Tastebuds

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Jean-Paul Hevin Macarons from HK

Jean-Paul Hevin Macarons from HK!
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So FINALLY I’m posting the promised JPH macaron post from eons ago. Yeah, school work and stuff have been getting in the way…(stuff aka my laziness)

Anyways. All those weeks ago when I headed down to Hong Kong, I was really really excited to finally be able to try some high class macarons. The first thing that I did as soon as I got to Harbour City was to get box of them.

Macarons!

Now, these macarons were quite pricey; if bought individually they cost something like 20 HKD each. My box of 15 costed something like 280 HKD. Ekk. They had 13 flavours, so I got one of each plus two extras. Below are pics and my thoughts on each flavour:

Vanille w/ Chocolate Ganache:

This first one that I tried was somewhat disappointing. I found it overly sweet and the vanilla flavour was quite lacking. Sob.

“Super Amer” Chocolate:

The “Super Amer” chocolate was very chocolatey but again too sweet for my tastes. Towards the end I came across one bite that had an odd sour taste…probably just an oddity.

Pistache*:

The pistachio macaron had a very nice hard outter crust that collapsed beautifully into its soft insides. The pistachio taste wasn’t very strong, but it was still a very tell-tale nuttiness present in the cookie. This one wasn’t as sweet as the previous two, thank goodness.

Frambroises:


I didn’t like the raspberry one much at all. Well, maybe it’s just a matter of personal preference but I’m not really into fruit jams in general and that jammie taste was very prominent in this macaron. Jam and chocolate…sort of weird…

Bergamot:

Since I don’t know what Bergamot tea is I wasn’t quite sure what to look for in this macaron. Like most of the others, the Bergamot macaron just tasted chocolate-like and sweet. The texture of this particular one was nicely done, though, with that cruncy outter layer and soft moist insides.

Praline Hazelnut:

The praline hazelnut had a very hazelnutty flavour, which was awesome. The texture was notable too, though that seems to be a hit or miss thing for every individual macaron. But unfortunately, I again found this overly sweet due to the prevalence of the chocolate ganache.

Fig:

Cracked crust! Unfortunately all the jolting and jostling on the train must have taken its toll. But that aside, this was a pretty decent macaron. I was able to tell that this macaron was fig-flavoured cause it had figgy bits in the ganache. But unfortunately, like many of the others it was a bit too sweet…

HOney:

The honey macaron was matched up to its name by being more honey-like than chocolatey. However, again it was TOO SWEET!

Mystery:

Next there was this mystery flavour that I simply could not pinpoint. It wasn’t too sweet and was slightly fruity…in fact, it had this very distinctive flavour that I couldn’t get my finger on…hmmmm….

Caram’in:

This particular macaron suffered from the hit-or-miss cookie situation. Sadly, it had a yellow biscuit that was overly hard, and one cannot enjoy a happy macaron experience when the biscuit is too hard. The ganache inside, however, was very good for being chocolatey but not overly sweet. Too bad for the failed biscuit…

Coffee*:

Even though I don’t usually like coffee, I actually really enjoyed the coffee macaron. It had a very distinctive coffee taste that was more creamy than bitter. In fact, it wasn’t at all bitter. Good macaron experience. So much so that I forgot to take a half-way photo =)

Passionfruit*:

The passionfruit macaron was wonderful. It had a very subtle fruitiness in its ganache that became stronger as you chomp through the macaron. It wasn’t too sweet either.

Mango-Coriander*:

Mango coriander sounds like a weird flavour. The mango taste was definitely there, but I’m not so sure about the coriander. However, this was a decent macaron. It wasn’t too sweet and acted as a nice palate-cleanser after all the chocolat based macarons.

So those were the flavours that I tasted from JPH. Though there were a few flavours that shone, I have to say that overall, it was a somewhat disappointing experience. I didn’t like the super-sweetness of most of the macarons and the chocolate ganache that was used in practically every cookie just got a bit boring by the end. I read from The Girl Who Ate Everything that Jean-Paul Hevin macarons generally have a choc base and an additional flavour subtly infused into the ganache. This makes sense since most of the macarons that I tried fit precisely under that description. However, I do wish that the additional flavour is a bit more pronounced since half the time I can’t taste anything except for the chocolate ganache. Maybe my palate just isn’t refined enough haha.

ANyways, overall, I guess I am a little bit disappointed by the macarons so I probably won’t fork over 280 HKD to get another box anytime too soon in the future.

P.S. The “*” are just little reminders to myself. Those with “*” next to them are the ones that I really enjoyed and will get again if I ever feel so inclined.

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November 22, 2009 Posted by | Bakery, Hong Kong, Travels | 2 Comments

Another trip to Hong Kong

So this weekend my dad and I took another random trip down to Hong Kong. Yay! Well actually the reason was because my dad needed to renew his visa but me, I’ll look for any excuse to go to Hong Kong. Really I think Hong Kong is one of the greatest cities in the world and I would absolutely LOVE to live there one day. It’ll either be Hong Kong or New York.

Anyways. As we all know, any trip to Hong Kong requires splurging, and this one was no different. As soon as we got out of the train station I went over to a bakery and got an egg tart and a bbq pork triangle.

The egg tart (which was, btw, very fresh and still warm from the oven) was of the uncaramelized variety, the type that I don’t quite like as much. I find these type of egg tarts to be too monotonous in texture…the whole thing is just…soft and filmsy. Of course they taste just fine but I find that they lack textural variation.

The bbq pork triangle was also pretty decent. The filling was saucy and sweet without being overly so. However, one common trait about all char siu bakery items that really bothers me is the presence of fat chunks in the filling. The pork meat tastes great but the chunks of gooey pork fat are quite off-putting…do people actually eat them???

After that little snack we went off to go book browsing. Yep, in this side of the world Hong Kong is practically the only place where I can stock up on English books.

After book shopping we decided to have lunch at one of the innumerable Japanese restaurants that can be found in just about every crack and cranny in Hong Kong. In Tsim Sha Tsui, at least, one can locate a Japanese eatery in just about any random direction. Assailed with so many different choices we haphazardly settled on Sushi One Plus.

As soon as we entered I knew it probably wasn’t a good choice because the place simply didn’t feel authentic. But then of course I was hungry and didn’t bother searching out some other place. So an unauthentic Japanese meal it’ll have to be!

Looking to eat light so that I’ll have room for junk later on, I ordered three small dishes. First came the fatty tuna sashimi, which was expensive but wonderful. The fish was a little cold but that didn’t detract too much from its creamy, melt-in-your-mouth taste and texture. Yummm….

The uni handroll was unglamourous. I wish they added a piece of cucumber to provide some crunch and texture contrast to the roll. The uni was also a bit too small. It tasted fine and fresh and all but I know that it can be done better.

My last order was the asparagus with caviar. The asparagus was sort of weird; it seemed like it couldn’t decide whether it should be hot or cold. However, I think that those little sprigs of asparagus matched with the plumpy caviar quite well. The flavours of both were subtle and thus complemented each other. Unfortunately the strong Japanese mayo at the bottom somewhat ruined that harmony…

My dad ordered a lunch combo and I tried some of his items. Above is the tamago, which was served steaming hot, was sweet and rather dense. I didn’t really enjoy it.

The lunch combo also came with this salmon and mango sushi, which I didn’t try but it looks like it’s got too much rice and not enough filling.

After that semi-decent Japanese cuisine experience we headed over to Harbour City to accomplish my main purpose of the day: buy MACARONS from JEAN-PAUL HEVIN! I’ll blog about that in the later post but below is a photo of the awesome hallowed macarons =)

After splurging on macarons I walked around Harbour City by myself, looking for edible interests. First I stopped at the Panash Bakery at Ocean Terminal and quite impulsively got a chocolate croissant. Unfortunately it wasn’t such a good choice. The nice shiny croissant looked promising on the outside but the inside was dry, tasteless, and paper-like. Even though it was no longer warm the chocolate was in a sauce form and not a solid block like it should be. I took two bites and threw the thing away. Bleh! >

After the failed pain au chocolat I felt in the mood for something cold so I lept at the sight of a very unusual ice cream cone in 7-11: Ovaltine ice cream =O!

Definitely not a flavour that you see around often. As you can see, the top of the cone is covered with chocolate and in the first few bites the chocolate completely obscured the ovaltine. However once the chocolate covering was gone the wheaty ovaltine flavour was unmistakable. Even though I don’t like ovaltine much I quite enjoyed this cone for it was something unique. My only complaint (a defect that affects all pre-packaged cones in warm weather) is that the cone was soggy…

Oh yeah actually a funny thing happened while I was unwrapping the ice cream. Because the weather was so warm, I was in a hurry to get my camera out and take a photo and I think in my haste I accidentally threw my camera case into the trash can along with the ice cream wrapping. Wow, I must have looked really stupid doing that…Thank god it was the case and not the camera.

Anyways, later in the afternoon I walked into Starbucks and, spotting an interesting cake flavour, couldn’t resist trying it out. The Earl Grey cake was quite mousse-like with a hazelnut base and a jelly-like topping. The Earl Grey taste was definitely present at just the right amount. The cake was pretty light and so if you like Earl Grey and light cakes, you’d definitely like this.

All right, lastly and finally I had some chocolate from Leonidas. The Palet d’Or, which had 75% or something cocoa content, consisted of a mousse-like center enrobed with dark chocolate. It was very chocolatey and slightly bitter though I found the center to be a bit dry. Overall a nice piece of chocolate.

The truffle naturel wasn’t really a conventional truffle; instead of being a dense chocolatey mass it was a ganache covered with a thin layer of chocolate and cocoa powder. It wasn’t what I expected so I can’t say much about the truffle…it was good, but it wasn’t what I wanted.

Whew! What a long post! And that, readers, is the documentation of my day of fooding in the wonderful city of Hong Kong. The end =)

November 1, 2009 Posted by | Bakery, Desserts, Hong Kong, Japanese, Miscellaneous, Restaurants, Travels, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Cafe de Coral

Cafe de Coral
Address: Everywhere
http://www.cafedecoral.com/web/show/show.jsp?ppid=10

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Sorry for not having posted for sooo long…it is so difficult finding a suitable proxy these days that I usually guiltily just give up…sigh, guess this is just China.

Anyways, a super long while ago when I was in Hong Kong and was feeling miserly after a day of impulse shopping, I decided to get some cheap dinner.
So the natural choice had to be Cafe de Coral!

Cafe de Coral is a very popular HK-style fast food restaurant. They have branches everywhere these days…I guess their main appeal is that they serve cheap, good food, the former of which is a rarity in HK.

The ordering system was a bit confusing…they have different lines for different categories. I didn’t want to appear like a tourist so I ordered one of the few items that I was able to read off the menu: curried beef brisket!

It was quite good, actually. The curry flavour was there, the beef was very tender, and the portion was quite large.

In addition to the curry I also had a HK-style bubble tea. What is a HK-style meal without bubble tea?

So overall, it was a nice cheap meal. If you want to have a taste of what HK locals eat, Cafe de Coral would probably be a good bet.

October 24, 2009 Posted by | Chinese, Hong Kong, Restaurants, Travels | Leave a comment

Little Mermaid Bakery

Little Mermaid Bakery
Address: cookedDeli at citysuper, Harbour City
Website: http://www.logon.com.hk/module4_detail.php?detail=48

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At Harbour City in Hong Kong, I came across the Little Mermaid Bakery and decided to try out some of their breads.

Little Mermaid Bakery is sort of like a fusion bakery; it carries both Asian and Western style breads. I didn’t get to try their artisan breads but they looked and felt pretty decent; they had the sort of crustiness that you don’t find in so-called “Western” breads here in Guangzhou.

Anyways, I wasn’t feeling too hungry so I only got two items: the sticky choclate doughnut and the Camembert bread.

That picture of the sticky chocolate doughnut looks a bit creepy, doesn’t it…well, it didn’t taste all that good either. It wasn’t really a doughnut; it was more like a moochi with chocolate sauce inside. The chocolate flavour wasn’t very strong at all…all I could taste was sweetness. Don’t recommend this.

But the Camembert bread, on the other hand, was actually quite decent. All right, the bread was very Asian: it was soft and slightly sweet with walnuts pieces here and there. However, they actually had quite an amount of Camembert in the center, which was quite good. It made me feel like I was getting the value for my money since Camembert isn’t the cheapest thing in these parts. Unfortunately I had to enjoy this bun cold; I think it would have been a lot more enjoyable straight out of the oven.

October 1, 2009 Posted by | Bakery, Hong Kong, Travels | Leave a comment