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CAMPING | DATING | BUSINESS | WINNERS

NOV 2020

hongkongliving.com

Hong Kong Dining Awards THE BEST RESTAURANTS, CHEFS AND DELIVERY SERVICES IN THE CITY REVEALED


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CONTENT S — 1 1 / 2 0

18

COVER STORY

Hong Kong Dining Awards

The results

4 Contributors Meet the team

6 Snapped Life on Hong Kong Island

8 Planner What’s happening in November

10 News Local news you need to know about

13 Business Innovator

14 Big Day Out

47 Dating

The best campsites to sleep under the stars

41 Nibbles

Valentina Tudose on creating chemistry

48 Backpage Nury Vittachi lightens the mood

Where to eat and drink this month

42 Must Haves Dinner party essentials for entertaining in style

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45 Pets Dr Pauline on transporting your pet

Rick Woo, the founder of Hong Kong’s first escape room

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“Your body is not a temple. It’s an amusement park, enjoy the ride.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

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EDITOR’S LETTER From implementing new safety precautions to navigating the frequently changing social distancing measures, the past year has not been easy for the F&B industry. We’ve seen a grave amount of restaurants closing down and staff being put on furlough as the industry continues to grapple the evolving coronavirus crisis. A case in point to just how unpredictable things can be, one day after we shot our magazine cover at Zuma, we were informed that a guest who had recently dined at the restaurant tested positive for Covid-19. All Zuma staff and members of the Hong Kong Living team at the cover shoot – including myself – got tested. To everyone’s relief, all our results came back negative. Zuma also took decisive action to swiftly close the restaurant for deep cleaning and now that it is safe for the restaurant to reopen, the Central institution is once again up and running. Amidst the ongoing pandemic and its disruptive impact, this year’s Hong Kong Dining Awards feels all the more momentous. To reflect the tremendous changes that the hospitality industry has undergone in the past year, we’ve adapted and included new award categories to better represent the current dining scene. You will find categories like Best Delivery Service and Best Restaurant Delivery and Takeaway as more of us have come to rely on food delivery services when it is difficult to dine out.

Editorial Editor-in-chief Nicole Slater, nicole@hongkongliving.com Guest Editor Apple Lee, apple@hongkongliving.com Senior Staff Writer Charmaine Ng, charmaineng@hongkongliving.com Contributing Editor Gemma Shaw, gemma@hongkongliving.com

Design Graphic Designer Yankee Tsang, yankee@hongkongliving.com Vicky Lam, vicky@hongkongliving.com

Sales & Marketing Director of Content Hilda Chan, hilda@hongkongliving.com Head of Digital Content Isamonia Chui, isamonia@hongkongliving.com

As the guest editor of this month’s Hong Kong Living, I’m proud to unveil the winners of Hong Kong Dining Awards 2020 on page 18. It’s been a tough year, so well done to all who have continued to push on.

Partnership Manager Chrissie Ip, chrissie@hongkongliving.com Elaine Li, elaine@hongkongliving.com Circulation Manager Pranali Gupta, pranali@hongkongliving.com

Publisher Matt Eaton, matt@hongkongliving.com

Founding Director

Things we love

Tom Hilditch, tom@hongkongliving.com

Contact us Admin: 3568 3722 | Editorial: 2776 2773 | Advertising: 2776 2772 Published by Hong Kong Living Ltd, L1 Kai Wong Commercial Building, 222 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong Printer Apex Print Limited, 11-13 Dai Kwai Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, Hong Kong

hongkongliving.com

Donate a meal

Glam up for the festive season with a new collection of intimates and lingeries from Intimissimi and Calzedonia. The newlylaunched line includes some timeless favourites along with Christmas-themed items to really get the party going. intimissimi.com/hk

To help raise funds to support the community, a number of restaurants in Hong Kong have joined the newly-launched Donate-a-Meal campaign, inviting diners to make a small donation in addition to their bill. Proceeds will go towards supporting three local charities. donate-a-meal.org

Covid-19 update

As Hong Kong Living goes to print we have done our best to keep our content as accurate and up-to-date as possible, but life under Covid-19 regulations means things tend to change, often from day-to-day. Please check with local businesses for operation hours and services available and remember, stay safe.

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talk@hongkongliving.com @hongkongliving @hongkongliving852

HONG KONG hongkongliving.com Hong Kong Living Magazine is published by Hong Kong Living Ltd. This magazine is published on the understanding that the publishers, advertisers, contributors and their employees are not responsible for the results of any actions, errors and omissions taken on the basis of information contained in this publication. The publisher, advertisers, contributors and their employees expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person, whether a reader of this publication or not, in respect of any action or omission by this publication. Hong Kong Living Ltd cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies provided by advertisers or contributors. The views herein are not necessarily shared by the staff or publishers. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any way, part or format without written permission from the publisher.

Photo: Graham Uden. Venue: Zuma Hong Kong

Festive favourites


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CONTRIBUTORS

Richard Ekkebus

Alex Bellafronte

No stranger to success, chef Richard Ekkebus has championed Amber, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental’s contemporary fine dining restaurant, to be one of the most sought after degustation tables in the world. Ekkebus is also a seminal figure in food sustainability.

Alex Bellafronte, Zuma’s operations director, Asia, has more than 10 years of experience in the F&B industry. For him, the satisfaction from seeing a happy face from his guests is invaluable. Expect a wink from the head honcho when you walk past him at the restaurant.

Paul Measor The director of strategic partnerships at Foodpanda is hungry to make a difference. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Measor has helped the food delivery platform grow its restaurant partnerships and launch a new online grocery shopping experience amidst the pandemic.

Rick Woo As the co-founder of LOST, the city’s first escape room concept, Rick Woo sees Hong Kong as the perfect place to kick start his business. LOST currently operates across eight countries including Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Canada and Australia.

Valentina Tudose

Graham Uden This month’s cover comes courtesy of Britishborn photographer Graham Uden. A former war photographer, Uden has shot (photographs that is) of gun-toting Khmer Rouge soldiers and spent time in the trenches of Afghanistan dodging bullets from the Taliban.

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Certified relationship coach and clinical hypnotherapist Valentina Tudose shares her favourite ways to deepen the connection and intimacy with a partner.


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PEOPLE

Out and about on Hong Kong Island

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SNAPPED

Behind the scenes of our November covershoot at Zuma Hong Kong

Exploring the Mai Po wetlands with WWF hongkongliving.com | 7


PLANNER

What’s on this November NOV 7

Women’s Five A journey of fitness, health and inspiration that ends in a 5km or 10km run. For women only. From $390. 9am. Aberdeen Country Park. womensfive.com

NOV 3

NOV 9

Hong Kong Dining Awards The socially-distanced Hong Kong Dining Awards ceremony celebrates the latest and greatest of Hong Kong’s F&B dining industry. 6.30pm-9.30pm. $100. Hong Kong Observation Wheel & AIA Vitality Park, 33 Man Kwong Street, Central. zicket.co

will feature over 45 local and international speakers. 9am-8pm. $715. 1/F, Exchange Square Block 1 and 2, Connaught Place, Central. hkmentalhealthconference.com

NOV 7

ImpactHK Donation Day

NOV 5-15

Hong Kong International Literary Festival Going virtual this year for its 20th anniversary. This year’s theme ‘Present Tense, Future Perfect’ will explore how the world is responding to issues such as health, inequality and climate change. A mix of free and paid events. festival.org.hk

NOV 6-7

Hong Kong Mental Health Conference Hosted by Mindful HK, this year’s conference

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Donate your unneeded items such as clothing, toiletries and appliances to the Impact HK centre in Tai Kok Tsui and enjoy a coffee and live music. Free. 10am-1pm. The Guestroom, 29 Oak Street, Tai Kok Tsui. impacthk.org

Diwali Lights Celebrate one of India’s most loved festivals with Katie Flowers, Mandala Meet Up. Learn how to bring light into your life through art with her evening workshop. $480. 6-8.30pm. Wild at Art HK, 2-4 Elgin Street, Hollywood Road, Central. wildatartstudio.com

NOV 10-14

Shorties Film Festival The third annual celebration of Asia Pacific’s most exciting short films and brightest film entrepreneurs. Enjoy film screenings and an awards ceremony closing party. From $158. Times vary. The Hive, 33-35 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan. thehivesheungwan.com.hk

NOV 11

Charity Handbag Auction Enjoy free-flowing wine and bag a bargain, all for a good cause. Proceeds will be donated to the Rotary Club of Kowloon Golden Mile. Free. 6-9.30pm. 52/F, IFC 2, 8 Finance Street, Central. hkauctions.com

NOV 13

Life Through a Lens An immersive photography and video exhibition by Derry Ainsworth showcasing a wide range of work from over six years in Hong Kong. Free. 7pm. Famaland, Block A, G/F, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central. derryography.com


WHAT’S ON NOV 14

NOV 20-22

NOV 26

An international surfski event taking paddlers from Clearwater Bay Beach to Stanley. Distances range from 6km to 24km. From $500. 10am. Hong Kong Sea School, Stanley. hongkongdragonrun.com.hk

Get some inspiration for your next home renovation at the city’s largest Expo for houseware. Source the trendiest designs and learn from industry professionals. 12-9pm. Free. Hall 1 DE, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai. exhibitiongroup.com.hk

Get your turkey in the oven and celebrate a day of gratitude with friends and family.

Steelcase Dragon Run

In-Home Expo

Thanksgiving Day

NOV 27-29 HK168

A scenic ultra-endurance race across Hong Kong made up of four categories: 20km, 55km, 84km and 168km. All participants must finish within 48 hours. From $480. 9am. Tai Mei Tuk, Tai Po. hk168.com.hk

Book Now DEC 16

Future City Summit Annual Meet This year’s annual meet will address multiple pandemic shocks to urban planning, future workforce, designs and environmental sustainability. From $160. 8.30am-5pm. Online with Cyberport as the Giant Studio for global live streaming. futurecitysummit.org

treasure hunt. Multiple showtimes. From $280. Star Hall, 3/F, KITEC. pinkfong.com

DEC 25

Christmas Day Sit back and enjoy the turkey, Christmas is finally here.

DEC 26

Three Islands Green Race Burn off those Christmas calories and race across various islands including Lamma, Launtau and Hong Kong Island. Travelling time from one island to the other will not be accounted for. 7am-6.30pm. From $400. Central Ferry Pier 4. tgr.run

The Nutcracker Hong Kong Ballet have vowed to bring The Nutcracker back to the theatre for its ninth consecutive year. Suitable for ages three and above. From $180. Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui. hkballet.com

DEC 19-20

Baby Shark Live Expect plenty of singing and dancing as the sharks take part in Reefville’s first annual

Photo : Conrad Dy-Liacco, courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet

DEC 17–27

Got an event? We can publish the details. Email editorial@hongkongliving.com

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NEWS

QUARANTINE-FREE TRAVEL BUBBLE It’s been more than eight months since most of us have been able to travel. If you’ve been longing to get out of town, now is your chance. The government has announced that Hong Kong and Singapore agreed in principle to establish an air travel bubble between the two cities. This means that visitors will not be required to undergo quarantine or at-home

isolation when travelling between these two destinations.Before boarding the flight, visitors will be required to get tested for the coronavirus in a facility recognised by both governments. The test results must come back as negative before visitors are allowed to travel. As of time of print no confirmed dates have been mentioned for when the travel bubble will be launched.

HULA POPS UP IN CENTRAL Popular pre-owned designer retailer, HULA is opening its first pop-up store in Central this month. Until November 9, shoppers can enjoy up to 95 percent off on over 1,000 luxury labels including Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton. Founded by Sarah Fung in 2016, HULA only sells items from invited sellers in order to guarantee their authenticity and quality. “If we aren’t sure we don’t sell it,” says Fung. The sustainable fashion brand currently occupies a warehouse in Wong Chuk Hang along with a website to purchase pre-loved items including clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories. The pop-up at 49 Hollywood Road, will be open daily from October 21 to November 9, 10am to 8pm. For more information visit thehula.com

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NEW 60-KILOMETRE CYCLING TRACK For the two-wheel fanatics out there, there is a new cycling track to explore this autumn as a 60-kilometre bikeway between Tuen Mun and Ma On Shan opened to the public last month. While sections of the New Territories biking route have already been in use, the newly opened 11-kilometre trail connecting Yuen Long with Sheung Shui marks the completion of the 60-kilometre cycling backbone. The new section traverses various scenic spots including Kam Tin River in Yuen Long and Long Valley Wetland in Sheung Shui; as well as cultural attractions like Tai Fu Tai and Man Tin Cheung Park in San Tin. Ancillary facilities – such as rest stations, bicycle rental kiosks, tuck shops, first aid stations and toilets – are also available en route.


IN YOUR BACKYARD

INDIGO LIVING LAUNCHES INDIGO ATELIER Award-winning home furnishing retailer, Indigo Group has expanded its ever-growing portfolio which currently includes Indigo Living, Indigo Kids and the latest addition, Indigo Atelier. The new designer-led premium home furnishings and lifestyle concept, is aimed at design-savvy customers and will include furniture, lighting, accessories and artwork. Each piece is made with refined materials and carefully curated to provide an

STATE THEATRE TO BECOME A CULTURAL OASIS New World Development recently announced it had secured ownership of the 68-year-old State Theatre in North Point, with a plan to revitalise the derelict building into a landmark steeped in cinematic culture. First opened in 1952, the State Theatre is the earliest surviving

elegant finish, the defining features of the brands approach and style. The brand will also feature luxe collections from celebrated names in the design industry including leading light in sustainable design, Thomas Bina along with Tracey Boyd, Kelly Hoppen MBE and Martin Waller. As part of the brand’s launch, Indigo Atelier will debut in a beautiful new home above Indigo Livings flagship store on the eighth floor of Horizon Plaza. indigo-living.com

theatre building in Hong Kong. The cinema building, jointly designed by architects S.F. Lew and George W. Grey, was first named the Empire Theatre and was renamed State Theatre in 1959. New World Development has formed a panel of conservationists, historians and scholars to help push the project forward, including professor Ho Puay-peng, UNESCO chair on architectural heritage conservation and management in Asia, Dr. Ng Chun Hung, a Hong Kong popular culture scholar.

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Escaping the norm

BUSINESS INNOVATOR

Charmaine Ng meets Rick Woo, the founder of LOST, Hong Kong’s first escape room Inspired by video games, escape rooms gained popularity in North America, Europe and East Asia in the 2010s. Ten years on, the concept remains well-loved around the world, with its ability to bring together friends and family with teamwork challenges. In Hong Kong, one of the biggest names in the business is LOST. Founded by entrepreneur Rick Woo in 2013, when escape rooms were at their height, LOST has fought off countless competitors and thrived despite the city’s cutthroat business scene. Since the opening of its first shop in Causeway Bay seven years ago, it has expanded to eight countries with 13 branches across the globe. “When I started LOST, online businesses were all the rage and everyone was setting one up. But, I could see

that the competition would be harsh and it would be hard to survive,” Woo explains the brand’s beginnings. “I went the other way and decided to set up a physical business without any online concept. Instead of following the wave, why not create the wave?” And thank the stars Woo decided to go against the grain. If you’ve been in Hong Kong for a while, chances are you’ve tried out LOST’s escape rooms at least once. But for those in the dark, the premise behind a game is simple – a team of players are locked inside a room with a pre-set scenario. To escape, they must discover clues, solve puzzles and perform actions within 45 minutes. The goal is to excel their cognition, communication, cooperation and observation skills while having a great time. It’s not just play, either. As the game requires two or more people working together, it also lends itself well for team building activities. That’s why LOST regularly caters for corporate training, birthday parties and hosts pop-ups at shopping malls, clubhouses, hotels and schools. “Recently, we helped Regal Hotel, The Mira and W Hong Kong turn their rooms into an escape game,” says Woo. “They are some of my favourite events as we had the freedom to expand beyond a single room. At W, for example, we organised the game like a scavenger hunt where players needed to follow clues to unlock gadgets from the first to eighth floor. We called it ‘Escape Run’.” As if that isn’t enough, just last year, Woo opened LOST Junior, targeting ages 6 to 14. Like the original rooms, players are given a series of riddles and puzzles to solve. The only

difference is that the difficulty is adjusted for the younger escapers accordingly. “LOST Junior contains STEAM elements and is great for birthday parties or family reunions. A game provides students with the opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills, at the same time raising their team spirit.” Having weathered seven years in the industry, LOST shows no signs of slowing – even with a global pandemic in the background. “LOST will keep expanding in different regions and take on collaborations with new venues,” Woo explains his plans for the brand in the coming year. “We aim to bring LOST Junior to Southeast Asia so that children there can experience our play-based learning games for themselves, too.”

Find out more about LOST or book a game at one of its two Hong Kong venues at losthk.com

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BIG DAY OUT

Get pitchin’ Malanie Cox spends a night under the stars at some of the best camping spots in Hong Kong

While an overseas vacation may not happen anytime soon, camping in the countryside might be your best option for a relaxing getaway this winter season. From stunning seaside locations to beautiful coastal islands and nature reserves, we’ve rounded up our favourite sites to get you pitching like a pro.

Sai Wan The stunning east coast of Sai Kung Country Park has been increasingly popular this year thanks to its four white sandy beaches with the first being Sai Wan. Hike 2.5 kilometre down from Sai Wan Pavilion or charter a boat from Sai Kung waterfront to get to this (almost) isolated location. With a small locally-

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BIG DAY OUT

run restaurant serving cold beers, coconuts and noodles nearby, campers have the option to skip the burnt sausages and enjoy a homemade meal instead. For those who want a traditional camping experience, the campsite has barbeque pits, flushing toilets and sink facilities, making this location perfect for newbies. Don’t forget to pack your binoculars, as Sai Wan Stargazing Site is just a stone’s throw away.

bird species. The island’s campsite includes all the necessary facilities such as barbeque pits, benches, tables, drains and clothes lines. The area is popular for those chasing

an idyllic sunrise. There are also few local restaurants open on the weekends and public holidays so set your alarm and enjoy fresh uni (sea urchin) over fried rice.

Tung Ping Chau Known for its unique geological features of rock formation, Tung Ping Chau is an island located closer to China than Hong Kong itself and boasts an incredible marine park along with rich vegetation and rare

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BIG DAY OUT Pui O

Tung Lung Chau

Located in south Lantau, Pui O is popular with beginner surfers and kite surfers. This campsite is easily accessible, due to close proximity to Pui O village and has the popular Treasure Island Beach Club and Restaurant as part of its facilities. Camping, cabana rooms, water sports rentals and lessons are all available, making it ideal for families. Packages include pre-set-up campsites so all you need to do is show up and relax. treasureislandhk.com

One of Hong Kong’s most underrated island, Tung Lung Chau offers something for everyone. From familyfriendly outings to rock climbing walls suitable for all levels, making it the perfect place to spend a day out of the city. If you are looking to stay overnight, the island’s campsite is located on the northeast of the island with two piers located about 10 to 20 minutes away. This campsite is a great choice for all levels

thanks to nearby local restaurants as well as barbeque pits, benches, tables, information boards and rubbish bins spread throughout.

Sai Yuen Farm For a more glamorous camping experience, Sai Yuen Farm consists of six camping areas, each with a different theme. Spend the night in a Romantic Tree Cocoon or a Star Gazing Geodesic Dome for a truly unique camping experience. The farm also offers a range of adventurous activities to keep everyone entertained. saiyuen.com

Ham Tin If you fancy waking up on soft white sand and catching sunrise over turquoise waters, then Ham Tin is the spot for you. Crowned as the hidden gem of Sai Kung’s Tai Long Wan, Ham Tin is the most popular campsite of the four. Because it is harder to access than the other bays, this campsite is recommended for more experienced hikers and campers. Don’t worry about carrying your own gear as camping equipment rental shops are located near the beach.

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BIG DAY OUT

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COVER STORY

Din

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nin

COVER STORY

In the second edition of the annual Hong Kong Dining Awards, we celebrate the city’s best restaurants, bars, delivery initiatives and the industry talents who have pushed on and innovated during these challenging times. Spanning over 30 categories, our awards are divided into Readers’ Choice and Editors’ Pick. The Readers’ Choice winners are fully chosen by the readers of Hong Kong Living. After a round of nominations followed by a polling process where we received more than 35,000 votes, we arrived at a list of the most popular restaurants amongst our readers. The Editors’ Pick winners are determined by our panel of editors who highlighted the restaurants that have impressed them the most in the last 12 months. See the full list of winners in the following pages.

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COVER STORY

Readers' Choice Restaurant of the Year

Amber Aside from its undisputed status as one of Hong Kong’s best fine dining restaurants, Amber is widely recognised as a pioneer of sustainability and plant-based cuisine. Last year, the restaurant

eliminated dairy, gluten and refined sugar from its menu and replaced the French culinary staples with healthier alternatives like plant-based oil, soy and nut milk, maple, agave and honey. At the

new Amber, guests are encouraged to opt for the vegetarian or vegan tasting menu, where fresh produce is given a leading role in the degustation rather than just a garnish. Led by executive chef Ricahrd Ekkebus, the two Michelin-starred restaurant continues to pave the way for sustainable eating in 2020. The restaurant has already launched plastic-free and sustainable seafood policies and uses only cage-free eggs in its dishes. It is currently working towards sourcing only ethically raised protein and choosing free-roaming, antibiotic and growth hormone free animal products; and is shifting its purchasing strategy to source produce from farms nearby Hong Kong to help reduce the carbon footprint from transporting and importing fresh fruits and vegetables. “Sustainability efforts never stop. The climate crisis is becoming more and more urgent and many of our peers are following suit to make positive changes to the environment,” Ekkebus says. mandarinoriental.com

Best New Restaurant

Club Rangoon Hong Kong is a food lover’s paradise, but Burmese cuisine is still hard to come by in this international dining hub. Spotting a gap in the market, Nelson Htoo founded Club Rangoon, inspired by his love of Burmese food and the memories associated from growing up in Myanmar. The restaurant opened its doors in the middle of the pandemic, and despite the challenges that came with it, fared well and received great feedback after launching for a few short months. Helmed by chef Karisa Cheque, Club Rangoon’s menu includes the likes of mohinga (the national dish from Myanmar); Burmese-style beef biryani and aubergine curry.

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Htoo hopes to bring to the city his home country’s vibrant culture of sharing and community, inviting diners to find happiness in communal feasting and food-oriented exchange. “Even in dire circumstances, people in Burma find some way to live carefree, like the sort of momentary tranquility people find

in Burmese tea shops and the conversations we have there. Burmese people treat each other like family and are always ready to help one another out. With my restaurant, I want to bring the warmth and hospitality of the country to Hong Kong,” he says. clubrangoon.com.hk


COVER STORY

Chef of the Year

John Nguyen

Bold and conventional are how John Nguyen would describe his culinary style. “I don’t hold back and the result is dishes that boast plentiful strong flavours,” he says. “You’ll either love us – or love us. There is no in between.” As the head chef of Xuan, a newly-opened modern Vietnamese restaurant, Nguyen challenges the perceptions of traditional Vietnamese cuisine being just pho or banh mi. With daring dishes that often come with a trace of spiciness and umami, the chef is known for combining French techniques and a hefty dose of American-style cooking to concoct flavoursome creations. His signature beef pho – with its smack of fat and brash presentation featuring a hunk of oxtail, a side of bone marrow and a moreish fried Chinese doughnut for dipping – is nothing short of remarkable and showcases how the Saigon-born chef so masterfully combines the many flavours Vietnam has to offer while celebrating a Chinese influence.

Best Delivery Service

Foodpanda

Foodpanda has evolved significantly since its beginnings in 2014 as a food delivery service. Not only can you have your favourite meals delivered straight to your door, nowadays, Foodpanda also operates a number of virtual kitchens and offers a 24/7 online shopping experience with Foodpanda Mall and Pandamart. Most recently, with Hong Kong’s dine-in restrictions and gathering bans during the

coronavirus outbreak, foodpanda has seen a surge in order demand. The delivery platform now works with over 11,000 restaurants and 3,000 retail partners across the city, giving customers an even broader selection. “More Hongkongers have been enjoying our services since the coronavirus started. We believe that in the future, an even greater number of people will be more willing to integrate food

delivery and pick-up services into their daily lives,” Paul Measor, the director of strategic partnerships at Foodpanda tells us. “As such, we are continuously recruiting new staff and couriers to meet the increasing demand for delivery services.” Looking forward, Foodpanda is expecting to achieve an even greater coverage across Hong Kong, the opening of more Pandamart locations and an average delivery time of as fast as 20 minutes. foodpanda.hk

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COVER STORY

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COVER STORY

Best Online Grocery Store

A few years back, Australian entrepreneur Emma Pike noticed the quality of meat in local supermarkets was declining while the prices were increasing. She saw a gap in the market

for premium groceries at affordable prices and started Farmer’s Market in 2016 to bring ethically sourced meat and seafood to the city. Transparency is key in Pike’s business. Running a butcher’s service, she believes that by telling people the truth about where their meat comes from, how livestock has been fed, treated and raised, shoppers can make an educated choice on where to buy their meat and seafood. The online retailer even offers educational material via YouTube videos and e-books to

enhance the knowledge of its consumers. With more people opting to dine at home this year, Pike has seen an increase in new customers wanting to enjoy high quality meat, making this her busiest year yet. But with less flights and borders closing, Pike has also experienced issues around delivery solutions and supply chain. “With things settling down, we’re focused on improving our online experience and delivery process for consumers,” says Pike. farmersmarket.com.hk

Best Pizza Delivery and Takeaway ted sen Pre y b

A newcomer to Hong Kong’s vibrant dining scene, The Pizza Project has already established itself as a local favourite with its sumptuous pizza creations, wallet-friendly

prices and convivial atmosphere. Opened in Soho earlier this year, the pizzeria launched a second outpost on Wan Chai’s Star Street only seven months after its first opening – a case in

The Pizza Project

point to its surging popularity. Operated by Pirata Group, The Pizza Project is helmed by corporate chef Andrea Viglione and executive chef Davide Borin, both of whom are not afraid to experiment with quirky, outlandish pizza toppings like pancetta and quail egg; and baked potatoes on pizza. “After opening Pici in 2017, which serves fresh handmade pasta daily, we thought why not start a pizza bar as well? We are huge carb lovers and pizza is a childhood comfort food for the both of us,” says Viglione. To adapt to the changing demands of diners amidst the pandemic, The Pizza Project has doubled down on its delivery efforts during the period of social distancing restrictions. In addition to its two dine-in locations, the pizzeria currently operates out of two deliveryonly kitchens in Tai Koo and Wong Chuk Hang, covering the entire Hong Kong Island. thepizzaproject.hk

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COVER STORY

Best Pop-up Concept

Yum Cha by Man Wah With Mandarin Oriental’s Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant Man Wah currently undergoing a six-month renovation, the hotel has launched a new dim sum pop-up to tide its fans over until the restaurant reopens in January 2021. Taking place at the hotel’s Small Connaught Room, Yum Cha by Man Wah is open every Saturday and Sunday, offering dim sum delicacies prepared by executive Chinese chef Wing-keung Wong. Highlights from the menu include har gau with

Best Restaurant Delivery and Takeaway

Yardbird Pres ente d by

tiger prawn and bamboo shoot; dumpling with crab meat and black truffle; and taro and scallop puff. Man Wah’s signature barbecue items and a la carte dishes like wok-fried XO sauce noodles and Yangzhou fried rice are also available. mandarinoriental.com

Best Cocktail Delivery and Takeaway Four Season Hotel’s Caprice Bar is offering its signature Caprice Negroni for delivery and takeaway on its online shop. This ever-popular cocktail is made with fresh vanilla and citrus peel mixed with French spirits and liqueurs including Citadelle gin, sweet La Quintinye Rouge

d ente Pres by

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Caprice Bar

vermouth, Amer Picon and Campari. Bitter, cool and classy all at the same time, the cocktail comes as a set with perfectly matched flavoured almonds and olives. shopfourseasonshk.com

Yardbird has launched a new takeaway and delivery service for its Japanese dishes through its app and on Deliveroo. From the katsu sando to chicken meatball with egg yolk and its everpopular KFC, aka Korean fried cauliflower, the sheer variety of yakitori and a la carte items available is mouthwateringly astounding. Ordering through the app will give you access to Yardbird’s full food menu as well as special app-exclusive items while the modern izakaya is offering a more limited menu on Deliveroo. yardbirdrestaurant.com


COVER STORY

Best Dim Sum

Lung King Heen

personally sourced ingredients, teamwork and over a century of accumulated experience are the key components to creating delectable dim sum. With guest and employee health and safety top priority during the coronavirus, rest assured you will be well looked after whilst experiencing the very best yum cha experience. fourseasons.com

Four Seasons Hotel’s Lung King Heen is the first Chinese restaurant to be recognised with the coveted Michelin three-star rating and has retained its star status for 12 consecutive years. Serving signature dishes including steamed lobster with scallop dumpling and wok-fried prawns with black garlic and dried chilli, we foresee that rating sticking around a bit longer. Executive chef Chan Yan-tak says

Best Hotel Delivery and Takeaway Hotel deliveries have bloomed during quarantine season, offering coveted culinary experiences that were once available only to dine-in guests. From sumptuous butter chicken to an all-American steak sandwich, Rosewood had been steadily bringing its degustation delights to doorsteps when restaurant dine-in hours were cut short. While dining out with a bigger group of friends is still a challenge, call in Bayfare Social, the hotel’s gastromarket, to enjoy a luxurious spread of sandwiches and pastas from the comfort of your own home. If you are in for a full-on celebration, you can also order premium wines and bubbles to booze up the occasion. rosewoodhotels.com

Rosewood Hong Kong

Best Coffee Delivery and Takeaway

Blue Bottle Coffee Probably the most anticipated coffee shop opening of the year, Blue Bottle landed in Hong Kong earlier this April. Originally from Oakland, California, the coffee chain boasts a number of international outposts in Tokyo, Kyoto and Seoul. The popular cafe is famed for its New Orleans-style iced coffee and sleek minimalist space, drawing in busy lines for its Lyndhurst Terrace shop when it first opened its doors. Spanning across two storeys, the newly-opened shop is home to the brand’s signature pourover bar, as well as its minimalist seating areas and a retail space where visitors can pick up Blue Bottle merchandise and coffee beans. bluebottlecoffee.com

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COVER STORY

Best Healthy Restaurant

Treehouse

Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Louise

architecture. On the ground floor by the restaurant entrance, there is a cosy al fresco terrace surrounded by luscious greens. Beyond its relaxing outdoor area, Louise features an upstairs dining room and a highceilinged bar and lounge serving up specialty charcuterie and handpicked wines by its sommelier. louise.hk

Nestled inside a heritage house in PMQ, Louise doles out elevated French classics with heart-warming flavours that pay homage to home-cooked delights. Helmed by internationally acclaimed Michelin-starred chef Julien Royer, the restaurant earned its first Michelin star this year after opening last summer. Designwise, homegrown architect André Fu has transformed the two-storey building into a chic and elegant restaurant while retaining the essence of colonial style

Best Catering Service With conscious eating on the rise, Hong Kong has seen a slew of plant-based restaurants opening up in recent years. Amongst these health-driven dining establishments, all-day fast casual eatery Treehouse has caught our attention (and that of our readers) as a standout locale for healthy and delicious food. Founded by Christian Mongendre in 2019, the grab-and-go spot offers a range of healthy flatbreads, burgers, salads and grain bowls. While the mention of the leafy greens may leave a bad taste in the mouth for some, you can be rest assured that Mongendre’s gourmet creations are a far cry from being bland and tasteless. Before starting Treehouse, Mongendre worked under the tutelage of the internationally acclaimed chef Alain Ducasse in France. In 2012, he co-founded popular plant-based eatery Mana! in Hong Kong and opened Home Eat to Live, a healthy fast casual eatery on Des Voeux Road Central, four years later. With Treehouse, Mongendre continues to push for offering good-for-you meals with a sustainable and ethical focus.

From expanding its in-house delivery service to launching a five-day supper plan and publishing a Covid-19 playbook, Black Sheep has gone above and beyond with rolling out new initiatives and strategies to weather the impact the pandemic has on its business. With restrictions on large group dining, more people have been seeking out catering services in recent months. Whether you’re hosting an office get-together or planning a junk party, Black Sheep’s catering service is set to impress you and your guests with its tasty spread of dishes. From a Neapolitan

Black Sheep Restaurants pizzeria to a neighbourhood Thai eatery and an all-day Lebanese canteen, order from a range of Black Sheep restaurants including Chom Chom, Motorino, Maison Libanaise, Artemis & Apollo and more for your next gathering. blacksheeprestaurants.com

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Best Burger Delivery and Takeaway

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Shake Shack Since its launch in Hong Kong in 2018, Shake Shack has quickly become a fan favourite amongst foodies with its famed cheeseburgers, crinkle-cut fries and frozen custard. Born out of New York restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which is rooted in fine dining, Shake Shack approaches the quality of its food the way a chef does – with fresh ingredients that are free from hormones and antibiotics. From vegetarian-fed Angus beef to cage-free chicken, the burger chain sources most of its ingredients from the US and works with local bakeries and charity partners to create locationspecific menu items. In Hong Kong, its past brand collaborations include a one-day pop-up with acclaimed Cantonese restaurant The Chairman. And soon, it will launch a limited-

time black truffle menu that aims to woo burger lovers and epicureans alike. In the last six months, Shake Shack has responded quickly to the pandemic and dine-in restrictions by launching multiple takeaway and delivery channels, including its own online ordering platform and partnerships with Foodpanda, Uber Eats and Openrice.

“We’re still having high hope in the market. We plan to open a minimum of 15 Shake Shacks in South China by 2030, including locations in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Fuzhou and Xiamen, and next year, we’re going to open our first Macau shack,” says William Lou, general manager of Shake Shack, Greater China. shakeshack.com.hk

Editors' Pick Restaurant of the Year

Zuma Known for its contemporary izakaya dishes, free-flow brunches and atmospheric setting, Zuma is crowned Restaurant of the Year in

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this year’s Hong Kong Dining Awards. The two-storey Japanese restaurant, located inside the Landmark Building, beckons a diverse crowd from white-collars and partygoers to couples and families. Descending a swooping spiral staircase, you’ll arrive at the main dining room surrounded by soaring glass walls and sophisticated interiors. The restaurant serves up an extensive menu of sushi, sashimi, tempura and chargrilled robata dishes, including buttery Hokkaido scallops and spiced baby lamb cutlets. Opened more than a decade ago, the restaurant’s longevity speaks volumes, especially in such a fast-paced city where restaurants come and go. “Being strong in the Hong Kong scene after 14 years is not easy. We strive for perfection on a daily basis. We never stop thinking about innovation, progress, quality, product and guest experience,” says Alex Bellafronte, Zuma’s

operations director, Asia. To keep its guests coming back, Zuma introduces new seasonal cocktails every few months in addition to its core offerings. Most recently, it has launched a terrace pop-up bar concept featuring French and Japaneseinspired cocktails created by its new bar manager, Lorenzo Coppola.


COVER STORY

Best New Restaurant

Aria Opening in the midst of a pandemic was never the plan for Aria. Launched earlier this summer, the modern Italian restaurant has powered through the uncertain times and established itself as a firm favourite amongst Central diners in only a few short months. Located on the 24th floor of Lan Kwai Fong’s California Tower, guests can take in sweeping views of the city while sampling the restaurant’s family-style Italian cuisine. The menu features a range of hearty favourites adapted from classic recipes and recreated with seasonal ingredients, flown in weekly from Europe and around the world. “At Aria, we take great pride in showcasing exquisitely presented meats, jet-fresh seafood and masterfully executed pizzas and pastas elevated by premium produce,” says Andrea Zamboni, the restaurant’s executive chef. With many people opting to stay at home during earlier waves of coronavirus, quick thinking has helped Aria connect with its

customers in these challenging times. “Our team has been able to get creative using the new LKF Delivery Direct platform. During the dine-in ban,

we’ve launched a range of ready-to-make food kits, available for delivery, featuring customer favorite meals,” says Zamboni. These at-home meal kits include step-by-step instructions along with all the essential ingredients, sauces, condiments and spices to create a sumptuous Italian feast at home. ariaitalian.com

Chef of the Year

Vicky Lau

As the chef-owner of Tate Dining Room, Vicky Lau is the only female Asian chef with a Michelin-starred restaurant in Hong Kong. After graduating from New York University with a degree in graphic communications, Lau left the design field to embark on her culinary

career and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu. With firsthand experience, Lau realised her creative vision by combining her instincts and talents in design and food into a space where guests are invited to share and experience her passion. Her cutting-

edge culinary creations and intricate plating earned Tate Dining Room a prestigious Michelin star in 2013, only one year after its conceptualisation, and in 2015, Lau won the title of Best Female Chef in Asia voted by World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Today, Lau is one of the first people who comes to mind when we think of French-Chinese cuisine. In the city’s highly competitive dining scene, she has managed to find innovation in her culinary craft with seasonal menus centred around native ingredients. Lau’s latest concept, Date by Tate, goes beyond the traditional restaurant dine-in experience and introduces a Michelinstarred home dining experience. Designed for guests to enjoy from the comfort of their home, Tate Dining Room’s newly-launched gourmet takeaway box features a fullycatered multi-course menu complete with beverage pairing and a specially curated music playlist. tate.com.hk

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Best Restaurant Delivery and Takeaway

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Brunch Club & Supper Founded in 2006, Brunch Club & Supper is one of the pioneers of brunch culture in Hong Kong. Having such a long run in the city and being located conveniently in Causeway Bay mean the restaurant is familiar with a range of customers and is well-known among locals, expats and even tourists from around the world. While the neighbourhood joint may be best known for its continental brunch offerings – which feature everything from home-baked bread basket, classic shepherd’s pie to slow-roasted chicken wings on waffle and steak and egg, that is not all it has to offer. The restaurant also serves a wide variety of croques, sandwiches, burgers, pastas and risottos. And of course, it wouldn’t be Brunch Club without eggs benedict. The all-day diner’s rendition of the quintessential brunch item is slathered with homemade Hollandaise sauce and accompanied by crispy hash browns on the side. An on-site bakery, named Marie’s Bakery,

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If you relish the act of putting a meal together before devouring it, The Upper House’s Cafe Gray Deluxe at Home menu offers organic, seasonal

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ingredients ready for you to assemble in your own kitchen. Served in the format of an easy meal kit, each dish has been carefully selected for its freshness and simplicity so that you can enjoy Cafe Gray Deluxe’s contemporary European cuisine without leaving your home. Not only that, the restaurant is also working together with local charity Foodlink Foundation to fight hunger in Hong Kong and assist disadvantaged communities affected by the coronavirus. To participate in the initiative, simply purchase a $50 food bag along with your Cafe Gray Deluxe at Home order. The bag, which will be distributed to those in need, contains pantry essentials like rice, noodles, oats, canned food and soup, cereal bars and hand sanitiser. Alternatively, you can donate canned food items to the charity which will be collected by Cafe Gray Deluxe when your meal delivery arrives. Cafe Gray Deluxe at Home is available Monday to Sunday for dinner only and is complementary within Hong Kong Island via The Upper House’s own car and driver. upperhouse.com

can be found inside the upstairs restaurant. The pastry section doles out an assortment of freshly baked bread and cakes, which can be ordered from the restaurant’s menu. If you prefer a lazy weekend brunch at home, you can also order from the restaurant on major food delivery platforms. With an extensive to-go menu featuring all Brunch Club favourites, you will surely be spoilt for choice. brunch-club.org

Best Hotel Delivery and Takeaway

The Upper House


COVER STORY

Best Coffee Delivery and Takeaway

The Coffee Academics Homegrown coffeehouse The Coffee Academics began its journey in 2012 and has since expanded worldwide across Mainland China, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. Using the top five percent of Arabica coffee beans sourced directly from over 50 small plantations from around the world, the coffee chain and roastery sets the bar high for its beverage quality and has successfully established itself as the leading specialty coffee player in the city. Highlights from its menu include Okinawa (a cappuccino blend with unrefined brown cane sugar from Okinawal, Japan), Jawa (an Indonesian palm sugar latte macchiato with a dash of coconut and pandan) and Agave (a spiced latte doused in Mexican agave nectar and sprinkled with black pepper). Not only does the brand’s coffee taste

amazing, every cup gives back. “70 percent of our house blend gives back to farmers through charities and social enterprises worldwide. We are proud to trade directly with coffee farms – six of them this year alone – that actively support local communities and the environment,” says Iva Liu, assistant general manager of The Coffee Academics. With 16 locations dotted across Hong Kong – including three new outposts in The University of Hong Kong, Stanley Plaza and Sai Kung – and presence on major food delivery platforms, you can easily savour a range of classic coffees and signature lattes whenever you are in need of a pick-me-up. the-coffeeacademics.com

Best Pizza Delivery and Takeaway

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Since opening his first shop in 2009, founder Al Morales has taken Hong Kong’s pizza scene by storm with Paisano’s giant 24-inch pizzas and sell-by-the-slice menu. The popular pizza chain now has six stores across the city with plans to open more in the coming year. The founder and pizza lover started working in the pizza business in New York in the 90s.

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“I’ve always loved pizza. My uncle Tony owned a pizzeria in Manhattan and I remember telling him that one day I was gonna have my own pizzeria. I was only seven at the time,” says Morales. In 1999, Morales moved to Hong Kong to pursue a career in golf, but was unsatisfied with the pizza options available and decided to open

a pizzeria in Sai Kung. “It takes a lot of courage and a little madness to start a new business, especially being a foreigner that didn’t speak the local language,” says Morales. But this risk has paid off and now Paisano’s is widely regarded as one of the best pizzerias in town. During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Paisano’s relies on its takeaway orders to keep its business growing. “We are fortunate to have a robust pick-up and delivery system that has been in place for many years. Even on the days when business was slow, we were able to keep all our staff employed and our doors open,” says Morales. paisanos.com.hk

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Best Burger Delivery and Takeaway

La Casa Burger & Pasta La Casa Burger & Pasta offers a variety of gourmet burgers available for takeaway and delivery across major food delivery platforms. From the fish and guacamole burger to the roast pork belly burger stuffed with apple chutney, Fontina cheese and honey mustard, the grab-and-go burger joint takes inspiration from a range of international cuisines to create decadent new-style burgers. Founded by chef Tom Hui, the restaurant started out in 2012 as a private kitchen, named La Casa Bistro, and specialised in offering premium Italian cuisine for private clients. As Hui wanted more people to try his cooking, he relocated his restaurant to a more accessible spot on Sheung Wan’s Bonham

Strand a few years later in 2016 and rebranded the space into a casual Italian eatery. “After moving to Sheung Wan, we were originally an Italian restaurant with a focus on fine dining. Due to the limited size of our shop, we later thought it was more suitable to run a takeaway style restaurant and reinvented

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ourselves once again this year,” says Hui. Since reopening as a burger shop, La Casa has found its footing through offering specialty creations with the likes of sirloin burger with port wine and portobello mushroom burger, earning itself a welldeserved spot as one of Hong Kong’s top burger joints. lacasaburger.com

Best Concept Bar

FJAKA Asides from drinks and shisha, you can indulge in an array of modern Asian dishes, from crispy taro chips, mouth watering truffle toast with parma ham to pacific tuna tartare with watermelon and Kokawa uni toast. All of this can be enjoyed in the lounge’s sleek black interiors, which evoke a sense of style and opulence, taking guests out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Seasoned shisha enthusiasts may recognise FJAKA as Hong Kong’s first shisha delivery with a reputation for offering a first-class, quality hookah set-up to be enjoyed in the comfort of your home. As restaurants and bars reopen, the brand is extending the laid-back home shisha experience to its speakeasy-style lounge in Causeway Bay.

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At FJAKA, drinks are something else altogether. Inspired by iconic cocktails from bygone eras, the bar adds a modern twist to classic tipples from around the world and takes you on a journey through the centuries. Each of its six signature drinks represents a significant cocktail era.


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LAIBA Beverages With bars closed for long stretches of time this year, many people were forced to get creative with how to get their cocktail fix. If you’re not ready to be your own bartender yet, LAIBA Beverages, has partnered with Metabev and Hong Kong’s top mixologists – including Jay Khan (COA), Agung Prabowo (the original founder of The Old Man), Antonio Lai (Quinary) – to bring artisanal bottled cocktails to you home. Founded in 2017, Laiba largely focused on Asia’s luxury hotel market, but the ongoing pandemic prompted them to adapt their strategy to focus on local customers. “Working with popular Hong Kong bars and restaurants as well as home delivery and e-commerce, we have received much more brand awareness and support that helped us to grow our brand faster than before,” says Alexander Petersen, co-founder and CEO of

LAIBA Beverages. The brand now offers eight classic and signature cocktails on its online shop including Bloody Mary, Twisted Negroni and Cold Brew Martini. “After two years of research and development, we have succeeded in bottling cocktails that not only taste great, but retain the freshness and flavour of any drink you would expect to find in a world-class bar while supporting the incredible local mixologists,” says Petersen. hk.shop.laibabeverages.com

Best Online Grocery Store

Eat The Kiwi

Philippa Kerr, General Manager (left) and Rebekah Bradley, Marketing Director (right)

“New Zealand has some of the world’s best quality food, we’re passionate about it and want to share it with more people,” Rebekah Bradley, marketing director of Eat The Kiwi, tells us. The online store, with a heavy focus on sustainability, delivers fresh groceries directly to your doorstep and also Hong Kong’s top

restaurants. Launched by the founders of The Produce Company, a New Zealand-based food distributor, all groceries are freshly sourced directly from local farmers and producers. “Working directly with our suppliers means we’re able to offer high-quality groceries at great prices and allows better traceability of our goods back to their origin,” says Bradley. With over 400 carefully chosen, high-quality products, Eat The Kiwi is a one-stop-shop. You will find everything from fruit and vegetables to meats, seafood, recipe kits and popular pantry items. You can even purchase household items

and order many products in bulk. Another feature that makes Eat The Kiwi stand out from other grocery stores is its personalised subscription service. Customers can subscribe to ingredients of their choice – like eggs, butter and bread – and have them delivered every week or fortnight. They have the flexibility to cancel and pause the subscription or adjust the products as they need to without being tied to any commitments. We especially love that Eat The Kiwi delivers Hong Kong wide, offers next day delivery and has the option for free delivery too. store.eatthekiwi.com

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COVER STORY

Best Dim Sum

If you’re looking for an elevated take on Hong Kong’s favourite cuisine, Duddell’s offers an array of classic dim sum items and street snacks with a contemporary spin in a beautiful art space. Located on Duddell Street in the heart of Central, the one Michelinstarred Cantonese restaurant boasts chic two-storey space with an outdoor terrace surrounded by lush greeneries. Now six years old, Duddell’s has firmly cemented its position as a Hong Kong establishment with a menu of authentic Cantonese specialties that combines bold flavours with contemporary presentation. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant has adapted its menu to feature delivery and takeaway offerings. It has also brought back its popular 80s dim sum nights, all-you-can-eat weekend dim sum brunch and appointed a new salon manager, Mario Calderone, to revamp its cocktail menu. duddells.co

Best Al Fresco Restaurant

Limewood Located on the shores of Repulse Bay, Limewood is a beachside stronghold for both Southsiders and those travelling from afar. With bright interiors and breathtaking views, this Cali-inspired restaurant will make you feel miles away, without even stepping on a plane, perfect with the current travel restrictions in place. Foodwise, Limewood serves up an array of barbecued meat and seafood dishes with a nod to Southeast Asian and Caribbean cuisines. “We wanted to create somewhere that really embodied beachside living and bring the best dishes from the most beautiful beaches in the world together with flavours of Hawaii, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam all feature strongly,” says Matt Reid, co-founder of Maximal Concepts, the hospitality group behind Limewood. Both family and pet-friendly, this beachside hangout is the perfect spot to sit

back and enjoy Hong Kong’s cooler months. “We hope to continue to offer the feeling of having ‘holiday at home’ when the sun shines, the rosé is cold and the BBQ is fired up and buzzing,” says Reid. limewood.hk

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COVER STORY

Best Hot Pot Restaurant

A Smoking Affair

But it’s not all about the food, drinks and ambience. A Smoking Affair also caters to those who wish to make a night of it with VIP rooms and karaoke available. pong-group.com

A Smoking Affair is a convivial hot pot social spot inspired by old-school dai pai dongs, the neon signs of Hong Kong’s streets and the spirit of late-night hangouts. Set in the heart of Causeway Bay and sprawling over 5,000 square feet, the restaurant offers diners an indulgent hot pot experience featuring market-fresh ingredients sourced directly from local suppliers. With neon signs aglow, guests can enjoy modern Chinese cuisine with friends over goblets of the restaurant’s signature pot cuisine and beer and wine to wet the whistle. Bringing together local and overseas chefs to showcase Hong Kong’s traditional cuisine, A Smoking Affair has innovated the flavours of classic double-boiled soups and other celebrated Cantonese dishes.

Best Steakhouse

For a classic American feast, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse serves up a succulent range of steak and seafood. Originally founded by Wolfgang Zwiener in 2004, the restaurant first opened its doors in New York City’s Park Avenue and now has over 18 branches worldwide. The steakhouse prides itself on its USDA prime 28-days dry-aged steak: “We like to say we do things the oldfashioned way,” says Peter Zwiener, president and co-founder of Wolfgang’s Steakhouse. “We fly in our beef fresh, straight from the ranch, then we dry age the meat on our premises.” Tucked away on Duddell Street, the American restaurant is the perfect place for an intimate date night. As this year has been difficult for guests to dine in, Wolfgang’s has worked closely with its chef and adapted the menu to allow steak lovers to enjoy its delicious cuts from the comfort of their own home. wolfgangssteakhouse.hk

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COVER STORY

Best Healthy Restaurant

Infiniti C While floral-filled decor, pastel-coloured pastries and lattes sprinkled with edible flowers are all drawcards for Infiniti C, the boutique cafe is more than just pretty cakes and Instagrammable moments. Founded in 2018 by Bryant Law and October Chu, the allday cafe prides itself on being a fully glutenfree joint and offers a wide selection of vegan and keto-friendly dishes. When Infiniti C first opened, most of its visitors were people who suffered from gluten intolerance or celiac. “It felt like heaven to them as they could eat everything from our menu,” says Law. “We once made a birthday cake for a little boy who had never tasted a cake before. He was allergic to pretty much all ingredients that were commonly used to make one. Being a gluten-free cafe, we were able to substitute those ingredients with safe alternatives.” Aside from catering to people with

different dietary needs, the cafe also focuses healthy food. On its menu, you’ll find healthier versions of your favourite desserts like the avocado brownie and a range of sugar-free cakes. To minimise its environmental impact, the cafe serves only white meat and offers plenty of vegan options. infinitic.hk

Best Catering Service

With Hong Kong Personal Chef, anyone can experience the luxury of having their own chef’s table at home with a menu tailored to their

specific needs. Owner and chef Tom Burney has been offering bespoke multi-course dinner party service and catering to private barbecue events

October Chu (left) and Bryant Law (right)

Hong Kong Personal Chef for Hong Kong’s discerning diners since 2011. Before starting Hong Kong Personal Chef, Burney has worked at a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in London and prepared meals for some of Hollywood’s finest. From Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue’s touring groups to Keanu Reeves and Chris Hemsworth, Burney’s star-studded culinary career is nothing short of impressive. Celebrity or not, Burney is all about offering people an experience that goes beyond restaurant dining in an environmentally sustainable way. “My driving force is the desire to help someone have a real once-in-a-lifetime experience. The energy between a couple and their friends can create the most intimate and incredible dining experience and I try to find ways to support them with great food and planning.” hongkongpersonalchef.com

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Best Pop-up Concept

COVER STORY

Cookie DPT Born in mid-2018, Cookie DPT’s humble roots meant that when it first opened, its baked goods could only be ordered via direct message on Instagram and through a curated selection of cafés around Hong Kong. But it didn’t take long before the brand caught people’s attention and began participating in pop-ups around the city. After selling out at Hong Kong’s annual Wine and Dine Festival, Tong Chong Street Market and PMQ markets

consecutively, Cookie DPT quickly became a household name. Today, you’ll find the brand’s cookies – freshly baked, crisp on the outside while decadently moist and chewy on the inside

– across multiple pop-up locations around Hong Kong, including the newly-opened BaseHall in Jardine House and a joint kiosk with Westside Taqueria in Lee Garden One. cookiedpt.com

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DINING

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DINING NEWS

Nibbles

Ovolo goes green In a bold new move, Ovolo Hotels has announced that it is eliminating meat from its restaurants, bars and room service for an entire year. By fully switching over to plant-based menus, the boutique hospitality brand becomes the first hotel group to embrace meat-free meals on such a vast scale. For one year starting from this October, the hotel group has ceased to serve meat across all its dining outlets and focus on creating compelling plant-based dishes instead. The Year of the Veg concept does not extend to conferences and events hosted at Ovolo, which gives organisers more flexibility to customise their catering options. ovolohotels.com

Nyonya thrills Adding to Ship Street’s growing repertoire of dining hot spots, JIA Group’s newest restaurant is a joint collaboration with celebrated Singaporean private kitchen chef and makeup artist duo PasirpanjangBoy. With a name that is as fun and vibrant as its food offerings, Bibi & Baba brings Nyonya cuisine to Hong Kong.

Originating from Chinese immigrants who settled in Southeast Asia in the 15th century, Nyonya cooking fuses Malay and Indonesian cuisines with Chinese influences. Expect dishes with big flavours on full display such as laksa, Penang prawn noodles and spicy-sour Assam fish. bibiandbaba.hk

Drop it like it’s hot Soft opened earlier last month, Smoke & Barrel bills itself as the first authentic American smokehouse and barbecue restaurant in Hong Kong. Using a wood-fired smoker imported from Missouri and traditional slow-cooking techniques, the restaurant impresses its guests with the hallmark flavours of old-school Texas-style barbecue. Brought to you by Chris Grare and Arron Rhodes (the duo behind well-loved neighbourhood restaurant Kinship), the kitchen is led by head chef Christopher Tuthill, an Albuquerque, New Mexico native. Highlights from its menu include an all-American brisket, cider-glazed baby back ribs, salt and pepper chicken and Carolina pulled pork. smokeandbarrelhk.com

Get lucky

Sustainable sipping Industry veterans and the original founders of The Old Man, Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale, are teaming up again to open the city’s first sustainable bar on Hollywood Road. Moving on from Asia’s Best Bar, Prabowo and Ghale has joined forces with fellow co-founders Laura Prabowo, Katy Ghale and designer Betty Ng from Hong Kong-based architectural firm Collective to set sail on their latest venture, Penicillin, which champions a closed-loop model of production by reimagining and repurposing food and drink ingredients. Following the opening of Penicillin, Prabowo and Ghale are launching a second venture, Dead &, in November. The bar will be a casual dive bar tucked away on Wo On Lane, a literal dead-end in Lan Kwai Fong. penicillinbar.com

A new speakeasy-style Chinese restaurant popup has landed in Exchange Square, Central. The name of the restaurant, 888 Fatfatfat, is a playful nod to Cantonese colloquial fat choi, which means good fortune. The interior of the pop-up is inspired by the ancient Chinese myth of Mount Penglai, a paradise-like island where rice bowls and wine glasses are never empty. To enter the restaurant, look for a lady dressed in white who will lead you to the hidden entrance of the popup. For parties of two or more, 888Fatfatfat offers a special 888 experience, which will set you back for $888 and includes a complimentary Baijiu tasting flight or two cocktails of your choice. The pop-up is open daily until December 5.

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MUST HAVES

May Coupe champagne glass set $2,050 from Lane Crawford lanecrawford.com.hk

Marshall emberton speaker $1,299 from Lane Crawford and TechLife by Fortress lanecrawford.com.hk, fortress.com.hk

Solo wine holder $1,250 from Tree tree.com.hk

Be our guest Entertain in style with these dinner party essentials. By Nicole Slater

Stanton 42 piece cutlery set $2,620 from Indigo Living indigo-living.com

After work glass top bar $21,980 from Tequila Kola tequilakola.com

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MUST HAVES Kennedy cross leg dining table $15,900 from Indigo Living indigo-living.com

Dessert bowl $89 from Marks & Spencer marksandspencer.com

Deep ocean wine bucket $3,836 from Mary Justice Designs maryjusitcedesigns.com

r Rory acrylic bar cart $7,990 from Indigo Living indigo-living.com

Cael round coasters $799 from Indigo Living indigo-living.com

Six-layered etagere paradise $12,980 from Tequila Kola tequilakola.com

Christmas felt placemats The LAIBA gift set $559 from LAIBA Beverages hk.shop.laibabeverages.com

$259 from Marks & Spencer marksandspencer.com

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Ask a vet... Dr Pauline Taylor shares her tips for relocating with your pet When planning your pets relocation it’s important to be organised, here are nine tips on making the process easier for both you and your furry companion: 1. Start at least six months in advance. Every country has its own laws regarding pet imports. If not done correctly, your pet may not be allowed to enter. In extreme cases, a pet arriving without the proper paperwork can be seized and euthanized. Contact the correct Government departments for the current laws. 2. Contact the airline you hope to use. Flight schedules and available air cargo space may have changed due to Covid. Some airlines will not transport certain breeds that may pose a risk of dying on the flight. Avoid your pet laying over anywhere. We’ve all read about stories of animals being “left on the tarmac” and through no fault of the owner or transporter the pet dies. 3. Use a reliable pet relocation company. Look for a track record of moving pets and a

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professional/friendly response to your inquiries. Look into what the pet transporter can do to assist should things not go according to plan. 4. Consider what you get for your buck. I understand the stigma put on pet parents about leaving them behind, but if your bank balance doesn’t allow an airfare for your pet, in some cases they may be better rehomed. Personally I do not agree with excuses, I have heard many during my career. 5. If you are going to oversee a pet relocation yourself, do not expect your vet to know everything. Locally registered vets are required to check your pet and issue a health certificate for export purposes out of Hong Kong. This must be presented at check in. The declaration must also be co-approved/ signed by a local Government veterinary surgeon and takes time. Don’t expect to get this on the day of the flight.

6. Book your pet on a flight before you, especially if they have to quarantine at the destination. Most pets travel well, they may be scared but their stress control systems take over, some will sleep or pretend to and don’t forget they may arrive jet lagged. I don’t generally recommend a pet gets sedation for the flight. I think it’s important they are tuned in to what is happening around them. 7. Check the requirements for airline approved travel crates. Check the shape and


PETS size before you buy the product. Allow your pet access to the crate before the journey and reward them for going in and out. Teach them how to access a water bottle. Airline staff will not open cages during the flight, but water containers may be topped up. Finally send them away with a favorite soft small toy or one of your old shirts that has your smell on it. 8. Keep up to date with the latest requirements in both the origin and destination countries. As spaces can change or get cancelled, your pet may be left behind as you go ahead. Pet boarding facilities at the destination may be under quarantine controls and at present many of these facilities are booked out. Other countries like the UAE demand a declaration that cats do not carry Covid-19 and have been in pre-flight quarantine for 14 days. 9. Your pet will be so happy to see you again at the end of their journey that they will get on with their new life so long as they have you by their side. Get them into a standard routine as quickly as possible and stick to it.

Got a question for Dr. Pauline? Email editorial@hongkongliving.com

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DATING

Creating chemistry Valentina Tudose shares three ways to deepen your connection and intimacy with your partner in our brain. It is really that simple to make your partner happy – tell them and show them how amazing they are and how grateful you are for having them in your life. It doesn’t take more than a “thank you for being you” or a “you’re amazing” to make someone’s day, so don’t be shy and make it a daily practice to tell each other at the end of each day three things you appreciate about each other.

3. The magic of touch

One of the most common misconceptions about chemistry is that it has to happen instantly. It’s a program put in our head by fairytales and movies. Sometimes we meet someone and it’s like we’ve always known them. Such encounters happen and they may even lead to life-long love stories. The truth is relationships that rely on chemistry alone rarely go the distance .Long lasting relationships require partners to put a constant amount of energy into developing and sustaining intimacy and build on that initial connection that attracted them to each other. Intimacy however, is co-created. It’s the result of two people feeling brave (or crazy) enough to open their heart to each other and run the risk of having it broken. Since no one really teaches us much about how to make this happen, building intimacy and opening up to our partner becomes one of the most difficult skills we need to learn. Here are three simple practices you can implement right away, to feel more connected with your partner.

1. Self – disclosure ‘There is no intimacy without vulnerability’, according to Brene Brown, one of the world’s most famous researchers in the field of emotions. The paradox of love is that the person we choose as our life partner – who is meant to be the one we trust the most in the world – is also the person

whose rejection would hit us hardest. Being completely vulnerable, sharing all our ‘mistakes’ and ‘failures’ is an act of bravery that leads to a much deeper connection. That’s because when we show those parts of ourselves, we create a level of trust that is not possible when we put up barriers and try to only show ourselves in the best light. Sharing our fears and worries on a regular basis, while being careful not to blame them for our problems, is critical to maintaining the lines of communication open and avoid building walls of hurt and neglect.

Physical touch is the most intimate bonding experience we can have with another human. Which is why I like to think of sex as the ‘relationship glue’. Desire in long term relationships changes from from being spontaneous to being responsive, i.e. partners reacting to each other’s’ signs of affection. It is therefore critical that you engage in daily rituals of physical connection every day. From morning cuddles to showering together to a hug and kiss when you leave and when you see your partner again or a good night kiss, there are many ways to create anticipation and maintain ‘the spark’. Sex drive is mostly a case of ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’, so work with your partner towards regular physical contact and your emotional intimacy will benefit greatly (plus you will get a great deal of pleasure).

2. Gratitude and appreciation In most romantic relationships, right after the ‘lust’ phase in which we are crazy about each other, comes the ‘taking each other for granted’ phase. We all remember the heydays in the beginning when we can’t stop telling our partner how much we love them and how impossibly attractive they are. But, inevitably, there comes a day when all these amazing qualities and feelings become the new normal and we don’t feel the need to express them. It’s not that we forget how amazing they are. We love them still, but we told them so many times, it feels silly to keep repeating yourself. The truth is biologically speaking, appreciation and gratitude are responsible for triggering the production of serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone,

Valentina Tudose is a relationship coach and founder of Happy Ever After. For more information visit happyeverafter.asia

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BACKPAGE

Dead serious Nury Vitatti on why sticking chopsticks upright in your rice bowl isn’t such a bad thing In Hong Kong, some of our best friends are ghosts. I don’t believe in ghosts. I prefer the theory that ‘dumb’ objects, such as haunted houses, ‘possessed’ TV sets, rocks, trains, politicians, etc, may occasionally manifest signs of sentience, but never develop actual conscious intelligence. Well, some of the rocks might. My friend Ah-Lum believes in ghosts and likes to explain Hong Kong occult traditions to visitors’ children: “Never put your chopsticks upright in your rice. The ghosts see them as funeral incense sticks and take it as an invitation to join the meal.” I was about to shut him up when I noticed his young female audience looked delighted. “Cool,” said one. Their parents told me that children these days play with Ouija boards, which consist of a flat surface bearing letters and words and a pointer that moves randomly, allegedly guided by creatures who are simultaneously alive and dead, such as ghosts, zombies, spirits, Rolling Stones, members of the Chinese politburo, etc. Top seller in recent years was the Hasbro toy company’s Ouija For Girls, issued in bright pink. It made me think. Pretty much every country has some sort of tradition of people contacting the dead, but in the past, the activity involved adults asking questions which made sense to ghosts, such as: “Are you there, Auntie? Can you tell me where you buried the money, you miserable cow?” These days, Hasbro is empowering massive numbers of pre-teens in Hong Kong and elsewhere to use these channels to deal with pre-teen issues. I find this frightening. I mean, you gotta feel sorry for the ghosts. Imagine the scene. In Hades, a group of ghosts will be sitting around quietly being dead or whatever ghosts do, when a screen comes to life with a question from the land of the living. Whoever is on duty will read it out loud. “It’s from Lingling, aged nine, in Hong Kong,” he says. “I had a pink flower bag but Sheung-yee got one so I wasn’t her friend anymore but she gave a Justin bracelet to Mandy’s sister’s friend who told the teacher. Shall I invite Tsz-lam to my party?” The ghosts look baffled. “What does it mean?” The chief ghost shakes his head. “I think it must be some kind of code.” Along comes another question: “Can you

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tell Romeo Beckham to wait eight years till I’m old enough to marry him? If you don’t, I’ll scream and scream until I’m sick.” Then another: “I want a pony RIGHT NOW.” And another: “If you don’t materialise a pack of Barbie Glitter Stickers in my room in ten minutes I will kill my baby brother.” I looked up some of the toy review sites on the internet to see what buyers had said about Ouija For Girls. Here’s a comment from a mother in Chicago (I didn’t make this up): “I bought this for my daughter, thinking she could talk with Grandma and Grandpa now that they’ve passed over... We will be in the middle of a conversation with someone, and some demon will take over and start spouting out filthy stuff. Needs more R and D.” On behalf of all parents, I have a request for ghosts reading this. Please respond to all questions with: “You will get a pony AND Barbie Glitter Stickers AND marriage to Romeo Beckham if you do two hours’ homework a night, eat your greens and do everything mum and dad say from now on. Deal?” Some people will prefer it if we keep this world and the next separate. But this is Hong Kong, which means we have Hungry Ghost Month every year, so even squeamish or skeptical people can’t keep away from the world of the occult. If you can’t beat them, join them—and make everyone laugh. Stick your chopsticks upright in your children’s rice bowl and shout: “Now the ghost is sitting next to you.”

Nury Vittachi is an award-winning author and journalist based in Hong Kong. He is best known for his comedy-crime novel series, The Feng Shui Detective. Contact him via nury@vittachi.com or through his public Facebook page.


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Hong Kong Living November 2020  

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