Ngon Qua!

Nha Trang Restaurant
4860 W Desert Inn Rd Ste 9
Las Vegas, NV 89102
(702) 733-0015

By chance, I found this restaurant’s menu at my local pharmacist who is also bomb btw (http://www.yelp.com/biz/procare-pharmacy-las-vegas#hrid:-e7bvzyj0QfiAB5f5vjC-g). They are located in the same plaza as I-Naba and not very hard to find at all. So hubbie and I decided to try something new because their menu was different than your usual Vietnamese Restaurant.

When we walked in, the hostess (owner?) greeted us kindly. She was very sweet and highlighted the popular items on the menu. As emphasized by the hostess, the food style has more emphasis with the cooking in central Vietnam (i.e. where Nha Trang is located). We were also served free nuoc mat! Sugar cane juice that was just sweet enough and who can complain about free?

Fresh nuoc mat - sugar cane juice Unique menu

Here’s what we had:
1. Goi cuon ca + tamarind sauce – spring roll with fish + bonus deep fried egg roll inside. The tamarind sauce was what made it. It was tangy and sweet and was perfectly paired with the flaky fried fish and fresh crunchy veggies. This was delicious!

Goi Cuon Ca Inside goodies of goi cuon ca Tamarind sauce

2. Pho Tai Bam Filet & Bo Vien – Pho with filet mignon and meatballs. This is the probably best Pho that I’ve had in Vegas (emphasizing the Vegas part, ya’ll). It’s full bodied with lots of herbalicious-pho flavor and if you like the soup on the sweeter side, this is it.
Pho Tai Bam Filet & Bo Vien

3. Banh Canh Tom Cua – Seafood soup with thick tapioca noodles. While it had plenty of Tom (shrimp), I’m not sure I saw too much Cua (crab). Nevertheless, it was still quite tasty and refreshing.
Banh Canh Tom Cua

Conclusion: Shining star was the goi cuon ca! Going back just for that and some refreshing nuoc mat!

$ to Value Ratio: 4/5 Beeps
Yummy Factor: 4.5/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 4.5 Beeps

Sydney’s Opera Kitchen

Opera Kitchen
Lower Concourse Level, Sydney Opera House/Bennelong Point Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
0450 099 888
www.operakitchen.com.au/

Sign

On our visit to Sydney, of course we had to visit the historical landmark – the Opera House! The Opera House was awesome because we saw the forward thinking architectural design for when it was built (and I think even to this day), and the tour guide was very informative on the history of the place. It is gorgeous on the inside and out.

The Opera House has it’s own restaurant/cafe cleverly named The Opera Kitchen, so when we booked our tour, we booked the tour and the tasting plate with the Opera Kitchen. We thoroughly enjoyed eating oceanside and devouring every single item except for the one burger that the darn birds swooped in and stole from us! Gosh, why didn’t our server warn us?

Anyhoo, here you have it. The list of deliciousness.
1. THE WAGYU BURGER Wagyu Burger – burger with beetroot relish, pickled gherkin and aged cheddar on a toasted potato sesame bun with a side of fries
2. PLANK ROASTED SALMON Burger – King salmon from Marlborough, marinated with lemon and herbs, roasted on a cedar plank.
3. CLASSIC PRAWN COCKTAIL Freshly cooked king prawns dressed in a light cocktail sauce and served with a watercress salad.
4. Vietnamese inspired CRAB EGGROLL
5. MISSCHU Dumplings
6. Assorted sushi
7. Oysters

Tour + Tasting Menu 1 set tasting menu Wagyu and chicken sliders Homemade chips, classic prawn cocktail and plank roasted salmon salad Crab egg rolls, dumplings and sushi

Conclusion: Definitely, choose the tasting plate to go with your tour. A must do.

Famous Roast Goose

Yung Kee Restaurant
32 Wellington Street, Central, Kong Kong

Chopsticks

The reason why I chose Yung Kee Restaurant for dinner is for two reasons. 1. It is “famous” for its roast goose 2. I wanted to give hubbie a break from sharing tables with strangers. This place is definitely a fancier restaurant. You can make reservations, which I highly recommend because it is popular. With this meal was in a more fancy environment, meaning cloth napkins, well trained staff with a smile (what…? a smile? That’s a rarity in Asian countries), and definitely more pricey, you would expect perhaps even tastier food than our 60-200 HKD meals? Read on my friends.

1. The abalone soup was good. The soup was delicately flavored with the essence of abalone. The abalone itself was tender to the bite and had a sweet seafood essence.

Abalone Soup

2. XO Stir fried beef – xo sauce with anything usually makes it tasty. The spiciness from the sauce kicks it up a few notches and the good wok hei flavor gives it depth.
3. The chicken and roast goose were good, but I would say that our lunch at Yat Lok Restaurant, with way cheaper prices was better. The skin of the goose was on the soggy side. The chicken was pretty tasty and the green onion/ginger sauce enhanced the chicken essence. The only complaint with the chicken was that it did not seem organic, so the chicken did not have a “zou di ji”/running-on-ground/organic chicken taste and texture. Perhaps, that’s an upgrade request?

XO Sauce Beef Chicken and Roast Goose Onion & Ginger Sauce

4. Stir fried fresh veggies in broth (pea shoots) – fantastically flavorful! Kids should be fed this and they would be eating loads of veggies without needing the coaxing from their parents.
Dou Miao

Dessert!
Chinese style sesame pudding – it was smooth, creamy and not too sweet. Very good! I ate mine and hubbie’s.

Black Sesame Pudding

$ to Value Ratio: 2/5 Beeps, around 1200 HKD.
Yummy Factor: 3.75/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 3.75/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 3.16 Beeps

Conclusion: Good to try once as a tourist. Otherwise, go off the beaten path for better and cheaper food.

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way. 6. Oh yea, it is customary to NOT tip unless already automatically added on.]

Lunch Time Hustle in Hong Kong

Yat Lok Restaurant
G/F, 34-38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
(Between Cochrane St and Theater Lane, South side of Stanley, GROUND FLOOR)

Exterior Sign Menu

We decided to go to Yat Lok Restaurant not because of any reviews, but simply because we passed by it on the way to Luk Yu Tea House, I was famished from window shopping in Kowloon side (btw, Ladies Market just STARTS to set up at noon, so don’t hit it up until later) and was craving some rice and meat! This was another location where the office crowd was swarming in, so it was busy! Only had to share the table for half the time, but then, we were probably only sitting for ten minutes.

Hubbie chose the roast duck, cha siu (chinese bbq pork) and lai fun (type of tapioca/rice noodle, thinner than it’s Vietnamese counterpart) and I got cha siu, roast duck and rice combo. The roast duck was amazing. Thin & crispy skin, juicy and fatty meat. The cha siu was nice and carmelized on the outside and tender on the inside. The lai fun was slippery, bouncy and chewy – my inner texture whore was happy. The rice was the perfect pairing to sop up the hearty residual sauces. For the greasy haters, this won’t be your digs.

Cha Siu, Roast Goose, Rice Noodle Cha Siu, Roast Goose, Rice

$ to Value Ratio: 5/5 Beeps, around 130 HKD. CHEAP.
Yummy Factor: 5/5 Beeps (Salty Protein Deliciousness)
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 5 Beeps

Conclusion: We hustled in, shoveled, and left fully satisfied.

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way. 6. Oh yea, it is customary to NOT tip unless already automatically added on.]

Tender Brisket

Kau Kee Restaurant
G/F, 21 Gough Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
(aka 3 min walk from Aberdeen, north/right side of Gough, GROUND FLOOR)

Sign Menu

I was adamant about hitting hot spots for food this visit, and Kau Kee Restaurant is known for their Beef Brisket noodles (ngau nam min or fun). Plopped down with some strangers luckily with another couple who was from the US, so somehow didn’t seem as awkward. (However, they seemed to be following rule #2: don’t talk with the people sharing your table even though we were gui lo’s from the same country. So no small talk during this meal either.)

So we had the beef brisket with yi min and also had it stir fried with yi min (sorry no picture for the yi min, had to adhere to rule #3 of not idling.) The beef was tender. The soup was clear and full flavored. The yi min and brisket was tasty, too. We added a splash of red vinegar on both and it enhanced the wonderful beefy flavors even more.

Beef Brisket and Yi Mian

$ to Value Ratio: 5/5 Beeps, again around 50-60 HKD. CHEAP!!
Yummy Factor: 5/5 Beeps (Salty Deliciousness)
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 5 Beeps

Conclusion: Hearty and beefy. Try it.

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way. 6. Oh yea, it is customary to NOT tip unless already automatically added on.]

Breakfast: Hong Kong Style

North Garden Restaurant
1-3/F Hung Kei Mansion 5-8 Queen Victoria street, Central, Hong Kong
(Remember to look up and carefully at signs that are grouped together to find what you’re looking for, “1-3/F” meant that we had to walk upstairs to the restaurant)

Menu North Garden Restaurant Exterior Sign

Everyone seems to be in a rush in Hong Kong. Just looking around, swarms of people are going in every direction with an end location(s) in mind. Where are you people hurrying to at all times of the day? Is this how Hong Kong breakfast had to evolve to keep up with the frantic pace of Hong Kong citizens? So, breakfast items have to be quick and full of flavor (not necessarily in the healthiest way) for these busy individuals to get in and get out? For example, common items paired together are white toast, spam, ham, and sausage with a highly caffeinated Hong Kong style milk tea or a mix of coffee and milk tea, called Yin Yeung.

On our first morning in Hong Kong, I took hubby to have breakfast at North Garden Restaurant. We went to the chain location in Central, HK around 10:30 am to be in between breakfast rush and lunch time rush because you definitely do NOT (I repeat do NOT) want to be stuck in lunch time rush with all the business staff. It is pretty much impossible to find a seat let alone a table to eat at.

When in Hong Kong, you must have the milk tea. It’s different than your usual boba milk tea. That boba milk tea from the US is weak sauce. This milk tea will put some hair on your chest because it is incredibly caffeinated. It jazzes me up so much I go zipping around and then you’ll find me moping and emo’ in the corner and crashing from my caffeine high. (…but that’s just lightweight me where I get affected by everything even in small amounts.) You can choose to have it hot or cold or as mentioned previously add some more zip and have it with coffee – yin yeung style.

Iced Hong Kong Milk Tea Hot and cold Hong Kong milk tea

White bread with a pat of butter, fry an egg over easy, add a slice of ham, spam and ramen, and satay sauce with ramen

Buttered white bread, fried egg, ham Spam and instant noodles Satay sauce and instant noodle base

$ to Value Ratio: 5/5 Beeps, holy moly it was cheap! I wish I saved the receipt, but I don’t think it was more than 50 HKD, which is about $6.60 US!!!!! for two people!!!!!
Yummy Factor: 4.5/5 Beeps (Salty Deliciousness)
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps (I like fake meat and processed noodles)
Average beeps: 4.83 Beeps

Conclusion: Good for a quick refuel and some zip for Hong Kong style milk tea.

[CFG Hong Kong Dining Tips: 1. Be ready to share a table with strangers. 2. Don’t expect to make “small talk” with the stranger – they might look at you weirdly. 3. Don’t idle. Make your decision quickly. 4. Be ready to pay up and get out. Most casual restaurants you pay at the cashier when you’re done, unless you’re somewhere fancy. In that case, once the check is delivered, they will stand there and wait for you to pay, so be ready to pay as they stare at you (yes, awkward for us Gui Lo’s). 5. Don’t expect friendly service. Just efficient Service. They might just bark at you, but don’t take it personally. The cashier might throw change at you, but I wouldn’t take that personally either. They’re just trying to get you out the door for more business to come in. “Mo Juo Zhu Sai lah!!” – Don’t get in the way. 6. Oh yea, it is customary to NOT tip unless already automatically added on.]

Hippo!

Kaba Curry
6475 W Charleston Blvd Ste 160
Las Vegas, NV 89146
Neighborhood: Westside
(702) 589-0370
http://kabacurry.com

Kaba!  (Hippo)

First off – I love Kaba Curry’s cute hippo mascot (Kaba is hippo in Japanese by the way). Kaba Curry is located in a cafeteria like location on Charleston near the College of Southern Nevada’s (CSN) north campus along with other college friendly vendors for Korean food, Mexican, boba drinks and chicken wings. Seems as though they’ve got the right idea: FEED THE HUNGRY COLLEGE KIDS WITH COMFORT FOOD, otherwise it’s pretty empty in the evening once all the students have gone home.

Kaba Curry Order Tonkastu and Croquette Curry Croquette and Sausage Curry

Between the three of us we got pork katsu/Tonkatsu, chicken katsu, sausage and potato croquette. The shining star of the set was actually the potato croquette. It was fried to a golden crisp. Huge crunch on the outside and creamy potatoey on the inside. The curry sauce wasn’t bad too, and the chicken and pork were not dry and quite tasty.

Conclusion: They may be empty in the evenings now, but I think word will soon spread. Get your Japanese curry fix before there are lines out the door!

$ to Value Ratio: 3.75/5 Beeps
Yummy Factor: 3.75/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 4.16 Beeps