#2096| open heart surgery at bakehouse hongkong

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Bakehouse Hong Kong
Photos taken on the Nikon z6, edited in VSCO

hey guys,

From ranting about romcoms to waxing lyrical about bread you sure can find it all here at jemmawei.com. Seriously, i think that’s about to be my new tagline.

I’m really heartened by all the emails and stories you guys have been sending me regarding your own experiences with expectations specific to asian families and relationships, and it’ll take me some time to gather my thoughts (the emails are still coming in!) and respond. But in the meanwhile, I bring you news of our carbohydrate champion: these incredible pastries from Bakehouse Hong Kong.

Located in the Wan Chai district, Bakehouse is something you plan for – simply because whether you actually make it in past the constant queues is a question no one really has the answers to. It was a 26 minute walk from our hotel, which sounds like a long time if you’re Singaporean, but honestly – given the crisp, cold january air and the amount of food you’ll be eating in hongkong anyway, the walk is something you’ll actually welcome. My bread-addicted girlfriend xiaoqi (her sappy face pictured above, housing more affection than I’ve seen from her in months) had this on her hongkong bucketlist, so we penciled it in for a post-hike pre-sunset snack, took a bite, and fell in love. (Still a better love story than It Started with a Kiss)

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Semi open kitchen concept means you can see just how fresh their pastries are, essentially kneaded and baked nonstop

It was 4pm on a Wednesday, we queued about 20 minutes before getting a table. At the time we didn’t know how big of a deal this was till we told Steph, our hk based friend, about it later. She gasped and sighed and put a hand on her chest and went: I’ve never even managed to sit down inside before. Apparently the queues on weekends are monstrous, and the pastries sell out just like that. I can only imagine. But at the time we had no idea: we just sat down and ordered from the glass display, and obliviously waited for the best pastries in hongkong to turn up.

We got three things to share between us – a raspberry cruffin, scones, and a pain au chocolat. How do I say this lightly? Everything was excellent. I thought perhaps I might just be one of those very easily impressed people but my own feelings were reflected in my friends’ stuffed faces, and in that i find validation and comfort. In other words: 好!

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This is kind of a gross but cool photo because doesnt it look like you’re performing open heart surgery?!

The pastries that are meant to flake just flake perfectly, and the scones are dense and buttery with a clotted cream that you’ll cry about later. I’m really not a food writer at all even though i realise when I travel i talk about food a lot (i wonder why?), so the words that come to mind… fantastic.. amazing.. buttery.. delicious… just make me sound like im some kind of cupcake pushcart stand trying to hawk you my wares and bakes. I was hoping the pictures would do the talking for me, though separately note to self: figure out why i talk about food when traveling so much, and also, learn to talk about food more productively?

I googled Bakehouse afterwards, and one of the reviews online described it as ‘so delicious you’ll commit treason’. Well, treason isnt something you joke about in singapore so the best i can present you with is a no comment. But, mmm.

Bakehouse Hongkong
14 Tai Wong St E, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Weekdays – 8am – 5pm
Weekends – 9am – 5pm

x
Jem

#2094 | Doing Literally Everything in my Activewear

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Hong Kong
All photos taken on the Nikon Z6, and edited on VSCO

Hey guys,

In my mind hong kong is good for a couple of things, and those things mainly – nightlife, food, and the option of easy access to seasonal weather. Hiking, obviously, is conspicuously missing, a natural byproduct of the other thing I conspicuously lack; ie. a sense of balance. It was no small horror then, that on our recent trip to hongkong my two very fit girlfriends wanted to dedicate a day to hiking… even though one of them had recently sprained a leg doing the exact same thing in Jogjakarta. Why would you voluntarily elect to hike again a mere six months after being incapacitated by the very thing? Quite clearly this hiking business drives people loopy. And there is no point protesting against loopy, since logic plays no part in its formation, so off we went.

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Fit friend 1 and fit friend 2

We did the extremely touristy Dragon’s Back, which is admittedly very nice. Also I wore my new Lululemon tights which I am super in love with because they are both the most expensive (unfortunately) and the best (fortunately, but also unfortunately when taken in relation to the cost) tights I have ever worn. That is really all I have to say about the entire endeavor, as to elaborate would only serve to reveal my ineptitude towards anything that even vaguely requires hand-eye coordination. So it is here that I shall leave you, with an air of mystery and potential. (yeah, right.)

Here is a guide on how to hike dragon’s back, in case you came to this blogpost looking for pragmatic information and are now sorely disappointed or whatever.

x
Jem

#2093 | Tell me what to drink – LQV Hong Kong

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Red is the yummiest color
Pictures taken on the Nikon Z6, edited in VSCO

Hey guys,

If having a tall French man smile at you and tell you exactly what to drink is your kind of vibe, then you must make a point of swinging by Le Quinze Vins Hong Kong. I claim no credit for stumbling upon the place since our happy evening there was no coincidence – my friend who relocated to hongkong for work last year (and who now dubiously claims to be the hong kong tour guide extraordinaire ) led us there during our recent visit. A solid recommendation too, which led to this exchange:

me: hey i wanna plug LQV in a blogpost is that k
marcus: yes please note that i’ll be anyone’s tour guide for a modest fee
marcus: of a bottle of wine at LQV
me: that’s very reasonable indeed
marcus: as reasonable as the wine prices at LQV

So it goes.

If you’re headed to Hong Kong, it follows that you’re headed to a bar. It’s not like I have a pokedex of every single wine bar in hong kong, but I’ve been to my fair share over the years, and LQV is one of the more memorable ones. It joins a growing trend of wine importers that also sells bottles on the side, bars which are getting increasingly popular due to the advantages of scale (LQV has over 1,000 wines) and cozy hole-in-the-wall vibes (I’m pretty sure it only seats 30pax, max). It’s a great way to discover new wines, theoretically, though if you’re a cheerfully undiscerning winehead like me, the best part is really asking for recommendations and being extra delighted when the wines appear in the correct sort of glass, making you look like a more refined wino than you actually are. The wine, by the way, was excellent. And yes, it’s true, the place smells like a stale fart, characteristic of all serious wine bars that also serve cheese.. but if the rapid adaptation to the horrendously ugly iOS7 was anything to go by, people will get used to anything. So it’s not a deal breaker; in fact, possibly it adds to the place’s charm.

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Tee hee!

You know what the annoying thing is? When googling for the address of LQV Hong Kong to plug here, I realised they have an outlet in Singapore too. Seriously, what’s the point of my country specific recommendations then? But, yknw, having not been to the Singapore outlet I cannot in good conscience attest to the presence of a friendly frenchie, nor the lingering quaint smell of a stale fart. And with that, I present:

Le Quinze Vins
G/F, No.9 Swatow Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, China
+852 2673 7636
12pm – 12 am

x
Jem

#2092 | How good does Crab Congee sound?! // Chee Kei, Hong Kong

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Photos taken on the Nikon Z6 and edited in VSCO

Hey guys,

So how good does crab congee sound, anyway? Crab is such a luxury, yet such an obsession with us Singaporeans, which is to be expected since our national dish is the debatably the chilli crab. All that is a roundabout way of saying, I suppose, that when we heard of a place in Hong Kong serving up golden crab congee, we kind of were all over it. Obviously.

Chee Kei is a local place with several branches, the one we visited this time was near our hotel in Causeway Bay. There was a short queue which moved quite fast, so we were seated in about ten minutes and ready for some yum yum in our tum tum business. You can order ala carte or in sets, and it’s quite good value for money at approximately 70 to 100HKD per set depending on what you get. Chee Kei is primarily known as a wonton shop, but dont be fooled – the permanent queues outside the outlets are there for the crab congee. For wontons abound in hongkong but crab congee is one in a million.

And of the fabled congee? It comes in a little bamboo pot, with a crab sitting atop a steaming bowl of pasty golden porridge. Golden, because the porridge is blended with crab roe, which makes it absolutely magical.

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Golden golden goodness

Dont get me wrong, everything else was good too. But that crab congee: it was something else. Chee Kei recently opened in Singapore but the crab congee seems to be firmly a hongkong exclusive. All the more reason to go back to hongkong, i suppose.

銅鑼灣店
Causeway Bay Shop
香港銅鑼灣波斯富街84號
84 Percival St., Causeway Bay
Phone: +852 2890 8616

x
Jem

#2090 | Shari Shari Kakigori will change your dessert life

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Hong Kong
All photos taken on the Nikon Z6, 35f1.8

Hey guys,

Kakigori is a sort of Japanese shaved ice dessert, in essence the Japanese counterpart to Singapore’s ice kachang, korea’s bingsu. And yet the Japanese do it better. I say this not lightly: Shari Shari Kakigori is, like, life changing.

I tried it for the first time last June when Hong Kong was at the peak of its relentless humidity, and thought it quite magical. I second guessed myself though, I thought possibly that could have been attributed to the consumption of anything cold in that weather. And this year, again, I went back in the dead of winter. Still incredible, and this time, my two girlfriends reflected the delight on my face, confirming Shari Shari as straight up ah-mazing across the board.

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Ahmaaaaazing!

There are several Kakigori stalls around Hong Kong, but Shari Shari is indisputably the best. Shari Shari only has two outlets, one in Central and one in Causeway Bay, and I’ve been to both. They’re both tiny, and there’s always a queue snaking around the outside of the store. The one in Haven Road on Causeway Bay, which is where I’m at this time, is surrounded by other dessert stores, some of which also serve kakigori. But Shari Shari is notably the most popular – the rest are always only half full. Expect to queue for at least half an hour, but know that it’s worth the wait!

Where Singapore’s ice kachang is icy and Korea’s bingsu is packed powder, the Japanese kakigori is fresh snow that melts in your mouth. The ingredients they favor are different too, all sakura and matcha and tea. We went for their best seller, the Earl Grey shaved ice, which comes with mochi on top and milk pudding + peanut powder in the middle. It’s very fluffy – and the earl grey flavor is evenly spread out so you dont end up with a melting puddle of flavorless ice at the end of the affair. And, most importantly, the flavor is delightful. The secret, apparently, is in the water – they claim to import their ice from hokkaido, the water giving the kakigori a cleaner, silkier taste. This also creates the illusion that your dessert is light, guilt-free, and almost healthy, which of course is exactly that: an illusion. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that it’s so damned good. Literally redefining the standards of an ideal dessert, actually.

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Earl Grey Kakigori

Because they’re made to order, each Kakigori’s shelf life is pretty short. There are rules to kakigori enjoyment – you have to finish taking whatever photos you want in 20seconds before it start to melt, you cant divide the mountain of ice into smaller bowls (it ruins the integrity of the ice apparently), and there’s a minimum order of HKD35/perpax. The three of us shared one kakigori and also ordered a delicious chocolate souffle to make the min. order. Everything was excellent.

Other flavors available include Hojicha, Mango, Raspberry, so on and so forth. I tried their seasonal flavors the last time and the Earl Grey this time, and the earl grey is still my favorite. It’s now a staple on my Hong Kong itinerary, and a strong recommendation to anyone headed to HK. And if you’re in Hong Kong over the summer, note this down as a compulsory activity. Stat.

SHARI SHARI KAKIGORI HOUSE ( 氷屋 )
Address: G/F 14 Haven Street,
Causeway Bay Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2529 1223
Opening Hours: 1:00PM – 12:00AM Daily
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShariShari.Kakigori
Direction: 7 mins walk from Exit F1 of Causeway Bay MTR Station.’

or

Address: 47 Staunton St, Central
Hours: Varying, normally about 1-11pm

Prices: Approx 70-80HKD/kakigori⋅

x
Jem