Sunday, 8 March 2015

SOHOFAMA - Asian Fusion

It's not often that I put myself in the hands of another blogger when deciding what to have for dinner, but that's exactly what I did recently.  

Knowing I was moving to Hong Kong, a social media buddy of mine suggested I get in contact with local blogger Cynthia from Just coz its Tuesday.  Cynthia is in the unique position of living in both Hong Kong, and my home town Brisbane - the best of both worlds.  Of course dinner needed to be arranged.

We'd arranged to meet at SOHOFAMA, which was one of the many cool eating holes at the PMQ which also housed Vasco (see post here) and Aberdeen Street Social (see post here).  Arriving well ahead of time, which is our usual way, we'd spent some time looking at the Night Markets and the cool arty shops that make up most of PMQ.  One of the last spots we'd looked at was a cool little clothing store, which unbeknown to us, was actually part of SOHOFAMA.

Described as a place where urban farming meets comfort Chinese cuisine, SOHOFAMA's goal is to raise awareness of healthy living through serving quality, chemical-free food.  Searching for locally grown ingredients that support the community, SOHOFAMA draws on traditional Chinese traditions to deliver on a modern take - almost Chinese fusion but between modern and traditional.

We arrived not actually knowing what Cynthia looked like (it was a blogger blind date after all), but luckily all was sorted quickly when Cynthia picked us out and called us over to the table.  We then set about the age old tradition of getting to know each other over food...

We started off with some cocktails, well, the girls started off with some cocktails with Cynthia ordering some gin based fizzy thing and SC going for an Autumn Love with Roselle.  An interesting cocktail concocted from house made Roselle and in SOHOFMA's traditional Chinese pot.  It looked awesome.

Looking over the menu, we decided on a heap of food to share and before long, our culinary fusion journey of old/new Chinese cuisine commenced.  What better way to start any meal than with xiaolongbao?  To that point, we'd only been getting our xiaolongbao from Din Tai Fung, so I'd had pretty high expectations.....which were met!  The dumplings were lovely and fine, with a rich flavoured soup that was equal to any of the delicacies I'd had in HK so far.  Lucky for me, with four dumpling and three diners, the girls deferred to me for the last one - score!

Up next were some amazing beef short rib pancakes, which were incredibly tender for the most part (mine had a little vein of sinew).  What really made these little beauties was the sweet sticky sauce that somehow managed to get all over my fingers and the table.  Not to worry, fingers in mouth and sweet sticky sauce gone!

Everyone that reads my blog knows that I love chorizo, so I was stoked when we'd ordered the Yeung chow fried rice with organic spanish chorizo.  Noted as one of SOHOFAMA's signature dish, the little pieces of fried chorizo added some saltiness to the rice, which was well cooked and one of my favourte dishes of the night.

The food was coming out thick and fast, which is an interesting experience when bloggers are involved!  Pictures must be taken and light (from iPhone torches) provided.  In quick succession was the sweet and sour pork (very traditional) and the razor clams in an XO sauce.  I really loved the perfectly spherical balls of pork, which were of a high quality and the very sweet plum sauce.  The dish was accompanied by kiwi fruit, assuming as the sour part of the dish, but I didn't think it worked so well.

The razor clams in XO sauce were lovely, mainly because the sauce was on the milder side (thankfully).  Each of the sticky and chewy razor clams were a delight and I loved the presentation, a traditional looking Chinese plate with the clam shells lined up side by side.  It was surprisingly generous as well..

The most interesting looking dish of the night went to our last savory dish of steamed whole crab in organic egg whites.  Apparently, it's a very traditional dish that normally mixes crab meat in with the egg whites.  The SOHOFAMA version had the crab meat still inside the crab (which we didn't realise at the time).  After we mixed the egg yolk into the white fluffy egg whites, the creaminess and richness of the yolk turned the concoction into a delicious, if unusual, delight.

After our meal, Cynthia and I left SC to her own devices while we walked around the restaurant taking photos.  We'd been there for a long time, and the restaurant was largely empty by the time we'd finished.  I think we were getting the 'get out' vibe by this time, but still took our time taking photos!  Food Bloggers!

We'd had a lovely evening and by the time the meal had finished, we gone from being relative strangers to fast becoming friends.  That's what bonding over food can do.  So, thanks to SOHOFAMA for providing the perfect setting for a meal, with great quality food.

I'm certainly looking forward to our next night out - once Cynthia returns from her latest Brisbane visit.

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