Food Tripping through Hong Kong

I visited Hong Kong twice in the past year. Whether that was necessary is a question that I don’t quite have an answer to. But it was definitely a gastronomic experience that I wouldn’t miss for the world. Both trips were packed around tracking down the next food place we were to visit, and we set a record of 10 meals in a day. It might sound rather unbelievable, but when you think about all those snacking in between while we were heading from one place to another, you’d realise that it is actually plausible. Sharing of food is a must of course, and that’s the best way to ensure that we made the most of our trip.

From traditional breakfasts at the many Cha Chaan Tengs, lunch at the next noodles spot, to Michelin-starred Roast Goose and Dim Sum, and the numerous dessert options – our tummies were thoroughly pampered and full to bursting the entire day. Oh, and I haven’t even gotten around to those egg tarts, and cheese tarts! Bring an extra stomach or two to Hong Kong, because you’ll be food-hunting down the MTR line throughout your trip.

Both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon have their fair share of options. I stayed on different sides of the bay for my two trips, and both were just so easily accessible with the MTR. If you’re thinking of staying in an Airbnb for your trip, I would highly recommend Joe’s apartment! By Hong Kong standards, it’s spacious for a family of 4-5 pax, and it was well-equipped with all the amenities we needed, and more!

For the hardcore foodies, you’ll know that Macau is not just about casinos and gambling. It’s worth a day trip if you’ve never been there before, even if it’s just for those ah-mazing Portuguese egg tarts.

I’ll be posting more details about all the food I tried in the next few weeks. But just to get you started, here’s how your tummy can lead the way along Hong Kong’s MTR line:

Kowloon (North > South)
Prince Edward: One Dim Sum
Yau Ma Tei: Yee Shun Milk Company, Mido Cafe
Jordan: Australian Dairy Company
Tsim Sha Tsui: Sun Kee Cheese Noodle, Hui Lau Shan, Via Tokyo

Hong Kong Island (East > West)
HKU: Chau Kee
Sheung Wan: Oddies Foodies
Central: Mak’s Noodles, Yat Lok, Urban Bakery Works, Tsui Wah, Tai Cheong Bakery, Honolulu Coffee Shop
Wan Chai: Sun Kee Cheese Noodle, Capital Cafe, Honolulu Coffee Shop, Kam’s Roast Goose
Causeway Bay: BAKE Cheese Tarts, Via Tokyo
Tin Hau: Sister Wah Beef Brisket

Enjoy your food trippin’! And do share with me if you’ve tried something good that I should know about too (: Stay tuned for next week’s post on HK’s Top 5 Cha Chaan Tengs!

Zonin Italian Wine Experience

I had the pleasure of revisiting some of my favourite Italian wines once again this year. The prestigious Zonin family has been producing wines of outstanding quality since 1821, and has several estates around Italy yielding distinct varieties of wines.

Chef Samuel Quan of Element @ Amara Hotel curated a special menu to complement the Zonin wines we were to have that night. A young chef who recently joined the Element team, he already accumulated several accolades under his belt, and amassed experiences working with top chefs, including Joel Robuchon. Expectations were high, and the meal was highly anticipated with the quirky, interesting names of each dish.


Naturally, in typical Italian fashion, we started the night with Prosecco. A gentle start to the evening, as we stood around mingling. The soft bubbles gave us a slight light-headedness, easing our way into the night, while the fruity aromas piqued our taste buds for the exciting dinner ahead.

To tease our palate, Chef Samuel served up an amuse bouche, Missed the Harvest Season – ‘Tomato’, avocado and edible earth. ‘Where was the avocado?’ we questioned. We got our answer when we bit into the ‘tomato’, only to realise that the pureed avocado was hidden within a red jelly-like skin. Genius, and what incredible skill that required. The light flavours of the dish paired well with the Zonin Prosecco Cuvee 1821. The meal was off to a good start.


For our appetizer, we had the Song Of The Sea – Scallop and Uni, Miso Shirasu sand, Dashi jelly and Shellfish foam. The umami aromas of the sea and the full-bodied white wine we had with it reinforced each other’s flavours beautifully. Feudo Principi di Butera Insolia is literally translated to ‘Prince of Butera’ according to our host, Mr Fraser Jones. Unlike other white wines, this wine has a heavier texture, as the skin of the grape is thicker and the hot Sicilian summers from where this wine originates gives the liquor a full-bodied flavour.


I was taken aback when I first took a sip of the Tenuta Ca’Bolani Aquilis. It surprised me with a burst of intense, food-y tartness. It seemed almost savoury, and jumped out of the glass, igniting my senses. This wine is a limited edition, with only 5000 bottles produced. Unlike most Sauvignon Blancs, the Aquilis is much more complex, and is recommended to be taken with food. This powerful wine was nicely contrasted with Chef Samuel’s ‘The Fish that Longed to be on Land’, which was a light Turbot seasoned with citrus spices with a side of Romanesco cauliflower and baby carrots.


Our main course was ‘The One that Got Away’, an exquisite skirt steak with veal tongue, pickled sunchoke and crispy kale. The skirt steak had been marinated for 6 days, and the essences of the sauce penetrated the meat to give it a delicious flavour and tenderness. Of course, this was paired with red wine, and we had two choices – Feudo Principi di Butera Symposio and Castello d’Albola Chianti Classico Riserva. Out of the two, I preferred the traditional Chianti wine. The 2010 Riserva grapes were handpicked and fermented using traditional methods, and though this thin-skinned grape was difficult to work with, the effort taken to harvest it was evident in its superior quality.


Finally, we had the cheekily named ‘Oops I dropped my Grandma’s Pot’ paired with none other than Zonin Moscato. Each individual element of this dessert delighted me – from the Yuzu sponge, to the Oreo soil and Black Sesame panacotta. With a lightly aromatic, naturally sweet Moscato, it was simply the best way to end a lovely dinner.


Many thanks to SPOC for the invitation, Luke for hosting our table, Mr Fraser Jones from Zonin and Chef Samuel from Element @ Amara Hotel for the wonderful evening.

Yo! Fit Pass

Hello, February! CNY is just around the corner and along with it comes all the feasting as usual. I can never resist all those festive goodies – it’s probably my favorite part of the whole season. There’s always that conflict of trying to stay in shape despite all the food that I eat though. If you follow me on Instagram (@xuannykelly), you’ve probably seen my attempts at eating clean with my salads and all (check out #xuannyeatsclean for some eatclean ideas!). It takes discipline though. Whipping up all those salads isn’t easy. I do enjoy making them very much, but sometimes I face a dilemma of whether to catch that few extra winks or wake up early to prepare a healthy lunch.

You might have heard this phrase “Abs are made in the gym, but revealed in the kitchen.” True enough, just exercise or dieting alone is not going to cut it. Which is why the folks at Yo! Fit Pass have come up with Singapore’s first ever fitness and healthy food pass! One pass – 10 workouts and 10 meals in a month. For those familiar with multi-gym access passes like GuavaPass, this works in pretty much the same way.
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I’ve always been rather curious about juicing, and while I don’t think I can muster up the determination to go on a full juice diet for 3 days in a row or something, I was really excited to try out some of the juice selections offered by Yo! Fit Pass. Checked out Daily Juice at Circular Road, and HIC Juice (finally!!!), and I really loved how tasty those juices were! My pick would definitely be Maquila from HIC Juice, which was a deliciously citrusy concoction that kickstarted my day in such a refreshing manner.
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For workouts, you can choose from a selection of yoga, bootcamps, and even less common activities like paddle-boarding! I do hope that the number of classes available will increase, and I believe that it is possible with the team actively sourcing for new partners.

If your 2016 New Year’s resolution was to get up and start doing something positive for your health, Yo! Fit Pass is a good place to begin! Membership is on a monthly renewal basis, with no contract commitments. To get you started on your first month, use my promo code “YOKELLY” to get $40 off your first pass :) What are you waiting for!

Fern & Kiwi

I first heard about this place because of their famous 3 litre margarita, which came in a massive glass and I thought it was a fantastic idea for a group to share. Unfortunately, they took that item off the menu and I never found an impetus to go there, till it appeared on The Entertainer App. For some strange reason, all the restaurants that I want to visit using the app do not open on Sundays! WHY??? I never knew there could be so many places that were closed on Sundays till I had such a hard time finding a place for dinner. And ain’t that just strange because aren’t the weekends the days when people dine out more often?! Oh well.

I’m glad that we made it to Fern & Kiwi, by pure luck, on a Sunday! This place has one of the BEST RIBS EVERRRRRRR. I’m a huge fan of pork ribs, and F&K just nailed it!

Fern & Kiwi Classic Pork Spare RibsThe only thing I regretted was not ordering a larger size. Aesthetics and portion wise, it might not look like much. But boy, it was so so good! There are three sizes for the Classic Pork Spare Ribs – Regular $22, Medium $31 and Mega $59. We ordered the regular, and it came in a stack of 4 rather large pieces. It was totally not enough. I NEED A MEGA SIZE OF THESE RIBS. Tender, with meat falling off the bone, that satisfied one important aspect of pork ribs. Marinated with a wicked combination of honey, hoisin and orange glaze, the ribs were sticky sweet, savoury and tasty. And to top it off, a small jug of the best BBQ sauce ever!!! We were so glad that this dish came first because we just used that jug of BBQ sauce for every other dish that came along! The ribs themselves are sufficiently slathered in the marinade, and you don’t really need any additional sauce for it. But that sauce was so good, we couldn’t waste it!

Processed with VSCOcam with kk1 presetFries from the Haka Burger ($24) went into the jar, and I poured the sauce over the burger as well, because the BBQ sauce just went so perfectly with everything. Let’s take a pause here from raving about the sauce, and turn our attention to the fries. These were amazing as well!! They were delicious crisp, and remained so throughout the meal. The burger was generously portioned and came with a really interesting tangy sauce that we couldn’t quite put our finger to. Our guess was Worcestershire sauce, but who knows?

Fern & Kiwi Pure South New Zealand Rib Eye

Fern & Kiwi Kumara MashWe ordered the Pure South New Zealand Rib Eye ($23 for 200gm) and you get a choice of black pepper or mushroom sauce with it. Presentation-wise, it felt like no effort was put into it at all. We topped up $5 for the Kumara Mash, and that was great! It came in a casserole that looked like quite a lot for the price. It’s sweet potato mash, and you know, I just love sweet potato. We couldn’t stop eating it!

Fern & Kiwi Oven Baked Herb Crusted ChickenWho knew that the Oven Baked Herb Crusted Chicken ($25) would come with kumara mash as well? Haha. The more the merrier anyway,since we liked it so much. The chicken was beautifully done. Coated in a crisp herbed crust and baked, it was juicy and naturally flavourful.

The quality of food here was better than expected! Perhaps because I’d simply been totally impressed by those spare ribs. I’ll be back for the mega sized one.

Fern & Kiwi
3C River Valley Road #01-02/03
Tel.: +65 6336 2271

Monochrome Fusion Bistro

Chic and classic is what defines this bistro. Simple, black & white, but it delivers – and that is what’s most important. I got The Entertainer App for the last two months of this year, and we’re just trying to make the most of it while we can! Honestly not many opportunities though, considering I’m out of Singapore for nearly half of December.

I’ve been wanting to try Monochrome Fusion Bistro for awhile, but I somehow couldn’t bring myself to, because the food just seemed a tad overpriced. Not expensive, but I wasn’t sure if such cafe food was worth the price they were charging. With The Entertainer App however, there was no such worry because it then became so worth it! Sometimes we did wonder whether portions shrank because we had 1-for-1 though. But looking at other photos, I guess not.

Monochrome Fusion Bistro Beer Battered Fish and ChipsThe Beer Battered Fish and Chips ($18) was the first dish to arrive at our table and we were rather taken aback by its puny size. This picture is probably not an accurate depiction of its size. There were just two smallish sizes of fish. The saving grace was that this was by far one of the most flavourful fish and chips I’ve eaten. It was clearly beer-infused, with a distinct essence, and was lightly battered such that it wasn’t too oily.

Monochrome Fusion Bistro Asian Pork BellyThe Asian Pork Belly ($23) had a delicious teriyaki sauce (I think?), though the texture wasn’t as soft as I would have liked it to be. The lean areas of the pork seemed a little hard, though it was still tasty. The highlights of the dish had to be the peaches and criss-cut fries which were super duper addictive!! This featured in the next dish as well, and we absolutely LOVED it. From the seasoning to the crispness of the fries, it was simply perfect.

Monochrome Fusion Bistro Oven-Roasted ChickenThe Oven-Roasted Chicken ($23) was roasted beautifully, with a crackly skin and piping hot, tender meat within.

Monochrome Fusion Bistro Pan-seared BarramundiWe just loved the presentation of the Pan-Seared Barramundi ($21). Simple and elegant – isn’t that plate just gorgeous? The fish was fresh and got grandma’s vote, and we swooned over the mashed potatoes which were so beautifully creamy and milky.

Monochrome Fusion BistroNSFD – Not Safe for Dates. Evidently three years has made me comfortable enough to bare my black teeth in front of Sam, thanks to this Squid Ink Risotto ($24) which left us smacking our lips with glee. Definitely one of my favourite dishes of this meal. While the texture was more like paella than risotto (it wasn’t very creamy unlike what the latter usually is), we weren’t complaining because it made the dish much easier to stomach. Also, a mix of quinoa lent a crunch to the dish, and the scallops were deliciously plump and juicy. Alfalfa sprouts and examine beans helped to provide a balance to counter the richness, and made this very palatable for us.

Monochrome Fusion Bistro Chilli Crab LinguineIt seems like Chilli Crab Linguine ($22) is the next big cafe item. Everywhere seems to be serving this dish, and I actually feel that it’s starting to lose its wow factor. Spiciness-wise, this hit the spot, and I liked the tinge of sweetness in the chilli as well. The deep fried soft shell crab was too oily for my liking though, which was a pity.

Quality of food was good, though I would only come here with The Entertainer because the size of the portions are pretty small. Worth a try though!

Monochrome Fusion Bistro
291 South Bridge Road
Tel.: +65 6221 1798
Daily 12pm-10pm