I have been in Hong Kong for almost a year. I am half Japanese and half European - German and Irish - and grew up in San Diego, California. Although my dad was born and raised in the US, we always had rice for dinner. On Christmas and New Year we are also quite Japanese, with plates of tempura shrimp, sushi and fried chicken wings on our table.
Our beloved family eatery is a meat place called Fuddruckers in San Diego, and that's where I got interested in cooking meat.
I am a latecomer to professional cooking, though I enjoyed helping my grandmother in the kitchen when I was a kid. Before starting out at a small neighbourhood cafe, I spent my days on the beach and city pools, working as a San Diego City lifeguard and swimming coach.
I had a stint at The Tidepools Restaurant (+808 240 6456) at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Hawaii. It serves contemporary island cuisine and was voted the best restaurant in Kauai. While living in Kauai, I would eat indigenous dishes such as kalua pork, the famous whole pig wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an imu [pit oven]. Hawaiian cuisine is about laid-back cooking, served in enormous portions.
When dining out, I find hidden gems by looking for places packed with local diners. Dimdimsum Dim Sum Specialty Store in Wan Chai (7 Tin Lok Lane, tel: 2891 7677) is where I get my cha xiu bao, siu mai, shrimps in steamed rice rolls, fried Japanese wasabi mochi, giant soup dumpling and roasted pork.
My colleagues took me to the Four Seasons Hot Pot (2/F Yau Kwong Building, 418-430 Hennessy Road, tel: 2117 1208) and I enjoyed a Hong Kong-style hot pot meal. I also visited Wing Wah Noodle Shop (89 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2527 7476) to sample its wonton and hand-made egg noodles. I was told they were made by the master sitting on a bamboo pole to pound the dough.
Steak is getting popular here. I haven't seen any two steakhouses offering the same thing - people simply put their own spin on it. My way is to slow-cook the meat on a low temperature.
While in Hong Kong, I hope to soak up the Chinese lifestyle and food culture as much as possible. That will make me a better person.