Friday, 31 May 2013

Food & Dining: BurgeRoom

Image from Locky's English Playground
McDonald's is cheap and convenient, but it will never be tied with the words "quality" or "taste". Unlike other countries, it is not easy to find a place with good burgers in Hong Kong. Luckily, fans of burgers now have a decent eatery to satisfy their taste buds, and that place is called BurgeRoom.

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I have already been here 3 to 4 times and every time I return home with a happy smile and a happy stomach.

The eatery is not too big, can only fit about 20 people in it at the same time, which is why there is always a queue outside. The normal waiting time for a seat is 20 minutes, and then another 15 minutes for the food to arrive after you order, so yes, the logistics are exactly top-notch, but if you are not in a hurry, it is not a big problem.

Posters outside the windows
Image from Locky's English Playground
While you are waiting outside, you are advised to pick the food you want such that you can place your order once you are lead to your table. Prices start from $80 and goes all the way up to $140 depending on how big your burger is and how expensive the ingredients are.
Image from Locky's English Playground
 If you managed to place your order before 2:30pm, you can order set lunches with fries and drinks.
Bottled drinks included in the lunch set
Image from Locky's English Playground
 My favourite so far is this portabello cheese burger, so huge, so 'fungally' juicy!
Potato rings with chedder cheese and portabello cheese burger
Image from Locky's English Playground
 It just looks too amazing not to take a view more photos from various angles.
Portabello cheese burger with ginger beer
Image from Locky's English Playground
 There is a kind of charm about the burgers that I still cannot describe fully, but I think, maybe,
Portabello cheese burger close up
Image from Locky's English Playground
 that this appearance of a burger was just too good to be true after years after years of mental bullying by the delicious-looking McDonald's burger posters and the cruel 'McReality'.
Sole finger burger with fries
Image from Locky's English Playground
As a child, I was taught by the McPhilosophy that "what you see is not what you get", or even, "what you see is barely 10% of what you get". But this burger from BurgeRoom, suddenly broke this "law of nature"!
A dissection of the sole finger burger with fries
Image from Locky's English Playground
Their à la carte burgers are massive in size but they are absolute beauties!
Foie Gras Beef Burger with Fried Egg
Image from BurgeRoom
The last time I went with my wife we managed to try out the tea time set which begins serving at 2:30pm. We added $10 extra for the bottled drinks.
Image from Locky's English Playground
the burgers are about 50% of the original, but the price too is halved. Quality-wise, the burgers are just as fresh, beefy and juicy.

Mini class burger with potato wedges
Image from Locky's English Playground
It was BurgeRoom that first gave me the experience of having the juice of beef in the mouth with every bite, a feeling that I can never enjoy from eating any burgers from any fast food chains in Hong Kong. It's just not possible! But here in BurgeRoom, it's real!
Mini class burger
Image from Locky's English Playground
The look of the burgers is a joy to behold, simply because what you see from the posters is what you get. There is no cheating, no faking, no lies, just the simple truth. You might get something that is not shown on the posters too, that is the heat and smoke coming out from the freshly fried burger meat!
Mini sole fish burger (left) and mini clasic burger (right)
Image from Locky's English Playground
At $45 each, you get a set that is big enough for a lunch for an average lady in Hong Kong. For an average man, a tea set is a tea set, but the lunch set is surely enough to fully fill your stomach.

Image from Locky's English Playground
After trying the burgers at BurgeRoom, I have fell in love with that rich taste of beef patty, so I went to AEON supermarket, previously known as JUSCO, to buy some Japanese Wagyu patties and make my own burgers. At $80 for 3, the Wagyu patties beat BurgeRoom's patties quite a bit in taste! Since my standard has gone up, I cannot give BurgeRoom the full mark for taste, but it's not far from it.

Wagyu patties from AEON
Image from Locky's English Playground

Definitely give it a go if you have time, I mean, lots of waiting time!


Look:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Taste:            ★★★★☆ 4/5
Smell:            ★★★★☆ 4/5
Textures:       ★★★★★ 5/5
Temperature: ★★★★★ 5/5
Overall:         ★★★★★ 23/25

eatery -- (n)[C] informal restaurant:
logistics -- (n)[plural] the careful organization of a complicated activity so that it happens in a successful and effective way:
top-notch -- (adj) informal excellent:
'fungally' -- (adv) a word created by Locky, from the adjective 'fungal', related to fungus.
'McReality' -- (n)[U] a word created by Locky, the disappointing reality presented by the McBurgers after looking at the posters and at the actual burgers.
à la carte -- (adj) [before nounIf you eat à la carte, you choose each dish from a separate list instead of eating fixed combination of dishes at a fixed price:
behold -- (vb) [T]  old use or literary to see or look at someone or something:
patty -- (n)[C] piece of food made into a disc shape that is then cooked:
Wagyu -- (n) refers to several breeds of cattle, the most famous of which is genetically predisposed to intense marbling and to producing a high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat.


BurgeRoom @ Facebook

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Food & Dining: Lan Fong Yuen

Image from allabouthongkong
The lengthy queue outside Lan Fong Yuen is one thing, the taste of the food is another thing. Some say that if a restaurant is popular enough, there is surely something great about it. As for this Lan Fong Yuen, I don't see how this statement makes any sense.

Packed with people
Image from Locky's English Playground
Maybe that rule only applies to restaurants and not Bing Sutt, or maybe it is just the price that attracts people, for less than $50, you can have a meal that is enough for an average office lady, but other than that, I really cannot find another explanation why there are so many people in this place.

Owner is an Alan Tam die-hard fan
Image from Locky's English Playground
Are they all serious fans of Alan Tam? Well, I'm not for sure.

Iced milk tea
Image from Locky's English Playground
For about $50 dollars, you can order a lunch set with iced milk tea, which is literally ice + milk + tea. How was the taste? I can't even remember it, this is how good it tasted. I have seen the milk-tea-ice cube that is provided at the branch in Tsim Sha Tsui when I tasted their Kaya Hong Kong-style French toast, but that didn't show up in my cup.

Spicy pork cubes (from can food), 3 chicken wings, a fried egg and noodles
Image from Locky's English Playground
I ordered spicy pork cubes (from can food), 3 chicken wings, a fried egg with noodles while my wife ordered chicken chop with noodles.

Image from Locky's English Playground
The look, looks like a world of mismatch has fallen upon the plates, it doesn't take a genius to see that they don't go well with each other. The taste, plain as water. The texture, well, I do know I was eating meat, so that's not bad, the spicy pork cubes freshly out from the can earned back a star, but the rest are mediocre.

So really, unless you want to experience the unexperienced, or you are a person who prefer retro style and have the ability to ignore food quality, then Lan Fong Yuen will be fine for you.

Will I ever return? I guess not. I've already given it two chances, and I have earned nothing but disappointments and some photos of Alan Tam album covers.

PS: the price of the food has gone up by 3 to 4-folds, as indicated by the old magazines stuck on the wall.


Look:            ★★☆☆☆ 2/5
Taste:            ★★☆☆☆ 2/5
Smell:            ☆☆☆☆☆ 0/5
Textures:       ★★★☆☆ 3/5
Temperature: ★★★☆☆ 3/5
Overall:         ★★☆☆☆ 10/25

Bing Sutt -- (n)[U] provides a lighter and more limited selection of food than cha chaan teng
mismatch -- (n)[C] an occasion when people or things are put together that are not suitable for each other:
mediocre -- (adj) disapproving not very good
retro -- (adj) imilar to styles, fashions, etc. from the past:
four-folds -- (n) 4 times

Hong Kong's best bing sutt: Guide to old-school diners @ CNN

Lan Fong Yuen @ Openrice

Food: The Search For Great Hong Kong-style French Toast -- Part 2 @ Locky's English Playground

Bing Sutt @ Wikipedia

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Technology: Samsung Galaxy S4 VS HTC One

HTC One (left) & Samsung Galaxy S4 (right)
Image from Android Central

You know this is coming, and I know this battle will eventually arrive, the Samsung Galaxy S4 VS the HTC One.

Let's not talk about which is more popular and which is doing better in the market just yet. Let's make this a fair fight and borrow some 3rd party opinions before I tell you what I think.

After watching the two videos by Erica, who happens to be the most observant tech girl I know, you can tell that both S4 and HTC One have their strength. Max, in the 3rd video, supports all Android phones.

In summary, combining the two of them, I compile a table of their preferences as such:

Samsung Galaxy S4
Screen "Niceness"The best Super AMOLED
display on any Super AMOLED
phone (441 ppi pixel density),
higher saturation, possible blue pixel
burning over time, black-clipping by
(can be resolved by installing the 
latest firmware update)
Winner! Super LCD3
(469 ppi pixel density), sharper
images, more natural colours, less
Build QualityWinner! Excellent quality control, does
not look cheap, manufactured to
Poor plastic cutting, sharp edges,
white plastic might turn yellow
Scratch ResistanceWinner! Stronger Gorillas Glass 3Gorillas Glass 2
Charger & Speed
of Charing
Winner! 2.0A. Twice as fast as
1.0A. Very slow charging,
same speed as Galaxy S2
BatteryWinner! 2600 mAh removable2300 mAh non-removable
Grip for small-hand
Winner! No sharp edges, according
to Max's 5-year-old daughter
Winner! But with sharp edges,
according to Erica
CamerasWinner! 13Mp sensor, captures
a lot more details
4 Mp sensor, loses lots of details.
Wider lens
Gaming / Graphics-
Intensive Performance
Winner! No jitters, no lags,
buttery smooth
Some jitters and lags.
Glove SensitivityWinner! Can use phone with gloves onCan't use phone with gloves on
Speakerless loud, back facingWinner! Front facing, stereo
BodyWinner! Flat grip, stable on flat
surface, eg. table
Curved back, unstable on flat
surface, eg. table
Screen UtilizationWinner! Screen is fully utilizedPresence of menu bar shrinks the
actual screen size
Extra Software
Winner! Galaxy S4 has tonnes of both
useful and gimmicky software, which
does not slow down the phone
BlinkFeed cannot be removed,
uses data and heats up the phone
with Facebook sync
User Interface Winner! TouchWiz UI is polished,
user- friendly, caring and customizable
HTC Sense UI v5, not efficient
for real-life usage. Nova Launcher
is recommended instead.
Software Update
Winner! High, updates are rolled out
frequently to address to issues
Much lower, updates are rolled out
less frequently to address to issues
SD Card SlotWinner! Support 64Gb microSD cardNo SD card slot

Erica complains that 4.7 inch screen on the HTC isn't 4.7 inch when using it
Image from TheAngelofmusic1989
Although Erica still chose the HTC One for its front-facing speakers and the clarity of the screen, it seems like in fact, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is in fact much better than the HTC One is many ways. Such view is also agreed by the CTIA's 2013 E-Tech Awards as Samsung wins big with HTC One coming in second place .

Still camera comparison
Image from GSMArena

GSMArena has also voted Samsung Galaxy S4 as the winner in terms of talk time, battery life,  user interface, synthetic benchmarks, still camera and low-light camera performance.

In terms of popularity, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has already sold more than 10 million phones in less than a month while the S3 took 50 days to hit that mark, and as usual, the only way for Apple to attempt to stop Samsung is to file another case of patent infringement.

Samsung Galaxy S4 announcement in New York City
Image from phandroid

In terms of marketing strategy, the HTC One was initially announced on February 19, 2013, earlier than the S4's announcement on March 14, 2013. But HTC's supply failed to produce enough phones and thus failed to provide a definite date for its launch, causing a lot of frustrations among the anticipating buyers. Samsung took advantage of this HTC chaos and began selling the S4 on April 24, 2013 on 327 networks worldwide and in 155 countries. This has definitely taken a big bite out of the pool of prospective buyers who were initially considering the HTC One.

I got the S4 from One2Free Hong Kong about a week before I got the HTC One for my friend on the 4th May. The seller, who also happens to be my friend, reported the massive frustration he received from the HTC fans. He didn't sell any HTC phones before as HTC used to make very poor phones. Adding the delay of shipment, this is definitely not looking good with the reputation and sales.

Dark and rainy days at the HTC
Image from HTC
Despite other reviews claiming that the HTC One is in fact better than the S4, it looks like the HTC One isn't selling fast enough to save the company itself. After both the HTC's chief product officer, Kouji Kodera and the HTC Asia CEO Lennard Hoornik left the company last week, the HTC CEO Peter Chou also told other senior executives he would step down if the HTC One failed. If all the big cheeses are leaving the company, who is going to trust its products any more?

Quoting from a Digital Trend article,

"It’s impossible for difficult times like this not to affect staff morale, as evidenced by a tweet from HTC’s former manager of product strategy, whose words give us a clue to the negative atmosphere inside the company.

“To all my friends still at HTC – just quit,” Eric Lin wrote, “Leave now, it’s tough to do, but you’ll be so much happier, I swear."

So which phone will I choose? Needless to say, am I right?

For more video reviews, do check out the YouTube links down the Resources section below.

What do you think? Which one will you choose? Leave a message or a comment below!

jitter -- (n) the undesired deviation from true periodicity of an assumed periodic signal in electronics and telecommunications, often in relation to a reference clock source.
gimmicky -- (adj) mainly disapproving not serious or of real value that is used to attract people's attention or interest temporarily, especially to make them buy something:
patent -- (n)[C] a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time, in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention.
infringement -- (n) [C] an action that breaks a rule, law, etc.:
prospective (buyers) --(adj) people who are expected to buy something, employ someone, become a parent, etc.:
big cheese -- (n) [C] informal an important person in a company or an organization with a lot of influence:

Galaxy S4 vs HTC One: Which One? In-Depth Comparison @ YouTube

Galaxy S4: Unboxing, HTC One Comparison, Screen Quality @ YouTube

HTC ONE Build Quality Issues *You having any???* @ YouTube

Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One BLINDFOLD FEEL TEST! @ YouTube

Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One @

Galaxy S4 vs HTC One: Outdoor Camera Test @ YouTube

HTC One Unboxing! @

[SOLVED]Black Clipping/ Black Crush issue on Galaxy S 4 (GT I9500) ! :( @ Daily Mobile Forum

Samsung Wins Big at CTIA's 2013 E-Tech Awards | News & Opinion @,2817,2419379,00.asp

The Samsung Galaxy S IV Reviews Are Great for the HTC One - Rebecca Greenfield @ The Atlantic Wire

The HTC One Isn't Saving HTC from the Facebook Phone - Rebecca Greenfield @ The Atlantic Wire

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One: Army of two @ GSMArena

HTC One @ Wikipedia

Samsung Galaxy S4 @ Wikipedia

Technology: Welcome! Samsung Galaxy S4!! @ Locky's English Playground

HTC employees told to "just quit" by former manager @ Digital Trends

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Food & Dining: Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood Restaurant

Desert and sand dunes?
Image from Locky's English Playground
Imagine yourself trapped in a desert, you are hot, hungry and thirsty, what comes to your mind?

Cup and teapot
Image from Locky's English Playground

A nice cup of tea? In an air-conditioned room?

Plate and wooden chopsticks
Image from Locky's English Playground

Or an empty plate that anticipates the arrival of your favourite food?

Image from Locky's English Playground
Think no more because first, you are probably not in a desert and second, that isn't even a photo of a desert -- it is a photo of the wall of a restaurant which I am about to recommend that is put horizontal and third, you already know which restaurant I am going to talk about, and that is the best deep-fried pork chop in the entire Hong Kong, much better than that of Curry House CoCo Ichibanya, the top of my list of favourite food!
Tonkichi @ The One, Tsim Sha Tsui
Image from carjaswong
Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood!!!!!

I must say this is a kind of open secret for anyone who loves Tonkatsu (豚カツ, とんかつ or トンカツ), a Japanese term for pork cutlet with a history tracing back to the 19th century. In fact, there is a wide range of choices of cutlets offered by the restaurants, such as chicken, king prawn, large scallops, oysters, crab meat and Wagyū (Japanese beef), but after trying every single one of them, my favourite remains as the pork fillet cutlet.
Mixed set with king prawns, oysters, pork fillets, pork chop and large scallops
Image from djibnet
After you have placed your order, the first thing you will get for ordering pork cutlet set is a mortar of sesame and a pestle. You can use this time to test out how good your grinding skill is or have a little competition with your friends to see how fine your sesame powder can get, not a bad good during the wait.

Sesame as sauce companion and a game for the diners
Image from Locky's English Playground
When the powder is ground, you can add the Japanese pork cutlet sauce, mix the sesame powder up and smell the aroma. I guarantee your stomach will start to rumble.

Chicken Chop set
Image from Locky's English Playground
Usually the wait is around 5 to 10 mins, which may be a bit long for some, but the quality is definitely worth your wait.

Close up of a pork fillet set
Image from Locky's English Playground
The thick pork fillet is fulling cooked but unlike any other deep-fried pork chop or fillet, this one is thick but tender with juice and freshness in every bite, which goes to say that the pork is of very high quality.

The panko (パン粉) breadcrumbs are golden brown, meaning that the oil has been kept at a very steady temperature throughout the cooking process, presumably at a low temperature, for the meat to be cooked without getting the breadcrumbs burnt. However, that's not all of the secret.

I remember that I once watched a show introducing the tonkatsu made by this restaurant, and the chef took out a wooden hammer-looking meat tenderizer with real sowing needles at its ends and hammered it down to the pork piece before taking it for a panko dip.

Meat tenderizer with needles
Image from alibaba
Unlike most Western meat tenderizer or hammers, this one doesn't flatten the meat, leaving it firm-looking like the original even after deep-frying. I have since wanted to get one but have since failed to succeed, but that is out of topic as far as eating out is concerned.

I have tried several branches of Tonkichi, namely World Trade More @ Causeway Bay (mostly), Hang Lung @ Causeway Bay (yesterday) and The One @ Tsim Sha Tsui (more than 4 times), each has its own selling point.

The World Trade More branch used to have an amazing seaview but thanks to the reclamation of the beautiful Victoria Harbour, what you get to see now are cranes and dredgers; however, the skill of cooking is the best here and you'll get that golden yellow crumbs instead of golden brown. It is also the first shop in Hong Kong and has been an award-winning shop ever since. Looking for walk-in with zero waiting time? This is the one to go after its expansion.

I tried the one in Hang Lung yesterday and took these photos, the food looked browner but the taste remains great. There is no seaview or any views but the cups, teapots, plates and the overall atmosphere is better. I like the quietness and spaciousness the most. Reservation is recommended but walk-in is fine based on yesterday/ Sunday's 7:30pm visit.

Finally, the one at The One has an excellent view of Park Lane facing directly at the Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre, so you will always get to see a huge flock of flying pigeons as you dine, both day and night the view is simply stunning. The seats are tighter and less comfortable, but you can ask for window-seats if you make reservation, which is highly recommended.

Pork fillet set, HK$178
Image from Locky's English Playground
My research took me to a branch in Tampines Mall, Singapore. Whether that is the only one I really have no idea, but my Singapore friends will definitely like it, if they still haven't tried it.

Tonkichi @ Tampines Mall, Singapore
Overall, the cutlets served in all branches of this restaurant really deserve a full mark in look, taste, smell, textures and temperature! Simply unbeatable!


Look:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Taste:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Smell:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Textures:       ★★★★★ 5/5
Temperature: ★★★★★ 5/5
Overall:         ★★★★★ 25/25

mortar -- (n)[C] The mortar is a bowl, typically made of hard wood, ceramic or stone.
pestle -- (n)[C] The pestle is a heavy club-shaped object, the end of which is used for crushing and grinding
rumble -- (vb) [I] to make a continuous low sound:
meat tenderizer -- (n)[C] is hand-powered tool used to tenderize slabs of meat in preparation for cooking the meat
flatten -- (vb) [I or T] to become level and thinner or to cause something to become level and thinner:
crane -- (n)[C] a type of machine, generally equipped with a hoist, wire ropes or chains, and sheaves, that can be used both to lift and lower materials and to move them horizontally
A crane
Image from Wikipedia

dredger -- (n)[C] an excavation activity or operation usually carried out at least partly underwater, in shallow seas or fresh water areas with the purpose of gathering up bottom sediments and disposing of them at a different location.
A grab dredge
Image from Wikipedia

spaciousness -- (n)[U] approving  large and with a lot of space:
unbeatable -- (adj) approving unable to be defeated or improved because of excellent quality:

Food: The Search For Great Curry -- Part 3 @ Locky's English Playground

Tonkatsu @ Wikipedia

Breaded Cutlet @ Wikipedia

Panko @ Wikipedia

Meat tenderizer @ Wikipedia

Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood @ Openrice

Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood @ Openrice

Monday, 20 May 2013

Cooking: Locky's Indian Chicken Tikka

Locky's Indian Chicken Tikka
Image from Locky's English Playground
(Sorry vegetarians. This is going to be an article on meat cooking, but just a point of information, I have vegetarian lunch almost every day.)

Love Indian Chicken Tikka? Want to cook one as good as I can? Today's your lucky day. Here's what you need to buy.

Spices that you need
Image from Locky's English Playground

Wine and soya sauce
Image from Locky's English Playground

  • Chicken legs, preferably deboned.
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Paprika
  • Ground turmeric
  • Cumin seed
  • Rice wine
  • Soy sauce
  • Milk or yoghurt
  • Time (5 minutes + 5 hours + 20 minutes)

Boneless chicken legs ready
Image from Locky's English Playground
The steps are simpler than you can imagine.

1. Skin and chop chicken leg into smaller pieces.
Chopped into smaller pieces, fat removed
Image from Locky's English Playground
2. Pour chopped meat into a mixing bowl
Place chicken pieces into a container
Image from Locky's English Playground
3. Add ground cinnamon, paprika and ground turmeric. Amount? Your call. I like more paprika to add the colour, don't worry, it's not spicy.
Spices in the pot
Image from Locky's English Playground
4. Heat about 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds in a microwave for 30 seconds to bring out the aroma, grinding them will extract even more. A little fact for you, cumin seed is the key source of Indian curry smell, almost impossible to miss.
Special treatment with cumin seeds
Image from Locky's English Playground
5. Add cumin seeds, a teaspoon of rice wine to remove the taste of iciness from the meat, and soy sauce to add taste. Mix well.
All herbs, sauces and seeds are in
Image from Locky's English Playground
6. If you don't have yoghurt, just add milk like I do.
No yoghurt, add milk instead
Image from Locky's English Playground
mix and stir
Image from Locky's English Playground
7. Mix well and leave it to marinate for about 5 hours.
Red is good
Image from Locky's English Playground
8. Place meat into a plate,
on the plate, ready for cooking
Image from Locky's English Playground
and cook it in an oven at 250°C for 10 mins per side.
250 degree Celsius, 10 mins on each side
Image from Locky's English Playground
9. Get your eating utensils ready!
The product
Image from Locky's English Playground

debone -- (vb)[T] To remove the bones from
skin -- (vb) [T] to remove the skin of something:
aroma -- (n)[C]  a strong, pleasant smell, usually from food or drink:
eating utensil -- (n)[C] tools for eating, such as chopsticks, knife and fork


Chicken Tikka @ Wikipedia