The numbers are nothing short of astonishing: figures from Hong Kong’s government statistics department reveal that 678,000 tonnes of beef and beef products are imported into the city every year. That translates into every adult and child in the SAR consuming the equivalent of two quarter pounders per person per day – every day. These remarkable consumption figures naturally pose multiple questions. It’s important to acknowledge that in the normal years before Covid-19, Hong Kong’s huge number of tourists consumed a vast amount of beef. It’s not all burgers or steaks either, as the beef imports in question include everything from oxtail to offal. But the figures tell their own story. Brazil produces more than one fifth of the world’s beef and its top export destination in 2018 was Hong Kong. Where to warm up this winter with spicy Sichuan, Indian and fusion dishes To get to the bottom of the city’s remarkable appetite for beef, we spoke to chefs and industry figures alike to learn why it is frequently the go-to meat of choice, in fine dining menus and casual joints alike. Chef Siu Hin-chi leads the kitchen team at the Cantonese fine dining and two Michelin-starred spot Ying Jee Club in Central. He revealed why he feels that beef dishes are always so popular in the city: Hong Kong people are true beef lovers. From hotpots to steakhouses, yakiniku to day-to-day cooking, there must be beef on the dining table. Most importantly, they are discerning diners and always willing to pay and seek out high quality beef, like Japanese A4 or A5 Wagyu and Australian M9 Wagyu, to satisfy their craving for that luxurious mouthfeel and flavour Clearly, significant environmental implications accompany our love for high-end foreign meat. A 2018 earth science study by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) found that Hong Kong’s appetite for meat causes the city to be one of the world’s highest greenhouse gas emitters. But chefs take provenance and sustainability very seriously, few more so than Uwe Opocensky. The executive chef of Island Shangri-La, he’s a familiar face on the city’s dining scene and serves some of the finest beef in Hong Kong at one Michelin-starred Petrus. As a vocal supporter of sustainable sourcing and dining, he works with partnerships such as Food Made Good and chooses to support artisanal producers who “take care of the welfare of their animals and their impact on the environment”. 8 wine trends for 2021: more rosé and everything going virtual From his perspective, beef also ticks all the right boxes for Hong Kong palates: Beef has the right texture and meat flavour for the local market. One of the beefs we use, calotte, is one of the most tender and juicy cuts, very delicious Another chef who works with substantial amounts of beef is Michael Chan, founder of Honbo, the classic cheeseburger spot with three locations including the recently opened BaseHall. He suggests that the vast range of options and price points help explain the popularity of beef: I think Hong Kong people love eating beef simply because it tastes good. It’s such an essential element in local dishes like hotpot and I feel like most fine dining restaurants now feature Wagyu beef in one way or another. Beef is approachable. You can have beef on any budget – from a bowl of beef brisket noodles that costs HK$38 (US$5), to a 60-day dry-aged steak that costs HK$2,000 (US$250) As far as he is concerned, the city’s obsession with burgers isn’t going anyway any time soon: I don’t see the enduring love of burgers changing – it’s been around for so long. Burgers will always be relevant View this post on Instagram A post shared by Maximal Concepts (@maximalconcepts) Finally we hear from Maximal Concepts’ group executive chef, Emiliano Comerso, who comes from famed global beef capital, Argentina: Here in Hong Kong, we are in a unique place where we can source pretty much whatever we want from all over the world – from grass-fed beef from Argentina, to Kobe, Japan. These products are accessible to everyone, so people here become accustomed to enjoying high-end beef as they see it so often Again, it’s the variety and quality that stand out as critical factors in determining Hong Kong’s love of beef, and doubtless go a long way in explaining our seemingly insatiable appetite for it. What’s more, given the combination of the finest global produce, inventive and talented chefs, and not to mention a passionate and knowledgeable dining public, it seems pretty clear that beef is set to continue its run of extraordinary popularity in Hong Kong. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .