Wineweek 136: A Postcard from Hong Kong

Greetings from Hong Kong! Its day no 3, and we are soon half way through our trip. Felt appropriate to give an update. The purpose of our trip was to relax, get some sun and to eat our way through the famous culinary scene of the “New York” of Asia. The quality has been varying. We have been positively surprised as well as somewhat disappointed during the same day. So here are my first thoughts about whats good and whats not.

Pro’s. Its warm. Really warm. And humid. Summer has arrived to HK. I keep reminding myself that this is what I wanted, so I will not call it a con at any time. Second, its easy to get around. We took the bus from the airport straight to our hotel, the tube is fast and efficient, and walking around is made fairly easy. And last but not least, we have found fabulous restaurants here. We had perhaps the best steaks ever at Beefbar as well as great Iberico Bellotta and nature wines at La Cabane. Specialty coffee scene is vibrant. Even Starbucks has opened an upscale branch, Starbucks Reserve, that serves single origin coffees as pour overs and awesome cold brew coffee. That is kind of disturbing, but fantastic as I have previously associated Starbucks with very low quality. The disturbing part is that it might be that I have to stop mocking them…

Cons then? The first and most visible con for a Swede is the price level and currency. The Swedish crown is weak, and the Hong Kong dollar relatively strong. The price level in the city seems to be high: a hand brew coffee costs between 50-80$ (6-9€), and a glass of wine from 90$ (10€) and up.  I didn’t come all the way to Hong Kong to cheap out, so will not start obsessing over my bank account now, but perhaps I am in need of another shopping ban after I come back. Another clear con is that local food seems to be very bland in taste. If you look at the street food we have been peeing at, nothing has been very tempting. Luckily this is a hub for all kinds of cuisines, so no need to stick to just local recipes.

Here were the first thoughts from the city. Three full days left, and lots of nice areas to visit. My camera has been in constant use, but there are persistent clouds above the city disturbing the quality of my shots. It seems that they are not moving before it rains. I am keeping my fingers crossed for that, or otherwise the panoramic city pics from Victoria Peak will just remain a dream.

xx Soile

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Mong Kok street buz
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At Causeway Bay
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Din Tai Fung dim sum overdose
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Pork dumplings at Din Tai Fung
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The weather was not misty, my camera lens was

Helsinki’s Hidden Pearl – Restaurant Grön

I would never have booked a table Grön, if a wine interested friend had not tipped me off. Regardless of its central location, its kind of unnoticeable; and the name somehow suggests that the place would be just for vegetarians (its not). Its one of these small bistro-types that don’t look like much from the outside, but there is heaven inside for those who know it. Continue reading “Helsinki’s Hidden Pearl – Restaurant Grön”

At the Bakficka – Tyge & Sessil

In Sweden, a bakficka (back-pocket) is usually a small simple restaurant associated to a known, often fancy, restaurant. Many Michelin restaurants have bakfickas. It is a way for celebrity chefs to serve simple food for more reasonable prices. The back-pocket is always close to its mother, sometimes even sharing a kitchen and staff; they also always leave some space for walk-in customers. I love back-pockets. They are quite good value for money, and many of them have high ambitions with wine. Tyge & Sessil is the backficka of one-starred restaurant Ekstedt (where food is prepared on an open fire) located in Stockholms Östermalm and serving mainly ecological and nature wines from small producers.  Continue reading “At the Bakficka – Tyge & Sessil”

New Wine Finds in Barcelona

What a week we have behind us. Now sitting home in cold Sweden, I am reminiscing our time in Barcelona. The weather was not great to be honest. Last two days it was around +14 Celsius and rain. But we found these amazingly cozy spots for wine, where one could just forget about the world outside, or even enjoy the moist weather.  Continue reading “New Wine Finds in Barcelona”

A Postcard from London

You would expect a proper postcard to have pictures of the city. Big Ben perhaps. My postcards have pictures of food and wine. We arrived in London late Thursday evening and have been eating our way around the city. Yesterday was perhaps the most exciting day of the trip as we had lunch at the two starred restaurant Hibiscus, dinner at the brand new Jason Atherton restaurant Sosharu, and then we visited a shop specializing in natural wines, the Winemakers Club.  Continue reading “A Postcard from London”