Demon Chef Alvin Leung adds new dishes to his Bo Innovation ‘Hong Kong story’ menu. We try them out
Celebrity chef Leung introduces dishes such as Green Eggs and Ham, Child’s Play and Ode to the Dragon to the Hong Kong-themed menu at his three-Michelin-star restaurant
Alvin Leung, the chef-owner of the three-Michelin-starred Bo Innovation, has recently added some new culinary creations to his repertoire. He is focusing on his theme of the “Hong Kong story” that matches the decor of his Wan Chai restaurant.
There’s a mural with a graphic novel-style history of the city, from its origins as a sleepy fishing village to the modern metropolis it is now, sprinkled with notable personalities like Bruce Lee, Suzie Wong, and the last governor Chris Patten.
We sampled a few new dishes on the Demon Chef’s menu, including one inspired by Dr Seuss’ book, Green Eggs and Ham.
For people who have grown up or lived in Hong Kong, many of the dishes are inspired by nostalgia with creative presentations.
For example, Child’s Play is a “plate” of miniature versions of the board games Airplane, chess and Chinese chess. On them are bite-sized twists on street food, including curry fish balls, pineapple buns, scrambled egg toast sandwiches and braised pork belly with preserved vegetables.
We liked Ode to the Dragon, referring to Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee, who purportedly liked to eat beef with oyster sauce. Leung takes the Cantonese dish of deep-fried milk and substitutes the milk for thickened oyster stock and deep-fries them into cubes that are garnished with black garlic sauce. Bite into it and the texture is very smooth – almost like tofu.
Meanwhile, every other Hong Kong pantry has cans of fried dace in black bean sauce and here the restaurant has specially made cans large enough to be small plates complete with a label around it.
Instead of the carp-like fish, it’s cod from Haida Gwaii, a remote area of British Columbia’s west coast in Canada. The cod is marinated in a delicious black bean miso sauce topped with crispy skin and Indian lettuce.
Back on the Street is a reminder of steamed rice rolls with peanut sauce and hoisin sauce, or skewers of meats and squid on grease paper and dipped in mustard. Instead of cheap street food, Bo Innovation serves a perfectly cooked chunk of Brittany lobster tail, sea cucumber, and a piece of sweetbread, together with a spoonful of sea urchin mustard for an umami spicy kick.
Another dish to savour is Bo’s chicken rice served in antique chicken bowls. Leung came by to explain that these bowls, featuring a rooster, are iconic over the decades. “The less prosperous the time, the skinnier the chicken,” he says pointing to one bowl. There was one from the 1980s that had a more plump chicken, referring to the booming economic time.
This dish features Italian rice cooked al dente and topped with an original garnish – sun-dried abalone that was grated at the table.
And those Green Eggs and Ham? The story goes Dr Seuss was in an eatery in a Chinatown in the United States and saw a bowl of congee with century egg with meat. He was intrigued by what was in it and asked what it was.
Apparently that bowl of congee inspired the children’s book, Green Eggs and Ham. And in turn the book inspired Leung to come up with his own version. Guests are presented with what looks like a copy of the book cover and open the cover and inside is the dish – a bright green dollop on top of an “egg white” made from ginger essence and there’s a thin slice of dried magnolia ham (that’s not green).
How does it taste? We were disappointed the green eggs didn’t have a pronounced century egg flavour, but apparently it’s not a taste diners who are not too familiar with the food are keen to eat. But we have to say century egg is part of Hong Kong culture, whether you like it or not.
Nevertheless we like Leung’s presentation of his dishes and thoughtful attempts at creative twists on classic Hong Kong food.
Bo Innovation, Shop 8, 1/F, The Podium, J. Senses, 60 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai, tel: 2850 8371