Monday, 20 October 2014

Hong Kong

Hong Kong was my last stop of the trip. I was there for a few days but mainly relaxed and did not do much. I did go to four baking classes so that is the highlight of the HK trip. Hopefully this won't get too long winded like my other posts.. Though knowing me.. It probably will and I do apologize in advance. 
Snapped while I was on the express train to the airport. 

Good thing about HK is that I have a close friend living there so I was able to crash at his apartment instead of shelling out accommodation costs. He lives in a pretty convenient area in Honghum and had an extra Octopus card for me to use to travel around HK. 

On the first night I was there, he took me to this hot pot place next to his apartment. The food are ok, it is what it is for the price we paid. Even though in Cow town, we would pay $20/person for the same quality. Though I do like their sugar cane juice. I doubt it is freshly squeezed but you can't get that kind of sugar cane juice in Cow town.  I like the fact that they have electric heating source instead of the older ones using the gas containers. I always get so scared when I turn it on, scared that there was a gas leak and it will explode. Haha.. Glass half empty kind of thinking. 
I mentioned I had baking classes. I picked  the classes through Groupon like websites, all of which I purchased online and booked the classes online. My first class was at Choco Bakery  and the voucher I bought at Beecrazy. I chose the Opera cake mainly because the class fit my schedule and I wanted to learn how to make that smooth layer of chocolate ganache on top. The bakery is located in a non-descript building that Google map has no idea where it is located. Google map kept on telling me to head toward the opposite direction before I finally asked someone for directions and ended up being late to the class. Darn you Google maps! (My friend had to work so I bought a 7 day unlimited data pass and used Google maps to guide me everywhere) 

The voucher was about $26 CAD and I had to pay an additional $10 CAD in cash. The bakery is run by a group of guys, with one guy being the instructor and three others being the assistant. Though I think one of them must be the owner because he took charge of everything and I can tell he is really skilled at all of this. The class consisted mostly of girls, with two guys and a family mixed into it. The sponge cake and butter cream are all pre-made and ready to use. So all you learn is how to put it together. 
The instructor taught us how to cut the cake into 3 or 4 slices and how to fill it with buttercream and even out the cake. We watched how the instructor make the ganache and learned how to create the smooth chocolate ganache layer. It was simply making sure your top layer is spread evenly with the buttercream so it covered the sponge cake and then tilting the hot chocolate ganache to make sure it is spread evenly. The cake is then place in the freezer for the ganache to set. I was kind of annoyed at the guy in charge. I think he was trying to be cute or flirty with all the girls and kids. He always pretended to drop their cakes and silly stuff like that. But he broke one of my chocolate pieces when he showed me how to remove the pieces from the wax paper quickly. Then he was trying to show off and held the heat gun over the surface of my cake a bit longer than needed. They used heat gun to warm the cake a little bit so it could separate from its metal pan. The end result was my cake had large bubbles on its surface and does not have the smooth mirror surface. Grrrrr.. 

I didn't like the cake as I did not realize it contained coffee. I am strange as I do not like coffee. I would have preferred if the buttercream had more vanilla extract in it so I can't taste the butter. 

My following class was in the evening and in the same area. So I had a few hours to waste until class begun. I walked around and found a little restaurant in the basement and decided to try it so I can get away from the rain and have some dinner. I don't think I ordered correctly but I had a satay chicken noodle with a hot kumquat tea. The order cost lower than what I thought it should be so I have no idea what happened with the waitress but hey, she got my order correctly... The noodle was hot and just what I needed as I had not eaten all day. The chicken was tender and the soup was lacking flavours other than saltiness so I kept on adding hot sauce to it. Hahah. I have a hot sauce problem.. 

Finally my class begun in the evening. It is hosted by Wai Yan Company and I got the coupon from deals.  The deal is currently not offered on Yahoo but I think you can probably find it somewhere else on the interweb. The people were quite nice as they let me come in while they were prepping and let me put away the Opera cake in their fridge. The class was pure girls if I remember correctly and we did macarons in the shape of Disney Tsum Tsum characters. The class was also $26 CAD and I had to pay an additional $5 CAD in cash. I decided to make the Little Green Men from Toy Story since they are so cute and I absolutely love Toy Story. (I got Woody and Buzz costumes for my dogs and want my brother to dress up as Andy but he refuse to.. Boo!)

I shared a baking sheet with my bench buddy, who made Mickey. Man, those baking sheets are really awesome and I need to pick some up. They are expensive though. I found some for $28 for two sheets.

At this class, we learn how to make the macarons from scratch. I have made macarons that had feet before. Feet is the term they call the bubbly edge on the macarons.  But something always felt off about them, hence why I took a class in macarons. The class taught me how to fold the mixture properly, what the consistency should be and how to pipe it correctly. It was definitely well worth it for someone who needs a class in piping. (Coincidentally, my friend was taking the piping class at Michaels. Even though the class is cheap, the amount of accessories and time you need to spend to prepare for each class outweighs the cost of the class.)

The faces of our Little Green Men and Mickeys are drawn using royal icing. My Little Green Men definitely looked funny with their eyes looking everywhere. But still adorable. I really like my bench buddy's Mickeys. She made a Minnie for her daughter. So cute! The maracons were not overwhelmingly sweet and meshed well with the chocolate filling. My friend devoured them in a few days. 


I finished the post and posted only to have the second half of the post be deleted. Now I am kind of unmotivated to finish it. I think I will just go through the rest briefly and save the long blabbering for another post.

It's an unicorn's rainbow poop. Hahaha. 
On the second day of classes, I had both classes at Wai Yan. The first class is rainbow cake. The class was $26 CAD + $5 CAD cash. The cake starts off as a standard sponge cake batter, where emulsifier was used to stabilize the batter. Then the batter is split into 5 different cups with different food colouring and flavouring added. If I remember correctly, red=strawberry, yellow=lemon, blue=vanilla, purple=taro, and green =??

The cakes came out fluffy and was allowed to cool down while we whipped up some whipped cream for the icing. This is where I really liked the class. It taught me how to put on icing properly and how to pipe using the different piping tips. I like how the cake is rainbow on the inside and outside. The whipped cream meshed well with the fluffiness of the cake. It is light with just a hint of sweetness, which allows the different flavours of the cake to shine. (Taro was the star, it was the strongest.)

I had a few hours between the classes so I left the cake at the class and went exploring the building. The building looks like an office building but it actually contains many spaces that are restaurants, shops, bakeries, and of course, offices. I decided to have lunch at a Japanese restaurant  and chose one of their set meals.

My meal consisted of a salad, egg custard, cold udon, and chef's selection of sushi. The salad was ok, the egg custard was very well done. The egg was velvety, with little bits of vegetables hidden inside. I thought the udon was hot and started to eat it right after the egg. Not a smart idea. The udon was cooked to the perfect consistency, it had just the right amount of chewiness. The broth was light and refreshing. The sushi was amazing. The fish melts in your mouth, and the rice stayed together even after being dipped in soy sauce. It was a good meal for under $20.

I still had time before class starts again so I headed to the closest mall, called  APM. I just looked around and found a store that carried these peeling foot masks I been trying to to find as well as some Sailor Moon figurines. There is also a display of figurines for Doraemon. Oh that blue goofball, how I love him.

The evening class was a cake roll with Donald Duck tsum design. The class cost the same as the two other classes. The cake is also a simple sponge cake recipe with emulsifier added. The instructor whipped up different batters to make the different colours of Donald Duck, as the cake batter begins with pink food colouring in the eggs.

First we draw the Donald Duck using a template onto a piece of parchment paper. Then the pattern is allowed to dry for a few minutes so when the cake batter is poured onto it, it can withhold its shape. After the batter is poured, the cake goes into the oven while we whip up a chocolate mousse for the filling.

Once the cake is baked and cooled down slightly, we place the mousse inside and roll it into a cake roll. The instructor told us to use a rolling pin which helps pinch the edge of the cake to help roll it into shape. Once the cake is rolled up, this is when the darker items such as the eyes are added.
Don't eat me!!! - Donald on the right
The cake is fluffy but I do wish the filling was something else but chocolate. The brown doesn't go well with the pink and white of the cake. I think a strawberry mousse would have been better.

My friend picked me up after class and we went to a little Thai restaurant. The dishes were really good! So much better than some of the restaurants I tried in Cow Town. I can't remember the dishes' names but they are all so good. We devoured it pretty fast.
I just relaxed the next day, read mangas and made a little felt bear from the kit I bought in Tianjin. I find the process became much easier since my class. I liked how the bear turned out, except for his gigantic mouse-like ears. The kit used better quality wool as there was less flyaway fibers.

Once my friend returned from work, we went to the Whampoa mall nearby. You can't miss it as part of the mall looks like a docked ship.  It is quite cute.

I was excited when I saw a stall that had walls and walls of manga,but upon entering, I realized they were all Japanese.. :( Though I did go a little crazy at the Daiso store, buying all the little knick knacks for the kitchen and new leashes for my dogs.

We decided to have dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant as the other restaurants had lines and we didn't want to wait in line. I ordered pho and was kind of surprised how it didn't come with the standard plate of bean sprouts, basil, lime and chili. Nor is there any condiments like hot sauce or hoisin sauce. The soup base was ok, it was kind of forgettable. The whole meal was kind of forgettable,the meat was just meh. It made me miss home and the different places I go to satisfy my pho cravings.

After dinner we head downstairs and decided to have dessert at Hui Lau Shan. It is a little dessert franchisee, with set up like The Dessert House in Chinatown. We ordered turnip cakes, fishballs and cuttlefish in curry, and a flaky pastry. As well as a dessert that had both mango and coconut milk with tapioca and a mango drink.

My friend ate all the turnip cake as I was not interested in it. The fishballs, cuttlefish and beef tripe in curry sauce was really good! It made me miss the Dessert House. The pastry was chewy and had quite a few layers for such a thin pastry.
The sweet desserts was ok. The mango and coconut concoction was sweet and lacked textures besides soft and mushy. The drink was ok, but I honestly cannot remember much about it besides it was sweet. It was probably due to the mangoes.

The next day was my last day in Hong Kong. Since my friend had to work and won't make it back in time to send me off, we headed to an airport express check-in at a train station. This allows me to check in my luggage ahead of time and travel to the airport on an express train at a later time. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the airport instead of an hour, definitely a faster way to travel.

After saying our goodbyes, I headed down to the manga store I visited a year ago. Unfortunately they open at 2PM so I went to have breakfast at McDonalds nearby. Out of all of the items, only the cavatappi noodle soup with chicken looked appetizing. According to my friend, this is a specialty in HK. The soup was light, a chicken or vegetable broth. The noodle was soft and soaked up just enough soup. The chicken was tender but a little on the dry side. Though when you eat it together with the soup, it was perfect.

When I arrived at the airport, it was almost dinner time. So I ordered rice crepe rolls with intestines congee. The rice crepe rolls was soft and the pack of sweet soy sauce was just enough without overwhelming the bland rolls. The congee was delicious. The rice seemed to be ground down to smaller pieces prior to cooking instead of being cooked down to mush. I really liked the intestines which included pig lungs and large intestines. I rarely find these intestine dishes in Cow town, it made me think of my childhood. A very good meal to end my trip in HK.

Home bound! 


Post a Comment