Gold Rice Bowl is a caterer in HKUST which doesn't offer breakfast and tea time items. What amazed me was the fact that the portion of the food served was always huge. One serving was enough for me to last for the rest of the day without the need to eat supper. Well, when one takes a glimpse at the tray return station, one will see that there are, more often than not, lots of leftovers. Again, since it's not possible for me to review everything, I've selected a total of twelve dishes to be featured in this review.
Teppan Roast Pig Trotter Set HK$38.00 (~S$6.30)
(set includes rice or spaghetti and a drink)
Teppan Roast Pig Trotter - Taste: 8.5/10
Honey Lemon - Taste: 8.5/10
I remember I posted this picture on my Facebook wall some time back, and it apparently garnered quite a few comments from my friends. "SCHOOL CANTEEN FOOD?! ZOMG!" (yes, I was surprised myself), "WOWs! This school's looks so much better than ours!" (yeah, of course, compared to the majority of NUS food) and my personal favourite "Haiyaaa... With this kind of appetite, how on earth you can stay slim like this...." (haha, actually I'm not that slim laaa...). Anyway, the pig trotter was cracklingly crispy on the outside and moist on the outside, although it'd be perfect if it could be more tender. The black pepper sauce was gave a kick in the mouth, but not overpowering. I chose the perennial favourite, cold honey lemon, which was soothing without being overly sweet.
Lasa Beef with Lily Flower and Mushroom Set HK$31.00 (~S$5.15)
(set includes rice and a drink)
I'm not exactly sure, but Lasa may refer to the city of Lhasa in Tibet. It was an interesting dish of tender, fatty beef slices with enoki mushrooms and tomato slices in orange-coloured sauce which was pretty much creamy and milky without being overly heavy. Well, we know that yak is prevalent in the Tibetan region, but I doubt they actually use yak's milk haha... Hokkaido milk, perhaps? Anyway, the drink that I chose for the day was hot Ovaltine.
Duck Breast, Chicken Cartilage and Eggplant with Garlic Set HK$31.00 (~S$5.15)
(set includes rice and a drink)
I love chicken cartilages, and nothing could beat those dipped in batter and deep-fried to add another dimension in terms of texture. The duck breast was tender, and the eggplant was soft without being mushy. Although I enjoyed the strong garlicky sensation taste, the dish overall was a tad salty, so it had to be eaten with rice. I guess I don't have to talk about the drink I ordered, which was cold Horlicks.
Chicken Dice and Chestnut with Vegetable Fried Rice HK$25.00 (~S$4.15)
It's always been a delight to take pictures of colourful dishes, and the fried rice was one of them. The taste, however, wasn't as colourful as expected. Although the balance of flavour was there, the rice wasn't really fluffy. To me, the fluffiness of each grain of rice is an important factor in fried rice dishes. Nevertheless, it was a delight to have cashew nuts (mistranslated as chestnuts) on top for added crunch.
Mushroom and Chicken Steamed Rice HK$20.00 (~S$3.30)
The steamed rice dishes are the ones that I miss the most. Give me oh-so-tender chicken meat and juicy mushrooms, topped with a few strips of ginger to make the dish aromatic; it'll send me to heaven straight away. The blanched cabbages on the side were only slightly seasoned. Comfort food at its best!
Duck Leg Soup Rice HK$23.00 (~S$3.80)
I was glad I ordered this rare dish, which seemed to appear only once throughout the exchange programme. The plump duck was really flavourful and tender, and the soup was really hearty, laden with natural oil from the duck itself. In addition, the strong aroma of star anise exuded from the soup was really appetising.
Hawaii Baked Pork Chop Rice HK$25.00 (~S$4.15)
The baked rice came with tender pork slices of adequate thickness, broccoli, as well as non-canned tomatoes and pineapples. The combination of the tomato sauce and the soft and sticky mozzarella cheese was great. Short-grain rice was used for the baked rice dishes, and boy, it was damn filling!
Spicy Special Rice in Soup HK$26.00 (~S$4.30)
A dish to beat the cold weather blues, it comprised short-grain rice in soup with ingredients such as chashu (Japanese sliced pork belly), kamaboko (Japanese fish cake), boiled egg, corn, seaweed and spring onions, topped with chili oil. Even though it might not look that spicy, it was hot enough to make my head itchy.
Takoyaki Small Balls with Ramen HK$25.00 (~S$4.15)
Melon is going to scold me for this haha... It was interesting to see that a school canteen prepared takoyaki (Japanese ball-shaped snack made of wheat-flour based batter filled with diced octopus). Anyway, although lacking the shaved katsuobushi (Japanese dried bonito flakes), these small balls were pretty soft and chewy, topped with sweet and sour sauce and mayonnaise. The lightly seasoned, but hearty ramen in soup came with lots of kelps.
Shell Meat and Crab Roe Fried Spaghetti HK$26.00 (~S$4.30)
The caterer offers quite a repertoire of spaghetti dishes. I happened to try the above-mentioned spaghetti dish for lunch one day, which came with quite a lot of fresh clams sans any fishy taste and a bit of crab roe. Cooked more or less aglio olio style, the spaghetti was al dente, moist and garlicky.
Three-Dish Rice HK$25.00 (~S$4.15)
Mutton with Turnip - Taste: 8/10
Fish with Chili - Taste: 7/10
Beef with Bitter Gourd - Taste: 8/10
Okay, the dishes have no specific names so I just gave them very simple names. I enjoyed the flavourful braised mutton with juicy turnip cubes, as well as the beef and the not-so-bitter bitter gourd slices cooked with black beans. Although the fish coated with flour came with chili slices, it wasn't spicy. Pika's advice 1: If three choices of dish are too much for you, opt for the cheaper two choices of dish. Also, the highly popular deep-fried squid tentacles with turmeric are usually only available for lunch, and you have to get them fast as the queue is usually quite long!
Three-Topping Rice Noodle HK$21.00 (~S$3.50)
Gold Rice Bowl serves the famous delicacy of Yunnan rice noodle with a variety of toppings to choose in addition to the complimentary chives. I've eaten this particular dish quite a few times, and to be honest, I'm not exactly sure myself the toppings in this particular picture, but I suppose they ought to be enoki mushrooms, pork intestines, as well as pork and vegetables dumpling. I have to say that the braised items, such as the pork intestines, were really flavourful and aromatic, especially of cinnamon and star anise. Pika's advice 2: The chili is quite spicy, but appetising. If you can't stand too much of the heat, request just a little bit of it!
Taste: 8/10Ambience: 6.5/10
Seriously, the portion of canteen food in NUS seems pretty small compared to that of the food served by Gold Rice Bowl.
Gold Rice Bowl @ HKUST
Clear Water Bay Road
(Daily: 11.00am - 9.00pm)
*Prices quoted are nett prices.
Have a nice meal,