Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas 2015 at Marina Mandarin

If i had to pick one place to recommend dining at this Christmas, it will have to be Marina Mandarin Singapore. The buffet spread at Aquamarine is one that will never ever fail on you. Besides being Halal certified (which is already a plus point), the spread is never-ending - from local food to freshly sliced sashimi to their extensive dessert selection, which includes their signature Durian Pengat that's worth every calorie.

This Christmas, apart from Aquamarine, their famed Chinese restaurant, Peach Blossoms, has also specially crafted a Christmas menu for diners which prefer a more oriental take to the festive season. Famed for their Chinese dishes like dim sum and double-boiled soups, the menu for this season brings the ingredients from the West, yet incorporating the flavours from the East.

From the Aquamarine spread, be sure to indulge and dig into a few servings of the XXL Seafood Ravioli in Lobster Cream and Caviar. They were not kidding when they said 'XXL' because the portioning of the Raviolis are almost palm-sized, stuffed with a generous amount of fresh lobster meat, sitting in a delicious tasty caviar cream sauce. It's Christmas after-all, and there's no reason to not be feasting.

While i normally don't enjoy turkey as much as i enjoy Christmas, the Drunken Turkey With Chinese Wine and Wolfberry from Peach Blossoms took me by surprise. The meat of the turkey was extremely succulent and juicy, and the subtle aroma and taste of the chinese wine complimented the meat in every way possible. Truth be told, i fancied this more than the roasted version.

Other dishes which are worthy of the calorie count this festive season also includes the Festive Cold Salmon and Terrine from Aquamarine's buffet spread. The Roasted Turkey with Orange and Cinnamon, as well as the Roasted Australian Lamb Rack, coated lightly with a chocolate glaze will make good additions to the Christmas table at home his year - both available for takeaway at Cafe Mocha.

As for dessert, i wasn't kidding when i said that Aquamarine always has an extensive dessert selection. This year, they have put together a Chocolate Winter Forest - featuring a fully chocolate landscape, featuring items such as the Chestnut and Pear Yule Log, alongside gingerbread huts, marshmallow mushrooms and German stollens , which literally left me spoilt for choice.

With everything under one roof, be it Chinese, Western or even take-away, i'll be lying if i said i wasn't impressed with what Marina Mandarin Singapore has to offer for the festive season this year. It's going to be a merry (yes, very merry) Christmas, indeed.

6 Raffles Boulevard
Marina Mandarin Singapore
6 Raffles Boulevard
Singapore 039594
+65 6845 1111 (Aquamarine)
+65 6845 1000 (Peach Blossoms)

This was an invited media tasting.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Braun : The Christmas Gift Guide 2015

With the season of gifting just around the corner again, it is no surprise that i have to wrack my brains as to what to get. And as age catches up (yes, you may officially classify me as an 'uncle', or a young guy with middle-age thinking), the presents seem to get more practical as the years go by.

Just like last year, Braun has a range of products yet again that will probably put a smile on the face of that special someone in your family or even a friend - with their brand new Series 3 Shaver for guys, as well as the highly raved about Silk-épil 9 Eplilator and Satin Hair Brush for the the ladies. See, i told you there was going to be something for everyone!

Series 3 Shaver

Perfect for every guy, the new Series 3 promises a close shaver with perfect skin comfort, and yet being faster than ever before. I've personally grown to love what Braun always has to offer with their shavers as they keep up with technology. By far, they have never disappointed, and the Series 3 is no different.

With 2x SensoFoil for perfect closeness that lasts longer and a middle trimmer that easily cuts even longer and more difficult hair - the perfect shave is literally just one step away. Also boasting high speed and high tech, the Triple Action Free Float System ensures that the cutting elements adapt to every facial contour and guarantee a smooth shaving experience, leaving no hair behind, except a clean-looking face. Compared to the higher-end models, the Series 3 performs just as well if you are not too fussy with the materials used. And with an affordable price tag of SGD145 - the a race against time every morning doesn't exactly seem like problem anymore.

Silk-épil 9 Epilator

The latest of Braun's range of epilators that my own sister swears upon (she is such a clean freak, i tell you) is the Silk-épil 9. Up to date with the latest technology, the Silk-épil 9 removes more hair in just one stroke, leaving you with smooth skin for the weeks ahead.

With a wider epilator head, the Silk-épil 9 boasts to covers more areas and removes more hair in one stroke, resulting in a faster epilation process. The improved MicroGrip tweezer technology ensures that even the shortest hair (0.5mm) that wax cannot catch will be epilated effortlessly. The Silk-épil 9 is all about comfort that smoothly adapts to your skin and body contours, giving you maximum comfort and thoroughness with every use. The Silk-épil 9 retails at SGD219.

Satin Hair 7 Brush

What every girl wants would be more shine and less frizziness to their hair. Waking up to a 'bad hair day' can be a nightmare for many (or most) girls, and the Satin Hair 7 Brush is that one product that can potentially minimise the chances of that happening.

What may look like just an ordinary brush actually actives millions of active ions infused into your hair to beat static and frizz and to visibly boost shine - all at the touch of just one button. The seamless bristle technology fights frizz and removes static, leaving you with maximum shine. Best part however, has got to be the portability of the brush - fully battery operated, this works as a perfect travel companion, anew will even fit into a bag that's big enough. Priced affordably, it comes with a pocket-friendly price tag at SGD79 - a pretty reasonable price to pay for beautiful hair everyday, if i may add.

Do visit Braun's pop-up at Bishan Junction 8 Atrium from 14 December – 20 December 2015 or all major electrical stores to enjoy Braun products at promotional prices this Christmas! You can go ahead to pick your favourites, and thank me later.

As part of the season of gifting, Braun will be giving away a set of Series 3 and a set of Silk-épil 9, simply leave a comment with your name and email and one winner will be selected. Entries to be submitted by 31 December 2015.

This is a sponsored product feature.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Savoey Bangkok

Savoey should be a name that's familiar if you are Thai. They have a chain of restaurants in Bangkok, and have been expanding through the years, with their latest extension at Tha Maharaj, by the river where you get an obstructed view of the sunset, and the perfect breeze while dining at night. Whether it's a date, a gathering of friends, or even a family dinner with kids - the venue is perfect.

The menu offers modern Thai dishes, so don't expect curry served in traditional terracotta pots. With a slight twist to their dishes, we enjoyed how they have a wide variety of dishes ranging from appetisers to mains and even dessert, with choices from spicy dishes to those that are not-spicy, ensuring that there's a dish to fit everyone's tastebuds.

For a start, you have to try the Samui's Fresh Oysters served with Thai Condiments. The oysters arrive daily and are freshly shucked only upon your order. Top it off with the condiments offered on the side (shallots, garlic, a special chilli paste and a zest of lime) and you get an explosion of flavours in your mouth that doesn't overpower the freshness of the oyster. The recommend serving is 1 per person but we'll gladly tackle double or triple the portion, anytime.

Another seafood dish that's a must-try is the Fresh Raw Shrimp that marinated in fish sauce and a Thai-style spicy dressing. We were a bit skeptical to have raw prawns but were told that the acidity from the lime actually "cooks" the shrimps a little. The verdict was fresh shrimps that were very tasty and sweet at the same time, and completely safe to consume!

For mains to share, we highly recommend the Special Baked Pineapple Fried Rice that comes served in a pineapple, topped with a generous amount of seafood like fresh crab meat, prawns and pork floss. The rice was extremely robust with flavours and was very addictive after the first mouthful, with bits of fresh pineapple that added a little bit of acidity (in a good way) with every bite.

Other dishes we enjoyed were the Stir-fried Curry Crab and the Sour Tamarind Ragout with Deep Fried Serpent Head - a tangy tomato tasting soup filled with flavours and spice, something very different from the common Tom Yum that we get in Bangkok.

The drinks were also very interesting, with takes like the Sparkling Butterfly Pea Lemongrass Drink, Kale Frappe (yes, the vegetable, kale), Rose Lemon Iced Tea. For desserts, we enjoyed the Coconut Granita that was served with water chestnuts and grass jelly - a refreshing way to end off a hearty seafood meal.

The prices at Savoey are slightly above the average, but the consistency of seafood and the guaranteed freshness makes up for it and explains, making it justifiable. Oh yes, and not forgetting the view of that sunset in the evening. I'd like the food and ambience on repeat, please.

Savoey Restaurant Bangkok
Tha Maharaj
2nd Floor, Building G, Tha Maharaj
Trok Mahathat, Maharaj Rd. In Rattanakosin Island
+66 02-024-1317

This was an invited media tasting.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Steve Cafe & Cuisine Bangkok

Steve Cafe & Cuisine is a Thai restaurant that serves home-made style authentic Thai dishes. Using and promising only the freshest produce used to create every dish, the restaurant that is by the iconic Chaopraya River offers a lovely atmosphere that soaks up the sun-rays in the evening while watching a beautiful unobstructed view of the sunset, to the sound of the water tides as night falls.

Decorated in a retro Chino-Thai style, the option to sit al fresco and breathe in the fresh air from the river is what we highly recommend. Getting to Steve Cafe & Cuisine isn't going to be easy, given that their restaurant by the river isn't exactly very centralised. If you are going by taxi, tell them you are going to the Golden Teak Museum, which is just right behind the restaurant.

For a start, the Mieng Ka Na is one starter that's highly addictive. While it may just look like any simple starter, it actually is an explosion of flavours in your mouth. Wrap the coconut shreds, peanuts, dried shrimps, ginger cubes and lime slices with a sour-spicy peanut sauce and bam, it' so addictive with a burst of flavours that marry each other - a party in your mouth.

A signature dish at Steve Cafe & Cuisine is the Grilled pork with Lemongrass and Chilli. Using fresh lemongrass, the finely chopped minced pork is slapped onto it to resemble a lolly, and grilled with a nice crust of charred golden brown, while still retaining it's moisture on the inside. With a bit of coriander on the side to munch on, the flavour can get a little intense, hence we think one is more than enough for each person.

The other dishes that go fantastic with steamed white rice is the Steamed Mixed Seafood with Curry. Don't expect gravy or sauce, but a dry curry that's infused with egg and the freshest catch of seafood that gives the dish plenty of natural sweetness and crunch with the prawns and squid in it. The other star is the Kaeng Hung Ley Moo, a pork curry that's slightly sweet with a hint of tomato-like flavour that lingers within the layers of pork belly that's melt-in-your-mouth soft.

Don't be too surprised to see gelato and other Italian desserts on the menu as well. Made by the owner's friend, the freshly made Italian desserts are supplied on a weekly basis, just like this Yoghurt Blueberry and Tiramisu that even the owner (Steve) himself, declares his favourite.

Unlike commercialised restaurants, the dishes at Steve Cafe & Cuisine are different in the sense that they stand out and have a traditional touch. If you are looking to savour tasty dishes that originated from the real actual flavours of the country, this place is the place you should go to. We hear that they can get quite pack during dinner, so reservations are highly recommended.

Steve Cafe & Cuisine
68 Sri Ayuthaya Road
Dusit, Vaachiraphayabaan
Soi Sri Ayuthaya 21, Bangkok 10300

This was an invited media tasting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chao Hostel Bangkok

By now, everyone should know i love Bangkok. It's a city that's beautiful in its own way and it never fails to amaze me each time i visit. Accommodation is essentially important in Bangkok because it will also mean less traveling time and convenience.

The last time i was in Bangkok, i stayed at Siam@Siam. This time, i was glad to be able to try out the rooms at Chao Hostel, which is in the same building as Siam@Siam, but offers rooms at more affordable rates, with a more social friendly concept, just like a dorm.

Chao Hostel offers rooms that are twin bedded (trust me, you'll love the double deck if you are holidaying with a friend), to double bedded ones for couples. If you are on a budget, or have 5 other friends of the same gender who are joining you, the dorm styled rooms will definitely fit what you are looking for.

The concept for the hotel features quality and comfort, with a minimalistic wooden design that runs throughout the hotel - from the friendly reception to the dining area, as well as the rooms. The dining area also features a load of snacks and drinks which are free for all guests to consume throughout the day.

Besides those, Chao Hostel has a laundry room to cater to your laundry needs. The common room, which is an area to relax, features a huge television with cosy beanbags, as well as computers equipped with internet for your working and communication needs. The balcony, also known as a smoking area, is in my opinion, a perfect place with natural sunlight for a fashionable Instagram-worthy shot.

The rooms are Chao Hostel are kept simple and the rates are kept low, yet security is not compromised. Each night, the doors are locked once the receptionists at the front desk go off duty, hence each room key comes with an access pass for you to use during those hours.

Chao Hostel's rates won't burn a hole in your pocket if you are on a trip with a tight budget. In fact, we think that for the location and the quality you get from the rooms and service, the pricing is extremely value for money. This also means i should start planning for my next trip at the end of the year!

Chao Hostel Bangkok
Siam@Siam Building, 8th Floor
865 Rama 1 Road
Wang Mai, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
+ 66 02 217 3083

This was an invited media session.

Friday, November 6, 2015

District 10 Bar & Grill

Consider this one of the most anticipated posts for 2015 ever since i uploaded a photo on Instagram. Yeap, that's right, it's District 10 Bar & Grill. A lot of friends and followers have been asking about it since weeks ago, and i think it's only right that i don't hold back the beefy-goodness from everyone.

The latest addition by the Bonta Group, District 10 Bar & Grill is located centrally on the ground floor lobby of Suntec City Tower Two. Not to be confused with their other outlet at UE Sqaure (known as District 10 Bar & Restaurant), the grill is different, boasting a meat showcase for its dry-aged meat and fully functional show kitchen where they charcoal-grill their meat to perfection.

If you love love love (yes, i had to repeat it 3 times to get the point across), this is the right place for you. The 45 Days Home Dry Aged Corn Fed US Prime Traditional Fiorentina Steak was served with a dash of olive oil splattered across the wooden board of perfectly grilled steak pieces. To put it more directly, it was nothing short of mouth-watering.

For something more meaty and less fatty, the 45 Days Dry Aged Corn Fed US Prime OP Rib is a good choice. Unlike the latter which i believe has more marbling, this one came of meatier, even though we much preferred the Traditional Fiorentina Steak which we felt came across more flavourful.

On the sides, the Puglia Burrata with Oragnic Cherry Tomato is a great choice for sharing. Also, for desserts, the Bitter Chocolate - Marshmellow Fluff with Caramelized Banana boasts layers and layers of ultimate indulgence, and calories.

Needless to say, this place ranks one of the top if you ask me where can you get a good steak in Singapore. The portions are generally big, so it's best that you go as a group, so that you can enjoy and savour more variety and pick which you prefer. Reservations are also highly recommended as the seating capacity indoor is limited.

District 10 Bar & Grill
3 Temasek Boulevard
Suntec City Mall, #01-514/515
Singapore 038983
+65 6822 2886

This was an invited media tasting.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Roof Gastro Bangkok

Overlooking Bangkok's skyline is The Roof Gastro. Located on the 25th floor, and also the top floor of Siam@Siam Bangkok, the place serves up French cuisine fresh off the grill. The multi-level design restaurant provides every seat on the roof top experience with remarkable angles of Bangkok by night. If you get lucky, you might even get to watch a game or two while having dinner, as some seatings give you a clear view of the National Stadium, which is smacked right opposite the hotel.

From the appetisers, the Pan-seared Tiger Prawns had a nice smoky aroma but we felt that it was slightly overcooked and came off a little too rubbery in texture. If you enjoy your cheese, be sure to try the Roasted Camembert which pairs nicely with a glass of wine, or two.

If you like your red meat, a selection of steaks awaits you, varying from Argentinean Tenderloin to Australian Rib-eye and even Wagyu. We tried the Wagyu and it was served with beautiful medium center, with minimal seasoning so that the natural flavour of the beef wasn't over-powered.

From the selection of seafood dishes, be sure to try the Seabass Fillet which is served with a creamy white sauce and mushrooms, or the Alaskan Scallops which comes served in a portion of 4 generous pieces, also sitting on a bed of white sauce. The seafood in both dishes were extremely fresh, and the sauce (which actually tasted somewhat similar), complimented the seafood in many aspects.

The ambience at The Roof Gastro is something that is worth the experience. With a beautiful view and good food, this place is one that will definitely impress your date, or even if you just intend to hang out with friends over drinks. We also hear that they serve brunch on weekends, as well as cocktails that go on half-price at certain hours. I could only imagine spending my evenings watching the sunset at The Roof over and over again.

The Roof Gastro
Siam@Siam Design Hotel Bangkok
865 Rama 1 Road
Wang Mai, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
+ 66 (0) 2217 3000

This was an invited media tasting.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Taking Food Shots with an Olympus OM-D E-M10

For people who still do not know, I’ve been using the Olympus OM-D E-M10 for about 6 months now and it's been the camera that I bring around to food tastings or when I hang out with my friends on a casual day out. Not only does it look vintage, it is also compact – especially with the 25mm F1.8 Prime Lens. Of course, what is taking amazing shots without sharing them? The in-built Wi-Fi function allows me to transfer good quality images on-the-go and into my phone within seconds! Though snapping away on the phone is convenient, it can never beat the quality on an actual unit.

So what does it take to get a good, Instagram-worthy shot, you might ask. Some say good lighting, some might argue that you need a pretty table, plates and maybe a prop or two. And of course, some say that most importantly the food needs to be photogenic - like we all know, brunch food.

I wouldn't deny that all those aspects are equally importantly, but if i could shamelessly say this - i think it's pretty important that you have a good camera to get a great shot (at least to me). I usually have problems with bad lighting (that is extremely yellow) at restaurants, or if i am dining in the night, but most of the time it can be fixed by hitting a few buttons and and adjusting the WB.

Here are a few tips though, which may get you the shot you have always wanted to achieve.

Tip #1: Framing!

There will always be a time where there's too much food on the table and you just to want capture everything. The best way to capture this is to get up there and shoot from the top. My tip for you is to make sure that you stand at an angle that does not capture any shadow. Also, try not to arrange your food too neatly, and perhaps add in a fork or two, a friend's hand perhaps, or even a small flower or prop you might find nearby. Most of the time you see me shamelessly standing on a chair to get a shot like that, but trust me it is pretty worth the effort.

Another tip is be careful of shaky hands when you’re towering over trying to get the shot which results in blurry shots. That’s why the image stabilization function of a camera is so important. Imagine having to set-up a tripod before every Instagram-worthy meal!

Tip #2: The shot with the bokeh effect

You may be wondering what this ‘Bokeh’ is all about. In essence, the bokeh effect always makes food look good. This is because the focus is on the food, and it defocuses on the background leaving it with a dreamy effect. This requires a depth of field, so try to placing your plate at the edge of the table. Using the 25mm f1.8 lens and adjusting the aperture to 1.8 or 2, I tend to be able to get the perfect shot. The smaller the aperture, the shallower or dreamier the depth of field is. And if you have lights at the back, it just adds to the whole 'feel' of the photo.

Tip #3: The 'hipster' shot

Forget about food on the table, the 'hipster' shot that has been making its rounds on Instagram often shows people holding their food. This, is pretty awkward because you probably will need a hand model. Most of the time i pick the friend with the smoothest hands, and maybe with an arm candy or two. With this shot, it’s all about your creativity in styling the shot – go wild and have fun!

Tip #4: The 'effortless' shot

This usually involves someone casually eating, or when sauce is being poured onto something. Works great for stuff like pancakes (yes, maple syrup), waffles (yes, chocolate sauce), or you can also get a friend to use a fork and knife to cut through poached eggs and let the yolk flow. It's more of a candid shot, but as effortless as it looks, it's actually pretty tough to get the perfect shot. If your camera has the multiple shots function, it makes things a lot easier.

(Before - taken with normal mode)

(After - taken with the Pin Hole Art Filter)

Tip #5: The artistic shot 

The ART function is one of my favourite functions to use on the camera. It allows me to play around with dramatic effects, pinhole effects, sepia effects and a lot of other ones. This also means less editing on my part!

All photos were taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 with a 25mm F1.8 lens. Cameras nowadays are packed with so many different functions that makes photography so much easier and enjoyable! In particular, food photography isn't as difficult as some people say it is - with the experience, you are bound to get the 'perfect shot' in minutes, or a couple of seconds. Now, who's up to take over my job? 

For information on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 and exciting promotions coming up in November do visit

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Water Library Brasserie Bangkok

Water Library Brasserie is all about classic French food in a posh and elegant surrounding. Sounds pretentious, but we promise you not. No dress code, no fuss and definitely not pretentious, all in the heart of Bangkok city. The place offers you a piece of the French lifestyle without blowing the budget.

The entrance, adorned by an arch to resemble the Eiffel Tower, says it all. At Water Library Brasserie, it's about quality food while experiencing the true Parisan lifestyle. Also, as their name suggests, a wall full-on with an array of water selection greets you a few steps into the restaurant, which is divided into four section, including the back of the house, which promises you a view of Bangkok's skyline.

From the menu, be sure to try the Cold Pasta as an appetiser. The dish features capellini, seaweed and lobster, tossed in truffle oil, making the dish extremely flavourful and aromatic. Good for sharing, and with generous chunks of lobster meat that adds on to the al dente texture of the capellini, this dish in our opinion, is a must-try. If you prefer salad, the Duck and Mango salad served with smoked duck breast is a good alternative to start your meal at Water Library Brasserie.

From the seafood menu, be sure not to miss out on the highly raved about Chilean Seabass, served with bacon mushroom ragout and ponzu butter sauce. Rated as the most popular dish at Water Library Brasserie, this dish initially originated from Water Library Chamchuri, the fine dining wing of Water Library's group of restaurant. The flavour from the bacon added a good savoury touch to the dish without overpowering the freshness of the fish. From the meat section, the Duck Leg Confit with potato risotto and baby carrots fared pretty well on our tastebuds. The meat was fork tender, with a golden crispy skin on the outside.

For dessert, be sure dive right for the Apple Tart Tartin, which takes 35 minutes to prep. Be sure to order beforehand, so that you don't wait too long. As soon as it is served, cut right into the piping hot buttery puff pastry filled with caramelised apples, and don't forget a bit of vanilla bean ice cream. To describe it in short - a party in your mouth.

Water Library Brasserie is a place we highly recommend, and has definitely made it onto our favourite list of restaurants in Bangkok. The prices are slightly higher than most restaurants, but the quality ingredients that they use for their dishes will assure you that every bit you pay for it worth it.

Water Library Brasserie
Central Embassy, 5th Floor
1031 Ploenchit Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
+66 0 2160 5893

This was an invited media tasting.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Panpuri Bangkok

The word 'Panpuri' means wisdom. No, not a library, but an organic spa in this case. Everyone loves Bangkok for their massages, and i am no different. It is a must to head for at least one massage session each time i'm in town. Panpuri is located at Gaysorn, just right in the central shopping district of Bangkok, walking distance from the BTS station.

The all-organic spa at the luxury mall boasts nothing but quality organic products for their treatments which include facials, massages and body treatments. Everything used is 100% made from organic ingredients, including the aroma oil that you get the choose from before your treatments. We had a go at the Mali Moonlight Soothing Massage and swore to come back to Panpuri the next time we are in Bangkok.

Before consultation, the very professional staffs sit down with you to understand your needs and wants during the treatment. They also make it a point to ask your about your preferred area that you wish to work on more, so that they can customise the massage to your liking. Then you are led into a darken corridor, before entering a mystical looking room tiled with beautiful looking moroccan tiles, making you not want to leave the place, even after the treatment is over.

The ambience at Panpuri's spa is one that's bound to sooth your senses and keep you relaxed throughout. They also have a store for you just beside the spa to pick up body oils and aromatherapy stuff which your may fancy. However, not all the products at the store are organic, so it's best to ask the sales associate if you prefer sticking to organic products. We spotted candles and body cream that smelt amazing, with floral and fruit abstracts such as lemongrass and mandarin orange.

The service at Panpuri is not just great, it is excellent. Taking extra care to make sure you deserve nothing but the best, it is perfect for an afternoon away from shopping and for relaxing your soul. The treatments at Panpuri start from as low as THB 1300 for their foot massages, and THB 2100 for a 60 minutes body massage. With prices so affordable, and given it's positioning as a up-market spa, there's no reason that you should not pamper yourself the next time you are in Bangkok.

Panpuri Organic Spa
999 Ploenchit Road, Bangkok 10330
Gaysorn, Lobby Level
+ 66 (0) 2 656 1199

This was an invited media session.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hong Bao Bangkok

What are the chances you'll stumble upon a good (if not fantastic) dim sum place in the heart of Bangkok? Ask me this question a few months back and my answer to you would be "probably never". Hong Bao, a Chinese restaurant helmed by acclaimed chefs from Hong Kong, will change your mind about Chinese food in Bangkok. They currently have 4 restaurants that boast long queues during the weekends, and they get extremely packed during dinner time, even on a weekday.

For a start, we tried a few dim sum dishes. Like the usuals, the Superior Steamed Shrimp Dumplings had good bite, with semi-translucent skin wrapped around. The Steamed Rice Rolls with Cryspies Shrimp is a good rendition to the traditional rice rolls we usually get with fresh prawns or barbecued pork - the inner boasting a good crunch with shrimp, something that you can relate to a tempura. All eyes however, were on the Hong Bao Steamed Supreme Pork Dumpling with Abalone - a generously filled pork dumpling topped with a braised mini abalone. Extravagant you would think, but it comes with a reasonable price tag.

Also to try would be their Barbecued Meat which comes in three different assortments. We enjoyed the caramelised char siew with the right notes of sweetness on the outside which was tender and juicy. The roasted pork however, stole the limelight with biscuit like skin that crackles on your first bite. You should also try your luck asking for some truffle mayonnaise on the side (which actually comes with the Fried Crispy Spring Rolls), because it was simply divine when we dipped the roast pork into it.

A few other dishes we tried include the Sand Goby steamed with Soya Sauce, as well as the Stir-Fried Spicy Chilli Hong Kong Style Shrimps. The seafood for both dishes were extremely fresh, and if you can take a bit of spiciness, we suggest going for the shrimps. They also serve crab in that same style (Stir-Fried Spicy Chilli Hong Kong Style), in case you were wondering.

The prices at Hong Bao are generally very reasonable if you compare it to reputable Chinese-Cantonese restaurants in Singapore. The quality of course, is also comparable, with the dim sum dishes highly raved about by the locals there. Will we be back the next time we visit Bangkok? Most definitely!

Hong Bao
Central Embassy, 5th Floor
1031 Ploenchit Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
+662 160 5679

This was an invited media tasting.