Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Nadirah’s Perspective:

As promised, this second installment is geared towards the delicious restaurants we found on our exploration of China.  Hubby briefly mentioned that what American’s consider to be Chinese food is definitely not what you are exposed to from our neighbors of the Far East.  But fear not because our commonly known fast food restaurants have rapidly made their way oversees; for example, McDonald's  KFC, Popeye’s, Pizza Hut, etc.   Now please understand that when hubby and I are home within the states, we usually do not frequent these places; however, when we are visiting foreign countries these places become our means of survival.  We can recognize the smells, the ingredients (they vary sometimes), the look, and the names of the dish.  Yet, there are times when we find local goldmines that are worth remembering and recommending and we will share our discoveries with you all.

Troy’s Perspective:

            Throughout our adventures in China, we had the pleasure of patronizing several reputable restaurants. The commonly known fast-food chains tend to be our staple of choice; due to our lack of interest in authentic Chinese delicacies. Wifey and I frequent familiar eateries that we can identify with in the Western World. To our discovery, the familiar selections of McDonald's still have a twist catered to the Eastern pallet, such as spicy chicken sandwiches and seaweed seasoning for the fries. I have not eaten fast food in the states in over 5 years, but the familiar sights, smells and tastes tend to lure us in. When our interests are captured we venture out to new and exciting places that we anticipate will please our pallet.

Istanbul – Turkish Kebabs and Grills (Hong Kong Island)

N: Located at 232 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, this little eatery serves a variety of Turkish dishes. Hubby and I shared a Beef Donor Roll, which consist of sliced beef/lamb meat mixture (think of gyro meat), shredded lettuce, tomato, onions, and cucumber sauce wrapped in Lavas (pronounced Lavash: a soft, thin Turkish flat bread). Anyhoo, believe it or not, this sandwich was actually light, very filling, and delectable. Sauces are offered if you’re looking for additional heat but the flavor of the sandwich can unquestionably stand on its own. The owner of this heavenly place is a friendly, good-natured host named Turgut. He has a television positioned in the middle of the small dining area that rotated movies and the music videos of Neyo, Rihanna, Brittney Spears, and so on. Thank you Turgut for the great conversation and the hypnotic smell/taste of Turkish dishes which has solidified our returning back to this place any time we venture to Hong Kong Island.

T: After a long day at the airport and our flight being cancelled, we checked into the Charterhouse Hotel on Hong Kong Island. We certainly wanted to venture out and discover a new eatery for our pallets. As we exited the entrance of the hotel to our surprise directly across the street is Istanbul, a local restaurant that fascinated our interest. We crossed the street to Istanbul and began to read the outside menu. While considering various mouthwatering choices on the menu, the owner stepped out the entrance way and guaranteed us that we would thoroughly enjoy his food. Wifey and I both agreed to give it a try. After reviewing many options we were interested in several items listed on the menu but he insisted that we try a lamb, beef kabob wrap with spicy/garlic sauce. I myself fell in love with the layering of sensory manipulation. The phenomenal taste of Turkish meat combined with light/soft bread, mixed with fresh/crunchy vegetables was remarkable. I was totally blown away by the flavor as Turgut smiled at us to say, “I told you so.” Istanbul is a must visit whenever you visit Hong Kong Island. The amazing food coupled with fascinating conversation with the owner truly makes this place a hidden Gem.

“It’s a rule - you must visit Istanbul - Turkish Kebabs and Grills (Hong Kong Island).”

Enjoying a Beef Donor Roll!

Menu Options
Meet the lovable Turgut!

Pizza Express (Hong Kong Island)

N: Located at the J Residence, Shop #4 on Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Hubby and I fell in love with this place on our last trip to Hong Kong Island and I gave a solemnly promise that we would have to come back if ever we were given the chance.  This franchise actually originated in the UK but has found loving homes all over Hong Kong.  This is no ordinary pizza place… this pizza restaurant is awesome. On our last trip here, we ordered the Parma pizza: Prosciutto, ricotta, parmesan, rosemary, and polenta (no mozzarella). This blended tastes were delightful but be warned that it has a distinct salty bite to it due to the cured meat and the cheeses (video will be provided below).  This trip had us trying out a pizza from the Leggera section. Per the menu, Leggera (Italian for “light”) pizzas are made with a hole in the middle and a crisp rocket salad in the hole.  These particular pizzas are 550 calories each and are the perfect light option. We chose a bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese and the Gustosa Leggera Pizza: Prosciutto, light mozzarella, portabella mushrooms, and red peppers. This pizza has a paper thin crust, very light tomato sauce, and once again the prosciutto adds a delectable taste of saltiness. The plentiful salad was that comes in the middle is a mix of arugula leaves and sweet balsamic vinaigrette with a bite. As for the Spaghetti Bolognese, the pasta was served al dente with a spicy, highly peppered, carrot infused tomato sauce. I am saddened to write that I was very disappointed with the flavor and texture of the meatballs. Even if the dish was sans meatballs, I really don’t think that I will order this particular dish again. BTW: they have an excellent selection of music playing throughout the evening.  Think of a blend of Neo-Soul and Smooth Jazz!

T: Pizza Express is a place Wifey and I discovered several years ago while visiting Hong Kong Island. From the first experience, we vowed to come back. Several years later we returned. The pizza at Pizza Express is groundbreaking to the health conscious, innovative to the food connoisseur and simply unbelievable to the average foodie. Because of the high fat content and overabundance of cheese, I simply do not enjoy pizza the same way as once before. Pizza Express transformed my way of thinking about pizza. The Leggera Pizza offers a pizza made with a hole in the center of the crust filled with a crisp/fresh rocket salad, topped with your favorite ingredients for fewer than 500 calories. Wow!!! This is the perfect option for me (member of the health conscious). The quality pizza toppings such as Hungarian pepperoni, smoked salmon, roquito peppers, roasted artichokes, ricotta and prosciutto cheese to name a few will please the pallet of the pizza connoisseur. The delectable dishes prepared with premium quality ingredients created an intricately woven taste engineered to excite taste buds that would bring joy to any foodie (Wifey – yaaaaaah!!!). The menu is well rounded and focuses on the superiority of quality and innovation to provide an astonishing pizza. Pizza Express in Hong Kong is a requisite when in Hong Kong Island.

“Have nothing but the best at Pizza Express.”

Yeah.... Pizza Express!

 Spaghetti Bolognese

 Gustosa Leggera Pizza

Meet Jacqueline (Jackie)... She's a wonderful  hostess!


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