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Hong Kong dining recommendations

Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of Italian-American chef Vinny Lauria – from the best dim sum to amazing spicy crab

In his 10 years in Hong Kong Lauria as immersed himself in Chinese culture, and his favourite places to eat and drink reflect this, whether it be traditional crispy duck in Causeway Bay or having a beer in bustling Mong Kok

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 May, 2018, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 May, 2018, 12:45pm

Originally from the American state of New Hampshire, Vinny Lauria came to Hong Kong in 2008 and is a champion of local produce. He is the executive chef of Homegrown Foods, a group with a portfolio of restaurants that includes Linguini Fini, Stone Nullah Tavern and Posto Pubblico.

I am a “try everything twice” kind of guy; once isn’t enough to really get it. To me, the best way to understand a culture is through food, so whenever I go somewhere my priority is tasting everything.

It is also important to eat with people who are natives and passionate about their cuisine.

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It’s a great way to develop a real relationship and learn about life, philosophy, politics and the people you are dining with.

For dim sum I love Lin Heung Kui (2/F-3/F, 46-50 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, tel: 2156 9328). That is the place that taught me what dim sum is all about.

I will always hold Yardbird (154-158 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2547 9273) close to my heart. We opened Linguini Fini the same week as Yardbird opened [at its original location in Bridges Street] about seven years ago.

It was a special time. I lived right above Yardbird so I would eat and drink there most nights, so that has got to make it onto my favourite’s list.

I love walking around Mong Kok and checking out all of the street stalls. There’s a crazy variety. It’s a chef’s dream.

I always like to hit up TAP The Ale Project (15 Hak Po Street, Mong Kok, tel: 2468 2010) afterwards for a beer. I would take visitors to Mong Kok and expose people to things that they may not be comfortable or familiar with.

One of my favourite dinners in Hong Kong is Peking duck. It seems that any time anything happens worth celebrating, we find ourselves at Modern China Restaurant (various locations including Shop 1301, 13/F Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2506 2525) or Spring Deer (1/F, 42 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2366 4012).

It’s not fancy, but who needs fancy when you have a beautiful fatty crispy duck and some Tsing Tao?

My guilty pleasure late night is Under Bridge Spicy Crab (Ascot Mansion, 421-425 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2893 1289). It’s no secret. The crab is just spicy, garlicky and amazing. Between the hours of 2pm and 4am is the best time to go.

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I’m an Italian chef, but Umberto Bombana has always been one of the chefs that I respect most in the world. Every time I speak to him I learn. Humble, poised and, oh yes, his food at 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (Shop 202, 2/F Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater Road, Central, tel: 2537 8859) is on another level.