Eating out with celebrity chef Hugo 'To To' Leung
Hong Kong celebrity chef and TV personality Hugo Leung is not your average mysteriously svelte cooking show host. He loves his food, and has a trademark potbelly to show for it.
We asked him for his top five favorite places to dine in Hong Kong and he, effusive as always, gave us eight.
"I like to hunt down smaller restaurants in the nooks and crannies of the city. I would say my tastes are a bit different than most, rather off the beaten path," said Leung. "Do keep in mind though that most restaurants can't execute all of the dishes on their menu well. Stick with their signature dishes."
Hong Kong's most recognizable foodie names his favorites:
Golden City Kitchen
For good Chinese stir-fries and more unusual dishes, I usually to go to my friend Ar Choi's dai pai dong Golden City Kitchen. Their deep fried fish jaw with spiced salt and chilled chicken feet is excellent.
Shop 9-12, G/F, Cooked Food Stall, Hin Keng Est, Tai Wai, tel +852 2681 2212
Hong Kong Old Restaurant
Whenever I'm entertaining a huge group of friends, I take them to Hong Kong Old Restaurant, which does great Shanghai and Sichuan dishes adapted for the Cantonese palate. I love their honey braised ham in crispy tofu sheet, which has just the right balance of sweetness and delicacy.
Their scallion pancakes, camphor tea smoked duck, and braised pork knuckle also keep me going back.
Shop F, 4/F Miramar Shopping Centre, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel +852 2722 1812 www.hkoldrest.com.hk (Chinese only)
Bong Kee Seafood Restaurant
Lau Fau Shan has excellent Chinese seafood. Bong Kee has good wok-chi and their seafood is fresh. Their fish stew is sumptuous, as is their "Whole Garoupa in Two Ways," a traditional Chinese seafood dish of one part sauteed fish fillets, other part braised fish bone.
Their "Steamed Three Treasures," a platter of dried shrimp, squid, and salted fish steamed in black bean sauce, is another favorite of mine.
47 Main Street, Lau Fau Shan, tel +852 2472 1292
Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine
For Thai, I prefer Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine in Hung Hom. The food is inexpensive, plus the food is authentic with a Thai chef manning the kitchen. They're good with the basics: their Thai-style stir-fried vermicelli are fail-proof, their fish and chili sauces are mixed and paired well, their spicy papaya salads have just the right amount of sourness. I also love their curry seafood baked in a pumpkin.
Shop G3B, G/F, Site 4, Whampoa Garden, Tak Fung Street, Hung Hom, tel +852 2356 1182
For Western food I love the grill at The Hong Kong Jockey Club's Beas River Country Club in Sheung Shui. Their steaks, pork loin and seared foie gras are impeccable.
(Members only) Beas River Country Club, Sheung Shui, New Territories, tel +852 29661945 www.member.hkjc.com
Lo Chiu Vietnamese Restaurant
When I'm in the area by myself or with a friend or two, I drop by Lo Chiu for a quick lunchtime chow of curry duck pho.
G/F, 25-27 Man Yuen Street, Jordan, tel +852 2384 2143
Wong Ming Kee
For simpler pleasures, Wong Ming Kee does the simple Cantonese staple of fish balls with rice noodles very well.
G/F, 80 Kai Tak Rd, Kowloon City, tel +852 2716 2929
Wah Jeh near Victoria Park is my go-to beef brisket eatery. Not that Kau Kee (another institutional beef brisket joint) is not good, but Wah Jeh is more convenient, because there are parking meters all around the place -- I drive all the way from my home in Yuen Long for my beef brisket fix, so there better be a place to park!”
Read more about the five best beef briskets in Hong Kong, and possibly the world.
G/F, 13A Electric Road, Tin Hau, tel +852 2807 0181