PR consultant Ainslie Cheung’s favourite Hong Kong restaurants
Qi Communications managing partner’s first food choice is hearty Hakka, and he enjoys plenty of options off the beaten track
I’m not a picky eater. As a PR consultant focusing on travel and hospitality, I eat a lot on the run. I also grew up as a first-generation immigrant in the UK so every penny and morsel counted. Dim sum Sundays in Manchester in the 1970s was like a cross between a Wong Kar-wai and Guy Ritchie movie – all cigarette smoke, boisterous families and stacks of steam and mahjong tiles.
Hearty and rustic Hakka holds a place close to my heart but Italian is a close second. It mirrors my
Chinese sensibilities with good portions, full-on flavours and a sense of family. I find it hard to get great Italian in Hong Kong, though there are many good Italian chefs. Pino Lavarra at Tosca (102/F The Ritz-Carlton, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2263 2270) is someone I admire for his depth of creativity and philosophy.
Places I haunt regularly tend to be local and off the beaten track. I love a little place called Victory Kitchen (6 Victory Avenue, Ho Man Tin, tel: 2760 0033). They serve the best Thai-style Hainanese chicken rice in Hong Kong. Not too greasy and superbly chicken-y.
For overseas visitors, I also go as local as I can. I often take them to DimDimSum (28 Man Wui Street, Jordan, tel: 2771 7766), with great turnip cakes. Then for that nostalgic Wong Kar-wai-theme experience, Mido Cafe (63 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, tel: 2384 6402) serves good classic local fare. The French toast in all its greasy goodness and the classic ham and egg sandwich washed down with milk tea – the perfect finish to a day on Temple Street.
Recently, I took a Singaporean guest to Lobster Bobo (1 Jubilee Street, Central, tel: 3622 1246) run by chef Eddy Leung of G7, for his lobster laksa. The depth of flavour in his broth is amazing, with generous servings of lobster for around HK$100; great value. Around the corner is Pho Bar (24 Li Yuen Street West, Central, tel: 2109 2028), one of a new generation of Vietnamese noodle joints. This one stands out with its incredibly scented broth and ridiculously good fried chicken.
For something quick, Mak’s Noodles (77 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2854 3810) does the trick, with its juicy meaty wontons in a clear broth with perfectly textured noodles.
Personally, I detest the current trend to small bites and burgers at obscene prices. If I want to pay those prices, I go to Main St Deli (Lower lobby, The Langham, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2132 7898) for great burgers and a slab of cheesecake.
Occasionally, I get a hankering for Boston Restauran t (3 Luard Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2527 7646) and its old-school sizzling plates. After a heavy night out, it’s Beyrouth Bistro (39 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, tel: 2480 5338) for an amazingly good lamb kebab.
For special occasions, there are a few stalwarts I turn to time and again. You can’t go wrong with Pierre (25/F Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, tel: 2825 4001) for impeccable service and quality food with great atmosphere and a killer harbour view – it’s a heady combination that elevates any occasion.