Fanny So of GR8 Leisure Concept on her Hong Kong food favourites
From Western comfort food to Thai delights and simple street eats in Central, So knows what she likes
Food has long been one of the things in my life which gives me pleasure, so I consider myself very lucky to have worked closely with numerous Michelin-starred and celebrity chefs, to be part of the F&B industry and inspired by the passion these epicurean geniuses have for cooking.
I enjoy exploring new and interesting restaurants. But as a parent of a young child, I prefer to stay away from the busy Central hotspots, and go to restaurants that have accessible parking. My comfort food is Western cuisine and for that Chef’s Stage Kitchen (52-55 Manhattan Plaza, 23 Sai Ching Street, Yuen Long, tel: 2799 9880) is my regular destination. It is very popular among Yuen Longers because of consistent high food quality and low prices; hence, a reservation is essential.
The interior is industrial and hip with high ceilings and contemporary background music. Standout dishes include porcini mushroom soup with truffle, blue mussels bucket, pan-fried foie gras in berry sauce, home-made tiramisu and the mint chocolate.
My favourite cuisine is Thai, especially dishes served at Red Penny (147 Kam Sheung Road, Yuen Long, tel: 2488 3263). I love the semi alfresco dining in open pavilion tents surrounded by outdoor fountains. The amazingly juicy oyster omelette in Chiang Mai style, authentic tom yum goong, calamari salad and Thai fried rice with pineapple and prawns all transport me back to Chiang Mai. The restaurant is also pet-friendly.
I always look forward to weekend brunch as an occasion to relax and catch up with my oldest friends. One of our recent favourite finds is the weekend brunch offer at Mr & Mrs Fox (23 Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay, tel: 2697 8500). The three-course brunch set includes a heavenly warm biscuit with jam, a choice of starter (my pick is the home-made yogurt with fruit compote and granola), and a choice of main course – the fried chicken and waffles is a must-try.! Although the set doesn’t include dessert or drinks, it’s priced at only HK$160, which is a bargain in the city.
After brunch, my girlfriends and I love to wander around the nearby Tong Chong Street Market to pick up fresh produce for dinner with our families later.
For a modern take on a popular Hong Kong food ritual of hotpot, The Drunken Pot (Shop 1, 2/F, 8 Observatory Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2321 9038) is a winning option. Part of its charm is its cool and edgy interior design. We order the signature Drunken Pot which features five different soup bases and comes with a theatrical flaming whole papaya with shrimps. As for sides, I recommend penguin-shaped fish balls and exotic clams. The chicken in sake and coconut is also a favourite!
Poon choi, a Hakka tradition that originated with residents of New Territories villages, is a popular choice for family gatherings because it is conveniently served in a large metal basin or bowl, and is made up of layers of different ingredients for everyone to select what he or she wants to eat. I go to Ping Shan Traditional Poon Choi (36 Tong Fong Chuen, Yuen Long, tel: 2617 8000) for their wine-marinated chicken, duck soup and home-made pickled ginger with pineapple.
For something a little different, I would treat my overseas visitors to a very local dai pai dong experience at Yue Hing (82 Stanley Street, Central) – a tiny open-air food stall in Central which is only open on weekdays between 8am and 1.45pm. Reasonably priced, and featuring a range of local Hong Kong delicacies, this is a must-visit. Signature items are their corned beef and egg sandwiches, and Hong Kong style milk tea. All food items are made to order, so everything is deliciously fresh and flavourful. The milk tea is extraordinarily silky and smooth – it is one of my favourite choices for breakfast in Hong Kong, and the unique experience of eating out on the street will definitely stay with my guests long after they have returned home.