Part dining room and part art gallery, one Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant Duddell’s has remained authentic to Cantonese flavours while presenting it all creatively. Now, this has been amplified with newly appointed Executive Chef Li Man-Lung and Dim Sum Master Lau Chi-Man. Together, they bring a combined set of skills and prowess to craft a refreshed a la carte menu that focuses on seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Intrigued to see how this new menu would fare, I decided to give the two chefs a visit to sample a selection of their new dishes.
Though young in age, Chef Li has a wealth of experience — 14 years to be exact — and brings his passion and creativity in fine Cantonese cuisine to Duddell’s. He has worked in kitchens across the region, including Lai Heen at The Ritz-Carlton Macau and Tin Lung Heen at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, and aims to inject a new dimension of flavour and finesse into the menu. Examples of this include new signature dishes that have been inspired by his travels around the world – resulting in classic style Cantonese dishes infused with modernity.
Take the Poached Miyazaki A4 Wagyu beef in hot and sour broth. This was inspired by Chef Li’s recent exploration of Chengdu and uses tender cuts of beef bathed in a sharp piquant broth made with chillies from the region. It’s a standout dish and whets the appetite for what’s to come. A Fresh mud crab claw is prepared and steamed with 15-year-old Huadiao wine and egg white, offering a refined version of a very classic seafood dish. Other highlights include a nutritious Double-boiled fish maw, coquito nuts and chicken soup; made using the not-so-traditional East African coconut, which acts as a flavourful and fragrant precursor to something like the Braised pork meatball with whole conpoy in supreme abalone sauce, which takes on the rich flavours from the lower reaches of the Huai and Yangtze rivers.
Meanwhile, Chef Lau’s illustrious dim sum career spans 40 years across regions including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Macau, as well as Sendai and Tokyo in Japan. Most notably, he was creating dim sum at private member’s club, The China Club, and recently worked as Sous Chef at Man Wah in the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. It is with this experience and drive to keep the dim sum craft alive in innovative ways, Lau has created some new signature items to add to the menu. Highlights include a rather adorable-looking Truffle fried pork dumpling which can be served with pork or plant-based OmniPork, and a Garoupa spicy termite mushroom dumpling which is made to look like a goldfish and uses a mix of mild spices to bring out the sweet seafood filling. Another must-try dim sum dish is the Crispy taro puff with scallop, crab meat in flavourful red vinasse sauce.
Under this new direction, it is safe to say that the Cantonese restaurant will offer more creative elements on their menu with new flavours to try. If this doesn’t reignite your love for Duddell’s, we don’t know what will. Not to mention the popular and limitless Weekend Salon Brunch which will serve a selection of dim sum and main courses to your table. And if you have yet to visit the new Duddell’s at Hong Kong International Airport… well, there’s no time like the present.
For those that want to get a taste of Chef Li’s cooking at home — you can. And it’s available in X.O sauce and roast goose form. Fans of the sauce will be happy to know that you can purchase a gift box (HK$398) featuring just that. A premium condiment made using Hokkaido dried conpoy, Shandong sundried shrimp, Jinhua ham, shallots garlic, shrimp roe and fresh red chillies. Moreover, classic Cantonese style roast goose has been given an update by Li and features a 90-day-old female goose from farms in Foshan, marinated in a flavourful seasoning of hoisin, chu hou paste, fragrant sesame sauce, ginger, scallions and dried tangerine peel, before it’s glazed, air-dried and roasted to perfect in Duddell’s kitchen. Served with a Chinese rose wine-infused homemade plum sauce, it’s the perfect addition to any home cooked meal.