Friday, April 30, 2010

樹記鮮竹 - the Mecca of tofu skin in Hong Kong

Last Saturday, mum went to Sham Shui Po 深水埗 to look at threads, cloth, buttons and other sewing accessories. Of course food is never far from her mind. While browsing at the mind boggling selection along Yu Chau Street 汝州街,  she saw a few people queuing outside a shop selling tofu skin. Queues are usually useful signs for good stuff around. The shop sells 7 different variations of tofu skin and mum bought 5 of them. Suddenly dad remembered having read an article about the best tofu skin shop in Hong Kong so he was wondering if it was the same shop. They took the name card which showed a tasteful picture of the shop with its metal shutters shut.

Mum and dad have always tried replicating the pan-fried yuba 湯葉 they had in Kyoto by buying packet tofu skin from the supermarket. They never tasted the same, until they tried frying their latest purchase. All you need is a shallow frying pan where you heat up a bit of your favorite cooking oil, fry the tofu skin in low heat until golden brown. The crispy exterior contrasts nicely with the flavorful, soft interior. The secret is all in the fresh tofu skin.

The shop turned out to be featured in an old article in 飲食男女.

Excuse me, where's the shopping paradise please?

Dad often tells us that Hong Kong used to be known as a shopper's paradise. He is probably talking about when our great-great-grand father was still living in the US, ie over 20 years ago, when Hong Kong kids would go to UK boarding schools with their latest models of Walkman and be the envy of all the other boarders. So what happened in the interim years? Both the rise of China as a global export power and the spread of internet have brought down the price in so many things across the globe. Somehow that does not apply to Hong Kong.

Lets just take the water filter we drink from at home as an example. The water filter that comes inside our Samsung fridge costs HK$400, but you can buy 2 for US$65 inclusive of shipping (~HK$255 each) in the US. Not only is the price more expensive and sometimes you might need to wait over 3 to 4 months after you order the item having paid for it in the first place. "We have the water filter in stock now. You might want to order a few extra. The next shipment may not be for another 6 months!!", the customer service assistant so kindly advise when dad called up to check price and availability. The same item ordered in the US was dispatched within 24 hours.

Guess this is nothing new to all the people who have been shopping online for the last few years. But a lot of online retailers insist on domestic delivery only, notably in Japan and the US. That is where package forwarding services like come in. You sign up and pay an annual fee to get a mailing address where all your online purchases in the US can be sent to.

The following 2 water filter replacements are also great value when bought online. In Hong Kong, you pay the US RRP but you can find US domestic online retailers selling them at significant discount to RRP.

And there are even more extreme cases where people happily pay premium to US RRP for goods which are essentially the same. If mum and dad eventually acquire the item online, we might talk about it here. Until then......

Monday, April 19, 2010

Capital Cafe in Wanchai 灣仔 華星冰室

Billed as one of the "40 Hong Kong foods that we can't live without", scrambled egg sandwich is by no means a Hong Kong speciality. Still it is worth noting when there are shops famous for serving such simple dish. Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司 earns its reputation from super efficient service and those fluffy scrambled eggs. But if you don't want to venture out to Jordan for such local Hong Kong delicacy and want a quieter time while enjoying it, you might want to try Capital Cafe in Heard Street in Wanchai.

Some recent highlights

Don't touch my roast goose "lai fun" 燒鵝瀨粉!!

Time better spent sleeping!!

Uniquely Chinese - Shanghai Expo Song

More news broadcasts in YouTube

The organizers of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai have asked Japanese singer-songwriter Mayo Okamoto for permission to use one of her songs, which a Chinese composer had been accused of plagiarizing, in its promotional activities.

Our very own Susan Boyle

Auntie Rita sent us this YouTube clip a few days ago. We shall let the clip do the talking!!