Favourite restaurants of Charmaine Cheung, Hong Kong City'super executive chef
My passion for food is so strong. I know that being a chef is the only way I can genuinely take pleasure in my life. As a chef and cooking class instructor, my culinary philosophy is to be truthful to myself and hold great respect for all ingredients. I do have dining preferences when choosing a restaurant. I expect those who cook in the kitchen not to lie to me about the food they present and that they respect their jobs as chefs.
My ultimate comfort food is Chinese cuisine. I am a keen devotee of Chinese soups, stir-fries, steamed and seafood dishes. There is one place I love, Yuet Wah Club (7-10 Hop Lung Factory Building, 5-11 Mong Lung Street, Shau Kei Wan, tel: 2513 6628). I normally opt for the deep-fried tofu, which is super soft inside and perfectly crunchy on the outside. I also like the stir-fried crabs with ginger and spring onions. I think these items are the best in town.
At the nostalgic Goldfinch Restaurant (13-15 Lan Fong Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2577 7981) I only order one dish: the black pepper tenderloin on a sizzling plate. To continue my craving for more beef dishes, I pop into Westwood Carvery (2 Wo On Lane, Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2869 8111) to relish their wonderful prime rib or short ribs.
For an incredible hotpot night out I highly recommend Hotpot Lovers Restaurant (Rex Building, 399-401 Queen's Road West, Western district, tel: 2803 0178). I love their mala (hot and spicy) hotpot soup base.
Contemporary Japanese cuisine is what I eat habitually. The self-indulgent approach is to take a flight to Tokyo to search for culinary gems and ideas. The Japanese really respect their food. Situated next to the Shinjuku-Nishiguchi Station is Omoide-Yokocho (160-0023 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku), with a lot of robatayaki and other food stalls — it's a bit like Temple Street in Hong Kong. For a more luxurious dining experience, Park Hyatt Hotel's Kozue Japanese Restaurant (3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, tel: +81 3 5322 1234) is a must. I wouldn't order the set menu but would go for a la carte or omakase. I like to sit in front of the counter and chat with the chefs.
But back in Hong Kong, my monthly visit to the newer branch of Kenjo (shop A, 8 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2369 1260/2369 1261), usually satisfies my craving for the freshest seasonal sushi. I would also go for their grilled scallops, and the periodic offering of kinki fish.