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China’s Vines

The Food Nomad


Wineries in China are gaining steam

Explore Chiang Mai’s hidden treats and treasures

Chilli chorizo shakshuka and spinach and feta pie


THE WINES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’ The world of wine is evolving and CEO

expanding to include devotees from a

Lily Ng

whole new range of genres, age groups,


and countries than had previously been

Derek Kean COO Shirin Ong EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

considered the classical bon vivants. It’s continuing to open itself up to consumers demanding different things, down to

Alicia Walker

the way it’s sold, the techniques used to


make it, and the regions that are growing

Celia Hu

it. China’s ever-growing population is


Cover image courtesy of Virgilio Martínez

increasingly purchasing wine, increasing the demand for locally-grown varieties, and thus, China’s wine

Jen Paolini

marketing is heating up and growing steadily. In this issue, we talked


to two industry experts to gain further insight into the vineyards in this

Dale Foo

more unknown wine region. We also get our Wine 101 columnist to


weigh in on the debate on single-varietals versus blended wines. We got to meet the chef from one of our favourite episodes

Jeniffer Chiat

of Chef’s Table, Virgilio Martínez, to discuss his cooking philosophy as


well as his new restaurant in Hong Kong, ICHU. Our Food Nomad visits

Cindy Lam, Laura Williams,

the culinary wonders of Chiang Mai, and we take look at the details

Hannah Chung, Tersina Shieh PUBLISHED BY Foodie Group Ltd. 7/F Remex Centre,

setting the stage for our favourite culinary festival, Taste of Hong Kong. Our regular recipes from Little Hong Kong Kitchen and Meatless Monthly are something to sink your cooking chops into along with tips from our Zero Waste Hero to help us all try to

42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong

be a little bit better at living a conscientious life.

Have a read—it’s juicy stuff!

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Alicia Walker, Editor-in-Chief


If you’d like us to help you to promote your brand, please contact our team at, 3791 2564

Foodie is published bi-monthly, 6 times a year.

Celia Hu

Laura Williams

Cindy Lam

Hannah Chung

Tersina Shieh

The contents of the magazine are fully protected by copyright and nothing may be reprinted without permission. The publisher and editors accept no responsibility in respect


to any products, goods or services that may be advertised or referred to in this issue or for any errors, omissions or mistakes in any such advertisements or references. Foodie and the Foodie magazine logo are trademarks of Foodie Group Limited. All rights reserved.


















The latest, greatest ideas being

Our resident wine aficionado

Laura Williams with this month’s

cooked up in tech kitchens

Tersina Shieh weighs up single-

wholesome recipes to make in

varietals versus blended wines

your kitchen




Virgilio Martínez made a big



impact on viewers with his

Hong Kong’s premier food

Cindy Lam makes our vegetarian

Chef’s Table episode and has

festival returns for its fourth

days super easy with her

now opened a restaurant in HK

year on the harbourfront

artichoke and slaw sandwich




CHINA’S VINES Alicia Walker sniffs out the



wineries prolifically producing a

Celia Hu heads down the back

Our zero waste hero Hannah

host of up-and-coming

streets to find the best of this

Chung spins the circular

wines grown in China

Thai food haven

economy wheel




Tag, You’re It!

Dishtag isn’t a game, but this social platform celebrating food and photography is just as much fun The Dishtag app connects foodies to dishes, restaurants to foodies, and food photographers to cash. Dishtag’s technology revolves around beautiful dish photos, the visual menu, and the Dishtag “]”—this is the unique way they allow restaurants to categorise dishes so foodies can find them based on dish name, cuisine, ingredient, or meal type. Features for food-lovers include the helpful camera composition guidelines with tips specifically for taking better food photos. The social side of the app allows wannabe food KOLs to upload photos to share with other foodies and get noticed by restaurants.

Search for dishes across Hong Kong by browsing through beautiful picture menus.

Snap your own photo of a dish-

Share your dish-tagged photo

taggable dish with their clever food

with friends and build a grid

composition camera and tag it to

with your favourite dishes.

the dish on the restaurant menu.

Don’t hashtag a dish, Dishtag it!

Dishtag is an official media partner of Taste of Hong Kong. Seek them out at the 2019 Festival to find out how to up your food photography game with invaluable Dishtag photographer tips. Download for iOS

Download the Dishtag app for iPhone and Android or head to


Download for Android




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

ARE YOU READY FOR THIS GELLY? Vegans may soon be able to open their diets to gelatin. Bio-design company Geltor began by making vegan collagen and other beauty products. Now they are able to produce a lab-grown, meat-free, edible gelatin product with that firm yet malleable texture that makes gelatin so popular in desserts and everything from marshmallows and gummy candies to margarine and cream cheese. Traditionally made from various animal parts, decent substitutes for gelatin have so far been scarce to replicate the texture. This new plant-based gelly aims to do just that and replace animal-based gelatins by 2020. Are you ready to say hello gell-o?

IMPOSSIBLE UPGRADE A new version of the Impossible Burger has been launched in Hong Kong and Macau. Impossible 2.0 features the same plant-based technology that tastes like beef, except this version contains no wheat or gluten and contains as much “bio-available iron” as ground beef. They also say this new meat alternative has “improved taste, texture, nutrition, and versatility.” Impossible is available in around 150 eateries in HK and Macau and the new version will be unrolled first


in places like the meat-loving burger bar Triple O’s and all Classified restaurants.

PLASTIC-FREE PRODUCE We may have found a new role model in the zero waste sphere: British brand Marks & Spencer has launched a threemonth trial at their Tolworth, London store displaying their fresh fruits and vegetables all loose in pallets and completely plastic-free. Soft fruits and berries will come in compostable containers and there will be greengrocers on hand to help customers and provide tips for reducing home food waste. They have also endeavoured not to include sell-by date stickers on individual items in a further effort to reduce waste as part of their company-wide aim to become a zero waste business by 2025. It almost feels like a return to the good old days of paper bags and talking to actual humans when grocery shopping. Anyone else feel like starting a slow clap? 05


It’s Easy Being Green

Hotel ICON pioneering sustainability within hotels in Hong Kong You may know Hotel ICON for its convenient positioning on the harbourfront, cutting edge design, or host of great restaurants within, but you may not know that this clever and forward-thinking hotel is also paving the way for sustainable hospitality solutions here in Hong Kong.

For the past decade, Hotel ICON has had many firsts

The hotel is designed green with over eight thousand plants

within the city in terms of its eco-initiatives, including being

growing in the vertical garden in the showstopping lobby

the first hotel in Hong Kong to use the ORCA (Organic

and Hotel ICON has been awarded the CarbonCare® Label

Refuse Conversion Alternative); first hotel to launch The

by Carbon Care Asia Ltd, recognising their achievement in

Impossible Burger outside the U.S.; first hotel in the city to

carbon footprint reduction.

run a trial with pasta straws; and Hong Kong’s first hotel-

Their latest strides include adding in-room

owned zero-emission Tesla electric limousine and electric

filtered water and in-shower dispensers to do away with the

shuttle bus fleet.

plastic bottles that plague our oceans. Hotel ICON works

They’ve instituted Asia’s largest indoor vertical

hards to ensure green practices are in place hotel-wide.

garden; have paperless check-in; shark-fin-free banquet

General Manager Richard Hatter has this advice for other

menus; established a partnership with NGO Soap Cycling

hoteliers wishing to be more sustainable, “Almost 90% of

for used soap donation; and have all bio-degradable

the global travellers want to travel sustainably; millennials

bathroom amenities and packaging and have implemented

are double or even triple as likely to stay at a luxurious

paper straws throughout the hotel. They also donate any

hotel that has successfully communicated its commitment

excess food to Food Angels organisation.

in sustainability. It is not rocket science.”

Find out more about Hotel ICON’s sustainable measures at 06


Wines for Spring

Match up the best of the season’s dishes and activities with wines that will make Spring meals sing Spring is the time when people head back outdoors to enjoy picnics, barbecues, and rooftops with all the seasonal produce the season provides. The experts at Summergate Fine Wines & Spirits have helped us choose the best wines for the best dishes and Spring occasions.

Roasted Vegetables & Merlot When vegetables are roasted, they lose much of their more plant-like flavours, transforming to become sweet and rich. Roasted vegetables can stand up to savoury reds, like Merlot. Robust mid-palate, soft, elegant tannins with intricate layers of black cherry, plum, and wild berry mingled with a hint of spice will complement with the sweetness of the vegetables and herbs. Best Choice: Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Merlot Asparagus & Sauvignon Blanc Asparagus contains sulfurous amino acid methionine along with an intense grassy flavour that can make wines taste weird, harsh, and metallic. Your best choices are wines with grassy characteristics, like Sauvignon Blanc. The Villa Maria is a fresh and vibrant example with the classic aromas of lemongrass and fresh herbs. Best Choice: Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc Salmon & Chardonnay This rich, oily, and flaky fish is particularly enhanced by a great wine pairing. Salmon matches perfectly with full-bodied whites such as Chardonnay with lemon, nut, or brûlée notes that complement the richness of the fish and creates a fuller overall taste. Best Choice: Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay Picnic & Pinot Noir Have a red, and a screwtop one at that, and save yourself from carrying ice and corkscrews. A light, approachable red that expresses strawberries, raspberries, and red cherries on the nose will speak perfectly of the season with a reminder of the rebirth of plants and pair well with picnic foods such as cold cuts. Best Choice: Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir To purchase any of these perfect Spring-pairing wines, just head to Market Place by Jasons, ThreeSixty, Oliver’s, and City’super. 07


CHEWIN’ THE FAT WITH... VIRGILIO MARTÍNEZ We spoke with Chef VIRGILIO MARTÍNEZ just before the grand opening of his modern Peruvian soul food restaurant ICHU

You may know this Peruvian chef from his Netflix Chef’s

taste is not that important. Everything has to taste good,

Table, which dramatically explored the homeland of

of course, but the story and the culture and the way you

Virgilio Martínez. The episode showed him to be a

use ingredients are much better than taste alone.

naturally curious forager, constantly on the hunt for new ingredients, then scientifically cataloging them for use in

What would you eat when you were growing up? My

his restaurant. Or you may know him from his renowned

family was all the time thinking about food, vegetables,

restaurant Central in Lima, which hit number six on the

and ingredients. We used to go to the beach and be with

World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards this year. Or you may

the fisherman. We have a connection with local farmers.

have heard about his brand-new Hong Kong restaurant, ICHU, opened in the recently unveiled H Queens. Or you

Will you try to make that connection here in Hong

may be quite uninitiated with this quietly charismatic

Kong or bring ingredients from Peru? It’s a very tricky

chef as yet; either way, he is solidly making an impact on

thing, because most of the ingredients that are coming

the culinary world and giving the ingredients of Peru a

into Hong Kong have already been sent here, but we

platform on the world stage.

are pushing to bring a lot of Peruvian ingredients that nobody has seen before. We’re trying to push the

How would you explain your approach to cooking? For

boundaries of taste for people, because this is a city

me, cuisine is very linked to a story and culture and it’s

where there are many restaurants, so I think it’s a good

very emotional for me, so it’s not about the taste. The

audience to understand different palates. 08


Do you see any parallels between Hong Kong and

Your head chef here at ICHU is Korean? He’s Korean,

Lima? Yes, people are in love with food and I think that’s

but he’s spent three years in Peru and he became very

important. And, you know, people are willing to pay a

Peruvian. It’s funny because he understands the Asian

good amount of money for food.

palate, and in a way he understands how we Peruvian think. I think he’s amazing and the perfect guy for here.

Do you see an affinity between what you’re doing and traditional Chinese medicine? Yes, that’s amazing;

How do you manage your work life balance with all your

over here you have so much wisdom of ingredients and

projects and a family? Because my wife is a chef and

how food is healing. The relationship between food and

we are all the time together, so I live actually in Central.

health is important, and the same is happening in Peru.

So can you imagine every time I wake up, my first cup of coffee, I have it in the kitchen of Central. And in the end,

What made you want to open here? Hong Kong is such

we’re searching for perfection all the time, so it’s difficult.

a multi-cultural city, which, for me, is amazing. It’s very

You have to watch it for balance, and I have a kid, so you

inspiring to open a restaurant here, even though I know

know I don’t see my friends anymore, I see my kid and

they close and open, and it’s a challenge.

that’s my balance.

Are chef collaborations around the world something

Has your Chef’s Table episode helped people

you enjoy or would you rather be in your own kitchens?

understand your cuisine more? A lot. Because at the

Well, you know, I really want to understand that the food

beginning, my tasting menu—there’s only one menu—

that we do is coming from Peru and we are trying not to

people didn’t understand that. It was 16 courses and

have influences from different cuisines. I do respect a lot

they didn’t understand the concept. So for us, it was a

of chefs, but I don’t want to do their food. I understand

bit difficult, we could manage, but after Chef’s Table, they

that the food you serve has to speak about, in our

put it in a very easy way, and it’s a very influential show.

case, has to speak about our lands. And that’s my main inspiration. I used to work in Spain and London and New

Have you tasted anything you’ve loved here in Hong

York and I was trying to do French cuisine, Italian cuisine,

Kong? Yes, of course! Pork, the duck, the dumplings, and

but I was getting lost, because I’m Peruvian. And you

the soups, I like the hot food. In Peru, we don’t eat very

know what is important about food is identity.

hot food. For me, it’s quite amazing.

> From left to right: Ceviche Classico, Alma, Tres Leche 09

C H I N A’ S V I N E S


C H I N A’ S V I N E S

CHINA’S VINES More known for its love of tea than wine, China is not a nation synonymous with vineyards. ALICIA WALKER discovers that this notion, like so much else associated with China, is robustly changing

There’s an old Chinese proverb that goes something like

wintertime, adding cost and difficulty to the process.

this: it does not matter if your tavern sits in a remote

The remoteness of many of the vineyards also present

location so long as the smell of your wine is appealing.

additional challenges to transport logistics, like in the

These wise words from long ago attest to

Yunnan province in the south-west, where they toil to

how far back China’s wine culture dates. Despite wine

produce various grapes. Moët & Hennessy have set up a

remaining a minority taste in the vast country, wine

new high-altitude vineyard in the area near the border of

drinking in China actually dates back thousands of years,

Tibet, surrounded by the Himalayas.

and a fresh demand for good-quality wine is on the rise.

LILLIAN CARTER is a winemaker at

Back in 2014, Vinexpo reported that over the previous

Tiansai Vineyards in Xinjiang. She has lent us some of

decade, China had overtaken both France and Italy as

her insight into the country’s expanding wine market:

the highest wine-consuming nation in the world. There are, after all, a lot of people in China, and their collective

Within the wine business, vine growing in China is well-

tastes are changing. In 2015, China overtook France as

known, but outside it remains largely unknown; why

the second-largest region planted with vines after Spain.

do you think it's still so under the radar? I’ve come up

Currently, most wines made in China are red varieties

against this many times. So many people say they didn’t

produced from international Cabernet Sauvignon and

know they grow [in China]. It’s not really part of their

Merlot grapes, but the diversity of the land and grape-

export product, so you don’t come across it outside

growing possibilities are as vast as the country’s land

the country, as there is enough demand domestically.

mass itself. It’s a fascinating playing field in the game of

The costs of exporting it might not stack up, and

vines—one that is evolving as quickly as the nation itself.

China doesn’t have such a great reputation for high-






quality, safe products, so it will take quite a lot to have

areas within China: Ningxia is the most established

it accepted by the global community. It’s certainly trying

region, producing the lion’s share of well-regarded

to be accepted, but there isn’t a need to push it outside

wines, with companies like Pernod Ricard invested in

China yet. But gradually, it will be.


growing in the area. In the north-west is Xinjiang, which generates China’s largest supply of table grapes. Hebei

Is the wine world keeping an eye on China’s wine

to the east makes mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and is

production? Yes, definitely. It’s often misunderstood

bordered by Shanxi, which has a seasonal climate that

by grape producers, as they might see it as a threat in

also accommodates Chardonnay and Merlot growing,

the future, but that’s a bit naive. I would counter that

while Shandong further east produces nearly half of

argument to say there is enough of a market at this stage

all China’s wines. The northern regions get frigidly cold,

for good domestic and international wines to thrive, and

meaning many grapes must be buried underground in

international wines will do better if the local Chinese 11

C H I N A’ S V I N E S

consumers have positive experiences drinking good

have a misunderstanding of the value of their product.

Chinese wines versus rubbish Chinese wines. Then they

It’s assuming the customer doesn’t have any indicator of

are more likely to enjoy exploring international wines.

knowledge of quality and that if they set the price high, it must be a good wine.

Wine growing has been happening for centuries in China, but only recently the population is prioritising

What advice do you have for those wanting to purchase

wine over other alcohols; why do you think there has

Chinese wines? I’d say try to hunt down the more well-

been this shift? I think it’s health driven and focused.

regarded producers by doing research online and buying

You can see that across a lot of other categories in

directly from the wineries. Also, avoid the wines that are

the China market, the interest in what they are putting

into the thousands of renminbi.

in their bodies. I think there is a genuine interest in wanting to know more, learn more. Wine appeals to the

What’s been the response to the wines you’ve helped

Chinese appetite for knowledge with the wine education

to grow in China? Quite a lot of them have been well

programmes and the wanting to get deeper involved.

received in international competitions. We have had

Wine does fascinate in general, and the Chinese maybe

awards from Decanter and RVF magazines and have

enjoy the academic side and enjoyment of knowing

been critiqued by international palates with great

more about it.

surprised responses and accolades.

Does the price of Chinese wines correlate with their

What are your favourite wines produced in China

quality? No, unfortunately not. The marketing side

now? I enjoy finding wines made from more interesting

of things is a bit unknown, and the channels to get to

varieties than Cabernet or Merlot, like Malbec, Shiraz, or

market are not well-developed. I think the owners often

Petit Manseng, and less traditional varieties.

> From left to right: Lillian Carter, map of China’s wine regions, Eddie McDougall, Tiansai Vineyard 12

C H I N A’ S V I N E S

EDDIE MCDOUGALL is the dynamic force

Why do you think China has embraced wine drinking in

behind The Flying Winemaker and chairman of the

recent years? The growing middle class and students

Asian Wine Review, the world’s first wine guide for wines

and workers returning to China from Western countries

grown and produced in Greater Asia. He enlightens us

have induced a type of lifestyle. Wine producing in China

on the great grapes growing in China.

is most certainly a combo of the three.

Being so prolific, why is there so little known

Is China’s wine-tourism industry heating up now?


Absolutely—there’s so much opportunity for ecotourism,





There’s nothing to hide; it’s just not readily available

especially in places like Yunnan and Hunan.

internationally. There was never the scale to push beyond domestic borders. They are already servicing

Are there any unique attributes to any of the wines

a huge population, so there’s no need to go outside at

being produced in China compared to other nations?

this point in time. As wine interest grows in China, so

The wine styles are very international, so there’s nothing

will the appetite for local wines. Some top brands have

really specific in terms of taste profile or style.

made it outside the borders based on successful results at international competitions. They have been winning

Which vineyards in China are doing really interesting

awards for primarily red wines from places like Ningxia.

things right now? Grace Vineyard [in Shangxi] is probably the most adventurous, as they are experimenting with

What hurdles do wines from China need to overcome?

several grape varietals to find the right fit.

Perception of quality is the biggest hurdle, but that will come over time as confidence builds and consumers

Any tips for journeying into the world of Chinese wine?

become more curious about the local wares.

Be adventurous. Start with the classic varietals like Cabernet, then try others like Marselan.

Is the wine world at large keeping an eye on China’s wine production? Very much so—in fact, most of the

Which Chinese labels should we be looking out for?

large corporate players are also making wine in China in

I would keep an eye out for Li’s Winery, Nine Peaks, Silver

view of the shift towards locally produced wine.

Heights, and Treaty Port.

To learn more about wine in China, download the Asian Wine Review from 13


REWRITING WINE 101: SINGLE-VARIETAL OR BLENDED WINE? Historically, most Old World wine (i.e., wine from Europe)

importantly, these two grape varieties have different

was blended for practical reasons. Farmers often

ripening times. Cabernet Sauvignon ripens late, so in

replaced dead vines in vineyards with other varietals,

cooler years when Cabernet Sauvignon grapes cannot

and as time went by, vineyards would be planted with a

properly ripen, winemakers still have Merlot to make the

few varietals, and farmers often didn’t know which was

wine. Obviously, the blend changed every year and the

which. They harvested all the grapes at the same time

vintage variations were significant.

and fermented them together, so the resulting wine was

The UK was the biggest market of Bordeaux

always a blend. This was called a field blend, because

wine, and consumers would only know where the wine

the different grapes were already blended in vineyards

originated, without any idea of the grape varieties

before they were turned into wine. In Bordeaux,

and their percentages. The inconsistency of this wine

blending was like insurance. Merlot is used to soften

confused consumers even more. At that time, New

the aggressive tannin of Cabernet Sauvignon, but more

World winemakers, led by Australia, were looking to 14


Our top-rated wine guru TERSINA SHIEH breaks down the merits of blends and single-varietal wines


export to the UK and were recommended to make a

is warmer and the winemakers there prefer to use new

reliable, consistent wine each year. They made 100%

oak to age their Chardonnay.

single-varietal wines and stated the grape names on

Winemakers blend wine because the whole

the labels. Consumers loved them, and when other New

is greater than the sum of its parts. Cabernet Sauvignon

World wine countries entered the UK market, they all

can be austere, especially when young, but Merlot can

focused on single-varietal wines.

mellow the structure and provide a rounder mouthfeel,

That was history, and today winemakers

while Cabernet Franc adds a touch of elegance to the

from most regions are making both single-varietal and

wine. A Bordeaux white blend—Semillon and Sauvignon

blended wines. Each wine has its own merits. Single-

Blanc—is another example of 1+1=3. These Bordeaux

varietal wine allows us to understand the characteristics

blends are classic examples of synergy and are made

of each variety. The parent of Cabernet Sauvignon is

in all New World wine-producing countries. Old World

Cabernet Franc, but the former is more structured and

wine regions have regulations that restrict the blending

darker in colour with black fruit notes, while the latter

possibilities. The red grapes permitted in Rioja in Spain

is more feminine, lighter in colour, and more fragrant

are Tempranillo, Graciano, and Mazuelo, so Rioja red

with red fruit aromas. Merlot is rounder and softer

wine can only be a blend of these three varieties and

on the palate with plum and chocolate notes. These

winemakers cannot include, say, Shiraz in the blend.

three varietals are components of a Bordeaux blend,

In the New World, there are no regulations,

and by tasting them separately, we can see why they

and winemakers experiment with everything under the

complement each other.

sun. South Africa is particularly innovative. The Spier

Single-varietal wine also helps us to see how

Creative Block range is made up of blends, and the

climate and winemaking techniques affect the final

numbers after the names denote the varietals in each

wine. A Shiraz from the warm-climate Barossa Valley in

blend. Creative Block 2 is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc

Australia is rich and jammy, but its counterpart in cooler

and Semillon, while Creative Block 8 is a blend of eight

Hawkes Bay in New Zealand has a distinctive white

varieties. South African white blends from Chenin

pepper nose. Similarly, Chablis from France, which is

Blanc, Roussanne, Chardonnay, and so on are gaining

100% Chardonnay, has lower alcohol and a citrus aroma,

international reputations. Single-varietal wine is about

while the same Chardonnay grown in Napa in the US has

the expression of the variety, while blended wine has the

much higher alcohol and a buttery palate, because Napa

added skills of winemakers. So, the choice is yours!

> From left to right: Wine blending, wine tasting, wine pairing with food 15


Halloumi Heaven

This versatile cheese with heaps of history is one that should be celebrated, so that’s exactly what we did! Fry it, grill it, eat it straight from its wrapping—any way you choose to enjoy the unique texture and taste of halloumi cheese, people have been doing the same for centuries. Halloumi hails back to the Medieval Byzantine era where Cypriot farmers relied on the cheese as a major source of protein and the technique was honed to perfection. This semi-soft white cheese is traditionally made from a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk, has a salty flavour, and owns a higher-thanaverage melting point, making it one of the few cheeses that you can fry or grill. And that’s exactly what makes it so versatile for everything from pizza toppings and side dishes to a main vegetarian protein option or salad enhancer. It’s also growing incredibly in popularity around the world as more and more people globally discover its multifaceted uses and divine flavour.



Levant Foods hosted an event sponsored by the EU and Cyprus Republic to highlight the beauty of this multi-purpose cheese. Oolaa was the setting for this fun and informative gathering, where halloumi was the star of the show. Guests dined on halloumi-topped crudités, halloumi fries, halloumi-filled scotch eggs and risotto balls, quinoa and halloumi sushi, and rice paper rolls filled with halloumi to show exactly the variety of dishes that can be enjoyed with this adaptable cheese. In Hong Kong, Halloumi can be found in most premium supermarkets like Marketplace, Jasons, Fusion, City’Super, and many of the casual dining restaurants, as well as Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants. Levant Foods is the biggest Cyprus halloumi importer in Hong Kong and represents premium brands like Christis and Polycarpou. Managing Director of Levant Foods, Stelios Iakovidis, says, “HK foodies have enthusiastically embraced halloumi for its great taste and unique texture. More and more chefs want to talk to us to see how they can incorporate it in their menus and the event was really about giving some ideas.” Email us at or call 6879 4646 for any enquiries.



> From left to right, top to bottom: Temaki from Zuma, short rib lettuce bowl from ChĂ´m ChĂ´m, cold free-range chicken and hwa tiao, char siu, and lobster dumplings from John Anthony, matcha croissants from RISE, pork souvlaki from Artemis & Apollo 18


A RETURN TO TASTE Hong Kong’s premier eating and drinking festival returns to rock our taste buds Taste of Hong Kong presented by HSBC is on comfortable ground now entering its fourth year of setting the stage for the ultimate alfresco feast along the harbourfront. If you haven’t been before, Taste of Hong Kong is a food festival that gathers the trendiest restaurants, talented chefs, and exciting food producers together for four days of gastromonic indulgence; it’s a chance to try some of the dining scene’s leading restaurants, all in one stunning outdoor event on March 21st to 24th. You can try, you can buy, you can meander, and at the heart of it all, eat exceptionally well. This year presents new restaurants, new vendors at the market, new experiences, and new bars. Here’s everything you need to know about Taste of Hong Kong 2019 presented by HSBC.



New restaurants showing their stuff at the festival include

Here’s one for the nose: London’s Miller Harris bar will

the eco-chic deliciousness from John Anthony, hot new

be making its Asia debut and serving cocktails that

Jiangnan dishes from Tai Kwun’s Old Bailey, the Nordic

complement their luxe fragrance range. Guests will be

stylings of The Flying Elk, and great Greek from Artemis

invited to discover cocktails that will be paired with their

& Apollo. Award-winning Hoi King Heen will continue

signature scents, guided by resident fragrance experts.

to twist those Cantonese classics alongside the casual

Coffee experts Nespresso will join Taste this

fun of bia hoi-inspired Chôm Chôm, contemporary

year to wake up the crowds with free brews throughout

Middle Eastern fare from Francis, and meaty bites from

the festival. And there will be foamy fun to be had at the

Sausage Commitment by Okra. A select few of the

Stella Artois World Draught Master Competition on

favourites return for another year with modern Japanese

Friday evening, 22nd March 2019.

Haku, Italian pasta from Pici, and the city’s consistently favourite Japanese izakaya spot, Zuma.


You’ll need some sweet treats after all that

The Gourmet Market is back with a new selection of

grazing; look out for the freshly-baked, moist, and chewy

premium artisanal products available for sampling

cookies from Cookie DPT; get your bread and pastry fix

and purchasing. The Sound Stage by Virgin Australia

from French artisan bakery RISE, and seek out the finest

will provide the soundtrack for the weekend with DJs

truffle honey that’s been carefully and experly crafted

sending out the festival vibes.

from family business Sabatino Tartufi. You’ll also want

The Wolf Theatre will have a host of

to check out the signature organic milk ice cream from

interactive cooking demos from famed international

Baekmidang and the designer desserts that pass as mini

and local chefs, as well as exhibiting their elite range of

works of art from Sweet Fashion House.

kitchen products. 19



every spring in New Orleans. We can take a break from

As returning media partner, our own Foodie tent will be

what we normally do and make some more fun dishes

fuelled with sustainable fun in partnership with those

that wouldn’t necessarily show up in our restaurants. It’s

catering geniuses at Invisible Kitchen. We will have

exactly why we invite other chefs to participate with us,

a crazy cool ‘Donut Wall’ with donuts and donut holes

so they have the chance to do something more fun in

(wouldn’t want the holes to go to waste!) made from

Hong Kong.”

one of the foods of the future: cricket flour! Come and

Taste veterans Zuma return for another

play one of our Foodie games to get a chance to try

year of food-fuelled fun. The team tell us why they’re

one of these sumptuous bites of the future that will

returning: “These festivals give us the chance to serve

be deliciously displayed and ready to be won. You can

customers directly in a different setting, providing a

also check out the cool furniture we will be using from

unique experience outside of our venue. We, of course,

the inspiring eco-conscious cardboard architecture

hope to interact with new guests who may not have been

company PaperTown. Come find us!

to Zuma yet and give them a little taste of what we have to offer. Most of the restaurants participating are quite


new and we’ve had a strong presence in Hong Kong for

We spoke with a brigade of the chefs who will be

the past 12 years. In such a competitive market, we are

showing off their skills at this year’s food fest on what

still one of the top dining destinations in the city. The fact

entices them about this eating extravaganza. MAX

that we have been in a leading position in the industry

LEVY of Okra will be bringing his new concept Sausage

for over a decade certainly helps. Our uncompromising

Commitment to the stage: “Taste is a festival unlike

commitment and continuous strive to deliver strong

any other in Hong Kong. It is purely food-focused and

executions and innovative flavours are something that

reminds me of all the food festivals that I grew up with

doesn’t go unnoticed.”

> From left to right: Chef Max Levy of Okra, Chef Oscar Luzon of Zuma, Chef Chau Sai To of John Anthony 20


Newcomer on the scene is Middle Eastern

people to experience our restaurant in a completely

Francis. The dynamic team tells us why they’ve joined:

different environment, pace, and atmosphere. It’s a lot

“We consider Taste to be the premier global food festival,

more fast-paced and more of a “teaser” to what we have

showcasing the very best restaurants each city has to

to offer, and encourages us to be more innovative and

offer. Hong Kong is a vibrant multicultural city and this is

think outside the box. It’s fun to get involved with the

reflected by the sheer variety of cuisine. With the sheer

community and also be able to share the experience with

density of restaurants in Hong Kong, it is often difficult to

other restaurants and chefs that we respect and love!

visit all. Taste allows festival-goers to taste dishes that a

John Anthony’s food is innovative, putting a creative spin

restaurant has become well-renowned for in a casual yet

on Chinese classics like dim sum as well as grilled and

fun environment.”

stir-fried dishes in a way that also highly prioritises the

Head Chef CHAU SAI TO of new Causeway

notion of sustainability. We believe our unique concept

Bay restaurant, John Anthony, tells us what we can

and food make us an exciting addition to Taste, which we

look forward to: “Festivals provide the opportunity for

hope will draw attention from foodies all across HK.”

Taste sessions are divided into lunch and dinner services. A session lasts for 4–5 hours (session dependent): Thursday, 21st March 2019: 6pm–10pm Friday, 22nd March 2019: 12.30pm–4.30pm and 6pm–10pm Saturday, 23rd March 2019: 12.30pm–4.30pm and 6pm–10pm Sunday, 24th March 2019: 12.30pm–5.30pm Individual dishes vary from each restaurant, but dishes will start from $50. Last year some of the signature dishes topped out around the $300 mark. General entry is priced at $120 in advance, $150 on the door ($98 for HSBC cardholders). All kids under 12 are free! There are also several ticket packages available. For more ticketing info, head to

> From left to right: Chef Asher Goldstein of Francis, mala xiao long bao from Old Bailey, lobster and shrimp rolls from The Flying Elk 21

> From left to right, top to bottom: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, coffee and purple noodles at Anchan Noodles, the House of Ginger 22




THE FOOD NOMAD: CHIANG MAI CELIA HU heads down the back streets to find the best of this Thai food haven Nestled in the cradle of the Golden Triangle, Chiang Mai, the former capital of the ancient kingdom of Lanna, sits on some of the highest mountain ranges in Thailand. This dense jungle kingdom at the crossroads of historical trade routes built its cuisine on the bedrock of traditional Thai elements, whilst adopting various ingredients and techniques from neighbouring Myanmar, China, and Laos. The result is a cornucopia of exotic flavours. Colourful traditional Thai elements from the hill tribes interweave with modern aesthetics to spin the rich tapestry of a new Thai identity. Join us as we zip around in Grab cars from traditional Thai eateries to trendy coffee shops to discover the old and new of today’s Chiang Mai.


antiques give the impression of an eccentric British


aristocrat overcome with decorating madness. Classic

If you are looking to try Northern Thailand’s iconic

English delectables such as scones can be found here,

curry noodles, the khao soi, then look no further than

served alongside cool glasses of creamy Thai iced milk

Huen Phen. Renowned for serving up one of the most

tea, and the run-of-the-mill chicken sandwich gets a

authentic bowls of the famous noodles, Huen Phen

little saucy with a satay twist. Now with three locations,

offers several different proteins ranging from chicken,

from the original House and Kafe of Ginger to the new

pork, and beef to go alongside the rich, coconut-based

Farm restaurants, Ginger has become a lifestyle empire,

yellow curry heaped with a delicious combination of soft

complete with its colourful decor shops full of whimsy.

and crispy noodles. Also not to be missed are the crispy


grilled chicken (gai yung), herb-infused fish steamed in banana leaves, and spicy Chiang Mai sausages. The


restaurant serves up simple, no-frills, canteen-style

The colour purple is the theme at Anchan Noodles. Dyed

cooking during the day and a fancier menu at night in

a pretty violet hue thanks to the peculiar butterfly pea

a separate dining area filled with greenery and antiques.

flower, the rice noodles and drinks at Anchan make for a

112 RACHAMANKHA ROAD, +66 (0) 5381 4548

colourful spread. We tried both the dry and soup noodle options with tender chicken slices, and particularly


enjoyed the sweet and spicy chilli dipping sauce. A must-

The aesthetics behind the House of Ginger can be

try that sells out quickly is the crispy pork, so be sure

summed up in one word—eccentricity. Floral wallpaper

to grab a plate! Drinks here are very Instagrammable,

set against plush seating, tropical greenery, and eclectic

due to the stratas of different colours in each cup, but 23

veer towards the sugary side. The decor is basic and the


staff, although with very limited English, are friendly and

There is more to Akha Ama than just good coffee.

helpful. A good spot for cheap eats before hitting the

The beloved coffee brand sprouted from a feel-good

trendy stores on Nimman. SOI 9, TH SIRIMUNGKLAJARN

homegrown story of social empowerment. Founded by Lee Ayu in 2010, who grew up in one of the most remote


ethnic Akha tribes of Northern Thailand, he desperately

This quirky little artist enclave is a photographer's dream.

searched for a way for his poor villagers to send their

Lush, beautifully landscaped paths weave through

kids to school. The answer came when he mobilised

rickety traditional Thai wooden bungalows filled with

the villagers to produce world-class high-quality coffee

handmade artisanal crafts, ranging from dyed scarves

that revolutionised the reputation of Thai coffee. Today,

and baby clothes to ceramics and jewellery. Meet local

Akha Ama Coffee has transformed his village to be one

artists in their workshops and take a class to create your

of the most highly educated in the area and changed the

own memories of Chiang Mai. There are little cafes and

lives of countless families. A chance meeting with James

small restaurants tucked away along the lush pathways.

Beard Award winner Andy Ricker and Stumpton Coffee

Every corner is incredibly photogenic, which means you’ll

founder Duane Sorenson have further helped develop

be sharing the place with a thousand KOLs or wannabe

Lee Ayu’s understanding of coffee. Doing good while

“influencers”. Still worth a visit; it’s a very small place so

drinking good coffee; now that’s an idea easy to swallow.

budget in just an hour or two if you plan to eat here.



CHANG PHUAK, +66 (0) 86 915 8600

> From left to right, top to bottom: Akha Ama Coffee, stalls at the Morning Market at Baan Kang Wat 24






In 2004, Ajarn Saiyut started her humble restaurant in

Chiang Mai is rich in religious history, and you’re never far

her own home to preserve royal Thai culinary traditions.

from a temple. The most famous is the golden Wat Phra

Renowned for complicated cooking methods, rare

That Doi Suthep, although others, such as Wat Chedi

ingredients, and elaborate vegetable and fruit carvings,

Luang, Wat Phra Singh, and Wat Umong are also well

royal Thai cuisine is fading in modern times due to its

worth the visit.

time-consuming preparations and intricate techniques. The venerable Saiyut dedicated her life’s work to passing


on these time-honoured traditions, and to prove that

Spa days are the best days! Unwind at the famous Fah

the elderly can be resourceful instead of a burden on

Lanna Spa (we like the Old City location) or luxuriate in

the next generation. Despite the restaurant having

the colonial Ping Nakara Spa, our personal favourite.

expanded to five pavilions on her property, Saiyut resides over the kitchen every night. Royal delicacies such as


prawns wrapped in egg net, herbal chicken in wafer-

Shop the gorgeous boutiques on Nimman Street, full of

thin pastry shells, and flower-shaped dumplings topped

unique pieces made by local artists. Our top pick is the

with coconut cream are painstakingly crafted by hand,

super trendy One Nimman open mall, where everything

all served on local artisanal Celadon ceramics. A true

is on point. Check out Camellia & Co for the most

jewel of Chiang Mai cuisine. 32 SOI CHOTANA 2 SRILANNA

fashionable woven bags and complete the look with a

ROAD, TUMBOL PATAN, +66 (0) 5321 1848

rainbow selection of tassle accessories.




If you want to experience life as a Disney character, then

Let the plates be the stars at your next dinner party with

look no further than Mae Rim Lagoon. Nicknamed the

handcrafted pottery from San Kamphaeng artist district.

Mermaid Lagoon, the scenery is almost ethereal. Grab a

Our favourites can be found at Prempracha’s Collection.

bite at Chom Cafe and pose for Insta-worthy shots.

> From left to right: Khao soi at Huen Phen, pottery at Prempracha’s Collection 25




LITTLE HONG KONG KITCHEN Recipe blogger and homecook extraordinaire LAURA WILLIAMS shares her recipes for wholesome dishes to get you inspired in the kitchen.


125g chorizo 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 onion, finely diced ¾ red chilli, diced 1 red bell pepper, diced 800g chopped tomatoes, tinned 1 tbsp tomato purée ½ tsp sugar 1 heaped tsp ground cumin 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika 4 large eggs FOR SERVING:

Feta cheese ¼ red chilli, diced A handful of parsley, chopped Toasted ciabatta slices 1. Dice the chorizo into small pieces and place into a cold and heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Allow the chorizo to warm in the pan and release its oils. Continue to cook the chorizo for a few minutes until they are crisp, then remove from the pan. Leave the oil in the pan. 2. To the chorizo oil, add the onion, chilli, garlic, and pepper. Cook until softened for around 5–10 minutes. Add in the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, and sugar. Stir to combine. When the sauce begins to bubble, add the chorizo. 3. Using the back of a spoon, create four wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each one. Next, place the pan under a grill for 3–5 minutes, until the egg has cooked, but the yolk is still runny. 4. Top the shakshuka off with crumbled feta cheese, chopped parsley, and sliced chilli. Serve while hot alongside toasted ciabatta for dipping. 27





450g frozen spinach, thawed 1 onion 250g feta 50g grated Parmesan 100g sun-dried tomatoes 20g chopped dill 20g parsley, chopped 20g oregano, chopped 3 large eggs 1 clove garlic 2 tbsp olive oil FOR PASTRY:

5 tbsp butter 13–14 sheets filo pastry 1. Ensure that the spinach is thawed and that all the water has been squeezed out of it. Place into a large mixing bowl. 2. Dice the onion and garlic and place into a frying pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and soften for a few minutes. Once cooked, allow to cool slightly before placing into the bowl with the spinach. 3. To the onions and spinach, add the feta, Parmesan, and chopped herbs. Finely dice the sun-dried tomatoes and beat the eggs together. Add these to the spinach filling along with the remaining olive oil and mix very well to ensure it is thoroughly combined. 4. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and melt the butter. Lay the filo sheets inbetween two damp tea towels to ensure that they do not dry out. 5. Take an eight- or nine-inch springform cake tin and brush with melted butter. Place a sheet of filo into the tin and push in to line it. Brush the sheet with more butter and place another filo sheet on top at a slightly different angle to cover more of the tin. Brush this sheet with more butter. Continue until all of the tin is fully covered and you have built up a layer of around 10 sheets around the tin. 6. Empty the spinach filling into the pastry-lined tin and spread it around to ensure it fills the tin. Fold the excess pastry back into the tin to cover the filling. Take a sheet of filo, gently scrunch together, and place on top of the pie. Do this with another two or three sheets to cover the top of the pie. Brush with a final coating of butter and place into the oven for around 60 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. 29




MEATLESS MONTHLY CINDY LAM of OLIVE OLY KITCHEN cooks delicious vegetarian recipes that support local farms. This month, we have a refreshing made-from-scratch green sandwich packed with flavour and texture.



3–4 artichokes, cleaned and halved

½ small purple cabbage, cored and shredded

1 fresh lemon

1 carrot, shredded

1–2 garlic clove, finely chopped

2–3 radish, shredded

1 pinch dried chilli flakes

¼ red onion, shredded

½ glass of white wine

½ tbsp honey

¼ cup water

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped

½ cup mayonnaise

1–2 tbsp pistachio pesto (optional)

Salt and pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil FOR SANDWICH:

1 medium tomato, thinly sliced 1 small bowl arugula 2 thin slices of mozzarella 2–3 tbsp of butter 1–2 tbsp mayonnaise 4 slices of wheat bread 1. Place the cleaned artichokes in a bowl of freshly-squeezed lemon juice and water to prevent them from browning. Pre-heat the saucepan with a generous amount of olive oil on medium heat. Fry garlic and chilli flakes first, then add the artichokes, white wine, and water. Season and let simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes with a lid on until artichokes are cooked. Drain the artichokes and add some pistachio pesto and freshly-chopped parsley. 2. For the dressing, mix together honey, apple cider vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl. In a separate large bowl, combine all purple cabbage slaw ingredients with the dressing. Mix well and set aside. Drain the purple cabbage slaw before serving. 4. In a hot frying pan, melt butter and fatten up the toasts with the melted butter. Spread mayonnaise on one side of the toast, top the other toast with cheese, artichokes, purple slaw, tomato, and arugula, and assemble. Repeat for the second sandwich. 31


CIRCULAR ECONOMY: A REDESIGN OF THE SYSTEM 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.

The concept of waste does not exist in nature and is

Once discarded, waste is either treated in the most

entirely a human construct. Yet our desire to be far

ineffective way possible at the landfill or incinerated. With

removed from what we dispose of seems to be hardwired

the absence of sunlight and oxygen, a head of lettuce

in us. A perfect example of this is to think of the humble

could take up to 25 years to decompose in a landfill as

toilet, where its primary function is to effectively remove

it essentially mummifies, emitting harmful greenhouse

our waste from us as far as possible. So when we see

gases along the way. Burning waste for energy, on the

toothbrushes, takeaway food boxes, cotton buds, and

other hand, is better than landfills, but requires high-tech

practically all everyday objects from our bins washing

air-pollution controls—capital that could be invested in

up on our shores, we are faced with the harsh reality

waste-reduction and recycling efforts.

that most of what we throw away doesn’t actually go away. Our current linear economy model of ‘take, make,


waste’ has us using finite resources to create increasingly


complex products, most of which are single-use, and not

The short answer is no. Recycling is important in ensuring

effectively processing them after we dispose of them. In

our current materials are diverted from the waste stream.

the case of plastic, forty per cent of all plastic produced is

In the case of complicated materials like plastic, the

for packaging, used just once, and then discarded.

structures cannot be fully recycled back into its original 32


Follow her journey on Instagram at @thezerowastechallenge


form. A transparent plastic bottle, for instance, cannot

buy a coffee to take away, the café has passed on the

be recycled back into a plastic bottle, and is mixed with

ownership rights of the coffee and the disposable cup to

other materials to be ‘downcycled’. It typically takes seven

you. The thing of value is the coffee, which typically takes

cycles for paper to degrade, and 15–35 cycles for plastic to

13 minutes to consume. After which, you are left with a

degrade and eventually be of no use.

disposable coffee cup, most likely made of paper and

From an economic perspective, recycling

lined with plastic that can’t be recycled in most places.

as an industry takes materials that have very little value,

The cup, rather than being of value, is now a liability,

requires extra manpower to clean and sort, and uses

and something you want to get rid of. If you happen to

more energy and resources to create products that cost

diligently bring your own reusable mug to the café—

more than virgin materials. Essentially, we should not be

which, by the way, is a commendable action—you’re also

relying on recycling to solve our problems with waste.

tasked with carrying a dirty cup with you for the rest of the


day. But what if you didn’t own the cup in the first place? FROM LINEAR TO CIRCULAR, OWNED TO SHARING

The idea of ‘circular’ is to remove waste as

The ethos behind ‘zero waste’ begins with the individual;

a concept from how we consume. The sharing aspect

small actions to demand more from companies are made

ensures that we are effectively using our resources. In

by large amounts of people in order to disrupt our current

the case of pre-packaged products, Loop is a company in

system. The rules are simple: Refuse single-use; reduce

the U.S. testing out a reusable system where consumers

consumption; reuse what you have; recycle (as a last

can return packaging back to companies to be reused

resort); and rot (by composting organic waste). These

again. For ready-to-consume food and drink, Revolv is

are actions that can be taken by any individual so that

providing a reusable system for takeaway containers on a

we can move away from our linear economy. But with the

rentable scheme. In Bali, Hong Kong, and now Singapore,

current rate of consumerism, what are we demanding

containers are borrowed and then returned to be washed

exactly? If anything, we should be demanding a better

and redistributed back to businesses. The community

design of how we consume products. Single-use waste

of reusing is growing, and working with businesses. The

is a failure of imagination and design of our system. If you

concept should be normalised to help keep waste out of

take your trip to the coffee shop, for example, when you

our natural systems and urban environments.

> From left to right: Household items available on Loop, reusable delivery bag from Loop, reusable stainless steel cup from Revolv

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Foodie Issue 101: March/April 2019  

Foodie Issue 101: March/April 2019  

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