Tangerine – Thai Tapas and Daily Specials

If you visit the Tangerine Facebook page (like I did), you will be overwhelmed by the number of daily specials there are – quite literally every day of the week apart from Sundays. If that isn’t enough to draw you to this restaurant, then perhaps the super-friendly staff, or the decent food (at a price that is kind to your wallet) will.

Myself and a couple of girlfriends chose to go to Tangerine on a Wednesday – that would be “free welcome drink day” – Thai Mohitos that started us off quite nicely. They carried us through as well – we had two each and both were complimentary. I’m not sure if that was a normal thing, or if they just liked us. Either way, we were off to a good start!

I don’t think I have ever been served an amuse bouche at a Thai restaurant before, but these ones, small cubes of fried tofu topped with a mildly-spiced curry sauce, pleasantly piqued my appetite for more. As an amuse bouche, they served their purpose!

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Amuse-bouche: deep-fried tofu cubes with curry sauce

For our ‘something healthy’, we opted for the sizzling deep-fried tofu with basil and chili (who were we kidding, right? Ha – let’s call it relatively healthy). The portion was generous, a mound of tofu mixed with chilies, fried basil, chopped beans, lettuce and onions, thinly covered in a sweet-sour dressing.

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Sizzling tofu with basil and chilies HK$ 70

The prawns also went down a treat – what can I say, we like things that sizzle! Large meaty prawns served on a sizzling cast-iron plate, mixed in with lots of beansprouts and spring onions.

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Garlic Sizzling Prawns HK$ 88

There are a few dishes that really demonstrate just how good a Thai restaurant is in my book, and I always rate restaurants with their peers according to these dishes: Thai Beef Salad, Tom Yum Kung and Pad Thai. I know there are many, many other dishes that could be on this list, but these are my benchmarks. Why? Because they are dishes that can be made oh so well (and when they are good, they are GOOD!), but can also be very easily screwed up.

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Traditional Tom Yum Goong HK$108

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Memories, at Cinta J

IMG_6156Having grown up in Hong Kong, there are several places that will always have a special place in my food memory. When we were young(er), my parents were creatures of habit when it came to food, and I can’t remember if it was because they loved these places, or if it was because my brother and I always insisted that we go there. Cinta J was one of these places.

It has relocated a few times in my lifetime – I still remember when it was in the basement of a nondescript building that I can’t recall, we always sat at the table next to the big fish tank, perhaps to amuse us kids (back in the day, when Ipads didn’t exist). Now it is on Jaffe Road, down the street from Joe Bananas and opposite Dusk Til Dawn. A bright neon sign lights the way, proclaiming it’s offerings of Filipino, Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai food.

Crispy Pata is probably not something that a child, or an adult for that matter, should have been eating every other weekend, but we did, and it was (and still is) crazy good. In the 20 years that have passed, the Crispy Pata at Cinta J has remained the same. What’s more, the kitchen churns out those babies one after the other, each table at the restaurant getting their fix of pigs trotter and leg that has been simmered in spices, rubbed with seasonings and then deep fried to crispy perfection.

A simple garnish of onion rings is all it needs

A simple garnish of onion rings is all it needs

The satays here are also good, thick chunks of meat in generous portions, brought to the table with a mini cast iron burner to heat them before you et them – a nice touch! I’ve had better peanuts sauces though.

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1 dozen mixed satays

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