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Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of Maurice Kong, food and beverage manager

I always believe in giving myself the best possible option when it comes to food and beverage. If I want a bowl of wonton noodles, I would single out the place that does the best job. My top priority is fresh ingredients. I love to share my culinary discoveries with people around me. Part of my job takes me globe-trotting searching for unique or artisanal products with history and heritage for our company properties. This is a pleasure, as I already have done this on my own for years.

Some of my much-loved eats are served in small shops run by people who are very passionate about their food. To get my coffee fix, I need to travel all the way to Tai O Solo Café (86 Kat Hing Street, Tai O, Lantau, tel: 9153 7453). The owner is a coffee expert from a Tai O local family living there for generations. He has strict standards, serving hand-dripped coffee with coffee beans imported from Brazil, Ethiopia or Colombia. And to get my favourite fish balls snacks I need to go to Chen Kim Wing Tai Fish Ball(106 San Hing Street, Cheung Chau, tel: 2981 3050). Mrs Kam and her family manage it and make their preservative-free fish balls every day with the important ingredient of white eels. You can either eat there or take away.

An old hand at the craft for artisanal Chinese snacks is Tai Tung Bakery (57 Fo Choi Street, Yuen Long, tel: 2476 2630). I really appreciate their wife cakes and a decent range of old-school Chinese cookies and cakes. The shop is a great example of a third-generation family business upholding Hong Kong hand-crafted food traditions.

Congee is my comfort food and for that I go to a wet-market food stall called Mui Kee Congee (Shop 11-12, 4/F, Fa Yuen Street Market, Mong Kok, tel: 2789 0198) for the freshest fish congee I can find. I admire the owners’ continuous efforts to give their customers the freshest ingredients and best taste they can offer.

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I also enjoy fine dining, especially when an amazing restaurant can present a comprehensive culinary experience, from their tableware, interior décor, food and wine, to service. A fine example is Amber (7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 15 Queens Road Central, Central, tel 2132 0066). The table is always so perfectly set up and the servers never fail to recommend what are the best seasonal dishes to eat on that particular day.

Maison Es (1A Star Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2521 8011) is the brainchild of private kitchen chef Esther Shum. I love Esther’s food and her meticulous attention to detail in preparing dishes as well as seeking out seasonal produce matching her East meets West recipes. Her place reminds me of a cosy French bistro. I enjoy her radish salad with duck breast and grapefruit.

In Taiwan, the food and pleasant personality of Lanshu Chen, proprietress at Le Mout Restaurant (59 Cunzhong Street, Taichung 403, Taiwan, tel: +866 4 2375 3002), warm my heart. As she changes the dishes regularly, I would opt for her tasting menu.

Every time I visit my favourite Chinese restaurant, the two-Michelin-star Jade Dragon in City of Dreams (2/F The Boulevard, City of Dreams, Estrada do Istma, Cotai, Macau tel: +853 8868 2822), I know I am in for a Cantonese gastronomic treat. Chef’s Tam’s sophisticated simplicity, combined with his flawless technical skills, is a bright presence in all his dishes. His must-try items are hot and sour soup with Hokkaido hairy crab, char siu, deep-fried oysters and a spectrum of braised soups.