The lowdown on French food in Hong Kong from Gallic expats in the know
The latest news and upcoming events
tried and tasted
An Italian threesome and the world’s highest bar
tried and tipsy
Bars with nibbles and a featured cocktail with a kick
NoHo uncovered with an eye on Gough Street
word on the street
From reindeer to dragonflies, you tell us the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten
hong kong street crawl
Our comprehensive guide to Hong Kong’s last street eateries with help from ‘dai pai dong’ David Harder
The importance of sleep and nutrition by Nadine Rowe
French bread food fight as baguettes face off
French food made simple by Luis Porras
Putting together the perfect cheese platter with help from Caroline Chatté
www.facebook.com/foodiehk // may 2011
with a kick
Whether you need a pick-me-up, fancy something new or just love great cocktails, the Vanilla Espresso Martini is for you!
vanilla espresso martini Ingredients + Vanilla Absolut Vodka + coffee liquor + 1 espresso shot
Method In a cocktail shaker, add all the ingredients, shake and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with coffee beans as the caffeinated cherry on top.
Available at classy but fun SoHo bar Entourage, this must-try cocktail is part of the delectable Entourage x Absolut Vodka range. Entourage Restaurant Lounge & Barâ€¨1-5 Elgin Street, Central. For reservations, please call 2559 8281.
www.foodie-magazine.com // may 2011
SERVES PREPARATION TIME 5 minutes
Kan U Fong
Ab erd een
Mee Lun Street
word on the street
For us Foodie teamsters, culinary adventures await us every day. How far would you go to excite your taste buds? This month, we ask fellow foodies in Sheung Wan about the strangest food they’ve ever braved.
Favourite restaurant: BLT Steak (American), TST
Favourite restaurant: Lily & Bloom (bar and restaurant), Central
Favourite restaurant: Bistro Bamboo (commonly known as Ren Bai, dim sum), Central
Strangest food you’ve ever had? Ants.
Strangest food you’ve ever had? Fried dragonfly.
Strangest food you’ve ever had? Possum, fugu and reindeer.
17 word on the street
Favourite restaurant: A Hu Yun Nan Mi Xian (noodles), across Hong Kong
Favourite restaurant: Lei Garden Restaurant (dim sum), across Hong Kong
Favourite restaurant: Kwan Kee Claypot Rice (Chinese), Sai Wan
Strangest food you’ve ever had? Duck.
Strangest food you’ve ever had? Mooncake with ants and scorpions as the filling.
Strangest food you’ve ever had? Chicken feet.
Eaten weirder? Tell us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/foodiehk) and Twitter (@foodiehk).
Thai Cocktail Lounge & Kitchen
w o N n! e p o Reservations recommended Shop 1 Level 1 “SoHo 38” , 38 Shelley Street (on the junction with Mosque Street) Mid-levels, Hong Kong Tel: 21795779 Fax: 23456345 firstname.lastname@example.org / www.limeconceptsgroup.com 香港中半山些利街 38 號 / 摩羅廟街 29 號 “ SOHO 38” 一號舖
dai pai dongs Hong Kong street crawl
Hong Kongâ€™s outdoor eateries, Dai Pai Dongs, are heralded as the essence of Hong Kong street food culture â€“ and a vanishing culinary tradition. Jeanne Cheung walked the length of the city with local food expert David Harder to explore this unique dining scene.
gourmet foodie weekenders check-up
foodie check-up Our nutritionist Nadine this month shares wise words on the importance of sleep.
Nadine Rowe is a UK Registered Dietitian based in Hong Kong. She is passionate about food and nutrition and helping people achieve optimal nutrition and wellbeing. Nadine believes in a no ‘diet’ philosophy, instead encouraging healthy eating to be a balance of nutritious, satisfying and delicious foods, because at the end of the day — eating is to be enjoyed!
Kevin Cheung, 41
I do not sleep very well and always feel tired during the day. I try to avoid caffeine in the evening and try to exercise when I have time, which isn’t very often. I wondered if what I am eating is affecting my sleep?
Diet certainly has a role to play in ensuring you sleep well. Here are a couple of key things to watch out for.
25 food war
Good carbs are not the enemy Dieters, don't pass up on that bread basket. Carbs are necessary to provide energy for proper body and organ functions. If you’ve been on a low or no carb diet, you know how difficult it is to workout at the gym – it makes staying in shape that much harder. Some carbs, however, are better than the others.
Good carbs: Believe it or not, vegetables are actually the best form of carbs. Anything high in fibre and natural (or as close to natural as you can get) is good. These goodies keep your blood sugar level steady. Some examples are whole grains, fruits, beans and nuts.
Bad carbs: We're too familiar with them – processed carbs stripped of almost all nutrients and natural fibre. They are also high in sugar, with junk food topping the list, followed closely by soft drinks. Other serious contenders include plain loaf and high-sugar breakfast cereals.
Mermaid Bakery at City’super ($24) IFC Mall, Central.
Another sizeable baguette, International’s offering is neither offensive nor terrible. Sadly, neither is it particularly good. The floury, heavy interior is barely contained within a crust that lacks crunch. The dough is moist enough to build a decent enough sandwich with but it boasts very little flavour alone or with dips. Whilst it certainly isn’t a crime against the art of baking, this pale beast doesn’t really do anything of any merit.
City’super shoppers will be familiar with the little Mermaid’s heady aromas, wafting out into the supermarket and tempting hungry shoppers. The Parisian is their most favourable baguette. Slightly fatter and stubbier than the average French stick, it’s a superb addition to Hong Kong’s generally lacklustre collection of breads. Crisp, light and flavoursome, our own Foodie chef favours this fresh with olive oil, but it’s great with butter and jam or as a chunky, sizeable set of sandwiches. Terrific stuff.
www.foodie-magazine.com // may 2011
International ($19) Citywide.
french fancies Who better to ask about French cuisine than those that know best â€“ les Francais! by Dominique Afacan
27 french fancies
Whatever the cultural stereotypes thrown at them, the French have the last laugh. Their cuisine is largely recognised as being the best in the world and French gourmet standards are higher than most. Good luck to Marks and Spencer who are testing out their Simply Food stores in Paris later this year – it could prove to be a tough crowd. For Le French May we caught up with key gourmet Gallics to get their take on the ever-growing French foodie scene in Hong Kong.
The French Entrepreneur Eric Masson is the owner of Les Boules, an indoor petanque (a form of boules) café in Shek Tong Tsui with a cult following.
Food-wise, I do quiche, plates of cheese, charcuterie and pates, so from a culinary point of view it is very French. We have good wines; four whites, four reds, two rosé and a wine of the month. Beer fans can have Kronenbourg and Guinness. I think Chinese people enjoy French food. People in Hong Kong are used to eating very international dishes. The Chinese guys I get in here especially love the French coffee.
“I used to live in Paris, where I ran bookshops and worked as a publisher. Seven years ago I decided I needed some peace and quiet, so I decided to sell up and move to Lamma. I did very little for a long time after I moved, apart from playing petanque of course. I have a petanque court at home and am an official champion in Guangzhou. My café may seem extremely French, but it’s not just for a French clientele. I get a mix of visitors from all over the place.
I eat a lot of French food here in Hong Kong. My favourite place is La Terrasse in Soho – you can smoke outside for a start! In Macau I used to love Le Bistrot but it’s closed now. Cherie-cherie is another favourite of mine on Aberdeen Street. For local food I like Kennedy Town. There are a few places on Davis Street where you can sit on the terrace and look at the water as you eat. My favourite French food is Entrecote Frite or Coute de Boeuf. My girlfriend tends to cook everything; we buy all our meat online as it’s difficult to find elsewhere.” Les Boules 18 Woo Hop Street, Shek Tong Tsui. T 2872 0102 www.facebook.com/foodiehk // may 2011
The French Chef Mickael Le Calvez is the French chef at Brass, a new French restaurant in Central’s Nexxus Building. He has been in Hong Kong for two years and was previously chef at The French Window. “Brass is short for Brasserie – we wanted to do my typical style of cooking but at affordable prices. Dinner is on average $550 for three courses. It’s really good value for the quality we provide. We have just reworked our menu so we have an à la carte option and the wine list is ever evolving. The Hong Kong market loves to eat in general – they have very advanced palates. They like authenticity and avoid fusion and over-complicated things. Traditional good food is key. Their palates are so advanced that they can taste the difference. The market is putting much more of a focus on wine and the concept of ‘wining and dining.’ French food is a good compliment to that trend. I am a workaholic so as far as French hangouts go, I don’t know many – I hang out in the kitchen! I did try La Marmite in SoHo the other day and loved it – so that’s one I would recommend.
There are plenty of good French chefs here in Hong Kong and I admire all the ones I have worked with. It might sound like a cliché but it is true. The biggest misconception about French food is that it is heavy and rich. We put a lot of thought into maintaining a light and fluffier feel. Also there’s a perception about the speed of cooking – people worry about French food being slow and so we look to change that, especially at lunchtime, when diners are on a tight schedule.” Brass 2/F, Nexxus Building, 77 Des Voeux Road, Central. T 2899 2216
Hong Kong palates are very advanced. They like authenticity and avoid fusion and overcomplicated things.
29 french fancies
French people have very high standards as far as cuisine is concerned. Even more so when we are abroad, as we pine for that perfect dish to transport us back home! Chinese people seem to enjoy French cuisine more and more. In fact, people of all nationalities tend to be investing more time getting excited about food. To be honest I really like eating at home but if I do go out then I like places where I can sit outside. We are lucky at Chez Patrick as we have an outdoor terrace.
The French Food Marketeer Caroline Boisson is marketing manager for the Chez Patrick Group, and before this was PR and events manager for the French Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. “There is a huge French community here in Hong Kong, I think this is the third biggest French expat community in the world. There are around 12,000 of us and many more on their way!
We have been open for three months. We have a fine dining restaurant too but here at the deli, we do takeaway, on-site dining and soon we’ll add an online shop. Of course there are plenty of very good French restaurants in Hong Kong. Many of the top French chefs are here like Pierre Gagnaire and Robuchon. But not all French restaurants are high-end. More and more bistro-style places are opening where the cuisine is more home-style, more traditional. People say French women are typically very slim. I am not sure that’s true but if it is maybe it’s because we eat quality, not quantity. I think Chinese women are much skinnier than us though!” Chez Patrick Deli 3 Star Street, Wanchai. T 2527 1408 Le French May runs from 15 April to 23rd June, www.frenchmay.com
gourmet getaway: vive la vietnam twitter.com/foodiehk // may 2011
There are French influences all over Vietnam thanks to its history as a French colony, so gourmet explorers should check it out for Le French May. Head to the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi – where Le Beaulieu restaurant has been serving up amazingly good Coq au Vin since 1901. Back on street level, you’ll find vendors selling fresh baguettes, called Bahn Mi, usually filled with BBQ pork, pate, chicken or cheese. www.sofitel.com
simply french. French food doesn’t have to take hours of careful preparation. Our resident chef has taken French favourites and arranged them in a simple, fussfree way that you can make at home. Remember, when you’re wowing friends and family with these dishes there’s no need to let on that they were so easy – enjoy basking in the glory of Gallic food without the grief! Recipes by Luis Porras
www.foodie-magazine.com // may 2011
assemble the perfect cheese platter By Caroline Chatté
Have a cheese of every style: Hard, soft, goat’s cheese and blue cheese - this is the best way to please everyone. Have at least one popular light cheese. E.g. Brie, Camembert or Emmental. Almost everybody likes these! Add salted butter. Especially if there is a blue cheese on the platter.
Have enough bread/crackers. Styles of bread depends on nationality. France: baguettes; England: crackers; Germany: black bread; China: a bit of everything! In any case, running out of bread is a definite no-no!
Less is more. Instead of lots of small cheeses for six people have three or four styles that everyone will be able to try. It is frustrating when the cheese you wanted to try runs out!
Think about sides: Dried fruit, black cherry jam... Sides add sweetness to the cheese and doubles as decoration. It adds to the "wow" effect and is tasty at the same time.
Keep the packaging. If there are leftovers, keep each cheese in its own packaging. It’s the best way to keep it fresh for longer.
croque-madame, sauce mornay
Grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg and Mornay sauce SERVES PREPARATION TIME 30 minutes COOKING TIME 25 minutes INGREDIENTS + 4 slices of Brioche + 2 slices of ham + 2 slices of Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese + 2 tbsp butter, salted + 2 large eggs + 1 cup sauce Mornay sauce (recipe follows) + Black pepper to taste Mornay sauce: + 3 tsp butter + 3 tsp flour + ½l milk + ½ cup of Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese + 1 egg yolk + Pinch of nutmeg + Salt and pepper to taste
METHOD First make Mornay sauce: 1 In a small saucepan, heat butter, add flour and whisk for a few minutes, then add milk and mix until creamy. 2 Add nutmeg, pepper and salt. If lumpy, strain and put back in saucepan. 3 Add shredded cheese, egg yolk and whisk until smooth and creamy, set aside. Then the sandwich: 4 Lay out 2 bread slices, place ham and cheese on top, then top with 2 more bread slices. 5 In a large frying pan, melt 1 tsp of butter and fry each sandwich until golden brown on both sides. 6 Place each sandwich on a plate, topped with a fried egg and cover with ¼ cup of warm Mornay sauce, sprinkle with black pepper. 7 Serve with a green salad or French fries.
www.facebook.com/foodiehk //may 2011
salade niçoise Tuna and olive salad, "Nice" style SERVES PREPARATION TIME 20 minutes COOKING TIME 15 minutes
INGREDIENTS + 160g tuna steak + 200g mixed lettuce + ½ cup Kalamata olives +4 new potatoes, boiled and cut into quarters + 4 quail eggs, boiled + ½ cup cherry tomatoes + ½ cup cocktail onions + Fresh parsley + olive oil, extra virgin + red wine vinegar + salt and pepper to taste
METHOD 1 Cut tuna into 1-2 inch chunks, season with salt and pepper and sear in a hot pan with a little oilve oil, leaving the centers rare, set aside. 2 On large plates, arrange washed mix lettuce and top with rest of ingredients in random order. 3 Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. 4 Sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
quiche forestière Wild mushroom quiche
SERVES x6 PREPARATION TIME 60 minutes COOKING TIME 30 minutes INGREDIENTS + 200g frozen puff or shortcrust pastry, thawed + 2 cups milk + 2 cups cream + ½ tsp nutmeg + 6 eggs + ¾ cup of Gruyere or Emmentaler cheese, shredded + 1 cup wild mushrooms, sautéed and drained + 1 cup leeks, finely sliced + ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped + 1 tbsp butter
METHOD 1 Preheat oven at 200°C. 2 On a floured counter surface, roll pastry to fit a 9” spring-form pan with a 1” overhang. Press gently into the sides and into the bottom corners of the pan. 3 Before baking, cover the inside with parchment or baking paper, fill with dried rice and bake for 30 minutes. Then set aside, removing the paper and rice. 4 In a blender, mix milk, cream, salt, nutmeg and eggs until foamy. 5 In a large frying pan, melt butter and sauté leeks and mushrooms, drain and set aside. 6 Place cooked mushrooms, leeks and parsley in baked pastry shell, still in pan. Add shredded cheese and pour over milk mixture. 7 Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned on top, cool down, remove ring pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
twitter.com/foodiehk // may 2011
Seafood soup with saffron and white wine SERVES x4 PREPARATION TIME 45 minutes COOKING TIME 15 minutes INGREDIENTS Soup base: + 2l fish stock + 2½ cups olive oil + 1 onion, chopped + 3 cloves of garlic, chopped + 1 can tomatoes + 1 large bouquet garni of fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano (tied together for easy removal before serving) + 1g saffron threads or powder + ½ bottle of white wine + 500g sole fillets or crabmeat or both + 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
METHOD 1 In a large pot, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. 2 Add tomatoes, fish stock, saffron, bouquet garni, fish fillets, potatoes and white wine. 3 Boil vigorously for 20 minutes or until potatoes soften, then reduce heat. 4 Remove bouquet garni. With a hand blender, mix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 5 Before serving, place all seafood in pot, boil gently until cooked and serve immediately with toasted baguette slices and Rouille or Aioli.
Seafood: + 250g fillet of sea bass or cod + 250g fillet of John Dory + 250g large prawns with shells + 250g mussels or clams
mousse au chocolat Chocolate mousse
INGREDIENTS + 200g dark chocolate, chopped + 2 tbsp of butter + 2 cups heavy cream + 2 tbsp of caster sugar + 2 eggs, separated
METHOD 1 Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl within a saucepan of water at low heat until smooth. Let cool. 2 Whip cream with 1 tbsp sugar to soft peaks, set aside in refrigerator. 3 Whip egg whites with 1 tbsp sugar to soft peaks, set aside. 4 Add 3 yolks to cooled chocolate mixture, stirring until smooth. 5 Once chocolate is totally cooled, gently fold in half the whipped cream, then whipped egg whites, and finally the remaining cream until all incorporated. 6 Spoon mixture into a serving dish or individual pots or cups. Refrigerate for 8 hours before serving.
www.foodie-magazine.com // may 2011
SERVES x4 PREPARATION TIME 30 minutes REFRIGERATE 6 hours