WELCOME TO foodism – A TRIP THROUGH THE LATEST GLOBAL EATING TRENDS AND DESTINATIONS. IT’S THE WORLD ON A PLATE
83 FOODIE HONG KONG 86 SCHOOL OF WOK 87 REVIEWS 88 TOP TEQUILAS AND MEZCALS
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OUT: EARLY DECEMBER London, one bite at a time
Hong Kongâ€™s foodie scene runs the full gamut from rustic Chinese street food to Michelin-starred gastronomic flair. Clare Vooght picks out her favourite spots and dishes
Photograph by ###
THE DIM SUMS ADD UP 83
reakfast: a big, steaming bowl of brothy, meaty rice porridge. I’ll admit, congee, or jook, is a pretty punchy breakfast decision, but ask the Chinese and
LUK YU TEA HOUSE 24-26 Stanley Street, Central Hong Kong’s most famous tea house Luk Yu is elegant and known for its traditional colonial style. There’s delicious dim sum on the menu, which changes often, and a large assortment of exquisite Chinese teas. The tea house takes its name from a Tang Dynasty poet, somewhat confusingly named Lu Yu.
FOOK LAM MOON Shop 3, Newman House, 35-45 Johnston Road, Wanchai This traditional, one-Michelin-star restaurant offers a luxurious setting for diners to enjoy a wide variety of seafood and meat dishes such as giant grouper, giant eel, pigeon and seasonal seafood. It made number 19 on Asia’s 50 best restaurants 2014, and it’s well worth a stop off on your Hong Kong foodie adventure. fooklammoon-grp.com
HO LEE FOOK 1 Elgin Street, Central With a name like this, you know you’re in for playful cooking at Ho Lee Fook, inspired by New York’s oldschool Chinatown hangouts. Come along with “an open mind and a strong appetite” to enjoy Taiwaneseborn Jowett Yu’s clever dishes, including octopus with wakame seaweed. holeefook.tumblr.com
they’ll tell you they always start the day with something hot and savoury. The Scots salt their porridge, and us Brits love a full-on cooked breakfast with sausages, bacon and extra hash browns. As a recent convert to the breakfast burrito, I’m all for this full-on hearty, glutinous sustenance, which has to include rice, but beyond that can have meat, veg, seafood – the lot. It’s pure PJs-and-blanket comfort food before the day even begins. Cantonese is the biggest regional style of cooking in Hong Kong, championing freshness, less seasoning, steaming and stir-frying. Think vegetables in oyster sauce, wonton noodles and dim sum. If any food were made for sharing, it’s dim sum. And in China it’s all about sharing food – and lots of it. Families and friends share tables that are stacked up with plates of fluffy steamed buns injected with barbecue pork, hot noodle soup with big shrimp wontons floating in it and glass-like jellyfish with sesame. I find the Michelin-starred Duddell’s in Central makes a satisfying feasting stop – the gallery-cum-restaurant serves free-flowing Veuve Clicquot with a dim sum brunch menu. For a lunchtime meal, wandering the streets of any of Hong Kong’s unique neighbourhoods should turn up a gem or two. Fiery Szechuan; sugary, booze-laced Shanghainese; and delicate, pescatarian
SEVVA 10 Chater Road, Central Alfresco rooftop bar Sevva overlooks the Hong Kong Harbour, which also means it’s a great place to watch the nightly Symphony of Lights show. It serves signature cocktails and has an impressive wine list, with small tapas dishes alongside smooth jazz music in its Taste Bar and famous terrace. sevva.hk
Chiu Chow are all easy to find, and restaurants dishing up Peking duck are ten a penny. Cosmopolitan Hong Kong is also a decent bet for international cuisine, and after a month-long schlep round mainland China that involved eating a whole spectrum of unidentified meats – some good, some not so – I found the city’s varied French, Italian, Spanish, Thai and Japanese offerings surprisingly welcome. FrenchCantonese fusion is also a thing here. Western influences are, not surprisingly, everywhere in Hong Kong. Thanks to the UK’s 99-year-long lease, fish and chips and pub food in Hong Kong are really quite good. And wherever you are, you’re not far from a decent coffee house. I’m told to head to the ultra-hip Coffee Academics for an afternoon hit of milky latte. sweetened with New Zealand manuka honey. They’re so serious about their blends here that they offer customers classes on latte
PIERRE 5 Connaught Road, Central Housed on the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, this two Michelin-starred restaurant showcases excellent modern French cuisine in a stunning environment. Led by chef Pierre Gagnaire, diners can expect inventive twists on classic French dishes. mandarinoriental.com
ABOVE: The garish neon lights and colourful buses of Mong Kok, Kowloon. INSET: You’ll find dim sum on every corner in Hong Kong
Photograph by Gavin Hellier / Alamy
>> THE STREETS OF SHAM SHUI PO ARE FILLED WITH STREET FOOD STANDS
art and making the perfect brew. Visitors are encouraged to take time and consideration over their caffeine hit. Michelin-starred restaurants are also plentiful in Hong Kong: at last count it has 62. Sham Shui Po, on the city’s fast-climbing
Kowloon peninsula, is home to the cheapest restaurant in the world to snare a Michelin star: Tim Ho Wan. Locals, and now knowledgeable tourists, queue up to eat in the canteen-style dim sum joint. This hotbed of culinary action, colours and aromas is worth a wander for an authentic, local idea of food in Hong Kong. The hectic streets around Sham Shui Po MTR station are filled with street food stands hawking fish balls, and roasted eggs and potatoes, plus a huge choice of noodle bars and dim sum canteens. For a sweet ending to dinner, head to one of the many dessert bars. French-style cakes, pastries and macarons are big here, as are fruity tapioca-based treats. Months later, I still think of the dim sum in Hong Kong whenever I’m in the mood for Chinese food at home. So far, though, I’m still on the hunt for a pork steamed bun that lives up to the ones I gorged on in HK. f
MAN MO CAFE
Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
40 Upper Lascar Row, Sheung Wan
Take a foodie walking tour through the vibrant Kowloon neighbourhood of Sham Shui Po. It will take you to family-run restaurants to taste Hong Kong specialities, from pineapple buns, milk tea and tofu desserts to wonton and hand-pulled noodles. By the end, you’ll have learned how to work your way through Hong Kong food like a Kowloon native. hongkongfoodietours.com
Man Mo Cafe isn’t your typical ten-apenny dim sum restaurant (and there are many in Hong Kong), rather giving an innovative, East-meets-West twist on the classic Cantonese dish. Swissborn chef Nicolas Elelouf makes dim sum an art form at this trendy Sheung Wan eatery – think delicate glazed buns, truffle brie dumplings, foie gras xio long bao and an Asian spin on onion soup – delicious.
UK CHEFS IN HK JAMIE OLIVER Jamie’s Italian, 1 Tang Lung Street
The Essex chef’s first Hong Kong restaurant opened at the end of July, in the bustling foodie district of Causeway Bay. It reflects the district’s heritage as a fishing village. jamieoliver.com
JASON ATHERTON Aberdeen Street Social, 35 Aberdeen Street; 22 Ships, 22 Ship Street As the name suggests, Aberdeen Street Social is a ‘social’ venue, set within the design hub PMQ. Or try 22 Ships, a tapas bar. aberdeenstreetsocial.hk
GORDON RAMSAY Bread Street Kitchen, 33 Wyndham Street Having just opened, this place is a hot ticket. It will mirror its London counterpart using warehouse-style design and serving up a modern European menu. facebook.com/ breadstreetkitchenandbar
School of Wok founder Jeremy Pang talks dim sum and his favourite Hong Kong foodie experiences
f you don’t know your soy from your fish sauce, then 61 Chandos Place might be the best place to start. It’s the home of School of Wok, set up by Hong Kong food aficionado and Cordon Bleu chef Jeremy Pang in 2012 to teach people how to cook Chinese food in their own homes.
On dim sum Pang teaches various classes, but one of the most popular involves making the traditional Hong Kong dish dim sum. But it’s not just dim sum. “Dim sum is a really difficult thing to get right,” Pang says. “The ingredients are the most flexible part – if you understand the basic techniques, you can use whatever ingredients you want.” Traditional dim sum hails from Hong Kong teahouses – “that’s why you have it with tea”, Pang says, adding that Chinatown’s Harbour City is the closest you’ll get to proper dim sum here.
On the Hong Kong food scene “The great thing about Hong Kong is that everyone loves their food so much – everything revolves around it,” Pang says. His Hong Kong foodie hit list is endless,
although when he’s in town, he heads straight to Mong Kok for traditional claypot rice and street food, Jordan for street restaurants that serve great seafood, and peninsula town Sai Kung for the freshest fish straight off the fishing boats to barbecue on beach BBQ pits. But the best food he’s had “in years” was sweet and sour pork at a simple street stall in the Mid Levels – sometimes the street food is just as good as the fine dining.
On Chinese food in London And if you can’t get away to Hong Kong, head to Chinatown or Bayswater – just remember balance. Pang adds: “Order a sweet and sour dish, a steamed fish, a grilled dish, a vegetable dish and rice alongside” for a true Cantonese meal. Sorted. f
COMPETITION To win a home-cooked dinner for six by Jeremy Pang, or two vouchers for the School of Wok, see escapismmagazine.com/ competition/jeremy-pang
REVIEWS Greek food for groups, more ceviche, high-rolling Asian dishes and hipster pizza
£ £ £ £
Calzone translates as ‘stocking’ or ‘trouser’. We’ll stick to the Italian, thanks
14 Garrick Street, WC2E 9BJ; limafloral.com Nearest Tube: Leicester Square
What’s the draw: A bit more accessible
than its Michelin-starred cousin, LIMA’s new Covent Garden restaurant serves executive chef Virgilio Martinez’s signature brand of modern Peruvian.
What to drink: Cocktails. As you’d
imagine, the Peruvian classic pisco sour reigns supreme, with ginger-based chilcanos a punchy variant.
What to eat: LIMA’s fabled ceviche lives up to its lofty reputation, hot or cold. Be sure to finish with the suspiro ardiente – an audacious mix of dulce de leche, beetroot and Peruvian limo chilli. – Krista Faist
£ £ £ £
10 Paddington Street, W1U 5QL; opso.co.uk Nearest Tube: Baker Street
What’s the draw: ‘Social’ Greek food (which, FYI, means more than just hummus and slices of pitta bread).
What to drink: There’s a decent wine Photographs by: (Pizza Pilgrims) Giulia Mule
list – some of it hailing from Greece – but cocktails really impress: try the Grape Republic, with tsipouro and lychee.
What to eat: Everything is designed to be eaten en masse, so fight over the sticky ball of feta, flaky salmon with glazed green beans and tender chicken drumsticks (it’s all too tasty to share). – Cathy Adams
PIZZA PILGRIMS £ £ £ £ 11 Kingly Street, W1B 5PW; pizzapilgrims.co.uk Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
What’s the draw: From a converted
TĪNG £ £ £ £ 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QU; shangri-la.com Nearest Tube: London Bridge
Piaggio van to two restaurants in little over two years, the guys spearheading the pizza revolution bring their doughy wares to a second London location.
What’s the draw: Meaning ‘living
What to drink: Craft beers from London
What to drink: You’re obviously a high roller, so choose from the extensive champagne menu – and there are plenty of elegant still wines, too.
What to eat: Pizza (obviously) –
What to eat: The Southeast Asian specialities are hard to beat – Hainanese rice and curry laksa are excellent. For something with a more European flavour, the John Dory with sweet potato, burnt butter and wild mushrooms is a top choice. – Cathy Adams
and Italy, as well as the restaurant’s signature limoncello (named Sohocello), co-created with Chase Distillery.
stretchy, airy dough with toppings that pack a punch. Grab some frittatine di maccheroni (deep-fried mac ‘n’ cheese) and, if you’re feeling particularly decadent, the salty-sweet Nutella and ricotta pizza ring to finish. – Mike Gibson
room’ in Chinese, TING is Shangri-La at the Shard’s resident modern European restaurant with an Asian twist.
J OSE C U E RVO T RADIC IONAL SILVE R
A silver tequila made from pure blue agave, this may surprise Cuervo fans with its laid-back flavour and hints of sweetness. Best served frozen. 70cl, £29.75. cuervo.com
The humble agave plant has a lot of hangovers to answer for. Tequilas and mezcals, reporting for duty...
L U NAZUL
Reposado tequila With a history spanning 250 years in Tequila, Mexico, Lunazul is effortlessly authentic. This, its reposado tequila, is subtly fruity, with a creamy and smoky finish. 70cl, £28.55. lunazultequila.com
Blanco mezcal Living up to its name, Ilegal was brought to these shores after being smuggled from Oaxaca to Guatemala by barman John Rexer. It’s strong and peppery, with a smooth finish. Happily, it’s now legal to drink. 50cl, £45.
Created by the eponymous restaurantcum-distillery in Oaxaca, Mexico – the mezcal capital of the world – it’s robust on the palate, with just enough sweetness. 75cl, £64.60. amathusdrinks.com
Want to win all four bottles? Go to foodism. co.uk/competition/ tequila-mezcal. T&Cs apply.
Photograph by ###
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Foodism Section - 10 - Escapism Issue 13