Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm baaaack

I know there's probably no one who checks this blog anymore, but I'm back. Since I last wrote over a year ago, I've been quite busy - getting engaged, changing day jobs, getting married, moving...

I've been in Hong Kong for over 2 years now and I feel like I'm just really starting to get it. It's a crazy, chaotic, wonderful, exasperating, local, international city, and at the end of the day, I just love it. It's also one of the best-eating cities in the world, and not just for Cantonese or other Chinese food.

I've been reviewing restaurants for Asia Tatler for two "seasons" now, and we just ended our season for 2012 (the season lasts from early June through mid/end October, when the editors and food writers try to review all of the restaurants that will go into the annual Hong Kong and Macau Best Restaurants Guide). After many calorie-laden, gut-busting meals, all for the sake of the greater good of course, I'm enjoying taking a break from fancified haute cuisine and cooking more at home. After visiting nearly every international grocery store, specialty food store and food pantry in Hong Kong, I now know where I need to go to get all of the ingredients I use when I cook or eat: the most authentic Korean kimchi, the best Japanese miso, organic rice, tahini, red quinoa, truffle oil, Maldon salt, fresh steaks, frisee, the best cheese, the sweetest oranges....

Unfortunately, in Hong Kong, there's no place for one-stop shopping - not if you want to find all the ingredients you need. But if you're willing to schlep your recyclable shopping bag (better for the environment, plus you save 50 cents, the charge per plastic bag in HK) to a few stores, you can find everything you need. Sometimes, you'll even come across a new ingredient or supplier you've never heard of because it's not imported to your own home country. The great thing about living in HK is that it's a port of trade - so I no longer buy EVOO that's bottled in the US since I can get infinitely better quality EVOO straight from the olive orchards in Italy or Portugal. And on the subject of EVOO, I've learned from my recent travels to France and Spain that you really need to have at least 4-5 varieties in your kitchen: a light one for basic cooking, a slightly fragrant one for finishing salad dressings, a few strong-tastings ones for dipping bread or eating straight. Olive oil can taste fruity, or nutty, or earthy, or pungent, or bland - you need all the different types in your kitchen to cook properly. But I digress.

I'll be blogging on this site more often with restaurant reviews as well as home recipes and tips on where to source ingredients in Hong Kong, so stay tuned!

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