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Zuma – a fancy dinner in Hong Kong

February 28th, 2009 · 10 Comments · Eating out, Hong Kong, restaurant reviews

We’re in Singapore!  Sorry for the lack of posting for the last few days.  We’ve had technical difficulties here but looks like everything is working now.  Singapore is pretty awesome.  I’ll tell you all about later… let’s backtrack a bit back to Hong Kong and a super fancy dinner we had at Zuma on Tuesday night :)

Zuma is just the kind of place my husband and I love.  It’s modern but not futuristic/space-like and it serves fantastic food.  We were pretty excited about it, because our top restaurant experiences have been at Nobu in NYC and Oishii in Boston (both on par with Zuma in Hong Kong).  I was a good girl and saved my appetite for the meal.  There is so much good food in Asia, sometimes it’s hard to control yourself, but there is nothing worse than shelling out big bucks on dinner when you’re not even hungry.  Oh I was hungry by the time we got there! 😉

In fact I was so hungry that when upon sitting down the waiter offered to serve us some edamame “while we’re looking through the menu” I jumped at this “brilliant suggestion.”  Unfortunately the second I actually started looking through the menu, I realized that it would be a waste to fill myself on these babies, as delicious as they were.  Here are a few pics of the decor (it was dark in there so the pictures definitely don’t do the place justice…).

Zuma decor

The hubs looking through the menu (I was trying to take more pics of the decor without being too obnoxious but it didn’t work 😳 )

Adam at Zuma

And the edamame… I picked on it for a bit but then put it on the farthest spot of the table so that I wouldn’t fill up on it.

Zuma edamame

We asked for water and were served a bottle of Voss.  At $10 USD for the bottle, it was actually really annoying given that HK has drinkable tap water.  Oh well.  I also ordered the Rubabu cocktail: rhubarb infused sake shaken with 42 Below vodka + fresh passion fruit.  Yum!

Zuma cocktail

Then the food started sprinkling in.  First up: thinly sliced seabass with yuzu, truffle oil and salmon roe.  The whole dish was spectacular!  I ate 3 of the fish pieces and both of the eggplant “toasts” with caviar (my husband doesn’t like caviar)!  The eggplant was marinated and was the perfect vehicle to scoop the caviar.  The whole dish was so fresh!  The yuzu sauce (I’ve never heard of it before this dinner) was a little sour and went really well with the mild flavored seabass.  Mmm.  I want more right now! 😀

Zuma small plate

Then we got 2 orders of maki (we split them).  In the front here you see the zuma chirashi makisalmon, hamachi and seabass with avocado and sesame-lime sauce.

Zuma maki

The other maki was the dynamite spider rollsoftshell crab (warm) with chilli mayonnaise, cucumber and wasabi tobiko sauce.

dynamite spider roll

Both rolls were delicious but nothing special, honestly.  Oh, after finishing our cocktails we got a bottle of wine.  I probably had around 2 glasses throughout the night.

red wine

Best part – the entrees.  I ordered their specialty (I think copied from Nobu) – miso marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf.  I’ve had Nobu’s miso cod and I remember enjoying it, but I can’t remember which one is better.  I’d say it was at least on par with Nobu’s.  Sweet and flavorful, perfectly cooked.  It was melt-in-your mouth delicious.  I love when fish tastes like this!

miso marinated black cod

I gave Adam a few bites of this and in return he gave me a few bites of his dish.  It was also very delicious!  I’ve never had beef marinated in sweet soy.  I’ll look for this now at restaurants – it perfectly sweet but not too sweet.  The dish was supposed to be spicy but neither one of us thought it was.  It was however excellent!

spicy beef tenderloin

And finally dessert – I was so excited for this one!  I haven’t had a really chocolaty dessert so far in Asia, and this sounded just perfect!  Warm chocolate cake is my favorite!!  Here it is (a small scoop of ice cream with a sesame cracker is hiding in the background).

warm chocolate cake with passion fruit center

Mmm, look at that passion fruit oozing out!

passion fruit center closeup

It was very yummy but not chocolaty enough for me!  The dark chocolate bars I brought with me have been the only ones able to truly fill my chocolate cravings.  Adam loved this dessert and definitely ate 1/2 of it!  I usually don’t like sharing my desserts but he was too quick with his fork 😆

And this ends this recap of Zuma.  If anyone ever goes to Zuma (there is one in London and Dubai I think) I’d recommend skipping the maki and getting another small dish or appetizer instead.  In any case, we had a really great time.  I love fancy dinners!

We’re chilling in our hotel room right now in Singapore.  The heat got to us and we need to recover a bit.  I’ll probably do 2 more posts on HK before moving on to Singapore.  We are having a great time here!  I can’t belive mid 90’s is the temperature they have during the winter!!!

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Venetian Macao

February 25th, 2009 · 14 Comments · Eating out, Hong Kong, Uncategorized

After dim sum on Monday we decided to make an impromptu trip to the Venetian in Macau.  My hip was still bothering me, so we figured this would be a less walk intensive day so I could recover a bit.  Macau is the second special administrative region of the Republic of China (with Hong Kong being the other one).  The Venetian hotel and casino was of a particular interest to us, so we took a one hour ferry ride straight to the hotel (well there was a short bus ride to the hotel from the port) and spent the rest of the day there.  Fun facts about the Venetian Macao (from Wikipedia)…

  •  The 10,500,000-square-foot Venetian Macao is modeled after its sister casino resort – the The Venetianin Las Vegas – and is the largest single structure hotel building in Asia and the 4th-largest building in the world by area.  [The 1st largest building in the world in the Dammam airport in Saudi Arabia, the 2nd is the Aalsmeer Flower Auction in the Netherlands, and the 3rd largest is terminal 3 of the Beijing International Airport]  This thing is bigger than airport terminals!!!
  • The main hotel tower was finished in July 2007 and the resort officially opened on August 282007.  The resort has the largest casino space in the world with 550,000 square feet, 3400 slot machines and 800 gambling tables), 3000 suites and a 15,000 seat arena for entertainment/sports events.

And of course similar to Hong Kong the place has lots of lots of shopping (here is a link to just shops at the Venetian hotel!!!!) + there is more high end shops at the Four Seasons (attached to the Venetian).

So the plan was to do a little gambling, a little shopping (or at least window shopping) and go to a cirque de soleil show, Zaia, at night.  Sounds like fun, right? :)  

I had a 100 calorie chocolate bar on the ferry there…

TJ's 100 calorie bar

And upon arrival at the Venetian had the best taro green tea with milk bubble tea.  Yum!  Love the purple color!! 😀 

taro green tea with milk and tapioca pearls

My husband had a Macao beer :mrgreen:

Adam with Macao beer

me at the Venitian

The Venetian is really beautiful.  We thought it was fun that we’ve been to the original casino in Vegas and of course Venice in Italy!

the great hall at the Venitian

That’s one of the bathrooms… they all had gold framed mirrors.  Very fancy! 😉

bathrooms at the Macau Venitian

champagne bar Venitian

Then we got a little hungry and got a few snacks.  What you see here is a bunch of delicious looking buns with pork and chicken.  Unfortunately they were all filled with onions and I almost gagged after trying one of them.  Eww eww eww.  I hate onions!!!

bbq pork stuffed bun

bbq pork rolls

chicken mini pie

So the only way I knew to get rid of the onion taste in my mouth is to get something sweet.  I got this “mango pancake” – at least that’s what the sign said.  This did not resemble pancakes at all, but was still pretty good (and better than onion filled pastries!!).

mango pancakes

It had kind of like whipped cream inside with a few bits of mango.  I wished there was more mango there.  I ate one of these balls and shared most of the other one with Adam.  He loved them :)

inside of mango pancakes

And then we realized I still hadn’t had any alcoholic drinks on the vacation.  That had to be remedied.  We went to a bar :)  I had a few cashews

bar snacks

Tried the mango bellini tini, but it was nasty.

bellini tini

So I had my husband’s white wine instead.  Actually I didn’t feel like that either, so I only had a few sips.

white wine

After a little bit of gambling and a whole lot of window shopping (the place was HUGE!!!) we decided to have a quick dinner at the food court.  Oh did I mention that Zaia was off on Mondays?  Boo!!!  I was so sad because we were really looking forward to the show.  I guess we’ll have to see it next time we’re in Hong Kong 😀

Here is where Adam got his dinner.  He really wanted to get some hanging goose…

hanging meat

roasted goose

I had a bite of this (Adam’s goose above) but it was filled with bones and I didn’t much care for the sauce.  He liked it.  I got a Korean noodle dish… and it completely inedible.  It smelled foul the second I got it so I was apprehensive.  I took a tiny bite and threw the rest away immediately.  I really hate wasting food so it was hard, but seriously I could not stomach this thing.  This was the first (and only thing so far) on this trip that I thought was truly disgusting (sorry if any of you are Korean and love this dish!).

glutinous rice with korean spicy sauce

So I went to a different vendor and got beef stir fry with noodles.  It still had onions (no one here knows the world “onions” when I ask) but I could pick them out and ate about 1/2 of this dish.

stir-fried noodles with beef strips 

And that was my food for the day.  We had a really fun time but next time, we’ll definitely check the schedule for Zaia before we go! 😀  There are also a bunch of other casinos, restaurants and museums on the other side of Macao so we’d probably explore there as well.

We’re off to check out from our hotel.  Only 1/2 day left here in Hong Kong.  So sad.  We really really love it here!  Seriously, we kind of want to move here!  But that’s ok, we are arriving in Singapore at midnight.  I have a feeling we’ll really love it there too!  See you later, bloggies.  I hope we have wireless in our hotel in Singapore (I think we should).

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Hong Kong continued – dinner + dim sum part II

February 24th, 2009 · 14 Comments · Uncategorized

Here is a second installment of our Hong Kong adventures.  I have so many pictures, it took me an hour just now just to sort them and upload a few for your viewing pleasure.  There is just so much to share and so little time to do it in.  I’m glad you guys are enjoying reading this.  It was so cool to wake up to all of your comments this morning and see that me taking a little time during our vacation is definitely appreciated.  With that said, let’s get to it.  We have dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant in just a little over an hour :)

So after an hour long nap on Sunday, my husband woke up more tired than ever.  We contemplated skipping dinner and just going to bed early, but the idea of waking up in the middle of the night, wide awake just did not seem appealing.  Finally we dragged ourselves out of our cozy hotel room and headed to the Times Square in Causeway Bay, HK…. just a 5 minute walk from our hotel.  Times Square has a huge mall with fancy shops and lots of restaurant options.  Did I mention how many shopping malls there are here?  I think I may have.  It’s crazy!  Most buildings are skyscrapers, and they have either a shopping mall, a bank or a hotel on the first few floors.  I’m not complaining 😉

So we read good reviews about Hunan Garden but next door Wu Kong Shanghai Restaurant caught our eye, and it was a little cheaper and the decor was a little more modern, so we decided to try it instead.  Not sure if the other place would have been better after all, but we enjoyed our food, so I guess that’s all that counts :)

Upon being seated, we were promptly served this little plate of veggies + some hot sauce.  I was starving and devoured almost the whole thing (I think it was kind of like broccoli rabe with Asian flavors).

veggie freebies

The menu had some enticing looking pictures and the Chinese eggplant particularly caught my eye.  Unfortunately they ran out of eggplant for the night.  Hate when that happens :(  So my husband and I decided to share 2 dishes: chicken with red chili peppers and mixed vegetables.

chicken with red chilis

mixed vegetables

The chicken tasted just like kang pao chicken in US Chinese restaurants.  Very yummy – I had maybe 1/3?  The veggies were in a wonderful sauce.  This is mostly different varieties of mushrooms, carrots + another veggie I couldn’t quite recognize.  I ate a good amount of this dish + some steamed rice.

And then my sweet tooth kicked in but we were too tired to look for bakeries.  Thankfully I had a beautiful box of Vosges truffles waiting for me in our hotel room 😀

Vosges truffles

Aren’t these gorgeous?!!

Vosges truffles box

I started with the Budapest truffle – (from the card included in the box) – influences of Hungary bring about this dark chocolate truffle.  A combination of dark chocolate and paprika infused fresh cream is finished with a dusting of sweet Hungarian paprika.  The perfect complement to a spicy Cuban cigar. I didn’t taste much of the paprika and no Cuban cigars were enjoyed with this truffle, but it was fabulous!  Creamy and chocolaty – amazing!

Paprika truffle

Next up – Viola trufflesparkling purple violets are used by the French to decorate their special gateaux.  In the French way, our creamy, milk chocolate truffle is topped with a purple violet and Voila! Oh yeah, this was good stuff!  I think I’ve developed a new obsession with truffles 😀

Violet Vosges truffle


I started the morning with another 2 cookies from our gift box.  So yummy!

Wing Wah cookies

And then we headed to the City Hall Maxim’s Palace for dim sum.  This place is famous for their dim sum, and yes, it’s located right inside the City Hall of HK!  I told you they love putting malls and restaurants inside almost every single building – apparently govt buildings included :)

It took us nearly 30 minutes to find the place after getting of the Metro, but it was definitely worth it!  Another great thing about dim sum is that you can eat nearly seconds away after sitting down… and eat we did!  Here are pictures of all the stuff we tried (scroll over for descriptions).  The stuff was to die-for.  Love love love dim sum!

chicken rice in lotus leaf

chicken rice inside of lotus leaf

shrimp in glutenous rice

minced beef balls

The balls above I didn’t touch because my husband said they were full of onions.  Eww :)

steamed shrimp dumplings

beef "spring rolls"

fried shrimp rolls

I snapped this photo to show you how gorgeous the space is… definitely palace-like 😀

Adam + Maxim's Hall decor

And this little ball, I have no idea what it is, but a couple at a table next to us shared it with me.  I loved it.  Adam didn’t (and our neighbors didn’t either- that’s why they gave me a taste).  The mystery veg was mushy inside. Anyone knows what it is?

fried vegetable ball

K, I gotta run!  I’m off to a dinner that will surely will inspire a great post! :)

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