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Experience A Hong Kong Christmas, No Matter Where You Are in The World

A couple of weeks ago, the highly anticipated Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble (initially set for November 22) was shelved after a surge of cases in the region – much to the disappointment of many. Some hotels and shopping centres, had, in fact, tailored special holiday experiences – ready to welcome their first leisure travellers after over a year of travel restrictions. 

While that obviously hasn’t worked out, that doesn’t mean Christmas has to be canceled. Hong Kong retailers, businesses and artists alike have banded together to bring an immersive and innovative festive season to people all over the world – using the power of technology.

Take a 360-degree virtual tour of Hong Kong’s festive Central Business District 

Hong Kong’s Christmas celebrations are widely considered to be some of the best in the region, with vibrant Christmas markets, stunning displays, fun activities and more. The Hong Kong WinterFest, an annual fixture organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, has been a major tourist draw each year – and although visitors might not be able to attend physically this year, they can still expect a veritable wonderland through their screens. 

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Go on a tour of Christmas Town – a snow-kissed virtual CBD based on Hong Kong’s very own Central Business District – which ‘starts’ off at Statue Square, a historic public space in the heart of Central. From there, visitors are free to choose their own adventure: you can learn how to make festive DIY crafts such as aromatic wreaths, ornaments, pop-up holiday cards or candle holders via video tutorials, download holiday-themed Whatsapp stickers designed by famous Hong Kong illustrator like Din Dong, Dustykid and Messy Deck, or tune in to beautiful Christmas carols. If you prefer to just soak in the sights of the CBD’s iconic skyscrapers (which will be all decked out for the holidays), a towering tree and festive Christmas lodges, let Uncle Siu – a popular English educator known for his charming voice – lead you through the innovative 360-degree experience, and make fun, interactive stops along the way. 

The virtual tour of Christmas Town is part of the 2020 Hong Kong Winterfest, which will run until 3 January 2021. 

The world’s first “AI Butterflies Illuminating Interactive Art”

Enter a playground of light at Lee Tung Avenue in Wan Chai, where a seven-metre-tall, stained-glass butterfly and over 350 little LED butterflies have taken up residence. Dubbed “Butterflies of Hope,” it is the world’s first AI-powered butterfly art installation,  created to inspire, uplift and remind visitors of the hope, love, beauty and positivity we have in this world.

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If you are in Hong Kong, afternoon is the best time to visit, as the glass installation refracts natural light onto the ground, painting the boulevard in a myriad of colours. Evenings are a magical affair, with a music-and-light symphony that sees the butterflies taking flight as they ‘dance’ to the sound of music using artificial intelligence.

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The Lee Tung Avenue atrium is also home to a stunning, 12-metre-tall Christmas tree, with some powerful special effects. Combining touchless interactive technology and a special shadow projection technique, the tree projects butterflies onto the clothes of visitors – a feat of art and technology. 

Enjoy the festivities at Lee Tung Avenue until 10 January 2021.

Get lost in the Asia debut of Globoscope, a light showcase from France

K11 MUSEA, a new cultural-retail destination and arts hub on the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, has turned up the Christmas spirit this year with A Very MUSEA Christmas Village. The village spreads joy and wonderment with a roster of artistic cultural experiences, including the Asia debut of Globoscope.

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Globoscope debuts in Asia at K11 Musea

Created by Collectif Coin, a renowned French art lab, the site-specific immersive light show stretches across the Bohemian Garden, a roof-top open space. A 20-minute private experience can be reserved to enjoy the surreal, sensory light exhibit with family or friends. It’s a sight to behold: Glowing spheres dance and swirl in choreographed light movements, while the dramatic Hong Kong skyline shines in the distance.

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Adding to the festive vibes is K11 MUSEA’s gorgeous Christmas Forest, featuring glistening golden trees in the mall’s atrium. Also not to be missed is a special Santa Muse Parade and a Christmas Market.

Experience A Very MUSEA Christmas Village through 3 January 2021. 

“Christmas Every Day” goes high tech with virtual Santa Meet & Greets

For the past 50 years, Harbour City has marked the holiday seasons with larger-than-life Christmas installations and festive surprises. This year is no different: it’s “Christmas Every Day” celebration once again promises unforgettable holiday memories, complemented by a roster of online experiences. 

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Take a virtual tour of the incredible decorations throughout the mall and “check-in” on social media or share your Christmas wish list with Santa during a virtual Meet & Greet. For the little ones, Harbour City has created an interactive online colouring game, where children can dress up their “Monster Friends” – adorable 3D cartoon characters illustrated by Dutch artist Eva Cremers – and then watch their masterpiece come to life!

The holiday extravaganza continues in person. At the “Christmas Lighting Garden” on the Ocean Terminal Deck, you can wade through a sea of illuminated LED clovers and dandelions and enjoy the “Christmas Lighting & Music Show” every evening with the stunning Hong Kong skyline as a backdrop.

Enjoy Harbour City’s “Christmas Every Day” online and offline experiences until 3 January 2021.

*Photos courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board.

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Meal for One: Wong Kok Char Chan Teng, IOI Mall Puchong

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In Hong Kong, char chan tengs are a part of everyday life – the equivalent of a Malaysian kopitiam – where you can get fast, tummy-filling, affordable meals. The menu is often an eclectic mix of local favourites like rice and noodle dishes, and Western-style fusion cuisine the likes of cheese-baked rice, grilled chicken wings and toast.

Thanks to the popularity of Hong Kong culture which peaked in the 90s to 00’s among the Chinese diaspora here, there are several very popular Hong Kong char chan teng chains in Malaysia, such as Kim Gary, Chatterbox HK and Wong Kok Char Chan Teng.

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Among these brands, Wong Kok is my favourite whenever I’m craving char chan teng food. Named after the Wong Kok (literally, ‘golden/bustling corner/street) district in HK, the resto has been operating here since 2003 and serves up an enormous variety of dishes. There’s one at IOI Mall Puchong, which was where I dropped by for lunch after running some errands.

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No meal would be complete without ordering the iconic HK beverage – HK Milk Tea, also known as xi mut nai cha – so called because the tea leaf filter resembles a silk stocking. HK was once under British rule, and it was during that time that tea drinking became popular on the island. The tea is made from black tea leaves and condensed milk, so it is rich, sweet and has a silky texture. You can have it either hot or iced.

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One thing I always order whenever I come here: Cheese-Baked Seafood Rice with Portuguese sauce. This is another char chan teng staple and reflects Hong Kong’s diverse influences. Rice and seafood like crab meat sticks, deep fried fish and shrimp is covered with a layer of oozy, melty cheese on top, and baked together with Portuguese sauce.

Rice is a staple in Chinese cuisine, and the cheese, is, of course, a very Western ingredient. The Portuguese sauce, which is a thick creamy sauce with curry powder and coconut cream, is from Macanese cuisine. Despite all the seemingly different ingredients/styles, they blend together surprisingly well to create a harmonious dish that is hearty and delicious. The cheese gives it a gooey texture, while the sauce ensures that the dish is not dry.

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I mean, you can’t go wrong with cheese to be honest.

With over 200 items on the menu, it’s impossible to do a complete review of Wong Kok Char Chan Teng – but it also means you’ll never run out of things to try (if you try one dish every day, hypothetically it will still take you close to a year to order everything). But if you’re looking for good Hong Kong-style dishes at an affordable price, then this is a place to consider.

WONG KOK CHAR CHAN TENG (IOI MALL PUCHONG)

G.00B3A, Ground Floor, IOI Mall, Batu 9, Jalan Puchong, Puchong Jaya, 47170, Puchong, Selangor.

Opening hours: 10AM – 10PM

Phone: 03-2141 8407

wongkok.com.my

Help a Girl Out ! 

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Review: Hong Kong-Style Hotpot @ Bone & Pot, Bandar Puteri Puchong

Update 8/2/2021: This restaurant is permanently closed.

Puchong-ites seem to have a love affair with hotpots – just drop by Bandar Puteri Puchong or Bandar Puchong Jaya, and you will be spoilt for choice with the number of establishments serving the specialty. One of these places is Bone and Pot.

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Even among hotpots, there are a variety of different styles, from Ma La (Sichuan) to Sukiyaki (Japanese). Bone & Pot touts itself as a Hong-Kong style hotpot, specialising in pork bone soup which is rich in collagen – good for the joints, bones and complexion!

S and I were early so the place was empty – they get quite busy during peak hours on weekends.

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All-you-can-eat hotpot is the in-thing now, but we didn’t want to gorge ourselves – which is why we went to Bone & Pot, where you can order individual dishes. S and I are both meat eaters, so we only got the needle shrooms as our ‘greens’ (technically they’re not even vegetables, lol) + pork slices, bursting beef balls, shrimp and pork dumplings, cheese-stuffed tofu and pork stomach.

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Everything was fresh and tasty, but the soup was awesome (though S said Genting’s Beauty and the Pot is better). Bone & Pot’s version was rich, milky and full of lip-smacking goodness, especially after it had absorbed the flavours of the ingredients. The meat on the large pork bone was so tender after having been cooked for so long, it literally flaked off.

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Just dip the slices into the boiling broth for a couple of seconds and voila! Tender, juicy meat. Best with plain soy sauce and a bit of chilli for that spicy kick.

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For snacks, I recommend the fried salt and pepper squid which was seriously crunchy and addictive; although it was more batter than actual squid.

Our bill for two came up to RM90, which was quite pricey considering that some hotpot buffets are cheaper, but the quality of the food was above average, especially the pork bone broth.

BONE & POT 

No.47, Jalan Puteri 2/3, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 5PM – 1AM (Daily)

Review: HK Boy Cart Noodle, Bandar Puteri, Puchong

[Update: This restaurant is permanently closed.]

Cart noodles are an iconic part of Hong Kong culture and cuisine. First sold from makeshift carts on the street (hence the name), they were ubiquitous in the city in the 1950s. The dish, which allowed diners to mix and match noodles with a variety of ingredients, was popular among the working class for being cheap, filling and tasty. Owing to poor hygiene practices, they were sometimes called ‘dirty’ noodles (la zha meen). 

Although these carts have all but disappeared due to stricter regulations, the dish itself endures in casual eateries, cafes and even high-end restaurants, where they are spruced up with fancy ingredients and served with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

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Cantonese cuisine – of which Hong Kong food is rooted in – is popular in Malaysia, thanks to the country’s large Cantonese-Chinese diaspora. So when HK Boy Cart Noodles opened its doors here a year ago, the crowds were absolutely insane. The hype has died down a little, so it was the perfect time to go try the food at their branch in Bandar Puteri, Puchong.

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The interior evoked the nostalgia of 1980s – 90s Hong Kong, with neon street signs hanging from the ceiling, and names of popular streets plastered on one side of the wall. On the other were posters from famous HK films, many of which I grew up watching, such as those starring Stephen Chow, Andy Lau and Chow Yun Fatt.

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Orders are written on a chit. You can opt for the basic cart noodles with two toppings (RM11.90) or three (RM13.90). First, pick a base of either dry or soup, then your level of spiciness. Next, select your preferred type of noodle (yellow, hor fun, mihun, egg noodle or instant noodle) and a sauce (beef tendon, curry, braised, tomato broth, spicy or imitation fin). Finally, choose from toppings such as fish balls, pork balls, crab sticks, pork chops, pork slices and luncheon meat. More adventurous foodies may opt for items like pork intestine, blood curd, ginger onion pork liver or preserved vegetables. As for snacks, you’ll find street food items typical to HK, including eggettes, French toast and sandwiches.

The grilled pork intestine (above) was a tad on the greasy side, but it had a pleasant, sweetish flavour. It was also cleaned well so it had none of that pungent odour.

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N’s bowl of yellow noodle in soup with braised sauce, HK style ham and lemongrass chicken chop. Portions were hefty. The soup had a herbal taste, and since he opted for spicy, delivered a good kick as well.

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I went for the instant noodles, which had a springy, al dente texture, tossed in beef tendon sauce. For toppings, I had bursting pork meatballs, which were filled with savoury soup on the inside, and fried wontons. While nothing to shout about, the dish was tasty enough and of course, very filling. To wash it down was a bottle of milk tea served in an ice bucket, which I thought was brilliant since it won’t be diluted, but would still be cold.

HK BOY CART NOODLE (PUCHONG BRANCH) 

25-G, Jalan Puteri 1/6, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 12PM – 3PM, 6PM – 10.30PM (Mons – Thurs), 10AM – 3PM, 6PM – 10.30PM (Fris – Suns)

Main St. Deli @ The Langham Hong Kong Collaborates With Garrett Popcorn For New Summer Menu

It’s a match made in heaven.

Following on last summer’s hugely popular collaboration, Main St. Deli – The Langham Hong Kong’s authentic New York-style eatery – teams up with Chicago’s legendary Garrett Popcorn once again, to present a mouth-watering, limited-time menu for 2019.

Burger and Sandwich Combo with Garrett Popcorns

Available until 31 August, the menu features irresistible American deli classics, paired with some of Garrett Popcorn’s much-loved flavours. Seasonal highlights include Garrett BBQ CheeseCorn, a blend of smoky barbecue and cheddary flavours, which is available exclusively at Main St. Deli ahead of its official launch at Garrett Southeast Asia shops from 8 August, while signature highlights include the indulgent and chocolatey Garrett Cocoa CaramelCrispä, a limited-time offering that is not available in stores; and Garrett Spicy CheeseCorn, a paprika and cayenne pepper infused taste sensation that has never previously been available outside of the US.

These lip-smacking popcorn flavours are the perfect accompaniment to Main St Deli’s comfort food classics, from pork ribs and chicken wings to milkshakes and desserts.

MSD Buffalo Wings (HK$148/6 pieces; HK$228/12 pieces) in Tangy Buffalo flavour or Korean BBQ, Sesame & Scallion flavour are served with Garrett Spicy CheeseCorn, while buffalo wings in Bourbon Smoky flavour are matched with Garrett CheeseCorn.  Alternatively, tuck into Barbecue Baby Pork Ribs(HK$268) paired with Garrett BBQ CheeseCorn, or MSD Chili Con Carne (HK$168) with Garrett CheeseCorn.

Milkshakes featuring Garrett Popcorns

Guests ordering any burger, sandwich or half sandwich combo can also upgrade their side dish to Garrett BBQ CheeseCorn, Garrett CheeseCorn, Garrett Spicy CheeseCorn or Garrett Buttery for HK$25.

Milkshake-lovers are spoiled for choice, with three tempting flavours to choose from, including the Fruity Pebbles Milkshake (HK$98), a vanilla concoction that comes with Garrett CaramelCrispä; the Choco Supreme Milkshake (HK$98), which is served with Garrett Cocoa CaramelCrispä; and the Nuts Lover Milkshake (HK$98), a green tea blend accompanied by Garrett Almond CaramelCrispä.

Main St. Deli Cakes with Garrett Popcorns

For an indulgent dessert, The Chicago Cheesecake (HK$148) is paired with Garrett Chicago Mix®, Chocolate & Oreo Cake (HK$148) comes with Garrett Cocoa CaramelCrispä, and, last but not least, the Chocolate Brownie Pie (HK$148) is perfectly complemented by Garrett Almond CaramelCrispä.

As an added bonus, diners who order any Garrett menu item during the promotional period will receive a mini pack of Garrett Chicago Mix® as a gift (one free mini pack for each Garrett menu item ordered*), while guests can also participate in the promotion online through the ‘Popping Summer’ Facebook and Instagram campaigns, which will run from 19 July to 8 August.

For reservation and inquiries, call (852) 2132 7898 or email tlhkg.msd@langhamhotels.com.

Ocean Park Hong Kong Is Having A One Piece Summer Bash – Check Out The Adorable Food Items!

Hey guys! 

I’ve been following the Japanese anime/manga series One Piece since my teens, and while I haven’t been updating myself religiously (blame it on how long and draggy the series is – they first published in 1997 wtf), I’ve always loved the art, characters and great storyline.

This summer, the iconic Ocean Park Hong Kong is having the Ocean Park Summer Water Battle, in celebration of One Piece’s 20th anniversary.  Running from 13 July to 1 September 2019, this is a One Piece fan’s mecca – with exhilarating water battles and setups, exclusive memorabilia to take home and items inspired by the comics/anime. The Waterfront Plaza will be transformed into a water battle zone, and there will be seven encounters and photo spots, such as the Thousand Sunny Ship by the Park’s lagoon, wanted posters, a super-sized fountain in the shape of Luffy’s signature straw hat, and many more.

Of course, being a foodie, what really drew my interest is the unique Instagrammable food creations for the One Piece Summer Adventure Feast at The Terrace Cafe, which is available for a limited time only. Luffy would have gobbled them all up in a second!

Departure from Grand Line

Departure from Grand Line – creamy seafood chowder

Fresh Fruits Jelly with Strawberries Marshmallow

Fresh Fruit Jellies With Strawberry Marshmallows

Gum-Gum Devil Fruit Dried Fruits Butter Cake

Gum-Gum Devil Fruit Dried Fruits Butter Cake

Luffy Crispy Puff with Cookies and Vanilla Ice-cream

Luffy Crispy Puff With Cookies and Vanilla Ice Cream

Mini Devil Fruit Macaroon

Mini Devil Fruit Macaroon

Mysterious One Piece Snacks Combo

Mysterious One Piece Snack Combo

One Piece Snacks Treasure

One Piece Snacks Treasure

One Piece Summer Journey Bento Box

One Piece Summer Journey Bento Box – (can I get Sanji to make this for me?) 😀

Powerful Franky

Powerful Franky – Franky’s strong punches have left a deep trench in the tomato seafood risotto!

Soul King - Brook

The appetizer Soul King – Brook features a crispy deep-fried shrimp cake with Brook’s face on top and greens arranged in the shapes of music notes.

Sunny Boat Snacks Combo

Sunny Boat Snacks Combo

Supernovas Luffy

Supernovas Luffy – Luffy’s signature straw hat has morphed into a potato croquette atop tender and juicy wagyu beef cheeks braised in red wine.

Wanted Butter Cookies

For desserts, Wanted posters of the character made with charcoal chocolate mouse cake served with butter cookie.

Chopper Raspberry Cupcake

Chopper Raspberry Muffin

For more information on Ocean Park Hong Kong, visit oceanpark.com.hk/en.

Love Pink? Check Out W Hong Kong’s New Pink Bling Makeover

Fun fact: As a child, I never liked pink because it was always seen as such a ‘girly’ colour and I’ve never been a girly girl lol.

20 years later, still not a girly girl – but I’ve changed my opinion about pink. I see now the appeal – the rosy hue, the soft, pastel-like hue which exudes feelings of fun, coquettishness, warmth and playfulness.

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While the colour has always been associated with something soft and romantic, W Hong Kong is turning that definition on its head – by taking it on with a fresh new interpretation that blends sophistication with style. Collaborating with multi-brand fashion house i.t, the five-star luxury hotel will see its elegantly designed and exquisitely furnished Extreme WOW Suite get a pink bling makeover – courtesy of Korean women’s fashion and beauty brand STYLENANDA! 

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Established in 2004, STYLENANDA has become a household name in Korea. Their collections are recognised for combining feminine styles with eye-striking silhouettes; with a full range of modern chic and edgy apparel, as well as their own cosmetics line.

Instagrammers and pink lovers will absolutely adore the new pop-up theme of the Extreme WOW suite, which has been transformed to include vivid pink hues spanning over the suite’s 2,000 square feet of floor space with double-height ceilings, all frosted with an ultra-chic pink breeze. 

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Be amazed by all the stylized pink embellishments, pose in front of the bombshell all-pink closet, jump into our W signature bed with pink makeover, toast with your besties in the living room filled with our decadent photogenic décor, pamper yourself with beauty treats in the out-of-this-world bathroom with views of the Hong Kong harbor and enjoy the “STYLENANDA PINK HOTEL” guests only amenities.

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Luxuriate in the spacious bathroom that offers panoramic views of the harbour.

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The pink suite will only be available from September 3 to November 30, at HK$38,000 plus 10% service charge per night.

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For enquiries and reservations, call +852 3717 2992, email wreservations.hk@whotels.com or book online for an unforgettable stay.

Located conveniently in the buzzing West Kowloon district, W Hong Kong brings its signature Whatever/Whenever® service philosophy and whimsical sensory experience, with 393 rooms and a stunning view of West Kowloon Harbor, an award winning bliss® spa, cutting edge business facilities and function space, superior recreation facilities, two signature restaurants Sing Yin Cantonese Dining and KITCHEN with an eventful WOOBAR that are all set to tempt the city’s chic set. With the highest outdoor poolside bar in Hong Kong, WET DECK on the 76th floor provides the perfect venue to have corporate assemblies with fellows or clients. More information at https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/hkgwh-w-hong-kong/.

 

Review: Honolulu Cafe, Sunway Pyramid – Hong Kong ‘Char Chan Teng’ Fare

Honolulu Cafe is a popular char chan teng (coffeeshop) chain in Hong Kong, so when it opened its first outlet in Malaysia at Sunway Pyramid, patrons went in droves to feast on their famous egg tarts, polo bun and other HK favourites. As usual, late on the bandwagon – only got to check it out recently when I went to the mall with Moo for some weekend shopping.

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There was a line when we came; got a table quickly coz there were only two of us.

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Bright and cheerful interior featured lots of orange.

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Deceived by the photo that showed har gao lol. They don’t serve dimsum. Not here, at least.

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Since people are always on about Hong Kong-style roast meats, I went for the signature roast duck with dry wonton noodle (RM17+). It came with a side of soup which tasted like salty water. The duck was pretty good, with a nice balance of lean and fat, and the noodles were decent as well – thin, bouncy and soaked in the sweet and savoury dark sauce. Nothing I couldn’t get for 6 bucks from my local kopitiam though. I guess you pay for the ‘ambiance’.

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Chicken wings. The sauce was similar to the wonton noodle sauce – sweet and savoury.

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Moo’s Macau pork chop burger. It looked nothing like the actual version that I’ve had in Macau – the original was a simple but juicy slab of meat sandwiched between two buns: no sauces, no veggies, no extra condiments. You could tell this was too thick, dry as hell and unappetising. Moo didn’t finish it, so it was definitely horrid, since she’s always going on about not wasting food.

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Moo liked the egg tart. It was very flaky and the egg part was soft and custardy, but I didn’t like the pastry because it had a powdery sort of texture to it.

All in all, not too impressed with the quality of the food, so I’m perplexed as to why the place is so popular lor. I guess I’ll stick to my cheap but tasty roast duck from the local street food stall.

  • Food: 2/5 meh
  • Price: 2/5 – overpriced tbh
  • Ambience: 3/5 average for the price paid
  • Service: 3/5

HONOLULU CAFE 

Unit LG2.55, Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall No. 3, Jalan PJS 11/15 Bandar Sunway,
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

daily: 10AM – 10PM

BONUS

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I AM ADDICTED TO THE CREAM CHEESE JASMINE GREEN TEA FROM REGIUSTEA

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They put a layer of thick, creamy cheese on top of mild and refreshing jasmine green tea. The contrast in taste is wonderful, I get my cheese fix but it doesn’t feel too heavy coz the jasmine green tea is light and mild. THEY NEED TO OPEN MORE OUTLETS