First up, Malaysian cuisine at Hainan Shaoye:
They offered 2 varieties of crab - chili or peppercorn. I meant to order chili, but ordered peppercorn by mistake. I'm glad I did! The sauce was incredibly flavorful without being too spicy and the sweet, tender crab soaked up the sauce wonderfully. If you go, the crab needs to be ordered at least a day in advance.
When you see a drink named "Godzilla", how could you not order it? The Milo was chocolate malt and Horlick was malted milk. I think technically there was supposed to be a scoop of ice cream in there to make it "Godzilla". Ours were topped with whipped cream only, so it should have been called "Dinosaur". Such cool names!
Aside from the crab, I would also highly recommend the Black Truffle Egg Tofu. Delightfully earthy flavors and super silky tofu with a crisp exterior.
Though we couldn't go to the original Din Tai Fung (pls excuse the misspelling below) in Taiwan, I was delighted they had a branch in HK. I've been to the one in LA too, but HK had a much larger menu.
I need to find some Drunken Chicken in SF!
We had previously tried a Japanese all you can eat (AYCE) place in Toronto, but was unimpressed with both the offerings and slow service. Despite that, Mom is a huge fan of buffets because she always feels she can get a good value. I think she can as an individual, but we don't as a family since MIL is vegetarian and both kids were charged (USD $20 each child - this is ridiculous for a 1-year old, $30 each adult). For the cost, we should have just gone to Kanizen (Japanese Crab restaurant) twice.
As with the AYCE in Toronto, service is slow (I'm assuming this is deliberate), but the ordering seems more efficient with massive stacks of ordering slips color coded by type of food and your table number. The food was actually pretty good and they had a large range of options. My favorite, by far, was the grilled sushi. Net, if you are non-vegetarian adults, you can probably get your money's worth.
I love food window displays. And they are even better when the restaurant happens to be closed at the time because then I can stare longingly at it without employees thinking I'm nuts. At Toi Hokkaido, they serve pizza where the crust is composed of pan-seared(?) pressed rice. I was fascinated and made my family go later that day.
The stars of the night were the Crab pasta - perfectly cooked crab, noodles infused with plenty of crab flavor, and generous amounts of roe sprinkled throughout, and Litchi Soda. The pizza was interesting and I'm glad I got to try it, but I had envisioned a very crisp rice crust and there were some mushy areas.