Posts tagged: margaret xu

Hong Kong on my Mind!

By , August 29, 2010 12:01 pm


Lasting impressions of the Fragrant Harbour

On the evidence of the four activity packed and fun filled days in Hong Kong, courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), there is much to see and discover of Hong Kong. Four days certainly isn’t by any means enough and what it has left me with is a desire to return to the Fragrant Harbour for more journeys of discovery. The four days has certainly left me with much to savour: flavours of old and new that seem to complement rather than contradict in not just the cuisine, but in much of the culture and traditions, as well as in many of the day-to-day goings-on. That the trip has left me a lasting impression of Hong Kong there is no doubt. Along with this, there are many new perspectives that I have gained on places that I have previously visited, as well as the perspectives on a Hong Kong that has a memory of its past very much in how life goes on in the present, of which I have some very lasting impressions of:

Dragon Boats, Bath Tubs, Drums and Screaming Adolescents.

Food, Glorious Food!

Wonderful Sights,

Hong Kong Very Much as it is.


Dragon Boats, Bath Tubs, Drums and Screaming Adolescents!

When Pete just couldn’t keep himself dry sharing a bath tub with a model!

Mixing up bath tubs and dragon boats doesn’t always work out, as Pete and Geck Geck were to find out.

Adolescents screaming in UC Centenary Square to the beat of the drums!

The beat of traditional drums open the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival, as Canto-Pop and K-Pop Artistes greet screaming adolescents.

Alexander seemed like the most popular guy in Hong Kong, much to Pete’s disappointment!

The one mighty scream for Alexander.

Adolescents screaming in UC Centenary Square to the beat of the drums!

The beat of traditional drums open the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival, as Canto-Pop and K-Pop Artistes greet screaming adolescents.

More on the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival.

An overview of Day 3 and the Dragon Boat Races.


Food, Glorious Food!

Paddling Away to a Delightful Robatayaki Treat at busy suzie.

A wonderful treat to a fantastic dining experience and Robatayaki cuisine in the ambience of a circular restaurant in 1881 Heritage.

Shanghainese, Yang Zhou and Szechuan cuisine at the Hong Kong Old Restaurant.

A restaurant that built a reputation on the old money of Hong Kong which serves delightful Shanghainese, Yang Zhou and Szechuan dishes.

The Delectable Treats on offer in a Private Kitchen.

The delectable world of Margaret Xu, a former advertising agency owner who has decided to treat Hong Kong to her wonderful skills in behind the stove in her three table private kitchen in which she offers vegetables straight from her organic farm.

A French-Italian Restaurant Run for Charitable Causes.

Gingko House, a restaurant in Central in which you could be transported by the strains of La Vie en Rose playing in the background to the streets of Paris. The restaurant was started by social workers providing employment to the elderly as well as channelling its proceeds towards charitable causes.


Wonderful Sights.

The Wonderland that is the Mira.

The gorgeous world that you enter through the doors of the Mira Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The Market at Nelson Street.

Wanderings around Nelson Street in Mongkok.

A visual treat of Colour, Light and Texture.

The celebration of colour, light and texture on the streets of Hong Kong.

Sights of Victoria Harbour on Board a Replica of the Bounty.

Why there would have certainly been a mutiny on this Bounty.

In between Imagination & Reality.

A really interesting sculpture exhibition “In between Imagination & Reality” that was going on at the Atrium in Times Square featuring sculptures from two of Korea’s renowned contemporary sculptors, Yong Ho Ji and Hwan Kwon Yi which runs up to 22 August 2010. What caught my eyes were the sculptures of Yi, whose sculptures are made in distorted proportions that play on one’s mind in a way that it serves to confuse and confound what the mind makes out of what the eye sees.

The Amazing “Scarefolding” of Hong Kong.

An old practice still evry much in use in Hong Kong that is perhaps reminiscent of that in Singapore when I was growing up. It is something that one sees everywhere, being particularly hard to miss on the busy streets … bamboo scaffolding. This very old method of erecting scaffolding is used in much of the construction activity going on around Hong Kong, as well as in maintenance work on the exteriors of buildings and on the signboards that stick out from the buildings.

Hong Kong Very Much as it is.

All That Glitters!

Hong Kong at its most glitzy, where labels having made their mark in the western capitals have found not just a home, but have become an inseparable part of the heart and soul of what Hong Kong is.

The Young and Trendy Hong Kong.

Granville Road and Granville Circuit – where some delightful treats await the young and trendy shopper.

Echoes of the Sheung Wan of the 1960s: Wing Lee Street and the ladder streets.

The walk along the staircases and terraces of Sheung Wan around the area where Wing Lee Street, a terrace that was made famous by Alex Law’s award winning movie 歲月神偷, or “Time, the thief” is (The movie is named “Echoes of the Rainbow” in English, a reference to the double rainbow that features in a scene in the movie). The walk took us back to a time to the Sheung Wan of the 1960s.

The Stairway … uh, wait a minute, Escalator to Heaven.

The Mid-Levels area that the escalators to the heavenly views of Victoria Harbour the location halfway up Victoria Peak provides to its exclusive and upmarket residents. This provides another stairway to a surer path to Heaven – the stairway that leads to the Jamia Masjid.

The Star Ferry.

The Star Ferry, where life comes to a standstill for nine minutes in Hong Kong.

The Tram.

The must ride on trams on Hong Kong Island.


The delectable world of Margaret Xu

By , August 8, 2010 8:30 am

I guess what must have been the highlight of the trip out of the four days of fun and adventure the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) had lined up must have been the experience at Yin Yang, which I have made a brief mention of in a previous post and which deserves a little more attention.

Yin Yang is a three table private kitchen run by celebrity chef Margaret Xu.

The setting for Yin Yang, a three table private kitchen, is a delightful four storey shop house of 1930s vintage in the Wan Chai district, which has been well restored and beautifully decorated shop house. Entering the shop house, one is greeted by reminders of a simple and bygone era: a tiffin carrier, an old refrigerator, an old style thermos flask … that in the soft light that filters through the old style frosted windows and grills, provides the ideal setting for what Xu attempts to create in her kitchen. It is in creating what is a fusion of the old cuisines of Hong Kong, which Xu goes back to basics.

The setting for Yin Yang is a four storey beautifully restored 1930s shop house in Wan Chai. A model of which is seen here.

The old style decor of the restored shop house provides an excellent setting for what follows up the staircase to the third floor where the dining room is.

The old world charm of Yin Yang is seen in the many simple objects that Xu decorates the interior of the restored building with.

An old styled thermos flask ...

An old tiffin carrier.

Old style windows and grills through which soft light filters through ... creating an ambiance which adds to the flavours of Xu’s creations.

Grills that are perhaps a reflection of the food that Margaret Xu prepares ... a fusion of old styles ...

Another delightful old style window and grill ...

An old refrigerator.

It is perhaps the simple and traditional ways that Xu uses to good effect that defines what Yin Yang is. Old and simple preparation and cooking methods are used by Xu, simple perhaps not by the effort put into the preparation, but by the means in which preparation is done, as it was in the good old ways of food preparation. Yin Yang’s signature dish, “Yellow Earth” chicken is roasted slowly in a clay oven that Xu designed herself, fashioned out of two upturned terracotta pots. The chicken we had, moist and full of flavour from the slow roasting, with a beautifully browned crispy skin, was not craved with a knife, but torn and shredded on the spot and served. The menu was selected by Xu herself, who attempts to surprise her guests with her charming creations as was seen in the other dishes that were served, each equally delightful and full of flavour. The roasted pork leg which followed a shellfish dish also deserves mention, the rich flavours of roasted pork with a crackling crispy skin, was made all the more flavourful with a lychee sauce that had the sweetness of fresh lychees in it. Throughout the entire meal, we were certainly treated to food that was prepared with the dedication and care of a chef who takes great pride and delight in the way she cooks.

The specially designed oven that the "Yellow Earth" chicken is roasted in.

At Yin Yang, knives are not used to carve meat. Meat is torn and shredded in the traditonal way.


The menu that Margaret Xu selected for us.

For all that, I was certainlty surprised to learn that Ms. Xu wasn’t always a chef, or even been formally trained as one: Xu had until a few years back, run her own advertising agency. With a lot of imagination and schooled by her Hakka neighbour, and the mainly Hakka rural villages she frequented, Xu learnt how to prepare traditional food in the traditional way. I guess what defines her and how she cooks is summed up in an article about her in Theme, in which we are told that Xu “grew up loving the Chinese wet market behind her childhood home”, and “instead of lunch money, her parents gave her money to go shopping to cook for herself when they were away”. These days it is not so much the market where Xu hand picks her ingredients from. The vegetables that she uses are 100% organic and come from her very own organic farm.

And there was dessert of course!

Was this Darren wanting seconds?

Beer accompanied the meal ...

and soft drinks ...

After the wonderful meal, there was still time for Xu to share a treat to a few of us who opted to stay behind … how to make a simple green chilli sauce. The sauce was made from a generous helping of fresh green chillies, hand picked from Xu’s organic farm of course, together with fresh ginger and spring onions, which were washed and duly chopped up with some of Darren’s help. The vegetables were then fried in a wok with a generous amount of vegetable oil until they were soft. Salt was added and mixed in, before the vegetables were removed and then transferred into a blender. The mixture was then blended and … voilà! There we had it … a spicy tangy tasting pesto like paste, which our food blogger Catherine of Camemberu tells us goes very well which Chicken Rice … and perhaps as a dip. The warm mixture was then put into little jars which each of us were given a piece to bring home with us.

The main ingredients of the green chilli sauce: Green Chillies, Spring Onions and Fresh Ginger - all from Xu' organic farm.

Preparation of the green chilli sauce includes chopping the spring onions, ginger and chillies.

Darren had a hand in the sauce preparation.

The wok is heated up.

Vegetable oil is added ...

Level of oil in the wok.

Is the oil hot enough?

The ingredients are added and fried.

Salt is added.

Once the vegetables have softened and before they turned yellow they are removed from the wok.

and blended into a puree ...

and there we have it ... a tasty spicily tangy pesto like paste which goes well as a dip ...

... which we each had a jar of to take home with us.

And before we knew it, it was time to reluctantly say good-bye …

By , August 6, 2010 6:30 pm

Having had a great time in Hong Kong, courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, and omy.sg, and having made some wonderful friends over the previous three days, the final day came all too quickly, and it was time to bid the Fragrant Harbour goodbye. All I guess were busy in the morning trying to stuff whatever shopping they had done into their bags, and when the time came to say a sad goodbye to the fabulous hotel room at 9.30 am, most of us had made it down to the glorious lobby of the hotel with bulging bags, which we soon loaded into the bus that was to ferry us around that day. Once on the bus, the ever amusing Aussie Pete, gave us an account of his shopping exploits at Harbour City Shopping Mall, and how he had managed to fill his very large and what had been an almost empty suitcase, even getting a toy dog that his son had wanted (isn’t that sweet?). That I can tell you is no mean feat, having not had much time to do any form of serious shopping, with the activity packed programme that the HKTB had lined up for us over the previous three days!

Pete started our morning with the story of how he managed to fulfill the big shopping task his wife had set him.

Evidence of Pete's shopping exploits.

The day’s programme started with breakfast at a congee restaurant that is apparently on list of recommended local restaurants in Michelin Guide, Law Fu Kee on Des Voeux Road. The word is that the chef has been dutifully gotten up at 3 am everyday for the last 50 years to prepare his highly rated concoction of Thai rice, crushed preserved eggs and fish bones that many crave. I myself, not being fond of congee, opted for a plate of beef brisket noodles, after which I was ready for what was to prove a very interesting walk around SoHo and Sheung Wan with Mr Leon Suen, which I have mentioned in two previous posts.

The day's programme started with breakfast at Law Fu Kee on Des Voeux Road in Central.

Law Fu Kee is highly rated for its congee which has been prepared in the same way for 50 years.

After the walk which ended at the Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road, it was time for lunch at the Yin Yang, a private kitchen with three tables housed in a historic building of 1930s vintage in the Wan Chai area, run by celebrity chef Margaret Xu. Xu had given up a job at an advertising firm to run the kitchen and an organic farm on which most of the fresh produce used in the kitchen comes from. The exclusive kitchen, known for its signature dish of “Yellow Earth” chicken which is roasted in an earthern oven designed by Xu herself, hosts up to 30 people and each sitting features a menu that is hand picked by Xu herself, which can cost around HKD 700 per person. I guess this and the sauce making session conducted by Xu herself that followed deserves another post and that I guess is what I would just do.

Yin Yang is a private kitchen housed in a historic building on Ship Street.

The historic building dates back to the 1930s.

Yin Yang's signature dish: "Yellow Earth" Chicken

The specially designed oven that the "Yellow Earth" chicken is roasted in.

We had a Blue Girl at the table.

Celebrity chef Margaret Xu later conducted a sauce making session for some of the bloggers.

Margaret's sauce making demonstration was very intently followed by the bloggers who attended the session.

Margaret Xu demonstrated how to turn this mixture of green chillies, spring onions, ginger and oil from this ....

... to this tangy tasting pesto like paste ...

... which Pete seemed to like ...

We each had a bottle to take home with us.

When the session came to an end, we had a chance to taste the tangy green chilli sauce that Margaret had shown us how to make, which had perhaps the consistency of pesto, of which Pete seemed to enjoy the most. We were each given a bottle of the green sauce which Catherine Ling of Camemberu fame mentioned goes well with Chicken Rice. With that, it was almost time for a sad goodbye to what had been a really enjoyable trip, made better by the company of the friends we had all made on the trip, including the members of the HKTB team, the omy team, and my fellow bloggers, as well as that of the excellent hospitality we all had been shown by the HKTB. After a quick look around the area, during which I had a quick glance at the Hung Shing temple on Queen’s Road East, which was constructed in 1847 and at the time of its construction was by the sea, it was time to board the bus for the airport and say goodbye to some of those who had opted to stay behind. With that, what certainly had been one of the most enjoyable trips I have made, came to an end.

A last look around: Hung Shing Temple (1847) on Queen's Road East.

An annex to the Hung Shing temple, a Kwan Yum temple was added in 1867.

Queen's Road East in Wan Chai.

Darren completing formalities, before we said goodbye ...

A lasting last impression of Hong Kong ... a city that reaches out for the skies in many ways.

Time to say goodbye.

All settled for the final journey to the airport.

吃喝购物乐 香港样样有私房货

By , August 6, 2010 6:00 pm

投选你最爱的部落客香港游记,就有机会赢取3天2夜香港游!

20100808_sk_hk_main

私房菜、私人形象设计、私人聚会游船河、私家特色景观摄影路线,香港样样有。

这个夏天,新加坡部落格大奖的得奖者获得香港旅游发展局的赞助,到香港参加香港龙舟嘉年华,也在旅游局的安排下,体验多样吃喝、玩、乐的“私房货”。超越美食天堂、购物天堂的玩法,你也可以自己去体验!

明星御用形象设计师陪你“瞎拼”

从尖沙咀、铜锣湾等地区购买高档、名牌服饰,到弥敦道、旺角一带的著名批发商店区,还有让“瞎拼客”动心的国际服装公司H&M等等,香港的夏季,除了平时喜欢追随潮流的购物者,也少不了前来购买季末时尚服饰的旅客。

这么多选择当前,如果有个私人形象设计师陪你一起逛街,是不是更加令人兴奋?这次的夏日之旅,香港旅游发展局拜托Kelly陈慧琳、孙耀威、谢安琪等明星的御用形象设计师黄欐尧(Celia Wong),为其中四位部落客打造一个非常不一样的自己。

Celia自两年发布一本关于女生装扮的《魔法衣柜》之后,发现Personal shopping的行业在国外非常流行,在香港却还没起步,于是开始提供这项服务。一般上,Celia都会都委托人的住家看她们的衣柜,或先了解个人的喜好,然后再进行改造。Celia自己的服装店里的服饰都是从欧洲、日本等地采购,但是她对香港的服装当然也了如指掌,所以在打造新造型时,也会依据委托人的预算去配合。

点击视频,就可以看到星级形象设计师Celia,连同著名化妆学校Make Up Forever的专业化妆师,如何为四位风格不同的部落客打造全新形象!

Celia’s Blog:  http://hk.myblog.yahoo.com/celiawongstyling
http://celiawongdada.com/
Dada-Image & Beauty Consultation Shop
2/F No. 15 Lee Garden Road, Causeway Bay
香港铜锣湾利园山道15号3楼
Tel:+852 3101 1189

Email: info@celiawongdada.com

“Make Up Forever”  网址:http://www.makeupforeveracademy.com.hk/

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扬帆游维多利亚港看夜景

坐在香港独一无二的欧洲高桅仿古帆船,享受维多利亚海港的凉风,将两侧高楼大厦的灯火尽收眼底,一边享用晚餐。

这就是在《济民号》(The Bounty)上的独特用餐体验。这艘仿古船是按照1784年一艘商船所建造,也就是好莱坞电影《The Bounty》的拍摄场景。你可以在船上办婚礼、搞派对,船上可以容纳60位宾客,是中小型聚会的理想场地。
点击视频,看看灯火璀璨的香江。

The Bounty 网址:http://www.thebounty.com.hk

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岁月神偷留下的香港风貌

要找到香港最原始的风貌,一定要往上走。香港旅游发展局为部落客们约了摄影高手孙树坤,带一伙人到中环半山区,用相机捕捉岁月在香港留下的痕迹。

孙树坤是拍摄纪录片的能手,也在大学教授新闻摄影。近年,他与志同道合的摄影师开设“光影作坊”,举办摄影展览和工作坊。他在接受访问时说,从香港的半山区,能够看见不同时候建造的建筑物,非常有层次的呈现在眼前。在越高处出现的建筑物,越是古旧。

往半山走的大部分行程都是由自动扶梯代步。从中环至半山耗资2亿4千万港元兴建的自动扶梯系统是由香港政府兴建,原意是为方便半山区居民往来中环商业区,并舒缓半山区狭窄道路的繁忙情况。孙树坤在途中带部落客走入一座回教堂、指点大家注意树根贴在墙上的树木,也带大家到香港电影《岁月神偷》拍摄场景的永利街去怀旧一番。

点击视频,感受一下不一样的香港。下回去香港,记得也到半山区去走走。

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老唐楼  私房菜

香港是个美食天堂,也不乏私房菜馆。2008年开设的鸳鸯饭店,就位于繁忙的湾仔区的一座中式古老唐楼改建而成的3层楼建筑。

饭店内只能容纳30人,只有预订才能品尝到老板徐蒝(Margaret Xu)的原创佳肴。广告界出身的徐老板,非常重视卖相、原创性,食材的新鲜,甚至有自己的农场,自己耕种有机蔬菜。招牌菜民谣黄土鸡的烤炉,也是特制的,可见她对每一个细节的用心。

点击视频,看徐蒝教部落客们如何制作青辣椒酱。

鸳鸯饭店

香港湾仔船街18号
18 Ship Street, Wan Chai
+852 2866-0868

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