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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Review on Macau Souvenirs- Indulgence with Pastries from Koi Kei Bakery (鉅記餅家)

Koi Kee Bakery is a wildly popular franchise in Macau known for their local specialties. Ubiquitous pastries from Koi Kee Bakery; Macau were the biggest shopping haul during my visit to Macau. It's often a great experience when free samplings were provided and I've ended up bringing back 3 big packets of pastries from Koi Kee Bakery for my family.

1. Almond cookies

As stated in my blog review earlier, Macau Koi Kei Almond Cookies are the best almond cookies I have tasted. The renowned almond cookies with whole almond within and I often crave for another piece after finishing one. Each almond cookie has sufficient amount of almond bits and a whole almond, giving it extra crunch. 

2. Portuguese style pineapple pastry

15 individual packing of pineapple pastries are in a nice packaging. Its packaging has me remembering the pineapple pastries from Taiwan too.

Hexagon-shaped pineapple pastry which is packed with strong taste of pineapple filling.
Thankfully, it's with fair sweetness.

Wife cakes from Koi Kei has flaky skin (less flaky than Hang Heung's) topping with some white sesames. The winter melon filling of the wife cakes have just the right amount of sweetness. and it has lesser pork lard smell.

4. Almond Pastry ( Almond Flakes)

Puff-like, flakky almond pastry with a light almond topping. Koi Kei Bakery has machinery-made and hand-made, I had chosen the latter one. This delicious almond flake crumbles at the slightest touch (bite) and it's not too sweet for me. The top layer of the almond flake cookies are sugar crusted almonds with crispy layers beneath.

A crumbly texture yet crunchy at each bite of flaky almond pastry.
Undoubtedly, I couldn't resist to have more crunches of these almond flakes.

5.  Koi Kei Bakery's Signature Egg Rolls

The signature egg rolls from Koi Kei Bakery does not fail my expectation. Crispy egg rolls with nice and strong egg flavor. The egg roll sheets are thin, contributing a tender crust and a crumbly finish.

6. Peanut candy

There are few versions of peanut candies offered by Koi Kei Bakery such as chewy type, crunchy type, with sesames, with shredded coconut and etc. I had bought the crunchy type. It's quite similar to the ones we could obtain in Malaysia. 

Hard sugar candies embedded with shredded peanuts.
Crispy peanut candies are the perfect snacks when you're bored at work.

7. Macau Museum of Souvenir - contains Black sesame biscuit, walnut cookie, peanut candies.

A box pertaining 4 types of cookies produced by Koi Kei Bakery had been given due to the huge purchase I had in Macau. I personally love the black sesame biscuit very much. Notably, I just found that Macau Museum of Souvenir was the 1st museum which was souvenirs-themed and founded on July 19, 2011. Perhaps give a try when visit to Macau in future?

Other Macau specialties from 澳门牌坊手信

Pork floss egg rolls and seaweed + pork floss egg rolls which are crispy could be obtained from the nearby pastry shops in Macau too. The one we tried from 澳门牌坊手信 tasted nice and much cheaper compared to Koi Kei pastries.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Oh My Darling! Chloé Mini Fragrances-Chloé Parfum, L'eau de Chloé Perfume, Love Chloé Perfume & see by Chloé

I do not think that I will be loving the use of fragrances / perfumes until I have tried the luxurious fragrance sample from Burberry. I had the 1st bottle of perfume from Body Shop- White musk Perfume given by my friends during my 24 year-old birthday. Admittedly, finding a fragrance that is not overwhelming and suits your personality could be a great challenge. It's a daunting task when search for the most suitable perfume as I don't wish to be smelled like giving people (myself) headache. Instead, it would be great to be smelled like "Oh my darling" if the perfume is applied. I personally like the fresh floral or fruity scent which brings reminiscent of love and hint of sweetness.

This's going to be the 1st review I wrote about my new perfume collection- Chloé Mini Fragrances which I had bought from duty-free land; Hong Kong with a good bargained price. The fresh, floral scents of Chloé miniature set has been lingered in my room fragrantly. You could imagine that a rose garden happening in my living area now. The miniature perfume set look so pretty displayed on my dressing table, hence I just had the thought of writing a review about each mini fragrance of Chloé ! 

Chloé Mini Perfume 4 Pieces Gift Set includes:
- Chloé Perfume 5ml Eau De Parfum
- L'eau de Chloé Perfume 5ml Eau De Parfum
 - Love Chloé Perfume 5ml Eau De Parfum &
 - see by Chloé Perfume 7.5ml Eau De Parfum.

Each limited edition Chloé fragrance is housed in the most alluring glass faceted bottles. These little bottles are miniature replicas of the full size which not only makes them a great way to sample the fragrances, but also adorable to be displayed and brought along for outing or travel. 

The ingredients

1. Chloé Eau De Parfum

A single spritz of this perfume could last for the whole working day of mine. Chloé Eau De Parfum which have top notes of pink peony, freesia and lychee providing a light freshness to the signature Chloé scent. After the initial floral assault, I like the light floral scent with roses blended with the base notes of Virginia cedar, amber and honey. The fragrance is very versatile and it doesn't overpower, suitable to be used on workdays.

2. L'eau de Chloé EDT

L'eau de Chloé EDT has the pleasant peachy citrus scent running through it. The composition of top notes contributed by grapefruit, citron, bergamot, peach and aldehydes possesses reminiscent of refreshing lemonade-like scent followed by a light yet sweet touch of natural roses and elegant veil provided by patchouli. The citrus kind of scent lasts for a short moment and moves on to the hint of floral undertones contributed by the roses. At first sniff, it's not the type of fragrance I would like as the floral or fruity scent is very light in which the sweetness doesn't linger for long duration. The progressively rose note is what I like after all. It somehow likes a refreshing version of fragrance that reminds me of holidays. :)

3. Love Chloé

As the name of this fragrance, Love, Chloé has a fresh, romantic, feminine scent.  Love, Chloé was developed by perfumers Louise Turner and Nathalie Gracia-Cetto; the notes include orange blossom, pink pepper, iris absolute, lilac, hyacinth, wisteria blossom, heliotropine, powdery musks, talc and rice powder. In short, it's sensual, musky floral with a noticeable hint of orange blossom. It has very good sillage and makes me feeling elegant when apply this fragrance. By the way, its powdery scent reminds me of facial powder.

The longevity of Love Chloé  is great which I do not have to think of re-spraying. The scent blooms steadily throughout the day with a soft floral scent to embrace the loved one. Hmm.. sounds perfect to be used before attending romantic dinner. 

4. see by Chloé

The bottle is adorable. Styled like a vintage bird cage and a ring of the cover has let me thought of wearing it with a necklace. Okay, it's a wrong idea as it's heavy!  Distinctively from the another three perfumes, see by Chloé has the top notes of bergamot and apple blossom and heart notes consist of jasmine and ylang- it mellows and vanilla to anchor its base. Well, I still prefer rosy smell instead of jasmine scent anyway. The longevity of Chloé Eau De Parfum is better compared to see by Chloé. For me, it takes some time to be smelled comforting and familiar.

So, have you tried any of Chloé Fragrances?
What's your favorite scent?

Last but not least, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dinner @ Zen Taiwanese Restaurant 珍品轩台式馆; Aeon Tebrau City Shopping Centre

A backdated blog post which was regarding the nice dining experience at Zen Taiwanese Restaurant 珍品轩台式馆; Aeon Tebrau City Shopping Centre one year ago. It's similar to Fong Lye Taiwanese Restaurant which was full house during dining time. Taiwanese dishes that continued to intrigue tourists visiting Taiwan and also influenced Chinese families, introducing more variation of delicious cuisines. One day, I shall visit Taiwan to taste their authentic mouth-watering delicacies.

The restaurant was quite spacious and each table had enough space for cozy chats. It's not a stuffy place with noisy ambiance. Clean environment was one of the good impressions when I stepped into this restaurant. We spent some time to choose our set meals before our cozy chat and "wefie" session. The set meals were available with affordable price and various choices of main meal accompanied with soup, a bowl of rice, prickled Japanese cucumber slices, chicken roll and dessert. Apart from that, ala carte dishes such as Taiwanese sausages, bassil fried rice,dumpling soap noodles, pan-fried dumplings, Mapo Tofu and etcetera.

My prettiest partner in crime with her bubble milk tea

Taiwanese braised pork with read yeast set meal

My friend chose to satisfy her taste buds with the flavorful braised pork which was cooked for few hours. The meat acquired a delicate texture and flavor, a homely dish which reminded me of cider braised pork cooked by my mom. 

Taiwanese 3 Cups Chicken Recipe | 三杯雞  set meal

An extremely popular Taiwanese dish that occupies the Taiwanese restaurant I had been to. Three Cups actually referred to a equal portion of three essential ingredients: soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice cooking wine.The divine aroma of sesame oil combined with sliced gingers, garlic, chili making this dish tasty. The boneless chicken meats were much convenient to be eaten.

Poached Chicken 葱油鸡 set meal

The chicken slices served with the mixture of aromatic shallot oil, ginger, soy sauce drizzling on top of them. The shredded, poached chicken matched well with the hot rice. Well, a lazy eater like me preferred to have boneless chicken breast hence this dish suited my appetite and eating behavior. 

The side dishes which came along with our choice of set meals included deep fried pumpkin ball, prickled cucumber, chicken roll and herbal soup. I liked the pumpkin ball very much. The outer layer was crispy and its filling (red bean) was not too sweet. After all,it's one of the great dining experiences in Johor!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Review on Hong Kong & Macau Souvenirs- Almond Cookies杏仁饼

While it's great to be home, a part of myself starts missing the hectic walk at Hong Kong and of course the foods there. The souvenirs that bought back from Hong Kong and Macau could have my family and I enjoyed for few months.

Partial Hong Kong and Macau souvenirs
(Jenny Bakery's Butter Cookies, Kee Wah's almond cookies and walnut cookies, Koi Kei Bakery's almond biscuits, peanut sweet, wife cake.)

After the blog entry about wife cake that I bought back from Hong Kong and Macau, here's another review about the almond cookies 杏仁饼. 

1. Koi Kei Bakery (鉅記手信)

The most favorite almond cookies that I have tasted is from Koi Kei Bakery 鉅記手信; Macau.As featured in the famous TVB Drama named 巨輪, the owner of Koi Kei Bakery (鉅記餅家) is very particular about the quality of cookies/ pastries. The resulting quiche is mouthwatering with lovely crumbly pastries.

The taste:Each of the cookie has crunchy toasted almond bits, perhaps it's the reason of the almond cookies of Koi Kei Bakery 鉅記手信 having strong aroma of almond. As I bought the handmade and vegetarian type, the cookies were free of pork lard ingredient.

The packaging: While the pastries from Koi Kei Bakery 鉅記手信 are great, the service is great and the staffs are generously providing the samples for tasting. The staffs help to wrap the plastic handles with bubble wrap which enables me to hold the heavy bags easier and more convenient. The thick packaging itself is great and nice.

2. Kee Wah Bakery (奇華餅家)

Kee Wah has an extensive number of franchises in Hong Kong, including at Hong Kong International Airport. We dropped by one of the franchises at Central MRT station. Anyone still remembers the popular Hong Kong TVB Drama 家好月圆 (Moonlight Resonance)? The show was produced especially for Kee Wah Bakery’s 70th Anniversary. 

Kee Wah almond cookie and Koi Kei Bakery 's ginger candy 姜糖
The ginger candy was given by my colleague. Strong ginger aftertaste!

The logo of Kee Wah on the almond cookie were merely seen.
The soft, flaky cookie with some almond bits.

The taste:Kee Wah's almond cookie does not have the coarse amount of almond bits of the almond cookies from Koi Kei Bakery. It's similar to the Koi Kei's which has nice crunchy texture, except that it's more tender, smoother due to less crunchy toasted almond bits.

The packaging: As shown in the 1st photo, I would say that the packaging is quite nice, but I prefer Koi Kei's.Well, the price of pastries bought at Macau are more expensive than those bought from Hong Kong. 

 3. Hang Heung Cake Shop (恒香老餅家)

 As stated in previous blog post, Hang Heung Cake Shop is famed for its wife cake.

The taste:I'm unsure if it's due to machine-made, Hang Heung's almond cookies are harder to bite compared to Koi Kei's and Kee Wah's. The pork lard aftertaste covers the almond taste. I don't really like this version, and after trying all, I would vote the signature almond cookies from Koi Kei Bakery as the champion.

The packaging: A classic packaging with red color and pink flowers as decoration.

Stay tuned for my next blog entries about the cookies that I bought from Hong Kong and Macau

Review on Hong Kong & Macau Souvenirs- Wife Cake (Lao Po Bing) 老婆饼

Here are the 1st blog entry about Hong Kong and Macau pastry that I had tried before continuing to blog about my Hong Kong and Macau Tour. Wife cake or Sweetheart cake are more commonly known as Lao Po Bing/ Lou Po Beng; a common snack at Hong Kong. They are found everywhere in Hong Kong, almost every bakery bakes it. Wife cake is a Chinese traditional pastry with winter melon paste.

Quoted from Asiansupper.com, the most popular version of the story behind the wife cake is:

During imperial China, a husband and wife are very rich in the amount of love for each other, but very poor in material wealth.  The wife’s father-in law falls ill and requires medical attention.  Unfortunately, the couple does not have enough money.  The wife gives the ultimate gift of love - by selling herself as a slave to fund the medical care for her father in law.  When the husband finds out, he creates a pastry with sweetened winter melon and almond – dedicating the pastry to the memory to his wife.  The wife cake (lao po bing) gains such popularity that the husband is able to buy his wife back and cure his father of his ailment.

 1. Hang Heung Cake Shop (恒香老餅家)

One of the souvenirs I bought back from Hong Kong and Macau trip was few boxes of wife cakes from Hang Heung Cake Shop 恆香老餅家 and Koi Kei Bakery (鉅記餅家).Hang Heung Cake Shop 恆香老餅家 is famed for its freshly baked wife cakes, thus I had brought back few boxes as well. I have also bought the almond cookies from Hang Heung Cake Shop (恒香老餅家).

The taste:The texture of the pastry is very soft, flaky skin. The winter melon paste is well balanced of sweetness. However, it has a strong taste of pork lard which is deemed disturbing to my mom. She would prefer Koi Kei Bakery which is not overwhelmed with pork lard taste. Despite of the pork lard taste, you may try to warm it up by microwaves in which the crumbs are tasted nicer when it's served warmed and the winter melon paste is like melting inside the mouth. Notably, Hang Heung wife cakes could only last for 5-7 days due to no preservatives are used.

The packaging: Unlike the rest of bakeries such as Wing Wah, Kae Wah and even Koi Kei Bakery, Hang Heung Cake Shop uses a simple,red color paper box with a pink raffia string tie to secure the 6 pieces of wife cakes. As the pastries are flaky, hence hand carry of these wife cakes would be necessary. 

2. Koi Kei Bakery (鉅記手信)

During this Hong Kong and Macau tour, most of my HK dollars were spent on purchasing pastries as souvenirs for family from Koi Kei Bakery 鉅記餅家老婆餅 . The signature pastry from Koi Kei Bakery is the egg rolls and almond cookies-which I had included in the next review, Click here for more details.

The taste:The flaky skin (less flaky than Hang Heung's) and topped with some white sesames. The winter melon filling of the wife cakes have just the right amount of sweetness. and it has lesser pork lard smell. Well, it's my mom's favorite wife cake. Hopefully I could re-visit Macau to bring back the Lao Gong Bing with salty type of filling.

The packaging: Koi Kei Bakery Shop places a lot of efforts on the packaging. Each of its pastries (egg rolls, almond cookies, wife cakes, pineapple tart and etc. ) has different kind of good quality packaging. I have already kept few empty boxes to place my earrings. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Unleash the Passion for Travel & Food in Hong Kong & Macau (Day 3)- DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty Store 點點心點心專門店

Talking about dim sum, it's like an exquisite specialty of Chinese food that shall not be missed out when came to Hong Kong. Most of the Hong Kong TVB drama had featured the dim sum breakfast session where baskets of delicate dumplings were seen accompanied with a teapot of hot tea.The diversity and sheer number of Hong Kong dim sum restaurants is stunning, such as One Dim Sum, DimDim Sum,Duddell’s, Tim Ho Wan, Lei Garden, Luk Yu Tea House and etcetera.

DimDimSum was named one of the top 101 places to eat by the 2012 Newsweek Foodie Awards, Time Out Hong Kong named it best dim sum in 2011, and it’s part of the book “Where Chefs Eat — The Ultimate Insiders’ Guide” in year 2013. While Tim Ho Wan is considered as the cheapest One-Michelin Starred Dim Sum Restaurant, we had opted for dining at DimDim Sum since we could try Tim Ho Wan's dim sum at Malaysia or Singapore.

After purchasing Ocean Park Ticket at the nearby 7-11 outlet, we waited outside of DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty Store; Wan Chai on the hunt for the plumpest dumplings (siew mai, har gao), tastiest buns (char siew bao,polo bun, egg custard buns) and Hong Kong styled Chee Cheung Fun. We were the 1st batch of eaters on that morning and we were provided aplenty of time to decide our orders after being seated. We decided to order most of the foods which had recommended by the foodies' blogs and websites.A bill was given right after the ordering process.

The large display of the dim sum

Some of the promotion notice and newly created dim sum

Unexpectedly, there's no waiter pushing steaming carts piled with baskets of dim sum here. I wasn't sure if this was due to lesser customers at that moment. The dim sum were served within few minutes after the tea were served. 

Polo Bun (Pineapple bun) baked with a layer of sweet crumble atop its buttery bread dough.
3 polo bun per serving and all were bites-sized version which were so adorable.
I wished the polo bun were in bigger size.
I grabbed a great heap of the crunchy polo bun and I was amazed by the rich taste of egg custard and pineapple slices as fillings. The best polo bun I ever ate at the moment! 

A closer look for the filling of polo bun! Yummy!
So, that's the highly recommended 真係菠蘿包!

 Pan-Fried Radish Cakes 香煎蘿蔔糕

Pan-Fried Radish Cakes 香煎蘿蔔糕 with the chili sauces
The pan-fried radish cakes (also named as turnip cakes) were one of the excellently executed staples. Each bite of the pan-fried radish cakes had shredded Chinese turnips mixed with balanced rice-flour batter. Dipping the piece of pan-fried radish cakes added some kick onto it. Crispy on the outside and soft and delicious for each bite of the radish cakes.

Cheung Fun 脆皮鲜虾肠 or literally called as ‘intestine noodles’ as translation.
Usually it's filled with prawns, barbecue pork or meats and served with a splash of fried dried shrimp chilies, shallots, onion oil and soy sauce. Surprisingly, there's no soy sauce being served together with this cheung fun here.
The deep-fried crispy prawns were wrapped with the soft, translucent rice rolls.
It came to our surprise that it tasted so delicious!

Photogenic egg custard bun in cute piggy shape 金沙肥豬仔
I had a small bite on the egg custard bun and enjoyed the yellowish egg custard oozing like lava from the bun. Creamy, salty-sweet and it tasted best when it's served hot. 

BBQ Pork Buns (Cha Siu Bao)  巧製叉燒包

The filling was sweet barbecue sauce together with the light sauce rendered from the fat of the pork ribs accompanied with some hints of yam sweetness. 

Pork Dumplings with Crab Roe (Siu Mai) 蟹子燒賣皇

The iconic dim sum staple which was the 1st recommended dim sum on the menu. Steamed pork dumpling with prawns, wrapped in a yellow, dough-based wrapper and topped with orange crab roe. The freshly-made siew mai were often tasty and I enjoyed each bite of chunky pieces of prawns. 

Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow) 晶瑩鮮蝦餃

Similar with the siew mai, nothing sums up the simple perfection of dim sum more than fresh steamed shrimp dumplings. Big, fresh prawns wrapped with the soft, translucent skin which it did not tear apart when we picked it up by using chopsticks. 

Braised chicken feet

 I wasn't a fans of steamed chicken feet but had given a try when I was in Hong Kong.
The tender chicken feet were well marinated and I loved the assortments of peanuts.

Mushroom buns 牛肝菌花菇包 ; the new dim sum of the shop.

Fluffy, soft bun with mushroom slices as fillings.
Despite of the cute, creative outlook, I personally didn't find it special. However, my friends were delighted of the mushroom buns.

The mushroom gill of the shiitake mushroom-looked bun.

牛肝菌 - 因色澤如牛肝而得名,出產 自意大利、法國、瑞士等國家;含豐富蛋白質、維生素、鈣、磷、鐵等礦物質;具有清熱、除煩、追風散寒、養血活血、抗流感、預防感冒等功效;適量食用可治療腰腿疼痛及手足麻木。

Verdict: Eating in DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty Store; Hong Kong is definitely a gastronomic pleasure with the satisfying and good quality of dim sum. All of the dim sum were very tasty especially the polo bun and pan-fried radish cakes which would had me considering for a re-visit. That's the only dining experience of dim sum during my visit to Hong Kong even thought we did include Sun Hing Restaurant (Kennedy Town) in our itinerary.Thankfully, DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty Store provided a pleasant dining experience with good food, service and atmosphere. As the 1st batch of guests, we enjoyed no lining up was needed after the scariest experience of queuing up for Ngong Ping Cable Car and The Peak.

The dim sum we had ordered:

DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty Store (Wan Chai Store)
7 Tin Lok Lane, Wan Chai, HK

Stay tuned for the next blog entries for my Hong Kong trip