Canned Soup Goodness

The title of this post probably sounds almost oxymoronic to some of you – how can Canned soup ever be good?

Although there are obvious advantages to canned soup such as convenience and higher longevity in the cupboard, one can hardly call it good from a food-lover’s point of view, given that most canned soup company chefs deal only with freakish mutant vegetables. But what can you do when you are heading off to college (or work) and are simply too busy to prepare a hearty, homemade, cream of tomato soup? I was recently saved by Albert Menes Veloute de Tomate soup.

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Unlike many canned tomato soups that are either too watery or too harsh and acidic, the Albert Menes Veloute de Tomate has a velvety texture that is complimented by its highly condensed tomato flavour. The tomatoes used are picked and matured under the sun of Provence in France, and the soup itself is also made according to a traditional Provencal recipe. The richness of the soup, like any other canned soup, depends on how much water you put into the saucepan along with the contents of the can, but I personally prefer to put as little as possible so that the original texture of the soup is preserved.  At the back of the can it suggests that you add croutons fried with butter, a pinch of chives, and some creme fraiche before serving, but tonight all I had was the soup itself with some melba toast and it was already good (and less fattening! Although next time I think I will have this with a slightly burnt grilled cheese sandwich for an ultimate comfort food experience).

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So Hong Kongers, I’ll tell you that I bought this soup at Citysuper in IFC. and LOOK! IT IS NOW AT HALF PRICE! Normally at 99HKD for a canned soup it is on the expensive side but right now at HKD50 it is even cheaper than it is on its official French website:

http://www.albertmenes.fr/  

(And Americans – I heard that you can get it too but for around 13 USD so YEAHH I am getting a good deal here today 😀 )

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I have yet to try the other soups in the same range but as I bought a box full of these today I will probably try them soon. I won’t blog again about these soups but ask me later about the other varieties or just try them yourself ! 🙂

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Ki Ra La

Had lunch at Ki Ra La (きらら) today. Upon arrival I discovered that it is related to Sushi Dokoro Hikari in Tin Hau and thought “#%@! this is gonna be a waste of a meal”* BUT I was wrong 🙂

I opted for the Kirala Deluxe Set ($250) and mom went for the Wagyu Stone Grill Set ($480). Both started with a standard salad + chawanmushi combo:

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To my relief, these 2 starters hinted that it would be reasonable to expect better quality mains here at Ki Ra La than its Tin Hau counterpart. The salad was crisp and fresh, and the chawanmushi contained bits of chicken and shrimp that were unexpectedly flavourful, indicating the use of fresh rather than frozen ingredients.

Next came my mom’s Uni Tofu and Sashimi. The homemade Uni tofu was pudding-like in texture and had significant bits of sweet uni inside. The sashimi bowl however, was nothing to scream about. The toro was tendon-y and the botan-ebi wasn’t exactly full of umami. The spoonful of uni was OK :p

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Then came my entire lunch set.

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Again the sashimi was no good (although considering the fact that this set costed only $250, it was probably fair). BUT! everything else in the set justified potential return. The tempura batter was nice and thin, and the zaru-udon that I ordered in place of the steamed egg rice that was meant to come with the set was nice and chewy. All in all it was a well balanced lunch set.

I also ate a bit of my mom’s meal.

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I have been trying to eat less red meat lately for various reasons but hey there was literally only 4 small pieces of beef in the entire set. So I stole one from my mom.

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The beef served in this set is Miyazaki-gyu ranked A4. Wagyu is generally ranked from 1-5 with 5 being the best. The meat at rank 5 is supposed to have the highest marbling of snowy white fat in its muscle meat (as opposed to fat with a slight yellow tinge), and has a characteristic smooth, melt-in-mouth texture. The beef here in Ki Ra La’s lunch set, despite being ranked more humbly at A4, was delicious after a light sear on the little stonegrill. And as you can see, each piece was neatly cut into bite-sized, perfect rectangles, which was a plus for my lazy jaws.

Our meal ended with grapefruit jelly and a light chocolate cake. Both exceeded my expectations because most Japanese restaurants in this price range only serve either fruits or ice cream as set lunch desserts.

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Address:
Ki Ra La 2/F Henry House, No. 42 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

銅鑼灣恩平道42號亨利中心2樓

Tel: 2808 0292