Where a Hong Kong foodie who seeks immaculate execution goes to eat
Stephen Hui was trained in the art of cooking from a young age so when he goes out he likes trying classic and complicated dishes to gauge a chef’s skill
Stephen Hui is a former schoolteacher and political assistant to various Legco members who turned to a less stressful life as a copywriter and editor.
My Cantonese family treasures good food and the art of cooking. We all started cooking relatively young and were trained to identify good ingredients in wet markets, talk to the merchants, help out with preparation at home and cook under supervision from my parents.
At restaurants I like trying really classic or really complicated dishes to gauge a chef’s skills. But I also appreciate value for money and good service. I don’t mind innovation if it works and I generally find the simpler the dish, the more difficult it is to make it taste great.
Places I enjoy include Luk Yu Tea House (24 Stanley Street, Central, tel: 2523 5464). I am the third generation of my family to go there for classic dim sum and dishes that can’t be found anywhere else.
Shoreditch (18 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2242 3777) offers consistently high-quality ingredients and cooking. I like their eagerness to introduce new dishes every once in a while. The décor is also cool and modern.
For classic pub food with a twist, The Globe (Garley Building, 45-53 Graham Street, Central, tel: 2543 1941) is excellent. They’re willing to innovate and experiment without overdoing it. They also serve the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever tasted.
FAB French American Bistro (30 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2810 1600) and Comptoir (42 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2453 9873) both deliver seemingly simple dishes executed immaculately, especially the plats du jour, at very reasonable prices.
The Continental (Shop 6, 4/F, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 2704 5211) does tasty modern international cuisine and is probably the only place that properly serves Parisian absinthe in Hong Kong.
For more Chinese options, you can find innovative Shandong cuisine at Northern China Restaurant (13-15 Hoi Wan Street, Quarry Bay, tel: 2562 2798). The food is just marvellous and the manager is a charismatic guy. Shung Hing Chiu Chow Restaurant (29 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan, tel: 2854 4557), meanwhile, serves authentic traditional Chiu Chow cuisine.
When friends from out of town visit, Luk Yu Tea House (24 Stanley Street, Central, tel: 2523 5464) can be a good choice. But for some grittiness, I will take them to Chan Sze Kee (74 Stanley Street, Central, tel: 2545 2834) for decent Cantonese dai pai dong food – but not during high summer.
On a fine day, Man Fung Seafood Restaurant (5 Main Street, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island, tel: 2982 0719) is a treat. You can choose the fish from the tanks.
For quick local snacks, I get my congee at Zhong Kee Congee (Lap Hing Building, 275-285 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2511 0021). I like braised beef brisket at Shui Kee (2 Gutzlaff Street, Central, tel: 2541 9769), Ying Kee Noodles (32 High Street, Sai Ying Pun, tel: 2540 7950), and at Aberdeen Fishball King (1 Jupiter Street, Fortress Hill, tel: 2608 5188).
For a simple authentic wonton noodle, Mak An Kee Noodle (37 Wing Kat Street, Central, tel: 2541 6388) is my preference.