Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin

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Recently I have this cravings for chocolate. Must be the lack of endorphins from the lack of exercise! Arghhhh! So I thought about baking something with chocolate, something quick, easy and no frills because I was super busy with some family matters.

Initially it was just chocolate chip muffins as I have an opened pack of Valrhona solid baking pearls sitting in the fridge. Then I saw a bunch of over-ripened bananas staring at me from the kitchen counter. Oops, I bought this huge bunch of bananas (small finger variety type) from Malaysia and managed to eat only a few.

So Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins it is! Referred to a few recipes online and found one hosted on Martha Stewart's website to my liking as I have all the ingredients on hand.



Muffins are easy to make, in the sense that it's usually a bunch of dry ingredients, a bunch of wet ingredients, then mix both together. The only tricky bit is not to over-mix the batter, which results in a tough and dry muffin texture.

I think some commercial bakeries add chemicals/cake emulsifiers like Ovalette or Emulco to make muffins/cakes softer and smoother, but this is certainly a no-no for me. Hence the folding technique is important; use a spatula, bring to bottom of mixing bowl, scoop the ingredients and fold gently. Repeat a few times till ingredients are just mixed. It's okay to have specks of flour mixture remaining.


I love how the muffins turned out. It's wholesome comfort food, moist and tender, with intense flavour of dark chocolate and lovely notes of banana. I love baking using Valrhona solid baking pearls because the spherical shapes are mostly retained :) Used to buy them from Shermay's Cooking School, unfortunately it's closed down already. If anyone knows where to get it, please let me know!


Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
(makes 15 muffins)

Ingredients
  • 125g all purpose flour
  • 125g wholemeal flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 260g over-ripen bananas (small variety, 11 pcs)
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 115g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 65g fresh milk
  • 156g chocolate chips (I use Valrhona solid baking pearls)

Steps
  1. Preheat oven to 175C on fan mode. Prepare 15 silicone cupcake cases, or sturdy paper baking cases or well-greased/lined muffin pans.
  2. Sift AP flour, wholemeal flour, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mashed the bananas in another large mixing bowl, add light brown sugar, melted butter, egg and fresh milk. Stir till well-blended.
  4. Add the wet ingredients (3) into dry ingredients (2), FOLD gently till half incorporated. It's ok to see some flour mixture remaining.
  5. Add chocolate baking pearls into batter, FOLD gently till just incorporated. It's ok to see specks flour mixture remaining.
  6. Using an ice-cream scoop or spoon, fill batter into prepared cases, about 3/4 full.
  7. Bake at 175C on fan mode for 20 mins.
  8. Remove from oven and cool the muffins on cooling rack. Best eaten warm.
  9. The muffins can be kept in ziplock bags and store in freezer for up to 1 month. To serve, thaw at room temperature for 10-15 mins, then heat in air-fryer or oven at 120C for 5-8 mins.


While I liked the muffins, the kiddo detected the ground cinnamon added and didn't want more after eating only one piece. He hates cinnamon! Personally I enjoy the tinge of cinnamon, I thought it goes really well with bananas and chocolate. Oh well. I guess next time to omit the cinnamon. So I ate some and froze the remaining. Whenever I have cravings, I can have one or two without the hassle of baking from scratch (that is until my supply runs out!).

Ham, Mushroom, Corn & Edamame Muffin

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When I saw Peng's Kitchen as well as Domestic Goddess Wannabe series of postings on Impossibly Easy Savoury Mini-Pies, I knew immediately that I wanted to try baking too!

They require very little effort to put together and yet so versatile; many ingredients could be mix-and-match, and they could serve as breakfast, snack or even a quick lunch. I'm already thinking of making these savoury muffins for the little rascal's recess bento box (when he goes to Primary School next year) from time to time.



I call them muffins, rather than mini-pies because I'm more used to the notion that pies are those made using sweet tart pastry or puff pastry. Anyways, it doesn't matter, so long as they are nice to look at, good to eat :)


Instead of making Bisquick mix from scratch (Domestic Goddess Diana Gale shared recipe in the posts as well, which is actually very easy), the lazy mama in me decided to buy ready-mix, the most common brand being Betty Crocker.


As for ingredients, I was doing my monthly fridge-clearance, so just used whatever ingredients that needed to be cleared, and topped up the rest. Which is why the amount used in the ingredients seemed odd.


Ham, Mushroom, Corn and Edamame Muffin
(makes 18 muffins)

Ingredients
  • 1/2 pc white onion, finely chopped
  • 90g assorted mushroom (white, swiss brown, portobello), diced
  • 115g chicken ham cubes
  • 100g sweet corn
  • 45g edamame
  • 1 cup Bisquick (I use Betty Crockers)
  • 1 cup fresh milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g shredded cheddar cheese (1 packet)
  • Dried parsley, fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)
Steps
  1. Preheat oven to 180C, fan mode.
  2. Prepare 18 pieces of silicone muffin/cupcake casing (or well-greased muffin/cupcake baking pans). Set aside.
  3. In a frying pan, heat about 1 tbsp of cooking oil, add finely chopped onion and saute till translucent.
  4. Next, add diced mushroom and saute till soft, follow by chicken ham cubes, sweet corn and edamame. Add some sea salt and pepper to taste (I didn't add since chicken ham and cheese to be added later are both salty already). Saute for 3-4 mins, transfer to bowl and set aside.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk Bisquick with milk and eggs till well-blended.
  6. Add 1 tbsp of Bisquick mixture into each casing, follow by 1-2 tsp of sauteed ingredients. Next add 1-2 tbsp of shredded cheddar cheese and finally add 1-2 tbsp of Bisquick mixture (till almost to brim of the casings). Sprinkle some dried parsley or herbs if desired.
  7. Bake the muffins at 180C, fan mode for about 20-25 mins, until the top of muffins are golden brown and toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Best served warm.
  9. The muffins can be stored in airtight box or ziplock freezer bags and store in freezer. To re-heat, thaw the frozen muffins at room temperature for 15 mins, then heat in air-fryer or oven at 120C for about 10-12 mins.

I love how the muffins turned out, so yummy, satisfying and wholesome! The crust was crispy, while the filling was so full of flavour from the different ingredients used, especially cheese! What's not to like when cheese is added right?


And it so happened, the ingredients I used were a myriad of colours, making them look more appetising :D

I chomped two immediately, saved two for the hubby and rascal to try and freeze the rest. They love it too!

During those days when I'm lazy/tired and don't feel like cooking lunch, or just wanted a light and quick bite, I simply pop a couple into the air-fryer, heat up and viola. To make it even more flavourful, some mayonnaise or cheesy sauce could be added to the top of the muffin.

This recipe is certainly a keeper and next time I will explore more flavours and different ingredients.

Hokkaido Bake Cheese Tart II

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The hottest news over the long Labour Day weekend seemed to be the opening of the famous Hokkaido Bake Cheese Tart at Ion Orchard! The fuss and buzz over these popular cheese custard tarts filled the social media and news, with people reportedly queuing 2-3hrs to buy some!

I'm certainly a big fan of the Bake Cheese Tart, having tried it in Tokyo last September (queued 30mins for it). It was so good, with crunchy tart pastry and creamy gooey cheese custard filling. Missed it very much and after coming back, had experimented and successfully baked the tarts which I say probably about 60-70% close to original.

My first post on the cheese tart is apparently quite popular and I realised it comes out top 5 in search engines when I search for "bake cheese tart recipe". Woohoo!

And even better news, the editor of the newly launched Michelin Guide Singapore website (guide.michelin.sg) actually emailed me asking if I'm keen to share my recipe on the website! Wow! Well, since I'm already sharing the recipe on the internet, I thought, why not :) And yep, my recipe is currently hosted at this link: https://guide.michelin.sg/baked-cheese-tarts


I digress.


Now, over the weekend, all the buzz made me crave for some tarts but I certainly ain't going to queue for them at this point (no time!), so decided to make another batch on Sunday. Will wait till the craze period is over, then go buy some (must support Japan, my favourite country).

And today, decided to make another batch because I gifted most of them on Sunday :)

So, gonna share two more recipes in this blog post; they are variations from the first. No detail step-by-step photos, just a few WIP photos. Please refer to my first post for details.


Bake Cheese Tart (Variation 1)

Using the same recipe as base, I made some minor adjustments to the tart pastry and cheese custard filling. Because previous recipe, the tart pastry quantity wasn't enough for all the cheese custard filling, and also this time I ran out of certain ingredients.

Tart Pastry
- Increase ingredients by 20% (actually still not enough, left enough filling for another tart case)

Cheese Custard Filling
- Ran out of icing sugar, so replace with caster sugar.
- Not enough parmesan cheese powder, top up with more mascarpone cheese and butter.


Instead of baking all of them in uniform size, made a few of them petite size. Super love the petite ones as I can eat them in one or two bites, or simply pop the whole tart in the mouth and get high on creamy gooey cheese custard!

3 sizes here. Using 7cm fluted cutter/4cm base tart case, 6cm fluted cutter/3.5cm base tart case, 5cm round cutter/2cm base tart case.


The cheese custard should be of "pipe-able" consistency (was just a tad over-cooked this time, should be slightly more flowy).

And didn't watch the tarts in oven closely last 2 mins, some tops were slightly burnt.

Bake Cheese Tart (Variation 1)
* makes 14 tarts, using 7cm fluted cutter/4cm base tart case, 6cm fluted cutter/3.5cm base tart case, 5cm round cutter/2cm base tart case
Ingredients

(A) Tart pastry
  • 120g cake flour
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 60g salted butter, cut into cubes, cold
  • 1 XL egg yolk (about 28-30g yolk)
  • 3/4 tsp fresh milk
(B) Cheese custard
  • 150g cream cheese
  • 60g mascarpone cheese
  • 40g salted butter
  • 100g fresh milk
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 12g corn starch, depending on consistency desired
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • up to 1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk + milk mixture for brushing on top of custard
Steps
  1. Start with tart pastry. Sift cake flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add cold salted butter cubes.
  2. Using finger tips, break the butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add egg yolk to the mixture, use a scrapper to mix the egg yolk into flour mixture.
  4. The mixture will come together and thereafter, use hands to form the mixture into a dough.
  5. Add fresh milk, the dough will become very soft and pliable.
  6. Knead the dough gently into a ball. Place on a piece of clingwrap.
  7. Wrap the dough and place in fridge to rest for about 1 hour.
  8. While waiting, prepare the cheese custard. Add cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, fresh milk, caster sugar and salted butter into a small pot. Place the pot into a large, shallow pan/pot with barely simmering water. This is the bain marie method, to create a gentle and uniform heat for cooking custard. Keep stirring the mixture till everything is melted.
  9. Once the mixture has melted, add sifted corn starch. Mix till well-blended, the mixture will thicken slowly.
  10. Add full egg, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Mix till well-blended, the mixture will further thicken into custard. Taste the custard and if desired, add some sea salt to increase intensity of cheese taste.
  11. There may be some fine lumps and grainy bits in the custard, sifting will yield a more velvety smooth custard. This is optional. Let the custard cool down completely.
  12. Back to the tart pastry. Remove the dough from fridge. Dust a baking mat (and rolling pin) with flour, roll the dough thinly, about 3-4 mm thickness. Use the various size cutters to stamp the dough.
  13. Use a metal scrapper (dust with flour) to lift up the cut dough.
  14. Place the cut dough over the various size tart case and gently press it downwards.
  15. Using finger tips, gently press and mold the dough into the tart tin. Use a fork to poke holes at the base of the tart cases.
  16. Bake the tarts at 180C, fan mode for 10mins. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. After the tart cases are cooled slightly, remove them from the tins and let cool completely before use.
  17. Preheat oven to 230C fan mode.
  18. Fill the cheese custard into a piping bag. Pipe the custard into the tart cases, shape slightly domed. Brush custard evenly with egg yolk.
  19. Bake the tarts at 230C fan mode, for 6-7 mins.
  20. Once baked, remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Best eaten warm, freshly baked.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Bake Cheese Tart (Variation 2)

The tart pastry that I used seems to be on the softer side, more delicate texture. While it's crispy fresh from the oven, it turned soft after half a day (pop into oven for a few mins and it'll turn slightly crispy again). The real Hokkaido Bake Cheese Tart actually yields a slightly more crunchy tart pastry, so this time I decided to change to another recipe, a Sweet Tart Pastry which I used for my Yuzu Curd Tart.

Tart Pastry
- Change to Sweet Tart Pastry

Cheese Custard Filling
- Use an assortment of cheeses, 2 types of cream cheese, cheddar slice, parmesan slice.

Baking of cheese tart
- Instead of fan mode, bake the cheese tart using top and bottom heat, and for longer time.


Love how this batch of Bake Cheese Tart turns out! The tart pastry is certainly more crunchy, and the cheese combination is more full-bodied, tasted great!! The custard is still slightly overcooked; although custard is creamy and gooey, prefer it to be a tad more flowy. Oh well, it's really trial and error.


All the dairy products I used for this batch, Hokkaido fresh milk, Philadelphia cream cheese, kiri cream cheese, Hokkaido cheddar slice and parmesan slice (bought them from Taiwan last Dec and totally forgot about them, about to expire!!) and President salted butter.


I must share about this Sweet Tart Pastry! It is a nightmare to work with because of higher butter and icing sugar content. The only way I could do, was to work fast and dust constantly, in fact, every roll I dust, flip over also dust. Just keep dusting otherwise it's so sticky and soft that it's impossible to stamp and mold.

Also, the pastry will expand a little when baking, I forgot to put baking weights for the first 5 tarts :( And because the dough was so difficult to manage, I had a hard time shaping and also didn't place the pie weights more carefully, the tarts turned out a bit ugly, more rustic-looking.

I do like this tart pastry as it's more crunchy. Will search for a more manageable pastry, or handle the dough more carefully next time.


To test the difference in oven modes, baked the cheese tart at 230C using top/bottom heat (instead of fan mode) for 10-12 mins (instead of 6-7 mins). The tarts looked perfect at the 11th min, but I delayed till 12 mins (don't ask, was distracted by something), and some parts got too browned -_- So once again it's a must to watch the tarts closely towards last few mins!!

Bake Cheese Tart (Variation 2)
* makes 12 tarts, using7cm fluted cutter/4cm base tart case (there's a bit of extra dough which I made a petite tart)
Ingredients

(A) Tart pastry
  • 125g cake flour
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 90g salted butter, cut into cubes, cold
  • 26g whole egg
(B) Cheese custard

  • 95g cream cheese (Philadelphia brand)
  • 35g cream cheese (kiri brand, 2 pieces)
  • 20g cheddar slice (Jap brand, 1 slice)
  • 20g parmesan slice (Jap brand, 1 slice)
  • 50g mascarpone cheese
  • 30g salted butter
  • 100g fresh milk (Hokkaido fresh milk)
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 12g corn starch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk + milk mixture for brushing on top of custard

Steps
  1. Start with tart pastry. Sift cake flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add cold salted butter cubes.
  2. Using finger tips, break the butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add egg to the mixture, use a scrapper to mix the egg into flour mixture, until a wet dough is formed.
  4. The dough is super soft and sticky. Use a scrapper to scrap the dough on a piece of clingwrap.
  5. Wrap the dough and place in fridge to rest for about 1 hour.
  6. While waiting, prepare the cheese custard. Add all the cheeses, fresh milk and salted butter into a small pot. Place the pot into a large, shallow pan/pot with barely simmering water. This is the bain marie method, to create a gentle and uniform heat for cooking custard. Keep stirring the mixture till everything is melted.
  7. Once the mixture has melted, add sifted corn starch and icing sugar. Mix till well-blended, the mixture will thicken slowly.
  8. Add full egg, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Mix till well-blended, the mixture will further thicken into custard. Taste the custard and if desired, add some sea salt to increase intensity of cheese taste (I didn't add this time).
  9. There may be some fine lumps and grainy bits in the custard, sifting will yield a more velvety smooth custard. This is optional. Let the custard cool down completely.
  10. Back to the tart pastry. Remove the dough from fridge. Dust a baking mat (and rolling pin) with flour, roll the dough thinly, about 3-4 mm thickness. Use 7cm fluted cutter to stamp the dough.
  11. Use a metal scrapper (dust with flour) to lift up the cut dough.
  12. Place the cut dough over a 4cm base tart case and gently press it downwards.
  13. Using finger tips, gently press and mold the dough into the tart tin. Use a fork to poke holes at the base of the tart cases. Place a piece of baking paper over the dough and place pie weights into the dough/tart case.
  14. Bake the tarts at 180C, fan mode for 10mins. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. After the tart cases are cooled slightly, remove them from the tins and let cool completely before use.
  15. Preheat oven to 230C top/bottom heating mode.
  16. Fill the cheese custard into a piping bag. Pipe the custard into the tart cases, shape slightly domed. Brush custard evenly with egg yolk & fresh milk mixture.
  17. Bake the tarts at 230C top/bottom mode, for 10-12 mins. Watch the tarts carefully towards last 2 mins.
  18. Once baked, remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Best eaten warm, freshly baked.



Sorry for the super long-winded post, hope my sharing on the recipes and variations is useful. Personally I prefer this last recipe (variation 2) due to the crunchy tart pastry and full-bodied taste cheese custard filling. It's really up to individual, so free feel to explore with your own tart pastry and types of cheeses to suit your taste :)

Happy Tart Making!!

Hong Kong Mar 2016 - Kitchen/Bakeware/Zakka

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Continued from
Hong Kong March 2016 Introduction
Hong Kong March 2016 - Food Trail I Cha Chaan Teng
Hong Kong March 2016 - Food Trail II Roasted Goose, Noodles, Congee, Dim Sum
Hong Kong March 2016 - Day trip to Sai Kung
Hong Kong March 2016 - Food Trail III Dining at Sai Kung 
Hong Kong March 2016 - PMQ
Hong Kong March 2016 - Food Trail IV Teakha Tea Cafe
Hong Kong March 2016 - Streets and Sights


 Finally the last post of my Hong Kong trip! And this post is all about my favourite kitchen/bakeware and zakka shopping =D

Discovered this zakka shop called Lost & Found, a lifestyle concept shop selling all sorts of zakka merchandise, from small furniture to accessories to ornaments, stationery and of course kitchenware. I visited this branch at Olympian City 2 and another branch at The One, Kowloon.

Lost & Found Hong Kong
http://www.lostnfound.hk/


I believe every baking/cooking enthusiast would know about the famous Shanghai Street which housed a number of kitchenware/bakeware shops.

Shanghai Street is one long stretch of road, but most of the kitchen/bakeware shops are concentrated around two blocks. What I did was take the MTR to Yau Ma Tei Station, exit C, head west along Man Ling Lane. Once I hit the main road, it is Shanghai Street already. The two blocks between Man Ling Lane (along Shanghai Street and across the street) are the main shops to look for.

 

Chan Chi Kee Cutlery 陳枝記 (block to the left of Man Ling Lane) is a very big shop selling all sorts of kitchenware, bakeware, equipment etc, something like Sia Huat in SG but many more stuff cluttered around in the shop. Prices are very friendly and I found some of the bakeware/kitchenware I bought here were the lowest price among the few shops.

Chan Chi Kee Cutlery 陳枝記
http://www.chanchikee.com/

G/F 316-318 Shanghai Street, Kowloon

 

Kwong Wing Food Industry 光榮飲食 (next door to Chan Chi Kee) is another kitchenware shop which carries kitchenware, bakeware, equipment, machinery and electronic appliances. I found the prices of bakeware here higher than the other shops, and not as much selection as well, probably because it specialises more in equipment. Can actually skip this shop if no time.

Kwong Wing Food Industry 光榮飲食
http://www.kwongwing.com.hk
G/F 312-314 Shanghai Street, Kowloon


Man Kee Chopping Board 萬記砧板 (block to the right of Man Ling Lane) is an even larger scale shop than Chan Chi Kee, with a huge selection of kitchenware, bakeware, crockery, cutlery etc (not so much of equipment or machinery). They carry a good selection of moulds for traditional pastry making like mooncake as well. Prices here quite friendly too, comparable to that of Chan Chi Kee.

Man Kee Chopping Board 萬記砧板
http://www.mankee.hk
G/F 340-342 Shanghai Street, Kowloon


I Love Cake (one shop away from Man Kee) is more of a western bakeware shop, selling bakeware, accessories, packaging materials and ingredients. The shop is small, but well-stock with all the necessary things needed for baking. I love to pop in to check out any latest baking ingredient or cutesy bakeware that they sell. A bit like Phoon Huat but much smaller scale (but still very well-stocked).

I Love Cake
http://www.ilovecake.hk/
G/F 338 Shanghai Street, Kowloon


The shops opposite to Man Kee are worth a visit too. One of the shop specialises in wood products like wooden trays and serve which I was so tempted to buy. A few shops specialises in packaging items.

Walking further up north towards Mong Kok for about 3 mins, is another building which houses two bakeware shops. On Yip Building is located on the left side of Shanghai Street (in the direction of Mong Kok).


On Level 18 is Sweet Decorations, selling mainly cake decorating and baking supplies, a bit like Phoon Huat of Singapore. Although smaller scale, but very well-stocked.

Sweet Decorations
http://www.sweetdeco.hk/
18/F On Yip Commercial Building, 395 - 397 Shanghai Street


Twinsco 二德惠 is another baking supplies shop on level 1 of On Yip Building. They also have a cooking workshop on level 10. Also like Phoon Huat but more well-stocked.

Twinsco 二德惠
http://www.twinsco.com/
1/F On Yip Commercial Building, 395 - 397 Shanghai Street
 

Chanced upon this shop Noble Living at Sai Kung, selling kitchenware and serveware at very attractive prices. Pretty amazed to find a hidden gem in Sai Kung.

In fact, there's another local household-ware shop that I found lots of treasure as well (forgot to take photo of the shop).


Pantry Magic at Central Hong Kong. There used to be a branch in Singapore a few years back but it has since closed down. It's located near to Tai Ping Shan Street area, and since I was on my way to teakha I, decided to pop by to take a look. Definitely on the pricey side since the merchandise sold are of higher quality and imported from the US and Europe.

Pantry Magic
http://www.pantry-magic.com/hongkong/
G/F, 25 Lok Ku Rd, Central, Hong Kong

Here's sharing the loot I got this time!

Bought these from Chan Chi Kee at Shanghai Street. Two moulds for frying eggs and a broad-based spatula which I find super useful.


Assorted bakeware bought from Man Kee, Chan Chi Kee, Noble Living, Twinsco and Pantry Magic.
I'm totally into tarts these days and very pleased to find tart cases of different shapes and sizes, especially the petite ones. And I also found a tiny (ice-cream) 2.5cm scoop which is ideal for making tiny chocolate cookies (Yes I need my cookies to be in uniform size, previously I've been using a 3cm ice-cream scoop).


Assorted serveware bought from FrancFranc, Muji, Man Kee and a local household-ware shop in Sai Kung. Fell in love with the crockery and utensils used at the cafes/Cha Chaan Teng and decided to get a few :p

A special mention about FrancFranc. It's one of my favourite lifestyle concept shop from Japan. There used to be two branches in SG but they closed down few years ago :( Glad to see the shop at iSquare, Tsim Sha Tsui this time!


Random glassware from FrancFranc and Lost & Found. The plant in the glass jar is actually fake! LOL! Suitable for a plant-killer like me :p

Aren't the two glass containers cute? I'm good at this, buying stuff just because they look cute :p

Overall, I really enjoyed my zakka shopping in Hong Kong. Found the selection, variety and prices generally more attractive than that of SG (although still not as wide selection as compared to Japan). (really wish to complain about variety of kitchen/bakeware and baking supplies in SG, it sucks!).

And here, I conclude my 9-part posting on Hong Kong, just a little sharing on my personal experience, hope it's an enjoyable read :)

Hong Kong March 2016 - Streets and Sights

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Continued from
Hong Kong March 2016 Introduction
Hong Kong March 2016 - Food Trail I Cha Chaan Teng
Hong Kong March 2016 - Food Trail II Roasted Goose, Noodles, Congee, Dim Sum
Hong Kong March 2016 - Day trip to Sai Kung
Hong Kong March 2016 - Food Trail III Dining at Sai Kung 
Hong Kong March 2016 - PMQ
Hong Kong March 2016 - Food Trail IV Teakha Tea Cafe




Prior to this trip, I never had the chance to stroll along the quieter neighbourhoods or notice anything interesting sights around the streets. Was always rushing around, eating and shopping.

Indeed it became an eye-opener for me, to finally notice a different side of Hong Kong, a more charming and charismatic one amidst the commercialisation of it all.

Was strolling along a random street (I think somewhere near Shanghai Street?) when I noticed this lovely flight of stairs with flora painting. A cheery sight indeed.

I think these flight of stairs lead to the Kowloon Park? A pity I didn't have time to visit the park which I heard is an oasis of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of Kowloon.



Couldn't believe this was my first time commuting via the famous mid-levels escalator of Central Hong Kong. It's definitely more convenient and easy than walking uphill in the Central/Soho area, but the downside is, you'll missed the streets and sights of Soho area. I guess convenience is more important to the locals.

Got off the escalators at some point and explored the streets of Soho area. Many swanky boutique and concept shops around the area.

Artsy wall mural which attracted many avid photographers/tourists. Instead of waiting for the place to be cleared, I simply "stole" a shot from this couple who was taking a long time posing and taking photos :p


Bold murals created a different vibe to this area.


In contrast, old-school poster like this brought back a sense of nostalgia.

One of my favourite streets in Hong Kong, Des Voeux Road West, or known to the locals as Dried Seafood Street (海产街). Besides topping up on dried seafood and herbal products here, I also love watching the trams that ply along this street.

Buying dried seafood and herbal products here is quite intimating to me though, partly because the staff were mostly aggressive, and because of my poor Cantonese which posed a problem when I tried to ask questions or prices. I guess just have to be thick-skin.

Was walking along Queen's Road West when I came across this large tree that's inclined at 45 degree angle. In fact, inclining trees are a common sight in Hong Kong island due to the hilly terrain. Just found it amazing.


Charming restaurant/cafe along Tung Street, which is near Tai Ping Shan Street. I was on my way to teakha I and chanced upon it. Took a peek at the interiors and I love the vintage furnishings and ambience! Alas I was too full so didn't have chance to go in for a meal. Next trip!


School near Tai Ping Shan Street. Lovely colours and murals.

Charming florist at Tai Ping Shan Street.

Later on when I read more about Tai Ping Shan Street, realised this area is fast becoming another trendy and hip place with many cafes and concept shops popping up. Next time I must visit again and take my time to stroll around the area.


The famous Ladder Street of Sheung Wan. I heard that before the mid-levels escalators were constructed, locals used to access the mid-levels district/Tai Ping Shan through this Ladder Street. Not sure how many flights of stairs there are (a few hundred?). Luckily I was at the top of the stairs and walking down, instead of up!


Shot taken en route to Olympian City, West Kowloon. Blocks of housing like this is a common sight in Hong Kong. Saw the "cubes/box" installed on top of windows at every household interesting. Wondering what they are?

Saw these pretty yarn crochet tied to the fence along Ladder Street.


Certainly spruce up the otherwise boring old fence.

Apparently this is called "yarn bombing", originated in the US by avid street artists, and now spreading throughout the world. Hopefully I get to see this in SG.


Open-air market in Mong Kok (near to Langham Place, whole stretch of street behind Reclamation Street). One of my favourite market to visit in Hong Kong, vibrant and crowded, but quintessentially Hong Kong.

 Lots of fresh fruits on sale.

 Seafood galore.
 The greens available look so appetising, had to resist the temptation to buy.


Assortment of dried goods.



Discovered this wet market near Choi Hung MTR Station on our way back from Sai Kung.


Roasted meats for sale. The hb insisted on buying braised pigeon.


Freshly wrapped wanton for sale.


The prices of fruits and vegetables here were cheaper as compared to the market at Mong Kok, I guess since this is the outskirt.

Large variety of dim sum for sale!

The street of Mong Kok. Still as exuberant, with the loud neon signs.

Ladies' Market has lost its appeal, well at least to us.


The last day before returning home, we spent a couple of hours at Sham Shui Po, selling popular electronics and value-for-money clothing, popular among locals especially during weekends.


The accessories shops here at Nam Cheong Street and Yu Chau Street are a haven for craft lovers, as they are super stocked with all sorts of ribbons, trims, beads, buttons etc etc.


Heard that nearby there's a Ki Lung Street which is supposedly a fabric market. Didn't have time to venture there though.

Very glad that I uncovered many new areas this time round and hopefully return for me next time!

Stay tuned for my final post upcoming on Kitchen/Bakeware and zakka shopping :)