May 25, 2014

Jack Jap Snacks - a Snoopy Valentine!

So it's the first Jack Snacks post I've done in what feels like forever (not far off I guess!) so I thought I'd choose something interesting. It's been a few months since the snack was consumed but I wanted to share it anyway.

As you may know, Valentines day in Japan is a day where the men receive gifts - usually chocolate. The ladies don't get the gifts until a month later on March 14 called "White Day". Lucky for me, Jess happened to be in Tokyo around Valentines day this year and brought me back some Valentines-edition Snoopy chocolates from Grand Four. There are so many different styles around at this time, I'd love to go see them for myself one day!

Though the flavours were a little on the sweet side for my usual taste they were very nice chocolates indeed. And the packaging! Japanese packaging tends to be excessive but in this case you can't help but love how cute it is! Who wouldn't be won over by a valentine's gift like this?

For me? Why you shouldn't have!

Ok maybe you should have :)

Hello Snoopy and Belle.... almost too cute to eat, almost.
What: Valentines Day Snoopy chocolates by Grand Four
Where: Tokyo

April 18, 2014

We're back! We're back! And at Yat Lok too!

Yup, we're back! We're sorry it's taken so long but a lot has happened since our last post in 2012. The biggest of which was Jess' return home from London - yay! Life gets a little too busy and we struggled to find the time to blog but we kept saying we'd get back to it and we've finally done it! We may no longer be on opposites of the globe but we still want to share all the great food we eat here in Sydney and on our travels around the world. Our posts won't be so lengthy but hopefully more frequent :)

To continue the theme of returns, this post is about our favourite place to eat goose in Hong Kong - Yat Lok. Because one can't help but return to Yat Lok over and over again just to eat the glorious goose. It's on the Hong Kong Michelin Guide's "Bib Gourmand" list but that's not what took us there. It was Jess who stumbled across it by chance and thought it looked like a place we needed to try. She was right too! So tasty and perfectly cooked, even better if you can get your jaws on a prized goose leg. So tasty that Jack ate there twice in one week on her first ever trip to Hong Kong last year. So tasty that when were in Hong Kong for a week in March we ate there thrice!

It's only a small place in Central so weekday lunchtime gets busy - try to eat outside of these times to avoid the lines and to have a more relaxed meal. Apparently the char siu (bbq pork) is good too but somehow we didn't try it as roast goose trumps pork any day!

Spot the difference - "off peak" vs the tail end of weekday lunch. Love the big chopping board!

Roast goose leg with rice noodles - this is Yat Lok's signature dish and rightly so

Why hello there!

Half a roast goose makes for a delicious lunch for 3

Jess' last goose before leaving Hong Kong - roast goose on rice

Jack's last goose before leaving Hong Kong - goose leg and milk tea - yum!

What: Yat Lok Restaurant
Where: G/F, 34-38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong (we found exit D2 from Central station the easiest).
When: Mon-Sat 8am-9pm, Sun and pub hols 9am-5:30pm. From what we can tell bbq meats aren't available til 11am.
How much: Roast goose leg with rice noodles $69hkd, less for non-leg pieces.

August 25, 2012

Street Food on Jalan Alor

It's been a long time since since my last post as I was in Malaysia for work in the month of July before returning to London for the Olympics.  I am back again in Malaysia, this time for at least 5 weeks and already time has flown as I am 2 weeks in.  Whilst Malaysia's food heaven provides ample blog material, it has also kept me extremely busy as I endeavour to eat as much as possible back in my home country.

I'm in KL for work so that has also kept me busy but I have managed to visit Jalan Alor twice already, this time with my Aussie mate Lauren who was also here for work which was great as we got to catch up.  Jalan Alor is a busy eat street in the city centre, right near Bukit Bintang, which is really happening at night.  Here you can get a variety of hawker food - the usual favourites like "Char Kway Teoh"  (famous Penang fried noodles), "Har Mee" (prawn soup noodles) and grilled chicken wings.  There's also an abundance of seafood options including oyster omelette which I introduced Lauren to.  We both loved it, especially the garlic sauce which added to the flavour but I was somewhat concerned for the other passengers who would be flying back from KL to Sydney the next morning with Lauren. 

Hawker stands - GIANT prawns - Kway Teoh - Pandas & dessert?

We shared three dishes:  a Kway Teoh, chicken & rice noodles ("Gei Si Hor Fun") and the omelette, all of which cost only 25RM (or£5/$8) which is the normal price for street food.  As I always say, why would you want to eat anywhere else?  I rarely eat in "proper" restaurants in Malaysia as it's just not worth it compared to the quality you get for the price of street food.
Apart from all the hawker food stalls on Jalan Alor, there are also various street steamboat ("lok lok") or grills where you get seafood and meats on sticks including some giant prawns that we saw at one of the grill stands. 

There are also many fruit vendors selling local Malaysia fruits like rambutans, longans, star fruit and the famous "king of fruits", durian.  The mix of food items on this street make it a great little stop for a snack or a meal.  You can also get some desserts like soybean ("tofu-fa"), advertised by a large number of panda bear dolls - bizarre but cute!

"Lok lok" - garlicy oyster omelette - local fruits & the king of fruits

As a Malaysian, I would say the quality of food at Jalan Alor is just average as you tend to have to go to specific places for specific foods; for example, the best satay is in Kajang, the best "bakuteh" is in Klang (although that is debatable amongst locals) and the best dry won ton noodles (in my opinion anyway) is in Ipoh.  However, Jalan Alor is right in the centre of town and is a great experience for those new to street food in Malaysia.  A recommended option for anyone visiting KL and looking for a relaxed but authentic food experience.  Enjoy!

What:  Street food
Where:  Jalan Alor, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (all cab drivers will know this)
How much:  various - noodles 6RM, Oyster omelette 12.50RM, large bottle of Tiger beer 16RM

August 24, 2012

Princess Coco Part 2!

So you might have read my post last week when I went to check out Princess Coco when they had their 'sneak preview' opening. They were closed again monday to wednesday this week for further 'training, security and refrigeration upgrade'. Today they were open again and I decided to buy a couple of their individual cakes to take home and share with my mum (THE cake lover of all time).

Sorry mum, there's only 2 cakes in there!

Admittedly these cakes are not cheap, they're around the $8.50 mark for takeaway and around $12.50 for eat in but they looked really good and definitely worth a try.

Ooh I cannot wait to eat these pretty things!

The first piece I chose was a raspberry and chocolate cake - it has a crunchy biscuit base which contains nuts (hazelnuts I think?) topped with layers of chocolate and raspberry. Decorated with fresh raspberry and pistachio, some silver leaf and a delicate curl of chocolate it's almost too pretty to eat. But oh my does it taste good. Really good! The base has a nice roasted nutty flavour, the raspberry layer is tart and fresh and the dark chocolate mousse is smooth and not too sweet - it all combines together really well and it's not too sweet at all.

Raspberry chocolate cake - layer upon layer of yum!

The second piece was a raspberry mousseline (or was it just called berry mousseline? I can't remember now I'm afraid). It's a round cake and cute as a button and very striking in colour. There's a thin cake layer on the bottom, topped with the berry mousseline and decorated with chopped nuts, a small cube of coconut dusted marshmallow and an arc of chocolate. Mum did the honours of cutting it in half for me to get an inside shot but had a little mishap as you can see in the photo, oops! Inside there is actually a disc of mango mousse (or something like mousse). Dang this cake is realllly good as well. The berry and mango components are very fresh and you can tell they use real fruit for both the cakes. It's tart and fresh with just the right level of sweetness. Yum!!

Berry (raspberry?) mousseline. Arrrgh cake down! cake down!

I'm really impressed by these cakes - perfectly balanced flavours and great 'cakemanship' which is clearly evident when you eat them. Yummy!!

What: Princess Coco Chocolaterie
Where: 158-166 Day St, Sydney (Mon-Wed: 7am-8pm, Thu-Fri: 7am-10pm, Sat: 10am-10pm, Sunday closed)
How much: The mousseline is $8.50 takeaway and the raspberry chocolate cake was $9.50.

August 15, 2012

Princess Coco Chocolaterie - Salon du chocolat

So.. I walk past this block every day and have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Princess Coco. After a long time of no action, the renovations started happening and then last week they seemed like they were training staff and preparing to finally open (yes, I was peeking through the glass doors whenever I could catch a glimpse!).

Today the store had a 'sneak preview' opening with the official opening on August 29 which will have the full menu available.

View from outside.. those chandeliers are bright and sparkly!

I like the fit out which is in line with their belle epoque style (see the story on their website) - pretty chandeliers, comfy purple and gold chairs, soft music which isn't too loud so it's a relaxing space which is suitable for conversation too. Service was polite, prompt and unobtrusive with menus and water provided as soon as we sat down. Oh and behind the counter you can see into the kitchen which I like as this means they at least make some, if not all, of the food there!

Hmm... glass cabinet full of chocolates

Seating along the side

And they use Valrhona chocolate so how can you go wrong? I decided to try something simple - Earl Grey chocolate noir (Caraibe dark chocolate with hints of bergamot). The earl grey flavour is just right - strong but not overpowering. The chocolate was a tad too sweet for my liking but that's just personal preference. It's a little on the pricey side with takeaway at $6.50 and dine-in $8.50 but nothing out of the ordinary for a chocolate cafe and looking at the displays of macarons, cakes and chocolates I think the quality should be good.

I'll definitely be interested to see what the full menu will be like and to try some more of their stuff!

I'd like one of these chairs in my home! Earl Grey chocolat noir and the macarons on display.

Cakes look pretty.... might go back and buy one...

What: Princess Coco Chocolaterie
Where: 158-166 Day St, Sydney (Mon-Wed: 7am-8pm, Thu-Fri: 7am-10pm, Sat: 10am-10pm, Sunday closed)
How much: Hot chocolate was $6.50 takeaway and $8.50 dine in.

Jack Snacks!... Nabisco Picola Uji Maccha Biscuits

Ever since I tried the tasty green tea Oreo Sticks, I've been on the lookout for them but sadly haven't seen any.... But! The same company that made them (Nabisco) also have a similar range called Picola which come in flavours uji maccha (green tea), strawberry and chocolate.

No doubt I had to buy the green tea to try and I have to say I actually liked these better than the Oreo Sticks! There are 2 packs inside the box, each containing 6 sticks. The wafer biscuit is crispy and light but being a 'plain' flavour the wafer component isn't as strong as the Oreo Sticks were.This allows the uji maccha flavour to come through reeeeal nicely which is great cause it's reeeeal good. Definitely one for the green tea fans out there, I've currently got 3 packs in my possession!

picola.. yum...
So yum it deserves an extra photo!

What: Nabisco Picola Uji Maccha Biscuits
Where: You can get this at various asian supermarkets that stock Japanese snacks, I've seen them at Maruyu, Thai Kee, Miracle, CitiSuper and Tokyo Super
How much: From $3.99 (at Maruyu and Tokyo Super), around the $4.50 mark at the other shops.

August 13, 2012

Jack (Euro) Snacks!... Ladurée

Yeah.. it's been ages since the Europe trip and I've still got loads of photos which haven't been posted! But recent news that Ladurée will be opening at Sydney Westfield reminded me of our visit to the Champs Elysées store in Paris. I _will_ get around to posting the other Europe photos but it doesn't hurt to make a start with  Ladurée.

Travelling with a large group of relos spanning 3 generations meant that anything but a quick visit was out of the question. The shop and tearoom are very popular, the shop is sooo crowded. Crowd aside, the place is picture perfect - the building and tearoom, window displays, the uniforms worn by the staff and the gorgeous cakes. But what most people are here for are of course the macarons. And why not? Macarons in their current double decker form were invented by Ladurée and they are considered one of the best around.

Looks crowded even from out here...

Tiny door, big crowd inside! Pretty window display and first glimpse of inside from the end of the queue.

We had to line up of course and so I took some snaps as we moved along in the queue until we were told "no photos!" - in my defence there didn't seem to be a sign saying so and I hadn't spotted any staff member free enough to ask beforehand heehee. It's been so long so I have no idea what the prices were - let's just say you wouldn't call them 'cheap', but they weren't so expensive that I felt it necessary to remember the number. We got a box with various flavours which included caramel with salted butter, chocolate, pistachio, green apple, raspberry, orange blossom, lemon, blackcurrant violet and rose.

Pretty cakes and macarons.. look at that cute strawberry cake in the middle shot, I wish I'd bought one!

And how were they? The family convened in one of our hotel rooms and scoffed them! They are indeed good - delicate and light with a lovely filling. I especially liked the rose, the flavour was just right. But I regret not getting one of the little cakes shaped like a strawberry which looked super cute. Maybe they'll have them at the Sydney store... I'll definitely be interested to see if that's the case!

Ooh.. they almost look too pretty to eat!

But the family digs in and they disappear quickly, rose (center) is easily my favourite!

What: Ladurée
Where: 75 avenue des Champs Elysées, Paris
How much: Can't remember sorry... not 'cheap' but affordable for a treat.