Saturday, April 19, 2014

The best Xiao Long Bao in town

*drums roll* let me present the best xiao long bao in town:

Neatly packed, thin dough, soupy, umami sweet and not to greasy. Exactly how I want my xiao long bao to be. Served with ubiquitous chin kiang black vinegar and sliver of gingers. They really burst with sweetness, tang from vinegar, hint of heat from the ginger and all porky pleasure possible. I enjoyed every bite of these precious. 

This little package of treasure can be found in a shabby, dirty, old, unscheinbar restaurant in Eiffestrasse. The owner and chef is a real Shanghainese and according to the rumour he used to be a chef in the mao's palace. You know mao? The most loved dictator of China. Whether the rumour is real or not. The XLB is really good as good as the one from Din Tai Fung and surely the best one I've eaten in Hamburg, maybe even in north Germany. Do tell me if there are better XLB in town!?

I was there with a Shanghainese friend, Lei lei, who ordered 2 baskets of XLB for each of us, means 8 XLB per person. And 1 bowl of Shanghainese Won Ton again per person. Talking about pork overload here. The reason is she told me, these are the two best Shanghainese dishes. The rest are also tasty but we want to concentrate on the good stuff, so we only order a plate of green veggie to balance the meal. 

The won ton is filled with pork and chinese celery. Although the won ton is good but it's surely shadowed by the more wow XLB. 

Old Shanghai only serves Chinese Breakfast on Sundays starting from 11o'clock. Lei lei, the Shanghainese friends said, better to preorder the XLB since it's freshly made in the morning and the chef only made them in small batches. 

Shanghai Haus
Eiffestrasse 125
20537 Hamburg

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Visit Indonesia 2013 (Jakarta)

Jakarta, the very heart of Indonesia is the place where I grew up until I'm 15. Then comes boarding school and college here and there. But it's the place I called home and its food are still in my humble opinion the best. Ever heard of nostalgic eating? No? Okay you heard it from me. It basically means that the food we ate in our childhood are the best because food similar like smell are memories and childhood memories are etched deep inside our mind therefore the food will automatically be remembered as wonderful memories. Hey, you do know it. Remember the scene from Ratatouille, where Anton Egon being transferred to his childhood eating ratatouille. That's nostalgic eating. Okay enough of this nostalgic eating. Let me show you some of food in Jakarta. 

Let me start with breakfast. Nasi ulam, it's basically steamed rice with some light coconut milk and spices topped with dried spiced shredded coconut (serundeng) accompanied with shredded chicken, deep fried spicy peanut and heap of thai basil. There're also some soupy sauces made with soy sauce and chicken stock. But I prefer my nasi ulam dry. So that I can eat each component by itself. 

Another Betawinese speciality is nasi liwet. Here is my favourite nasi liwet from ikan bakar cianjur. It's steamed rice spiced with various herbs and topped with stir fried silver anchovies. The rice in the pot is steamed directly on fire and there're fragrant crust at the bottom of the pot. 

We eat this nasi liwet with gurame fish, pecel lele and karedok. All betawinese food. 

A famous Jakarta food chain restaurant is sate khas senayan. Like the name said it's famous for Satay. But they do have other stuffs on their menu such as tongseng, sup buntut and gurame pesmol. Surely there are better dishes like this out there but for a food chain in mall. Their Indonesian fare are exceptional. I was quite impressed. 

I've mentioned in previous post, that Jakarta is a melting pot of various ethnics. Here're some examples. My dad came from a small island in the northest part of the country. A lot of Chinese immigrants from the province Hokkien stayed in this region. Hence the languages stayed and the food are also heavily influenced by our forefathers. This curry rice is one of the best example. Red braised pork and red braised hard boiled egg together with roasted pork are put on top of steamed rice and drenched with pork curry. Kalipeng. That's how they called this dish, which basically means curry rice. Honestly it's an acquired taste. The curry which are thickened with corn starch can be considered slimy. But we grow up with it so we define it as smooth and spices up the whole dish. This is my family nostalgic eating. This is our comfort food and we can rave and rave about this dish on and on. 

This time I was lucky to be invited my aunt in-law to eat her hometown Singkawang noodle and snack called Choi pan. The noodle are richly topped with fish cake, meat balls, deep fried tofu and fish balls, pork and beef cuttle. On the side there're shredded "laos" in acid lake, which according to my aunt should be drizzled on top of the noodle. Different than all noodle that I know, it's an sour noodle. I must say it's an acquired taste, because it's porky greasy, sourish and has too much assorted toppings which imho rather than enhance the taste more like complicate the whole dish without giving this dish a main star. But like I said I don't grow up eating this dish whereas my cousins chow down this noodle in like seconds. Again remember my nostalgic eating. This is one good example. 

While the noodle doesn't impress me much, I love the choi pan to death. I think it's due to the similarity with a dish from my dad's hometown called cai bao. Anyway back to choi pan. It's steamed dumpling filled with stir fried jicamas or garlic chives. I'm an hard core garlic chives fan but I must say the jicamas one are the superior one. Combined with spicy, sweetish, sourish chili sauce, I can easily chow down a whole plate. Unfortunately this one is for all of us to share. 

Let's visit another ethnic group, this time it's Pontianak. It's a city in borneo island. Again the city is mostly populated by Chinese descendents. The Pontianakese are the best in making beef meat balls and Beef Kwetiau. Kwetiau is indonesian for flat rice noodles. My favourite is Kwetiau Bun Sapi, it's flat rice noodle stir fried till it got a wok hei and then drenched with eggy smooth sauce with various cuts from beef. 

Let me close this post with the best dessert ever. The king of the fruit, the famous stinky fruit durian. 

These are just a fragments of food that I ate in Jakarta. I just chose some which I think can represent what a chaos Jakarta can be. From different ethnicity to foreign influences. I haven't even started with all those mediocre Sushi, Korean wannabe, Paeudo Japanese, Singaporean Kopi Tiam or French Bakeries. I thought this time I keep it real and stay with original Indonesian food. Hope you enjoy my visit to Indonesia as much as I did back then. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Visit Indonesia 2013 (Salatiga and Central Java)

For my dearie sis wedding, we flew back home from mid November to end of December. It was a wonderful, busy and hectic holiday. First it was a visit to my in-laws small city, where we get a lot of tasty local Javanese food. Then we flew back to Jakarta, the capital, to celebrate my sis wedding, to join the wedding a wedding ceremony of a cousin and to celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday. All those party and celebrations do leave their mark on my hip. Then we flew to Sydney, Australia. No wonder Fitzie, Hubby and me were all sick at the end of holiday. 

Anyway here are some pictures. First my MIL backyard, which she filled with orchirds. Salatiga, a small city in central Java is famous for its cool and clean air. It become a favourite tourist destination for the locals. I always enjoy my visit here and love to sit on the veranda to enjoy the cool evening breeze. 

Then here are some of the local foods. An Ibu (Indonesian for Lady) selling gudeg with its friends. Gudeg is stewed young jack fruit which taste sweetish. His friend are usually braised sweetish tofu, spicy stewed beef rinds, brownish hard boiled egg and some boiled cassava leaves. 

She sold all her food on the pavement in front of a small mini market: she only caters for take away and she only has whatever she brought for that day. A friendly middle age lady, we bought a lot on that day and she pleasantly whispered that she's giving us her best marinated tofu. 

We brought the Gudeg home and here how a gudeg looks like once they are assembled. From From top, brownish sweetish Gudeg, steamed white rice, some chili, marinated tofu, spicy stewed beef rind and boiled cassava. I wasn't feeling eggy that day so I didn't took the brown marinated egg. 

Indonesian is famous for their satay. Every region has its own version of satay. Hubby loves satay and in this area he swore on beef satay Suruh. Suruh is a small village near Salatiga and the owner came from this village, hence the name 

Look at those satays, the imagination of them simply makes me drool. Grilled directly on coal makes them smoky and charred but the flesh are still so juicy. Drenched with sweetish peanut sauce they are simply perfect. 

Hubby's friend is in the gastronomy business and his speciality is grilled chicken Javanese style. The grilled chicken are sweetish and spicy. He is accompanied with some raw cabbage and basil to balance out the meal. I also ordered an extra stir fried water spinach. Simply because I love water spinach and can't have enough of it. The food are very good suited for Javanese taste. The place is called Bon Rawit and I can recommend it, if you are in the area. 

Indonesian loves deep fried food. Almost everything is deep fridd. I think it has a lot to do with the humid and warm weather. Deep fried food can be stored for longer time. Here are some examples of these kind of food. First deep fried chicken and deep fried tofu and tempe. 

And here are some deep fried snacks, the famous lumpia semarang, some deep fried tofu and bakwan sayur. 

Another delish central javanese specialties is the sate buntel. It's minced lamb stuffed into its intestine and grilled to char. The first time I tried this satay, I was hooked! It's bold and spicy daring on the same time because it's sweet. It tampers the gaminess of the lamb. Combined with chilli, raw shallots and ricr. I can easily eat up two portion. 

So That's traditional Indonesian food centered on Javanese food. Next post will be about food in Jakarta, the capital. Here the food will be more influenced by different ethnics and I will chose some which I think interesting. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Makrönchen from Jö Makrönchen

I'm entering the prime of my life aka my thirty something birthday. We don't plan any big celebrations this year. It just with our Fitzie's sickness we just don't have so much energy to do a lot. So because it should still be a special day. I ordered a pack of petit macaroon. 

Jö Makrönchen is a mail delivering macaroon patessiere. The mini macaroon are so cute and not overly sweet. All the ingredients are nature product so no artificial coloring and long list of ingredients we don't even recognize. I chose a mix box which has everything from raspberries, caramel, lemon, vanilla, chocolate and pistachio. 

I was happy to receive this and this small box of colour really does remind me that happiness doesn't mean pomp and circumstances but means cherising every little happy thing in life. 

Happy Birthday dear Me. 

Jö Makrönchen 

Saturday, March 29, 2014


At last we were discharged from the hospital. We are home since last week and we are coping with Fitzie's illness. She's such a tough girl and in a short week she's on to way of recovering. The road is still long but I believe with my persistent and her toughness, it can only be better. 

To celebrate that days in hospitals are over, I went to have a nice Japanese dinner with a dear girlfriend, Linda. She's been raving about Daruma for years. This is how she commented on Daruma: the tempura udon is a must try, the sashimi is best in town, the owner are real Japanese and they are so cute with their politeness and accent. She's right. Daruma is exactly how she described it. 

We start the long meal with yakitor. Usually I avoid Yakitori, because I know most Japanese Cheap Eateries buy frozen yakitori and they just heat it up in the oven. But here, no way it's freshly grilled on coal. See the charcoaled blister on the picture. That's what makes a yakitori worth eating. The reason why I ordered this, because on the menu they stated that we are allowed to choose between to flavour; salt or soy sauce. This statement ensures me that they make the yakitori on site. We chose soy sauce as flavoring and it tasted so good that I thought I wanna grab the other yakitori from Linda's hand. The meat are juicy and succulent, sweet and salty from the soy sauce, slightly bitterish from the charcoaled blister. A great way to start a meal.

Then we have an adegashi tofu. Adegashi tofu is always my favourite, I have a thing for deep fried food. This adegashi tofu didn't fails me too. Slightly deep fried with starch then soaked into soy sauce and topped with green onions and grated radish. It's warm and the grated radish soaked up all the greasines from the oil. I even drink up all the soy sauce simple because the combination tasted so good. 

Then we had the must order sashimi. From top; Loup de Mer, Salmon flower bud, Hamachi (Yellow fin), Tuna and marinated sardines. See those two cute dollops of wasabi. Linda and me share everything so the cook thoughtfully prepared everything for two person. The fishes were fresh and thickly sliced. I was so  happy that I kept chowing down without even really talking anymore. 

After this we had the must have tempura udon. What a wonderful udon soup. The udon is chewy and the soup is clear tasting with tasty green onion. We were served with three shrimps tempura and one chrysantemum green underneath those shrimps. This is the frist time I encounter Chrysantemum Tempura. Surpried that that it fits to the picture so well. Brightly green and very pretty with those irregular leaves in its batter. This Udon is so simple but oh so good that we drank up all the soup till the last drop.  

The tempura was so good that we decided to order an extra tempura for us to feast on the deep fried food. Three shrimps, one kobocha, on slice of lotus flower, one portobello mushroom. Crunchy but moist in the inside. I always wonder why the Japanese are so good with their deep fried food. Indonesian also deep fried A LOT. But our deep fried food always taste so thick, oily and heavy. Whereas the Japanese counterpart can be so light. Whatever the reason is, I love tempura and life is so much beautiful with perfectly deep fried tempuras. 

To end this wonderful meal we ordered green tea ice with red bean paste. Perfect Matcha Ice cream, slightly bitter ice cream but so creamy and soft perfectly combined with sweet red bean paste. I sigh at the end of the meal. Why can Japanese food can be so simple but so deeply satisfying. 

The food in Daruma worth every penny. It's not cheap but you have the quality. This is not a cheap Japanese joint where they bought everything frozen and heat it up. But everything is made to order. The restaurant must have been past his glory day (They still have oh so old fashioned but so cute machine to read the credit card) but it doesn't mean the quality of the food deteriorates. I love everything about Daruma and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it right away. 

Stadtdeich 1
20097 Hamburg 
040 326632

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hospital's food

Fitzie is sick. It started with fever, eye infection, lung infection and lastly seizures. We are already hospitalized for 3 weeks and now we are still here in hospital. Yuck! Not fun. But my new year resolution is to post more. So i thought I drop a word, say hi and post our lunch tray. 

It's fish with mashed potato and salad. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Organic veggie box from Bio Hoflieferant

My daughter, Fitzie, started her solid last summer. Since then I ordered an organic veggie box to cook her solid food. I'm very satisfied with the boxes, the veggies are fresh sometimes the carrots are delivered with some dirts too. Once I even had romaine lettuce plus a worm. Hubby told me surely sign of no pesticides and we even got some extra protein :)

Here are some of the examples of the boxes that Bio Hoflieferant sent. They are mostly regional vegetables so I got a lot of carrots, various type of cabbage. But there're some exotic stuffs that I've never seen in the supermarket too like colorful swiss chard, may turnip, purple carrots. Stuffs that you only get when you go to farmer's market. But these are delivered directly to your doorstep. One small box costs €10 and I cook Fitzie's 2 weeks food ration with it and there're always leftover for hubby and me. 

See the colorful swiss chard down there. It's surprisingly sweet and pleasant to the eye. And of course Fitzie loved it.

Here're box with some fresh fruits too.

Some extra herb for summer day too.

In case you want to order organic box and you have no idea where you can get it. I can recommend the boxes from Bio Hoflieferant. This is not a sponsored post and I'm not even paid for this. But I just want to highlight how wonderful fresh vegetables can be. And I can't stop myself taking pictures of colorful veggies.

Friday, February 7, 2014


After Fitzie was born, we rarely eat out. Bringing a baby to a restaurant is not easy. At first, because I was still breast feeding her. I was always afraid that she will wake up and want her milk and I need to do public breast feeding. Honestly in Germany, breast feeding is very normal, it's not frowned upon and no one will give a breast feeder a second glance. My friend even breast feed her baby in park during a festival and another mom looking for a spot also joined her. But me being an Asian, I'm still need my space and I prefer to do it in the comfort of my home. 

Anyway back to eating out. so after the 6 months period were over and Fitzie started her solid food. We start to eat out again. Mostly in places near our home, Barmbek. So I was excited to find out that one decent restaurant is actually very near my home and that's TRUDE. I can highly recommend their Sunday Brunch Buffet. but today's post is not about the buffet. 

Ute, a neighbor, Andy's mom and a surrogate oma for Fitzie celebrated her birthday there and these are what we ate. 

Giant Curry Wurst with two sauces; one is tomato based and the one in the right is curry based. We all prefered the tomato based ones. It was really a giant curry wurst. Hubby couldn't even finished all those french fries. 

Here is the Hamburg specialty; Matjes Filet mit Bratkartoffeln. Matjes filet is like the name already said, fileted herring which are soak in brine. Those who loves it, raves about it. Those who hates it, complained about its fishiness and its texture like an rotten fish. Btw if you are looking the fish is actually in the jar. 

Bauernfrühstuck lit. means farmer's breakfast. Roasted potatoes with bacon and egg. It was alright but not memorable

Maurienstr. 13-15
22305 Hamburg

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fitzie says her Hello

I've mentioned, my baby, Fitzie a few times already. Since this is her birthday month. I think it's appropriate for her to say Hello. She was born in January last year. Born in the year of dragon, better said, the last few weeks before the year of dragon's end; dragon's tail is how my mom described it. She's named after a famous jazz legend. Hence Fitzie is her nickname. 

She's been a good baby. Quiet and calm, a thinker who rarely smiles. But never makes a big fuss and learn her way fast. It's been a joy to watch her grow up. I never know that being a mom can be so addictive. I was always afraid of the responsibilities and lack of freedom being a mom of young children, but I must say after I have Fitzie, it's different than what I thought it would be. Of course it's tiring and we never can eat out peacefully anymore. But the joy and the pleasure of watching her is really "unbezahlbar". enough of my bla bla. Here is she. 

That's her being bullied by her uncle Andy and papa. At that time she was around three months. Blissfully unaware of stuffs around her. Look at those chubby cheeks. 

Here she is wearing her first duffle coat. The picture is blurry cause she won't stay still. But she laughs her hearts out here. So I thought hell with it and post it after all 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Breakfast at Dat Backhus

What kind breakfast do you like? sweet and light? hearty and savory? Me? I'm hearty and eggy type. Give me an English breakfast with bacon and baked beans. I'm all happy. But hubby, he's such a sweet breakfast type. His perfect breakfast consists of a toast with nutella and a black coffee. Since he's not such a breakfast eater. I tend to follow his suit and join him for his nutella toast.

But one day, while pregnant with my daughter, Fitzie, I crave for a good hearty breakfast. One local bakery, dat backhus offers breakfast till 11.00. Because I'm not in the mood to crack eggs or stand beside hot Elektro-herd while carrying my big tummy around. So off I went to got my egg.

..... and got myself not one, not two, but THREE scrambled eggs with bacon and a sun flower seeds Brötchen.

They called it scrambled but I called them omelettes. They were good, the eggs were fluffy and I love that they topped it with chives. It gave an extra ommph. Only the bacon was sad, soft and damp, overly salty and burnt on their sides. I've seen better bacons. To the rescue the Brötchen was good. Crispy exterior, soft interior and crunchy from the sun flower seeds. 

Here's another view of my meal, this time with a glass of Orange juice to wash away the greasiness.