch with my aunt-in-law and her hubby (who introduced us to the original Café Deco at the Peak 6 years ago). The Sunday brunch was more affordably priced than at the Peak, presumably because rent in Tsim Sha Tsui is relatively less prohibitive. For HK$398 per adult, we could enjoy the seafood buffet with freshly shucked oysters, live cooking stations for mussels and crêpes, and it includes a choice of a main course from a list of many, should the seafood buffet not satisfy. There's always room for dessert at buffet affairs, and the dessert selection was pretty good. Cafe Deco's Sunday Brunch is also a good family-friendly option, only HK$158 for kids 4-11 and free for under 4s. The only thing they could improve on is the coffee. I have to honestly say it was one of the worst coffees I've had served to me, and I hope that it has improved in the past couple of months since our visit. Everything else was faultless, like before the move. Service was impeccable. The food was delicious. And the restaurant boasts views of the Peak.

Chef doing his thing at the pancake station:

Galettes Bretonne (savoury buckwheat crepes) with gruyere, black truffle bechemel, cotto ham and onsen egg:

The Seafood Bar: sashimi, freshly shucked seasonal oyster, tiger prawns, blue mussels, salmon tartar, diver scallop, freshwater crayfish:

My first round was heavy on the seafood, featuring the Moules Mariniere which was freshly prepared at the seafood bar of Dutch black mussels cooked with butter, garlic, white wine and thyme. My favourite was of course the freshly shucked oysters:

In addition to gorging our faces out on the galettes and seafood, we ordered four main courses from the menu.

Tandoori Chicken with Naan Bread and Raita:

Pan-fried Red Mullet and Grilled Mussels on Olive Couscous:

Seafood Fried Rice with Shrimp, Asparagus and Scallops:

Grilled Beef Filet Mignon with Black Truffle Rosti Bites:

Dessert included tiramisu, raspberry trifle and doughnuts:

Lots of mini cakes and tarts and puddings:

Vanilla Crepes with berries:

The Sunday Brunch at Cafe Deco is pretty good value for the quality and range.

[Prices quoted above do not include the 10% service charge.]

Cafe Deco [The ONE]
20th Floor, The ONE
100 Nathan Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2849 5111

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Yummy Vietnamese @ Indochine, Melbourne

When we were in Melbourne a couple of months ago, we met up with two of my friends from primary school (who moved to Melbourne the first chance they got). One of them suggested meeting at either a pizzeria or Vietnamese, and I voted for Vietnamese food without hesitation. Located in Box Hill, Indochine has been operating for many years, gaining a good reputation and building up a loyal customer base. Service was efficient and the food we ordered was delicious. Price was reasonable too, so I can see why Indochine is a popular choice.

Pad-Thai with chicken, as requested by the 8-year-old. Tasty:

Bun (rice vermicelli) with Char-grilled Lemongrass Pork. This was nice and brought back fond memories of eating bun cha in our 2015 trip to Hanoi:

Indochine's Banh Xeo (omelette/pancake) was also delicious:

And you can't go wrong with the Special Broken Rice - Com Tam, with pork chop, fried egg, steamed pork-egg pate and shredded pork:

51 Carrington Rd
Box Hill VIC 3128
+61 3 9890 2966

Indochine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Classic British Colonial dinner @ Jimmy's Kitchen [Central], Hong Kong

Jimmy's Kitchen is well-known in Hong Kong, having its roots established in 1928. The current location in Central has been running since 1976, and the atmosphere - dim lighting, dark wood furnishing, and carpet - evokes Hong Kong's past as a British colony. The food served at Jimmy's is described as 'colonial cuisine', and there is a wide selection of classical dishes like spaghetti bolognaise, fish and chips, curries, steak, and roast dinners. This is the sort of place where the classics rule, so don't expect anything innovative or experimental. Service was courteous and faultless, and the food was delicious. If you're in search for comfort British food in Hong Kong, then Jimmy's Kitchen is the place to go.

Duck Breast a la Orange (HK$258), from the Classics page. The duck was juicy and perfectly complemented by the orange sauce:

Grilled King Prawns (HK$198). Succulent prawns simply dressed in butter and served with rice and broccoli:

Sticky Date Pudding with butterscotch sauce (HK$72):

[Prices quoted above do not include the 10% service charge.]

Jimmy's Kitchen
Basement level
South China Building
1 Wyndham St
Central, Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2526 5293