Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong

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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 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!


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A bounty of Bulgogi

After seeing a family of Koreans cooking their own version of Bulgogi beef next door to our BBQ pit last week, I decided that a Korean BBQ was long overdue.

I’d recently read a review on Myung Ga, a Korean BBQ place in the World Trade Centre, and was told that it was one of the best in HK, so JEd lover organised a mahusive dinner for our group of carnivorous friends.

Given the size of our group, we had managed to reserve a spacious private room at the back of the restaurant with great views of Victoria Harbour. Our table had 3 hot grills but not everyone was sitting directly in front of one which caused a bit of whining (honestly people, it’s just food!) oh, hang on, I think I was the one whining..

Anyway, D the Imperial Taster and I decided that the group was far too spread out and big for all of us to order and share plates of food, so we split the group in half and we stormed ahead ordering: Bulgogi beef (marinated beef), an assortment of marinated meats including beef short ribs, Japchae (clear noodles stir fried with beef and vegetables), Kimchi soup, Pajeon (green onion pancake), kimchi pancake, Dolsot Bibimbap (mixed rice and vegetables in a sizzling stone pot) and some kind of dumplings (sorry, I wasn’t paying attention at this point to note the actual name, too busy stuffing my face!).

We also ordered a fair amount of shoju (rice whiskey) and plum wine to accompany our meal. The plum wine was delicious!

The platter of marinated meats and bulgogi beef came with a great selection of Bachan (side dishes); I especially enjoyed the glazed potatoes and the apple salad.

My friends Di and A aka “Vendino Boy” were the anointed grillers of the evening serving up scrumptious barbecued beef short ribs, pork and chicken. I was going crazy with the dipping sauce and kept grabbing more beef from Vendino Boy forgetting I already had a pile of meat on my plate! The photo of the meat on the grill doesn’t look as good as in real life…

The kimchi soup had a great kick to it and it really was quite spicy. I was a bit disappointed with the Japchae which is one of my favourite Korean dishes, as they  made the noodles a little too al dente which made the noodles chewy and sticky. That aside, the overall dish was tasty but I wish the noodles had been cooked for longer.

I liked both of the pancakes, but the better one was the Pajeon or green onion pancake. In our gluttonous frenzy, our side of the table accidentally ate AT’s vegetarian Bibimbap, whoops. But then we were given our own Dolsot Bibimbap which was equally delicious.We struggled to find some vegetarian dishes on the menu for AT which is a shame as the menu is pretty bog standard for a Korean restaurant and so should include some veggie fare.

Our Korean BBQ evening was loads of fun as there were loads of us cooking up a storm on the grills and knocking back the shoju and plum wine. Myung Ga appears to be popular with Korean families so that’s definitely a good sign.

If you want to learn more about Korean dishes, check out this blog that has the top 100 Korean dishes, read and drool:

Chopstick rating: 4/5

Myung Ga Korean Restaurant, Podium 3, World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay. Tel: 2882 5056. Opening times: Noon- 2.30pm, 6- 10.30pm