Rain and cold can’t deter crowds as Taste of Hong Kong festival opens

Chance to sample signature dishes from a dozen restaurants in one place draws hundreds to a chilly Central harbourfront for opening of four-day food fiesta

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 March, 2016, 1:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 March, 2016, 1:02pm

Hundreds of Hongkongers braved the cold and rain on Thursday night to taste some of the best food the city has to offer.

Twelve Hong Kong restaurants – including Tosca, Amber and Chino – served up signature dishes to an enthusiastic crowd at the event, which runs until Sunday on the Central harbourfront and takes its inspiration from London’s Taste festival, begun 11 years ago. London restaurant Duck and Waffles joins in on Saturday.

WATCH visitors sample some of the dishes on offer at Taste of Hong Kong

Chef Pino Lavarra, of Tosca, whose Green Spaghetti Chitarra was on offer at his restaurant’s stall, said he loved working as a chef in Hong Kong.

“The city is very foody, and now three years I’m here and I really enjoy it,” he said. “You can have anything you want, people are starting to enjoy the Italian cuisine more so I enjoy it.”

The dish consists of green spaghetti wrapped in a swordfish carpaccio with a ragu of calamari, basil and white wine. “It brings all the Mediterranean flavours inside one dish - I think it will jump you to the shores of the Mediterranean,” he said.

Taste of Hong Kong patrons definitely weren’t experiencing the Mediterranean heat on Thursday night, though - temperatures dropped as low as 10 degrees, and wind chill and light rain kept them wearing their collars high.

Don’t expect a cheap night out, either. Tickets cost from HK$168 for adults and – using the Taste of Hong Kong’s crown currency – visitors aren’t able to get anything for under HK$50. Some of the dishes cost more than HK$300.

Still, 42-year-old Sundip Sodha, who has visited London’s Taste festival, said the high prices were worth it to taste Hong Kong’s best cuisine.

“I really enjoyed it over there and I think this is great. It’s lovely to experience different restaurants in one location. London’s a lot larger [but] this is the first year it’s happened here. I’m sure year two is going to be even better,” he said.

For Sodha, one of the things he loves most about Hong Kong is the delicious food on offer. Everything seemed to revolve around food, he said.