Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of dancer Li Xiaomeng
Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisine are among the Shandong native's favourites, but she likes the Irish breakfast, burgers and brunch at Kinsale in Kennedy Town too
Body shape is important for a female dancer. From day one, the dance teacher taught us to stay slim and maintain our body weight. Therefore, I count calories before each meal. Low-sugar fruits and boiled white meat are standard. But I want to stay in shape and enjoy good food. I think balance is important. We exercise to eat well and we eat well to increase our strength to exercise.
In general, I am a small eater, not choosy but adventurous. I like Korean. One of my favourites is Han Spoon (3 Kimberley Street, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2311 3983). The decoration is modern and very attractive. I love the spicy chicken topped with cheese. Another favourite is Outdark (17/F, H8, 8 Hau Fook Street, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2722 0831). The famous dish here is the fried chicken. It comes in many flavours including curry, garlic, sweet and spicy, hot and spicy, and soy sauce.
On Saturdays, I enjoy brunch. Kinsale (New Fortune House, 3-5 New Praya, Kennedy Town, tel: 2796 6004) is on the Western District waterfront. Eating here feels like going on vacation. It is spacious and relaxed. I like the full Irish breakfast as well as blue swimmer crab cake and grilled sea bass. The signature burger and black forest gateau are also delicious.
The yakitori restaurant Yuu (shop 320-321, 3/F Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2861 2023) has the whole package, with environment and atmosphere, food and sake. The decor is reminiscent of the Edo period. There are more than 60 kinds of yakitori, as well as sushi and sashimi. My favourite is stir-fried chicken udon noodles, which sounds common, but the udon is made fresh. Yummy!
Another Japan favourite is Menya Kuroko (World Trust Tower, 50 Stanley Street, Central, tel: 3520 3008). The soup for the Kuroko ramen is 100 per cent pork bone broth, with a strong taste of black sesame oil and garlic.
When friends visit, I like to take them to places with a lot of Hong Kong character. The Match Box (Highland Mansion, 8 Cleveland Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2868 0363) is very traditional and sells Hong Kong-style cuisine. Loyal Dining (66 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 3125 3000) is another good choice.
I am also addicted to spice even though salty and spicy Sichuan food may not be the healthiest. I like the taste but my stomach suffers, so I try not to eat too much. Even so, I recommend SiChuan Da Ping Huo (LG/F, 49 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2559 1317), run by Sichuanese painter Wang Hai and his wife [who is the chef and a singer]. Boiled fish and steamed chicken with chilli sauce are my favourites.
My hometown is in Shandong and the restaurant that makes me feel warm and homesick is Ho Hak Shan Tung (17 Burd Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2562 0185). I go there often. The food that reminds me of home is laba garlic, which is usually made in northern China for the Spring Festival. It is sour, spicy, crispy, and costs only HK$10. The best appetiser ever!