Year: 2010

For the love of coffee

As he promised, a year-end write-up from Mr. Diplomat himself…enjoy! Before finding myself in Hong Kong, I was the desk officer for the European Union in the home office. As luck would have it, my country and the European Union were in the midst of negotiations to conclude a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. This gave me an opportunity to go to Brussels four times in the space of 6 months as part of my country’s negotiating team. Europe afforded me an opportunity to expand my horizons, especially in the culinary aspect. Mussels, foie gras, wines, entrecote and slow food all became things to look forward to. Paris and Amsterdam were only short train rides away, so I also managed to book side trips there as well. Coffee is a big part of the European lifestyle, and I will never shy away from a good cup of this magic brew. I had an inexpensive drip-style coffeemaker back home, but I noticed that the machine’s end product was lacking in taste and the kick that I have …

Michelin-starred Amber

I was geared to jump to the list of 2 Michelin stars in 2011, but Mr. Diplomat had another plan. He took the lady in me to a mid-December dinner date to another French restaurant, the swank 2-Michelin-starred Amber. Location Get to The Landmark from Central Station Exit G. Then, take the lift to the 7th floor of The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, where you will be greeted by a receptionist. Queue It is almost impossible to dine here without reservations as the restaurant will only accommodate one seating per table for dinners and hence is more often than not fully booked. We went there knowing that we were on the waiting list, no. 2 on the list to be exact. But Mr. Diplomat handed his name card, and the receptionist said somebody suddenly cancelled! And just like that, we were in ssshhh. Food We had their eight-course degustation menu, which took us three and a half hours to finish. Hokkaido sea urchin, Tasmanian salmon, Normandy diver scallop, langoustine and Kagoshima Wagyu beef were served one …

Opera di concerto

I have been swamped with holiday events and preparations. Now, I have to cram all the write-ups as I am not one to have something pending at the start of the upcoming year. Here we go… The second week of December treated me to my first concert opera, Rossini Messa di Gloria and Brahms Schicksalslied at the Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall. I have been seeing and actually enjoying plays since high school (not the High School Musical kind, no offense), but this opera in concert was a first for me. This concert of The Learners Chorus featured four soloists: Yuki Ip, soprano; Arthur Espiritu, tenor; Stephen Ng, tenor; and Edmund Kwan, bass. All four had exceptional vocal skills and received both local and international training, which allowed them to render an excellent blend with the chorus and the orchestra. I am certain though that the rest of the audience would agree with me when I say that the vocal talent of Filipino-American Arthur Espiritu reigned supreme that night. The tenor has performed in …

Food under HKD25

For backpackers bound for or already in Hong Kong for the holidays, here is a list of where you can find meals within HKD25: 1. Cafe de Coral offers a taste of Hong Kong with a branch at every corner. Do not leave Hong Kong without eating at this fast food joint. 2. Fairwood is another fast food chain spread across Hong Kong. It has a similar menu as Cafe de Coral. 3. Pret A Manger offers healthy sandwiches and wraps if you are not into food additives. Two of its branches are conveniently located at Central Station and Admiralty Station. 4. McDonald’s has Amazing Value Meals for less than HKD15. 5. Ikea Bistro at Causeway Bay offers Swedish meatballs for HKD9 and a hotdog sandwich with a refillable drink for only HKD10! Of course, there will always be 7-Eleven and Circle K for their instant meals, hotdog sandwiches, chha siu baaus, garlic noodles and cervelats. If you are travelling on a really tight budget, bring your own water as drinks usually cost HKD10 to …

Hong Kong Weather Season by Season from About

I bumped into this article as I was checking the current local weather condition for my mother-in-law, who is coming over for the holidays. Winter weather in Hong Kong (Mid-December – February) is noticeably cooler than the city’s other seasons, it is nevertheless mild. Snow is unheard of in Hong Kong and frost occurs only one once or twice a year. Crisp, clear days, with little rain, do make winter a viable time to visit Hong Kong. Seemingly, the locals don’t notice that it isn’t really winter outside, and will wrap themselves up like Polar Bears regardless…Sweaters will be needed for most days and a light jacket or coat for evenings. Despite the locals, gloves and scarves are only needed by those particularly susceptible to the cold. From gohongkong.about.com True enough, at Citygate Outlets the other day, I saw foreigners in T-shirts, shorts and slippers and, at the same time, locals in trench coats, pashminas and boots. I was wearing something in between. Live it. Love it. Hong Kong.