Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of Eric Ting, West Kowloon dining pioneer
CEO of Bird Kingdom Group, a Shanghai native, tells us where he goes for food from his hometown, Chiuchow cuisine, Japanese wagyu, and Western fare
I am quite greedy. Whatever you put in front of me, I’ll dig in. From street food to Michelin three-star restaurants, I’ll try anything. Actually I was just in Shenzhen and tried water beetles and bugs. I don’t even worry too much about hygiene. But the one thing I don’t think I would try is dog meat.
When we first opened the robatayaki restaurant Umai (shop 2, D2 Plaza, 9 Cheung Yee Street, tel: 2743 8011) in Lai Chi Kok, there was nothing on this street. But now, we have patrons at night from the new housing developments. It was a risk but it’s a good risk. We hired a Spanish chef at Rustico (shop G01, D2 Place, tel: 2743 4511) so it’s authentic Spanish cuisine at Lai Chi Kok prices. Now we opened the Greater China Club (10/F D2 Place, tel: 2743 8055) with finer Cantonese dishes in a nice atmosphere.
In terms of my dining preferences, I like Wagyu Kaiseki Den (263 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, tel: 2851 2820) but only when the head chef is there. Otherwise it’s just OK.
I also like going to Chong Fat Chiu Chow (60-62 South Wall Road, Kowloon City, tel: 2383 3114). It has its ups and downs but I like the cold fish and appetisers like braised pork knuckle slices. The traditional atmosphere of the place is also very appealing. The boss is very hands-on. He will not hesitate to scold his staff if he thinks something is off.
I’m originally from Shanghai so I enjoy its cuisine like the noodles, but the only place I go to regularly is the Shanghai Fraternity Association (1/F-3/F, South China Building, 1 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2524 9246). It’s not the most consistent place but when I order the cold appetiser platter it takes me back to the feeling of being in Shanghai.
For Western restaurants, I like Akrame (9B Ship Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2528 5068). They do interesting things, like the lobster dishes and the one with mushroom with cheese. I am quite picky.
Overseas, I don’t necessarily go for big-name restaurants but more local places. We have some chefs from Fukuoka and Kagoshima so I like these cities for food. One recommendation in particular is in Kagoshima. I had award-winning Kurobuta black pork shabu shabu at a place called Kurokuma (Hotel and Residence Nanshukan, 19-17 Higashisengoku-cho, 892-0842, Kyushu, Japan, tel: +81 99 226 8188), and the bowl is the size of the table. There were five of us. I was initially quite drunk so I didn’t want to eat too much but it was so delicious we finished the whole bowl.