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Hong Kong dining recommendations

Where a family man in Hong Kong goes to eat good-value, high-quality meals

Patrick Wang doesn’t care about reputations; he’s more interested in good food, friendly service and high-quality ingredients. His tastes range from Japanese to Scandinavian, pizza to health food, and dim sum to squid balls

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 August, 2018, 12:47pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2018, 11:55am

Patrick Wang is Asia Pacific general manager of Vita Coco.

With three children, my wife and I tend to gravitate towards family-friendly restaurants. Except for special occasions, we do prefer less formal atmospheres. Quality and value trumps prestige and reputation. Also, after living in the US, Japan and Switzerland, the Hong Kong characteristic we most appreciate is the breadth of choice.

The one place we’ve kept going back to repeatedly over the years is Kenjo. Sadly, Kenjo-san recently retired, so fingers crossed that the restaurant’s long-time staff can uphold the excellence as it is reincarnated as Senpachi. It will apparently open on August 18.

For comfort foods like pizza and fresh pasta, my top choice is Ciak – In The Kitchen (Shop 327-333, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 2522 8869). I’m not a big meat eater, but occasionally I get a craving for their pizza norcina with home-made sausage, mushrooms and mozzarella.

For a cosy, sophisticated meal with friends, I recommend Neighborhood (61-63 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2617 0891). Last time we were there, chef David Lai concocted a wild grouper paella that I cannot forget. I was fortunate enough to chat with him and was impressed with his breadth of knowledge, depth of curiosity and scope of imagination.

As Hong Kong hops on the healthy bandwagon, more vegetarian and vegan restaurants are popping up.

I’m a big fan of the tried-and-true Grassroots Pantry (108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, tel: 2873 3353). They’re always focused on quality ingredients.

When we have guests, the natural tendency is to go Chinese. Din Tai Fung (various locations including Shop 306, Silvercord, 30 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2730 6928) is as reliable as they come, easy to appreciate and fully authentic.

Other favourites are Kin’s Kitchen (5/F W Square, 314-324 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2571 0913), Yué (1/F City Garden Hotel, 9 City Garden Road, North Point, tel: 2806 4918) and The Chairman (18 Kau U Fong, Sheung Wan, tel: 2555 2202).

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These three quality selections have a common thread in contemporary, airy décor and super attentive service. At Kin’s, we love the smoked chicken. And at Yue we order the clay pot braised chicken with figs and salted lemon.

Recently, to celebrate our anniversary, my wife and I dropped by Frantzen’s Kitchen (11 Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2559 8508). We sat at the counter and enjoyed watching the intricate preparation of each dish. I used to travel to Denmark and Sweden for work and their smoked fish definitely evoked fond memories of those days.

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Every once in a while, we have a craving for squid balls and our go-to place is a hole-in-the-wall in Kowloon City called Wong Ming Kee (80 Kai Tak Road, tel: 2716 2929). We never leave without a few extra bags of squid balls and fish skin dumplings to keep in our freezer for rainy days.