Trusty Congee King – Hong Kong

Trusty Congee King in Hong Kong

Trusty Congee King is a franchised congee house in Hong Kong.  It was a great quick and easy place for comfort food.  This place seems to be known for using a fish stock as the base for their congee.

While we were in Hong Kong I stayed with Fannypack at her place.  Coincidentally it was the same neighbourhood I lived in before I immigrated to Canada.  It was cool to take a walk around to see how much it’s changed in 20+ years.

Trusty Congee King in Hong Kong: Congee with pork small intestine

Anyway back to the food.  I ordered something that you can’t really get in Vancouver.  It was congee with pork small intestine.  Usually in Canada you get the large intestine.  I enjoyed this.  The texture was very different from the large intestine.  The small one is ‘crunchier’ and less fatty and it also did not have the usual aroma of the large intestine.  I was very happy with my choice as they did put in many pieces.

As for the congee itself I have no complaints.  It was velvety and not over salty.  I don’t recall being noticeably thirsty afterwards.

Trusty Congee King in Hong Kong: Congee with fish slices

Fannypack had a boring congee with fish slices.  That’s all I have to say =P

Ah Meow aka Choco Cat Cafe 啊貓地攤

Hitman and I first heard of the concept of cat cafes about a year ago.  He read about them in one of those free daily papers and became really excited, and we planned on visiting one in Asia someday.

Then we sorta forgot about it for a while.

Ah Meow Choco Cat Cafe

Then, on Fannypack’s and my last day in Seoul, which was a Saturday, we were doing one last round in Myeongdong and I saw a cat mascot.  I walked over to see what it was and it turned out to be a mascot for a cat cafe nearby.  In fact, there were about 3 of them in the vicinity.

In the end, Fannypack didn’t want to go, and we don’t leave each other alone, so that was that.

But when I got on the phone with Hitman, he strongly urged me to find one in Hong Kong, which was our next stop.  I found one, and since I was meeting up with my cousin I decided that we should go there.

Ah Meow Choco Cat Cafe

Thank god for my cousin.  I never would’ve found Ah Meow on my own.  It’s located at the centre of Causeway Bay near Times Square and so it was very busy.  Plus the cafe is up on the 3rd floor of a pretty run-down looking building with no flashy signage.  I could only confirm it by looking up and actually seeing a cat by the window.  The elevator up is equally sketchy.  The building reminds me of the ones you see in Hong Kong triad movies where you go up and find multiple brothels.  I must admit I was a bit nervous.

Ah Meow Choco Cat Cafe

However it turns out that on the same level was a classy looking Japanese-goods store and another restaurant I think.  The front door was cute so by then my nerves were calmed.

On the door it says “Members Only”, but really they just need you to fill out a small form and to get a card and that’s it.  I’m not sure they even need to see it when you visit.   This cafe’s official name, as listed in Google search, is Ah Meow.  However, it’s previously been known as Choco Cat Cafe and is also known as simply Cat Cafe, or Cat Store.  In fact, that’s the name that’s printed on their membership card.   啊貓地攤 is the only name they have in Chinese though.

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Chewy Mochi Donuts – Mister Donut, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Das Gute

My quest for Mister Donut did not start out great….first of all the location listed in our tour book was no longer around…and Googling did not help either.  So basically I had given up on the first night.

The next morning we were on our way to Insadong.  Fannypack suggested we take a walk to Chungmuro Station instead of starting out at MyeongDong Station.  We walked and walked…I wasn’t paying attention to anything really just yakking away…when suddenly Fannypack stopped and said, “Mister Donut???”

I looked at where she was pointing.  I jumped for joy.

Why do I love Mister Donut so much???  Well I’ve often noted just how much I love any chewy glutinous concoction such as rice cakes, rice balls, mochi, anything of the sort.  Mister Donut’s main event is their “Pon De” line which is a donut ring of chewy rice flour based donut balls, together as a donut ring.  I first had it in Japan and I’ve fallen in love with them since.  It’s constantly on my mind.  I’ll never forget them.

Mister Donut

Immediately I darted inside.  It was around 10am and it was surprising to see that all the patrons were adult men.

Mister Donut

There we so many to choose from.  I picked two even though I was extremely full from our breakfast of waffles and honey toast at Caffe Bene.  For my first two, I picked the Pon De Double Strawberry (1,500W) and the Pon De  Choco (1,100W).  There were lots more to choose from but I resisted.

The Pon De Double Strawberry was heavenly and probably the best I’ve ever had.  It is their signature regular Pon De donut, glazed with strawberry flavored white chocolate, topped with bits of freeze-dried strawberries.  Biting into it you’re hit with a strong authentic strawberry aroma.  The chocolate glaze is done just right, not too thick, not too thin.  I believe this is a limited edition donut.

The Pon De Choco is again the Pon De donut, glazed with milk chocolate.  This is one of their staples and is always a good choice.  I find Mister Donut’s donuts are never too sweet.  It’s so fun to bite off each little ball!!

On another note…I saw that they actually had miniature versions of their donuts in a variety pack and they were just so darling!!! But again I resisted…

And recently I found out that the Japan branch collaborated with Hello Kitty to make HK-themed donuts…I would’ve died.  Seriously.

Dunkin' Donuts

Same day, different donut shop.  When I gave up on Mister Donut earlier, my next choice was to go to the Korean franchise of Dunkin’ Donuts because they have a Asian-region only donut called the Chewisty with has the same concept, and same look too.  I got another two this time.  The flavors were the Green Tea and Cheese.  Ya I like my unusual flavors.

I will have to say that the texture is very similar, but my tastes lie with Mister Donut just because they were my first ;).  The Cheese flavored one was mildly cheesy which was more than I expected.

I must inform you that we accidentally bumped into another Mister Donut on our third day and I had another two even though I was superbly full.  I can’t waste any chance of eating them!

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Seoul Subway Eats – DeliManjoo & Manoffin

During our stay in Seoul Fannypack and I took the subway a lot.  It was the rather convenient way to travel around and it was a lot easier to understand too as they have the English names written on the maps rather than just Korean characters, which was the case with buses.

And, as with most Asian subway stations, there’s just a plethora of eateries and shops for you to browse and taste in.  In fact some of them are so vast that you could probably spend a whole day just shopping and eating in there.

DeliManjoo in the Seoul Subway

One shop we passed by on our way to Noryanjin was DeliManjoo.  The evening before at around 5pm we saw a line up, so we didn’t quite care for it.  However this morning there was no lineup at all so we decided to try it out.

As we were on our way to our big seafood luncheon, we decided to get the small bag of the cakes they serve for 3,000W.  Despite it being a small size there was actually quite a bit, and that made us ecstatic.

DeliManjoo in the Seoul Subway

The production process is quite industrialized if you ask me.  All they have to do is pour the batter onto the griddle and then it does the rest.

DeliManjoo in the Seoul Subway

What results is the cutest corncob-shaped custard cake ever.  Each is perfectly sized for 3 bites.  The cake was soft and spongy and squishy and freshly baked.  The custard tends to end up at one end of the cakes though but that’s fine with me as it gives me a chance to taste the cake part by itself.  My only gripe was that the custard part was a tad too sweet.  Also, there was no corn aroma or taste whatsoever…so I’m guessing the shape is just for esthetics.  But whatever, Fannypack and I both raved about it were really glad we tried it.

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Noryanjin / Noryangjin Fish Market – Noryangjin, Seoul Korea

So…now comes the time of the main attraction…the whole purpose of our trip to South Korea.

Prior to the trip we had researched just where would be a good place to have this sannakji: fresh raw octopus, the tentacles of which are served still squirming on the plate.  It turns out, a lot of restaurants that serve sashimi will serve it also, but you have to ask if they have the fresh kind.

Fresh huh….aside from fishing it out of the sea yourself, the freshest seafood you can get it probably if you can pick it out of a tank, then immediately serve it up…

That’s it.  We’re heading to Noryangjin Fish Market (sometimes called Noryanjin), where you pick your kill, then pick a restaurant to have them killed.

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

This massive wet market is all seafood.  It’s 24 hours and is just a 20 minute train ride from Myeongdong.  There were hawkers at each stall yelling at you to buy from them.  I think they know you’re here for live octopus, as that’s what they point you to right from the beginning.

Oh ya: most of them speak Mandarin.

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

There’s just so much to see.  Massive forearm-sized prawns, HUGE scallops on a rope, a mini shark head, pufferfish…  At a few tanks I swear I saw some fish which I’ve only known to be kept as pets in saltwater tanks.  There’s also alien looking worms that I only know to be 沙蟲 in Chinese.  I asked how they are supposed to be served…the answer was as sashimi.  We silently said no to that.

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