Beef Hotpot @ Budaoweng(不倒翁) at iSquare, Tsimshatsui Hong Kong on 9Mar2013

handcut US angus marbled beef (肥牛)

handcut US angus marbled beef (肥牛)

The beef hotpot at Budaoweng(不倒翁) is favourite with my wife Lisa (& with me too!). Everytime she is in Hong Kong. she will go for a late supper (宵夜-there is a 40% discount after 9.30pm during weekdays & after 9.45pm during weekends), sometimes twice during her stay. This time is no exception.

During our recent trip to Hong Kong, we arrived & checked-in to Marco Polo Prince Hotel about 8.15pm, so timing was quite perfect. 不倒翁 was just a short walk to iSquare and there was no need to pre-book. We did this again on the evening of 11.3.2013, before flying back Singapore the next day.

We ordered the usual large portion of specially selected handcut US angus marbled beef (特选手切肥牛)- HK$168 after 40% discount. You can see the marbling, and this is really flavourful & tender, melting in the mouth. I thoroughly enjoyed this even though we ate exactly the same thing the second visit. Both times we were greedy and ordered another small portion of beef  – HK$138 after 40% discount. Our daughter Su Lin was with us, so there were 3 of us. I could just eat the beef & vegetables and nothing else.

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very nice prawn dumplings, each with 3 very fresh big prawns

We also ordered a plate of prawn dumplings – 8 for HK$58. You could also order a 1/2plate – 4 dumplings for HK$30. This was really good too. Each dumpling had 3 very fresh large prawns, the skin was smooth, and it’s super tasty.

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脆鲩鱼骨腩 (grass carp bones & belly)

I also added a 脆鲩鱼骨腩 (grass carp bones & belly) – HK$38. I like fish so I quite enjoyed it, but though 脆 means crunchy, it can mean tough & also several pieces have bones, so not everyone will like. We did not order that the second time we visited.

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prawn paste (虾滑)

Lisa also ordered a prawn paste (虾滑) – HK$58 – which is nice too, though we don’t really need to have that, and we did not order it the second time we visited.

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vegetable basket

We also had the vegetable basket. I cannot remember the price but it should be like HK$88 of HK$108. You must have vegetables for balance for a meat steamboat and Hong Kong vegetables are fresh & nice. On the second visit though we ordered just the Chinese lettuce for HK$48 & that was really quite sufficient.

hotpot soup base (汤底) - we had the HK$88 clear vegetable soup

hotpot soup base (汤底) – we had the HK$88 clear vegetable soup

There was a wide range of hotpot soup base, but since we went there primarily to take the beef, we opted for the cheapest HK$88 clear vegetable soup. There was also a HK$20pax charge for the condiments (调料) – haebeehiam, garlic, spring onions, chilli, chilli oil, wasabi, soy sauce etc (most hotpot restaurants in Hong Kong charged this also).

condiments platter - haebeehiam, chilli, chilli oil, wasabi, spring onions, sesame sauce, garlic etc

condiments platter – haebeehiam, chilli, chilli oil, wasabi, spring onions, sesame sauce, garlic etc

The entire meal, if you were to say order for 2pax 1 plate of beef, 1 plate dumpling & 1 Chinese lettuce + the plain soup base, it will set you back by HK$442 (inclusive of HK$20pax for the condiments & 10% service on top), and if you add a bottle of 350ml sake, that will be another HK$300+, so it is not really that cheap even after 40% discount. But to me the food quality & the enjoyment of it is well worth the price! Service is efficient, and they will bring hot water & ice, which are free (they don’t serve cold water only mineral water, I did not check the price but it should be ok to order it if you need to have mineral water..), we don’t really have any complaint about that.

c.h.e.f andy

Drunken Mussels with Orange Zest

drunken mussels with wine & orange zest

drunken mussels with wine & orange zest

This is another very easy dish to make.

I bought shelled mussels from Sheng Shiong previously but they were not as good, plump and big as the ones sold at QB Food.

For this dish, you just need to add 20g butter in a soup pot, throw in chopped spring onions (I used the white parts and reserve the green portion for garnishing) & orange zest from 1/2 an orange and stir-fry for <1minute, add 1 cup of wine and 1 cup of chicken stock and bring to boil, and then add 200g mussels & cook for 1-2 minutes, then garnish with chopped parsley (if you have) – I only use spring onions here.

drunken mussels with wine & orange zest

drunken mussels with wine & orange zest

It’s easy, delicious & all comfy goodness!

c.h.e.f andy

Pan-seared Hokkaido Scallops

pan-seared Hokkaido scallops

pan-seared Hokkaido scallops

Hokkaido scallops are plump, juicy & sweet.

I bought once from Isetan Orchard during a Japanese Fair and a 1kg box cost S$90 and they were really sweet.  I bought also from QB Food frozen USA scallops at S$17 for 500g but these were not so great. Recently I bought 1 box 900g from Sheng Shiong on promotion at S$24.80, and these were quite ok.

I previously had difficulty searing scallop because the technique was wrong. So again after I check out Foodwishes.com Chef John’s seared scallop recipe, I can now reproduce quite easily scallops with a nice sear (as in above picture).

As mentioned in the video, the trick is simply (1)a superhot pan & (2)bone dry scallops. Scallops, like fish, retain a lot of moisture and if they are not totally dry, the temperature of the pan will drop sharply and you will be boiling/poaching the scallop rather than searing it, and the burnt layer will come off & stick to the pan.

With the right technique then it is really simple. I dry the scallops on a rack in the fridge so that both top & bottom are dry & the water drip on to a bowl or tray below the rack. I bring out the scallops from the fridge for at least 1/2 hour to get it to room temperature. I lightly season the scallop with sea salt & coarse black pepper and place them in a superhot pan with olive oil & sear for 3minutes, watching the side cook to opaque white colour 1/3 to 1/2 way up & then flip the scallops. I cook for another 2-3minutes and then serve. It is that simple.

I have tried also Chef John’s orange supreme sauce, however I don’t really find much there as I don’t feel the sauce add anything to the scallop & maybe reduce the seared flavour & texture. I would rather have my seared scallops with rockets and cherry tomatoes dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt.

c.h.e.f andy