Summer’s officially here again, meaning months of stiflingly hot weather. Thankfully, there are delicious dishes on offer that can help you cool down, whether you’re looking to neutralize your body’s internal “heatiness” (i.e. yang) with Chinese medicinal theories, or just to get some relief from the summer sun with some ice-cool food. Soups at FINDS Any chef worth their gazpacho knows the refreshing power of a chilled soup, and chef Jaakko Sorsa of FINDS has successfully come up with his own classic. His chilled foamy tomato soup looks like a plate of crushed roasted tomatoes, topped with what appears to be lightly whipped cream. In fact, the cream IS the soup—tomato essence is separated into a thin, clear liquid, which Sorsa then whips up into a white foam. Every spoonful packs an intense tomato flavor, accentuated by basil and thyme. To end the meal, try the chilled rhubarb and strawberry soup. This cold dessert is made up of a layer of chopped rhubarb and strawberries, and topped with a scoop of Madagascar vanilla ice cream, which slowly melts into a beautiful pink pool of strained rhubarb and strawberry jus. The result is refreshingly sweet without being cloying, and as Sorsa rather poetically said himself, “tastes like a summer vacation.” 2/F LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St., Central, 2522-9318. Salads at Marouche Grill With all the fresh greens coming into season, summer is a great time for salads, and Middle Eastern ones are particularly effective for combating the summertime heat. Marouche Grill, the newly opened Lebanese joint in SoHo serves up a healthy selection of beat-the-heat recipes, among which is the fatoush salad. Diced fresh cucumbers and tomatoes are refreshing and hydrating while the fresh mint leaves give the salad a wonderfully icy, cooling taste. All this is complemented by a citrus zing from the lemon and olive oil dressing. Another reason to love Middle Eastern salads? Most of them contain a decent amount of healthy carbs. The toasted Lebanese bread in the fatoush or the bulgur wheat in the tabbouleh is enough to turn a simple bowl of greens into a light yet satiating meal. 31 Elgin St., Central, 2524-4123. Meat and Veggies at Peking Garden Cold cuts are a good way to enjoy meat during the summer months, but If you’re looking for something beyond the deli counter, head over to Peking Garden for the Chinese take on chilled meat. This popular Northern Chinese eatery does a fantastic traditional Zhenjiang preserved pork—a cold dish made up of slices of tender, flavorful meat coated in a film of pork “jelly”. The so-called jelly is the chilled and solidified stock from the pork, with the fat removed so that it tastes light and refreshing. Northern Chinese cuisine also features a wide range of cold vegetable appetizers and sides, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Start your meal at Peking Garden with a variety of lightly pickled carrots or try their chilled cucumbers, served with a drizzling of sesame oil. 3/F, Star House, 3 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2735-8211. Noodles at Yunnan Shek Lam Rice Noodle Known for its heavy use of chilies, Yunnan fare may not immediately come to mind as a summer-suitable dining option. But the theory goes that eating spicy food helps you sweat, thus lowering your body temperature and keeping you cool. On top of that, spicy flavors are a great stimulant for a sluggish summertime appetite, which could explain why we found it so hard to stop slurping down Shek Lam’s house special cold rice noodles, which are served with a generous dousing of their fragrant chili oil. The rice noodle with silken tofu is the other signature dish at Shek Lam. Served cold or warm, the thick, slippery noodles soak up all the lovely intense flavors of the spicy red sauce and the preserved vegetables, making the dish a fantastic palate picker-upper. And according to traditional Chinese theory, tofu is extremely effective for battling against excessive yang in the body. 7 Cross Lane, Wan Chai, 2575-7522. Congee at Ocean Empire Food Shop Lighter than rice, congee is much easier for the stomach to digest in the heat of Hong Kong’s summer months. The Chinese consider this humble dish a palate-cleansing food and depending on the ingredients added to it, it can be great for ridding the body of the discomforts of excessive internal yang. The pumpkin and sweetcorn congee at Ocean Empire is one such dish. This wholesome congee is subtly sweet with a lovely, mellow pumpkin aftertaste. Though the congee is served hot, according to traditional Chinese medicine, both pumpkin and sweetcorn have cooling properties, which clear away the body’s internal “heatiness.” Corn also has the added benefit of being a detoxifying food, which helps relieve heat-induced appetite blues or stomach ailments. The congee is available at Ocean Empire outlets across the city. Simsons Commercial Building, 137-139 Johnston Rd., Wan Chai, 2575-0417; Shop No 4-5, Excelsior Plaza, 24-26 East Point Rd., Causeway Bay, 2890-6827. Snowflake Ice at Sweet Pak Fu Sweet Pak Fu serves the popular Taiwanese snack loosely translated as “snowflake ice.” This sweet treat falls somewhere between shaved ice and ice cream; the ice is first flavored and then put through a special shaver that churns out a giant tower of ice that tastes like a light-as-air version of regular ice cream and melts almost immediately on the tongue. The texture is amazingly soft and cottony, and the whole thing tastes almost like a giant frozen marshmallow. The enough-for-two portions of snowflake ice come in a wide range of different flavors and guests can choose their own syrup and topping combinations. The green tea snowflake ice is wonderfully rejuvenating in the hot weather and its delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture pairs extremely well with chewy bits of mochi and lychee jelly. Our favorite combination, however, is the milk-flavored ice with strawberry syrup and fresh fruits. Not only does it look summery, it’s also a deliciously sweet way to stay cool. 38 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay, 2630-0110.