Food

New category for Food & Drink

Tim Ho Wan – Hong Kong

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Location
Tim Ho Wan has various locations in Hong Kong, Singapore and now Manilla.  The non-Hong Kong locations are franchised.  Follow the links above for a Tim Ho Wan near you.

Atmosphere & Service
You won’t walk right into to a Tim Ho Wan. You’ll wait. And wait. We were fortunate enough one afternoon, to get in in less than 10 minutes. But most of the time, you’ll wait 30 minutes. 60 minutes. Maybe more. There are no reservations. The good news is the line moves rather quickly and they don’t let people linger over their food.  On some days if you go at extremely non-peak times, you may be able to walk right in, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Service is fast. Servers bring things out as they’re ready, to keep you eating and keep you moving. Ordering is just like sushi. You fill you’re order out on a piece of paper. With the places always packed, seating can be cramped. They try to pack in as many as they can, so the atmosphere reminds you of fast food.  This is not fine dining, even though they’ve won a Michelin star.

Food
Tim Ho Wan. There’s only three other words beyond that that you need to know.. Pineapple Pork Buns.

Tim Ho Wan has 28 dim sum dishes, but what got Tim Ho Wan their Michelin star were the BBQ pork buns. Phenomenally good. Sweet and salty exterior filled with char siu pork. It’s hard to eat just one order, but that’s what you’ll be relegated to at most locations.  The BBQ pork buns are just one of the Big 4 Heavenly Kings which also includes Steamed Egg Cake, Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver and Pan Fried Carrot Cake.

Prices are moderate and you definitely get what you pay for. But those BBQ Pork Buns, they’re pretty much worth anything you want to pay.


 

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(Original Location)
G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street
Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Hong Kong

+85 2 788 1226

MTR Station: Sham Shui Po, Exit B2

Other Hong Kong Locations
Singapore Locations  

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Open Rice
Facebook

Prices: $

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Kaya Toast

If you’re a fan of coconut, then you’ll love Kaya toast.

Kaya toast is a snack found primarily in Singapore and Malaysia.  A breakfast staple, but also great as a snack anytime of day, Kaya toast is thin brown toast with a thick coconut jam (kaya, that’s made with sugar, coconut, coconut milk, eggs and pandan) and then a thick slab of butter.  You can also have it with a soft egg, but we’re purists and prefer it with out.  This stuff is so yummy and costs less than $2 USD.

If you’re in Singapore, you can find Kaya toast in many local food places.   Two local chains that are known for their Kaya toast are  Ya Kun and Killiney Kopitiam.  Ya Kun Kaya Toast has been around since 1944 and has a location in T3 at Singapore’s Changi Airport.  Killiney Kopitiam has locations in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.

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Stangeriet – Oslo

[one_half] Mathallen
Maridalsveien 17A
0178 Oslo, Norway

+47 2 138 0918

Stangeriet Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp

Prices: $-$$

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Chicken, chicken, chicken.  Unbelievable chicken!

Location
Stangeriet is located on the perimeter of the central seating area in the Mathallen, in the Grunnerloka neighborhood of Oslo.

Food
Stangeriet is chicken and chicken done right and just about any way you want it. While you can get your basic chicken parts fried or roasted, they also have a phenomenal chicken sandwhich. It’s not just a simple chicken breast, but a finely shredded chicken with special seasoning that really sets it apart. Served on a large, airy bun, with just a small dab of coleslaw, it was fantastic. These sandwhiches are definitely enough for two to share, unless you’re ravenously hungry.

Stangeriet chickens are raised on grain, without any antibiotics or hormones.  They’re also given plenty of space and allowed to grow in age far beyond the time that normal commercial chickens are grown, giving them exceptional flavor, taste and size.

The only bad thing about this place is that with large portions, you won’t have much appetite left to eat anywhere else.  But the good news is, that means you can always come back later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pearl Bakery – Portland, OR

[one_half] 102 NW 9th Ave.
Portland OR 97209

(503) 827.0910

Pearl Bakery Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Urbanspoon
Facebook

Prices: $

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Location
Pearl Bakery is located, appropriately, in the Pearl neighborhood of downtown Portland.  Just a block from the infamous Powell’s Books, you’ll find it on the corner of 9th & Couch.

Atmosphere & Service
Service here is great and it’s always well staffed.  You order at the counter and whatever is fresh out of the oven, is displayed in cases in the front.  There’s plenty of open space up front, with a tall counter along the windows for people watching and plenty of tables in the center.  It’s a lively place at most hours of the day.  If it’s raining (which it does a lot), it’s a great place to spend the afternoon taking in the delicious smells from the kitchen as you have a pastry or coffee.

Food
We’ve visited here several times and talk about awesome. If you’re into pastries, breads or baked goods it would be hard to find a better place in Portland. Pearl serves up the best of the best not only in their retail location, but also supplies most of Portland’s top restaurants with their baked goods.  In addition to baked goods, they serve a small selection of sandwiches and salads at both lunch and breakfast.  You need to get here early, because many of their popular items sell out quickly. Our favorites were the gibassier, croissants and pain auxe raisins. While the macarons weren’t as good as those you’d find in Paris, they’re definitely some of the best in the US. I don’t think you can really go wrong with anything here.

On our first visit, we were fortunate enough to tour the kitchen during a tour with Portland Walking Tours. This a place where almost everything is made by hand, using state of the art baking equipment. And you can tell.  The only disappointment here is that they don’t keep later hours. They close around 5PM each day. Since the Pearl is one of the more popular neighborhoods in Portland at all hours of the day, this place could make a killing if they were open a bit later.

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Tim Tams

If you’ve never had a Tim Tam, you don’t know what you’re missing.  We very rarely eat junk food.  But since we love trying the local cuisine when we travel, we’ll try just about anything.   On our first trip to Australia a few years ago, we ran across Tim Tam’s.  All it took was one and we were hooked.

Tim Tam’s are made by Arnott’s in Australia.  While those in the US would call them cookies, they would say they’re biscuits.  It doesn’t matter what the terminology is, they’re basically addictive as all get out.  They come in a variety of flavors. Tim Tam Original (chocolate), Tim Tam White, Tim Tam Double Chocolate Vanilla, Tim Tam Chocolate Orange, Tim Tam Turkish Delight, Tim Tam Honeycomb, Tim Tam Dark Mint and finally Tim Tam Dark Rum & Raisin.

We prefer the Tim Tam Original.  2 cookies with chocolate creme sandwiched in between all covered in chocolate.  To those in the know, a special way to enjoy Tim Tams is to bite off a very small piece on opposing diagonal ends of the cookie and use it as a straw.  It works best with cold milk, coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Tim Tam’s were hard to come by in the US, until a few years ago.  Pepperidge Farm now imports them and sells them under their label. You can find them at Cost Plus and Target.  You can also find it various places online., including Amazon.  If you’re traveling, you can also find Tim Tam’s in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and other Asian countries.  Most convenience stores will stock them.

And if you don’t believe they’re popular, here’s a statistic from the Arnott’s website:  “1 in every 2 Australian households contains a packet of Tim Tams and around 35 million packs are sold each year –  that’s nearly 400 million biscuits!”

Olympic Provisions – Portland, OR

[one_half] 107 Southeast Washington Street
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 954-3663

1701 NW Thurman St
Portland, OR
(503) 894-8275

Olympic Provisions Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Urbanspoon
Foursquare

Prices: $$-$$$

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Olympic Provisions has two locations in Portland, one in the Southeast and one in the Northwest section of town. The menu at each is slightly different, with a few similarities. We visited the SE location for lunch.

Location
Located in a former warehouse district just across the river near the Morrison bridge. Olympic Provisions sits on the corner of a non-descript warehouse that’s been converted into offices. You’ll need to look out for the small sign over the door on the corner of the building, otherwise you’ll coast right on by.  Inside, the space reminds you of an old deli/meat market. The best thing here is that most of the tables are two tops, so they can easily be arranged for just about any size party. There is a small deli case, where you can buy house made kielbasa, bacon, sausage, wieners and more.

Atmosphere & Service
Inside Olympic Provisions, the space reminds you of an old deli/meat market. The best thing here is that most of the tables are two tops, so they can easily be arranged for just about any size party. Service here was very friendly and fast. There is a small deli case, where you can buy house made kielbasa, bacon, sausage, wieners and more.  This place is on the smaller side, so you may have to wait a bit if you don’t have a reservation. This is a sought out place to eat, so don’t think it goes unnoticed just because of it’s location.

Food
Fantastic. We went for brunch and sampled both lunch and breakfast items. We tried the hash, which featured house made kielbasa. Another item we loved was the Hot Capicola sandwhich. The soup of the day was some of the best we’ve had, as were the house pickled vegetables and house made goat cheese, jam and bread.  The drinks here were also good. We had the house Bloody Mary, which if you like ’em spicy, this is the place. They have a nice, but short selection of wines and other drinks as well. Just perfect for a place this size.

We wouldn’t hesitate to come back here. It’s definitely worth the 10 minute walk/taxi ride from downtown. It’s one of the places you don’t mind lingering the afternoon away with good drinks and good food.

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Andina – Portland, OR

[one_half] 1314 NW Glisan St
Portland, OR 97209

(503) 228-9535

Andina Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Urbanspoon
Zagat

Prices: $$-$$$

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Location
Andina is located warehouse-style building in the Pearl District in downtown Portland.  Located on a corner, you can’t miss it.  Directly across the street is the Keen flagship factory store.

Atmosphere & Service
Andina is a restaurant and bar combo, with an open kitchen in the center, restaurant to the left and bar area to the right. As you walk in, between the entrance doors and the kitchen is a courtyard that opens to the lower floor. The lower courtyard has seating as well as a couple of rooms for private parties.

This place tries to pack as many tables in the limited space as they can. The restaurant area isn’t quite as bad as the bar area. We sat in the bar area and tables were so close together, they could just as well push every table together and make it communal seating. In some corners, we saw people literally moving diners at other tables out of the way, so they could get in to their table. The noise factor is high, so this isn’t a place you’ll be having any sort of comprehensible conversation when it’s busy, which is most of the time. The noise in the restaurant area wasn’t much better.

Food
 The food here was exceptional. Mostly small, sharing style plates, with a few entree sized items. We loved everything we tried.  The seafood is super fresh and being Peruvian/South American food, everything was spiced perfectly.  Not too hot, not too bland.  Plates come out as they’re ready from the kitchen, so sometimes the small tables can be packed with food if you order a lot of small plates.  This isn’t a place where they want you to hang around. It’s drink, eat, get out and move on so they can turn the table.

Overall we loved, loved, loved the food. Loved the drinks. Noise factor, however, borders on unbearable. It’s also not a place to “lounge”.  They keep things moving and expect you to do the same.

Hello Good Pie – Oslo

[one_half] Mathallen
Maridalsveien 17A
0178 Oslo, Norway

+47  21 39 70 06

Hello Good Pie Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Foursquare

Prices: $-$$

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Hello Good Pie is a great little pie shop that serves pies both savory and sweet.  Pie selection changes from time to time, but the quality is nothing but the best.

Location
Hello Good Pie is located in the Mathallen, in the Grunnerloka neighborhood of Oslo.

Atmosphere & Service
The Mathallen is such a cool place that the atmosphere is perfect.  You can be meters away and you’ll notice the phenomenal smell of fresh baked pies wafting through the building.  Pies are served just minutes out of the oven.  Service was über friendly.  The staff is very knowledgeable about the ingredients and what’s in each pie.

Food
The pies here are nothing but fantastic.  Pies are made from scratch each day and the crust is perfect.  We tried the Cheeseburger Pie which couldn’t have been any more authentic.  The fruit pies are seasonal and remind you of pies your mom used to make.  Pies are perfectly sized.  If you’re hungry you can easily devour one pie.  Pies are also easily shared.  Once you see all of these delicious options, you’ll want to take friends so you can share as many of the great varieties as you can with friends.

While there are many unique and great choices at Mathallen, you need to make sure you save room in your stomach to eat at Hello Good Pie!

 

 

Smalhans – Oslo

[one_half] Waldemar Thranes Gate 10 A
0171 Oslo, Norway

+47 22 69 60 00

Smalhans Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Michelin
Dagbladet

Prices: $$$-$$$$

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On our last night in Oslo, we were looking for an out of the way spot that served a norwegian style meal. Smallhans was recommended to us by a person at Ma Poule at the Mathallen.  If you’re looking to be a bit adventurous and want some fantastic Norwegian food Smalhans is your place. Plus, you can avoid the tourists and eat like a local.

Location
Located outside of the city center near St. Haushagen park, Smalhans is a 20-25 minute walk from Oslo Sentrum (the city center). The restaurant is small and very popular with locals, so reservations are a good idea.

Atmosphere & Service
Smalhans has a very cozy atmosphere, with large wooden tables. You sit in fairly close proximity to your neighbors, but not so close that you feel like you live together. If you aren’t seated immediately, there’s a nice bar that spans the front of the restaurant.

Service here was excellent. Our server was very friendly and offered great recommendations on both food and wine, along with how much food we should order. Food was paired and coursed very well, with just the right amount of time between dishes.

Food & Drink
Menus here are only in Norwegian, so unless you’re bringing a local companion, the server will be happy to translate. Billed as a Norwegian tapas style eatery, you can order plates individually, or in a “small set” consisting of 6 plates or a “large set” consisting of 9 plates.

Our group of 4 ordered two large sets and two small sets served family style. It may have been a bit much, but if you have a healthy appetite after running around Oslo all day, it should be just right. There are also a set of small appetizer items, such as mixed nuts, jalapenos, kimchi and others to get you started while you wait for your meal to begin.  All of the nine courses were great. We started with a spanish meat and cheese plate, chicken pate, along with green salad. From there, we moved onto mussels, whale, potato salad, norwegian beef with parsnips followed by french cheese with fruit compote and a TDF rhubarb crumble.

They have a variety of Norwegian beers on tap, as well as a good wine list. They have a house label white and red wine which were very good.  Being in Norway, expect to pay around $20 per glass for a lower end wine and about $22 per bottle of beer.  Some local beers may be a bit cheaper.

Smalhans was priced well, considering that you’re dining in one, if not the most expensive city in Europe. You can expect to pay around $75-$100 per person, without alcohol or wine. You won’t leave hungry, you’ll have great food and be well taken care of.

If you’re looking to be a bit adventurous and want some fantastic Norwegian food Smalhans is your place. Plus, you can avoid the tourists and eat like a local.

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Boschetto al Tartufo

Holy Cheesus!  Boschettto al Tartufo is one phenomenal cheese.  We love cheese, but this takes cheese to a whole new level.

This tasty cheese is produced by Il Forteto, an agricultural cooperative located just outside of Vicchio in Tuscany, which is not far from Florence, Italy.  The fresh cheese is made from pasteurized sheep and cow’s milk with shaved white truffle.  It’s absolutely awesome.  We were fortunate enough to try some during a wine tasting at “Taste of Santa Rita Hills” in Lompoc, CA.

It’s so hard to describe this cheese.  Once you have it, you won’t want anything else.  It’s a slightly sweet semi-soft cheese, with a very creamy texture.  It has just the right amount of truffles to not be overpowering .  But then again, what isn’t good with authentic white truffles.  It pairs perfectly with wine, especially Pinot Noir.

The cheese can be difficult to find in the US.  In California, some Whole Foods locations carry the cheese.  If you’re near New York City, Zabar’s, Wegman’s, and Murrays carry Il Forteto cheeses.  You can get the Boschetto al Tartufo online via iGourmet or Zabar’s.