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Archive for September 2016

Portuguese egg tarts in Macau

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On the third trip to Macau, it became a mission to enjoy at least one Portuguese egg tart, also known as pastel de nata or 葡式蛋挞. Similar to the common egg tart found all over Hong Kong, the Portuguese version comes with a slightly charred top, much like a crème brûlée.

Started at the Lardo do Senado, or Senado Square, meandered through the narrow, yet packed, side streets checking out everything the tourist center had to offer. Lined with a variety of shops, in particular those selling all forms of beef jerky, the streets force tourist eyes to dart all over the place between souvenirs, jewelry, and all types of food.

At the end of one particular street are the Ruínas de São Paulo, built in the 16th century, it was originally St. Paul’s College and the Church of St. Paul. Today, it is listed as part of the Historic Centre of Macau and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

At the foot of the landmark is a shop selling all types of cookies and crackers, but directly in front is an oven filled with fresh Portuguese egg tarts. Each treat costs HK$8, about US$1 (the Hong Kong dollar is just about equivalent to the Macau pataca).

Crispy, creamy, and delicious, there is nothing that could make a visit to the Ruínas de São Paulo any more of a memorable experience.

Given the choice between the two, not sure it would be easy to select a winner, they’re both so delicious. However, to be completely honest, the edge might have to go to the Portuguese variety.

Nothing makes a Portuguese egg tart more lovely than having the Ruínas de São Paulo in the background.

Nothing makes a Portuguese egg tart more lovely than having the Ruínas de São Paulo in the background.

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One of the greatest dishes in the history of food

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Have been to Hong Kong and Macau on two prior occasions, and visited Shanghai and Taipei previously, yet never in any of those instances was there the opportunity to sit down and enjoy the glory that is Peking Duck. On this most recent occasion, it was a priority to sit down and enjoy the ever-revered dish. And, contrary to popular belief, this is a much different entrée than the typical roasted ducks everybody sees hanging in the windows of many Chinese restaurants – still delicious, but Peking Duck is an entirely different beast.

It was on the day of arrival in Hong Kong that the dinner was already planned. Flew into Hong Kong International Airport aboard Cathay Pacific around 3:00 p.m. and made a beeline for the train heading downtown.

Staying in the Tin Hau district, it was a quick ride on the Hong Kong MTR to Central Station and, even before heading above ground, there it was – Peking Garden in Alexandra House, a one-Michelin star establishment.

Even though reservations are required, arrived a bit before the dinner crowd and was asked if it was possible to finish the meal before 6:30 p.m., it was around 5:15 p.m. – said it can be done and was seated right away.

Immediately, was served tea from a very ornate tea set and snacks of pickled vegetables and bean curd; opened the menu and dug around for the Peking Duck.

Putting in the order, the duck came out very quickly – assuming the place expects nearly every table to order at least one – and it was marvelous. The first server came and asked if there were a preference to separate the skin or not, went with keeping skin and meat together, he then left to carve the duck on the other side of the room. Another server arrived with plates of vegetables, sweet sauce, and steamed rice pancakes.

The duck spread across two gorgeous plates.

Before anything, had to try one piece on its own, to savor the dish that everybody and their mother raves about, and it was magnificent. Juicy and flavorful meat and crispy skin, a travel show on Korean network TVN called the taste unforgettable, it’s also indescribable. Started putting together little rolls of the duck and all the add-ons wrapped in the rice pancakes and it was nothing short of heavenly.

Doubt there will ever be another trip to Hong Kong without at least one night sitting down to a plate of sumptuous Peking Duck.

Peking Garden has several restaurants across Hong Kong, the Central location is in the basement of Alexandra House, at exit H of the Central MTR station.

Peking Garden has several restaurants across Hong Kong, the Central location is in the basement of Alexandra House, at exit H of the Central MTR station.

Dulce de Leche for breakfast

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After years without a place that consistently sold bagels, Bacolod City finally has one, Bagels by ELG, located at the O Residence, next door to Robinsons Place. On the first visit, stopped in to stock the house with bagels and English muffins and they were great. Other bake shops in town either stopped selling bagels, probably due to unfamiliarity with the product, and another only sells stale bagels – literally, concrete.

Perusing the menu, found all the options, with a variety of bagels and the all-time favorite, smoked salmon.

Enjoyed the lox on the first visit and went through the different bagel options on the next, stopped at dulce de leche.

Spreading dulce de leche on a toasted plain bagel (to be honest, dulce de leche spread on anything in incredible) was an amazing way to start the day. The place is quickly becoming the regular Sunday breakfast spot.

Bagels by ELG, the first stop after Sunday mass.

Bagels by ELG, the first stop after Sunday mass.

Written by Paulo Loreto

September 7, 2016 at 9:56 PM