Tag Archives: causeway bay

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival !

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Happy Mid-Autumn Festival everyone!

Every year Victoria Park in Causeway Bay sets up a beautiful light display. This year was especially fun for me, because it had an old Hong Kong theme – including traditional HK food and restaurant references (see the “Sammy’s Kitchen” neon sign above?)

Enjoy the pics!
UntitledI know I’ve been terrible with updating the blog lately… I’m sorry! I promise to squeeze a few in before business travels at the end of October.

Bakker x
Sig bbites

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Bloggers Sneak Peek @ Jasons – Food & Living!!

After two intriguing invite packages (one here; two here!) leading up to the  Jasons – Food & Living Blogger Sneak Peek, the evening of the August 9th event has finally come and gone; Jasons – Food & Living officially opened its doors to the hungry public yesterday, August 10th.

Following my video for the event (posted yesterday – check it out, it’s fun!);

today I bring you more details and discoveries with a classic, comic-filled Bakker’s Bites post…

After learning that each blogger had a +1 for the event, I decided to invite my best fellow foodie-in-crime, Sami, to join. Apart from enjoying the event, and tasting the different foods enthusiastically, Sami also helped out filming and taking photos for certain shots with me in them 🙂 Thanks!

Upon arriving at Hysan Place, we were escorted down to Level B2, where the Jasons store is located. It definitely felt like a sneak peek, as the mall itself was undergoing final touch-ups before its grand opening.

After navigating through a series of escalators  and construction materials, we reached the fully functional and beautified Jasons – Food & Living, where I got a cool I.D. (above) for the event (including my name and the teapot image I would later use for a ‘blogger game’). 

As Sami and I started our tour, I was paying attention to the store design and aesthetic as best I could (the food samples everywhere were a bit distracting, to say the least :)).

Design elements included bright and clean spaces, punctuated by pleasant shapes (e.g. circular ceiling lamps; circular fruit and vegetable display etc.) Everywhere, food is laid out in an attractive and colourful way.

Throughout the store, quirky text designs can be found on walls and official merchandise with such slogans as,

– Feast your eyes on this
– The night is always young
– Go nuts!

and more… This gives a continuity to the store’s image and branding that is fresh, young and will make people smile.

Note: the uniforms have been designed by G.O.D. (Goods of Desire); while Jasons has its own in-house design team

Moving on to the food!

Urban: Cakes, Bread, Salad
Located in the supermarket section of Jasons – Food & Living (the other being the Food Hall), Urban gives Hong Kong shoppers a different bakery experience than any other large international supermarket (e.g. 360, Great Foods, etc…)

Occupying its own store space; and equipped with its own kitchen (preparing fresh salads and sandwiches), Urban is one of several stores-within-a-store at Jasons – Food & Living.

With a New York city loft feel to the shop, browsing the bakery and salad/sandwich bar transports you out of Jasons momentarily.

Imported Luxury Produce
One of the main draws advertised in Jasons’ promotion of the store, is the luxury ingredients and produce imported from all over the world.

At the blogger event, it was possible to try some of these. All of the above were imported from Japan and included Wagyu Beef, “Heart” Cherry Tomatos, and grapes. Delicious!

Jasons Secret Garden
Bridging the Food Hall and Supermarket sections of the store is this impressive interactive kinect wall, known at Jasons as Jasons Secret Garden. According to the on-site PR staff, the wall actually changes to reflect the current season, weather and time of day.

The purpose of the Secret Garden is not just to act as a pretty display; by standing in front of the wall at marked positions, customers can interact with the wall using their hands.

For example, by trapping the butterflies (visible above) using the kinect technology, the reward is a coupon that can be scanned with a smart phone and redeemed at the cashier. (watch the video here http://youtu.be/W12REwvr6w4 to see how the Secret Garden works)

Baikohken Ramen
On the left after entering the food hall, is famed Baikohken Ramen Shop. With their helpful and very excited Japanese staff from Hokkaido (they will leave in several weeks after launching their shop), I ate not only one Shoyu Ramen (their signature flavour), but two!! 

Why? Wonderfully fragrant and perfectly cooked noodles in a distinct, balanced and incredibly tasty broth wait to be devoured, whilst a slice of tender pork; spring onions and a mushroom punctuate the bowl of ramen with different yet complimentary flavours.

After completing both bowls manically, Serina (one of the store’s representatives from Hokkaido) offered Sami and I one pack each of their dried snack. I was unsure of how it would taste, but held on to it until I got home.

The dry snack (representing their signature Shoyu Ramen flavour) was a deep fried potato-chip base snack that was literally perfect. Sami and I couldn’t stop gushing to each other just how good it was. Once you start, you can’t stop til it’s finished!

I chose pistachio and green tea flavours while Sami tried chocolate and rum/raisin.

XTC Gelato
Also in the food hall is an ice-cream shop that many shoppers won’t be able to resist. With a myriad of flavours, cute cones and pots to eat the gelato in, XTC Gelato tastes authentic and rich. (Thanks XTC, for my complimentary first stamp on my loyalty card!)

Bloggers Game
Before wrapping up the evening, each blogger was invited to participate in a game (albeit the easiest game I’ve ever played :P) where all we had to do was simply match our I.D. image with one of the many boxes placed around the food hall.

Each box contained a letter revealing the free goodies we could collect on our way out. It’s actually a bit thrilling to get rewarded for such little effort, hooray!

Now that you’ve reached the end, I’m sure you’ll agree that this blog post speaks for itself, as far as how much I enjoyed the event 🙂 !

Living up to its promise, Jasons – Food & Living is a foodie experience that is keeping up to pace with consumers’ growing demands for quality, personalisation and technology.

How long can you wait until you go to see it, and eat it for yourself?

Bakker x

T-Minus 24 Hours: Blogger Sneak Preview @ Jasons Food & Living

Hey y’all!  So it’s 24 hours before Jasons – Food & Living’s Blogger Sneak Preview (see previous post) and I’m getting very excited.

Along with fellow Hong Kong food bloggers, I will be given an exclusive sneak preview of Jasons‘ new Food & Living megastore in Causeway Bay before the store officially opens its doors on the following day, August 10th.

After receiving cool package number 1 in the mail from the Jasons team, another sweet surprise was delivered a few days ago: the official invite.

I don’t know what the other bloggers (looking forward to meet them!) received for their invite, but mine had a very tailor-made feel. An artisan style jar filled with Japanese strawberry candies concealed the string-tied letter inside. Details included a hand-written note with a clue, as well as a real key dangling alongside.

So far, I’m impressed with the attention to detail and level of personalisation the invite packages were made with. It makes the central concept of Jasons – Food & Living visible but most importantly, enjoyable. To quote a cute word from the invite itself, I have high egg-spectations for tomorrow’s blogger event.

Stay tuned for the blog post (photos AND video) coming up this weekend!

Bakker x

A BBITE of… Jasons – Food & Living

I guess this is the part when food blogging starts to get really cool… 🙂

Today I was out and about when I got a call from a courier mail service. I was expecting to find a box of old clothes and mementos from my childhood (that I had shipped from my parent’s house to my Hong Kong flat) but, instead, there was a small brown paper bag waiting for me.

Now I remembered! It was the invite from Jasons – Food & Living  (great website design, by the way!) that a friend, now working for a PR firm, had asked for my address for. Inside the bag: a letter; a G.O.D. custom baggage tag; and a heart-shaped box of chocolates.

Long story short, Jasons is getting ready for the launch of their new Food & Living store,which will open in August at the new Hysan Place mall (that building opposite SOGO that has been under construction forever).

It would appear that I am cool enough of a blogger to get a sneak peak and enjoy these gifts while waiting for more news about the grand opening!! 😀

These Charbonnel et Walker chocolates will be a Jasons exclusive…

With the kind of human traffic Causeway Bay generates, this store will surely be choc-a-bloc since it will house:

– Ridiculous amount of imported foreign food merchandise (many of which will be exclusive to Jasons – Food & Living)

– All the fresh and imported produce you can dream of… (meat; seafood; deli; alcoholic beverages)

– A Food Hall with a the first HK branch of famed Japanese ramen shop,  Baikhohken; as well as Chinese, Western, Sushi, Starbucks and a low-fat ice-cream joint, to name a few!

BUT… what will (hopefully) make the store stand out from the other, what I like to call, “expensive supermarkets” like City Super, Great Foods and 360 is their lifestyle concept, a.k.a. the “Living” part of Jasons Food & Living.

As you can see, my new luggage tag is pretty cool! But according to the letter, G.O.D. has also designed the staff uniforms for Jasons – Food & Living. Sounds like a designer-airline collaboration to me, and I like it!

I have no clue what the massive 20,000 square foot store will look like, but I have high expectations for the interior design because of their lifestyle concept.

However, if the design should somehow fail, Jasons – Food & Living will have a Mannings Healthy & Beauty store, and Wellness Centre on top of beauty and baby products to fulfill the “Living” quota.

Stay tuned for more…

Bakker x

Sushi Faves @ Itamae

Whenever I feel like I deserve a treat I head over to Itamae Sushi in Causeway Bay.  Located opposite of World Trade Center, it’s naturally busy all the time.

On a very hectic night, the wait after getting your ticket is usually about half an hour.  But, despite this, the lure of fast, efficient service and a decent, fairly priced commercial sushi meal makes it worth the wait.

On my most recent visit, Salmon was the theme of the night.  Below are my thoughts on each dish…

Salmon Sashimi:  always delicious, but this time sliced about 1/3 too thick for my liking.  Having said that, this was the first time I found something to complain about with the salmon sashimi…

Salmon Roe + Sea Urchin:  instead of ordering salmon roe on a “warship” style sushi, I decided this time to get it on plain rice in the above cute wooden bowl. This style makes it much easier to eat, as the warship usually has me dropping half the eggs all over the place before it reaches my mouth.  Sea urchin is a hit-or-miss taste for me: it often goes terribly wrong when I try it.  This time it did and the only way I can describe the taste was this: a public toilet.  YUCK!

Deep-fried Soft Shell Crab: served with mayonnaise, this fried dish is always a pleaser.  No pieces scuttling away from my plate this time!  In a more “refined” (i.e. expensive) version, I would have expected the batter to be less thick, but considering the reasonable price, it was just right.

Next, to fulfill my dinner’s carbohydrate quota, I split udon with my companion’s green tea soba for a delightful in-between break.  Each comes with “accessories”, namely a light sauce (soba tsuyu), puréed radish, wasabi, seaweed paper and thinly sliced onion.

Before dessert, two more salmon sushis to try.  Both of these were not raw.

Smoked Salmon with Herb:  a refreshing texture in between leather and butter: a bit elastic and soft at the same time.  Topped with herbs, it had a Norwegian/dill sauce taste which made this feel a bit like Norway meets Japan.

Roasted Salmon (w/ mayonnaise): despite appearances, this is properly roasted.  It was nice to get that roasted flavour without having to eat something charred – after all, burned foods are carcinogenic so this is a healthy way to get that awesome taste.  Although I believe mayonnaise can accompany almost any food, one of its best matches is salmon, so the thin squiggle of mayo on the top was just perfect.

On the menu, Itamae’s cheesecake looks inviting in its simplicity.  There are no blueberries or other decorations to distract from the cake itself.  When it comes, you may be disappointed by its surprisingly small size – but once you try you’ll realise that any larger and it would lose its special quality.

Served in a convenient plastic cup, this cheesecake actually tastes like cheese.  In a good, sweet, and rich way.  After scooping out a teaspoonful the aerated and fluffy texture is visible to the naked eye.  It takes a while to melt on your tongue and I, who usually eats much too fast, took my time to slowly enjoy each bite of the small and sweet end to my meal.

Next time I go to Itamae I will try some of the more exotic options on offer, but this time I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of my personal favorites.

Bakker x

Get Your Grill On!

On Thursday night one of my friends took me out to dinner at Nan Tei on Sun Wui Rd in Causeway Bay.  There are many Japanese restaurants in Causeway Bay from Sushi to Teppanyaki, but Thursday night would offer something I hadn’t yet tried: a 100% grilled food experience.

After opening Nan Tei’s heavy wooden door, one gets the feeling of being transported into a cosy, dimly lit, slightly bustling and authentic Japanese eatery.  Low tables and chairs filled the space, separated by the occasional screen and the walls were decorated with frames signed by Chinese celebrities.  Indeed, one can understand why the rich and famous might choose to hide out here: good food and a sense of privacy.  The most brightly lit area of the restaurant is the open grill kitchen where chefs prepare customers’ orders.

After Nellie skillfully ordered our grilled delights, a cup of raw cut vegetables (carrots, celery and cucumber) arrived for some light nibbling during our wait.

The first skewer to arrive was the shrimp skewer wrapped in chicken skin and a perilla leaf.  An American friend recently told me that in the US there’s a dish they call “surf and turf” which consists of lobster (surf/sea…) and beef (turf/grass) on the same plate.

In some ways this beginning dish could be considered a kind of Japanese version of surf and turf.  I am quite particular about chicken skin: unless it’s very thin and crispy I can’t quite stomach it.  But in this case, grilled to perfection, one has the sneaking feeling they might have deep-fried it.  But reassurance in its grilled origins lies in the tenderness of the shrimp underneath its wrappings.  It was such a great start that I forgot to take a photo until I’d already bitten into it (several times).

Next came 3 thin slabs of ox tongue on a skewer.  Complete with a very satisfying BBQ’d flavor, it took me about 5 seconds to decide I really didn’t care that it was a bit of an… interesting body part.  After the final skewer of the night, this was my second favorite.

In order to balance out all the grilled food entering our stomachs, Nellie and I decided on a side dish of rice with soup and picked plums.  Once again too excited to take a snapshot as it arrived (a dome of rice topped with red pickled plums sitting in a slightly cloudy soup and floating seaweed), I did manage to take one as Nellie stirred it together.  I do quite like the movement that the camera captured though 🙂 .  And on a side note, the green stuff on the rim of the bowl IS wasabi – to be added according to your preference.

Arriving shortly after the rice was a classic: grilled chicken wings.  They were coated with a honey glaze and grilled to perfection.  Unfortunately the skin was a bit too fatty and thick for my liking, so I left it behind – but the meat was unbelievably tender and evenly cooked.

Finally came the “ooh, aahh” skewer of the evening.  Whoever thought of asparagus wrapped in pork is genius.  I admit I may be a biased as asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables, but this was truly divine.  The asparagus quality was very high with no stringiness and cooked to retain its watery, refreshing soft crunch (oxymorons are allowed in the food world!).

Even remembering it to write this blog post makes me want to go back and get some right now!  Wrapped around it was ultra-crispy and thin pork that didn’t dominate the vegetable but simply enhanced it.  Luckily it came on a skewer in a set of four and please note the cross-section photo that reveals the lovely green of the asparagus.

Despite my relatively small appetite that evening, as I had been a bit under-the-weather that evening, I had a fantastic meal as well as a lovely reunion with an old friend.  Next time I vow to return with the voracious appetite that this amazing place deserves.  It’s the kind of place people keep going back and back – and for that reason I recommend making a reservation as it’s unlikely for Nan Tei to have empty seats on any given night.

Bakker x