Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of G.O.D. co-founder Ben Lau, from Yuen Long to Ap Lei Chau
Hidden French treats, smashing wonton noodles and claypot rice so good it ruins his low-carb diet are among Lau’s top picks in the city
While I eat at home a lot, I do love to try new restaurants. There are a few favourites, though, that I go to all the time. I generally go for restaurants that are casual and fun, and not over-designed or too stuffy.
Ho Lee Fook (1-5 Elgin Street, SoHo, tel: 2810 0860) is one of my favourites. It’s edgy and fun with great food. I love the contemporary Chinese dishes and the char siu is highly recommended. The interior design with the mahjong tiles and the lucky cats at the entrance is fun, and of course you’ve got to like the name, which I had a hand in developing.
For visitors to Hong Kong, I would no doubt take them to Sohofama (shop G09-G14, Block A Staunton, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, tel: 2858 8238), a collaboration between G.O.D. and Locofama which serves delicious healthy Chinese food. The xiaolongbao are very delicate but full of flavour. It is also rather rare to be able to dine alfresco in Hong Kong and Sohofama has a great vibe and a good outdoor patio. The cocktails are very creative, with Chinese-inspired concoctions.
For local fare, I love taking visitors to Kwan Kee (Wo Yick Mansion, 263 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun, tel: 2803 7209) for claypot rice. It ruins my low-carb diet but you can’t visit Hong Kong and not sit at the side of a street eating claypot rice. There’s OFTEN a queue, but the food is delicious and well worth the wait. My winter favourite is the Chinese sausage and preserved meats. For the slightly more adventurous, try the big pot of soup with pig trotters.
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I also love taking people to Ho To Tai Noodle Shop (67 Fau Tsoi Street, Yuen Long, tel: 2476 2495) for some of the best wonton noodles in town. Try the prawn roe noodles too. In fact the menu is small, so try everything. This is probably one of the cheapest Michelin-mentioned restaurants around the world. For those who like vintage Hong Kong, you’ll love the ceramic tiled staircase.
I recently discovered Co Thanh (2-4 Kau U Fong, Central). I love their banh mi. The interior is really simple and basic, but cool – the door is still a makeshift board that I hope they end up keeping. I love the rawness of the interior, with nothing too precious inside.
Occasionally, I have fancy dinners at home, sometimes catered by the amazing chef, Nelson Chung. This way, I get to have fun doing amazing tablescapes with lots of flowers, plants and candles. But the Cordon Bleu-trained chef’s hideaway, appropriately called The Hidden Table (Harbour Industrial Building, 10 Lee Hing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 9029 9365), is an even greater surprise and serves some classic French cuisine.