Hong Kong, a City Tasting Tour with Richard Ekkebus
Hong Kong is a melting pot of cuisines, cultures, people and traditions. Known for it's sprawling futuristic skyline mixed with historical markets and a large natural harbor - it's a food lovers paradise with a strong mix of East and West found on plates across the small group of Islands.
Chef Richard Ekkebus runs the Amber restaurant at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong - originally from the Netherlands - he trained with the likes of Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Passard and Guy Savoy before moving to Hong Kong in 2005 to run Amber.
Amber has two Michelin stars and in 2013 placed at number 4 on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants List. The restaurants distinct mix of East and West with a strong dedication to the freshest and best possible ingredients also saw it place at number 36 on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2013.
Having worked at the heart of Hong Kong's thriving food scene for the past eight years, FDL decided to meet with the chef and ask him to guide us through his picks for the best food in Hong Kong. From the best dim sum tea shops, to congee breakfasts and the many bustling wet markets, here's a Hong Kong City Tasting Tour with chef Richard Ekkebus.
GREAT FOOD STROLLS
Notes: Take an expedition to Taipo to sample the very good wonton and beef brisket noodles of the Chan Hon Kee restaurant.
Notes: A walk down the dried seafood street in Sheung Wan, followed by a nice bowl of clay pot rice.
Notes: A walk in the wet market of Kowloon City followed by a solid Chiu chow meal at the Sun Shing Chiu Chow Restaurant.
Notes: Chefs heaven, all fish, Mollusks, shellfish & crustacean are traded alive, exceptional.
CLASSIC DIM SUM TEA SHOPS
Notes: This place has an English menu but has been packed out with mized crowds since Time Out voted them the best Dim Sum back in 2011. Paper place-mats , glass stop tables and good old fashioned melamine table are all to be expected.
Recommended: Try their excellent fried stuffed eggplant, the treasures wrap of Chicken, fish maw, mushrooms & Ginger and their pan-fried Tofu skin with chicken and unusual cumin. For the more adventurous eater go for the pig’s blood with XO sauce or steamed tripe with black pepper sauce.
Recommended:This is one of the few places in Hong Kong where dim sums are served from traditional carts, You should try whatever you see passing by but be ready to wait in line as this is a very busy place.
Recommended: Red date layer cake, shrimp crystal dumpling and the crispy BBQ pork bun.
Notes: This place has been around since the 1920s, and many of the waiters – and some of the customers – look as if they've been around for an awfully long time, too. Some of the regulars have their own tables reserved for them every morning, where they sit, read the paper, nibble on some dim sum, and occasionally speak to each other. One of the few places left in Hong Kong where the dim sum is pushed around on a trolley, although if you're sitting far away from the kitchen it's best not to wait until the cart makes its way to you – it might never reach you. Instead, do what everyone else does and get the food yourself. Dinner is a lot more subdued, probably because they take reservations. While the dim sum isn't the best, the cooked-to-order food at night is better, with old-fashioned dishes such as eight treasures duck braised and stuffed with rice, chestnuts, mushrooms and lotus nuts (must be ordered in advance). Pan-fried minced pork patties and sweet and sour pork ribs.
THE BEST CONGEE IN HONG KONG
For some true Hong Kong style go for some authentic congee - a type of rice porridge, eaten in many countries across East Asia. It's made by boiling white rice in water for a long time until the rice breaks down and becomes a fairly viscous white porridge. The congee is then served with different meats, fish or vegetarian options. Other seasonings, such as white pepper and soy sauce, or condiments like spring onions, fried won ton skin and peanuts may also be added.
For another classic Chinese breakfast head to Mongkok Market and visit the old style Cha Chaan Teng (tea restaurant) nearby. Many local films were shot here.
CLASSIC NOODLE PLACES
Across Hong Kong there are a whole bunch of noodle shops. They offer very basic dishes but the food is typical and is well known among Hong Kong food lovers. The service and atmosphere in these places are very very basic but they're a must try for any visitors to HK.
Recommended: Noodles in chicken broth with a selection of two toppings: Large Prawn Won Ton or Beef and a Kai Lan with Oyster sauce.
Notes: The staff here can de rude but don't take it personally
Recommended: Beef Flank curried or cooked in broth.
Recommended: This place is easy to miss but their won ton soup is known to be the best in Honk Kong.
Notes: (1-Michelin Star)
Cantonese & Chiu Chow Dishes: Roast meats, crispy Squid are famous. This place is pitched as the cheapest Michelin starred venue in the world with dishes starting from as little as 2US$, be ready to wait a long time as they do not take reservations….