April 2011

Food: Asia and Travels29 Apr 2011 09:51 am

Haha, yeah right. They do have an English menu. Also when we returned a few days later, there was no menu, just carts.

The terrible side of being sick in Hong Kong was not that I was exhausted most of the time, it was that I had no appetite. I had hours of research put in to places to visit for BBQ pork, noodles and dim sum. And back ups for if those places were closed or busy. It still pains me as I write this a month later.

After an underwhelming meal the night before, the four of us headed out for an early dim sum at Luk Yu. Most places start serving at 10 or 11am, but the legendary Luk Yu opens at 7 am. I chose Luk Yu for a few reasons, but the early hour for a meal was the main one.

I’ll take half a teacake, please!

Oh god. Perfect baked cha siu bao. The pastries at Luk Yu were out of this world. The filling was delicious too.

It was not until our return trip the day we left that I noticed how insane the egg tarts were. They were layer upon layer of pastry. Probably 25 or more, filled with the eggy custard. So flaky. So good.

Meh. The beef balls were the only item that did not do much for me. Too big, too gelatinous and too tasteless.

Luk Yu is so classic. It opened in 1933 and really retains a lot of the same ambiance. It is reminiscent of a French bistro in decor (no, seriously!) with wood and stained glass and brass everywhere. White table cloths and tile floor complete the feeling. The service was excellent considering how badly people bash on it online. We felt welcome and enjoyed it so much we returned the morning we left. As I mentioned however, even though both visits were on weekdays at about 9am, one was menu and one was cart.

Luk Yu can get busy; I think there are at least two floors above the main that fill up. Tables are full of men sipping tea and reading the papers. The prices were great considering the work that went into the pastries. One of the best meals I have had ever had in Asia, for sure, for company and for food.

Food: Asia and Travels27 Apr 2011 01:32 pm

Our trip did not start off well. I had been looking forward to seeing Hong Kong and my parents for months…and I came down with a pretty desperate case of the flu Friday night. I dedicated all my energy to getting better, and even as I scraped myself out of my bed to pack a few hours before our flight left on Sunday, poor Mike was fighting off the bug.


This pile of blankets is Mike.

At the airport, I encountered something I have never had to contend with before in my time in Japan…only one vending machine to choose from. I settled for this aloe cube and white grape drink. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exactly good or what I was looking for either. Sigh.

We got food on the flight – I think. This grey stuff is supposed to be Japanese chicken. Hong Kong Express was otherwise a pretty great airline. Food on a flight under three hours is pretty amazing. Even if it is inedible.

After rendezvousing with my parents at the airport (their flight from Bangkok landed a half hour before ours) and heading for the hotel, we went out for food. We went to one of Hong Kong’s many cooked food markets. Sadly, it was kind of underwhelming.


It reminded me of the Singapore covered food markets, but a less awesome. We ended up at a BBQ meat stand and after a lot of miming got some goose. Or maybe it was duck. We are still not sure. English was not very rampant in this place, despite being pretty common in other areas.

My mom…my poor mom. She braved some sort of Hainanese chicken rice. It was cold. It was salty. It was bloody.

But, in a very brave food front, she ate it. She has gotten really amazing about trying different kinds of food, especially since visiting us in Japan. I am so proud of her.

End of day 1 ended with a tour of Langham Place shopping center and a stop in at a pretty great little candy shop … with one of the bitchiest clerks I have had the displeasure of dealing with. Guess all the sugar goes on the treats.

Day two was a bit better…

Food and Food: Asia and japan19 Apr 2011 11:58 pm

Flyer from the Miyazakiya blog. I love that the name in Japanese for these food trucks is Neo Yatai, which means New Food Stall.

There is a small band of roving food trucks here on Okinawa that seem to be at festivals. They also seem to be everywhere I need them to be at the right moment. The one I have visited the most has been this nikumaki-onigiri truck called Miyazakiya.

Different flavours available. They also accept dollars!

The first time I came across it, I was soaked and miserable. I had been in Okinawa a few weeks and decided to go downtown to look at English books. Along the way it started raining and I was not prepared, blah blah blah… this truck was waiting for me and my cold wet feet and empty stomach right by the Miebashi monorail station in Naha.

The second time was when Mike and I were furniture shopping very, VERY far from our home. We were grumpy and tired, and hungry after riding the bus for a long time to get there, since these were the days before our car. There, as if by magic, was the Miyazakiya truck. Wonderful.

Nikumaki-onigiri are a dish originally from Miyazaki prefecture (hence the name of the truck), and it is essentially pork marinated in a special sauce, then wrapped around glutinous rice and grilled. I know, it sounds too simple, but it is really good. The name translates literally to “meat wrapped rice ball.”

The truck uses a little blowtorch to heat up the rice balls and they come out soft, moist and savory…yet a bit crispy. Especially satisfying on bad days. Believe me.

They come in a few different flavours, with wasabi, cheese and so on. I hope to find this truck again this summer, along with his friends selling Indian food, rice bowls, uh, whatever this stuff is and melon pan. The trucks tend to appear at festivals and in somewhat random places in between, so keep your eyes peeled.


Food and Food: Asia and Travels16 Apr 2011 05:20 pm

Hong Kong update to come soon.