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World’s Weirdest Restaurants Bob Blumer has eaten in them all

Feasts of the Middle East Recipes to whip up a colourful mezze

jason atherton

The Michelin-starred chef brings Spanish brio to Hong Kong palates

issue 44 // march 2013


Foodie [ 'fu:di/ ] A person who would rather go grocery shopping than clothes shopping

foodie panel Food-loving folk who've helped us this month: Bob Blumer Shows us the world’s weirdest restaurants p.12

Jason Atherton This Michelinstarred chef also has a

march madness Every March during their breeding season, hares are said to behave very strangely. They put up their dukes and pick fights with other hares, jump in the air for no reason and basically act uncharacteristically weird, which is where the expression “mad as a March hare” comes from. I too find March a strange one; I don’t go picking fights or bouncing around, but I do work myself into a baking frenzy every March and I can’t explain why. Muffins, cookies, pies and tarts fly from tins and are either devoured or the surplus distributed around my neighbourhood and office to my gracious, but quite surprised, friends. This is because I rarely bake. Really, very rarely; yet every March I explode into full-scale binge-bake mode, and it’s not until April that I return my kitchen to its typically underused state. Why?

philanthropic side p.24

Don’t ask me – I blame the hares.

Celia Hu

fe a s t

s of t he m idd le eas t p.40

The Food Nomad takes a food

Alicia Walker, Editor.

venture to Hawaii p.36 Luis Porras Takes our cooking skills to the Middle East p.40

Publisher Simon Squibb. Editor Alicia Walker. Deputy Editor Stephanie Pliakas. Creative Director Helen Griffiths. Designer Miho Yawata. Photographer Josephine Rozman. Culinary Director Luis Porras. Online Editor Grace Entry. Junior Web Editor Jen Paolini. Contributors Celia Hu, Cruz Macalister. Business Manager Elle Bradstock. Distribution & Club Executive Nicholas Poon. Published by Foodie Group, 3/F, Chao’s Building, 143-145 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. Printed by Teams Printing Co., Ltd. If you'd like us to help you to promote your brand, contact us at, 2721 2787.

the fat chewin' blu m er with bob p.12

Love food? Join the Foodie Community! nd eati ng a g reen drin ki ng p.32

@foodiehk foodiehk afoodieworld // march 2013

Foodie is published monthly, 12 times a year. 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.




Food War


Who brews the better latte? We sip to see!


Jason Atherton The Michelin-starred chef returns to 22 Ships with a charitable agenda


Eating and Drinking Green Where to drink like the Irish this St Paddy’s Day


Sago Spoon into the facts about the little pearls at the bottom of your cup


The Food Nomad Celia Hu says aloha to the flavours of Hawaii

The Bournville factory in Birmingham, UK, churns out 1.5 million Cadbury Creme Eggs every day.

cover story Feasts of the Middle East Prepare a colourful mezze of tasty textures and exotic flavours

Did You Know... In America, March is the month to celebrate these overly specific food holidays: National Fruit Compote Day (1 March), National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day (6 March), National Chip and Dip Day (23 March) and National Turkey Neck Soup Day (30 March). // march 2013

Eggstreme Easter Egging



for starters

for starters A mega March of restaurant openings, Easter fun and a cool masquerade

When in Rome

New 208 Duecento Otto Executive Chef Alan Marchetti has a fabulous pedigree – hailing from Rome, a city famed for its cuisine, Chef Marchetti has worked with Chef Marco Pierre White in London, as well as at a glittering array of Michelin-starred restaurants in Rome itself. His regional Italian menu at New York-style 208 Duecento Otto is thoroughly authentic and packed with flavour. If we had to choose our ideal three-course meal, we’d go for the calamari and shrimp fritto misto to get our juices flowing, boneless baby chicken diavolo (highly seasoned with fresh herbs, garlic and candied chilli) for our main and the zesty Amalfi lemon tart to sweeten things up just a little bit. 208 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan 2549 0208

Party with the Easter Bunny If you’re looking for ways to keep the kidlets occupied over the long Easter weekend, we have one suggestion: Hotel Nikko’s Easter Children’s Party on Easter Monday, 1 April, from noon until 4pm ($358 per adult; $288 per child aged 3–11). First up is the buffet – parents can indulge in sushi and sashimi, snow-crab legs and sirloin, while youngsters will be bowled over by the kid-friendly treats such as mini pizzas and burgers, popcorn and made-to-order marshmallows. There’s a whole lot more to keep young and old entertained, from magic and balloon-twisting performances to DIY Easter eggs and cartoon portrait drawing. Reservations must be made in advance by 2313 4503 or emailing 2/F, Grand Ballroom, Hotel Nikko, 72 Mody Road, TST East

FROM SPAIN VIA SINGAPORE Some have gone so far as to say that glitzy Catalunya, in Singapore’s Fullerton Pavilion, is the best Spanish restaurant outside Spain. We Hong Kongers will soon be able to judge for ourselves, with the launch of the nearly 8,000-sq-ft Catalunya bar and restaurant in Wanchai later this month. Executive Chef Alain Devahive Tolosa, who worked at world-famous elBulli for more than ten years, will serve up Catalunya’s gorgeous signature dishes such as roast suckling pig with lemon purée, lobster rice and truffle “bikini”, an innovative take on a humble ham and cheese toastie. Also onboard is mixologist Dario Nocentini, winner of the Bacardi Superior Legacy Cocktail Competition. G/F, Guardian House, Morrison Hill, Wanchai 04

for starters

Unmask the Taste Forget the Venice Carnival – now HK has got its own masquerade event. In honour of French white lager Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc, brewing company Carlsberg Group is hosting a French masquerade party on Tuesday, 5 March from 6:30pm to 9:30pm at cool Causeway Bay bar-with-a-view Mamoz. Four artists – singer-songwriter Ellen Loo, model Evelyn Choi, stylist and make-up artist Inggrads Shek and graffiti artist Miguel Souchon – have been asked to design the Blanc Masks, a collection of 20 masks that will be on display during the party. There’ll also be a chance to try your hand at graffiti artwork, have your face painted, participate in the Mr/Miss Blanc costume contest (come dressed in Blanc Iconic Blue) and of course drink lots and lots of Kronenbourg 1664. Mamoz, 28/F, Cubus, 1 Hoi Ping Road, Causeway Bay To RSVP, call 2263 2080 or email

A Fine NYC Pizza Pie

Award-winning La Maison du Chocolat’s Easter collection this year is a whimsical delight, focusing on the chocolatier’s makebelieve mascots: a charming sheep pair called Frisoton and Frisette. Master Chef Nicolas Cloiseau has crafted the most intricate yet adorable representations of these two characters – the curls of their fleece are particularly remarkable. The 700-gram dark, milk and white chocolate Frisoton and Frisette duo (filled with assorted pralines and darling chocolate fish) can be yours for the princely sum of $1,950. Go to for the locations of the six boutiques in Hong Kong.

Che Buonissimo!

Italian online food shop Buonissimo, which promises fresh-food shipments from Italy to our doors in Hong Kong twice every week, has begun offering a series of food and wine parties where participants can whet their appetites with tastes of Italian seasonal fruits and veggies, cheeses and cold cuts – and also learn cooking tips from an Italian food pro. The date of the next tasting event is TBD, but in the meantime, make a beeline for Buonissimo’s well-designed website to start shopping for top-quality Italian gourmet goodies, including pasta, fresh eggs and coffee, both ground and in pure bean form. // march 2013

This month promises a slew of exciting restaurant openings in the 852, none more so than the launch of magnificent pizzeria Motorino. Founded five years ago in Brooklyn by Chef Mathieu Palombino, it’s now topping best-pizza lists throughout the US. Motorino’s wood-fired brick-oven pizzas are the real Neapolitan deal: think San Marzano tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella, plus the use of double-zero flour in order to achieve that perfect chewy crust consistency. In addition to Motorino’s hyped Brussels sprouts and smoked pancetta pizza, we’re keen to try out the pizzeria’s wine pairings; we’ve always thought that beer was the bevvie of choice when it comes to pizzaeating, but we may have to reconsider. 14 Shelley Street, SoHo, Central

Frisoton and Frisette


the best of the bloggers

Best breakfast in HK?

Ale Wilkinson I recently found the best scrambled eggs I have ever had at Common Ground, a cute little shop slash café on Shing Wong Street. I'm not sure it’s open for an early breakfast, but ignore the hunger pangs and save yourself for their scrambled eggs; cooked in a bain marie, they are pretty special!

A Foodie favourite:

The Hangover Heale r at The Salted Pig

Jason Tse When it comes to breakfast, my favorite has got to be the Mandarin Grill + Bar. Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, and doing it the fancy way just makes the rest of the day better and brighter. The fact that black pudding is served as part of the English breakfast completes me, putting a big smile on my face all day long! Michelle Ng I really think it depends on one’s mood. Sometimes I crave a Western breakfast, but I love Cantonese breakfasts as well. I love going for Chi fan, or sticky rice rolls, and soya bean milk at Shanghai Noodle Shop in Causeway Bay. On Sundays, my friends and I tend to go to Oolaa for brunch, as we like their offerings and the laid-back atmosphere. Sharon Maloney For Western breakfasts, I will always love the Mandarin Oriental's coffee shop. I'm a big fan of their eggs Benedict, which is pretty awesome. I judge most places on how they do their eggs, and not many get it right. I do love a good Chinese breakfast, and a lot of cha chaan tengs do great thick toast with peanut butter and condensed milk, or congee with fried bread rolls. I am salivating already. Stephanie Ko Tim Ho Wan is definitely the best place for a hearty, consistently tasty and budget-friendly breakfast, Hong Kong-style! Take one look at those gorgeous barbecued pork buns or the translucent rice rolls with prawns and you'll start salivating. For another hearty and affordable choice, Classified is an understated and cosy café chain. Biting into a flaky pain au chocolat or eggs Florentine could easily be the highlight of my day! Every once in awhile I’ll go somewhere more glitzy for brunch, but only breakfast at Classified feels like home. 06

sweet tweets

Foodie Blogger Recipe SALMON WITH HONEY AND MUSTARD GLAZE Michelle Ng shares an easy, breezy recipe: Ingredients: + 1 tbsp honey + 1 tbsp brown sugar + ½ tbsp butter + 1 tbsp Dijon mustard + 1 tbsp soya sauce + 1 tbsp olive oil + ½ tsp finely grated ginger + salt and freshly ground black pepper + 2 salmon fillets

Funny food talk on Twitter we giggled over this month


” From an “insect tasting survey, it was deduced that beetles tasted like apples, wasps like pine nuts and worms like fried bacon. @Its_Andyyy

I want a shirt that says "eat or die" JMKI][MI\ÅZ[\Q\ sounds rebellious but then you realize it's just a reminder. @iTweetYouLoL


“Of all the utensils invented to

I like food more than people.

EAT rice

with... How did two sticks win? @RickNothing

The co-workers who together, whine together.




Follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook for exclusive offers, heaps of dining tips and regular giveaways. Twitter: @foodiehk Facebook: www.facebook. com/foodiehk // march 2013

Method: 1 Melt the brown sugar, honey and butter in a small pan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mustard, soya sauce, olive oil and ginger. Let cool. 2 Marinate the salmon fillets in the glaze for 15 minutes. 3 Pre-heat grill to medium heat. Brush salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the grill. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes or to medium doneness, turning once after 5 to 6 minutes. If you don’t have a grill, place the salmon, skin side up, in a non-stick pan with oil over medium heat. Cook until golden brown on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook until it feels firm to the touch and the skin is crisp, if desired, about 3 minutes more. 4 Serve with mashed sweet potato or a side salad.

Sweet Tweets



February's Foodie Club members'

Friendly fun at Flutes For February fun and to celebrate the new issue of Foodie, we gathered all our Foodie Club members in the elegant, intimate and artfully decked-out Flutes on Elgin Street. We noshed together on exquisite nibbles from Purple Beet (, indulged in a range of luscious libations and chatted up a storm with all our best Foodie friends. It was great to meet the Foodie Clubbers who had just signed up and see them mingling in with the familiar faces of our regular mixer attendees. As usual, now we all just can’t wait for the next one! For info on our March mixer, check out the next page. See you there!

Flutes Champagne and Cocktail Bar 27 Elgin Street SoHo, Central 2810 0005


foodie club members' mixer


Upcoming March members'

Let loose at Libertine! Where: Libertine, Aberdeen Street, Central When: 6 March, 6pm What: Join us on Wednesday, 6 March to read the brand-new issue of Foodie and for free drinks and canapés inside the cool confines of Libertine on Aberdeen Street. This Parisian bistro boasts high ceilings, a charming outdoor terrace and all the cool factor you’d expect from a French restaurant. If you love eating great food and meeting great people, bring along a few friends or come solo to meet fellow foodies in Hong Kong – it’s always a fun and delicious time!



Cocktails & Canapés with PURE Sous Chef Chetan Kohli On Tuesday, 16 April 2013, PURE Bar + Restaurant invites guests to mingle and taste-test Sous Chef Chetan Kohli’s 2013 menu along with a tantalising new cocktail menu made with 100 per cent fresh, organic ingredients Sous Chef Chetan Kohli’s personal style rides on using basic ingredients to create unique dishes that fuse different cultural influences with his own individual flair. At this event, he will showcase several selections from the new menu such as chorizo and shallot bruschetta, rare tuna with egg nori and lumpfish caviar and truffled popcorn shrimp. PURE Bar will also be introducing their brand-new cocktail menu, comprised of signature favourites as well as delightful adaptations of classics such as the martini. All drinks are made with 100 per cent organic alcohol and fresh ingredients that magnify the essence of a good cocktail. Chef Chet describes his culinary style: “I strive to merge flavours and ingredients from all over the world in unexpected ways that pique customers' interest, whilst gratifying their personal tastes. I love bringing together different styles and ingredients to see what interesting results I come up with. The opportunity at PURE Bar allows me to hone this passion and offers a new ’culinary license’, so to speak. Most of all, it allows me to interact with my guests. Being able to discuss and understand what they like and what they would like to see improved is one of the highlights of my work.” In cooperations with:

PURE Bar + Restaurant 2/F, Kinwick Centre, 32 Hollywood Road, Central 8199 8189 10

Date: Tuesday, 16 April 2013 Time: 7–9pm Drinks: Two hours of open bar Menu: Truffled popcorn shrimp Ostrich balls topped with homemade apple & mango chutney Chorizo & shallot bruschetta Rare tuna with egg nori and lumpfish caviar Hummus and bell pepper on pitta bread Duck liver mousse with poached pear on toast Smoked salmon mousse with salmon roe on cucumber Tickets: HK$150 per person (RSVP to reserve a place; tickets charged at the door) RSVP to:

Vote for your favourite Hong Kong restaurants and win foodielicious prizes! Great eateries deserve to be rewarded, and that is what The Foodie Forks are all about! Share your favourites with the rest of Hong Kong’s hungry food lovers and you’ll stand a chance to win fantastic prizes! Each submission will be entered in the prize draw to win awesome goodies from some of the city’s best restaurants, bars and brands – and maybe even snag yourself an invite to The Foodie Forks Award Party. We can’t wait to hear where you like to dine and also share our hidden gems with all you foodies out there!

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITES NOW Mention the Foodie Forks voting link on your social media site, blog or website and we’ll pop your name in an extra time for the grand prize draw! Winners will be announced in our May issue of Foodie! Make your vote count by following the Foodie Forks link here:

chewin' the fat



We did one restaurant that served dogs; as in the dogs were the customers. This crazy woman went to all this trouble to make all this fancy food for dogs, and they all sat at tables and ate it; and she plated it like you’d plate food in a fancy restaurant. She would bring the plate to the table, and the dog would be there, and then she’d lift the dome. As soon as she lifted the lid, the dog would just hoover down everything in like five seconds. It was pretty funny. In San Francisco, there is a coin laundromat that’s also a restaurant and a comedy club; so you basically go and do your laundry and then have dinner and watch comedy while your laundry is washing and drying.

As the star of World’s Weirdest Restaurants, Bob Blumer has had the unique opportunity to sample cuisine in the oddest of ways: served by a monkey, surrounded by naked people and even straight from a toilet. Bob tells us about his wacky eating adventures Which was your most memorable eating-out moment? So when you have 52 different restaurants in nine different countries, there’s a real spectrum of variety. So I did have my favourites. We went to an izakaya just outside of Tokyo where macaque monkeys serve you your beer. And I mean, how can you go wrong with beer and monkeys; right there, they kind of had me. And as it happened, the food in that little izakaya was stunningly delicious. I learnt how to make karaage, which is deep-fried chicken balls, and it was just very, very memorable. And then there was a restaurant in New York City where all of the diners were naked. That’s a hard one to forget. 12

If you had an enemy, which restaurant would you take him to? We just went to one that is a torture restaurant in Lviv, in the Ukraine, where it’s kind of a bit freaky and spooky with all these old torture devices. So I would definitely take him there. And also, we did a place called Dick’s Last Resort in the States. Their whole shtick is that they abuse the customer. So you walk in and if they decide you’re a little bit balding, then they’ll start teasing you about the fact that you’re balding. Then they just yell at you and tease you and give you a hard time the whole night, and they expect a big tip at the end. I asked them if there were people from any one particular country that didn’t really appreciate it, and they said, “Yeah, people from France don’t get it,” which is so funny. I keep coming back to the Japanese restaurants, but there were a lot of pretty funky ones there. There was one called Alcatraz; it was like a combination of a prison and a kind of mental institute. They served a couple of dishes that looked like brains and medical things you’d find in a doctor’s office.

chewin' the fat

Were any of your experiences truly horrible?

As for bad food, there was actually one restaurant that didn’t made the cut because the food was so bad. It was a restaurant in Tokyo where everything was made with mayonnaise, including the cocktails.

In Vancouver, there was sort of a speed dating over food, and the couples were matched based on the dishes that they pre-ordered. So they would pair people up who ordered the same dishes or sometimes who ordered different dishes. And the food was pretty stunning there. World’s Weirdest Restaurants is on TLC. HK Cable TV (channel 54), now TV (channel 213) and bbTV (channel 317). // march 2013

Is there any restaurant concept that you would like introduce to where you’re from? Well, it would be pretty tempting to bring Modern Toilet, the infamous restaurant in Taiwan where they serve curry out of miniature toilet bowls, to Los Angeles, because people just freak out when they hear about that place. You’d think that would be something that might just be a passing fad, but in fact it’s a franchise. Like it’s so popular that there are several of them.

There’s also one in the second season in Thailand. It’s called Kratorn Flying Chicken. I shouldn’t be telling you about this because it’s season two, but in this restaurant they have a big, long platform that’s about four feet wide and about six metres long. On one end of the platform, they have a catapult, and then on the other end, there’s a guy on a unicycle with a helmet and a skewer at the top of its helmet. And they put a whole roasted chicken on the catapult, light it on fire and catapult it into the air. And then the guy on the unicycle catches it on the skewer of his helmet. Then they take it off and chop it in four and deliver it to the table on the unicycle. That was pretty crazy. I would like to open a restaurant like that.


tried & tasted

tried &tasted new restaurants and special menus

The French Window 3101, Podium Level 3, IFC Mall, Central

2393 3812

What’s on the windowsill: Brasserie fare and seasonal French ingredients. Gone is the former bourgeois fine-dining ambience and in its place is a modern, light and airy space where you don’t have to speak in hushed tones or pretend to know how to properly swirl your glass of wine. On the menu: We started with the delicately flavoured parsley and garlic frogs’ legs, and the moules marinière that were perfectly cooked in white wine to juicy plumpness (and well deserving of multiple bread dips). The new menu is more seafood-oriented, but it was the meat dishes that stole the show for us. Poached duck torchon rolled

in crushed peppercorns was a fine balance of sweet, buttery foie gras and warm peppery spice, while the main course of lamb rack cooked in hay – a very traditional French cooking method – had a lovely smoky aroma and was skilfully cooked to our requested doneness. However, we could have done without the hay actually appearing on our plates since we’re lacking the four chambers in our stomachs to actually process the stuff. Thankfully, all was forgotten once the duck confit was presented. This is how duck confit should always be served: tender and juicy slow-cooked meat draped with golden crispy skin. It was a sumptuous parcel of duck-y goodness. Foodie tip: Fill up on the savoury dishes and give the desserts a miss. We know it’s sometimes hard to forego soufflé and tarte tatin in a French restaurant, but the savoury dishes are worth every inch of space in a foodie’s belly, while the alcohol-fuelled rum baba and dry Paris-Brest aren’t. Inside tip: We were informed by the chef that there will be some menu changes taking place soon, with the duck confit losing its place along with the homemade French fries. So we leave you with this final thought: go! Go now before the changes take place or you miss out on that lush, moreish and unctuous duck confit. Then once you’ve gone, start a petition to make sure it always stays on the menu.


tried & tasted

Man Wah 25/F, Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road, Central 2825 4003 What's new? Celebrating their 50th year and thus making the Mandarin Oriental the oldest hotel on Hong Kong Island means a year of celebrations for the renowned hotel. They’ve started with a feast at Man Wah by flying over their chef from Hangzhou to bring the traditional cuisine of the region to Hong Kong’s waiting palates. So what’s food from Hangzhou like, then? Hangzhou cuisine is considered to be one of China’s greatest cuisines, known for its elegant, lightflavoured and delicately seasoned dishes. The guest chef is from Zhiweiguan Weizhuang restaurant, which is itself celebrating its 100th anniversary and has won several prestigious culinary awards over the years. From 20 to 28 April 2013, Hong Kongers can experience this celebrated culinary experience without even leaving the city. The dishes: Forty different signature dishes are on offer throughout the week, with prices starting from $568 per person for a seven-course lunch menu, as well as dinner menus and á-la-carte and vegetarian choices. A few of the temptations on offer will be mountain home vegetarian clear soup with cordyceps, four vegetarian selections with soya, Mandarin fish with crab sauce, Hangzhou’s wellknown dish beggar’s chicken, which has an interesting story behind it as well as a scintillating flavour, and exquisite desserts such as Dragonwell tea noodles and Song Dynasty victory cake with osmanthus. Verdict: This tempting menu made us want to take a culinary tour of Hangzhou. Or we may just head back to Man Wah for another taste of the beggar’s chicken, – it’s so good, it beggars belief!

Caprice Bar 6/F, Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central 3196 8860 The scoop: llustrious, award-winning French restaurant Caprice have revamped their lounge area into a subtly regal wine and cheese parlour, Caprice Bar. The place: Plush velvet sofas, majestic carpeting, dim lighting and striking views, with French crooners and soft piano floating through the background, make for an ideal ambiance to appreciate fine wines and nibbles as early as 5:30pm. The cheeses: A dedicated cheese cellar that’s unparalleled in Hong Kong is stocked by fromage aficionado Jeremy Evrard, who goes on the hunt to Alsace every year to find the best of France’s coveted cheeses. Caprice Bar is the only place to taste many of these artisan cheeses like the glorious four-yearaged Comté, creamy Coulommier and intensely flavoured Colombier.

Of note: As well as the vast range of hard-to-find cheeses, there is a light-bite menu currently filled with wild game terrine, Ibérico ham, Munster potatoes and truffle-sprinkled scrambled eggs that will change with the seasons and give you yet another reason to return. // march 2013

The wine: As the bar shares Caprice’s renowned sommelier this ensures the recommended pairings suit each other to a tee. An unusual and coveted selection of wines and champagnes by the glass line the gorgeous cork menus, with grappas and digestifs to complement any mood.


tried & tasted

Café Siam 2/F and 3/F, The Plaza, 21 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central 2851 4803 Welcome back – we missed you! Following 18 months of re-development, lovers of Thai food can breathe a sign of relief now that Café Siam is back in business smack-bang in the middle of LKF. The food and drinks: Flavourful, generous, affordable. We’re thankful they’ve kept on almost all the most popular dishes from the restaurant’s 14-year history. The menu is extensive – excellent for groups so that more of the dishes can be devoured – but we definitely have our favourites. Amongst them are the aromatic orange-hued Thai herbal tea – made in-house with sun-dried lemongrass, mint, turmeric, lime leaves and bael fruit – its scent reminds us of stepping into a fivestar spa. The refreshingly spicy pomelo salad is unique for the addition of flecks of dried coconut. We also tried a surprisingly light and delicate tom yum soup, a creamy, well-balanced (not too spicy, not too sweet) green chicken curry and pad Thai 16

enveloped in a paper-thin omelette – tucking in was like unwrapping a delicious present. One of Café Siam’s new dishes is a starter of goong pun mei – prawns wrapped in crispy noodles, accompanied by a lime and condensed milk sauce that works a treat with the prawns’ savoury noodle coating. Although we’ll never say no to mango with sticky rice, we think it’s safe to say that Thai desserts are not that cuisine’s strong point – but we were suitably impressed with Café Siam’s pumpkin-caramel custard served in the shell of a Thai pumpkin. The new space: Stylish two-storey Café Siam is world’s apart from its party-central LKF surroundings. Even though it seats about 100 people, the four separate dining areas are small and intimate, and would make great spaces for private parties. The grey walls, whitewashed chairs, cushioned window alcoves (cosy to the max) and colonial-style shutters create a laid-back, homey vibe – and made us oblivious to the constant LKF construction noise in the background (the Thai pop music helped too). Last words: It’s been open for only a few months,

tried & tasted

The food: We started off with the cabbage and steamed chicken salad. The thinly sliced cabbage was attractively crisp and refreshing, and the lean strands of chicken added more substance to the salad without making it too meaty or heavy. The grilled five spiced pork scallion rice vermicelli was a winner – neatly sliced up, the scrumptiously marinated pork had the perfect amount of fat and was a beautiful match with the plain rice vermicelli. Even without any MSG or other nasty chemicals, the white fish rice vermicelli definitely packed a punch, and the distinctive taste of turmeric gave it an extra edge. The aromatic crab and shrimp tomato soup with vermicelli left deeply favourable impressions, with the sea-fresh taste of crab hitting all the right notes. Lastly, a gem was found in the Noodle Mi special vietnamese salami sandwich. The baguette was ethereal, and quickly melted and dissolved in the mouth. Sweet and healthy: Defeated by the generous portions of the dishes, we decided to share one vanilla terrine amongst the four of us. It had a lovely taste of yoghurt, and the creaminess was skillfully broken up by the crunch of berry seeds. but new-and-improved Café Siam is already packed at lunchtimes – no doubt because of the super set lunch deal (a bargain $98 for soup, a more-thanample main course and dessert). We're sure it’s destined to become a dinner institution once again too.

Food-to-go: With an upbeat and lively vibe and quick and assured service, you would be very tempted to sit down for a casual meal, but in fact, customers are just as fond of buying takeaway as they are of eating in. After all, how often do you find a restaurant that offers a healthy and tasty lunch-to-go at an affordable price? Final note: Noodlemi has given timeless Vietnamese cuisine a nudge forward, and will surely be able to maintain its deserved popularity.


Foodie review by Stephanie Ko of

2 Bonham Strand East, Sheung Wan 2253 1113 // march 2013

What's it all about? Helmed by Duyen Hackett (from Song restaurant) and French-Korean Jeremie Gougenheim, Noodlemi offers a delightful selection of MSG-, wheat-, and gluten-free Vietnamese dishes in a bright, clean setting. This modernistic, no-nonsense Vietnamese eatery is conveniently located on Bonham Strand and has become a popular haunt for Hong Kong's increasingly health-conscious office crowd.


tried & and tipsy tipsy


Shop 6A, G/F, Sen Fan Building, 6 Bonham Strand East, Sheung Wan 2234 5505/ 5506 What’s a K-roll? Basically it's Korea’s version of sushi, and it’s amazing. Sheung Wan is exploding with great lunch places, and K-Roll is already on our office favourite's list here at Foodie. It was started by three Korean ladies who make everything fresh daily, use no MSG and cook with the healthiest frying oil available. Nutritious, delicious and fast, it’s the best new lunch spot in our ’hood.

LARIS Contemporary Dining 2/F, 77 Wyndam Street, Central

2530 1600

What is it?: A new restaurant by Australian-born Greek chef David Laris, who rolled off his success train from Shanghai at the end of last year. You first eat with your eyes: One word: quaint. The restaurant has its classy moments, with an open kitchen, marble serving counter, wine cabinets and Christofle cutlery, but the retro diner chairs and brown drapes – which surprisingly fit in – are hints of the fun that creep in. What should I have? Get swept off your feet with a smoked oyster: served in a domed cup engulfed within a fog of smoke, the aphrodisiacal delicacy is romantically revealed on a swab of olive oil when the lid is removed. After the spectacle, whet the appetite with a crab salad laid atop a pond of avocado salsa sorbet – the freshness and tanginess of which complement the suppleness of the meaty concoction. Finally, finish off with the New Zealand grass-fed rib-eye and, more importantly, its sides that have sucked up all the juices of the meat: doused in red wine sauce with a dash of vinegar, the tomatoes, onion and fried potatoes take the real spotlight. But for the lazy eaters who like surprises, the tasting menu would be a good option. Foodie review by Joyce Yip who spends her life finding a cure for her sweet tooth and travel bugs. 18

K-seating: It’s pretty small, but they make good use of every corner, with bar-style seating around the entire place and a few tiny tables in the middle. An endless loop of K-pop videos make it enticing to sit in, and the ladies who run this place are lovely and fun to hang around. K-yum: The only problem you’ll have is not ordering everything on the menu. Choosing between the three flavours of K-Roll (beef, tuna or salad) is hard enough, before you throw the shrimp or chicken korritto (a sort of nori-wrapped healthy burrito) or three varieties of K-bowl (beef, spicy pork or seafood noodle rice buckets) into the mix. They also offer ramen, spicy rice cakes and beef or tofu salads. The food is accented by fantastic sauces and served up with citron, green or jujube tea for a completely satisfying meal. Foodie advice: Go with friends and share a few things – there are too many options to try alone!

tried & tipsy

Negroni Ideal as an aperitif (or aperitivo, we should say, since it was invented by the Italians in 1919, after all), negronis are favoured for their balance of sweet, slightly bitter and herbal flavours that blend together to wake up the palate and senses. Made with a dash each of gin, Campari and vermouth, this is a classic manly man’s drink that grows hairs on smooth chests. We try three different variations, each of which has been given a slight modern twist


62 Johnston Road, Wanchai 2866 3444

G/F & 1/F, Shop 2, 73 Wyndham Street, Central 2167 8181

The roasted orange negroni here easily caught our eye. The cocktail base sticks to the traditional recipe, though the addition of a three-day-old, vermouth-soaked and caramelized orange wedge is definitely a new twist. The liquorladen orange flesh is given a quick hot treatment with a blowtorch before being muddled and served with a flamed orange peel. It’s wonderfully citrusy and balanced, with just a hint of welcomed bitterness. Could you get any manlier than sipping on a negroni at The Pawn, even if it is served in a martini glass?

We were told that the Fendi negroni here is a “trendy yet manly cocktail inspired by one of Italy’s most renowned fashion houses”. It’s a traditional mix of gin and Campari, with charred orange slices that give some sweet and smoky undernotes. Our serving had a pretty strong kick to it and was definitely manly. If you intend on remaining somewhat fashionable and standing on your feet come the end of the night, you might want to tell the bartender to go a little easy on the pouring. We, however, like using our sense of balance every now and then.

+852 Flair Cocktail Bar 2 Glenealy, Central 2537 2281 With years of bartending experience under his bar-mix/ shaker belt, owner Alex Chatté has put together one of the most creative cocktail lists in town. His version of negroni – the Shizoni – has been given a Japanesey twist and is made with shiso-infused plum wine, grapefruit bitters and a touch of cinnamon. The addition of plum wine gives it a subtle sweetness that makes it slightly more appealing to feminine taste buds, but not to worry – it’s still quite manly, earthy, warm and sublimely yummy. // march 2013

The Pawn


food war

food WAR

whole latte love We got four independent coffee shops all steamed up to find the best latte on-the-go A tad too creamy for our coffee cravings.. 18 Grams – $38, large Unit C, G/F, 15 Cannon Street, Causeway Bay 2893 8988 The pretty heart design in the foam was a great start to the tasting in the sweetest of to-go cups, with little matching hearts on the sides to specify your individual order. The Black Sheep House Blend was the latte offering for the day, with single-origin Arabica beans that provided a delicate flavour that was somewhat overpowered by the creaminess of the milk. We’d like to go back to experience another blend, as they change daily, and we’d prefer something with a bit more flavour and aroma next time. Their blends are locally roasted from their factory in Kowloon and contain a Rainforest Alliancecertified stamp to make you feel good about where they get their beans. The funky shop serves up everything from eggs Benedict and Aussie breakfasts to spaghetti Bolognese and crème brûlée to tempt the taste buds. FOODIE RATING

Great for those who prefer their coffee on the subtle side.

Café Loisl – $36, small (one size only) Tai On Terrace, Sheung Wan 9179 0209 This artisan Vienna-style coffee house serves traditional apple strudel, sacher cake with whipped cream and Black Forest cake that are reason enough to make us hike up the little hill to reach this Austrian oasis. We loved the place, and although it was a tad pricey for the small one-size takeaway latte, we would definitely spend a breakfast or break in this charming little hideaway. They served up a very frothy drink with a slightly weak coffee flavour and a milky aftertaste. Overall a nice cuppa, but without the atmosphere of the café, we wouldn’t go out of our way for the takeaway. FOODIE RATING


food war

Barista Jam – $36, large Shop D, G/F, 126–128 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan 2854 2211 This cool-cat coffee shop is all concrete and wood, with a friendly vibe and ever-changing blends. Along with your coffee, you can chow down on pastries, salads, sandwiches and pasta, or enjoy a hot choc or a smoothie. The plain white takeaway cup was a good, sturdy vessel, accompanied by a handy cup holder if you should be picking up more than one. An intricate shape in our foam brought a smile to our lips before we sipped our wellfrothed beverage. The deep, rich flavour of the coffee balanced nicely with the creamy milk and left no bitter aftertaste, despite the strength of the blend. We were also pleased with the price for this large latte. FOODIE RATING

If we were playing Goldilocks in this coffee tasting, we’d say this one was just right.

The Coffee Academics – $42, large G/F, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay 2156 0313


This place needs to be seen to be appreciated.

Join the debate and tell us which is your favourite on our Facebook page. // march 2013

With handmade soups, salads, sandwiches, tapas and macarons, pastries and cakes, as well as a huge selection of teas, drinks and even coffee cocktails on the menu, this adorable shop is a great place to go for an afternoon of indulgence. Having a range of coffee choices made with a vast array of techniques (they even do something called “ice drip” which requires an eight-hour extraction process), these guys are serious about their beans. Cool packaging unveiled a super-frothy latte with a lightly nutty coffee flavour and a touch of natural sweetness in the milk. If you’re wondering if you read that price right – you did, and we felt it was too great a price to pay for a takeaway. However, they are equipped with their own roasting room and brewing hall and offer coffee classes, so this place is definitely worth a visit for a proper sitdown coffee appreciation session.


Island Crest Podium

Tung Lo Wan Rd

School St


Shepherd St


King St


Sun Chun St

a Wun Sh

wining-and-dining hot spot, but beyond the usual too-cool-for-school suspects, Foodie has unearthed a host of hidden gems, from a candy shop to an accessories outlet that doubles up as a bakery


Jones St

Tai Hang is Hong Kong’s latest



St Lai Yin


Tung Lo Wan Rd

street view



Fresh Gourmet Despite its run-of-the-mill name, Fresh Gourmet stocks a super selection of international wine, ham, cheese and other gourmet goodies (chocolate, oysters, hand-made butter) in its good-things-come-in-small-packages space. The open-fronted shop is especially welcoming on a warm evening – try nabbing one of the few tables by the entrance so that you can sip a glass of wine while watching the world go by. We also recommend Fresh Gourmet’s delightful hampers. Closed on Mondays. 28 Shepherd Street, Tai Hang

2808 0840


Unar Coffee Company It’s hipster central at Unar, with many locals ranking it as serving the finest coffee in HK. There’s no indoor seating, but the wooden bench-cum-table outside is cool, as are the ashtrays filled with odour-killing coffee grounds and the wooden plaques given out as you wait for your cuppa joe. Try holding back on your daily caffeine quotient till 3pm, when Unar makes its late – but definitely worth-the-wait – brewing start (it’s closed on Mondays). 4 Second Lane, Tai Hang


2838 5231

street view


Peace Square 3

Volume One Volume One is one nifty shop. From Wednesday through Sunday, it sells a range of eclectic hand-crafted accessories (with an emphasis on jewellery), but it’s on weekends when the store truly comes alive, with the glass pastry case at the front taking precedence. Volume’s One’s breads, cakes and pastries are all exquisite, as is the charming packaging. The store has a lovely selection of teas too. 30 Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang

We like Peace Square’s hippie-ish motto, even if it isn’t grammatically correct: in quietness and confidence shall be your strength. This relaxing café, with its soothing green-painted walls, wooden tables and comfy sofas, does a mean latte and all-day breakfast, and their herbal tea list is also noteworthy (with herbal tea mixes like the supremely fragrant osmanthus + lemon balm + rose + jasmine). 146–146A Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang 2508 6369

2808 0962


No, Papabubble isn’t a purveyor of Taiwanese bubble tea – this shop (an offshoot of a company that originated in Barcelona in 2004) specialises in something even better: hand-made hard candy. Papabubble is a candy lover’s fantasy come true; the walls are filled with jars and bags of colourful drops and lollies, with flavours including strawberry, orange and coconut. The main ingredients of each dreamy confection may surprise you: simply sugar, glucose and water. The best part? If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the candy makers in action. 34 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang 2367 4807 // march 2013



jason atherton


jason atherton



The Michelin-starred chef brings Spanish brio to Hong Kong palates

The time came when Jason decided to forge out

on his own and open his first restaurant. He chose Shanghai as his testing ground with Table No. 1, and then in London, his Mayfair restaurant Pollen Street Social introduced the city to its first ever dessert bar, as well as gaining him a Michelin star and critical and international acclaim. Soon after, he opened Esquina in Singapore’s Chinatown, a tapas bar offering Spanish classics, and then went on to launch Pollen, which serves up modern European cuisine in Singapore’s newest downtown district off the marina. Late last year, the now prolific chef opened one more spot in that city, Keong Saik Snacks, a blend of British and local café culture, offering classic comfort foods from different parts of the globe with a contemporary twist. Atherton always knew he wanted to be a chef and rates one of his greatest achievements as maintaining his passion for great cuisine. “I love being around food and working on new flavours and ideas. I’m still in love with food after 25 years of 18hour days in the kitchen, and I’ve never lost that.” // march 2013

Born in Sheffield to hotelier parents, Jason Atherton fled to London to make his mark on the culinary landscape, where he went on to work for some of the best chefs in the world such as Nico Ladenis, Pierre Koffman and Marco Pierre White. He then became the first British chef at el Bulli, the three-Michelin-starred Spanish molecular gastronomic restaurant run by lauded chef Ferran Adrià. Jason says his experience there really shaped his creativity. “Ferran makes you think outside the box and discover whole new worlds.” He then went on to become protégé to another demanding chef, the notorious Gordon Ramsay, who Jason spent a decade working with as chef de cuisine at Ramsay’s Michelin-starred restaurant Maze. Atherton speaks fondly of his time spent under Ramsay’s reign, saying, “He is simply one of the greatest chefs to ever come from the UK. His passion is so infectious, it’s unbelievable. I was lucky to spend 10 years with him.”


jason atherton

from top, clockwise; 22 Ships, PBJ, peanut ice cream, blue fruit, salted peanut caramel; Esquina, Sea urchin bisque with caviar; Keong Saik Snacks; 22 ships, Baked smoked bone marrow, onion jam and sourdough, gentleman's relish butter

Not content with acclaimed restaurants in Shanghai, Singapore and London, in October last year Atherton launched 22 Ships into Hong Kong’s taste buds. It's a tiny and charming bistro serving Spanish tapas that, of course true to Atherton’s form, come with a twist. Jason seeks to keep every eatery individual, but always insists on bringing a modern touch to traditional techniques. In collusion with his cohort from Ramsay’s Maze, he has brought on board Matt Bishop as 22 Ships’ Head Chef. Jason loves his new Hong Kong location tucked away down a lane, in a district steeped in authenticity. “Wanchai has a great history, and I love the fact that we are not in a new shiny hotel, but down a little side street, and so far we have been successful.” And by successful he means queues round the block on a daily basis. 22 Ships honours a no-reservations policy, with a miniscule number of seats available in his coveted eatery (just 35), upping the desire of many diners to try a taste of his sought-after cuisine. The restaurant offers the Spanish flair of modern tapas with Atherton's reputation for “the 26

deformalising of fine dining”. This means a buzzing, open kitchen with easy-going staff and food that wows but without the wallet-punishing price tag. Jason says, “Our main goal is simple: to serve great food in a simple way with great service and for a good price!” The menu includes Manchego cheese and Ibérico ham toasties, salt-baked beetroot cheese mousse, Spanish breakfast, smoked bone marrow, suckling pig and pork and foie gras burgers. His renowned desserts include an olive oil brioche, chocolate ganache and a goat cheese sorbet, as well as a kitschy peanut butter parfait called the PBJ. Even for a seasoned professional like Jason, brandnew restaurants are not without their challenges. “Openings are hard, so it’s just convincing the staff that it gets better, not harder. And also yourself sometimes!” He has no concrete plans for any future venues…yet. “We just grow organically, so we do whatever we feel like doing, when it feels right.” So far, he is loving the vibrant scene in HK and tells us what he likes about the dining vibe here: “That it is diverse. And I do really find the local food is of seriously high quality.”

jason atherton

Pollen Street Social, Cauliflower and squid, clear roasted squid juice

Where in the world is your favourite place to eat out? New York - I just love the pace and excitement What inspires you? The seasons and people What is one of the meals/recipes you have been the most proud of in your career? I think probably the back-to-front squid risotto What is the most important advice you can give to an aspiring chef? Work hard and never give in Favourite meal to cook: Asian food. I just love it! Always in the fridge: Milk

Fantasy location for a restaurant: A desert island so I can sleep peacefully Everything goes better with: A beautiful woman

22 Ships // march 2013

Culinary idol: I have so many, I couldn’t possibly say just one!


jason atherton

Laos school room

Nepal during 10,000th library celebration

Room to Read

22 Ships 22 Ship Street, Wanchai 28

2555 0722

Jason is currently in Hong Kong promoting an annual charity dinner, along with three other top HK chefs, for the international education charity Room to Read gala taking place on 7 March at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong. Jason explains his love of philanthropy, “I do a lot of charity work in London, so it is only natural to support other charities when we work in other cities. A massive 250 million children across the globe are struggling through life unable to read and write, being denied their right to access education. I have two children myself, and when I heard about the charity gala in Hong Kong, I wanted to help the way I know best. I can’t bear the thought of kids with no education.” Jason will be mixing his culinary talents with his desire to help with a special dish for benefactors of the charity. “Guests at the Room to Read gala will experience my scallop ceviche with radish, horseradish snow, yuzu and soy. This is a featured starter from 22 Ships. It’s really simple, with clean flavours and textures – great to eat!”

eating and drinking green


eating and drinking green

Eating and N DrinkinG


It’s the only day of the year where copious pints of Kilkenny, Guinness or Murphy’s are downed all over the world, regardless of whether or not you’re Irish or have a clue what St Paddy’s Day is all about. We dig deep into the bottomless kegs of Irish beer to find out all about this, shamrock and leprechaun-filled saint’s day

The Saint, the Clover and the Colour Green Celebrated internationally from Ireland, to the United States, to Australia and even all the way to Russia, St Patrick’s Day commemorates Ireland’s national apostle, St Patrick. The 17th of March marks the anniversary of his death and is a day that has been observed by the Irish for over a thousand years. Apart from the Irish native clover, or shamrock, being significant on this day (it’s believed that St Patrick used the three-leaf clover as a symbol of the Holy Trinity), these are the only bits of fact associated with St Patrick on his commemorative day.

Throughout cosmopolitan cities such as Dublin, New York and Montreal, annual parades take place, with hundreds of thousands of revellers donning green and clover-shaped novelties, rivers being turned green (another fact: Chicago uses over 15 kilograms of green dye to turn its river into a greenish hue for several hours) and thousands of litres of Irish beer getting downed.

From a Religious Day to a Feast Day Traditionally a religious day of celebration revered by Roman Catholics, Irish laws actually forbade the opening of pubs on 17 March right up until the 1970s, and it was another several years before it officially became a celebratory day of the Irish culture. Now a multi-day affair with parades, concerts and over a million participants in the Dublin festival alone, St Patrick’s Day is far from being the religious occasion it once was. No feast day is complete without an actual gluttonous spread, // march 2013

Green foods, beer and clothing had no association with the occasion and were introduced much later when St Patrick’s Day officially became a celebration of all things Irish. That means shamrocks, leprechauns, gold and jolly good cheer, not to mention the colour green. After all, Ireland has its “Emerald Isle” nickname to live up to, and legend has it that wearing green makes one invisible to leprechauns, who will pinch you if they see you; Irish folktales see leprechauns as “cranky souls” who protect their gold with countless trickery schemes while we may see them as cheery

little lads with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.


eating and drinking green

Lamb boxty

and the most traditional of St Patrick’s Day meals is not actually green, but a serving of Irish bacon and cabbage. In America, though, the bacon is substituted for corned beef, as the initial Irish immigrants had to use cheaper cuts of meat to save money, and it soon became a tradition for Irish Americans. Accompanying it would be copious amounts of boiled, mashed, fried or baked potatoes – think colcannon, a dish of mashed potatoes with kale; coddle, which sees layers of pork sausage and bacon mingling with more potatoes and onions and boxty, an Irish potato pancake. There is also the iconic Irish soda bread, made with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda for leavening and marked traditionally with an “X” on the top to help to ward off evil spirits. Then there’s the beer. St Patrick’s Day is normally the one day during the Lenten season when restrictions on eating certain food items and drinking alcohol are lifted. About 13 million pints of Guinness and one percent of the world’s beer are consumed on the day, according to, which is no easy feat. Whether it’s ale, lager, stout or porter, all are welcome on the day. 3432

St Patrick’s Day in Hong Kong In Hong Kong, the St Patrick’s Society has been going strong since 1931, and it comes as no surprise that the 17th of March is the association's social gathering of the year. One of the biggest black tie events in Hong Kong, the St Patrick’s Society Ball sees some of Ireland's best musicians performing on stage, traditional Irish dancing, an eight-hour open bar and a five-course menu to round off the package. This year’s event will be held at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, with tickets running up to $1,750 a person and a menu that reads Irish spring vegetable soup, Guinness-braised beef-cheek pie and warm Kilkenny

eating and drinking green

Corned beef and cabbage

blackberry and pear crumble. We wouldn’t expect anything less Irish on such an occasion. Not to worry if you are not a member of the association – they do allow honorary Irish diners for the night.

While green-coloured food items are not guaranteed to make an appearance on the menu, we’re pretty sure that the partying will go on well into the wee hours of the morning.

Noel Smyth, Managing Director of Delaney’s and Former President of the St Patrick’s Society, informed us that the after-party will be held at Delaney’s Wanchai with a live Irish band performing until 6am the next day. So be sure to pack a pair of comfy dancing shoes with your black tie attire.

Kick off your first Irish toast at Kila, where the

Just remember to wear a few shades of green if you don’t want to get pinched by a cheeky leprechaun lurking the streets of Hong Kong.

Kila: Upper Basement, 79 Wyndham Street, Central 2522 8118 McSorley’s Ale House: 55 Elgin Street, SoHo, Central 2522 2646 Delaney’s Wanchai: G/F and 1/F One Capital Place, 18 Luard Road, Wanchai 2804 2880 St Patrick’s Society: // march 2013

If you miss out on a seat, though, there’s a slew of Irish establishments to visit on the day. An Irish pub crawl wouldn’t go amiss if you would like to see, eat and drink green all day long. Ours would start something like this:

beautiful black-and-white photography feature of Ireland will definitely put you in the mood for more green-hued pints. Next, a stop at McSorley’s in SoHo is due for a hearty St Paddy’s Day serving of house-made roasted pork sausage with colcannon and Guinness gravy and some fine ale before finishing up at Delaney’s in Wanchai. It’s hard to beat their warm welcome of “cead mile failte” (a hundred thousand welcomes) at the door, plus a serving of the beef and Guinness pie or corned beef and cabbage. What better way to end the night than with a few more pints of Irish beer, jolly cheer and an Irish band performance that will keep you entertained till the next day?


food for thought

sago 34

food for thought

Food for thought Ever come across a cluster of spongy bubbles in your Hong Kong street drink? That would be sago Resembling a big old bowl of snowy sheer hail fallen from the sky, these tiny white gelatinous pearls are actually formed from a powdery starch gathered from the trunks of sago palms. Unlike the solid balls of weather, sago pearls are pliant, squishy and great fun to chew. Often compared to tapioca, although produced from a different plant, sago may be used interchangeably with tapioca, although sago is known to be less sticky than its starchy sister and easier to work with. These little sago grains are often used in puddings, as an addition to rice for a low-calorie filler and to make the ever-popular Hong Kong bubble tea seen ubiquitously on the streets of Causeway Bay.

Mango sago

There are no great nutritional benefits of powdered sago to sing about, with little vitamins, minerals and protein, but its carb count allows it to function as a staple in many countries around the world.

called the Betsey were marooned on an island off the South China Sea, where, until they were rescued, the men managed to stay alive by relying entirely on a diet of sago. Sago is particularly popular in New Guinea in pancake form, in Malaysia as an ingredient in fish sausage, as well as to make noodles, and in India where the powdered flour form is used in many recipes including

flatbreads, pancakes and biscuits, as well as in traditional Indian medicine as a herbal remedy to cool the body from overheating. It can also be used as a thickener for sauces, soups and gravy. Sago starch can be mixed with boiling water to create a gooey batter. To produce the round beads, the batter is then forced through a sieve and heated at high temperatures. The starch can also be useful in the textile industry for stiffening fibres and is often used as a prime element in paper and plywood. In this city, the place you’ll probably find your sago is at the bottom of a bubble tea, sucked up through an enormous straw. It’s something that’s more meal than drink, and although I’m not sure I could exist on it alone like those shipwrecked sailors once did, a nice pearl sago milk tea is a Hong Kong staple for me. // march 2013

This starch is a complex carbohydrate taken from the centre of palm stems. Sago palms grow rapidly, around one and a half metres each year, in the lowlands and swamps of the tropics that are typically unsuitable for other forms of agriculture, meaning that cultivating sago often proves to be the most ecologically sound form of farming for the lands on which it grows. The East Indies contains the largest supply crop of sago. The palms are harvested just before they are about to

flower, at somewhere between seven to 15 years of age. One palm tends to produce around 300 kilograms of starch, which is ground into a powder from the pith of the tree. Pearl sago is often used during religious festivals in India as a light meal for fasting days, and in the 1800s, two crew members of a ship


the food nomad


the food


Celia Hu says aloha to the luaus of Hawaii


Maui is an island of contrasting beauty – lush green jungles tumble into almost desert-like black sand beaches, bare moon-rock volcanic terrain eases into grassy pastures and sugar plantations. The island and population itself are a testament to Hawaii’s rich history, a potpourri of ethnicities all mixed into one – the Chinese and Portuguese migrant workers who came to work on the sugar plantations, the Japanese fishermen who were drawn by the bountiful waters, the Polynesians who set up their kingdoms after expansive sea journeys and the Westerners who were pulled here by enterprise. I highlight some of the must-visit foodie hot spots if you ever find yourself in this mesmerising tropical paradise.

Mama's Fish House 799 Poho Place, Paia

This is, by far, my favourite restaurant in Maui. The restaurant scores top marks for both ambiance and amazing seafood – a cosy, laid-back, yet classy little cottage set beside the beach with the freshest catches of the day, all served with impeccable execution and flair. The seafood is all caught locally from the pristine tropical waters, and the menu changes twice daily to reflect the freshest catches of the day.


Grand Wailea Resort, 3850 Wailea Ala Nui Dr., Kihei Amasia officially opened its doors in April 2012 and is the brainchild of renowned chef Alan Wong, who was honoured with the prestigious James Beard Chef of the Year award for the Pacific Northwest region. The menu encompasses many elements drawn from all major Asian cuisines, although Japanese influence reigns supreme here. And what better place to showcase fusion cuisine with a distinct Asian edge than in Hawaii, where so much of the local culture is intermixed with an Asian heritage. 3836

Da Kitchen

Rainbow Mall, 2439 South Kihei Road, Kihei This is hearty, casual "local" Hawaiian food at its best. By "local" I mean that Da Kitchen not only serves up delicious Hawaiian favourites like Kalua pork and lomi salmon, but also teriyaki chicken, pork katsu and chow mein to reflect the diverse cultures that have helped to shape Hawaii. This is a casual diner for when you need to fill up on a good meal with huge portions of mouth-watering cuisine.

Paia Fish Market 100 Baldwin Avenue, Paia

You can tell where this humble little fish shack is by the massive line extending out the door. Run by laidback surfers, Paia Fish Market has been a landmark since 1989, and serves up the freshest seafood in town. The menu is straight forward and showcases the freshest catches of the day. We loved the grilled opah burger and zingy fish tacos.

This tiny roadside shack sells the creamiest coconut ice creams, made with 100 per cent coconut milk. All their ice creams are vegan, and the flavours change depending on what's fresh that day. Each scoop comes cocooned in a little bowl made out of coconut shell. // march 2013

Coconut Glen's

Mile marker 27.5 on Hana Highway


the food nomad


66–117 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa Shaved ice is the quintessential island treat that’s a favourite amongst visitors and locals alike. Aoki’s shack-like convenience store on the North Shore serves up the best shaved ice in town. Ask for the option with vanilla ice cream and azuki beans at the bottom. We drizzled our frozen mountains with butterscotch, lychee, coconut and matcha syrup and, despite the brain freeze, slurped it all down in a matter of minutes.


In comparison to Maui, Oahu feels like tropical island paradise, but on steroids. Waikiki is a mecca for fashionistas and foodies, and on the famous Waikiki Beach, visitors can take surf lessons and live out their surf-god fantasies.

Roy's on Waikiki 226 Lewers Street, Honolulu

This is my dream Hawaiian restaurant, serving the best representation of fine island cuisine with the freshest produce. I still often dream about that melt-in-your-mouth butterfish glazed with sweet miso, seated in a pool of buttery wasabi sauce.

Giovanni's ShrimpTruck 56–505 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku

When on the North Shore, keep your eyes open for a white graffiti-painted van parked alongside Kamehameha Highway. What you'll get is the best garlic shrimp scampi you’ll ever have.


315 Uluniu Street, Kailua Can you improve on red velvet cake? How about making it into a pancake and having it for breakfast? Cinnamon's serves up a mighty breakfast with their signature red velvet pancake drizzled with cream cheese syrup. Other favourites include their mahi mahi fillet eggs Benedict. Aloha, Hawaii, I’ll miss you – and your cuisine!



on this month Where Hong Kong's food-loving folk come to dine, devour and dish up all things Foodie

Web Feature: Top 5 Must-try Afternoon Teas Looking for places to have a cuppa tea and some dainty bites? Afternoon teas have been a staple affair in Hong Kong’s dining scene for decades. Check out our list of new must-try afternoon teas in town and let us know which places would make your own personal shortlist.

Web Exclusive: Short Black Coffee Sessions Ever wondered what a chef does in his time off? We sit down with Michelin-starred Chef Yves Mattagne, who heads the Sea Grill restaurant and his own private cooking school in Belgium, to find out how he balances the heat of the kitchen with some well-deserved playtime.

Exclusive Recipes If you’re a fan of Kitchen Boss Chef Buddy Valastro, you’ll find recipes from his second season exclusively on our website. From classic linguine with clams to meatloaf, mac ‘n’ cheese and luscious strawberry shortcake, we have over 15 recipes for you to peruse. Simple and easy to follow, you’ll be mastering comfort foods in no time.

Cooking Tips Did you know potatoes have more potassium than spinach or even broccoli? Find out more interesting and fun facts about this starchy, all-round flexible and versatile root vegetable on our website, including some delicious carb-inducing recipes.

All this and more on // march 2013

Missed the last issue? Read it online

Daily Updated Foodie News Find out what’s happening in the dining scene and keep up to date with our daily news fare – new restaurant and bar openings, seasonal menu changes and special promotions!





of the


MIDDLE EAST Cook up a colourful mezze filled with souk spice and all things nice photography Josephine Rozman food Luis Porras styling Helen Griffiths + Grace Entry



Add colour to your table with olive green and apricot hues to mix up your salad bowl

These filled-to-the-brim beauties are a light and easy fix

Serves 6 to 8 Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients: + 3 large sweet potatoes + 1 onion, chopped + ½ cup fresh coriander + 12 green olives, pitted + ½ tsp cumin, ground + ½ tsp ginger, ground + 1 tsp paprika + salt + juice of 1 lemon + extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients: + 6 large tomatoes + 200g tin tuna, drained + 2 shallots, chopped + 2 tsp capers + juice of ½ lemon + 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil + salt and black pepper to taste // march 2013

Method: 1 Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. 2 In a large frying pan, add some olive oil and the chopped onions and sweet potatoes. Sauté for 5 minutes and then add a little water to barely cover the potatoes. Add salt to taste and simmer until soft but not falling apart, and until all the water has evaporated. 3 Transfer to a large bowl and add the lemon juice, olives, cumin, ginger, paprika and parsley. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Serves 6 Prep time: 20 minutes Baking time: 20 minutes



Five Spice Lamb

Method: 1 In a mixing bowl, place the tuna, shallots, capers, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and black pepper and mix well. Set aside. 2 Slice off the top of each tomato and scoop out some of the flesh. 3 Fill each tomato with tuna and place in a baking dish. 4 Bake at 160°C, or until the tomatoes are soft but not crumbling, around 20 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

FIVE SPICE LAMB This exquisite mix of sweet and spicy plays the caramelised onions and raisins perfectly against the vibrantly spiced meat 42

Serves 8 to 10 Prep time: 15 minutes Roasting time: 4 hours

Ingredients: + 1 leg of lamb, boneless + 1 tsp cumin, ground + 1 tsp cinnamon, ground + 1 tsp nutmeg, ground + 1 tsp cloves, ground + 1 tsp cayenne pepper + salt and black pepper to taste + 2 tbsp garlic, chopped + 6–8 fresh thyme sprigs + 3 tbsp honey + 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar + 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

recipes // march 2013

Moroccan Kefta Tajine Tajine, $398, by Garde-Manger, at Pantry Magic



Honey Nut Couscous 44


Method: 1 2 3 4 5


Pre-heat oven to 160°C. Rinse the leg of lamb with cold water and dry with kitchen towels. Roll out the lamb, fat side down, over a large chopping board. Season the meat with all the dry spices, garlic and the salt and black pepper. Drizzle with honey, oil and vinegar. Place the thyme sprigs over the meat and roll into the original position. Place the meat in a large pot with a cover. Bake for 4 hours, or until the meat is falling apart. Serve with couscous, rice or potatoes.

MOROCCAN KEFTA TAJINE This spicy egg and meatball dish lifts the pointy lid on a real crowd pleaser Serves 6 to 8 Prep time: 1 hour Cooking time: 45 minutes Ingredients: + 1kg beef mince + 5 eggs + 4 200g tins crushed tomatoes + 4 garlic cloves, minced + 1 onion, chopped + ½ cup pitted green olives, sliced + ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped + ½ cup fresh coriander, chopped + 2 tsp chilli flakes + ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil + 1 tsp cumin, ground + 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar + 2 tbsp paprika + salt and black pepper Method:

2 3

In a large pot (we used a tajine for ours, but a regular covered dish will also work), heat the olive oil and add the chopped onions, garlic and crushed tomatoes, then let simmer on medium heat. Season with cumin, chili flakes, paprika, salt and black pepper. Meanwhile, for the meatballs: in a mixing bowl, place beef mince, salt, black pepper,


HONEY NUT COUSCOUS Semolina shows its sweet side with this dessert based on a Moroccan seffa Serves 6 to 8 Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients: + 500g couscous, uncooked + 500ml water + 1 tbsp sugar + 1 tbsp butter + ½ cup pistachios and almonds, shelled + ½ cup dried fruit + honey to taste Method: 1 In a medium pot, heat the butter and add the couscous while stirring for 5 minutes. Add the water and sugar, then cover. Turn heat off and let sit for 15 minutes. 2 Once the couscous is soft and cooked, fluff with a fork and arrange on a serving platter, forming a mound. 3 Sprinkle with nuts and dried fruit and drizzle with honey.

MORE RECIPES ONLINE Arabian Aubergine Salad Check out our webexclusive recipes, including this Arabian Aubergine salad, at // march 2013



vinegar and 1 egg. Mix well by hand, forming into small meatballs. Drop the meatballs into the simmering tomato sauce. Add the parsley and coriander and simmer for about 20 minutes. Before serving, break 4 or 5 whole eggs into the sauce until cooked and serve immediately.


how to

how to... To prevent food from sticking to your cast-iron skillets or pans, season the pan before using. Here’s how:



Scrub the pan in hot, soapy water and dry well.

Spread enough salt to cover the surface of the pan and place over a medium heat. Once it begins to brown, discard the salt and thoroughly wipe down the pan with kitchen towels to remove any residual grains (be careful, as the pan will be quite hot).



Half-fill the pan with vegetable oil and place it back on a medium heat until the oil begins to smoke. Grapeseed or peanut oil will also do, as they have a high burning point.

Allow the pan to cool down completely before discarding the oil. Wipe the pan with a clean cloth or kitchen towel to remove any excess oil. It is now ready to be used.

For more How To tips, visit 46

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eating my words

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eating my p

On Cruz and Cooking Every month, I’ve written about other people’s cooking and food. I was thinking, it’s about time someone commented on my culinary prowess (or lack thereof). So I called upon my boyfriend to do a food review about me. This is what he said: From the very beginning, food has played an important part in my relationship with Cruz. I’ve never been able to flirt, and once I had my heart set on Cruz, I set about winning her over the only way I knew how – with a toasted cheese sandwich. From the minute I handed her that crispy, cheesy sarnie – I knew – the way to this woman’s heart was through food. From that point onwards, I’ve worked hard to impress her. From tiramisu to chorizo ragu, I’ve spent hours studying recipes and inspecting in-season vegetables to make the perfect meal, complete with a lush salad and decadent dessert. Cruz is completely the opposite. I use half the kitchen to make dinner – pots, pans, oven and gashob. Cruz uses one big pot, every time. The best and worst thing about her cooking is her spontaneity; she throws anything and everything into that pot. Sometimes, if I’m feeling brave enough, I’ll venture nervously into the kitchen to ask her what she’s cooking, and with a face splattered with tomato purée, she’ll look up at me with manic eyes and honestly have no idea, but she'll assure me, “It will taste good on rice”. And she is always right (almost – there was an incident with some Sichuan peppercorns I’d rather not discuss – needless to say, she didn’t know that they are basically tiny grenades, and just one can wipe out all sensation in your mouth for hours) My faith in her cooking began on a miserable winter evening. We’d just started dating and Cruz invited me round for dinner. Her flat was old and rundown, and it rained inside because of its horrific insulation. But it had the most fantastic kitchen. It was huge and sprawling, with a massive kitchen island. She spent 48

what felt like six hours making a shepherd’s pie. It was the best shepherd’s pie known to man. It was the sort of meal you go back to for third and fourth helpings and look forward to having for lunch the next day. It was herby and rich and wholesome and, well, delicious. However, owing to the fact that Cruz has never followed a recipe, nor does she ever remember what she’s actually done in the cooking process – she has never (and probably will never) make that unbelievably amazing pie, ever again. But, alas, I’ll always have the memories. When it comes to romantic meals – I win, hands down. I don’t say that to be rude; Cruz will agree with me. One Monday afternoon, I spent four hours trying to make her the perfect lamb roast. Chunky potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, asparagus, roasted beetroot and caper-berry gravy. After I’d bought myself some time to set the table by batting Cruz away and giving her a glass of wine to keep her from hovering near the stove, we sat down to eat. Cruz took one bite of this meal I had been slaving over all afternoon and burst into tears. I was crushed – for about five seconds – then she looked up, tears streaming down her face, to splutter, “This gravy is a triumph.” Gordon Ramsay, eat your heart out. Now let’s jump to Cruz. I’ve learnt that when Cruz says, “I’ll make us something special!” to expect one of two things – takeaways (on me) or an “antipasto platter” (read as olives, tomatoes, hummus and bread). Once on a very rainy night and after about an hour of aimless driving round trying to find a restaurant – we ended up eating Indian takeaways on the fold-out tables in the back seat of her lime green Renault Scénic. Her sister complained about the car smelling like curry, for months. My favourite thing that Cruz makes is her potato salad. She will never tell me what she puts in it, but I think that’s okay; a magician never reveals her secrets. Just trust me when I say it’s like the potatoes have descended from heaven straight to your plate and brought a collection of heavenly flavour angels with them.

Cruz Macalister is a writer, comedian and omnivore with a conscience who sometimes tweets @cruziemac

Foodie Issue 44: March 2013  

Hong Kong's guide to good taste