Battle of the Bangkok Dogs

The latest trend in Bangkok seems to be dog fighting. Not the cruel sport pitting canine against canine, mind you, but the culinary sport pitting hot dog vendor against hot dog vendor. Thankfully, the winner of this contest is the frankfurter-hungry consumer. Two hot dog companies have opened recently: Superbdog and Corn Dog Dude. Their promise is true American style hot dogs. Accompanied by my Floridian friend John, we set out on a recent evening armed with antacid tablets, ready to try both companies’ offerings.

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Dining in Taipei: Kiki Restaurant

This last trip to Taipei marked my third time dining at Kiki Restaurant. Despite being owned by a celebrity (usually a black mark) and having multiple branches (often tough to maintain quality), Kiki Restaurant serves very good Szechuan-inspired food in a pleasant setting with attentive service. Each of my visits has been to the branch on Fuxing South Road in the Zhongshan District.

Crispy deep-fried egg tofu. Egg tofu is literally a type of tofu that has eggs incorporated before the soy milk is coagulated. When fried, the inside has a creamy, custard-like texture that is very pleasant to eat. This dish was not oily at all and was a very enjoyable start to the meal.

The second dish was a marinated chicken dish. While the chicken is cooked, the dish is served cold. This is a bit of an acquired taste for some people as the chicken skin has a texture that might be described as “rubbery but not chewy”. The flavor is excellent – Taiwanese chickens are the most flavorful I have eaten anywhere. The seasoning was chili oil, peanuts, and green onions.

The third dish was stir fried minced pork with Chinese chives and fermented black beans. This was a fantastic dish, lots of umami thanks to the black beans. Visually, it is eye-catching, too!

Our fourth dish was Szechuan style spicy noodles with minced pork, also known as “dan dan noodles”. Made with Szechuan peppercorns as well as chilies, this dish gently numbs the tongue while also setting it on fire. The key to this dish is to achieve the right balance. Too many of the peppercorns and your tongue ends up useless.

What might be one of the most popular Szechuan dishes worldwide, four season beans with minced pork and Chinese spices. Cooked in a blazing hot wok, the beans are seared quickly, locking in their flavor and freshness.

We also consumed several orders of the “home-style” Chinese bread roll, a very simple wheat flour roll served either steamed or deep fried with a side of sweetened condensed milk. Sugi and Tawn both liked the deep fried version. I found it a little oily and preferred the steamed version.

As always, we benefitted greatly from Andy (yang1815) handling the ordering. Andy’s good taste and enthusiasm for food is infectious and makes traveling with him a blast.

 

Food in KL – Limablas

While in KL, a former colleague from the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (now, mercifully, called CAAMFest), met me for lunch, taking me to a charming restaurant called Limablas

Located in the eclectic Mesui neighborhood near upscale Bukit Bintang, Limablas (which means “15” in Malaysian) resides in an old shophouse that has been meticulously restored. The co-owner, Uncle John, keeps an eye on the business and visits with guests, many of whom seem to be regulars.

The interior is a veritable museum of antiques and a meal there feels a bit like a trip back to the middle of the 20th Century. Old glass jars hold ingredients used in the dishes, including dried chilies and dark, sulfurous palm sugar.

The collection of decorative items can lead you to wonder whether you should sit at a table or simply stand and admire it. That said, sitting is a good idea so you have a chance to enjoy the food!

The menu is pretty straight-forward, filled with a selection of basic Malaysian and Chinese dishes. Both Bryan and I ordered the mee siam, which is a noodle dish with a curry sauce that is ostensible Thai-style. More than anything, this illustrates a common food heritage stretching from southern Thailand (think Phuket) into central Malaysia. The noodles were simple but tasty. Since this was lunch and I had enjoyed a large breakfast, I didn’t try anything else from the menu. Prices were reasonable, especially for this area, and other reviews I’ve read online praise the food as authentic and tasty.

For a combination drink/dessert, I had cendol. The bowl is filled with (sorry, not visible in this picture) thin, green pandan-flavored flour noodles that look a bit like worms. Shaved ice is mounded on top and then the rich, molasses-flavored palm sugar syrup is poured on the ice, followed by coconut milk. Perfect for the warm weather. Probably not so perfect for my diet! This dish also speaks to the common culinary heritage of the region. Probably originating from Chinese traders, the same basic dessert is found in Thailand, too.

For a final thought, I will leave you with this cute picture of a couple huddled over their smart phone amidst the brightly colored walls and open air well at the back of the restaurant. If you find yourself in Kuala Lumpur around lunch time, I would suggest you stop by Limablas for a bite.

 

Dining in SF: Craftsman and Wolves

Our trip to San Francisco included visits to a number of bakeries and pastry shops. This time, we stopped by a new place, the interestingly named Craftsman and Wolves. Located on Valencia Street, they describe themselves as a “contemporary patisserie”. 

Compared to the homier looks of Tartine and Thorough Bread, Craftsman and Wolves is distinctly modern. The interior feels very large and a little cold. Nonetheless, the staff is welcoming and a large communal table at the front, next to a picture window, makes for a comfortable place to run into people unexpectedly over a cup of coffee and a pastry.

The selection of baked goods (this picture is just a sample) is wide, ranging from your standards (croissant) to something called The Rebel Within, which is akin to a baked Scotch egg. Again, comparing to some of the other bakeries that we visited in San Francisco, the display of goods here looks less bountiful and more austere.

We shared a gougere (baked cheese puff) and a croissant, both of which were well made and delicious. The croissant isn’t cooked to as deep a brown as at Tartine, but some consider that very caramelized exterior to be an acquired taste. 

Curious, I also ordered one of their muffins. I don’t recall what variety it was but remember that I enjoyed it, although wasn’t particularly overwhelmed. It was a good muffin, but not earth-shattering in its goodness.

For something more substantial, we ordred the frittata. Filled with vegetables, this frittata was remarkably underseasoned. We had to ask for some salt and having no salt shakers handy, they filled a small pinch bowl with some salt for us.

Overall, Craftsman and Wolves is another nice place to add on the list of bakeries and pastry shops to visit in SF. I think the minimalist interior, which would work well for a chocolate shop or somewhere selling fancy cakes, isn’t as welcoming as I would enjoy. That said, the food is good and that’s ultimately what matters. 

 

Dining in SF: NOPA

NOPA stands for “North of the Panhandle,” the neighborhood north of the pan-handle shaped easternmost stretch of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It is also a restaurant located in that neighborhood. Focusing on California-Mediterranean cuisine, NOPA delivers a menu that isn’t staggeringly original but it does deliver dishes made with great attention to quality and detail. They describe themselves as serving “urban rustic cuisine” with an emphasis on organic wood-fired food. We had dinner there with another couple and enjoyed the experience.

The atmosphere inside the restaurant is lively but not unbearably loud. Located on the corner of Divisadero and Hayes Streets, the large windows look out on the bustling city and let in lots of afternoon light. A large communal table is located near the entry and the bar, a comfortable place to have a drink and wait for your table.

The main dining room is a combination of booths and tables, again with lots of light. The open kitchen is at the back of the restaurant with the large wood burning oven visible to all. Service was friendly but not intrusive. I didn’t feel like the server was constantly hovering over my shoulder.

An amuse bouche of asparagus tips and sea salt. Simple, right? Perfectly ripe asparagus, gently cooked to bring out what’s best about them. Nice to see an amuse bouche that didn’t look like a sculpture or piece of modernist art. Instead, the chef let the ingredient speak for itself.

An appetizer of warm goat’s cheese with Asian pear and fuyu persimmon, with crostini on the side. Really nice combination of flavors, very rich, and much too satisfying.

A casserole of wood baked butter beans with feta cheese, tomato sauce, oregano pesto, and bread crumbs. Hearty and very flavorful.

The rotisserie chicken with bok choy rapini, quinoa, golden raisins and romesco sauce. Rotisserie chicken is present on so many menus and yet so often it fails to inspire, often having rubbery skin and bland, mushy flesh. Not the case at all with this flavorful chicken with crisp skin.  

Grilled pork chop with Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, and maple-date butter. Just as with the chicken, the meat had a lot of flavor and remained nice and moist.

Flatbread of spicy fennel sausage, pickled onions, goat’s cheese, and chicory. Good example of how on the one hand the menu offers nothing particularly new but manages to deliver some really wonderful food. Another observation: all of the dishes are nicely plated without being artistic and overbearing. 

The first of the three desserts we shared was a chocolate mousse with praline cream, biscotti, and candied orange peel. It was a very nice version of a common dessert, rich chocolate flavor, not heavy, and complimented by the praline cream and orange peel.

The second dessert was a Meyer lemon curd tart with buttermilk ice cream and candied thyme. Again, a common, very simple that can be so-so or surprisingly good. This was the second sort of tart, bright and refreshing.

Final dessert: Sopaipillas (similar to beignets or doughnuts) served with a cinnamon vanilla caramel. Light, not the least bit oily, and very enjoyable to eat.

The overall experience was a positive one. NOPA does the basics very well and at a price that, for San Francisco, is pretty reasonable. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that NOPA is just as good as its spin-off restaurant, Nopalito, that I visited last year. While the menus are entirely different, the core commitment to quality, value, and attention to detail is consistent.

 

 

Food in San Francisco – From Fried Chicken to Salt and Pepper Ice Cream

There was a fair amount of eating while we were in San Francisco, much of it good. Here are a trio of spots we visited.

Little Skillet

While still in Bangkok, Tawn and I had developed a hankering for fried chicken. Despite the preponderance of grilled chicken, there is very little fried chicken in Thailand outside of KFC (which isn’t that bad, actually). Doing some research, I stumbled across an entry on public television and radio channel KQED’s food blog about the best fried chicken in the Bay Area and planned on visiting Little Skillet.

This “restaurant” is just a walk-up window in an alley not far from the Caltrain station and AT&T Park. An offshoot of the “neo-soulfood” farmerbrown restaurant, Little Skillet is open only for extended lunchtime hours and keeps a short and simple menu. Fried chicken features prominently. You order at the window and wait for your name to be called. Eating options include sitting on the loading dock of a warehouse across the street or, if you buy some of their coffee, the java joint next door lets you use their tables.

The biscuits are tasty and buttery, although more crumbly and less flaky than the ones I make. Still, they were pretty good.

Tawn, who prefers his chicken drier than I do, opted for the fried chicken po’boy sandwich. Made with chicken breast, he exclaimed that it was the best fried chicken he had ever had. 

Aiming to evaluate Little Skillet by its ability with the classics, I ordered a two-piece fried chicken with waffles. Tawn’s exclamation was well-placed: this was amazing fried chicken. The meat was flavorful and extremely well-seasoned. The coating was crispy and adhered well to the skin. The homemade honey jalapeño hot sauce is a perfect foil for the juicy, crispy, deep-fried goodness of the chicken. While I’ve never understood the combination with chicken, the waffles were light with just the right amount of crispiness.

Little Skillet is on the must return to list!

 

Wise Sons Delicatessen 

Speaking of the must return to list, we made a return visit to Wise Sons Deli, located on 24th Street just east of South Van Ness Avenue.

After our first visit last June to this relatively new entrant to the San Francisco deli scene, we were eager to return. Exiled New Yorkers have long bemoaned the lack of good deli food in San Francisco but that has recently started to change, not least of all by the entry of Wise Sons’ proprietors Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman. Their meats are cured in-house and the quality of food, homey atmosphere, and friendly service make the place feel like it has been on this corner for decades.

On my last visit, I enjoyed a tasty pastrami sandwich. This time, I tried their corned beef Reuben. I’ve had a lot of Reubens in my life, many of which were made by my mother. This was simply the best one I’ve ever had, the one that came closest to recapturing my childhood memories, except that this corned beef was much better than any my mother ever made. Wise Sons cooks the brisket until fork tender and cuts it relatively thick. To say it “melts in your mouth” is accurate. Unlike a lot of brisket, this beef isn’t at all tough or chewy.

We also shared a plate of sinful pastrami cheese fries, minus the pastrami since Tawn isn’t a beef eater. The fries are loaded with Swiss bechamel sauce, caramelized onions, pickled cucumbers and jalapeño peppers, with a side of Russian dressing. Couldn’t eat this every day so that’s why we ate it this day!

 

Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream

While San Francisco isn’t known for its pastrami, it does have a great reputation for ice cream. Swensen’s, the global ice cream chain, was founded in San Francisco, and there are many small ice cream parlors that make interesting and innovative flavors from. One of the most prominent of these parlors is Humphrey Slocombe. Located just around the corner from Wise Sons, Humphrey Slocombe opened in 2008 and quickly gained notice for flavors like salted black licorice, hibiscus beet, and Jesus Juice.  

We were pretty full from lunch but Tawn ordered a Tin Roof Sundae: three scoops of Tahitian vanilla ice cream, hot fudge sauce, candied peanuts, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Oh, boy!

Enjoying calories I didn’t really need. I also tried a taste of their salt and pepper ice cream, which tastes amazingly of… salt and pepper!

Well, hope that’s enough food porn to get your weekend off to a good start. There’s more to come!

 

StrEAT Food Park in San Francisco

One of the more interesting dining experiences on my trip to the United States was the StrEAT Food Park in San Francisco. The renaissance of street food trucks – no longer the “roach coaches” of my youth – has swept many major cities and San Francisco has been no exception to this foodie trend. In June 2012, a permanent street food truck park opened in the city’s edgier South of Market district.

The park is located just beneath a freeway overpass across the street from the Costco warehouse store. Each day, up to ten different vendors park, following a rotating schedule. The range of options is overwhelming: from Spanish-Filipino fusion to Japanese sushi, gourmet Vietnamese sliders to Korean tacos, Italian word-fired pizzas to Indian curry. The website and twitter feed lists which vendors will be present and the park is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

The facility includes plenty of tables and chairs, restrooms and sanitary stations, and a 100-seat covered seating pavilion for those days when the weather is inclement. The crowd is varied but local high tech and bio tech firms are well-represented. Free bicycle parking is provided, encouraging environmentally friendly transportation.

Spoiled for choices, I finally settled on Roli Roti, a truck specializing in rotisserie chicken and porchetta, crispy roast pork. Open more than a decade, Roli Roti claims to be the country’s first mobile rotisserie and their focus is on sustainably raised meats and organic produce. While the chicken looked and smelled amazing, I opted for the porchetta and arugula sandwich.

The sandwich offers a generous – hearty, even – serving of juicy pork with very crispy skin, an onion relish with a tanginess that cut through the richness of the pork, and huge mound of baby arugula that looked like it has climbed out of the field a few minutes earlier, it was so fresh. 

The sandwich was served on a wonderful roll that sopped up all the juices. Sure, it was too big to eat like a real sandwich, and I had to take it apart and eat with a knife and fork. But it was a pretty tasty lunch, all for about $12 including a side of potatoes.

The roast fingerling potatoes sit underneath the rotisserie, where they are bathed in the drippings from the chicken and the porchetta. Sprinkled with rosemary sea salt, they are addictive.

No doubt, the StrEAT Food Park will be a destination to which I will return again and again on future visits. After all, there are so many different types of food to try and so little time. Many thanks to SF-based Xangan Jason for introducing me to this gem.

 

Lunch at Rye in Kansas City

While in Kansas City, we met a friend for lunch at Rye, a restaurant in Johnson County that is an offshoot of the well-regarded bluestem restaurant by award-winning husband and wife team Colby and Megan Garrelts. (My blog entry about a 2009 dinner there.)

Located in a newer retail/residential development near I-435, Rye has a welcoming atmosphere and a menu designed to celebrate Midwestern cuisine. It was busy when we arrived right in the middle of lunchtime, but we were seated after only a ten-minute wait. Service was friendly although, to my taste, a tad overfamiliar.

The restaurant has an extensive list of wines that are available in 6-ounce, 8-ounce, and 24-ounce servings, which translates into quarter, third, and whole bottles. (Which isn’t quite right because a standard 750ml wine bottle is 25.4 ounces.) Confusingly, sometimes it is cheaper to buy a bottle and other times, it is cheaper to buy four 6-ounce servings of the same wine. When I pointed this out to the server, who then introduced me to the person who manages the restaurant’s wine selection, I received a murky explanation that led me to suspect that nobody had ever noticed this pricing discrepancy.

That oddity aside, the wine list is a nice one and they deserve kudos for making more wines available by the glass, which encourages exploration and horizon-broadening.

The menu could be described as rustic but with a bit of panache. It celebrates Midwestern classics – chicken salad, pulled pork sandwich, and dumplings feature on the menu – but presented in a way that is a bit lighter, a bit more seasonal, and a bit more sophisticated than might come from your grandmother’s kitchen. 

I ordered a two-piece fried chicken plate with a side of mashed potatoes. The breading was crisp and well-seasoned. The chicken inside was juicy but, like a lot of American chicken, the meat wasn’t very flavorful. American chicken (and pork, for that matter) is bred for blandness, much to my sorrow. The potatoes were nice and the mixed greens kept the dish reasonably light. 

Curious, I also ordered a side of creamy mac and cheese. On one level, this serves as a good benchmark dish because so many restaurants serve it and it is so often the same-old, same-old. In this case, there wasn’t anything to fault with this mac and cheese, but there also wasn’t anything that raised it above similar dishes at other restaurants.

Tawn had a roasted salmon dish served on Indian rice with a lemon dressing and greens. This was a tad more elevated than the “fish and rice” dish you might find as the more healthful option on typical Midwestern menus. The fish tasted like it might be farmed – for the price, that wouldn’t be a surprise – and was a bit drier than I like, although Tawn prefers his fish that way. The lemon dressing was refreshing and the Indian rice was toothsome, although I couldn’t figure out if they were referencing Native American rice or South Asian rice!

Our friend had the house salad, grilled salmon added, with a sherry vinaigrette. While I didn’t try it, she seemed pleased with the dish. The greens were a nice mixture of types, so it certainly was a step up from a plate of iceberg lettuce. Of course, if a James Beard award-winning chef served a plate of iceberg in anything other than a wedge salad with Maytag dressing, I would be disappointed. 

Nearing fullness, we ordered a single slice of pie, banana cream, for dessert. While I love pie, banana isn’t my favorite so I let Tawn do most of the eating. It was a nice enough pie although I found the crust a little tough. The pudding was nicely made, creamy and smooth.

All in all, Rye seems like a decent restaurant, providing familiar food with a slight twist at reasonable prices. While I don’t return to KC very often, I would keep Rye on my list of places to stop for a meal.

 

Food in Hong Kong – Tim Ho Wan at IFC

Twice during my trip to Hong Kong, I enjoyed dim sum at Tim Ho Wan, the (world’s least expensive) Michelin-starred restaurant founded by former Four Seasons Chef Mak Kwai Pui. The first time was at the original Mongkok hole-in-the-wall location, which closes the end of January to move across Kowloon at Olympian City. The second time was on my final morning at the newer location one floor below the Airport Express check-in lobby at the International Finance Centre.

The crowd that gathers (and waits for hours) outside the original Tim Ho Wan location. I am sure that the neighboring shopkeepers are thrilled that this crowd will soon go away, as I suspect few of the dim sum customers, many of whom are non-locals, shop at the neighboring businesses.

The inside of the shop seats perhaps two dozen people. That was part of its charm, but what was a hidden treasure has spawned three branches, each much larger. It seems that the magic of the hard to find gem of a restaurant is gone, replaced by the desire to cash in on the popularity.  

Above, a full house within five minutes of starting service for the day, with another full round of customers waiting outside. 

One of the nice things about Hong Kong is the Airport Express train. What makes it so nice is that for most airlines, you can check in up to 24 hours before your flight. The agents tag and collect your luggage, leaving you free to roam the city until it is time to head to the airport, unencumbered by heavy bags.

I checked in for my flight at 8:00 am, more than five hours early. Ten minutes later I was downstairs in front of the restaurant, the first person to arrive. I opened my iPad and settled in for a wait. Slowly, other customers arrived and formed a queue behind me. At 8:50, Gary, Rudy, and the other Xangans arrived so we were the first seated and snagged a nice table with great lighting.

Since I have written about the original location and the second location before, I’ll just share pictures of the food. 




While there are some folks who complain that the food at the branches isn’t as good as the original, I think they are carping mostly to make themselves sound superior. The food at the branches continues to be very high quality and the additional seats means that the wait is shorter.

 As I observed, having arrived early, the kitchen staff is still making everything by hand and that quality and attention to detail is clear when you eat the food.

As we finished our meal and I headed to catch the train to the airport, the crowd had grown even larger. As you can see, it is a first or last stop for some people who are going to or coming from the airport. A very convenient location and perfect if you have a long layover and crave some world-class dim sum!

 

Food in Hong Kong – The Pawn


Image courtesy flickriver.com

Located in a 100-year old former pawn shop alongside the tram tracks in the bustling Wan Chai district, The Pawn is one of a number of newer restaurants in Hong Kong that promise (and mostly deliver) standard British pub food done well. 

On Friday evening, the entire group of Xangans plus two partners and another visiting friend (who, coincidentally, is a long-missing-in-action Xangan) gathered around a second floor table located on a balcony with a street view. Because of the desire for privacy by a number of the diners, certain faces have been obscured.

The atmosphere is nice and service, like most in Hong Kong, is spotty. When one of our diners asked the waiter for a suggestion of a drink with vodka (or something like that), the waiter replied, “The drinks are in the menu.” Very unhelpful. The menu itself is interesting and decidedly meat-centric. We ordered several starters and opted for larger mains designed for sharing. 

Glazed pig cheeks with apple cider, mustard seeds, and warm potato salad garnished with a crispy sliver of fried pig skin. This was a well-prepared appetizer with classic flavors. Nothing cutting edge but certainly enjoyable.

We also had a roast chicken risotto with thyme and sage crumble, quail egg, and sweet onions. Risotto is always a treat, although this one (as with so many others) was too firm. A real risotto should be soft and spread out on the dish. Flavors were fine, though, and the rice was properly cooked.

The organic beets, ricotta cheese, pear, pistachio, dandelion leaves, and sunflower seeds arrived on a weathered serving board in a presentation right out of Jamie Oliver’s “30 Minute Meals”. It was difficult to tell whether the chef was trying to be rustic or artistic. Again, the combination of flavors was nicely autumnal although a bit more seasoning would be nice. 

A main dish of macaroni bake with Shark Bay crab in champagne cocktail sauce, topped with toasted Gubbeen cheese served as a reminder that one should under-promise and over-deliver, not the other way round. The pasta was gloppy, the crab nearly absent, and the “champagne cocktail sauce” was indistinguishable from a typical cream sauce.

We ordered a trio of roasts which are suitable for sharing. All are served in proper British fashion with crisp Yorkshire puddings, a side of cauliflower and cheddar cheese bake, duck fat-roasted potatoes, and an oversize boat of gravy. This was the whole young chicken with smoked garlic and marjoram. It was a nicely done chicken, juicy and tender.

This was the lamb shoulder with sticky redcurrant sauce. It was nicely cooked, pink but not underdone, and had loads of flavor.

The Berkshire pork belly with caramelized Granny Smith apples was also tender with crispy skin. The fat was nicely rendered and meaty – not too squishy in the way that excess fat can be. The apples were a little scarce, another few slices would have been nice. On all the dishes, the quantity of potatoes seemed stingy for dishes designed for sharing.

Finally, the naturally reared (whatever that means) Cedar River sirloin with sage slow-roasted onions. Didn’t see the onions, though, just some cabbage and mashed potatoes. Still, the meat was well-cooked and surprisingly tender for a sirloin.

For all of the mains, the preparation was competent even if there was little that was groundbreaking about the menu. For a restaurant setting out to be a traditional British gastropub, they fulfill their promise. Even if you leave uninspired, you leave satisfied.

The dessert menu turned out to be the spot where the inspiration was hiding. While the dishes remained simple, there was greater playfulness and creativity.

A clever take on Eton Mess, one of the most classic of English desserts, arrived a martini glass filled with small toasted meringues, rich raspberry sorbet, clotted cream, and delicate Thai basil leaves. Using individual meringues instead of a larger meringue broken up, made for an eye-catching presentation and the basil leaves added a delicate perfume that elevated the dish. 

A chocolate fudge pudding was properly rich without being monolithic. The malt chocolate sorbet provided an interesting contrast in chocolate tones and the toasted homemade marshmallow and dusting of pistachio crumbs were perfect accompaniments.

One of the “more than meets the eye” desserts was this treacle tart. Treacle, a golden sugar syrup not unlike Karo corn syrup, makes for a sweet and crisp tart that is essentially a pecan pie minus the pecans. In and of itself, it is crisp but otherwise uninteresting. Add to it a scoop of the blood orange jelly and your taste buds are sent to another dimension. The jelly is sweet, tangy, and brings out the slight saltiness to the tart. Excellent combination.

A final dessert, leaning towards the modernist edge of plate design, was the watermelon, white chocolate, strawberry sorbet, and granola. The watermelon was, I think, compressed. Each piece was firm, seedless, and bursting with concentrated watermelon flavor to a degree one could never find in a simple slice of melon. The effect was intense and the combination of flavors and textures made for a satisfying finish even if the plate itself was a bit of a mess.

Overall, the Pawn turned out to be a good choice for dinner and will be on my to-return list next time I am in Hong Kong.