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I Know a Place: Duncan Jepson, Asia Literary Review co-founder

Andrew Sun

 

Duncan Jepson is a lawyer, filmmaker, novelist, co-founder of the Asia Literary Review and, most recently, co-author of the graphic novel Darkness Outside the Night

"I grew up in the English countryside and my family rarely went out to eat. Instead, every year we would pick vegetables and fruit from the garden. My mother grew peach trees, gooseberry bushes and rhubarb along with peas, potatoes, runners, tomatoes, cauliflower, swede, broccoli (my favourite) and many others.

Since I can't get this level of freshness readily in Hong Kong, I tend to choose places that offer what the city does best: convenience and consistency in a friendly atmosphere.

Classified (108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, tel: 2525 3454) has meatballs with rye bread, not pasta. I go to Jimmy's Kitchen (South China Building, 1-3 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2526 5293) to eat the Wong's Special - which isn't on the menu. It's beef rice with onions and, in my case, a side of carrots and broccoli. I go to Sushi Kuu (2-8 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2971 0180) to have fried chicken, rice and tonkatsu sauce with soft-shell crab rolls.

Having cool and funky, high-end or edgy decor is irrelevant if the chef is lazy, the produce isn't fresh and the service is ambivalent. I think too many people are so in love with the idea of food that it is less a treat and more a commodity eaten by some who can't tell the difference between a quality dish and something going to seed.

Anyway, if I'm writing or doing research, I go to Dan Ryan's Chicago Grill (88 Queensway, 114 Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2845 4600) and work while having nachos, potato skins and chicken strips.

For a more social meal, I go to Cipriani (12/F Bank of China Building, 2A Des Voeux Road Central, tel: 2501 0222) for the short ribs, if available; Kushiyaki Beco (2 Shin Hing Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2581 1282) for yakitori; C'est La B (shop 202, 2/F Pacific Place, tel: 2536 0173) for a slice of chocolate cake; Ye Shanghai (shop 332, 3/F Pacific Place, tel: 2918 9833) for dumplings; or Piccolo Pizzeria (1E, Davis Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2824 3000).

I also enjoy Indonesian or Malaysian food, a good game pie, jiaozi with lots of vinegar, beans on toast and toasted sandwiches with English mustard. Fortunately, my wife can cook all this as well as anyone, so I tend to eat at home."

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