Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong

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Table For Two: A Meal For A Meal #biteforchange 15/07-16/08

If you haven’t heard of Table For Two yet, then you should cruise by their website and take a look. A clever and worthy cause, TFT is an international organisation that focuses on ‘Global Food Imbalance’ by encouraging healthy dining and partnering with restaurants that have prepared nutritionally balanced TFT-branded meals. What does this do, I hear you say? TFT adds HK$2 to the price of these meals and it is this that is donated to provide school lunches for children in China and other countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Thus, you are simultaneously eating healthily yourself and giving a child somewhere in the world a nutritious meal aka Table for Two! The ‘food imbalance’ on which this whole idea is based upon, originates from the realisation that our world is currently in the midst of two extremes: starvation and malnutrition and overnutrition leading to conditions such as diabetes and obesity.tablefor2

In the last month (July 15- August 16), TFT has been working on a digital campaign called ‘A Meal For A Meal’ #biteforchange. To participate, all one needs to do is send TFT HK a photo of a healthy meal on Facebook and a nutritious meal will be donated to via TFT programs to school-children suffering from malnutrition  

Partnering with TFT meant that after I sent a picture of a healthy meal (in my case, it was a modified tuna nicoise salad with cabbage, new potatoes, olives, carrots, baby tomatoes and a balsamic vinegar dressing), I unlocked the 7th Meal For A Meal donation and I was sent a care package by the team at TFT.

My Meal For A Meal healthy dish
My Meal For A Meal healthy dish

This care package contained a lovely message from the team as well as white rice grains, a packet of pickled vegetables and chili sauce which many Chinese children survive on, on a daily basis. While these may sustain them, this sorely lacks nutritious and fresh food.

TFT Meal For A Meal care package
TFT Meal For A Meal care package

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The question posed by the team was what I would add to these ingredients to make it a healthy meal? I confess I am actually a big fan of pickled vegetables and I do cook with them from time to time, and I almost always stir-fry some minced pork (protein) and add a variety of greens such as sugar snap peas and broccoli together with sliced carrots and bamboo shoots and serve with brown rice. Or I will add glass noodles to my stir-fry instead. It is a delicious and I think, quite a nutritious meal once all the vegetables are in. Unfortunately, since I received my care package I haven’t had a chance as yet to use my pickled vegetables and rice, but once I do, I will show post a picture of my stir-fry!

In the meantime, I hope that you take a moment to think about TFT’s message and not only look after your own body but also have a think about those in need and maybe visit one of their participating restaurants in the scheme. There are a fair few to choose from including Kyoto Joe, Herbivores, Xi Yan Private Dining and Lux Bar and Tapas. There are also some food-related businesses involved including my friend’s company Health Addiction which is a vending machine operator that stocks healthy snacks and bars in offices and schools.

There are only 2 days left of the ‘Meal For A Meal’ #biteforchange campaign, so send a photo of your healthy meal and make a difference to someone’s life.


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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!


Food porn in a jar

I finally cracked. This jar of food porn has been looking at me for days and I’ve been trying to resist, trying to hold out to have a s’more party with it…but it’s too late. Sorry KM, epic fail.

I blame my friend AF. He discovered it, strangely in a health food shop (what is this health store trying to promote?!) and he very kindly/evilly bought me a jar. He taunted me, told me how he’d been eating it straight out the jar in front of the TV, relishing its gooey goodness.

Behold.. Dark chocolate peanut butter. Yes, its name is apt. Certainly dreams are made of this.I spread it on 2 slices of raisin toast..bliss. Best things is, it apparently has no trans fats or cholesterol! Hmm might have another spoonful.. Chopstixfix rating: 5/5 for pure decadence

I believe it can be found in the health food store called Nature’s Village on Lyndhurst Terrace, Central. Try not to stampede it all at once, the owner might get a shock!


Congee memories

This is my first foray as humble blogger and as it is food orientated, I suppose it is only appropriate that I write this whilst recovering from a lunch food coma and preparing myself for a dinner of epic proportions.

One of my first memories of food is of my Grandma feeding me Teochew congee with pig’s blood. As I was only 3 years old at this time, I’m guessing that she was probably extremely relieved that I ate this strange concoction with no complaints, but maybe that was because I was distracted by a double episode of He-Man and She-Ra on the TV.

After my childhood years of being slowly introduced to different cuisines, I have turned into somewhat of a food monster and this has manifested itself in me seeming like I’m constantly hungry and always thinking of food. I love food smells and one of my favourite smells of all time is fried bacon, followed closely by a freshly baked cake and I have discovered that I’m not all that repulsed by the smell of stinky tofu (or chou tofu). I am also absolutely ecstatic that I have a few friends that will eat the “hate it or love it” fruit Durian, which is amazing as I’m pretty sure only 0.5% of the world’s population like it.

After my move to Hong Kong, I was struck by the variety of food on offer, and very soon I was losing track of where I’d been and what I’d eaten. This turned into daily ramblings of “where did we eat such and such”, “have we been there before”, “maybe that’s the place…hmmm did we have French onion soup there?”.

So as I talk, sleep and breathe food 24/7, I decided that I should invest my energies productively, hence ChopstixFix is really a blog for me to pour all my musings on food and drink onto paper (figuratively speaking) and share my love of food and my photos with the world. I will also have a faithful record of my adventures!

I hope you enjoy ChopstixFix and try out some of the places I’ve been to. Look out for my entry on tonight’s dinner..I’ll be trying an Izakaya 🙂