Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong


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Huzzah for Chor Bazare!

Everyone loves a good curry and one gem of a find is Chor Bazare in Tai Hang, which is named after a Mumbai flea market. I would never have found it if it wasn’t for a friend organising a curry night out one day, as it is hidden in the maze of little streets in this area. Inside is teeny tiny, so teeny tiny that it takes some serious manoeuvring skills to slip oneself into the seats. The small space squeezes a maximum of fourteen people and the restaurant is decorated in a charming manner, with all matters of colourful, ethnic Indian artefacts and the wooden tables covered with embellished, gold threaded cloth.

Chor Bazare- colourful and bright

Chor Bazare- colourful and bright

Meals start with a complimentary serving of these cone-shaped poppadoms which have a fiery bite and a selection of chutneys and mint sauce. While you peruse their extensive menu, order a mango lassi which is smooth, tangy yet sweet and served in a gorgeous golden goblet.

Mango lassi

Mango lassi

Poppadoms

Poppadoms

Their samosas were sizeable and quite heavy, but have a lovely, light crust, whilst the potato stuffing had a good balance of spice to whet the appetite. Just don’t eat them too quickly at the beginning of your meal or you will be full! The onion bhajis were pleasing as well and thankfully not too greasy.

Samosas and onion bhajis

Samosas and onion bhajis

We enjoyed the Palek paneer which was rich but not too creamy and had a generous amount of paneer. Their biryani was quite authentic, having had biryani in Hyderabad, I had something to compare it too, and it hit the spot with its aromatic spices and fluffy rice. Their chicken korma may surprise those who are used to the more British style- extremely creamy and yellow or red in colouring- but Chor Bazare’s version is more faithful to the Mughal recipe using cashew nut cream paste, yoghurt and coconut, resulting in a green curry that has a mild spiciness and slightly sweeter taste with some astringency. I felt their vegetable dishes excel at Chor Bazare and their Brinjal (aubergine) curry was wonderful, with the aubergine not over-cooked and still holding their shape. Other hits were the lamb shank curry which was falling-off-the-bone tender and their naan bread- garlic, cheese, plain, they were all piping hot, (yes we ate all three types), soft, fluffy and appealingly fragrant.IMG_9178

Brinjal curry

Brinjal curry

Lamb shank curry

Lamb shank curry

With the bill coming to no more than $200-250 per head for a hearty feasting, Chor Bazare is well worth a visit. Budget-friendly, authentic Indian dishes and charming surroundings. What’s not to love at this Thieves’ Market?

Chor Bazare

Chopstixfix rating: 4/5

$$-$$$$$$$$$$

Chor Bazare, 14 Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang, tel: 3689 4400. Open: 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm


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Estates & Wines “Flavours Asia” Free iPad App and Coffee Table Book Giveaway

Since the creation of the blog, nothing has got me more excited and chuffed than to be invited to events and schmooze with fellow foodie and drink enthusiasts. A few of these events have not only made me a happy, satiated bunny, but also a more knowledgeable one. I love learning new facts and learning more about F&B is so much fun, which explains why the Travel and Living channel is constantly on at home. I am such a nerd.

Anyway, there is a point to this spiel! I was lucky to be invited by Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific to experience the new Estates & Wines iPad app at a launch event, which was a wine pairing dinner with Cantonese fare at Island Tang. Moët Hennessy Estates & Wines Collection has created a free iPad app called “Flavours Asia”, based on their coffee table book, A Heavenly Wine Match with The Flavours of Asia.I’ll be the first to admit that up till earlier this year, I knew nuts about wine. Nuts = nada, nothing. Wine generally causes me to speak gibberish and adopt the colour of a fire engine truck,  so I had taken to avoiding learning anything about wine as I couldn’t drink enough of it to appreciate it! However, after a session earlier this year with a sommelier that got me stonking sloshed as well, I’m a bit more clued up.This event was perfect to add to my growing wine knowledge base. But what does this swanky new iPad app do exactly? It helps clueless lemmings like myself, to pair different wines (from the Moët Hennessy range), with a variety of dishes from existing Asian restaurants in different countries. So, that means, if you decide to visit a particular restaurant and you’ve ordered, let’s say, a Thai red curry, you can simply navigate through the app and find the recommended wine. Wine pairing headache solved!It is notoriously difficult, so I’m told/hear/experienced myself, to pair wine successfully with Asian cuisine, simply because there are just too many different dishes and too many flavours.

This app is brilliant. It’s comprehensive, looks cool and it’s easy to navigate. On the front page, you can browse through articles on restaurants, wine trends, vineyards and there’s a spread on sommeliers. The sophisticated looking man featured on the Sommelier Spotlight, nosing a glass a wine, is none other than Arnaud Mirey, the brand ambassador, who was also at the event and excellently guided us through the wine pairings. You’ll find three categories- Pairings with Wine, Pairings with Food and Brand stories, which gives you background information on the vineyards.

The Pairings with Wine page is pretty as you get pictures of the wine bottles to click on! You can browse through them by taste, grapes, wine colour, country brand and awards. The Pairings of Food category is quite exciting. You can search via Cuisine (there are 12 countries that contribute: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines), Flavours, (sour, salty, spicy, savoury, sweet), or Ingredients, (pork, noodles, shrimp etc).Pages on individual dishes tells you how the dish is prepared and gives you the recommended wine.If you’re looking at individual wines, the page gives you ratings and reviews, tasting notes and recommended dishes.

There’s a helpful map that shows you the location of the restaurants in a particular country and also where you can buy your wine from. A few things need to be tweaked and added to the app, such as linking the dishes to the restaurants, and adding more restaurants, but that is a work in progress!

Unfortunately, yours truly doesn’t have the iPad to even use this app, but if you have one, then click here, to download it for free! It’s only available for the iPad at the moment, but here’s hoping it will launched for Android and iPhone.

If you’re like me and are iPad-less, I am doing a fabulous giveaway of the BOOK VERSION- “The Flavours of Asia”. It’s a beautiful book with oodles of information and loads more detail on wine and food pairings recommendations. Obviously, if you can’t get your mitts on the wines recommended, you will still have the general gist of what would go well, so go forth and try out other wines.Many thanks to Moët Hennessy for inviting me to the event and for generously letting me have four copies of the book to give away!

I will be giving the books to HK residents ONLY.

All you need to do is:

1) Email me at chopstixfix AT gmail.com with the heading FLAVOURS ASIA, and tell me

a) Why you need the coffee table book (be imaginative please- for my amusement 😛 )

b) Which Asian dish you would most like to pair a wine with.

2) When you’ve done that, please go to my Facebook page and “Like” if you haven’t already, and write a post on my page saying “I LOVE WINE” 🙂

The first 15 people to successfully complete the above, will be entered into a random draw, and 4 names will be drawn out of a hat (literally!). I will notify the winners by email and sort out the collection.

If you would like to buy the book from Moët Hennessy, I think it’s around $250, and you can email me and I’ll get back to you with the relevant contact.

Details from the night of the event to come soon!