Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Merry (belated) Christmas everyone!! 

I know my blog has been extremely quiet these past couple of months. But I have good reasons! I'm still busy decorating my new home, my parents were here for the summer holiday, then I went to China (the pictures and stories are coming, after I'm done editing them :P). 

So far, it's been a mild winter and no white Christmas at all. Take a look at my Christmas pictures from last year! I can still remember how cold it was  and how the snow blanketed the whole city. But it's been raining the whole weekend instead: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and boxing day or as the German call it: the Second Christmas Day, all rainy days. If you ask me, I don't think it's necessary to have a white Christmas. I don't mind a rainy Christmas, but it would've been nice if it snowed. 

This year I prepared a very traditional Christmas dinner. It's Gansebraten mit Rotkohl und Klöße. It means baked goose with red cabbage and potato dumplings. Obviously, a whole goose is way too much for two persons, so we invited some friends over for Christmas Eve dinner (A quick thanks to Maria Angelina for the lovely traditional Venezuelan Christmas bread a.k.a Pan de Jamon). Maria told us that this bread is so Venezuelan that once she smells it she would think of home. Isn't it funny that people tend to link food and memories of childhood together?  Anyway, back to the Pan de Jamon, it was an instant hit among us. The freshly baked bread were filled with olives, raisins and ham. So it was sweet and savoury at the same time, They were so good that we gobbled up almost the whole bread amongst the five of us. Please forgive me for forgetting to take a picture of such a photogenic dish. You see, the bread are made of layered goodness, and I swear to you, it will make a great picture! If you are curios, please google it. I can guarantee that you'll find some amazing pictures. 

Back to the goose! It is the main star of the evening anyway :p Here is hubby's portion: the goose drumstick with all the side dishes. He just wanted one Kloß because we were busy stuffing ourselves with the appetizer before and by the time the main meal were ready, we were already half full. 

Roasted Goose with Klöße and red cabbage

The goose was wonderful. Its skin was crispy and its meat tender. For those who has never eaten goose before, please do try it. I was really surprised when I first had it and at how much I enjoyed it. I first thought that goose would be similar to duck. I have never preferred duck over milder poultry such as chicken and turkey because of its intense smell. But the goose, my gosh the goose is wonderful! And with the combination of the sweet and sour red cabbage, it just taste amazing. The plump and the al dente Klöße (am I even allowed to use "al dente" to describe non noodle food?) also added greatly to the meal. Anyway you got what I mean. This Christmas dinner is officially one of our favorite Christmas meal of all time. Hubby was so excited that he pre-ordered his next Christmas meal right away. 

Last but not least, since there's no snow this year, let me treat you to a picture of the Christmas decorations from Hamburg central station.

So again,
dear all,

Merry Christmas 2011

Greetings from Hamburg

Friday, September 30, 2011

Meister Lo Nudelhaus

A real Taiwanese beef noodle soup made by native Taiwanese right here in Hamburg. A dream  come true. Very friendly and chatty Taiwanese, may I add. Their presence makes the dining experience in this small unimpressive shop feels like having a dinner by a relative. The restaurant is small but cozy and clean. 

Their menu is quite simple, they have different types of noodles soup such as beef noodle soup, beef goulasch noodle soup and tan tan noodle. They also offer some rice dishes, different dumplings and some cold plate.

For appetizer they give us not only one but two FREE appetizers, okay the portion for the appetizer is small but hey it's free and they are so tasty that I can easily gobble them down in minutes. On that day we got 

Carrot salad with bean curd stripes

and cold sweet sour garlicky cukes 

Beef Noodle Soup is the national dish in Taiwan so what else should I order? Of course the Beef Noodle Soup. I must say the beef noodle soup is excellent. the soup is clear and tastes beefy broth and not crowded with various spices and soy sauce. The beef chunks are tender and meaty and a bowl cost € 6.50.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just Tea Bubble Tea Hamburg

So, I heard from my friend via Facebook that Hamburg has its own Bubble Tea!! I challenge you to imagine my reaction (I pretty much shout at her wall, begging her to share the address of the shop). 

From what I heard, this shop just opened a year ago. The shop itself is really small with only 6 stools. Actually, the main fare of the shop itself is not boba tea but an AYCE (All You Can Eat) Sushi restaurant. So in practice, you can order bubble tea while eating your sushi. Sushi and bubble tea? Personally, I think it's a weird combination. But again think of it as an interracial marriage. Why not? There are many here in Hamburg. Anyway, I went there on a Saturday noon, there was no queue but there were a lot of customers traffic, so it seemed like business is good.

My friend, Beth, and I, each ordered a glass. The left one is the original bubble tea and right one is the yam bubble tea, my all time favorite. It tasted great, exactly as how a yam milk tea should taste. They need to improve the taste of the boba though. But I'm not complaining I'll be back for sure. And even better, they didn't charge extra for the yam flavored bubble tea, unlike Boboq in Berlin. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

KimZen Korean Restaurant

I just learned that Sternschanze is the "hip" part of Hamburg. If you are young, cool, chic and probably working in the advertising or fashion industry, chance are this is your turf. Bars and Cafes  littered the roads. Small shops where owner sell hand-made and self selected products. Apple store. You got the Idea?

I passed through KimZen while walking around the area with Linda. I checked their menu and prices, and they're very reasonable, around 5 - 10 euro for a dish. Afterwards, we googled some reviews on the place, and Linda & Co. including me decided to try this place.

The waiter was Korean, but he speaks perfect German. We also saw a Korean Ahjumma cooking in the kitchen. But beware, the Ahjumma took her sweet time to cook. Nevertheless, the menu is impressive. They have Bibimbap, Kimchi Jigaee, Kimbap, Jajang Myun, you name it.  All typical Korean dishes are in the menu. The biggest beef I just have to mention though, is that they charged us for the ban chan. They cost around  1 - 3 € for a plate of Ban Chan. I'm so used to Arirang in Berlin who serve 4 Ban Chans for free. I'm appalled!

Jajangmyun cost around 6 euro. It was a very small portion and it only came with some cucumbers as topping. Not impressive, in fact, eating this only made me crave Tian Fu's Zha Jiang Mian in Berlin. 

The priciest dish of the day was Bibimbap in hot stone (8 €). Hot Stone?? More like hot ware, which is the same dish they used to serve Kimchi Jigaee. However, the pork slices were tender and flavorful. But it lacked the sunny-side-up egg, which I think is an important part of the dish.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Xiao Xiang

My first official Hamburg post. I'm so excited!! Let me start with some background info on Hamburg, it's the second largest city in Germany. And even though the distance from Hamburg to the sea is around 80 km, it's the third most important port in Europe. Here, you can see the people's love for sea food marked by the abundance of fish monger and supermarkets which offer tons of sea food - smoked eel, smoked salmon and my newly discovered favorite food, "nordseekrabben brot", which litterally means "nord sea brown shrimps on bread roll".  I ate one in our research center's cafeteria and I'm in love. I'll write about it in my next post. In the mean time let me start with this gem.

Xiao Xiang makes me feels back like I'm back in Asia and home. It's located on a quiet side road. I'm pretty sure no one even gave a second look at this unimpressive tiny restaurant. The only way you'll find this place is when you received a specific direction on how to get there, like I did (kinda reminds me of Pirates of Caribbean, a place that can only be found by those who know where it is lol). The restaurant is so simple with yellow paper napkins everywhere, hand written colorful menu pasted on walls. It only has two big tables for bigger parties and 5 smaller tables which can seat 4 people. I love that they don't have extravagant decorations, it makes the restaurant feels more homely. And with that, don't expect the service and cleanliness to be that  of a high end restaurant. Still I love this place. It felt like those restaurants in Hong Kong that forces you to share a table with strangers when they're full. Complete with oldies music from Teresa Teng blaring from the DVD Player. Yes I said DVD. Hey, if someone wants to jump in for a karaoke, they have the MV in full force.  

Anyway, we start with a pot of soup. The cook / owner came from Hong Kong where they have the custom of drinking double boiled soup. Trust me the Cantonese knows their double boiled soup. For those who are unfamiliar with this, check it in wikipedia. If you're lazy, it basically means that the soups are boiled until all the flavour and umami from the veggies are transferred to the soup. A perfectly tasty soup for a cold night out. Btw they also give the soup for free!! That's one ticket to win a place in my heart.

What is Cantonese food without tasty dim sum? Xiao Xiang's Dim Sum are probably one of the best I've had. My favorite is "har gao" with chinese chives. Look at that translucent Har Gao dough. That's exactly how a har gao should be

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Dear Laupheim,

Thank you for the short-yet-wonderful liaison that we shared. You showed me the beauty of nature, the solitude of living near a cornfield, the joy of waking up to the smell of pig's dung, the enjoyment of picking berries from the garden and the charm of being close to mother's nature. But, no matter how wonderful the time that we had was, I'm so sorry to have to hurt you and say: "so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu". It's not you, it's me. Because deep in my heart I'm a city girl through and through and even though you have your own allure, I have to answer my calling. Good bye for now.

Mel Chan

Dear Hamburg,

First of all, hello. Second, please don't disappoint me. I have such a high hope on you. I'm excited and I look forward to our nightly tours on Sternschanze, our Sunday mornings stroll at the fish market, our hunts for the best Nordseekrabbensalat and our visits to Tim Mälzer & Cornelia Polletto's restaurants. But most of all, I'm super excited to explore the various authentic Asian Restaurants you have to offer.

a new Hamburgerin

Dear faithful reader,

it's official! I'm leaving Laupheim and moving to Hamburg. I am starting a job at Beiersdorf, the company who produces Nivea, Eucerin, Hansaplast, etc. I'm excited for this new challenge, the new city and the many many good restaurants out there, waiting to be discovered. Please bear with my absence for a little bit more. I need some time to settle down for my new job and the new environment. But be sure to tune in soon, for I'll be starting to write about Hamburg's Asian Restaurants a.s.a.p.

In the mean time please enjoy this picture of Labskaus or scouse (as they call it in liverpool)

From Craving for Food in Germany

Greetings from windy Hamburg

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yoli Frozen Yogurt

Fit to this weekend summerly weather. Here is a post about something icy.

Back at home, Frozen yoghurt is such a rave, in every sour sally and red mango there are lines of customers waiting for the frozen yoghurt. As I'm an extremely food curios person, I tried frozen yoghurts from both stores. It was good but overpriced and I can't understand the rave. It just some ice cream similar texture stuff with some fresh fruits.

So the first frozen yogurt shop in Berlin opened up in Mitte, I was wondering whether it will better than the on I tried at home.

The interior of the yoli frozen yogurt, the maschine on bottom left is the tap for the frozen yoghurt.

a small frozen yoghurt with two toppings, fresh strawberries and pistachio sauce.

My verdict? The frozen yoghurt taste like a frozen yoghurt taste cold, sour & creamy, it tastes better with combination of fruity strawberries and sweet & nutty pistachio sauce. But honestly saying, frozen yoghurt never impress me much and it didn't impress me this time either.

Yoli Frozen Yogurt
Invalidenstrasse 112
Berlin Mitte

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Minh Trang Vietnamese Restaurant

A vietnamese friend of mine, To anh, who visits Berlin for work, ask me for recommendation for a good vietnamese restaurant. Because of the limited time that we have, I couldn't bring her to dong xuan center for my favourite Bun Cha. So we must find something in town but still viatnamese enough for her.

I chose Minh Trang because before Dong Xuan center hits Berlin. It was the only place for decent Pho in town. It's naturally pricier than dong xuang center, but pho for 7/8 euro I think it's still reasonable.

Pho Special, with all different cuts of beef and beef meat balls. The soup is robust and filled with beefy flavour. Look at the pinky beef! that's how I like my beef, medium.

Hubby, a man of habit, always eat bun cha, whenever he eats vietnamese. Bad news for him, there's no Bun Cha for him. But at least there's something similar, rice noodles with pork satay. Hubby said it was good, but nothing beats Bun Cha from Dong Xuan center.

Rice with grilled pork. I didn't get to try this. But it should be good.

To Anh was very pleased with Minh Trang. The pho was almost the same as the one she used to eat in vietnam. When I asked her, what is the minor difference? it was the price! Haha, I guess in vietnam pho is dirt cheap.

Minh Trang offers not only vietnamese dishes but also other stir fried chop shuey. I heard it was alright. But the real deal here is their pho, some of my friends even still prefers the pho in minh trang rather than those in dong xuan center. Their reason is because minh trang offers the pho special, which has differents cuts of beefs and meat balls. The one in dong xuan center only offer one type of beef.

Minh Trang Asiatische Küche
Kantstraße 67 10627
Berlin - 030 31801117

S-Westend ICC
Bus X34/M49

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bubble Tea Shop Jia Jia at China Kultur Haus

After the rave of BoboQ. Like mushrooms, bubble tea sprang everywhere in Berlin from the original BoboQ, the newer one in Prenzlauer Berg and this one that I'm going to blog is the one in Kantstraße.

It's a modest store and the owner is a lady from mainland China. The store was divided into two parts. On the left side is the Bubble Tea bar and on the right side is a foot massage section and a shop for small accecories and some tea services.

They have a modest mode, there are coffee, vanilla and chocolate flavour. Here is a picture of the bubble tea that we ordered in that night. Mine is the lighter coloured one, the original bubble tea without flavouring. The original bubble tea is good and the tapioca peal is soft and chewy.

They also offer some typical Chinese snacks, one of them which I tried is Zong Zi, a dumpling made of sticky rice and pork wrapped in bamboos leaves.

Unwrapped Zong Zi, I was so dissapointed to see one tiny pork belly for the filling. My aunt can make killer zong zis filled with 8 different ingredients. But the sticky rice was succulent and fragrant, at least it wasn't so bad

Bubble Tea Shop Jia Jia (China Kultur Haus)

Kantstr. 134

10625 Berlin

0 30 87331922

Sunday, February 20, 2011

China Wok China Restaurant

How low can my standard go, that I started to blog about a germanized Chinese restaurant? Well I do lower my standard after I live in Ulm. First, there's no, not even one authentic Chinese restaurant. And as a beggar can't be a chooser so I've tried some so-called Chinese Restaurants and this China Wok are decent enough, so that it moves me to blog about them.

China-Wok is a typical germanized Chinese Imbiss/Restaurant. They call themselves restaurant and of course, you are waited there. But if you ask me the menu is a typical China Imbiss type, filled with deep fried stuff and similar brown sauces, eventhough on the menu stated interesting stuff like, sze chuan sauce, sa cha sauce and even black bean sauce. But don't expect anything than some salty brown soy sauce based sauce.

But again, China-Wok is one of the more decent China Restaurant in Ulm. So here are some stuffs that we order as lunch.

Crispy duck with veggies chop suey in hoi sin sauce (7,90 euro). Hubby loves duck, escpecially deep fried so this is what he ate. It was alright, the rice was succulent and sticky as asian rice should be. The veggies are mixture of canned bamboos shoot, fresh green beans and some pepper bell. It was alright for a germanized Chinese food.

stir fried beef for 6,50 euro, a friend of ours ordered this. I didn't take a bite but he said it was good.

me, being the smarter one, avoided the boring brown sauce and ordered fried rice with shrimps. They don't have this on the menu, they only have fried rice with chicken, beef and shrimps, but they are willing to make a change and stir fried the rice with only shrimps. And surprisingly it was wonderfully good, it was fragrant, has the wok hei (the burnt smell of the wok), and generous serving of medium sized shrimps. It cost 6,20 euro.

Btw they also offer sushi, after all sushi is all the rage now in Germany. But honestly saying I was afraid of the quality of the raw fishes they offer there. I mean sushi is not only about raw slices of fish with some rice. Sounds simple, but it's about quality, if I eat sushi or sashmi I prefer to know that there's a dependable source of sea food. Otherwise I don't even want to touch it.

Do try the fried rice, it was one of the better one that I got since I've moved here to south germany.

China Wok Restaurant Ulm
Frauenstraße 20
89073 Ulm
0731 9260506

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jim Block

My favourite steak restaurant in Germany is Block House. I love their T-Bone and their self created mixture of peppers & garlic. So when a friend of mine, Linda, who lives in Hamburg told me about a subsidiary company from block house, which specialized only on hamburger. I was all hot and eager to travel to hamburg on that day. But without a sound reason, why should I travel 700 km only to eat a bun with some minced beef inbetween.

so Last month I have a sound reason to travel to Hamburg. The reason for it? Be patient and wait, if it's a good news. I'll surely announce it in my blog.

Back to Jim Block. I have a high expectation for this one. First because of the name Block at the end of the name. Second, because of all the stories that Linda told me, about how good their burgers are compared to those from McD or BK. So here are the hamburgers.

the standard hamburgers with baked potato and sour cream (6,90 euro soft drinks included). Now tell me, which other fast food restaurant serve baked potato (healthier carbs than fries) as side dishes?

Hamburger with mushrooms, notice the generous serving of the mushroom. I just love the combination of mushroom with beef. As a menu with fries and drink cost 6,60 euro

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I hereby proudly introduce to you, my dear reader, my favourite Japanese Restaurant in Berlin, Sasaya.

Let me start with this anecdote. A decade ago, before the Ishin that we all knew and love became the cheap, lower quality, franchised Japanese Deli that it is today, there was a tiny imbiss in Steglitz, Berlin also called Ishin. Everything they offered, the fresh sashimi, warm/cold dono, and my favorite grilled salmon, were prepared with love. And best of all, everything only cost 5 euro. The menu were simple, but Japanese food is about simplicity and quality. The Chef himself took his time to come out and greet his customers, asking whether the food was fine. No wonder that this tiny imbiss was always full, with a long line outside of the imbiss. After some time, this tiny Ishin announced that they were closing down. It was a great dissapoinment for everyone. Then the Ishin, that we know nowadays opened its very first store in Mitte. The concept was similar, sushi, sashimi, warm and cold Don, but the Japanese Chef was not there, and the touch of love was missing. The new Ishin was fulfilling but not satisfiying. I still miss the old Ishin that I love.

Then I heard a rumor that the Chef from the original Ishin decided to open his own restaurant called Sasaya. It is said that Sasaya is the chef's name. I don't know whether this is true. If any of you ask the Chef in Sasaya (the one behind the counter making sushi), if this is true, do tell me.

Without further delay, here are some highlight of the food in Sasaya

Salted grilled mackerel. A simple dish consist of a filet of mackerel that's grilled with some salt. Though it's simple, the flavor shine due to the freshness of the fish. It cost around 4 euro.

Tempura set: One huge shrimp, sweet potato and shitake mushroom. The shrimp was fresh and springy, the sweet potato was crisp and sweet and the fresh shitake mushroom was meaty and most importantly, the batter was light and crispy. Around 5 euro.

Stir fried takana, a Japanese version of preserved mustard green. A fresh and crunchy veggies for around 2 euro.

Here's everything I ordered, the small green stuff on the side is their complimentary pickles. They continue the custom!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Signora Maria

The idea behind Signora Maria is new and interesting. It's a combination of a delicatessen and a bistro/cafe at the same time. And since it's located right behind the ulmer Münster (Cathedral), so the location is quite central and well chosen. The store is divided into some sections; On one side, there are shelves filled with wine, balsamic acid, proscuttio and basically everything an Italian delicatessen would offer. In the middle of the store, there's a counter which sell cheese, antipasti, cold cuts and dessert. The final side offers warm dishes, such as pasta, and cold bread. And of course beside the warm dish counter, they also have a coffee bar, just like any decent Italian restaurant.

The first thing I noticed right after I entered the shop/restaurant, was that there are no picture or sign! This kinda turned me off actually. Why would they not put a sign? Did they think this shop/deli idea is so original, that they are afraid that their idea will be stolen? I have no idea. Anyway, despite that, I was still curious about this place and ordered some food. This process was also quite complicated. They don't have a clearly laid out menu, instead the menu are pastered either on the counter or over the counter. After that you need to walk to the register to place and pay your order, then with the receipt, you have to walk back to the cooking counter and gave it to the cook. It's definitely not a place for you if you want to sit leisurely and be waited on. Anyway, this is what I order :

Spaghetti with clams and mussels

It was alright, the spaghetti was a little bit undercooked, I guess they tried to make it al-dente but it's definitely undercooked. There was a lot of clams and mussels for a dish that cost around 8 euro. And just like spaghetti vongole should be, this is a very garlicky dish. And I love the cherry tomatoes which bring a little fruitiness and sweetness to the dish.

For the dessert I ordered a chocolate profiteroles:

The first impression that I got, is that they don't prepare the dessert in the store. Like I said, it's a delicatessen and they have variety of cakes which they sell in boxes. I really think that they open the packaging and then sell it as theirs. But I also saw some tiramisu and profiteroles in casserole forms. So maybe these two desserts are freshly made. The Profiteroles itself is cold and chocolaty. Good but clearly not the best.
and for the companion of the profiteroles, I ordered some Latte Machiatto

I like that cocoa heart on top of the milk foam. The coffee is thick, hearty and milky, just like a good Italian coffee should be.

It was a mission for me to get permission to get the pictures of the food I ordered. Seriously. After I ordered my food, I asked for permission to take pictures of my food, and only of the things that I ordered, not the store itself. They were not pleased, but after explaining that it's for a blog, they were willing to ask around. First they asked the supervisor, then the store owner. I was surprised when they pointed me to a middle-aged Italian man, quite heavily build, who sat on one corner, drinking coffee while writing on a notebook. He looked just like a Don from a mafia movie (I watched too much "The Godfather", I know). Anyway, after a discussion, He told the supervisor to give me his permission to take pictures, but only after I gave them my blog address.

So my final verdict is this: the store impress me a lot, they have a variety of goods; Olive oil, balsamic acid, Italian bread, pastas, antipasti, cold cuts, and frozen goods. The warm dish itself was fine but not the best Italian food I've eaten. But, I will definitely go back for their authentic Italian goods.

Signora Maria

Kramgasse 4
89073 Ulm

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Home Made Käsespätzle

My Landlady, Mrs Diebold is a true swabian lady. She cooks a typical german lunch everyday , i.e. Germans only eat one warm meal a day. It's quite a surprise for me who eat warm meal three times a day. So to introduce a real swabian Käsespätzle to me, she invited me for lunch one day. And I'm even allowed to take pictures of her Käsespätzle!

Käsespätzle is actually a German version of mac and cheese. I would even dare to say that it's more refined than your usual mac and cheese because, they used more than two types of cheese for taste and the noodle is made from scratch. Käse means cheese and Spätzle is a type of egg noodle, literally spätzle means little sparrow, I guess it's because of the irregular form of the noodles. The most important part of a Käsespätzle is the cheese, since the taste and the smell of a Käsespätzle depends solely on the cheese. So, strong smelling cheeses are recommended. For example, my landlady used a combination of three types of Cheeses : Bergkäse (a gruyere-like cheese), good quality Allgäuer Emmenthaler and old Gouda. The cheese should be grated and mixed evenly. For the Spätzle dough, it should be noted that the consistency should look like this

So let's start!

Fill a grater (Hobel) - a special gadget invented only to make spätzle - with some spätzle dough
then ... start to grate, grate and grate