Review: Susan Jung's cook book is worth celebrating

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2012, 4:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 4:13pm

Hong Kong is renowned for stimulating the senses, from the bright lights of the magnificent harbour front to the smells seeping onto the streets from the city's thousands of restaurants.

And Susan Jung's new cookbook, A Celebration Of Food, captures the essences of the city perfectly.

South China Morning Post's Food and Wine Editor uses her vast knowledge of Hong Kong's tastiest restaurants and combines it with some offbeat, non-Asian recipes that cater for a range of tastes.

She also manages to group the recipes into realistic and appealing sections, for example, a chapter on cooking for the family; another for cooking slightly more complex dishes for friends.

But the way Jung captures the essence of Hong Kong's unique culinary mix is what sets this book apart from others. As you flick through its pages there are recipes taken from some of the city's best restaurants accompanied by photographs of the chefs. You'll see young and old in the book, with pages dedicated to Causeway Bay's Fan Tang and Sheung Wan's Heirloom Eatery, amongst others.

Alongside these delicious Hong Kong signature dishes are Jung's favourite recipes from other chefs and restaurants, including an Ottolenghi-inspired shakshuka which, once you've seen the accompanying picture, will have you drooling.

Other highlights not to be skim-read include Scotch Eggs; roasted kabocha soup with ginger and curry; and grilled quails with baby spinach, arugula, beetroot and mustard dressing.

And the desserts... Pineapple tarts; deep-dish cherry pie; and caramel ice-cream sundae complete with sweet and salty popcorn - the mouthwatering photography really does these dishes justice.

Jung's methods are not only simple to follow but also cater for most kitchens, including those with no ovens.

A Celebration Of Food is exactly what this book is - every Hong Kong kitchen shelf should have one.