Umberto Bombana is the owner of 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Hong Kong and Shanghai. His Beijing branch will open soon
"I am off only on Sundays, so I tend to go for lunch - mainly Chinese food. Of course, dim sum is the most popular choice. Lately, I've been going to Celebrity Cuisine run by chef Cheng Kam-fu (1/F Lan Kwai Fong Hotel, 3 Kau U Fong, Central, tel: 3650 0066). Recently, I tried Island Tang (2/F The Galleria Plaza, 9 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2526 8798). I usually get the steamed items. I also really like tripe, the meatballs and things with shrimp.
I like Japanese, too, and sometimes try French and Italian, but mainly I go for local Chinese. I have tried all the best restaurants in Hong Kong, but I don't want to say one is better than another.
Sometimes, there is a similarity with Chinese and Italian food. We are doing a charity event this year and have to do one Italian dish that uses a bit of Chinese food. My first thought was the shops with boiled tripe and intestines in the window. I proposed to do an Italian bolitto misto (boiled mixed meats), similar to the Chinese version. If you are open minded, cuisine is like culture - it integrates. Like the roots of a plant, it spreads, gets influenced and grows.
In Milan, a gentleman runs a Chinese restaurant called Restorante Leon D'Oro (leondoromilano.it). His family are Chinese-Italian. They speak fluent Italian, openly hug each other and talk with their hands while serving Chinese dishes with Italian ingredients. And it is all organic. I think this is evolution. When I go to Milan, I look forward to trying it."