Food, Hong Kong, Travel, Vietnamese

One of the many reasons why I love the food in Hong Kong is how well the F&B industry portrays the many international cuisines around the world. I’m a bit of a Vietnamese cuisine fan in Vancouver and I was just really craving some good pho in Hong Kong. I’ve heard of many good places like Chom Chom and Nha Trang but I was particularly interested in Nha Trang’s new sister restaurant, BÊP. Not only did the name intrigue me with its one syllable pronunciation but I’ve also seen some of their raving reviews.  BÊP means Vietnamese kitchen and I was quite excited to try them out when I finally decided to go with my mom on a Saturday night.

It was around 9pm when my mom and I decided to go to the BÊP next to Pure Fitness in Central. The location was pretty much in a prime area in Central and you would easily spot the restaurant if you were on the long escalators. When we arrived, there were already three tables in front of us but people were going in and out quickly so we got a table after a short wait. The restaurant was packed and seating was very crowded. I wouldn’t recommend this place if you’re looking to have a quiet catch up time with a friend.

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Cua Lot Cuon

What’s in it: Soft shell crab rolls, crispy soft shell crab, cucumber, fresh mint and napa slaw.

I’ve had really bad rice rolls at several Vietnamese restaurants in Vancouver and Hong Kong but these were the best ones I’ve had.

The herb stuffing was not too dry or overpowering. The texture of the herbs were also soft so there weren’t any hard bits to chew on or spit out. To add more texture and flavour to the rice rolls, the soft shell crab was deliciously crunchy and savoury.

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Pho Tai

I like to stick with the usual so I ordered a simple pho with raw thin sliced sirloin beef and rice noodles in a beef broth. The broth wasn’t very oily but it needed more flavour so I kicked it up by adding a bunch Sriracha in. After I was done, I even drank the soup and it was just the best beef pho I’ve ever had.

The portion was relatively big for one person and there was quite a bit of beef to noodle ratio. I would highly recommend this for anyone who just wants something simple and satisfying.

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Food, Japan, Japanese, Osaka, Travel

I’ve already tried many types of Japanese food during my trip in Osaka but the last thing I haven’t tried was omurice. Omurice is fried rice with a thin layer of egg wrapped around it, basically an omelette with fried rice inside. I have no idea how Japanese people can make this so savoury and I’ve always wanted to know what they add into the rice.

On the day we went to eat omurice, we weren’t actually planning to have omurice. We were walking around the food court at Osaka Station when we went by one of Osaka’s famous omurice spots, Hokkyokusei. We’ve already had ramen, gyoza, sushi and all that other stuff so omurice was our decision.

The restaurant was very tiny with only 5-7 seats available. We got a seat right in front of their open kitchen where I could see the chef tossing and mixing large woks of fried rice. I tried to see what he was adding into the rice but none of the sauces had labels so I completely missed my chance.

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Mentaiko Omurice

I was introduced to mentaiko at Tore Tore Fish Market and I’ve had mentaiko for dinner every night ever since. If I saw a dish that included mentaiko, I would order it just to see how mentaiko could compliment other ingredients. Mentaiko is marinated pollock roe and it is not meant to be eaten in large portions. When I was in Osaka, they would often serve mentaiko with a bowl of rice so we would break apart the mentaiko and eat it with rice.

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The mentaiko served with our omurice was mixed with Japanese mayo making it sweet with a hint of fishiness to the dish.I wanted to taste the mentaiko more but unfortunately, the mentaiko was overpowered by the fried rice and other ingredients.

When we split the omelette in half, the rice was piping hot steam. I was very impressed that the chef added small bits of squid and shrimp inside the rice so it wasn’t just rice with egg. The rice was incredibly rich in flavour with a bit of sweet soy sauce and other sorts of savoury sauces thrown in to make it fragrant and delicious.

Contemporary Western, Food, Hong Kong, Japanese, Travel

Yardbird is a modern-izakaya style restaurant that has been opened for 4 years in Hong Kong now. Perhaps it was the walking distance from the MTR station that prevented me from going all these years but it was about time I went to try them out. Priding themselves on their fresh ingredients and savoury yakitori, Yardbird grills their chicken over the traditional binchotan charcoal. Their menu also provides many other delicious options such as fried rice and other small bites that are not chicken.

When we got there at around 7:45pm, there was already a waiting line in front of us. We waited for about 30 minutes until it was our turn but since PMQ was nearby, we killed time and they called us when there was a table ready.

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KFC

You would think that this stood for Kentucky Fried Chicken but KFC at Yardbird actually means Korean Fried Cauliflower.

The cauliflower is actually covered by a spicy and sweet coating with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. The shell was scrumptious with hints of sweetness and a sudden kick of spiciness. At first, it tasted like candy but the aftertaste was burning hot.

For those who got through the layer of spiciness, the cauliflower inside was actually barely seasoned. It tasted like a normal boiled cauliflower so it helped to tone down the hotness.

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Chicken Oyster

When we ordered this, we thought it would be an oyster wrapped with chicken. I know it’s a bit embarrassing but even the table next to us thought it was a similar concept too. We kept biting into it and when we were done, my friend and I looked at each other and asked “where’s the oyster?”.

The chicken oyster is a very unique part of a chicken. The meat is shaped like an oyster and it’s a piece of dark meat located on either sides of a chicken’s backbone. It’s an incredibly tender part of a chicken and it would taste like a piece of chicken thigh at first bite.

With a crispy and charred skin on the outside, the inside of the chicken was extremely tender and juicy. I know it’s easy to think that this is a piece of chicken thigh but it’s even juicier. I don’t think this was heavily seasoned so I really got to taste the fresh flavours.

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Tempura Corn

I’ve never had anything remotely similar to Yardbird’s tempura corn at any restaurant and this quickly became the highlight of my dinner.

The entire tempura was crispy, fluffy and airy. When I bit into it, the kernels of corn fell apart and crumbled down revealing more corn inside. The outer shell of the tempura was crisp with minimal seasoning while the inside was warm and soft corn. I loved eating this because not only was it incredibly tasty but the eating part was fun and unique.

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Fried Chicken

The fried chicken definitely needed more seasoning and crunch on the outside. Even with lemon juice, the taste was still pretty bland. The good side is that the fried chicken is served with a small plate of creamy spicy mayo on the side so since I needed that flavour, I double dipped multiple times.

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Rice Cakes

These rice cakes are unlike any rice cakes I have ever had. They tasted like candy with a crispy, sweet and caramelized outer with a soft and chewy inner.

The rice cakes were covered in dry seasoning made from dried fish, seaweed and sesame seeds that enhanced both the taste and texture. Give me a bowl of this and I’ll be done in 10 minutes or less.

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Duck Fried Rice

Yardbird has special items on their menu and one of their popular ones on the night was their duck fried rice. My friend and I were worried that yakitori wouldn’t be enough for us so we decided to order carbs to fill us up.

The rice was fried with herbs, sesame seeds and seaweed which made it taste very fresh and “natural”. I couldn’t really figure out the duck taste because of all that seasoning.

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