I know a place: Executive chef Nelson Amorim selects his top eateries

Grace MW Wong

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 December, 2013, 9:26pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 February, 2014, 4:35pm

Nelson Amorim is executive chef of Casa Lisboa Portuguese Restaurant in Central


My elder brother has had a strong influence on me. He started in this industry when he was 13 years old and is now working in a Michelin two-star restaurant in Portugal called Vila Joya (Estrada da Galé, 8200-416 Albufeira, Algarve, tel: +351 289 591 795). I paid great attention to my brother when he was cooking, especially doing the desserts. He allowed me to experiment with new recipes and different cooking methods. I took his advice to enrol in culinary school and then everything came naturally. Prior to working in Hong Kong, I was in Macau for a working holiday helping out a friend, who owned a coffee shop and a bakery.

The rural setting of Fernando (9 Praia de Hac Sa, Coloane, tel: +853 2888 2264) can allow a city dweller like me to relax and enjoy my two favourite dishes: grilled chicken and suckling pig. The chorizo is also wonderful and not to be missed.

Motorino (14 Shelley Street, Central, tel: 2801 6881) is my regular pizzeria since it opened its doors in Hong Kong. I usually go there in the afternoon to have a cold pizza, a good choice for hot summer days.

For Indian food I frequent Bombay Dreams Indian Cuisine (4/F 77 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2971 0001). Their chicken tandoori is my favourite dish.

At Va Bene (17-22 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, tel: 2845 5577), I love eating beef carpaccio with black truffle purée and their house-made pasta.

If you are travelling to Portugal, there are a few places for a culinary pilgrimage. First is Pasteis de Belem (Rua de Belém 84-92, 1300-085 Lisboa, Portugal, tel: +351 21 363 7423). This is the birthplace of the Portuguese egg tart. The pastry is really crisp and the egg filling is fantastically fluffy.

Famous for its suckling pig Bairrada style is Restaurante Pedro dos Leitoes (Rua Álvaro Pedro 1, Apartado 8, Sernadelo 3050 Mealhada, tel: +351 231 209 950). The pig skin is cooked to a chestnut-brown ultimate crispiness. The meat is incredibly tender and bursting with juices.

Finally, you must have a bacalhau (salted cod) meal before you leave at A Casa do Bacalhau in Lisbon (Rua do Grilo 54, 1900-706 Lisbon, tel: +351 21 862 0000). Their speciality is bacalhau, which is prepared in many ways and all are excellent. I'm sure you will have an unbelievable meal there.