Hong Kong restaurateur Vivien Shek’s dining tips – Chiu Chow, kaiseki and matcha heaven
For Shek, director of Lai Bun Fu and The Drunken Pot, it’s all about the food, not the decor. From a Chiu Chow family, she tells us about favourite Chinese restaurants, an Italian gem and a dessert destination
I love to cook but I don’t have much time so I tend to eat out a lot. I like real authentic cuisine, no matter how small or dingy the place. Although I like to support local chefs, if I am going to a Western restaurant I kind of want the chef to be from that country.
My family is Chiu Chow. A lot of people like Shung Hing (29 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan, tel: 2854 4557) but it’s very old school. Sometimes you feel overdressed there. Another Chiu Chow place I enjoy that is a bit more fine dining is Chiu Tang (2/F Cosmo Hotel, 375 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2838 3798). They have private rooms only, so it’s a good place to hang out with family or friends, while the dishes are very traditional.
People who live around Happy Valley know Pang’s Kitchen (25 Yik Yam Street, Happy Valley, tel: 2838 5462). It’s a family-run place. I really like their strawberry ribs, I’ve ordered it so many times. I also like spicy food. As You Like Restaurant (Fasteem Mansion, 307-311 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2891 2787) is run by a Sichuan family and is always packed.
In terms of Japanese cuisine, I am not a big fan of raw foods like sashimi. I personally find it boring so I prefer kaiseki-style dining. My favourite is Wagyu Kaiseki Den (263 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, tel: 2851 2820). The way they design the whole menu and ingredients go really well.
My dad and I love dim sum. He worked in Causeway Bay so we often go to West Villa Restaurant (5/F Lee Gardens One, 33 Hysan Avenue, tel: 2882 2110). The food quality is very consistent. There’s nothing fancy or fusion – it’s just traditional and good.
I tend to not go to Central on weekends because it’s so crowded. Sometimes you just want to relax so I’m happy Honi Honi opened a branch in Wan Chai called Mahalo Tiki Lounge (29/F QRE Plaza, 202 Queen’s Road East, tel: 2488 8750). There’s a small outdoor area. They have tiki drinks for those who don’t want to drink wine. I always have a happy night there.
I hadn’t been to Sabatini (3/F The Royal Garden hotel, 69 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2733 2000) for a long time but I checked it out recently. For Italian, it’s still very good. People don’t know about them because they’re very traditional and don’t do too much promotion.
A new dessert place I enjoy is Cobo House (8-12 South Lane, Shek Tong Tsui, tel: 2656 3088). The whole look is very comfortable and they take dessert to the next level. I usually go there for the matcha dessert.