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Foodie Forks 2018

Ethical Meats

The nitty gritty on composting

All this year’s winners of your hearts and taste buds

Well-balanced decision dining


THE FOODIE FORKS 2018 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 Dale Foo Director of Business Development Jason Strickland Marketing & Community Leader Yanhan Tan Events Coordinator Carly Robert

Through the revolving door of the restaurant business in Hong Kong, we are still witnessing an unfathomable number of openings and closures each and every month. One of those is courtesy of our cover star this month and his exciting new casual restaurant, The Flying Elk. We love to celebrate those that have toiled long and hard to endure with their fine fare right along with those that have newly — and bravely — tossed their hat in the ring of this notoriously fierce industry. The winners within these pages have fought a tough battle this year to become our readers’ favourites with the neck-and-neck numbers changing near daily in many of the categories. This issue reads like a handbook of the top eateries as we reveal our readers’ hidden gem, best café, top for ethical Cover image eats, best new bar, trusted fave, chef Björn Frantzén of the year, best new restaurant, favourite new concept, food hero, and best restaurant. Here’s to all those on the scene that are whipping up the food that is well and truly the way to all of our foodie hearts. Now get out there and eat your way around this list to show those restaurants and bars how much they’ve earned your affections; that’s where you’ll find us!

Design & Marketing Assistant Becky Fawdry Contributors Nate Green, Cindy Lam, Laura Williams, Hannah Chung

Alicia Walker, Editor-in-Chief

Published by Foodie Group Ltd. 7/F Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Printed by Teams Printing Co., Ltd.

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C H E W I N ’ T H E FAT : BJÖRN FRANTZÉN His eponymous eatery has been newly crowned Sweden’s first threeMichelin-starred restaurant, and he’s floating his new casual concept The Flying Elk in Hong Kong next month



L I TT L E H O N G KO N G K I TC H E N Laura Williams is Europeinspired with this month’s wholesome recipes to make at home


M E AT L E S S M O N T H LY Cindy Lam makes our vegetarian days super easy with her falafel spring patties



We dove into a food war of Hong Kong’s favourite street food, explored wine with experts, and hosted a food-and-fun-filled date night for our Foodies!

E T H I C A L M E ATS Chef Nate Green of Rhoda helps dispel meat myths and tells us why he is beefing up his restaurant’s vegetarian offerings



Which eatery earned your votes for Best New Restaurant? Chef of the Year? Best New Bar? Best Restaurant? Food Hero? The wait is over!

Our zero waster hero Hannah Chung digs up all the dirt on different composting methods and how to do it here in HK





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It looks like Black Sheep Restaurants are onto another winner with the opening of the dark and mysterious Fukuro in SoHo, inspired by the evening watering holes of Tokyo where salarymen (and women) let their hair down. The izakaya’s open kitchen is overseen by Chef Shun Sato, himself the son of an izakaya owner, and formerly of Black Sheep’s own BELON and Ho Lee Fook. Signature dishes include a seasonal sashimi platter, grilled octopus on potato confit with ginger soy, whole soy-braised local fish, grilled A4 Wagyu sukiyaki — and, of course, lots and lots of beer and whisky highballs.

Pirata Group, of popular eateries like Pici, TokyoLima and The Optimist, continue their rapid expansion with Chifa. Dubbing it #notyouraveragedumpling, they’re unveiling the interesting combination of Peruvian and Chinese cuisine with this dumpling house serving up fusion bao, noodles, rice, meat, and seafood dishes. Our interest is certainly piqued for what this is all a-bao-t.

1–5 Elgin Street, Central, 2333 8841

26 Peel Street, Central, 2311 1815

MERCEDES ME 2.0 Re-launching their unique lifestyle concept that’s part showroom, part restaurant, and all luxury, Maximal Concepts, of Brickhouse, Limehouse, Blue, and Mott32, are again bringing to life the Mercedes me Store, but this time in a much bigger — 6,000sq ft — venue right on the premium thoroughfare of Queen’s Road Central. We’re expecting to savour the Latin American and Asian flavours we loved before the move and cannot wait to see the unveiling of this new concept space. Shop 38 and 40, G/F, Manning House, 38–48 Queen’s Road Central, Central, 2598 7155




The latest and greatest ideas being cooked up in tech kitchens:


Fungi, algae, and a whole lot of scientific research are all it takes to replicate the taste and texture of fish. A biotech accelerator in San Francisco has developed a salmon burger that mimics the taste and texture of salmon. They use algae for that fishy flavour and nutritionally important omega-3 fatty acids and a flavourless fungi to duplicate the textural element. Terramino Foods hopes to have this product on the market and in restaurants by the end of 2018 as a sustainable alternative to seafood that’s just as good as the real thing. With the environmental disaster facing the fish in our oceans; the microplastics found in the fish we eat; antibiotics used in fish farms; and seafood rating as the highest consumed protein on the planet, we are hoping it won’t be long before we can try this fishy sandwich out for ourselves.

Hong Kong is the international launch pad for the burger that cooks, smells and tastes like ground beef. Impossible Foods has launched their plant-based burger — that’s uniquely designed to target meat eaters — with two big name carnivorous chefs in HK. The Impossible Burger will now be served up in unique creations by renowned chefs Uwe Opocensky of Beef & Liberty, and May Chow of Little Bao and Happy Paradise. Little Bao will begin serving the Impossible Bao ($118), along with the Impossible Xinjiang Hot Pocket ($88) at Happy Paradise. Beef & Liberty will serve up the Impossible Thai Burger ($135), and Impossible Chilli Cheese Fries ($62). Created by Stanford biochemistry professor and former paediatrician, Dr. Patrick O Brown, Impossible Foods aims to create a competitive product for the market that’s made directly from plants with a significantly smaller environmental footprint than those made from animals. As meat-lovers, we tried them all with as open a mind as we could muster and we can report that they were all genuinely delicious — as opposed to some vegetarian burgers that are good but in a veggie-tasting kind of way — and we’re thrilled to shout out that there’s really a meat to eat that’s not meat! 05



Brand new Santé Wine Bar has opened in the heaving heart of Wanchai within J Senses on Johnston Road. Under the same ownership as Bo Innovation, Santé aims to offer a neighbourhood wine bar for all who enjoy great bottles, especially discovering new ones. The chic yet cosy décor has been devised to put guests at ease so they can relax alongside friends in a comfortable atmosphere in one of Hong Kong’s coolest ‘hoods. The British Chef helming the kitchen is David Shuttleworth who comes with a pedigree that includes several Michelin-starred restaurants. Shuttleworth will be creating seasonal Mediterranean dishes designed to complement the different wines on offer. We asked Priscilla Lai to describe the vision for her new wine and eating house: 06


What is the ethos behind Santé? Santé means health in French and is also the chosen word for toasting before taking a drink. The French treat drinking wine as a sharing of blessings and luck. We hope to bring these good wishes to life for the people of Hong Kong. I hope Santé will be seen as a place where you can enjoy emerging wine brands alongside more established brands paired with great food. How did Santé begin? I first thought of the idea a year and a half ago. I wanted to provide a place for people to come and share the experience of great wine and food in a cosy and sophisticated environment. How do you feel about Hong Kong’s dining scene? I love the variety on offer for the consumer, but I also find it can be expensive too. What are some of the signature dishes on the menu? We won’t have a set menu as the food will be seasonal and ever-changing. This allows us prepare dishes to complement the

wines we have, to make for purposeful food and wine pairings. Will most of the wines you feature be French? Yes, they are mainly from France but we carry wines from around the world, including biodynamic and natural wines. We will have familiar established brands at Santé but our focus is on educating our customers by bringing in lesser known wines from small chateaux. What kind of crowd do you think will be attracted to Santé? I think we will attract a real mixture of professionals, from young to old, who have an interest in wine and keen to try new wines they haven’t experienced before. What are three words you would use to describe Santé? Cheerful, sharing, and experience. Santé Wine Bar Shop 4, J Senses, 60 Johnston Road (Ship Street Entrance), Wanchai, 2336 3906 07


BJÖRN FRANTZÉN Sweden’s first three-Michelin-starred chef reveals his new casual restaurant concept in Hong Kong

Björn Frantzén is one of Scandinavia’s best chefs, redefining Nordic cuisine while seamlessly blending in traditional components, from ingredients to techniques, and ensuring that Sweden retains its progressive place on the global fine dining map.

FROM FOOTBALLER TO FRANTZÉN Frantzén began his career as a professional footballer playing for AIK in Stockholm before he enrolled in culinary school. His first job as a chef was working for the Swedish Army. Fortified with both cooking skills and iron-willed discipline, he scored positions in the kitchens of several Michelin-starred restaurants in London and Paris and spent time in Japan appreciating the fierce Japanese dedication to ingredients and their mindful approach to eating. He opened his first restaurant, then dubbed Frantzén/Lindeberg, in 08

2008. His first Michelin star came just one year later, with a second the following year, where it remained until February of this year. Now simplified to Frantzén, the eatery has become the first Swedish restaurant to achieve the ultimate three Michelin stars. Björn Frantzén is oft paralleled with distinguished Danish chef René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen, a four-time holder of The World’s Best Restaurant title, along with its two Michelin stars. Noma closed for refurbishment for just over a year in a corresponding time frame to Frantzén moving to a new location — both seen as a risky move for thriving, fully-booked restaurants. Clearly the risk paid off for Frantzén, who gained both a star and new three-storey premises in a 19th-century building — which despite being much larger, still houses only 23 seats — that is designed like a home, with a dining journey constructed to match.


Michelin’s embracement of this immersive, more relaxed dining experience highlights the desire for some disruption to the preconceived notions of fine dining.

LAGOM The chef chose Hong Kong for his first international restaurant, opening Frantzén’s Kitchen in November 2016 — a small, fine dining establishment set in the natty Tai Ping Shan area of Sheung Wan. Booked up for months in advance since opening — and winner of our own Best New Restaurant award at last year’s Foodie Forks — the restaurant is helmed on a daily basis by Frantzén Stockholm veteran Jim Löfdahl and offers a sophisticated, impeccably chic, and transcendent dining experience that adheres naturally with the Swedish philosophy of lagom (not too little, not too much). The open and interactive kitchen is serene and slow-footed yet constant, with guests observing the laborious and evenly executed finishing touches made to each dish, which are laced with Nordic ingredients like sea buckthorn and liquorice. When the food arrives, it’s bewitching. Each dish ranges from delicate and ethereal, to wildly complex, to gloriously rich — all with a harmoniously balanced gradation. It’s a thrilling eating experience. But it comes at a price, and it’s a steep one, especially as it’s a more casual environment than a typical fine dining restaurant.

This is where The Flying Elk swoops into Hong Kong — Frantzén’s Swedish gastropub serving up elevated and elegantly crafted pub food at pub prices. Opening next month, on 16 June, in the space previously occupied by Fish & Meat, the design will mimic a Nordic log cabin. The kitchen will also be presided over by the talented Löfdahl, who will employ open-fire cooking methods, a strong part of Sweden’s heritage. As a triedand-tested concept that works well in his native Stockholm, this eatery seems a strong second step into the international market, hopefully offering the mid-range success that has eluded other top chefs in this city.

IN HIS OWN WORDS... Do you feel people are only just beginning to discover Scandinavian cuisine? What has happened over the past ten years is amazing. People are coming from all over the globe to eat, and with the success of restaurants here, the interest is growing with Michelin and The World’s 50 Best, it’s all booming. What was it like to receive your third Michelin star this year? It was a really different year; the restaurant had been closed for a year and a half and was only open for four months, and of course it was very special. I’m happy and proud of what we’ve achieved — we’ve been delivering since day one. 09

Do the stars create added pressure? We have high expectations within the team in everything we do. Doesn’t matter if we have one, two or three, the pressure is always there. For us, it’s the same every year, the next day you talk about it and then it’s back to life as usual. We don’t run our restaurants for guides; we run them because we love what we do. What’s the experience of eating at Frantzén in Sweden? I would call it relaxed luxury. It’s not stiff. We have AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses playing. It’s a feeling of coming home to someone, rather than a restaurant. Food-wise, it’s a lot of Nordic ingredients, but my background is in French and then with Japan too in the cooking.

and the investment — it’s just a coincidence. They’ve been up and running for twelve years, and we were nine years. We just wanted to grow and go deeper. Moving to a bigger space can be risky. Did you feel nervous about it? Of course, we closed down a fully-booked restaurant and had to start all over again. A bold and big move, and one you do only once in your life. I was nervous but very excited. Why did you stay with serving 23 diners? That’s a number we’re comfortable cooking at, and we still wanted to take with us some of the good stuff we had at the old place.

Do you feel competitive towards René Redzepi, given you are two of the most famed Nordic chefs in the world? No, I mean it’s still a small region; all the chefs know each other very well. We share a lot of guests. They might start at Frantzén, then fly to Copenhagen. So it’s great for everyone.

How does the Japanese influence fit in so well with your own personal cooking style? I like the lightness of it and the respect for ingredients and seasons. The way a kaiseki menu builds up — it’s very clever. And the experience and study and science that goes into a kaiseki menu. We also have a very similar climate.

The renovation of Noma happened at the same time as Frantzén. Was this a conscious decision? I don’t know how long Noma planned for, but this process [for us] started many years ago. You’ve got to find a location and the economics

Does your previous life as a footballer give you any skills that have transferred into your life as a chef? It’s the thing of not giving up and of being able to deliver under pressure with high expectations, so that’s great to have with



Check out Chef Frantzén’s culinary skills for yourself at: Frantzén’s Kitchen 11 Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan The Flying Elk (opens 16 June 2018) 32 Wyndham Street, Central

Björn Frantzén and Jim Löfdahl

you when you open a restaurant. I realise it’s a lot of my guys in the restaurant, whether it is ice hockey or badminton, but it’s attracting that sort of people. What do you do when you’re not cooking? If I’m not working, I’m spending time with the family. Would you be happy if one of your daughters embarked on a career as a chef? I told them they are more than welcome. I would leave it 100% up to them. No pressure. You told us two years ago when you opened here, “Opening Frantzén’s Kitchen in Hong Kong is a natural step for us. I have long dreamed of opening a restaurant overseas and Asian cuisine is very close to my heart. Hong Kong is one of the world’s most interesting cities for food, and it will be a challenge to

create a Nordic food experience with local ingredients and influences there.” How's it going now? It was our first overseas operation, so we wanted to start small. It’s a different challenge. We are fully booked every night, so we’re happy. There will be things bumping up you hadn’t expected and you live and learn and make it right. How will The Flying Elk in Hong Kong differ from your Swedish version? Here we'll do more medium-sized dishes, with more sharing plates. Will you open in more cities? We’ll see. The thing about opening a restaurant — it’s not I, it’s we. It’s a group of people who have worked a long time together, even though it’s my name on the door. If something that excites us comes up, then we’ll look at it. I have guys who have been working with me for seven years, and they might want to stand on their own legs. We will see... 11

Discover all the fun from our Foodie Club event last month. Join us next month by signing up on It’s free!

we got ballsy... In partnership with Choose Right Today, Fish Monk and Gitone restaurant, our Foodies got ballsy learning more about sustainable seafood and one of Hong Kong’s favourite food staples — fishballs!

taste of climate change... As official media partner for Taste of Hong Kong 2018, and in prelude to our upcoming Food’s Future Summit, we built an art exhibition visualising how future supermarkets would look in 2050 and held a pitch competition showcasing local innovators and their ideas.

wind down with wine... Foodies went on board an experiential wine journey, in collaboration with renowned wine glass company, Kung Kai Hong Co. Together with certified sommelier and wine specialist, Anty Fung, our wine lovers learned how to select the perfect glass and got a chance to taste award-winning wines.

let’s taco ’bout love... To kick-start our event series with Marriott Vacation Club, we got lovebirds down to the newest lifestyle hub in town, The Artist House. With free flow drinks, scrumptious bites, and fun games to test our couples’ chemistry, ‘twas an epic date night for our Foodies. 12

Seven years on and this is still the time of year that excites our food-loving hearts as we celebrate those in the industry putting out the eats that sing to our readers' souls Turn the page to find out where Foodies deemed the best places to dine this year. With categories that range from Best Restaurant to Hidden Gem to Chef of the Year, Food Hero, and everything in between, here are all the places and faces you voted for: 13

Best New Restaurant R E A D E RS ' C H O I C E New Punjab Club Predictably when a genuine passion project hits the ground, people can feel it. And you all certainly have with your votes for New Punjab Club. This sweetly theatrical eatery is designed in the theme of postcolonial, liberated Punjab, and pays homage to the birthplace of the long-standing crew of dedicated staff among the Black Sheep Restaurants group that hail predominantly from India and Pakistan. The restaurant is an obvious source of pride for the staff who knowledgeably narrate the dishes as they are served. The food ranges from popular street food snacks to traditional recipes from the owner’s father’s restaurant cooked in the original tandoori ovens brought over from Lahore. It’s playful, with artists like Tom Jones frequently oozing out of the speakers, the service is flawless, and the food is a beautiful education on the diversity of a cuisine scarcely-before seen in Hong Kong. 34 Wyndham Street, Central, 2368 1223

Gough's on Gough

New Punjab Club

Gough's on Gough

E D I TO RS ' C H O I C E Gough's on Gough Dining at Gough’s is not just a feast for the taste buds, but an experience for all the senses. Created by famed British designer Timothy Oulton, and situated next door to his interior design store, Gough’s dazzles with its Moonstone bar before enticing guests up the golden spiral staircase to the ecentric black and white marbled dining room. Set against the backdrop of plush leather sofas and an eclectic mix of wall panels ranging from seashells to feathers, Chef Arron Rhodes showcases his interpretation of modern British cuisine. We swooned over the sweet langoustine with cauliflower couscous and the buttery halibut with foraged herbs. And don’t forget a nod to “Derek the Diver” in a vintage scuba suit and piranha tank at the front of the restaurant when you pass by. 15 Gough Street, Central, 2473 9066 14



The Old Man

Best New Bar R E A D E RS ' C H O I C E COA

E D I TO RS ' C H O I C E The Old Man

The bar that has most captured your nightlifeseeking proclivities was created by beverage industry expert Jay Kahn, a man who clearly knows his audience. The deep-seated focus on creating affable interactions between the guests and the bar staff comes naturally here, represented in an ethos that you can’t have a great bar without too having great service. And the service here is as razor-sharp as the machete-like tool used for harvesting agave that COA is named for. The bar is simple, moody, and chic with its trendy industrial design, but it’s the people tending bar, and the Oaxaca-inspired cocktails they specialise in, that really elevate the vibe. A special section allows the spirit-curious to develop a greater appreciation for, and whet their whistle with, meticulously-crafted cocktails using agave spirits like tequila, along with lesser-known ones like mezcal and raicilla. LG/F, Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central, 2813 5787

The warm interiors of The Old Man are more stylish living room than the usual dark nightlife venues, and provide the perfect place for us to drop in and flop down. Named for Hemingway’s short novel that turned him into a literary giant, the bar is also the perfect place to get creative juices flowing while sipping on reasonably-priced (in this city), well-made, and edgy cocktails. This bar also personifies the hospitality background of the three industry veterans behind it; Roman Ghale, formerly senior operations manager at Upper House, Agung Prabowo, previously bar manager at the ShangriLa and Mandarin Oriental, and James Tamang, originally The Mira hotel’s bar manager. We feel like The Old Man was as long time coming as Hemingway’s own last major work, and we intend to cherish it with as much fervour as the literature behind its name. LG/F, 37–39 Aberdeen Street, SoHo, Central, 2703 1899 15

Best Restaurant R E A D E RS ' C H O I C E Mott32 Walk down the mirrored spiral staircase and enter a world of opulent modern Chinese cuisine. Named after the first Chinese shop on Mott Street in New York, Mott32 is all about the revamp of Chinese cuisine. Traditional dishes are given a fresh glaze with international ingredients, as well as new techniques. We crave the juicy Iberico pork charsiu, the black truffle siu mai with soft-boiled quail egg and crispy pork belly. Already with two locations in Hong Kong and Vancouver, Mott32 will soon open in Bangkok, and we hear there’s even more to come! Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, 2885 8688



Tate Dining Room & Bar

E D I TO RS ' C H O I C E Tate Dining Room & Bar

Tate Dining Room & Bar


This is a back-to-back Foodie Forks achievement for Chef Vicky Lau, who won the Editors’ Choice Chef of the Year award last year. We remain steadfast fans of Tate, so elegantly demure with its taupe, muted pink and brushed gold colour palette, and the exquisite seasonal tasting menus that Chef Lau puts out, with each dish having its own story to tell. For us, special occasions are synonymous with Tate. 210 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2555 2172


Uwe Opocensky

David Lai

Chef of the Year R E A D E RS ' C H O I C E Uwe Opocensky

E D I TO RS ' C H O I C E David Lai

We first fell in love with Chef Uwe Opocensky’s cooking at The Mandarin Grill, at Hong Kong’s oldest luxury hotel, where he dazzled lucky diners with his unique taste pairings and culinary wizardry. In a surprise move, the fine dining chef left the renowned hotel to enter the burger business with Beef & Liberty, and we were won over as his skills were poured into a beautiful and affordable burger. He then became one of only two chefs in HK to adopt Impossible Foods meat-but-not-meat onto his menu. He also renewed his love of haute cuisine and recently opened Uwe, his eponymous restaurant and ode to fine dining perfection.

For foodies in-the-know, David Lai is one of Hong Kong’s brightest culinary stars. Originally starting his culinary career on the West Coast of the United States, Chef Lai moved back to Hong Kong to help open Alain Ducasse’s SPOON at the InterContinental. Since then, he’s opened a string of restaurants ranging from Bistronomique, Kushiyaki Beco, On Lot 10, Fish School, and Neighborhood. Neighborhood is a favourite of ours, and recently earned the coveted spot of Number 32 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2018. We look forward to more great things from Chef Lai, as he helps write the culinary story of Hong Kong. 17

Trusted Fave R E A D E RS ' C H O I C E Pici We wholeheartedly agree with your choice for your reliable go-to, where you head time and again for an effortless dining experience. The brainchild of the folks at Pirata Group, homemade pasta specialist Pici became a hit soon after its opening about a year ago on a cosy backstreet of Wanchai. Such was the restaurant’s success that the group have recently gone on to open a second, bigger branch in Central. No matter where you head, you can’t get enough of Pici’s freshly made pasta and chilled vibe. Central: 24–26 Aberdeen Street, 2755 5233 Pici

Wanchai: 16 St Francis Yard, 2755 5523



E D I TO RS ' C H O I C E ZUMA Now, we know this is on the pricier side for this category, but we wanted to pay homage to a restaurant that has always remained consistently excellent in our minds. ZUMA is an easy choice for a wowing brunch when family come to stay, is elegant yet incredibly welcoming, and always delivers on the food front with exceptional Japanese cuisine. They’ve also launched the fun new night brunch that highlights their constant innovations in the mixology sphere. ZUMA


Level 5&6 Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen's Road Central, Central, 3657 6388


Cupping Room


Cupping Room


Best Café R E A D E RS ' C H O I C E Cupping Room Coffee Roasters

E D I TO RS ' C H O I C E Bakehouse

Though their coffee is on the pricey side, that doesn’t stop peeps flocking to the three branches of Cupping Room for some quality java brewed up from beans courtesy of their local roastery in Sheung Wan. Opened in 2011, before the coffee craze was in full swing in Hong Kong, Cupping Room also offers a tempting food menu, with the breakfast dishes particularly favoured by readers. Such is the café’s popularity that they even offer branded merchandise for sale: a cupping spoon emblazoned with their motto, “Cup like a Champ”.

Although tucked in an obscure street in chaotic Wanchai, it’s easy to spot Bakehouse. Just look for the line! Opened by renowned Chef Grégoire Michaud, the bakery slash cafe offers a bevy of scrumptious goodies ranging from delectable pastries, to the naturally leavened sourdough, to the freshly griddled sandwiches and steaming cups of coffee. There’s a sit-down cafe section, as well as a take-away counter for the various baked goodies. We drool just thinking about the buttery, flakey croissant, and the addictive double chocolate cookie. Make sure to line up early before they are all sold out, as the bakery only makes a limited quantity each day. 14 Tai Wong Street East, Wanchai

Central: 18 Cochrane Street, 2511 3518 Sheung Wan: 299 Queen’s Road Central, 2799 3398 Wanchai: 32 Swatow Street, 2371 2338 19

Ethical Eats R E A D E RS ' C H O I C E MANA! The beloved pioneering zero waste café MANA! proves with its constant queues around the block come lunch hour, that sustainability and profitability can go hand-in-hand. Our readers love this place and it’s a very easy place to love as an industry leader in terms of eco-friendliness. MANA! has a comprehensive waste separation and recycling system integrated into their daily operations where all paper, plastics, glass and food scraps/leftovers/waste are separated, hand-rinsed, collected, and recycled right here in Hong Kong. Customers also participate in this effort and in the ethos of “diet change, not climate change” as a whole by separating their own waste after eating into the bins provided. This forward-thinking initiative and community-involvement is what people love about it, and completely thwarts the arguments that the government are entirely to blame for the lack of recycling facilities here. If the process does not exist, create it, and spread the responsibility to all. The fully vegetarian and primarily vegan establishment alone generates 1,500KG of food scraps and customer leftovers every month that are laboriously delivered to their organic farm partners five times every week using their own Mana! Mobile. If that’s not inspirational evidence of what can be done, we don’t know what is. 92 Wellington Street, Central, 2851 1611

Africa Coffee & Tea



E D I TO RS ' C H O I C E Africa Coffee & Tea Using their walk-in café and event space to bring African teas, coffees and cuisine to Hong Kong with an ethos driven by equality, sustainability and supporting women working within the production process. ACT‘s mission is to produce premium single-origin products in an ethical and community-edifying manner. They visit the farms that produce their products to establish relationships face-to-face. They then support them by providing expert trainers to improve crop yields, maximise natural systems efficiency, and resist foreign “big agriculture”, as well as running leadership development programmes for young women in Africa. This spirit shines through in everything from the framed images of the farms they work with, down to the friendly staff. You‘ll find items such as Ethiopian beef stew (doro) with injera, South African chicken drumettes and stirfried tofu with Ethiopian Berbere spice that you can have to dine in, or take away in recyclable packaging. Suite 1501–1504, 41 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, 2180 7536


Best New Concept R E A D E RS ' C H O I C E FRANCIS It’s safe to say by the number of votes that flooded in for this new wine bar, that you lot are picking up what these guys are putting down. The thing that sets FRANCIS apart — aside from the bold uppercasing — is the communitycentric focus that the three stalwarts of the industry have devised. The gents behind it include Israeli chef, Asher Goldstein, and well-known sommelier Simone Sammuri, both previously from SoHo’s beloved 121 BC, along with the man-with-the-plan, long-standing restaurant manager James Ward. They wanted to bring carefullycurated and affordable wines along with Isreali cuisine in a friendly, inclusive environment that also happens to be fun and chic. The kind of place you can go a couple times a week whether it be for a bite or a drink or a natter, and the kind of place where everybody knows your name and what you like to drink. FRANCIS

Flamingo Bloom

4–6 St Francis Street, Wanchai, 3101 9521

Flamingo Bloom

E D I TO RS ' C H O I C E Flamingo Bloom It’s hard to make a repeat customer out of us here at Foodie, what with all the new restaurants and menus we’re always trying (who’s complaining?), but this Chinese tea salon made a big impact on us upon its opening last summer with its colourful, eye-catching decor and inflatable pink flamingo drink holders. Flamingo Bloom’s all-natural floral teas (which we prefer iced, but hot versions are also available) are mixed with fresh fruits, boba pearls, aloe vera and/or a salted milk cap — a decadent topping of milk and cheese whipped together — for the perfect customised cuppa. Central: 50 Stanley Street, 5177 8255 TST: 8–20 Cameron Road, 5178 7067 21

Hidden Gem R E A D E RS ' C H O I C E Three Blind Mice We love this secluded Wanchai spot as much as you do and are actually a bit reluctant to share our collective adoration with the masses for fear of not being able to snag a table in the future. This charming, independently-owned eatery offers some of the best comfort food around (the pastas and meat dishes are standouts) at wallet-friendly prices, especially the set lunch menu. Three Blind Mice’s staff are also extremely warm and welcoming. What more could you ask for? 35 Ship Street, Wanchai, 2447 7793

The Woods Annex

Three Blind Mice

The Woods Annex

E D I TO RS ' C H O I C E The Woods Annex Happening upon this little masterpiece is like uncovering your new favourite bookstore, full of wonder and enchantment, and a place you could spend hours. It doesn’t hurt that its set up much like one with wall-to-wall shelves housing the widespread spirits, with the rare ones containing library cards to stamp your name on any you’ve sampled. Intrigued? This spirits library is the brainchild of Victoria Chow of The Woods who will herself walk you through a tasting experience on any and all liquors you want to discover; from gins and rums to tequila and mezcals, and everything in between. Her evening tasting sessions allow discerning drinkers and exploratory imbibers to try a tempting taste of several across the board to expand their drinking palate and engage with her extensive knowledge of the spirit world (not the supernatural variety, but who knows what any particular evening will hold?). L/G, 17 Hollywood Road, 2522 0281 22


Food Hero R E A D E RS ' C H O I C E Peggy Chan There is so much goodness packed into Peggy Chan, it’s not surprising that it’s exhibited in the city’s most reputable and ground-breaking vegetarian restaurant, Grassroots Pantry. She sees transforming the persona of raw vegan as a challenge. Getting meat-eaters to enjoy her cuisine — which she does frequently — works simply because she elevates vegetables to marvellous heights using unprocessed, organic, sustainable ingredients. She doesn’t stop with her diners either, her Collective’s Table series is an inspirational collaboration where she dares Hong Kong’s meat-loving chefs to test their culinary Peggy Chan skills without the use of eggs, dairy or meat. She’s inspiring other chefs to create more interesting plant-based dishes in their own restaurants and in turn enticing guests to order them. It’s truly disruptive of the culinary norms we’ve dined on for decades — and it’s important. Once described by staff as a gentle dictator, Peggy isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo and change paradigms for how a standard chef-restauranteur may look, act, and behave. She trains her staff to uphold the values she holds dear but also provides them freedom and empowerment to create for themselves. Peggy Chan is a role model and a game changer within the world of F&B and is a founding member of Hong Kong’s Zero Waste Alliance. She has won plenty of our Foodie Forks awards in the past and we are delighted that you appreciate her with your votes as much as we do.

E D I TO RS ' C H O I C E Todd Darling Doing things ethically since the moment they began, Homegrown Foods have always maintained an admirable ethos, alongside consistently amazing, down-to-earth cuisine at Posto Pubblico, Linguini Fini, and Stone Nullah Tavern. Committed to reducing the waste they generate within their restaurants, they are also paragons for the profitable aspect of doing so, explaining that cutting down on inefficiencies helps make them more lucrative as well as more appetizing to diners. They’ve created an eco-friendly cycle of on-site composting to create fertiliser for their herb gardens and use locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible Todd Darling that are naturally bursting with flavour as they haven’t travelled great distances. As founder, Todd Darling, maintains face-to-face relationships with farmers and is frequently off on food exploration trips to uncover truly organic products in far-flung places like Afghanistan to source raisins, almonds, and mulberry syrup, or Mongolia for sea buckthorn and yak jerky. His next venture will have him off to Yunnan hunting truffles and mushrooms, and Kashgar for their special apples. He is a true food adventurer that shares his spoils with his customers and promotes organic farming that is better for us and better for the environment. 23

little hong kong kitchen Recipe blogger and home-cook extraordinaire Laura Williams is Europe-inspired with her wholesome dishes this month that will inspire you to get chopping!



CHORIZO & POTATO HASH Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 35 mins Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • •

4 white potatoes 1 large chorizo sausage 1 red bell pepper 1 small bunch parsley 1 large jalapeño 1 bird’s eye chilli 2 tsp smoked paprika 4 tbsp olive oil 2 tsp garlic salt 1 egg



Method: 1.

Begin by preheating the oven to 200ºC. Wash and peel the potatoes and chop into bite-size cubes. Place the cubed potatoes into a large bowl with two tablespoons of oil, a generous pinch of salt and pepper and the smoked paprika. Toss well to combine until the potatoes are covered well. Place onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes until crisp on the outside



and soft in the middle. Shake once or twice through cooking to prevent sticking. Slice the chorizo into 1cm pieces along with the bell pepper, jalapeño and chilli. Place 1 tablespoon oil into a frying pan and cook the jalapeño and chilli for around 30 seconds. Add in the chorizo and cook over a medium heat to allow the oils from the sausage to release. When the sausage has become golden and crisp, remove the pan from the heat. Add the cooked potatoes to the pan with the chilli and chorizo along with the garlic salt and twist of black pepper and combine well. Chop the parsley finely and add half to the potato mix. In a separate pan, place the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and warm over a medium heat. Crack the egg into the oil and fry the egg for 2–3 minutes until the white is cooked through and the egg becomes crisp underneath. Serve the potato and chorizo hash piled high in a bowl, top with a fried egg and the remaining chopped parsley. 25



PANZANELLA SALAD Serves: 4–6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 10 mins Ingredients: • • • • • • • •

1 kg mixed fresh tomatoes 1 bunch fresh basil 2 yellow bell peppers ¼ red onion 1 ciabatta loaf (preferably slightly stale) ½ cup extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup white wine vinegar 1 ball fresh mozzarella

Method: 1.

Begin by charring the bell peppers over a gas flame or bbq to chargrill the outside until the skin turns black. Place the charred peppers into a bowl and cover with cling wrap for 10 minutes. Remove the cling wrap and begin to pull the skin from the peppers. Slice the peppers into strips and set aside.





Cut the ciabatta bread into one inch cubes and toss with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place into a preheated oven at 180ºC for ten minutes until crisp and golden. Cut the tomatoes into slices, halves and quarters and place into a large mixing bowl. Slice the red onion and add to the tomatoes along with the freshly torn basil leaves and cooled, sliced charred peppers. Add the cooled ciabatta croutons. In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil with the white wine vinegar and add a good pinch of salt and pepper to season. Pour the dressing over the rest of the ingredients and toss through to combine. Serve the Panzanella salad on a large platter and tear over chunks of milky mozzarella and extra fresh basil leaves. 27

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 nonfried fava and quinoa falafels at home



Fava & Quinoa Falafel with Yoghurt Dressing Serves: 8–10 patties | Prep time: 45 mins | Cooking time: 25–30 mins Ingredients: For falafel patties: • 100g cooked chickpea • 50g cooked fava beans • 150g cooked quinoa • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped • 1 small bunch parsley • ½ tsp paprika • ½ tsp curry powder • 1 tsp cumin • 1–2 tbsp flour • 1 lemon zest • 2 tbsp lemon juice • 1–2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • 1 cup breadcrumbs For lemon mint yoghurt dressing: • 1 cup Greek yoghurt • 1 handful mint leaves, finely chopped • 2 tbsp lemon juice • ½ lemon zest • 1–2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil Method: 1.




Mix chickpea, fava beans, garlic, parsley, cumin, paprika, curry powder, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil in a food processor until the mixture is smooth. Season and transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked quinoa and flour into the mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Season if needed. Shape each falafel in a small ping pong ball size and press slightly to flatten each patty, coat them with breadcrumbs and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Lightly brush both sides of the patties with extra-virgin olive oil before baking. Bake the patties for 15 minutes then turn them to the other side and bake for another 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate. Mix all ingredients for the lemon mint yoghurt dressing thoroughly and season. Drizzle falafels with some dressing. Serve immediately. 29


MEATS Rhoda’s Founder, Chef Nate Green, dispels meat myths and advises on making mindful meaty decisions

In previous columns, Chef Nate has helped us with everything from choosing meat at the supermarket to wading through the confusing terminology surrounding carnivorous products, now he tells why even he is beefing up his vegetarian offerings at his own restaurant:

As a restaurant famed for its meat dishes, what made you decide to do a dedicated vegetarian menu? I introduced the vegetarian menu to remind people that we don’t just serve meat. We have evolved at lot as a restaurant over the last 12 months. I’ve seen a huge change in the way people are ordering, they are looking for smaller plates and are leaning more towards plant-based dishes. I’ve agreed for a long time that we should be eating less meat and fish, and that there is a need for balance in the way we consume our planet’s bounty.

What’s on the new veggie menu? All the dishes have been built around our current menu: my two favourite dishes, which we have had on for a while now are the smoked egg plant, fresh honey, Fourme D’Ambert (blue cheese) and salt baked pear, it’s a dish which hits all the senses with salt, sour, bitter, sweet and umami. Also the cauliflower roasted with yeast and miso with walnut pesto. Cauliflower has long been one of my favourite vegetables, it’s a great vessel in which to carry flavours. I guess this is the evolution of the cauliflower salad I created at 22 Ships and still features the cauliflower and Marmite puree.



What’s the last great vegetarian dish you had while dining out? Two vegetarian dishes which have blown me away were: a piece of barbecued cauliflower cooked by Yotam Ottolenghi at Meatopia in London; it was just so tasty. Then, a dish cooked by my good friend Richard Turner (of Hawksmoor in London), of grilled broccolini served on crushed cauliflower with Tunworth cheese and a cep and madeira sauce; so unbelievably tasty. You also always have to throw Yardbird’s corn ball in there, and their eggplant salad. Oh, and Peggy’s (Grassroots Pantry) non-meat fried chicken is insane.

Do you think that vegetarian menus and off-cuts of meat will become the new norm? I think they should have always have been the norm. If you look in a lot of food cultures and society, most of them are veg and secondary-cut driven, all the best food comes from working class roots. I think chefs are put under a lot of pressure by the consumer to always have certain things on the menu, but personally all my favourite animal cuts are secondary cuts or offal. Sadly, our profession is consumer driven. I think the greatest treasures are found in the cooking of vegetables and secondary cuts and we forget to look back at our past, especially in times of hardship. We need very few things to have a good life: we need clean water, a roof over our head, warmth, fresh air, food, and family, with those things you can be happy. It takes a lot of skill to elevate a humble ingredient into something spectacular; any muppet can serve some uni, a piece of tenderloin, or some foie gras, but try cooking a fantastic piece of ox heart, or elevating a cauliflower. Most heritage cuisines are based around this, it’s just that over time we forget our roots and only want the prime stuff.

What can restaurants do to be a part of this progression? We all have a huge part to play and those with voices and influence need to use them. I’m a very small fish with my opinions, but at least I have one. It will take all of us to put our voices together to make change happen. I think a lot of the guys in HK are mindful of their sourcing practices and not wasting things, and that’s just about being a good chef. The people you need to worry about are the ones who don’t know what they are doing or are just out to make quick buck. Every one forgets that the biggest impact is made at the lowest end of the spectrum, and that KFC, Burger King, and McDonald’s are the ones that drive the demand for cheap meat, and changing their practices would have the biggest impact in regards to this. Then there is the forgotten subject of the sustainability of our oceans and our mass consumption of cheap fish. We are only focusing on the meat industry here, we need to look at the state of our oceans as well. (Visit for guidance on sustainable seafood in Hong Kong.) 31

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. There’s a real sense of achievement when one can turn their own food waste into compost. For those who didn’t grow up on a farm with the know-how passed down from generations, there are some simple factors to the art of composting to take note of:

Traditional aerobic method: outdoor tumbler In order for macro and micro organisms to thrive and break down food waste, they need carbon materials (the dry, brown stuff such as leaves), nitrogen materials (green and wet stuff, which is mainly your food waste), water and air. The moisture content should ideally range from 40-60 percent so it is best to have a layer of soil, dried leaves and torn up newspaper at the bottom before adding the food waste directly on top. Food waste that is too dry will not compost quick enough, whereas too wet will suffocate the bacteria inside causing it to produce unpleasant odours. An outdoor tumbler is an ideal vessel, as you can turn the mixture and ensure that it is aerated enough. Creating compost with this method usually takes two to three months, with the general rule being that if it smells bad, something has gone wrong. The Tumbleweed 220L Compost Tumbler ($2,800) from Green Earth Society *If you can control the temperature and acid content of your compost bin, you can create a worm farm and let nature’s little composters eat your food waste for you.

Oklin domestic composter Oklin’s GG02 is an innovative machine that uses microbes to turn your food waste into compost in 24 hours. It is designed to be a convenient home composting solution — simply turn it on, put in your food waste, and let the microbes do the work. The machine mimics the natural composting process, and the microbes will self-multiply as they are fed the food waste, so there is no need to replenish the microbes. Though this domestic model won’t take large bones, seafood shells, fruit pits or large amounts of oil, it can compost most of your general food waste such as fruit and veg scraps, bread, egg shells and fish bones. Oklin GG-02 ($9,400) from 32


The Japanese method: Bokashi The Japanese Bokashi method works by simply putting your food waste in a bucket and sprinkling over a patented powder containing Effective Microorganisms (EM) and a carbon base of bran or sawdust. The process essentially ferments the food waste, which would neutralise odours and increase mineral content. Repeat the process of adding waste and covering with the powder, until the bucket is full. The bucket is comprised of a small container with holes at the bottom, inside a larger container, so that the liquid drains out during the process. The liquid needs to be emptied every once in a while and can be diluted with water to fertilise plants at home. The method takes most food waste such as fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds, cooked and raw meat, but advises against milk, oils, soups, juices and packaging. This process only handles the first stage of fermentation, and after about two weeks it needs to be buried in soil, to further compost in a home garden. Essentially this works if you have a home planter or outdoor space to support the whole process of composting. Bokashi Food Recycling Package ($399) from Greeners Action

Zera Food Recycler by Whirlpool With a huge crowdfunding campaign last year, Whirlpool has created a home composting appliance, with the idea for families to be able to compost their food waste once a week. Compare it to a dishwasher if you will, where you put your food scraps in for the week, and then turn it on with an Additive Pack, and voila, rich home fertiliser made in 24 hours. The device also connects to an app for live updates and reports. The food waste it can take is similar to the Oklin brand above (i.e. no large bones, etc.). Zera Food Recycler (US$1,199) from *The machine would also need regular Additive Packs and Air Filters at US$130 per set (24 packs & 6 filters).

Jebsen Fine Wines | • T: 2926 2277

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Foodie Issue 96: May/June 2018  

Foodie Issue 96: May/June 2018  

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