Hong Kong is one of the world’s most exciting culinary capitals, where good food is more than abundant. In that light, we’ve put together a few of our tastiest tidbits and most memorable morsels that are worth tracking down to try.
Red Shrimp Gratin at Roots
Chef-owner Stephanie Wong’s ever-evolving menu at Roots is put in place to highlight the season’s best produce. So for spring, she invented several new dishes that did just that. The red shrimp gratin that we enjoyed made use of whiskered velvet shrimps, which are only in season a few months at a time, and are baked and served with aromatic herb butter featuring chervil, tarragon and parsley. You can eat the shrimps whole, crispy shell and all, to get the full flavour of the seafood. Delicate and delicious, we can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve next season too.
Roots, 7 Sun Street, Wan Chai; +852 2623 9983
Braised Yoshihama Abalone at Ah Yung’s Kitchen
Abalone, with its Mandarin name resembling the same words for “guaranteed abundance”, has long held auspicious meaning in Chinese culture. This has also propelled it to become a highly valued seafood, especially in refined Cantonese cuisine. We headed to Ah Yung’s Kitchen, located in L’hotel and operated by abalone expert Yung Yeung Kwong, because of course, abalone is on the menu. We opted for the signature Yoshihama abalone and was not disappointed. Prepared for over 18 hours, the abalone is braised with chicken and pork belly ribs for flavour and results in meaty abalone which is meant to be eaten with a knife and fork. It’s smothered in a rich and luscious abalone sauce and best enjoyed steaming hot.
Ah Yung’s Kitchen, L’hotel Causeway Bay Harbour View, 18 King’s Road, Causeway Bay; +852 3553 2633
“Pablo” A Coffee-cured Hamachi at Silencio
Touted Hong Kong’s first and only contemporary Japanese izakaya (which is usually found in informal settings) with live jazz and gold walls, there really is nothing casual about Silencio and our meal there began in a similar vein. The coffee-cured hamachi named “Pablo” was served as a new-style sashimi and comes with smoky theatrics to set the mood. Wrapped in kombu with sansho and coffee, the Japanese yellowtail is cured for 24 hours before it’s smoked with ground coffee to infuse a slight bitterness. It’s a well-balanced dish with thick slices of buttery hamachi complemented by wasabi yoghurt, fragrant chive oil and topped with watercress purée, pickled red onion and pomelo to cut through the omega-rich fish.
Silencio, 6/F LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central; +852 2480 6569
Seared Hokkaido Scallop on Truffle Mash at Trattoria del Pescatore
The seafood specialty Italian restaurant serves up the freshest catches from the coastline of Italy, Hong Kong and Japan. This May, Trattoria del Pescatore celebrates its first anniversary here in Hong Kong, with Head Chef Andrea Bortolotti of its Milan location in town for a special degustation menu. The star of the show that stole the spotlight from the six-course menu was the sashimi-grade scallops. The succulent meat was a bursting mix of sweetness and brininess and was delicately cooked to give it a slight char on the exterior while maintaining its juice and bouncy texture from within.
Trattoria del Pescatore, 11 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan; +852 2559 3339
Memphis Pork Ribs at Big Sur
It’s barbecue season and despite the rain, there’s nothing quite like getting stuck into a rack of baby back pork ribs. At barbecue and beer restaurant Big Sur, they recently launched a new all-day menu which features the impressive 21-ounce Memphis pork ribs. It’s a generous portion of ribs, spice-rubbed and smocked in hickory for a mildly sweet and bold savoury flavour. The ribs are juicy and packed with flavour already, but are then finished with a tangy BBQ sauce, which keeps you going back for more. You can also opt for the beef rips, but we think pork is the winner. It’s served with coleslaw or hand cut potatoes, but we recommend the sweet potato fries which are oven-baked for a slight caramelised exterior and fluffy interior.
Big Sur, G/F, 22 Staunton Street, Soho, Central; +852 2529 3001