Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dim Sum at Roppongi Hills

DVC00070 One of the greatest mysteries for me was how none of my friends in Japan seemed to know about Dim Sum. See, after Hong Kong I must say I got an appreciation for Dim Sum and I was sure there would be restaurants serving it in a city like Tokyo. Well it turns out I was right and people does know about it – it’s just it’s called something else in Japanese that’s all :)

So here is the thing – the kanji for Dim Sum is the same in Chinese and Japanese - 点心 but the Japanese read it as ten-shin (てんしん). This particular restaurant I went to is at Roppongi Hills, called “Hong Kong Tea House”. They offer both full dishes and dim sum a-la carte but it seems like, at least for dinner, they restrict you to open buffet if you want dim-sum. Their dim-sum list has 50 items on it and you can order to your heart’s content including most of the usual suspects (for up to 90 minutes and 3 dishes at a time) though it does cost about $40 per person… They also have this statement on there (which I took a picture of) – they charge you extra if you waste food. It’s a refreshing thing to see in this day and age where usually the opposite seems to be encouraged.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cleaning robots at Tokyo’s Narita Airport


I snagged this picture of the two cleaning robots at the Narita Airport on my way to Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago. I find it amazing how pretty much all service robots in Japan share two interesting properties – they all have cute names and cute faces. These are no different – the one on the left is a guy (or actually a boy) and his name is なり太くん (narita-kun from the name of the airport) and the one on the right is the girl and her name is エポちゃん (epo-chan from pronunciation of the word “airport”). I have not seen them in action, they were both neatly parked on the side and I was running to my gate but I think it would be pretty nice to watch them. If you look a little closely you can see the sensors on them so I am pretty sure they do have an autonomous cleaning mode but I wonder how effective they are. My Roomba does OK in my small apartment but Narita Airport is slightly bigger :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Food at Hong Kong (updated)

Hong Kong, being a pretty international city, offers yummy delicacies from both the Chinese and world cuisines. You can find good food in places ranging from cheap food vendors selling stuff outside to expensive restaurants overlooking the whole city. Here are a few I tried and what I thought about them:


Egg Tart

The Egg Tart is a pretty cheap dessert but boy, is it yummy. You can pretty much find it in any bakery but if you want to try “the best”, at least according to my amazing hosts, you should have it at the Tai Cheong Bakery in Central. It takes about 10 minutes to walk there from the MTR station, through the Escalator Link Alley. Just take the alley up until you see the small pizza place on your left then go down and walk a little to the right. You will see the small but extremely popular bakery. Alternatively you can take a cab from the station. Cabs in Hong Kong are pretty cheap (especially compared to Japan where the meter opens with about $7.50). If you are visiting Macau you can try the version of Egg Tart they have there which comes with a Portuguese twist. The full address for the HK option is:

泰昌餅家 Tai Cheong Bakery
35, Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
香港中環擺花街 35 號



Hot (Clay) Pot

Hot Pot is a pretty popular dish for locals and tourists would, in my humble opinion, do well in checking it out for themselves. Thanks to our host I was able to try out a restaurant that is very much out of the way of the typical tourist spots but is a hot spot for the locals. And why wouldn’t it be with prices around $2-$3 for each pot full of chicken/pork/beef/seafood rice all prepared by a family? Get this – the restaurant does not even sell drinks and if you ask for anything to drink they simply point you to the closest convenience store. There are no private tables, everything is connected and you sit pretty close with “strangers” but I found the experience to be enjoyable thanks to the quality of food and the friendliness of the said “strangers”. If you do go, make sure you try out the oyster omelet. In case you are interested, the place is called “Four Season Pot Rice” and it is in Yau Ma Tei. The full address is:

四季煲仔飯 Four Season Claypot Rice
46-58, Arthur Street, Yau Ma Tei



Dim  Sum

Dim Sum is a bit difficult to describe, after all it is not one single dish but rather a collection of small dishes very much like the Spanish Tapas. You can find a much better description on Wikipedia right here. There are many different places you can have Dim Sum and I heard good things about Dim Sum in Macau but the meal I had was actually right at Discovery Bay.  The image is a list of what they had on offer and as you can see there are MANY different little dishes to choose from including seafood, beef, pork or purely vegetable. If you take the ferry there you can get a free return ticket (about $4 in value) if you spend more than $10 which is actually pretty difficult since the food is as cheap as it is good.



Western Food

There are many, many restaurants to get your “western food” fix but I tried out the “Pearl” on the Peak. It was pretty good, offering various Italian style dishes and especially very tasty meat dishes. The prices are more than a bit higher than your typical restaurant in Hong Kong given the prime, touristy location and the class of restaurant but the view of the whole city below you alone is worth the cost. The staff is very professional as well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back from Hong Kong


And the fact that I was there is why I couldn’t post anything for this long, I swear…  It has nothing to do with me being lazy and stuff :P

I took two days of paid holidays which with the weekend and the public holiday on Monday (it was “Coming of Age Day” in Japan which I managed to miss once again) so I had about 3 full days to go around. I have lots of pictures and stories to write about the food, the city, and where I stayed – Discovery Bay. My hosts, Mei and Joe made this trip possible and were amazing hosts so I cannot thank them enough.

Tomorrow we start with the food…

ps. I took the picture above from “The Peak”. It came out pretty nice I think ;)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Women going crazy for pictures of shirtless guys at Japanese subway stations


OK, this was the scene at various subway stations on Sunday while I was making my way back home and I could not really figure out why… Can anyone enlighten me? There were actually security guards telling the women to not stop for taking pictures since they were making it very difficult for the other travelers going through the station. At this point all I can say it is something that will happen on the 9th but… that’s about it. Oh, and I think these guys are from a music group (boy band) though I am not sure which one.