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Featured Posts, Gastronomy, Japan - Tokyo

“Happy Halloween” in SAWADA style!

October 31, 2012



I asked Chef Sawada to pose his hands for me so I could take a nice photo of them.  Apparently, he didn’t take it that seriously, and made it in a rather funny way.  Coincidentally, this photo became a very nice one for saying “Happy Halloween” to my HaoKouFu friends.

Yes, a “Happy Halloween” in SAWADA style.  🙂

Featured Posts, France - Paris, Gastronomy

Yam’Tcha – The Best Chinese-French Fusion Cuisine in Paris

February 8, 2012


Adeline Grattard worked at the kitchen.

Before owning her restaurant Yam’Tcha, Adeline Grattard had her training at the Hotel Scribe (during Yannick  Alleno’s era) and then l’Astrance (Pascal Barbot).   The later which influenced her cuisine and skills deeply.  After l’Astrance, she went to Hong Kong to learn Chinese cuisine.  She worked at BO Innovation (Michelin 2 stars restaurant in Hong Kong) around 2 years.  By all these experiences, she’s absolutely well trained in both Chinese and French cuisines.   Every time I dined there, I was surprised how much she has sharpened her cooking skills again.   Her husband, Chi Wah, masters the tea, which is essential to the spirit of “Yam’Tcha” (Yam’Tcha means drink tea in Chinese).  He goes to China frequently in order to source the best tea to match Adeline’s cuisine.  Here, you can experience the most inspiring example of the “marriage” of the food & tea.

If you asked me where to have the best Chinese food in Paris, I’ll tell you – “ Yam’Tcha”.   Although it might not be that authentic as the Chinese food you would have in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan, it’s definitely worth to go.

Chef:  Adeline Grattard
4 rue Sauval, 75001 Paris, FRANCE
Tel: + +33 1 40 26 08 07
Closed Monday and Tuesday

To see more photos I took at Yam’Tcha – Please check my Flickr album- Yam’Tcha Nov. 11, 2011.

Tea – The must company for Adeline’s cuisine

Green Amuse Bouche

Foie gras – Bulots – Choucroute au vin jaune chinois.

Turbot de ligne au riz noir

Champagne is also a very good company for Adeline’s cuisine. 🙂



To see more photos I took at Yam’Tcha – Please check my Flickr album- Yam’Tcha Nov. 11, 2011.

France - Paris, Gastronomy

A recent meal at l’Arpège

August 27, 2011

The new page of my gastronomic journey in Q3 was started at l’Arpège yesterday, a Michelin 3 star restaurant led by Alain Passard. Alain has been considered one of the greatest chefs in France since the late 20th century. There are 2 persons who I would like to highlight here, because of them, I got the chance to know about l’Arpège and Alain. The first person is FoodSnob ( who told me again and again how he fell in love with l’Arpège. The other one is Dr. FC (, definitely one of the most knowledgeable gourmets (but very low-profile) I’ve ever met so far.

I believe it’s not difficult at all to find out more information about either l’Arpège or Alain Passard via the powerful Google. Then, I’ll pass this task to it.

The images will talk. So, please enjoy the photo show as follows –

The aperitif - Champagne Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut

The Radis

2009 Weingut Knoll Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Kreutles

The gaspacho

L'Amuse-bouche - The little vegetable delight

L'Amuse-Bouche - The little vegetable delight

La Gratinée d'oignons avec des citrons confits

The green salad of cucumber & melon

The sea bass carpaccio

The haricot, white peach, and basil mousse

The tagliatelles

The tomato cubes with honey sauce

The exquisite vegetables raviolis

The transparent "gnocchis" made by tomato cubes wrapped with sliced cucumbers

The tomato salad with the raspberry sauce

Nothing more than a decoration...

A smart knife stand

Le homard des îles Chausey - The lobster from the island Chausey

Le homard des îles Chausey - The lobster from the island Chausey

L'agneau - the lamb

2007 Domaine Jean Foillard - Morgon "Côte du Py"

La tarte feuilletée aux pêches et dragées - The peach pie

Les petits fours chez Arpège

l’Arpège (map)
84, rue de Varenne
75007 Paris
Tel:  +33 (0) 1 47 05 09 06
Fax: +33 (0) 1 44 18 98 39

Bistros, France - Paris, Gastronomy

My favorite bistros in Paris

September 6, 2009

My favorite bistros in Paris

Here, I’ve listed 11 bistros I like very much in Paris. I tended to make the info brief rather than detailed, for those people who need a quick review. I’ve also uploaded a lot of photos to my Flickr albums which might be helpful as a reference.

Price range –
Lunch set – 30€ to 40€
Dinner – 30€ to 60€

Paris 75001

Les Fines Gueules

Check my report about Les Fines Gueules.

Hours:  Open 7 days for lunch and dinner.  Bar hour till late night.
Address:  43 Rue Croix des Petits Champs, Paris 75001 (Map)
Metro:  Palais Royal, Bourse, Sentier, or Pyramide
Tel :  +33 1 42 61 35 41
Flickr Photo Set






Just started in this year, Yam’Tcha has been a big hit in Paris. Every gourmand friend of mine is talking about it. I went it once this summer and found it intriguing. The female chef Adeline Grattard has an impressive resume: worked with Yannick Alléeno at the Hotel and Pascal Barbot at L’Astrance-l’Astrance in Paris and then spent 2 years working in Hong Kong, including at the restaurant BO. IMO, her cuisine is full of Asian touch, the presentation is very French however. Please make a reservation as early as possible.

Open Hours:   Wednesdays to Sundays
Add: 4 rue Sauval, Paris 75001  (Map)
Metro:  Louvre Rivoli
Tel: +33 1 40 26 08 07
Flickr Photo Set

Paris 75004




Founded in 1912, Benoit has kept its well-known traditional cuisine well till now. It’s a bistro very comfortable and very Parisian. Benoit has been acquired by Alain Ducasse Group in 2005 from the ex-proprietor Petit family. It’s a Michelin one star restaurant, but the price is pretty fair – lunch set costs 38€ and a la carte at dinner costs around 60€. Delicious food and cheerful ambiance.

Open Hours: Mondays to Sundays. Annual closed: July 26th to August 25th and Feburary 25th to March 2nd.
Add: 20, Rue St-Martin, Paris 75004  (Map)
Metro:  Chatelet or Hotel de Ville
Tel: +33 1 42 72 25 76
Flickr Photo Set

Paris 75005




The owner Nadège Varigny had worked with Yves Camdeborde for around 10 years before. It’s a place for those who love offals (les abats): Instines, tripe, cheeks, tongues, kidneys, and the rest. The wine list is a very brief but well selected one. The food is hearty and yummy.

Open Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays. Annual closed: From Aug 9 to Aug 31 and December 27th to January 4th.
Add: 10 Rue St-Julien le Pauvre, Paris 75005  (Map)
Metro: Saint-Michel, Cluny La Sorbonne, or Maubert Mutualite
Tel: +33 1 46 33 98 80
Flickr Photo Set




The chef Sylvain Sendrais is from the famous bistro le Temps en Temps. The interior deco is very modern and bright. The service is inviting and friendly. The food here is delicious and contemporary. Of course, make sure that you book a table in advance.

Open Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays. Annual closed: From Aug 4 to Aug. 25 and December 20th to 29th.
Add: 5, Rue de Pontoise, Paris 75005  (Map)
Metro: Maubert Mutualite
Tel: +33 1 46 33 60 11
Flickr Photo Set

Continue Reading…

France - Laguiole, Gastronomy, Wine

1989 Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanee “Cros-Parantoux”

August 14, 2009

henri jayer

I tasted this fantastic 1989 Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanee “Cros-Parantoux” at Bras restaurant in Laguiole in end of June this year. I would say – it was beyond words.

My tasting note:

It’s complex on both the nose and palate. Incredible and appealing berry aroma. So intense. I felt like walking in a deep and misty forest after a rain. Then, a hint of genièvre appeared with a little bit spicy white pepper. On the palate: powerful and vigorous. The texture was smooth with beautiful finesse. A long finish with elegant spices and a slightly smoky hint. The harmony lasted to the end.

Tasted: June 28, 2009 *****

The chef sommelier Sergio Calderonof Michel Bras made a key chain for me by this cork.
France - Paris, Gastronomy, Wine

Les Fines Gueules

August 5, 2009

Les Fines Gueules

During the last 2 months of my stay in France, Les Fines Gueules became one of my favorite venues to stop by – for a drink and for the good food.   The dynamic owner/manager Arnaud Bradol is an enthusiastic fan of bio-wine, or so called “natural wine”.  He is also fanatical about top food ingredients.  Here, he features the best suppliers including – Hugo Desnoyer for beef and veal, Jean-Yves Bordier for butter, Joël Thiébault for vegetables, Poujauran for bread.   Plus, the cave under the restaurant is another thing to make you “wow”.  More than thousands of wines are quietly lying there.

The restaurant is located in a building that used to belong to la Banque de France.   The building is elegant and tells its own history.   Nevertheless, when you walk in the restaurant, you don’t feel it is like other traditional wine bars or bistros in Paris – the interior design is a nicely calibrated mixture of contemporary and vintage touches.

There are no printed menus or wine lists.  They bring you a menu/wine list written on blackboards instead.  For the menu, I found they change the dishes quite frequently, but you can always find their signature dishes –

Assortiment de Charcuteries Fines

Assortiment de Charcuteries Fines


  • Assortiment de Charcuteries Fines
  • Carpaccio de Veau élevé sous la mère, parmesan bio 36 mois et huile d’olive extra vierge
Fameux Tartare de Limousine au couteau grenailles et salade

Fameux Tartare de Limousine au couteau grenailles et salade


  • Fameux Tartare de Limousine au couteau grenailles et salade
  • *Its carré d’agneau and fish dishes are also very good and worth a try.

So, about the wine, oui…!  If you didn’t try any wine here, you would leave feeling VERY sorry to yourself.  The first time I visited Les Fines Gueules with friends, Arnaud brought us a red wine which had been put in a decanter.   The first nose of the wine to me was eucalyptus, very fresh and quite spicy.  It’s so unique and intriguing.  The taste was also full of spices; the texture was pretty round.  It’s like a breeze gently brushing your cheek during summertime when drinking this wine.   It was not easy for me to figure out the region this wine belongs to.  I would guess it’s from the south France, maybe la Corse?  Or Languedoc-Roussillon?

Le Petit Domaine de Gimios Rouge Fruit

Le Petit Domaine de Gimios Rouge Fruit

Finally, Arnaud brought the bottle to us, it’s a domaine called Le Petit Domaine de Gimios which produces only nature wine, no sulphur or SO2 added at all.   Plus, the vines here are all very old vines.  It is run by a 60+ year old woman named Anne Marie Lavaysse, who insists on using the most natural and organic methods for taking care of her vineyard. She maintains very low yield, which is only 10~14 hectolitres per hectare (hl/ha).  The grape variety of this wine Rouge Fruit contains Cinsault, Alicante, Grenache, Carignan, Aramon, and Muscat.   Besides this wine, I was also lucky enough to be comp’d with a glass of 1975 Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande.  It was just splendid…!

At Les Fines Gueules, the wines are always full of surprises (good ones, of course) and the food is promising. Very relaxing and cheerful ambiance.  Free live Jazz concerts are performed here from time to time on Sundays.

Les Fines Gueules satisfies those with good palates and good tastes.  A truly cool place for those Hao Kou Fu people.

Les Fines Gueules
Address – 43 Rue Croix des Petits Champs, Paris 75001
TEL – +33 1 42 61 35 41
Hours –  Open 7 days for lunch and dinner.  Bar hour till late night.
Metro – Palais Royal, Bourse, Sentier, or Pyramide

More photos –

Gastronomy, Japan - Tokyo

Sawada, A Man Who Puts His Soul Into His Sushi

April 20, 2009


The chef - Koji Sawada (澤田幸治)

The chef - Koji Sawada (澤田幸治)

It’s indeed not easy to get a seat at Sawada. Think about this – 7 seats only, Michelin 2 stars, one of the hippest Sushi places in Tokyo. I was lucky enough to get in there and be seated right in front of the chef Sawada Koji (澤田幸治). Sawada is 38 years old, the same age as RyuGin’s chef Yamamoto. He used to work for one of the top Sushi places in Ginza – 青木 (Aoki). Some Japanese media even claim that Sawada is the most difficult sushi place to get a seat which really tempted me to go there.  

The entrance of Sawada

The entrance of Sawada


I arrived at 13h50, 10 minutes earlier than my reservation scheduled at 14h. There were another 2 guests who had just arrived. There are only 2 people working at Sawada – the Chef himself and his helper. Sawada speaks a little English. He asked me if there is anything I don’t eat. I told him I even ate ball fish, then he laughed.  Before starting the meal, his helper brought this sake – “醸し人九平次 別誂(べつあつらえ)純米大吟醸 Eau du desir” to me.

醸し人九平次 別誂(べつあつらえ)純米大吟醸 Eau du desir

醸し人九平次 別誂(べつあつらえ)純米大吟醸 Eau du desir


It’s my first time to taste this sake, and it’s an unusual one. Why?! It’s the first sake being introduced to a few Michelin 3 star restaurants in Paris, i.e. Pierre Gagnaire and Guy Savoy. This sake is really good and I would not hesitate to say it’s the best one I had so far in this year.  



I-Ku-Ra, the loose salmon eggs

I-Ku-Ra, the loose salmon eggs


The first appetizer Sawada brought to me is I-Ku-Ra, the loose salmon eggs with a bit citrus sauce which offers a very light and elegant touch to the salmon eggs. The quality of salmon eggs is impeccable. They just easily melted in my mouth.  


赤貝 Akagai (Red Clam)

赤貝 Akagai (Red Clam)



Afterwards, the Sawada style sushi feast started. I totally enjoyed looking at how he worked with his knife and shaped the sushi with skillful hands. He’s like an artist! Every sushi is just incredibly great and delicious. Sawada only uses the best fish he can get on the day (he has very limited sleeping time ‘cz he has to choose fish by himself every early morning). This sushi place totally blew me away. Even now, I could still remember how those fish tasted in my mouth… How that great O-toro brought the heavenly pleasure to me… The wild sea eel, the different unis (sea urchin) from Hokkaido and Kyushu, …everything is just incredible. Even the simplest atsuyaki tamago (egg cake) demonstrates what perfection would be. 



大トロ (Otoro)

大トロ (Otoro)



Although our communication wasn’t much, by his genuine smile and extremely serious attitude to his sushi, I can tell that he really cares about his guests. Sawada, a man gives sushi with a spirit…! P.S. The 3 star sushi places are Mizutani (鮨 水谷) and Sukiyabashi Jiro (鮨 すきやばし次郎). At beginning, my first choice was Mizutani and 2nd choice was Sawada. I didn’t put Jiro as my first choice after doing reserach on several Japanese websites. The ratings of Mizutani or Sawada are the highest. Michelin Guide is worth it as a reference to, but when it comes to the end, I would rather trust a local insider’s taste.


さわ田 Sawada 
5-9-19 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan

+81 3 3571 4711 


Here are more pictures –