Bar owner and mixologist Jay Khan on his favourite Hong Kong restaurants and bars
Fried chicken, Vietnamese, spicy Indian and Pakistani cuisine, vegetarian food, a decent steak, traditional Cantonese and a well-made Negroni are Khan’s culinary picks
Mixologist Jay Khan is the co-founder of Mexican bar COA. He will be celebrating International Gin Day by creating two new artisanal cocktails at La Paloma’s Gin & Tonic Brunch on June 9.
Working in the food and beverage industry for more than 10 years, I’ve had a chance to taste some really amazing food in Hong Kong and around the world. When it comes to choice, I like something casual but, on occasion, something out of the ordinary and adventurous.
I love Vietnamese food. It almost always comes with a lot of aromatic fresh herbs. Cô Thành (2-4 Kau U Fong, Central) is just down the road from our bar. One aspect I always cherish is the hospitality. At Cô Thành, they nail it. The staff is super enthusiastic and full of energy. The environment is casual and fun and they have great food. Their bánh mì is a must try.
I often crave spicy food. I grew up in a family that loves to add chilli to almost every dish. To satisfy my cravings, I visit Aladin Mess (2/F, 60 Russell St, Causeway Bay, tel: 2808 0250). Order the chicken masala extra spicy and garlic nan for simple comfort Indian/Pakistani food.
People are now very conscious of food, be it for environment or health reasons. I attended the Impossible Burger launch few weeks ago to try their plant-based burger. The one from chef May Chow’s station was just too delicious. They now serve the Impossible Bao, a vegetarian sandwich with black pepper teriyaki sauce, salted lemon kombu salad and fermented tofu sauce at Little Bao (66 Staunton St, SoHo, tel: 2194 0202).
For a visiting friend, I’d definitely take them to Luk Yu Tea House (24 Stanley St, Central, tel: 2523 5464). It’s like stepping into a time machine, taking you back to the 1970s. Everything is so old fashioned from the menu and decor to their staff and service style.
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For a special occasion, I like Wooloomooloo Prime (21/F, The One. 100 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2870 0087) for their steak. I’d start with a tequila highball at their spectacular outdoor area with a breathtaking view.
I love fried chicken. I fell in love with the street food in Taiwan when I travelled there. One snack I can’t resist is fried chicken sprinkled with chilli powder. In Hong Kong, to satisfy my craving, I swing by one of the Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken take away shops (various locations including 8 O’Brien Rd, Wan Chai, tel: 5989 3955).
There are just too many good bars in a vibrant city like Hong Kong. When I have time, I like to sit at the bar at 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (shop 202, 2/F Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater Rd, Central, tel: 2537 8859) and share anecdotes with their bar manager Devender over his perfectly concocted negronis. Devender’s hospitality is undoubtedly among the best and always impresses me.