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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.

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

Could get used to this breakfast

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Having lived in New Jersey, while working in New York City, had the first encounter with a Paris Baguette at their Edison, NJ location. An incredible array of pastries and goodies, a fusion between French and Korean flavors, that ended up in something delicious no matter what was selected. Found another location soon after in Koreatown, in midtown Manhattan, and it made the day – and living, in general – all the better.

Vacationing in Seoul, found out there were three Paris Baguette locations within walking distance of the hotel; a veritable heaven. Upon finding all the locations, it was, just about, a daily pilgrimage to find something to snack on or bring back to the hotel. After finding the first one, had to have breakfast there and it was something that could be enjoyed every day is possible.

Picked up a bulgogi sandwich and ordered an iced green tea latte – their green tea lattes were also a huge favorite in NYC.

Had a view of a new city to explore, a warm and delicious sandwich, and, still, some of the greatest takeaway cups known to man. There was nothing that could bring down the day – even confusion on the subway was relieved after thinking back to the amazing start.

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.

ParisBaguette1

Could eat gimbap every day

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Have been fan of gimbap, or kimbap, for years and have yet to have one that was not absolutely delicious. On the last trip to Seoul, had it on several occasions, in a restaurant as a side dish, grabbed some for takeout, and had some off a food cart in Myeongdong.

A longtime fan of sushi, gimbap is a completely different beast. Yes, they have similar looks but the taste couldn’t be more of a contrast and can literally have it nonstop for days – and thinking back, it feels like it may have happened whilst wandering Seoul.

Mostly enjoyed the ones filled with shredded vegetables and delicious bulgogi – probably one of the greatest preparation methods for beef. The ones from the street cart, literally threw those back like they were chips.

Enjoyed gimbap nearly every day in Seoul, it looks so simple, yet it is loaded with delicious flavor.

Enjoyed gimbap nearly every day in Seoul, it looks so simple, yet it is loaded with delicious flavor.

Cravings are made of fish cakes

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There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that the thought of a delicious street snack on a stick doesn’t come to mind. Of all the delicious treats available all over Seoul, it would seem the basic stick of fish cake and hot dog takes the lead when it comes to cravings from the last vacation. For ₩3,000 (around $2.50), the delicious flavors that can really only be found along the streets of Seoul are deliciously encompassed on a stick.

Enjoyed everything from bulgogi to steak to tteokbokki, even a macaron ice cream sandwich – all delicious – but there is just something so special about the fish cake and hot dog on a stick.

On any given day, it’s merely a matter of sitting back and thinking about strolling the streets and alleyways of Myeongdong with a stick in hand. Enjoying each morsel one by one, looking left and right at the variety of sites along the bustling thoroughfare, and hearing an assortment of K-pop hits while passing each storefront.

Fish Cake

Written by Paulo Loreto

July 16, 2016 at 6:57 AM

Frying the entire chicken

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Visiting Seoul for the first time, there was no doubt some of the famous Korean fried chicken had to be tasted. Had always been a fan, having been a frequent visitor to the Bonchon location in midtown Manhattan. One of the first nights there, a particularly late night, wandered around the neighborhood of Myeongdong for a spot to grab dinner and found Chicken 678.

Walking past the rather large outdoor space, was seated towards the rear of the restaurant – perfectly tucked away and hidden. Browsed the menu and immediately saw the chicken, it was a split-second decision that an order of soy friend chicken was the one.

Being used to other establishments denoting a specific number of pieces or which part or what shade of meat is preferred, a large plate with bunch of friend chicken goodness arrived – the entire chicken was split up and served, no arguing over what parts to order, they were all there.

Crispy, juicy and everything expected of Korean fried chicken.

Ended up enjoying friend chicken on another late night and it was just as delicious – they know how to do fried chicken.

Chicken 678

Written by Paulo Loreto

July 6, 2016 at 10:31 PM