再遊日本中部(1): 名古屋

日本好食好住好玩,樣樣有品質保證。地方乾淨,人helpful服務好。廉航機票平,日元滙價跌,真係想唔到更好的short trip destination。就是這樣,這半年內我去了三次日本。

今次飛名古屋,去年HK Express $2 mega sale時book,機票不用一千元,抵!

我喜歡名古屋的shopping area 荣。幾條街集中所有shops,有六七間department store,行一日都行唔晒。街道寬闊又有條理,比東京open and 舒服。中間有個公園,shopping時可出去get some fresh air。

TV Tower 矮矮的,附近夜景不錯。

 

第一晚行完街就去試名古屋名物矢場町炸豬排 (http://www.yabaton.com/modules/menu/index.php?content_id=1),最出名是其秘制味噌汁。好好味,炸豬排鬆化,味噌帶甜,撈飯一流!店內店外四周都是豬豬decoration,好得意。荣和矢場町站附近有四間分店,行完街飯食最方便。

名古屋不是太high rise,高少少的酒店都享有city view。I stayed at ANA Crowne Plaza Grand Court Nagoya,唔洗一千蚊一晚,已算是市內top hotel. 去名古屋比去東京經濟很多。

日本中部機場有全日本最大的outdoor look out, 睇飛機升降very cool. 我去那日好大風,仲凍過雪山的温度,very cold至真!

機場有好多間出名的餐廳的分店,臨走時我不放棄最後機會,吃了名古屋名物鰻魚飯。鰻魚飯的特色食法,一碗要分幾次食。首先是淨食,跟住是加wasabi and seaweed食,再跟住是撈湯食。

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沖繩(6): 食

沖繩菜同平時食開的日本菜有好大分別,更似台灣菜。最著名是苦瓜炒蛋,苦瓜炒豬肉,豬手麵,豆腐,我有試過,但講真,唔覺得咁好食。

Blue Seal是沖繩雪糕,有Okinawa salt cookies, 紅芋等沖繩特別口味。Surprisingly food quality is very high. 700 yen 有fresh crab pasta, 好味過好多restaurant! 去沖繩必食!

跟住旅遊書推介,去恩納豚 (www.onnaton.com)  吃名貴的Aguu 豬和石垣牛。豬牛肉set要8400yen,豬肉only set要4080 yen,一點都不便宜。最讚是個湯底,濃郁帶少少辣,據稱要餚幾日。豬牛肉都太多肥膏,我知肥才算是上等貨,但唔啱我口味。太多香港人去捧場,店主會用廣東話講「多謝晒,下次再來!」

沖繩出名的地道酒叫泡盛,是很strong的米酒,太重口味,我寧願飲一般清酒。日本最南面的清酒brewery黎明,好香純,不過要去國際通的古酒家才買到,一般超市冇賣。我仲買咗好多沖繩限定beer回來!

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東京(1): 食好嘢

上星期去東京5日4夜。臨時買國泰Fanfare,但planning一點都沒偷懶,幾日內看了十幾本東京旅遊書。Overall我覺得長空出版的travel guide最多資料map最易follow.
去東京的第一重點:要食好嘢!
美登利壽司(sushino.midori.co.jp)在澀谷站,出名好食。我下午四點去,不需排隊。點了人氣No. 1 sushi set, 真是超好味呀!12款壽司12次哇哇叫!跟餐的蟹糕salad更是一絕,不可不吃!因太好味,第二晚晚飯時間再去,但人龍實在太長,只好放棄。

舞泉炸豬扒(mai-sen.com)是我吃過最好味的,皮鬆化,豬扒淋到可以用筷子夾開。Lunch set只需990 yen, 超級物超所值。位於原宿,食完lunch行街最方便。

森本串燒,在澀谷站旁,非常authentic。燒雞肉棒是店的No. 1, 有很香的洋蔥味,肉汁多到滴出來!

在淺草的色川鰻魚被旅遊書介紹為最好味的鰻魚飯。未入店已聞到炭燒香味。不過期望過高,好食,但沒有哇哇聲。

淺草另一著名食店是大黑家tempura (tempura.co.jp), 炸漿很特別,上面淋黑豉油。Dinner去食,不用排隊。


淺草雷門附近有很多聞名小食,龟十豆沙餅,皮香軟,有點似pancake夾豆沙。

仲見世通有多間懷舊小食店,早餐去掃街很不錯。木村家人形燒(kimuya-ya.co.jp)太甜,但勝在造形cute. Azuma丸子,軟軟的糯米加黃糖粉,幾得意。

一蘭拉麵,24小時營業,最啱行完街夜晚去食。等入座時個waiter問「Where’s your luggage?」我以為入面地方細,佢想安排個位給我們放行李,我答:「No luggage.」佢想了一會說:「English? Chinese? Japanese?」哦!原來佢想問「What’s your language」,想俾張啱語言的order form我們。Wahahahaha……


東京,隨時都想再去。離開,是為了回來。

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約旦(12):飲食篇

     

約旦菜是我們心目中的中東菜, lamb, kebab, olives, cheese, hummus, yogurt, etc. 都幾啱我口味。

在fast food shop吃過幾次,kebab和烤肉多汁濃味偏醎,沒有刀义提供,會用手食。但又不提供tissue,醬汁四處流,甚為clumsy。我見到當地人都沒有抺手抺嘴的習慣,好奇怪!好在我早有帶備濕紙巾!

在貴少少的餐廳,麵包和olives come free at every meal. 吃了幾日olives覺得太醎,很想吃清淡一點的蔬菜,於是點個salad啦。誰不知個salad有50粒olives, Arhhhhhhhhh!

olive salad

回敎徒不吃豬肉,surprisingly supermarket有賣pork products eg bacon and ham, and many varieties of beef pastrami, turkey bacon etc. Cold cuts very good quality, much cheaper than Hong Kong.

I can never understand why Muslim countries have very different interpretations on the restriction of alcohol. Jordan是合法賣酒飲酒,有its own brew of local beer and wine. Supermarket個sales話it’s legal to drink on the street,但為了不attract unwanted attention, we put our beers into brown paper bags when drinking. Beer很高酒精成份,standard 的都8%! Local wine 好難飲,imported wine好貴。不過酒並不重要,在炎熱的天氣下,吃了那麼多過醎食物後最想飲的是可樂。住過兩間高級些的酒店,minibar 的soft drinks都是免費,在Petra暴曬後,一口氣飲了四罐汽水!

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阿聯酋(4) – Food and drink

Food and drink in the United Arab Emirates is very good, much better than I expected. Dubai is awash with expensive exquisite restaurants. Many world renowned chefs like Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay have opened restaurants in Dubai. The reason is simple – there is money to be made. They can charge any price. The oil rich Emiratis, deprived expats and big spender tourists are willing to pay big money for luxuries. I didn’t have much time in Dubai and didn’t have a chance or the urge to visit one of the top expensive restaurants. Hong Kong is a gourmet paradise which makes us hard to impress. I’d rather save my opportunities for food that is harder to find in Hong Kong.

I read in the travel guides that real Arab food is hard to get outside of local home. Actually, for the time that we were there, we didn’t get any Arab food. Our idea of Middle Eastern food such as kebabs, hummus, is actually Lebanese food, which for some reason is also described as Arabian food. I got confused because all along I thought these are two entirely different places. Anyway, we had a few Lebanese meals which all proved to be very satisfying. Juicy kebabs are freshly grilled with very nice exotic spices. There is unlimited supply of freshly baked hot pita bread – real pièce de résistance. It’s sooooooo soft and good. Food usually comes with a platter of fresh salad, all vegetables uncut. I suppose this keeps it fresh and makes it easier to recycle any unused vegetables. Quite environmental and economical when you think about it. [click title for more]

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How to stay happy in a relationship (4):Be Sweet

I made a cheescake last night and put it in the fridge. This morning, I received an SMS from my husband:

“Hi, trying cheesecake now. Fantastic. There are reasons to keep loving you! X”

He is pretty sweet, isn’t he?

Despite being married for quite a while, we still remain sweet to each other. We always kiss good bye – it comes so naturally to us. It’s actually another friend who noticed and asked another western friend of hers why he doesn’t kiss goodbye, thinking it’s the western norm…

We often tell each other “I love you”. It doesn’t cost anything to show our affection. When you say “I love you”, it reminds you that you have someone to love. You ARE in love. Even if you don’t get the loving feeling, hopefully the one whom you say it to believes that you actually love him/her, feels more loved after hearing what you say, and love you even more. It’s a no cost investment to express your love, isn’t it? So, why not?

Be sweet. Make something special for your loved ones.

Here is the recipe of the cheesecake with LOVE:

Ingredients

125g digestive biscuits

75g melted butter

300g cream cheese

60g icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

250ml double cream

2 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup water

1 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method

  1. Crush digestive biscuits into crumbs, then stir in the melted butter.
  2. Press the biscuit mixture into a 20cm springform tin.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth.
  4. Whip the double cream, then fold it into the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Spoon the cheesecake filing on top of the biscuit base and smooth with a spatula. Put it in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
  6. For the blueberry topping, mix sugar, cornstarch, water, and lemon juice in small saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened. Add blueberries; cook until bubbly. Chill. Spread on top of cheesecake and refrigerate.

Tips

  1. Digestive biscuits can be crumbled in a food processor. The manual method is to put biscuits into a ziploc bag, crush them with a rolling pin.
  2. Be sure you line the cake tin with baking paper. Biscuit base tends to stick to the tin and it’s hard to take it out.
  3. It takes time to set the cheesecake filing. Do not spoon the blueberry topping over the cake until it’s set. Otherwise it won’t look clean.
  4. The blueberry topping takes 24 hours to properly set in shape. In terms of timing, make it immediately after you make the cake, but chill it separately in the fridge. Spread it over the cake after at least 3 hours, and then chill for a day to get a nice layer of blueberry topping.

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Recipe – Serves 4

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Prawns with Chilli, Parsley, Ginger and Garlic on Toasted Ciabatta bread.

A fusion between Italian and Thai comes to mind when you taste this quick and easy to prepare dish and it should prove to be a popular one for friends and family. It can be served as a starter or a main course – you’ll need the following ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil

1 finger-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced

2-3 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced

16 large whole tiger prawns, tails on or off (use more if prawns are small)

1-2 lemons

1 handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Sea salt and ground black pepper

4 long slices of ciabatta bread, toasted

Method: Heat a large frying pan and add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, ginger, chilli, garlic and prawns. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes, then turn the heat down and squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Add the parsley and add a few splashes of olive oil. Toss around and remove from heat. The sauce should be nice and juicy. It may need a little more lemon juice. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately over the ciabatta. Enjoy!!

Tips: Keep a bottle of chilled white wine in the fridge to accompany this dish. Add more chilli if you like it spicy.

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北海道之旅:札幌-帶廣(11月9日)

在北海道的第一個早上,一心打算開開心心去玩,點知Alan因為遺失了他放在銀包多年的相片,好depressed地話是凶兆。之前我又聽說下雪開車會有一定危險,令到我都真的有點驚。好彩奇跡地我們在之前一晚去過的105円店的垃圾桶找到張相,化凶兆為喜兆。Alan已寫了相關的blog,在這裡我不多說。整件事真的太神奇, 要是那間店舖會每天開舖前清理垃圾桶,那張相就已經被丟掉。 要是那間店舖繁忙多人一點,便會有其他人丟垃圾,摭着相張。就算無人用過個垃圾桶,要是張相不是面向上,我們也不會見得到。這件事證明了,屬於你的東西始終是你的,無需强求,世事往往都有着奇妙的安排。失而復得,令我們更加懂得珍惜所有[...]

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Eating and drinking on Hong Kong’s public transportation

On most public transportation in Hong Kong the consumption of food and beverages is outlawed. It is acceptable to nibble on Mini-buses and The Star Ferry fleet, and it is more than acceptable to do the same on almost all inter-island ferries – usually on the upper decks. The convenience to eat on the ferries is great and I would imagine that most ferry commuters would not like to see this abolished.

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So, given Hong Kong’s decent regard for rules and regulations the vast majority of people abide seamlessly by the simple rules and can easily go without consuming snacks or any other beverages on a moving vehicle for the duration of their journey, and it is fair to say that one could travel the length and breadth of Hong Kong on MTR trains and buses without seeing a single person nibbling or slurping away. However, there are exceptions to the norm as ever and on many occasions the by laws are being broken on a daily basis – likely in a city with a large population. It appears on the face of it that the biggest offenders (or rule breakers) are teenagers, usually in school uniforms and in the company of peers, school crest sewn on for all to see. The school is hardly to blame but it is hard to separate the act of doing something which is on the cusp of anti-social and against the by laws of the transportation company and not register subconsciously the school name. I’m pretty sure that the kids are not dying of thirst or hunger and could easily wait until they are outside the train and the station’s ‘paid areas’ before delving into their greasy purchase.

There are fines for eating on public transportation so for those who’ve been living on Mars for the past quarter century – check out MTR by law 27(b) and you’ll see that the fine for the consumption of food and beverages is $2000. It’s a stiff penalty and rightly, so. There’s nothing worst than smelling a passengers filthy food on a busy MTR train, or a quiet one for that matter. It’s just not nice and invariably, some part of the food’s contents or wrapping drops to the floor unnoticed by the socially inept diner. So if my observations are intact, there could be a relationship between the age of the offenders and the act and if this is the case, the question to ask is why? Perhaps it is a lack of social etiquette, education, development, care and pride in their city, manners, decency or basic common sense. I beg it’s not the last one because if it is, it doesn’t bode well for Hong Kong’s cleanliness or hygiene in the future.   

Make a conscious effort on your travels to note the age group of people you spot eating or drinking on public transportation. You’ll see a trend, I’m sure!!

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Food photos

A blunt question – Have you ever taken a photograph of (only) food, either something you ordered at a restaurant or that you made yourself? If you answer no, then you’re definitely not from Hong Kong or China, or at the very least, you are lying or have a really bad memory. Anyway…

Personally, I never even thought about taking food photos before I came to Asia. Yes, there were occasions where elaborate spreads of food were photographed, like Christmas time, birthdays and wedding gatherings and the like, but the frame included people as well and not just food. I’ve come to think of this as an Asian ‘thing’, and make no mistake thinking Asian’s love and appreciate food more than others; that’s not true – food is revered by everyone but not photographed by everyone.

I’m at a loss to know why people are so hell-bent on taking pictures of food. My original reaction was to eat the dishes presented before me, rather than take pictures and risk them going cold. It just seems odd that people bother to take individual pictures of food rather than tucking in the moment it arrives! And that’s not the worst part. There are occasions where the amount of time spent photographing pays no respect to the food at all, especially when everyone in a party has to be photographed with a particular dish – delicacy or not. So it’s not just individual snapshots of food, there are people in the frame now. Imagine this; Spicy chicken wings, wow, so greasy and shiny, all four of them – reactions from the average diner in Hong Kong, photograph them! Firstly, the dish itself with a macro lens setting and then with the diners either individually or as a group – people will ask to see the photo to check that the lighting and their pose is acceptable and if not might be silly enough to ask for a retake – seriously! And if the food goes cold before everyone has their shiny cheeky face posing with the most basic of dishes, then so-be-it. It’s the same for almost all orders. And it’s a lot more noticeable when people travel – easily taking a few hundred food shots alone on a short trip.

It just makes me wonder why people get so excited about the idea of posing with food. I’m all up for a photo before any meal or occasion but there is a limit to the amount of time given over to it. Next time you’re at a dinner gathering feel free to strike a pose with a plate of greasy chicken wings, a steaming hotpot or a delicious hairy crab – it’s in your nature! I’ve done it myself, actually!

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