Hi all! I just wanted to follow up from my podcast on Saverocity Observation Deck last week by providing the names and links to the specific restaurants mentioned on the podcast. I've also written a brief summary of some of the content from the podcast, though I highly recommend listening to the podcast to get a fuller picture!
Tell us about how you got "stuck" in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic
We unexpectedly ended up spending 6+ weeks in Belgium this past February and March because Bryan had been in Brussels when the coronavirus situation exploded in China. Basically, his boss thought he'd be safer out there and asked him to stay for awhile. Since everyone in HK was working from home at that point, I flew out to join him. You can read more here. I plan to share even more about my whole European experience in the upcoming weeks on this blog.
Name some favorite memories from that time
We had a blast getting to know Brussels during the first few weeks of our stay. We visited several breweries, restaurants, and museums. However, one of my favorite memories from our whole time in Europe was our weekend trip to Amsterdam. I had never been to the Netherlands. As someone who loves water and bridges, I fell in love with Amsterdam, a city built on canals and full of endless waterways along which to explore.
From Belgium, one of my favorite food memories was eating fresh Belgian Waffles topped with whipped cream from Maison Dandoy.
Bryan had fond memories of Belgium from childhood because his father traveled there for work and would bring back Belgian chocolates as souvenirs. It has been 18 years since we were last in Belgium, where we were stuck for three days after our honeymoon due to the September 11 attacks in the US. Back then, we were mostly pre-occupied with getting back home and only had limited time to explore.
This time around, we especially enjoyed trying a huge variety of beers, visiting the Cantillon Brewery as well as tasting a great selection of beers at Moeder Lambic (ha ha, while doing laundry - a great way to pass the time!).
Name some favorite restaurant experiences in the world from all your travels
Bryan immediate pointed out Salumeria Roscioli, a food market, restaurant, and wine bar in Rome that makes the best carbonara we've ever had.
Chicken in Hong Kong is pretty amazing in general, but the signature smoked soy sauce chicken at Kin's Kitchen 留家廚房 is exceptional and stands out as one of Bryan's memorable favorites.
We both fell in love with San Sebastian. We had a phenomenal trip there where we ate all sorts of memorable food - everything from casual pinxtos to dining at the best restaurant in the world.
Bryan chose Mugaritz as his favorite high end dining experience. There, we experienced one of the most forward-thinking, mind-bending and fascinating explorations of food, wine, and the intricate interplay between the two.
Bryan shared about one course that paired a single green pepper with vintages of fine wines that had "grassy" notes (Opus One and Chateau Haut-Brion) to highlight distinctive "green pepper" notes from the pyrazine molecule, the subject of exploration in this course.
I also shared about Raan Jay Fai, where I enjoyed chef Jay Fai's legendary pad khee mao ("drunken noodle"), full of wok "hei" and absolutely bursting with flavor. She now has a Michelin Star, and (until the recent pandemic), tourists lined up for hours to try her phenomenal cooking.
Finally, I shared a bit about my love for Japan, especially its food. Sushi Mizutani is one of my favorites. However, since he is now retired, I also shared some other favorite places, such as Sushi Yoshitake (JP) / Sushi Shikon (HK), Sushi Saito, and Sushi Ishiyama (previously at Sushi Ya, Sushi Kanesaka) for lunch.
What is Life in HK like during COVID times?
Hong Kong never had a complete lockdown. Though we both personally worked from home for periods at a time, many businesses stayed open, and restaurants pretty much continued to run, though with limited capacity and opening hours.
We've mostly been cooking at home or ordering delivery. You can see example photos of our take-out and my home cooking meals over on Instagram.
We've enjoyed some pretty amazing take-out, such the perfectly formed soup dumplings from Din Tai Fung or roast chicken from Michelin-starred Asia's Top 50 No. 6 restaurant Belon. Bryan shared about how ramen places are pretty sophisticated in the way they package delivery, separating key ingredients (e.g., noodles, broth, toppings, etc) in a specially designed container so that everything can be put together quickly and easily at the time of eating.
Hong Kong coronavirus numbers have still not fallen, so, for now, we are still stuck in in this "shelter-in-place" limbo for some time. We take things day by day. These days, I mostly stay at home except to go out and exercise (which I do solo with a mask worn at ALL TIMES) or to pick up essential groceries.
Stay safe everyone!