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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In the Limelight

From humble beginnings as a small noodle joint in Kennedy Town opening in 2009, Lime Concepts has quickly expanded and has recently moved into their new digs in Soho 38, up high next to the escalators at Mosque Junction.

I’m an open-minded kind of gal, but I’m a traditionalist when it comes to details like decor and music in certain establishments, and I have to admit, my mind was as confused as the interior design and background tunes in the new Lime. The inside is a strange hotch-potch of polished white walls, mini disco balls hanging from the ceiling and swanky bar, teamed with Thai ornaments lining the sides and Thai-inspired table setting and menu. Even more perplexing was the funky disco/ Motown 70’s music that was playing. All my favourite songs were played, I LOVE boogieing to Luther Vandross, but was it appropriate dining music at 7.30pm? Probably not.  I realise that Lime portrays itself as a Thai Cocktail Lounge and Kitchen, but the music was a little distracting (I kept dancing in my seat) and not really conducive to dining conversation.Decor and ambience assimilated, the next thing that irked me was being told that hot water (boiled as specified on the menu) would set us back $5 a glass and a “dash of honey” would cost you $6! Outraged, a couple of us ordered a lemongrass tea ($38) and to our chagrin found that it was boiled hot water plus a dash of honey, with a stick of lemongrass in it. Not hopeful, my friends and I flicked through the solid menu/book which was wordy and packed with lots of dishes with unfamiliar Thai names. “Where’s the Pad Thai?!” we all whimpered. Luckily, the manager was very attentive and came to our rescue, generously taking me through the entire menu which has a mixture of traditional Thai and fusion dishes and also offers beer battered dishes for the bar.

We eventually ordered Kor Moo Yang- grilled pork neck with dipping sauce and Yum Goon Chiang- a deep fried Thai sweet sausage sour and spicy salad to start. The pork neck was well cooked but a bit on the dry side, the sauce however, was fantastic. A couple of my friends can’t take spicy, so we asked for the salad to be as mild as possible. The flavours in the dressing were powerful and punchy but unfortunately mild was still very hot, so my friends had to sit that dish out.Next up, for mains, we ordered the Geang Phed Ped Yang- a red curry with roast duck, which was again very well cooked and tender. The gravy was lovely but with only 3 pieces of meat in the dish, I would recommend that you each order your own curry otherwise you’ll be craving more!We also tried a dish unique to Lime: Laab Pla Thord- minced deep fried fish fillet mixed with lime, coriander, chilli and ground uncooked fried rice served with lettuce. This fell short of expectations, the combination of spices overwhelmed the fish and they were too heavy handed with the chilli. There was also only 1 lettuce leaf and 2 cabbage leaves to accompany the dish which was a bit odd.My favourite of the night was the Boo Nim Phad Pong Gari- stir fried soft shell crabs with yellow curry. We ordered a Pla Thord Phad Pong Gari- fried fish fillet in the same yellow curry sauce, but for me, the soft shell crab came up tops. The sauce was mild and fragrant and I drowned my pandan rice with it.We probably shouldn’t have ordered dessert but we couldn’t resist having a try of the honey glazed deep fried bananas, the mango sticky rice pudding and the 6 layered coconut jelly pudding. The desserts were nothing to write home about: the fried bananas were too sweet for me but the coconut jelly was quite a refreshing end to our meal.Our thoughts on Lime? While the service was faultless- the manager was wonderful and really helpful, we felt that it was a little pricey for the quality and the portion sizes. I’d say it’s the place to go to for a fun first date, especially with the music choice and their range of cocktails and beverages, but for a culinary experience, it is still in its infancy.

Chopstixfix rating: 3/5

Lime @ SoHo 38, Shop 1 Level 1 “SoHo 38”, 38 Shelley Street, Central. Tel: 2179 5779