Friday 31 August 2012

Lantau Island - Ngong Ping 360, Hong Kong

Lantau Island - Ngong Ping 360, Hong Kong

(15th March 2009 )

On our third day in Hong Kong, we decided to tour Lantau Island. At the ticket booth we opted and paid for the package deal which included the entrance ticket, to and fro cable car ride,  set lunch for four at a designated Chinese restaurant and some shows and presentation at Ngong Ping Village. 

The journey by cable car was really long indeed and I, being acrophobic, felt very uneasy being enclosed within the tiny cable car and suspended in mid-air for such a long time. It could have been one hour or even thirty minutes but to me it felt like an eternity before the cable car slowed down. It was such a great relief to me when it finally came to a standstill, heralding the beginning of our tour of Lantau Island.

We could see part of the sprawling Hong Kong International Airport from inside the cable car


 The Po Lin monastery, seen from the air


At the Ngong Ping Piazza and Po Lin Monastery ...............

This is the public square where tourists stopped for rest and relaxation, where the washrooms are situated, where souvenir shops were doing brisk business, a few restaurants and a handful of street vendors selling an assortment of candied fruits spiked on a stick coated with what looked like crystallised honey or maltose

This one looked really sleepy and bored...........


Up on the Po Lin Monastery :

At the very top after climbing 268 steps is the statue of the Big Buddha or known as the Tian Tan Buddha in Chinese. It's well worth the effort to climb up to see the smiling and serene countenance of the statue of the Big Buddha.

A signboard at the entrance to the Po Lin Monastery

Serene and deep in thought

At peace with the world

Thursday 30 August 2012

Baked Spring Roll 炸春卷

Baked Spring Roll 炸春卷


Crispy, crunchy and
yummy !

Everyone loves a snack. I have no idea from which country the spring roll originated as there seems to be spring roll recipes from websites and blogs running from China, Hong Kong to South East Asian countries.  Here, in Malaysia, it is popularly known as "popiah" among the many ethnic groups. It is among the more popular food item presented at buffets and open houses, irrespective of the host's ethnicity. There are of course so many different versions of what is put into the making of the filling.  Some use only vegetables while others use chicken instead of pork. It's very much up to the individual. Once you know how to make it, you can change the ingredients for making the filling according to your fancy or to your religious beliefs. 

Ingredients :


Thinly sliced Chinese cabbage

Canned bamboo shoot, sliced into fine strips 

A packet of spring roll skin bought from the supermarket. 
Read the instructions at the back of the packet carefully. 
Once the seal of the packet is broken, cover the packet  of spring roll skin with a damp towel, 
because when exposed to air it becomes harden

Top Centre ; marinated minced pork
Left bottom : black fungus cut into very fine strips. 
Centre bottom : mushroom cut into very thin pieces. 
Right bottom : shrimps cut into very small pieces 

The spring roll filling 

All wrapped up and waiting to be baked



600g Chinese cabbage
50g dried mushrooms
50g black fungus, or mook yee  in Cantonese
350g shrimps
350g minced pork
1 can of bamboo shoot
2 tbsp of minced ginger
1 tbsp of minced garlic
A dash of pepper
3 tbsp cooking oil
45 sheets of spring roll skin ( locals call it popiah skin )

Sauce Ingredients


1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Shao Hsing wine 

Marinade Ingredients For Pork

1 tsp cornflour
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
A dash of pepper

Marinate the pork with the marinade ingredients for 15 minutes

Preparation Instructions


1.  Marinate the minced pork with the marinade ingredient for 15 minutes. Set aside
2.  Clean and wash the Chinese cabbage and cut them into small pieces. Set aside
3.  Open the can of bamboo shoot, rinse in running water and cut them into thin strips. Set aside. 
4.  Soak the black fungus until soft and cut them into very thin strips. Set aside
5.  Soak the mushroom until soft. Wash thoroughly and squeeze out the water. Slice them into thin slices. Set aside
6.  Shell the shrimps, remove the veins and cut them into small pieces. Set aside

Cooking Instructions


1.  Heat a wok, add in the cooking oil
2.  When the oil is hot, add in the minced garlic and ginger and saute until light brown and fragrant
3.  Add in the marinated minced pork and stir fry until the lump of minced pork breaks up and change colour to whitish
4.  Add in the shrimps, mushroom, black fungus and bamboo shoot.
5. Mix well, then add in the Chinese cabbage and stir fry until the cabbage turned soft.
6.  Keep stir-frying. Do not add water.
7.  Once the Chinese cabbage has turned soft, add in the sauce ingredients and continue frying until dry
8.  Dish up and aside aside to cool down.

How to Wrap the Spring Roll

1.  Set the oven at 200 degree Celsius
2.  Cut open the packet of spring roll skin. Read the instructions at the back of the pack carefully and make sure you follow the instructions. 
3.  Take out a small stack and peel off only 1 or 2 pieces at a time and wrap fast. Once the spring roll skin is left unattended for a few minutes, it hardens and become inflexible.
4. So while you are wrapping each spring roll, use a damp towel to cover the stack of unused spring roll skin which are still in the pack 
5.  Use 1 tsp of cornflour and mix it with 2 tsp of water. Mix well to form a thick solution. This is for binding and sealing the opening of the wrapped spring rolls.
6.  On a flat surface, spread out a piece of spring roll skin
7.  Spoon 1 tbsp of the cooked filling onto the spring roll and wrap it up the basic and simplest style
8.  Use your finger to smear a little of the cornflour solution to seal the opening.
9.  Place the wrapped spring roll onto a greased baking tray. 
10. Leave a small space between each wrapped spring rolls on the greased baking tray. Do not place them too closely together.
11.  Continue wrapping until all the filling is used up. 
12.  This batch used 45 pieces of the spring rolls skin
13.  Place the baking tray into the pre-heated oven. 
14.  Bake at 200 degree Celsius for 20 minutes until crispy

Baked spring rolls - a healthier version of the deep-fried ones but no less tastier

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Fish Paste Strips Fried In Ginger & Spring Onions

Fish Paste Strips Fried In Ginger & Spring Onions

  A perfect combination of spring onions, ginger and fish paste strips !


How to make fish paste strips : 

Fish paste strips is made from fish paste. You need to have a better understanding on how to make fish paste before attempting to make fish paste strips. For making the fish paste,  you can read here

1.  You will need a chopping board and a cleaver with a broad blade.

2.  Use a dollop of the fish paste and put it on the chopping board

1.  Use your right hand to hold the cleaver, while placing your left hand on the upper side of the broad blade of the cleaver as shown.

2.  Press down hard on the dollop of fish paste to spread it across the chopping board as shown on the next picture below

1.  The fish paste has been spread across the chopping board by using the blade of the cleaver. Then scrape up the fish paste to repeat the process about three times to get the desired result.

2.  Use the sharp edge to scrape up the fish paste starting from right to left

1.  The scraped up fish paste has formed into a strip with a wavy pattern

2.  Wet your left forefinger and use it to loosen the fish paste strip and let it drop into a bowl of hot water. This is to harden the fish paste strip.

1.  All the fish paste strips in a large bowl of hot water.

2.  Do not use your hands to handle them, otherwise the wavy patterns will lose its form and furthermore at this point, they break easily.

3.  Use a colander to drain, reuse the water to dissolve the sauce ingredients later.

4.  Handle them with care. Fragile!




350g of fish paste strips ( it's called Herr Chek in Teochew )
60g of spring onions (sectioned)
10g of minced garlic
1 inch of ginger, thinly sliced
2 tbsp of cooking oil

Sauce Ingredients

1 tsp of abalone sauce
1 tsp of oyster sauce
2 tsp of Shao Hsing wine
A dash of pepper
1 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt

Dissolve the sauce ingredients in 1 Chinese rice bowl of water. Use water from the bowl where the fish paste strips was dropped into.

Cornflour Solution

1 tsp of cornflour dissolved in 2 tbsp of water

Cooking Instructions

1.  Saute the minced garlic and ginger slices till light brown and fragrant
2.  Add in the sauce ingredients and another half bowl of water. Let it boil
3.  Add in the fish strips and let it cook for 3 minutes
4.  Add in the spring onions and stir.
5.  Then add in the cornflour solution and cook for another minute

The bouncy fish paste strips ready to be savoured.

The Ocean Park, Hong Kong

The Ocean Park, Hong Kong 

( 14th March 2009 )

Armed with a Mass Transit Railway (MTR) map and a map of the bus routes googled from the Internet, we set out to the Ocean park which is the first tourist spot we visited while in Hong Kong. The Ocean Park is located on the southern side of Hong Kong Island. Between bus rides and the MTR, both of which accepted the Octopus Card,  we managed to get to the Ocean park. Some how we had crossed over from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island without even realising that we had crossed the undersea channel.

As you well know, the Ocean Park is a marine life theme park with life exhibits from the seas and oceans of the world. Of course, being a theme park it has all the rides associated with a theme park as well, like roller coasters for thrill seekers and  some rides even have a mini version for kids. 

Some of the life sea exhibits from the Aquarium.

Two seals swimming in a tank

 A seal lazing around on the beach

Another seal taking to the water

Part of the Ocean Park's attractions is the cable car ride where one can enjoy a great view of the surrounding sea and mountains and a fantastic view of Hong Kong's sky scrapers ...............



 The cable cars of the Ocean Park, a great way to see the entire Ocean Park from the top and the spectacular view of the sea and surrounding areas

An aerial view of a part of the Ocean Park, taken from the cable car



An aerial view of another part of the Ocean Park 


Part of the Ocean Park with the beautiful sea and mystical looking hills in the background


 Another view of the sea and the surrounding rocky islands taken from inside the cable car


Another shot taken of the sea and rocky outcrops protruding from underneath the sea

On the right is a jetty where the well heeled berth their boats


In the background are some of Hong Kong's ubiquitous apartment blocks and in the foreground a marina where the rich berth their yachts

When approaching Hong Kong from the air, I saw the only two things that made up Hong Kong, crystal clear greenish-blue water and rocky islands jutting out from the bottom of the sea

The cable cars of the Ocean park, a great way to see the entire Ocean park from the air and the spectacular view of the sea and surrounding areas

 A near-barren rocky island doubling up as a shelter for boating enthusiasts

The homes on the left look expensive and with the number of boats dotting the surface of the water I can only surmise that this is not just an ordinary residential area but a rather posh enclave.

Besides marine life, the Ocean Park also houses the giant pandas.........

Two adorable giant panda dolls on the rooftop of the panda enclosure

The real thing in its enclosure munching his lunch away without a care in the world, oblivious of the gawking crowd

The panda is found only in China, is an endangered species and a pampered lot

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Refreshing Coconut Water

Refreshing Coconut Water





It's very refreshing to drink young coconut water on a hot sunny day. Coconut water is full of minerals and it quenches thirst effectively. Its cooling properties are even more potent if you were to add a dash of salt to the coconut water.

If you look around, you will notice that young coconuts almost always go hand-in-hand with major satay outlets and dining establishments. Almost  everyone knows that  young coconut water is readily available at satay stalls but most of us may not realise how the satay and coconut compliment each other.  It's because of the rich minerals in the coconut water which have cooling properties which counter the spiciness from the grilled satay or barbequed food which is believed to be "heaty". 

So, the next time you hold a barbeque party, remember to serve coconut water !

Monday 27 August 2012

Steamed Chicken With Kai Lan 兰花鸡

Steamed Chicken With Kai Lan 兰花鸡

 Looks and tastes great !

Today, we are sharing with you "Lan Fah Gai"

This dish used to be very popular in a ten-course Chinese wedding dinner way back in the sixties when I was a kid. It was popularly known as "Lan Fah Gai" in Cantonese. We hardly see this dish making its appearance anymore at Chinese wedding dinners today. Feeling nostalgic, We tried replicating the dish from memory. The result was unexpectedly good.

Main Ingredients


1 kg of chicken ( chopped into bite-sized pieces )       
2 tbsp of Shao Hsing wine                                 
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tbsp of minced ginger

Mix thoroughly and marinate the above in a bowl for half an hour.

Other ingredients

350g of kai lan
1 tsp of sesame oil

Sauce Ingredients


3 tbsp of oyster sauce
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of sugar

Dissolve the sauce ingredients in 1 Chinese rice bowl of water

Cornflour Solution


2 tsp of cornflour
2 tbsp of water

Dissolve the cornflour with water in a bowl

 A plate of raw kai lan

Cooking Instructions


 1. Clean, wash and separate the kai lan leaves from the stem. Remove the hard parts of the stem. Cut them into sections
 2. In a pot, boil 1.5  litres of water with 1/2 tsp of lye water or kan sui. Parboil the kai lan for 5 minutes
 3. Drain away the yellowish water and use boiled water to rinse the kai lan. Set aside
 4. Place the chicken pieces on a plate and steam in boiling water for 20 minutes.
 5. Pour the liquid from the plate of steamed chicken into a wok and add in the sauce ingredients.
 6. Bring to a boil. Add in the cornflour solution and let it boil for 3 minutes
 7. Switch off the flame,
 8. On a large plate arrange the chicken as shown in the picture
 9. Decorate the kai lan as shown
10. Scoop up the liquid from the wok and pour it over the chicken pieces and kai lan
11. Sprinkle 1 tsp of sesame oil onto the chicken and kai lan

Note :  You can read The Technique of Steaming Food here

Fragrant chicken pieces and crunchy kai lan, delicious!

Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland is located on Lantau Island. We went there by MTR to the transit point of  the Disneyland Resort Public Transport Interchange to get to our destination. It was quite a long ride from Kowloon MTR station. Like most visitors, we bought the full day ticket. 

Even though we had the whole day, the schedule was rather tight since we were trying to catch all the stage shows that we wanted to watch. We kept to the park map so as to be on the right track to the venues staging the shows that we wanted. While waiting for the scheduled shows, we enjoyed the many other attractions and rides there. This was made possible as my daughter had already studied the park map beforehand and made plans to enjoy all the facilities there.  

The mesmerising magical adventure captured in photos.............

A miniature merry-go-round on display

The Muppet Mobile Lab showing Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant, Beaker.
The crowd had quite a number of hilarious experiments with Dr. Bunsen and his assistant, Beaker

Beautiful blooms around the vicinity of the entrance

Parade Time - The Disneyland magical characters on parade........

Chip 'n'  Dale the chipmunks

Snow White

Alice in Wonderland

Ariel, The Little Mermaid

Buzz Lightyear

Woody, Jessie, Buzz and Mr. Potato Head

  Rex, The Dinosaur

Mickey and Minnie

Adventure Land - "The Jungle River Cruise" and the life-like animals and scenery along the route.

Mechanical elephants

Another mechanical elephant, this one has the ability to spew water

A mechanical cobra

Side view of Tarzan's tree house

Front view of Tarzan's tree house

"It's a small world" in Fantasy Land showing cute dolls wearing beautiful costumes from around the world.

The grand finale at the close of a wonderful and magical experience, The spectacular fireworks at night.....

The awesome and spectacular  fireworks display is not to be missed !

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