Hong Kong restaurant veteran on his favourite places to eat, from Brass Spoon to Maxim’s Palace to Kowloon City Thai
Indian restaurant group founder tells us where to eat the best Chinese food, especially dim sum, and Thai, where he takes guests for fine dining, and why cooked food courts are the best places to celebrate a win on the hockey pitch
Punjab native Kuldip Uppal has been in Hong Kong 30 years and is executive director of Uppal Hospitality Group, a food supplier and restaurant operator running such outlets as Jashan, Bacco, F.A.B. (French American Bistro) and newly refurbished favourite Jo Jo Indian Cuisine.
I grew up around food. My father was in the restaurant industry too. We ate mostly Indian food until I came to Hong Kong. That’s when I started exploring. Now I eat a lot of Chinese, lots of dim sum and some Thai.
With family gatherings, we often go to City Hall Maxim’s Palace (2/F, 5-7 Edinburgh Place, Central, tel: 2521 1303) for lovely dim sum. I think they are the best. If I have guests and want some fine-dining food, I go to Mott 32 (Basement, Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, Central, tel: 2885 8688).
Hong Kong Indian restaurant owner on 33 years in the business, surviving Sars and the changing face of Wan Chai
For steak or fish and chips, I go to Frites (1/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2217 6671). It’s owned by a friend of mine and it’s convenient. I have a partner who owns several French places but I always like his Comptoir (42 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2453 9873). It’s very small. They do something like French-style tapas and I love the food there.
For Thai, I don’t go to any fancy places. Instead I like a place called Friendship Thai Food (38 Kai Tak Road, Kowloon City, tel: 2382 8671) run by a nice lady that does homestyle Thai food. We go there every month or so.
I like really local places. I even get the char siu at fast food chain Café de Coral (various locations).
I love Vietnamese food. I think the best pho is at Brass Spoon (1 Moon Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2877 0898).
Lately, I always have breakfast at Jo Jo Indian Cuisine (2/F, David House, 37-39 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2527 3776). We have a lot of local Indians and businessmen coming for lunch or dinner and they say there’s no breakfast place for them, so we thought we could do it. Now, almost every day I’m here at 8am.
I am on a field hockey team and if we win a big match, our team likes going to local cooked-food markets. We like the one in Hung Hom (11 Ma Tau Wai Road, Tai Wan) as well as the Bowrington Road market (21 Bowrington Road, Wan Chai). It’s a perfect place for celebration meals with beer. We love it.
When I go back to Delhi, I always try the new restaurants and fresh concepts. Masala Library (21A, near Le Meridien, Janpath, New Delhi 110001, tel: +91 92051 80003) is really amazing and fantastic. They serve a dish with wild mushroom found only in India. The first time I tried it I thought it was a French dish. Indian Accent (The Lodhi, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003, tel: +91 11 6617 5151) is also very good.