ISSUE 97 | JULY/AUGUST 2018 | WWW.AFOODIEWORLD.COM
Game Changers FOUR OF ASIA'S RESTAURATEURS REVISITED
The Food Nomad
Wong Chuk Hang
Discover the cuisine of Sanya, Hainan
Where to eat in this cool industrial area
The importance of bio-diversity in farming
PR OMOT IO N
Kick Brunch Into High Gear
The brand new Mercedes me Store has unveiled its much-anticipated chic and affordable dining concept, offering a sumptuous range of refreshing dishes to tempt your taste buds. Brunch has been revamped from the excessive buffet-styles of the past to a more discerning and less waste-generating à la carte menu that allows guests to truly savour a selection of decadent dishes with their family and friends.
Starting with a selection of small plates served straight to the table, guests will kick-start their appetites with a vibrant Seasonal Tropical Fruit Bowl, Fresh House-Made Pastries, Cured Beef Carpaccio and Baby Gem Leaves. Guests can then choose from six main courses — all exclusive to the Brunch session only — from meaty options, like BBQ Brisket Sandwich and Grilled Australian Hanger Steak, to classic brunch dishes of Soft Free-Range Scrambled Eggs, Smashed Avocado on Toast and Soufflé Skillet Pancakes — the new brunch at Mercedes me Store has luscious dishes to satisfy every craving and food preference. To top off the magnificent meal, irresistible desserts like Compressed Golden Pineapple, Strawberry Ice-Cream Bar and Hazelnut Praline will send you home in a heavenly food-glazed haze. You may also choose to balance out the sweet flavours with a complimentary coffee or tea brewed freshly from the bar. Of course, there are also some free-flow options to add a flare of fun to the brunch, with two-hour packages that echo the Mercedes Benz identity: divided into C-Class ($185) and S-Class ($295), each comprising a mixed selection of bubbly, and red and white wines. Priced at $395 per person, the Mercedes me brunch is available every Saturday, 12–3pm, and every Sunday, 11am–3pm.
Mercedes me Store Hong Kong Address: Shop 38 & 40, G/F, 48 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong Reservation email: email@example.com | Reservation telephone: +852 2598 7080
I NTROD UCTI ON
CHANGING THE GAME CEO Lily Ng CTO Derek Kean COO Shirin Ong Editor-in-Chief Alicia Walker Editor-at-Large Celia Hu Digital Editor Stephanie Pliakas Art Director Jen Paolini IT Specialist & DPO Dale Foo Director of Business Development Jason Strickland Marketing & Community Leader Yanhan Tan
In this issue, we had the opportunity to dive back in time to six years ago when we interviewed four inspirational restaurateurs who were making a difference to the rising food scene in Asia. We revisit them today where they have all remarkably endured and continued to build, disrupt, and endear diners with their iconic restaurants. The common thread of each of their dining establishments is their unique ability to be seamlessly entrenched within the community, creating a lasting appeal that ensures monthly, and even weekly, repeat customers along with the beautiful dishes they serve. Who are these galvanising game changers paving the way to Asia’s dynamic dining landscape? Flip to page 10 and read about their journey to this point, Cover image and how astonishingly correct all their courtesy of SEVVA food predictions from back then have turned out to be. Take a look back in time and into the future; as long as food is at the forefront, we’re there!
Events Coordinator Carly Robert Design & Marketing Assistant Becky Fawdry
Alicia Walker, Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributors Nate Green, Cindy Lam, Laura Williams, Hannah Chung Interns Aymeric Moreau, Dan Arnot, Natasya Chandra, Natalie Leung, Davis Lee, Naomi Wong, Pavan Kallar, Abigail Smith Published by Foodie Group Ltd. 7/F Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong www.afoodieworld.com
“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years, she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.” — CALVIN TRILLIN
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FOODIE CLUB Find out what fun events we hosted for Foodies!
W H E R E TO E AT I N WONG CHUK HANG Ever since the MTR opened, this industrial area has become the hot new place to work, live, and eat. Here are all the eating options in this undiscovered district
G A M E C H A N G E RS Four of Asiaâ€™s restaurateurs revisited six years on
THE FOOD NOMAD Celia Hu takes on the cuisine of Sanya, Hainan
L I TT L E H O N G KO N G K I TC H E N Laura Williams notches up our home-cooking skills with this monthâ€™s wholesome recipes
M E AT L E S S M O N T H LY Cindy Lam makes our vegetarian days super easy with her take on a summer bruschetta
E T H I C A L M E ATS Chef Nate Green dispels meat myths and discusses the importance of biodiversity in farming
THE ZERO WA ST E D I A R I E S Our zero waste hero Hannah Chung goes to war on straws to discover the sucking power of paper, bamboo, potato starch, and silicone
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Discover all the fun from our Foodie Club events last month. Join us by signing up on www.afoodieworld.com. It’s free!
We don’t always do pure drinking and eating events here at Foodie Club; sometimes, we like to get our club members’ brains working — just like when we put them to the test in our recent event, in partnership with Marriott Vacation Club. We got a crowd of 80s-lovin’ Foodies down for an 80s Pub Quiz Date Night, where couples teamed up for a friendly quiz competition. We all debated hard on the name of Michael Jackson’s pet chimp, chowed down on yummy pub grub, and indulged in a night of free-flow drinks and fun. Although nobody was seen decked out in fanny packs and leg warmers, our Foodies’ love for the 80s was clearly evident that night. We then tested our Foodies’ knowledge on har gow and siu mai at our Dim Sum Workshop, in yet another investigative sustainable seafood event series with Choose Right Today. With the expertise of our sustainable seafood supplier friends at Pacific Rich Resources, Foodies took part in a blind-tasting food war where we got them to taste the difference between dim sum made with sustainably-sourced ingredients and regular shop-bought varieties. Foodies also got their hands dirty in a chef demo with Chef Neil Tomes, where they made dumplings from scratch and took away some dim sum-making techniques.
Photo Credit: Right Treat
The latest and greatest ideas being cooked up in tech kitchens:
PORCINE PORK We’ve discussed Impossible Meat, Beyond Burger, Terramino Salmon, Just Scramble, and other plant-based proteins, and now we have Asia’s new pea, soy, mushroom and rice blend, Omnipork from Green Monday. This meat-like product is purportedly better for the body, better for the environment, completely free from harmful additives, and is not genetically modified. If you want to try out this revolutionary product for yourself in Hong Kong, hoof it over to one of these three places currently offering this piggyalternative: Kind Kitchen, 1/F, 173 Des Voeux Road, Nan Fung Place, Central, Ming Court at Cordis Hotel, 6/F, 555 Shanghai Street, Mongkok, and, until the end of August, at Man Ho at JW Marriott Hotel, 3/F, 88 Queensway, Pacific Place.
GREEN NECTAR North America is adding a little green to their beers. Several companies in the U.S. and Canada are creating cannabis-infused brews. Soon to market are Hi-Fi Hops by California-headquartered Lagunitas Brewing Company, producing two ‘IPA-inspired’ non-alchoholic beverages infused with the psychoactive constituent of cannabis, THC and CBD, that’ll give you a whole different type of beer buzz. Molson Coors and Constellation Brands in Canada are also reportedly developing cannabis-infused beverages in anticipation of the country’s upcoming legalisation of marijuana this autumn.
The robots are starting in on the delivery industry, and we’re not talking drones this time, but autonomous vehicles carrying groceries and take-away. Starship Technologies will begin by deploying the bots in university campuses and neighbourhoods in Europe and the U.S. and have already begun testing the concept by partnering with food delivery companies. Now Starship says they’re ready to scale it up and roll the robots out mainstream following their latest round of funding. For us, this begs the question: do you tip a delivery bot?
Photo Credit: Starship Technologies
SELF-DRIVING FOOD BOTS
WHERE TO EAT IN
wong chuk hang The best spots to grab a bite and hang in the ‘Hang. And, no, most are not easy to find! Previously an old industrial area, Wong Chuk Hang now holds the title of the MTR station a few years back. Whether it’s to work, live or eat, people are flocking to the district, where you have to search to find the local canteens tucked inside old factory buildings or uncover the cool private kitchens and cafés hidden within.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Maloney
Hong Kong’s newest hipster neighbourhood, ever since the opening of
WONG CHUK HANG
AFRICA COFFEE AND TEA Transport yourself to another continent by trying out African delicacies such as Ethiopian veggie stew with coconut rice ($90) and East African pilau rice with baked chicken thigh ($110). For an extra $25, you can also get a cup of African single-origin coffee or South African rooibos tea. A café, bar and event space, ACT offers VIP-room or full-venue bookings that can fit up to 60 people, as well as a tranquil public dining space for a quiet cuppa. Winner of an Ethical Eats award at this year’s Foodie Forks! 1501–1504, 15/F, 41 Heung Yip Road, 2180 7536
Africa Coffee and Tea
beef rendang curry, lasagne, falafel wrap ($65) and veggie soba salad ($55). There are plenty of veggie and vegan options, and they’ve even got kombucha on the menu to look after your digestive health. They currently only deliver to Wong Chuk Hang, but you can also order online (www.foodfolk.hk) and walk over to collect if you fancy a stroll. Unit A, 14/F, Derrick Industrial Building, 49 Wong Chuk Hang Road, 3594 6111
B . I . T. C A N T E E N
G AG A R E STAU R A N T
For the indecisive, B.I.T. Canteen will be treacherous ground, as they’ve got everything from Chinese, to Japanese, to Western covered. Their early-bird menu (from 11am–12pm) includes dishes like pork rib and potato and fish and aubergine with rice ($40 each). They also have an afternoon tea menu that features dishes such as tuna penne ($40) and fried rice ($38). All the dishes have a Hong Kong twist to them, and it’s a busy and buzzing place to dine.
With sandwiches that start as low as $15, this is one of those cha chaan tengs that will keep both your tummy and wallet satisfied. Options are aplenty and portions are generous.
Benefit Industrial Factory Building, 59–61 Wong Chuk Hang Road, 2814 1888
FOOD FOLK With a divine ethos that includes cooking from scratch, using animals raised only in their natural habitats with natural feeds, buying local and seasonal and working with small farms, we adore the folk at Food Folk. They look after our nutritional needs and craft them into lunch-perfect items like
Block C, Vita Tower, 29 Wong Chuk Hang Road, 2580 8100
GOLDEN MONKEY For a reliable, hearty bowl of pho, we head to Golden Monkey. This pho is HUGE and can be customised to your liking (we quite like the zucchini zoodles on the days we want to avoid a starch-filled food coma). The premium combo ($83) comes with beef, beef brisket, tripe and beef shank, but you can also get the supreme combo ($93) with extra meatballs, oxtail and Vietnamese sausage added into the mix. Grab a table by the window for a bit of tranquil me-and-my-pho time. Shop G08, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, 3100 0184 afoodieworld.com 07
GOODWILL PRODUCTION Tucked inside a ramshackle industrial building, this hidden gem deserves a shout-out for its delicious food and cosy set-up. With comic books and Gundam figures on the shelves, diners can devour the popular seafood risotto ($82), smoked salmon Caesar salad ($50) and angel hair with mushroom and truffle ($68). Room N, 25/F, Phase 1, Kingley Industrial Building, 35 Yip Kan Street, 2889 6528
K AYO B I K I TC H E N Kayobi Kitchen’s enticing lunch sets feature dishes like teriyaki chicken rice with shrimp cutlet ($68) and Korean fried pork rice ($60), and they rotate the menu every day. You can also opt for their deli menu where you can choose from an assortment of hot and cold deli items accompanied by rice or udon. Unfortunately for us, they are shutting up shop in the autumn and moving to a location in Sheung Wan; we’ll be looking forward to the opening while eating our fill in WCH before they take away one of our favourite lunch spots. Flat 6B, 6/F, Derrick Industrial Building, 49 Wong Chuk Hang Road, 3568 4245
KO KEE A bowl of Ko Kee’s ramen is our answer to Hong Kong's rainy days. While this is not the most traditional Japanese ramen, go ahead and dabble in some inventive flavours like tomato and kimchi broth ($58). Previously featured in our Best Cheap Soup Noodles online guide, Ko Kee remains a Foodie favourite and our first choice at the nearby cooked food centre. Shop 4, Nam Long Shan Road Cooked Food Market, 5543 3469 08 afoodieworld.com
KO M U N E Classic meets contemporary at laid-back Komune. They’ve even got live music performances and negroni nights at Ovolo Hotel’s coolest eating option. There’s a great terrace on which to enjoy the Spanish chef’s eclectic fusion eats that include clams, chorizo and sake ($88), oxtail and truffle croquettes ($85), grilled octopus, potato foam and smoked paprika ($128) and an unforgettable cheesecake soufflé ($148). 4/F, Ovolo Southside, 64 Wong Chuk Hang Road, 3460 8100
T H E LO F T This is Pirata Group’s (Pirata, The Optimist, TokyoLima, Pici, MEATS, Chifa and Madame Ching) new test kitchen and private event space in the location previously occupied by Elephant Grounds. A spacious, woody dining area with terrace and charming mismatched furnishings is open for breakfast and lunch, offering baked goods, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, coffee and fresh juices. 1/F, The Factory, 1 Yip Fat Street, 3956 5791
MUM VEGGIE CAFÉ Dare we say that this is Hong Kong’s first and only Japanese-vegetarian restaurant? A friendly neighbourhood spot, MUM’s Japanese veggie lunch sets (from $58) showcase salads, noodles and dumplings, plus cakes and fresh juices. Yoga mornings are also offered at this charming café. Shop G07, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, 2115 3348
Photo Credit: Goodwill Production / Facebook
MUM Veggie Cafe
Photo Credit: MUM Veggie Cafe / Facebook
WONG CHUK HANG
P O M E G R A N AT E K I TC H E N This private kitchen is like a breath of fresh air, with long, wooden communal tables and beautiful flower arrangements throughout. There’s also a spacious, greenery-filled terrace on which to enjoy the gorgeous Middle Eastern cuisine courtesy of Chef Maria Bizri. An ever-changing menu features dishes like Tunisian shakshouka ($95), pomegranate, avocado and quinoa superfood bowl ($110) and chargrilled sumac-marinated chicken and chorizo salad ($95). They also do lunch delivery in Wong Chuk Hang. 4/F, Sing Teck Industrial Building, 44 Wong Chuk Hang Road, 2580 0663
T H E S E C R E T K I TC H E N B Y T H E B U TC H E RS C L U B Formerly The Butchers Club Deli, this is a private kitchen for private events with a meaty focus. Famed for their dry-aged meat, book yourself in and leave plenty of time to peruse the old-world furniture collection while you’re in there — you’ll want to take it all home with you. 16/F & Rooftop, Shui Ki Industrial Building, 18 Wong Chuk Hang Road, 2884 0768
S E N S O RY Z E R O This place is a feast for the eyes and the stomach. The eatery is housed with Sensory FIGHT CLUB, a mixed martial arts training ring. The café itself serves up homemade soups, pastas and — a favourite of ours — triple-decker eel rice ($95),
along with creative liquid concoctions like ginger latte ($40). Though the name would have you believe otherwise, it’s a lot for the senses to take in, but somehow it all works. Shop G01, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, 2511 6011
S U N K WA N G S H I N C A N T E E N This place is a little bit hard to locate, with cargo trucks often blocking the way in, but trust Google Maps and you will find it. When you enter E. Wah, walk straight and you’ll see the entrance to the canteen on your right. They offer local delicacies such as fried rice and fried udon and a variety of breakfast and tea sets. Prices start as low as $38, plus an extra $2 for hot drinks or $4 for cold. Sun Kwang Shin Canteen opens from 6:45am, perfect for when you need a hearty start to the day. English menus aren’t on the tables, but ask nicely and they will provide. Block A, 59-60 Wong Chuk Hang Road, E. Wah Factory Building, 2555 1775, 2555 1499
U R B A N H E A LT H These health-loving peeps deliver to the area and thus appear regularly on our desks when we don’t have time to pop out. Daily-changing menus include dishes like pumpkin soup ($28), Spanish fish stew with rice ($70) and crockpot pork with mashed potato and roasted veg ($70). They’ve always got deals and discounts on their website (www.uhfoods.com), so you can also save a buck while eating well. Sun Hing Industrial Building, 6/F, 46 Wong Chuk Hang Road, 3611 6955 afoodieworld.com 09
M on the Bund
game changers Back in 2012, Alicia Walker interviewed four key players in the F&B industry in Hong Kong. Two were brand new that year, and all have prevailed as heavy hitters whoâ€™ve helped frame Asiaâ€™s dining scene. We resume the conversation now, six years later, to get a feel for the waves of change and how these pioneers have ridden them.
afoodieworld.com 11 M on the Bund
Bonnae Gokson has just celebrated 10 years since opening her revered restaurant SEVVA. She also founded Ms B’s CAKERY and C’est La B, both known for their showstopping confections.
What she said six years ago: “I've always remained true to my philosophy of using the best-quality produce, which is already halfway to creating a good dish. I also source from around the world to bring in the best from small farms and places that respect and honour organic farming. Even for a simple bowl of wontons, we prepare everything the ‘slow food’ way with a great deal of effort, making the stock and taking care in every step to make it good, wholesome and delicious. It’s not just dining; it’s about the whole experience of a great lifestyle savoured with all the senses. But in Hong Kong’s future, I foresee foods that are less fussy and heavy. Also, good classics revisited and more ways to present small plates to share other than Spanish tapas. And I can see a more relaxed plate with different textures to the bite, with the Americanisation and Asianisatian of sauces.” Now, in 2018, Gokson has seen many food trends come and go. She says, “The cycle of trends has always been a fickle business. I see more mindfulness in people’s diets, eating much more vegetables, grains and pulses. More biodynamically grown, if possible. Asian flavour inspirations will be even bigger. Food is too much handled for prettying up as art these days; it will go back to 12 afoodieworld.com
bonnae gokson more wholesome basics. Perhaps in a dish that normally has 80 percent meat or protein in it with 20 percent vegetables, it will go the reverse for a healthier way of eating. Vegetables will be higher. In fact, this is the way Koreans, Japanese, and rural Chinese in different provinces have eaten for decades. Eating healthy and wealthy will be trendy too.” SEVVA remains as prominent and relevant as ever, a remarkable achievement after a decade in business. Gokson says that her lasting appeal has nothing to do with being the latest thing, explaining, “I do not follow trends. The most important thing is having the passion for the biz and being hands on at every level. I have led my team and steered the brand around countless pitfalls. I’ve remained very responsible and accountable with everything at the same time throughout these years, managing to inspire, encourage and motivate my team. I think these are some of the reasons for our success, as we are like a family.”
Yardbird exploded onto the dining scene in 2012 with a cool factor that included a no-reservations policy, no service charge, and a focus on friendly, welcoming servers. It remains one of the best restaurants in the city and a trusted favourite of Hong Kongers, thanks to founder Lindsay Jang and her team.
What she said six years ago: “I think food trends are interesting, because I feel like they stem from people in the industry being inspired by each other. In the future, I see F&B spots being opened and run by the owners. And I hope to see more mom-and-pop shops in Hong Kong, rather than large restaurant groups. I see customers becoming more discerning and, in turn, demanding better products and better service.“ Fast-forward six years and Jang says she’s seen a transformation in the dining scene here. “I've seen a shift to a more casual, Westernstyle way of dining. It seems a lot more social. It changes so fast. The cost of doing business here is very high, so you see a lot of turnover in spaces. The world is just getting smaller and smaller because of social media. Global is local and vice versa. Everyone is being inspired by each other; it’s cool to watch. I think we’re reaching a point of market saturation, so it will be interesting to see who lasts in the game. We definitely take care of the people in our industry and in our neighbourhood. Having mutual respect and admiration for others in the F&B scene make you automatically part of the community.” Jang’s advice to budding restaurateurs? “The most important thing I’ve learned over the past seven years is to be prepared. Don’t rush into it. Make sure you’ve actually worked in the industry for 10+ years. Do your homework, have a plan, understand the risks.” afoodieworld.com 15
Michelle Garnaut opened M at the Fringe back in 1989, where it operated within HK’s iconic Fringe Club for 20 years before she shut up shop and focused on her restaurants in Shanghai (M on the Bund, M Glam) and Beijing (Capital M in Tiananmen Square). Garnaut paved the way for independent ﬁne dining in Hong Kong that fuses Western and Chinese cuisine and continues to pioneer a
restaurants in China. She has founded a literacy and music festival in Shanghai and is the co-founder of the Village People Project, which improves the lives and health of villagers and promotes educating girls in rural China. She also spearheads Mentor Walks, which also operates in Hong Kong, where up-andcoming professional women can seek advice from experienced mentors.
What she said six years ago: “We had M at the Fringe for 20 years when they began renovating and we lost the lease. It was hard closing and so emotional. We weren't just a restaurant; we were a very big part of the community. We are always looking for a new location in Hong Kong, but we’ve almost built ourselves into a corner. Our Beijing location overlooks Tiananmen Square, and of course we’re on the Bund in Shanghai, so we have a reputation for being in remarkable positions and doing outstanding things. Being a part of the community is part of the business; it’s in our DNA. One of the disappointing things for me is that many restaurants around the world are being taken over by a few restaurant groups and it’s a brand. There aren’t even any people who are connected with the place. I’m distressed about this trend taking over. 16 afoodieworld.com
In the future, I think the small plates and the sharing that’s better value for money will come back at some point. I think there will be a bit of a backlash to good, old-fashioned food. I've been through that a few times in more than one city. We just want good cooking and straightforward food. Food is one part of a restaurant, but not the only part. A restaurant is entertainment, fun, a good atmosphere and good food.” Now, celebrating 20 years with M On the Bund, Garnaut says the evolution of the dining scene in Shanghai has been similar to that of Hong Kong. “There was no independent dining scene when we opened. There were half a dozen that you could classify as a restaurant and not a cafeteria and nothing outside local cuisine of dumplings and noodles. There were perhaps 40 or 50 free-standing restaurants, and now there are 250,000. So the growth has been astronomical. There was nothing else on the Bund, so everyone thought we were crazy. People now say it was a no-brainer, but it wasn’t then. The other restaurants started to open around us after about five years — I couldn’t believe it took so long. I started going in 1995 when Hong Kong was still booming, but I felt it was only smart to go into China, which had the potential to be a really big deal if it did work, and it did
michelle garnaut work. It’s not an easy business. It’s long, demanding hours and the public constantly criticising you. It also has an element of fashion to it. Every food trend in the world is happening in China. It’s very progressive. You can get any cuisine in Shanghai, any international and all the regions too, from Yunnan and Hunan to the Uyghur community of Xinjiang. I always hated the term, but now I think most food is fusion. It’s the availability of the produce. It was so thin on the ground back then. The change is just beyond imagination.” When asked whether she is doing things differently than six years ago, Garnaut explains, “Yes, of course. Restaurants are not static things. It might look similar, but we tweak, change things, change attitudes. We’ve kept the name and consistency and a style of food, and our food has grown, respecting
areas and traditional cuisines. Always progressing. The job of restaurants in the modern world is to be a place of goodwill, a meeting of minds and bodies that are fed well, but also feeding minds as well. We do an enormous amount of community work and engagement. Restaurants are the modern temple. I know from closing two restaurants that it’s such an emotional thing. For many people, it’s memories. Closing M at the Fringe was so hard. There’s an emotional connection that people have with the space. I wouldn’t close off the idea [of opening again in Hong Kong], but now it’s the time for young people. I was arrogant with my ideas then: I didn’t care if you didn't like it. And you have to have that. You can’t please everybody.”
We ﬁrst met founder Malcolm Wood in 2012 following the opening of three concepts: nightclub PLAY, obscurely set up in a nondescript terrace in LKF, Blue Butcher, a restaurant that was then thought too far down Hollywood Road for diners to venture, and Brickhouse, hidden in an LKF alleyway. Maximal Concepts have since become synonymous with making difﬁcult locations work to their advantage.
Talking to Wood now, he reflects, “PLAY was one of the first things that we did, and then Blue Butcher and Brickhouse. So it was those three things at the same time and there was no one to judge us by, really, six years ago. But, today, there are hundreds of people to judge us by. So the learning curve is we need to keep doing something different, and we have to break the trail to stay relevant. One thing we do differently as a group than others, I think, is we have confidence in our concepts, and therefore we’ve always taken hard spaces.” What he said six years ago: “I believe in farmto-table eating. You can’t beat fresh ingredients and well-treated livestock. Our farm-to-table ethics and simple but great food make Blue Butcher stand out. We believe that each ingredient should be well sourced, full of flavour and allowed to speak for itself. We incorporate a few molecular techniques with the food we like to eat, week in and week out. I think Hong Kong lacks good produce that can be found in cities like London, Paris, and New York, in farmers’ markets. Hong Kong locals are starting to realise this, and we are seeing more people trying to get this message across. I like to eat at restaurants where the ingredients are fresh and not messed around with too much. I hope we see more restaurants like this down the road, and I think we are ready for it here. I think that molecular dining has been the rage in Hong Kong recently, and rightly so. It’s an art form, but sometimes this food is just not what we crave. Appetite is all about fulfilling what you crave, and this is, more often than not, home cooking.” 18 afoodieworld.com
Malcolm WOOD Today, his portfolio has grown to include Limewood, Stockton and international branches of Mott 32, as well as more off-piste undertakings like the gourmet hot dogs and cocktails at Roomsbar within LKF’s Emperor Cinema, the upmarket Flawless spa, also in LKF, the cars-and-cuisine concept of Mercedes me Store and the eclectic food-court offerings at Macau’s Studio City. Wood says, “We’ve seen a huge amount of restaurants open up over the past six years, of many different types of concepts, many different people giving it a go. And a lot of people learning from each other. I still think it’s incredibly difficult to get really good farmed and grown products in Hong Kong. I think, just the nature of what we are, as a city in the tropics, it’s not that we can’t get them — it’s that they are extremely expensive. It’s quite difficult to run a good restaurant in the city. And with property
prices and rentals moving in a constant upward direction, it’s still a very difficult industry to get correct. I think we’ve definitely seen an explosion over the past six years. I think it’s probably one of the biggest restaurant booms I’ve ever seen in a city. I think what we’re going to see is sort of a destabilisation of these larger, older groups that haven’t been able to keep up with this wave of smaller, more bespoke, creative restaurants that have come up. But I also think we’re going to see a new wave of luxury restaurants. As we are seeing this boom with F&B, we are seeing a boom with hospitality, and we are seeing that across the spectrum, so I think there’s going to be a high demand for luxury as well as bespoke in the future.” A risk-taker by nature, Wood is also co-founder of an adventure paragliding equipment company,
but has kept a prudent portfolio during the restaurant recession of the past two years, saying, “Fundamentally, we’re doing the same thing; we’re opening up restaurants we like. We’re being extremely cautious where we go and what we do. We’ve not closed anything down except Double D in Hong Kong. We have a very good understanding of the locations we are in, the demographic of customers we have; we’re very cautious. We just fundamentally do the same thing that we’ve been doing from day one, with the same beliefs. We haven’t strayed far from that, and I attribute that to our success.” Wood’s advice to up-and-coming restaurateurs? “You have to be as creative with your spreadsheet as with your ideas. I don’t care what the idea is — you’ve got to come up with the numbers first.” afoodieworld.com 19
The Food Nomad Sanya, Hainan
Celia Hu heads to Hainan to uncover the origins of Hainanese Chicken Rice The southernmost city on China’s southernmost province of Hainan, Sanya, with its tropical climate, rainforests and sandy beaches, is often described as the Hawaii of China. Located almost at the same latitude as the Hawaiian Islands, the softly-swaying palm fronds of Sanya have recently become a beacon for travellers near and far. Also nicknamed “China’s Florida”, the warm climate is a popular vacation destination for retirees from China’s northern provinces, eager to escape the cold winters. It’s also the training site of the Chinese national beach volleyball team, and more than 80 percent of China’s surfing team reside here to catch the perfect wave.
THE FOOD NOMAD
During ancient times, Hainan was known as “the
pancakes and waffles, and eggs done just the
edge of the world” (天涯海角) due to its remoteness
way you like them. During the evenings, the vast
to the political center of Imperial China, and
restaurant is transformed into a hotpot buffet with
wayward officials sometimes found themselves
a bevy of fresh local seafood, enough to infuse any
exiled to this tropical paradise. What hardship!
broth with umami goodness.
Tourism is perhaps what Sanya is best known for
Anyone looking to dine with their toes in the sand
today. It’s a popular destination for domestic as
will be happy as a clam at Barbacoa, a beachside
well as Russian tourists, although recent flight
routes have also opened the island to visitors from
aromatic barbecues. During our visit, we were
Europe. We recently ventured to Haitang Bay,
especially impressed with the juicy grilled tiger
one of Hainan’s five bays, and the newest resort
prawns and butterflied grilled fish, accented with
developments in the region, to indulge in the luxury
Balinese spices. A dreamy dessert of coconut panna
accommodations of The Sanya EDITION.
cotta topped with brûléed marshmallow foam was
Sandwiched between The Westin and Crowne
a divine ending.
Plaza, and a stone’s throw away from Atlantis, a water-themed hotel rumoured to have cost US$1.5 billion to construct, EDITION Sanya is a spectacular oceanfront resort created by renowned American
DID YOU KNOW? Sanya is renowned for its clams, red feet prawns and line-caught fish.
hotel visionaire Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott International. The hotel is set amidst 50 acres of lush tropical greenery, with a stunning 20,000 square-meters “private ocean” at the heart of the property overlooking the South China Sea. Ten million gallons of seawater is pumped from the sea to this private ocean throughout the day, and its water teems with fish and a resident sea turtle. A bevy of water sports ranging from paddleboarding to kayaking is available on this private “ocean”. There’s even a floating platform in the middle for a truly unique dining experience. The goliath 500-rooms hotel, alongside more than a dozen exclusive hotel villas, means there are a lot of hungry appetites to satisfy. Luckily for guests, there are five dining options to cater to any taste and occasion. There’s Market, the largest of the restaurants, with its rustic wood and faded tiles evoking Sanya’s history as a trading port. A bustling breakfast buffet is served here, complete with live stations serving up bespoke bowls of noodles, afoodieworld.com 21
Xian Hai, the hotel’s signature Chinese restaurant,
Winklerin, and Hotel Las Dunas’ one-Michelin
features heavily on fresh local seafood. Chef
star restaurant in Marbella, Spain, before taking
Frank Ou, renowned for his modern sophisticated
residence in his current role as Executive Chef at
take on Cantonese cuisine, is the man behind the
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain.
menu. We dined in one of the restaurant’s four
The menu is full of whimsical names such as “dark
dining rooms, each perched on a platform that
side of us”, “be British” and “doctor octopus”, and
juts out onto the private ocean. It was here that
the extraordinary plating elevated each dish into
we had our first taste of winged beans, a crunchy
an artform. The dessert was a performance, over a
vegetable native to the island. Each segment of
massive tabletop drizzled with sauce, dotted with
the bean had a refreshing and sweet crunch with
life-like apples made of mousse, and spray-painted
a hint of nuttiness that made it quickly become our
with the chef’s initials in edible gold paint.
favourite vegetable choice. Despite its sleek, minimalist design, the hotel is
Houhai Floating Village 后海魚排
actually the perfect location for a family vacation.
For an authentic taste of Sanya, head over to
A mini-train runs through the property for kids to
the floating restaurants of Houhai. The crowded
hop on, and there is a world-class kids centre with
waterway has been a seafood lover’s delight for
a “make-believe” land, a rock climbing wall, mini
over 20 years. During the early boom years, Sanya
golf and even a bumper car arena!
earned a bad reputation for tricking customers
Culinary is Art
with notoriously high seafood prices, but this has stabilised in recent years after government
The variety of dining options has flourished
crackdowns. How about 20 varieties of seafood all
since Sanya became a holiday destination for
swimming in suspended nets below the floating
international travellers. This past June, we tasted
restaurants? It’s a sight to behold just to watch
the imaginative menu of Chef Yann Bernard
the restaurant staff manoeuvre between narrow
Lejard, who visited EDITION Sanya during a 2-day
planks to reach the various underwater cages.
guest chef performance showcasing his unique brand of artistic gastronomy. The French-born chef has honed his skills at a number of Michelinstarred restaurants and luxury hotels, such as Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Residenz Heinz
DID YOU KNOW? A typical local Hainanese breakfast is a bowl of rice noodles, served two ways: dry tossed in a meat ragout or steeped in a pork bone broth.
Hainanese Chicken Rice Chef Frank Ou of Xian Hai by The Sea at The Sanya EDITION shares his renowned recipe, originating from the commoners of the Qing Dynasty for ‘white cut chicken’. Chicken •
1 medium-sized whole chicken
1 cup rice
1 ¼ cup chicken broth
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp salt
250g pork shoulder
100g Jinhua ham
20g dried shrimp
30g dried scallops
50g fresh galangal
250g chicken wings/thigh to make stock
Dipping sauce •
1 red chilli
1 garlic clove
1 slice ginger
A squeeze of calamansi
Salt to taste
Dip the room temperature chicken in the boiling broth three times to heat it up. Re-submerge the chicken at a temperature of 90°C and slow cook for 20 minutes until chicken is fully cooked. Remove the chicken from the broth and allow to cool for 30–40 minutes in a bath of ice water.
Meanwhile, wash the rice and let soak for 30 minutes. Stir-fry garlic until aromatic, then add in the uncooked rice. Add in the chicken broth, salt, pandan leaves and cook until rice is tender. Alternatively, you can also do this in a rice cooker.
For the sauce, ground chillies, garlic, shallots and ginger into a paste. Season with salt and pour in boiling chicken broth, and add calamansi to taste.
little hong kong kitchen Recipe blogger and home-cook extraordinaire Laura Williams shares her recipes for wholesome salads and pasta dishes to get you inspired in the kitchen www.mylittlehongkongkitchen.com
HALLOUMI & BEETROOT SALAD Serves: 2 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 5 mins Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
250g halloumi 50g plain flour 100g dried breadcrumbs 1 large egg 1 tsp paprika 100ml grapeseed oil 3–4 medium cooked beetroots 150ml white wine vinegar 125ml water 1 ½ tbsp sugar 1 tsp salt 200g Greek yoghurt 1 lemon 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 200g salad leaves
Make pickled beetroot by placing the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt into a saucepan. Gently bring to a boil. Slice the cooked beetroots into thin strips and place into a bowl. Cover with the vinegar liquid and allow to cool.
Slice the halloumi into ½ cm thick pieces. Prepare one small bowl of flour, one small bowl of breadcrumbs for breading, and beat the egg in a separate small bowl. Add in a pinch of salt, pepper, and paprika to the breadcrumbs and mix well. Coat the halloumi by dipping in flour, then egg, and then finally into the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place the halloumi slices into the pan and cook on each side for 1–2 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove and pat with kitchen rolls to remove any excess oil. Place the Greek yoghurt into a bowl with the zest of the lemon, a pinch of salt, and a twist of pepper. Stir to combine. In another bowl, place the olive oil with the juice of the lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss through the salad leaves. To serve, place a spoonful of the lemon yoghurt on a plate and spread out with the back of a spoon. Top with the dressed salad leaves, a few slices of breaded halloumi, and finish with the pickled beets and additional yoghurt.
SPAGHETTI WITH LEMON, ASPARAGUS & RICOTTA Serves: 6 | Prep time: 10–12 mins | Cooking time: 5 mins Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • •
500g wholewheat spaghetti 250g ricotta cheese 300g fresh peas 2 bunches asparagus 2 lemons 1 bunch chopped fresh mint 50g grated Parmesan cheese 1 tsp chilli flakes 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to season
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions. Drain the pasta and reserve ½ cup of the cooking water for later. While the pasta cooks, remove the woody ends of the asparagus and slice into strips
or bite-size pieces. Place the asparagus into a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the asparagus for a few minutes until slightly softened and charred before adding in the peas for a further minute. Add ½ of the juices of one lemon and mix in the chilli flakes. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta with the juice of one lemon and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add in the Parmesan cheese and a large handful of freshlychopped mint. When the pasta is ready, empty into the bowl with the vegetables and add in the ricotta mixture. Toss through the pasta to combine. Use a little of the reserved cooking water to loosen if necessary. Serve the pasta with an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a final grating of Parmesan cheese.
meatless monthly Cindy Lam of Olive Oly Kitchen cooks delicious vegetarian recipes that support local farms and promote good old home cooking. Try out her take on summer bruschetta at home www.oliveolykitchen.com
Summer Bruschetta Serves: 1 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cooking time: 15 mins Ingredients: For bruschetta: • ½ small onion, thinly-sliced • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved • 2 small sun-dried tomatoes, thinly-sliced • 200g cannellini beans • ½ tsp chilli flakes • ½ tsp paprika • ½ tsp dried oregano • 150g tomato sauce • ¼ cup water • 1 garlic, halved • Extra-virgin olive oil For garnishing: • 1 small radish, thinly-sliced • Dried oregano • 1 tsp parsley pesto • 1 egg, sunny side up • Extra-virgin olive oil Method: 1.
Preheat a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil on medium heat. Cook the onion for a few minutes until they turn translucent. Add the cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, chilli flakes, dried oregano, and paprika, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce. Season and add a splash of water if the sauce is too thick. Simmer on low heat with a lid for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cannellini beans and cook for a couple more minutes. Use the halved garlic to rub one side of the toast and pile the cooked beans on top. Garnish with your favourite toppings.
MEATS Rhoda’s Founder, Chef Nate Green, dispels meat myths and advises on making mindful meaty decisions
This month, we learn a bit about bio-diversity in farming.
What is the relevance of bio-diversity? Bio-diversity is critically important in helping us to grow enough food to support the planet. The way we farm now is just not sustainable. I’m not just talking about meat when I say this; it includes vegetables, dairy, cotton, fish and pretty much anything you can think of which we produce on a large scale. Farmers need to start looking back at the way we used to farm: 150 years ago, a farmer would produce what they need to live off. They would have cows, pigs, goats, chickens, ducks and would grow various different crops, all of which help to create a very complex ecosystem. Sadly, we have gotten away from this and have created a mono-crop system where plants and animals are so much weaker and reliant on things like chemical fertiliser or antibiotics, hormones, and steroids. Everything, no matter what you are farming, starts with soil health, and in the case of animals, it’s about having healthy, nutritious grass. Looking after pasture is a bit like getting a haircut; you trim it back so it grows back stronger. So first the cows would graze and they will take the grass down so far, then you bring sheep on to take the grass down even further, then you bring chickens in to peck out all the insects; all of these animals help to turn up the soil and fertilise the fields. Then you give the field a break and allow it to grow back stronger and healthier. This will return nutrients back to the soil, thus making the animals that graze healthier. The other way people do this is by supporting the pure heritage breeds and raising them in their natural environment; a great example of this is Herdwick sheep from the Lake District, which are just left up the Lancashire moors to graze and live freely amongst the heather. Sadly, it’s the mass market which is causing most of the damage to our planet as it’s all about producing as large a volume as possible, as cheaply as possible, as quickly as possible, and this where the use of chemicals and things like grain-feed come in.
ETHI CAL MEATS
How can consumers support bio-diverse farming with their purchasing power? This is a really hard question; I guess it starts with buying from reputable sources, shunning the supermarkets and supporting things like farmers’ markets. I’m a huge believer in buying seasonally, as it’s our demand for having certain crops all year round which helps drive poor farming practice. We have to help to create new markets for the farmers so they will be encouraged to grow different crops, as everything is consumer-driven.
What is the meat of the future? I think sheep along with goats will be the meat of the future, as they are a fairly straightforward animal to rear and they do well in all sorts of terrains. That’s why you will always see sheep being raised in rougher environments like hill sides and mountains. They provide great meat and very good dairy. The fact that it is very easy to use a whole sheep (as they are not crazy big) makes it a great choice, plus lamb offal is delicious to eat when cooked properly. The one thing you have to look out for with lamb is that there are commercial breeds which rely heavily on antibiotics. Although I prefer heritage breed, there are guys like Te Mana in New Zealand who are using cross-breeding to get rid of the genetic problems that cause the need for antibiotics.
Can farm-to-fork work in a city like Hong Kong? Honestly, in a city where land is so expensive and where there are a lot of farming restrictions, especially on the rearing of pigs and chickens, I’m not sure. Then we have to look at soil quality and the environment, acid rain, a polluted atmosphere, and contaminated water sources; all of this can get into the food chain via the soil. I want it to work, as I know there are passionate growers and farmers here, and I truly believe agriculture will become one of the most in-demand skills of the future.
the zero waste diaries Hannah Chung is on a zero waste challenge. She seeks eco alternatives and green solutions for everyday living and aims to achieve a zero waste life. Follow her journey on Instagram @thezerowastechallenge.
In our search for the ideal eco alternative, which straw sucks the least?
The Pasta Straw ***
The Metal Straw *****
The Paper Straw **
Behold: the pasta straw is the
Stainless steel and eco chic. I
Most restaurants have now made
talking point for your next party.
believe this is the most hygienic of
the switch to paper. Although great
Taste test results concede to
all the options; most straws are
to see the collected efforts to move
a starchy aftertaste, but does
sold with a cleaner that makes it
away from plastic, the production still
not overly offend the senses.
easy to clean on the go. It’s also
requires energy and resources from
It’s sturdier than a paper straw,
designed to last a lifetime, and
cutting down trees, turning into pulp, processing, bleaching, dyeing, and then
and if you steep one side in hot
being a valuable material, it can
water, you can fashion a bendy
be effectively recycled should you
shipping (most of the time across the
straw too. They’re $37.90 for
decide to part ways one day. The
world), only for it to sit and disintegrate
a pack of 50 ‘Zita no°18’ from
drawback for restaurants is that it
before your eyes on your first drink.
GREAT supermarket. Being
takes extra time to ensure they’re
It’s a solution for now to turn off the
25cm in length, you could snap
clean, meaning hiring extra staff to
plastic tap, but it is still contributing to
one in half and double up the
hand wash, which many businesses
the ‘disposable lifestyle’ that we need
number of straws.
do not have the capacity to do.
to move away from.
THE ZERO WASTE D I ARI ES
For more zero waste tips and green solutions to try at home, visit www.afoodieworld.com/users/hannah
The Bamboo Straw ***
The Twizzler Straw **
We did a taste test at Foodie HQ and
Feel like a child again and
the general consensus was that it
sip away at the cinema with
“tastes like nature”. If you want earthy
a Twizzler straw. One taste
tones with your drink and want to look
tester claims that “it’s not as
stylishly hipster while sipping, then
gross as you might think” and
bamboo is the way to go. Hygiene and
subtly infuses your drink with
durability is a concern here, and even
a strawberry flavour, though
with the claim of natural antibacterial
if you did not grow up eating
qualities, there is a risk of mould in hot
these artificial-tasting sweets,
and humid weather, and they’re only
you may be offended by its
expected to last for around a year.
The Bio Straw *
Don't suck as a business! What is the most effective way to reduce plastic consumption? Whichever plastic alternative you choose, introduce a ‘straw on request’ program at your establishment.
The Silicone Straw **
Made from 69% of bio-based raw material, the Bio-Pot straws do not contain
Baby blue or pink and large
petroleum-based fillers, which enables them to be composted. Not to be
enough for your bubble teas,
confused with PLA plant plastic, if these straws do end up in the landfill, they
these are the cutest straws I’ve
will take 18–21 months to decompose. They also have a shelf-life of 22–24
come across. Its floppy nature
months provided they are stored in cool, dry conditions. In order to effectively
really does not feel right, and
compost the Bio-Pot straws, an industrial facility can process them in 60 days,
silicone has the tendency to
but since HK does not yet have this facility, tests are still being made with
take on strong flavours that are
traditional composters to see how long they will break down. It’s a confusing
difficult to clean. Also suitable
grey area on whether these are actually good for the planet, but it is an
for hot beverages (but why?) and
immediate switch a business can make to move away from single-use plastic.
designed to last many years.
21â€“22 SEPTEMBER 2018 A IL A BL E N O W ! EA RLY- BI RD TI C KE TS AV ED EN FE AT U RE C O U N TRY: SW