Fever-Tree, the number-one selling and trending tonic brand, will be joining the Taste of Hong Kong festival, held from 21–24 March 2019 at Central Harbourfront. Fever-Tree will give you the opportunity to discover everything there is to know about cocktails featuring your favourite spirits, from gin, to whisky, to cognac.
Discover the secret of Fever-Tree’s range of pioneering premium mixers, made with high-quality, naturally sourced ingredients, and experiment with the spirits with which they have been designed to perfectly pair.
Start your journey with a gin and tonic. Sample the special menu featuring a range of mixers – start with the original Indian Tonic Water and make your way through to flavoured tonics including Mediterranean and Elderflower Tonic Waters, as well as the latest release of pink Aromatic Tonic Water. Each of the tonics is well paired with the purest gins such as The London No. 1, Fragrant Harbour Hong Kong Gin, G’Vine Floraison and Japanese Roku Gin.
Next, experience the result of Fever-Tree’s constant innovation in the form of mixers that have been designed to complement the flavour characteristics of dark spirits. The highball menu showcases dark spirits ranging from Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky, to Camus Cognac, to Angostura Rum, all enhanced by Fever-Tree original mixers such as Smoky Ginger Ale and Madagascan Cola and more traditional Ginger Beer.
If three-quarters of your drink are made up of a mixer, make it like the world’s best bars do – and mix with the best.
In partnership with Taste of Hong Kong this year, Dishtag brings to you the visual menus of all 16 restaurants at the festival, showcasing all the dishes you can “feast on and foto” during the four-day event on 21–24 March at Central Harbourfront.
In this latest post, we take you to the back of the restaurant tent-kitchen to reveal the exclusive dish that each chef has crafted for the event – what it is, what inspired it and how excited the chefs are about Taste of Hong Kong 2019.
We’re sure you’re just as excited as we are, so please remember to eat with your eyes through our app and website ahead of the event!
“Our festival-exclusive dish is Buddha jumps over the wall xiao long bao. The Buddha jumps over the wall xiao long bao comes from the classic Chinese double-boiled soup of the same name. It condenses the flavours of abalone, sea cucumber, fish maw, conpoy and Kurobuta pork all in one single bite – something heavenly delicious that literally would make Buddha himself jump over a wall! Since opening, our xiao long bao have been very popular. As they are warm and bite-sized, they are great for both a festival and a colder climate.”
“We chose a Swedish street food called tunnbrödsrulle, which is like the Swedish version of a taco, as our Taste-exclusive dish. The flatbread we use is from the north of Sweden, which gives a soft and wheaty flavour with a burnt note to it, and we stuff it with mashed potato, sausage, pickled cucumber, bell pepper, crispy onion and shrimp salad to keep it traditional. To make it even more special for our festival guests, we source a very specific kind of sausage from Sweden that has a light, acidic, milk flavour added to it. Served with ketchup and mustard sauce on the side, this is a fantastic dish for the festival and for people to experience the Swedish food culture for the first time.”
“We understand that people expect to just grab and try the food at the festival, so alitas con quinoa will be the dish everybody loves at Taste of Hong Kong. It is deep-fried chicken wing covered with quinoa, stuffed with rice in huancaina sauce and served with a traditional Peruvian yellow chilli dipping sauce. Who doesn’t love fried chicken that is crispy and creamy at the same time? This festival-exclusive dish allows us to present visitors with everyday Peruvian cuisine by using different ways of cooking to give new flavours to familiar ingredients.”
“Our festival-exclusive dish is called horias (grilled pitta), which originated in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. It only became popular in the Middle East in the past few years, so it is quite a unique dish that you seldom see in Hong Kong. The dish is basically spiced minced beef stuffed into a pitta. It is grilled, so it has a nice, crunchy and crispy texture. The fat from the beef is soaked into the pitta bread with all the spices inside, and we serve it with freshly grated tomato salad with tahini sauce. The tomato brings freshness to it, whereas the tahini brings a nutty and rich texture, making this flavour-packed dish particularly fun to carry around and enjoy while you are at the festival.”
“Our festival-exclusive dish is deep-fried toasted rolls with hairy crab roe. We deep-fried the bread rolls with crabmeat and roe mixture inside to make them aromatic and crispy. Since hairy crab is a seasonal ingredient in winter, we then choose Australian mud crab for its year-round freshness to maintain the flavour of our dish at this time of the year.”
“At Zuma, it’s all about the explosion of flavours, so the spicy grilled New Zealand TE MANA Lamb cutlet has become our festival-exclusive dish, giving visitors a bold taste impression. TE MANA Lamb is organic lamb from New Zealand, light in flavour and tender in texture. The lamb chop is marinated in Korean spices and Japanese hatcho miso for 48 hours before being charcoal-grilled, and it’s served with the lemon-sesame tofu sauce. The smokiness and crunch from the charcoal will make the dish a standout at the festival, and the mildly creamy and citric taste from the tofu sauce is perfect for the springtime outdoor setting.”
Chef Sean: “To represent the spirit of Taste of Hong Kong’s lively atmosphere, Nicholas, Oliver and myself collaborated to create a completely unique dish that highlights, represents and harmonises all three of our cuisines: roasted pigeon and wild rice on squid-ink tostada with pork-head veil and oyster cream. This festival-exclusive dish that we created pays tribute to Hong Kong’s reputation as a melting pot of cultures and foods, as well as bringing together each chef’s vastly different backgrounds – Nicholas’ precise yet creative French-Asian dishes, Olivier’s refined execution of Breton cuisine that combines the best of land and sea and my modern rendition of traditional Japanese favourites. Most importantly, this is a dish that people will have fun eating at Taste of Hong Kong.”
“Our festival-exclusive dish is Black Pearls, which is a hamachi tartare with Kristal caviar from Kaviari and edible flowers and herbs. With the support of Kaviari, one of the first houses to adopt an eco-responsible approach to manufacturing wild caviar, we are able to keep up the excellent quality even at the festival. By adding our own grains of salt, the distinctive flavour of the hamachi complements the caviar at its best, bringing something different to our guests at the event.”
“For our Taste-exclusive dish, we actually combined the two most photogenic dishes on our menu, which are girasoli and truffle pasta, so we call it girasoli truffle – a ravioli dish with a sauce made of asparagus, mascarpone, ricotta and a fresh egg yolk inside each one. Topped with fresh truffle, the orange and round presentation of the ravioli resembles the sun – that’s why the dish is called girasoli, meaning ‘sunflowers’ in Italian. Since the festival is in March, we changed the ingredient on our original menu to asparagus to give a fresh note to it, which is all the more suitable for this springtime weather.”
“In Hong Kong, people judge the quality of a dim sum restaurant by the quality of the har gow, so we made lobster har gow our festival-exclusive dish to show people at Taste of Hong Kong our 'John Anthony' interpretation of this quintessential and much-loved Cantonese dish. We chose to do one with sustainably sourced lobster instead of the traditional shrimp filling, using rosé champagne to give a pink hue to the dumpling wrapper, which is our way of transporting the colours and atmosphere of our restaurant to Taste of Hong Kong. Our unique version of such a traditional Hong Kong dish really sums up John Anthony as a contemporary restaurant that serves authentic Chinese cuisine.”
In addition to making awarding-winning beer, local craft brewery Seven Brews’ mission is to raise awareness for the environment – the reduction of single-use plastic in particular.
With that in mind, Seven Brews founders Scott Andrews and Shiz Scott have teamed up with Craig Leeson, the director of environmental documentary A Plastic Ocean, to educate the world on reducing the use of single-use plastic. Seven Brews’ 7 Seas Pilsner was soon born – with an image of a pirate rubber ducky as its symbol, a portion of the sales of 7 Seas is donated to Leeson for his next plastic awareness campaign.
Craig Leeson, Global Chief Evangelist for Plastic Oceans and award-winning journalist and film-maker
The post with the most likes wins 365 bottles of Seven Brews beer – one year of brewskies if you hold yourself back to one a day (and no sharing)! The contest will run until the end of May, with the winner announced on 1 June 2019.
Tucked away on the third floor of Pacific Place, a new tenant has quietly moved into the space vacated by COVA (which has shifted to a floor below): LUMI, by Japanes echef Kihachi Kumagai.
Contemporary, spacious and light filled, the restaurant’s unassuming interiors belie Chef Kihachi’s storied pedigree. With 50 years of cooking experience, the chef’s culinary career has taken him all over the world, from Senegal, to Morocco, to Paris and back to Japan. The myriad of global influences reveal themselves with finesse in his creations and techniques, hence the concept of “borderless” cuisine on which LUMI prides itself.
The restaurant was impressively busy when I visited on a weekday afternoon (I was told that the set lunches and afternoon teas have already acquired a considerable following) to try out several dishes from the à-la-carte menu.
First up was the beef potage ($120) with shiitake slices, which looked deceptively simple considering how flavourful it turned out to be. The soup was served with herbed cream on the side; you can try the potage in its original clear form (a soothing, clean broth) or with the herbed cream (for additional richness) – both versions were delicious.
I also enjoyed the Kobe beef mignon ($280), served with spicy miso sauce, garlic cream, burdock root chips and asparagus. Beautifully plated with seasonal vegetables and sauces, the result was a careful balance of tastes and textures – a recurring, signature quality of Chef Kihachi’s creations.
One of my favourite dishes was the pan-fried Atlantic salmon ($240), served with onsen egg, potato and salad and lemon dressing. Lightly pan-fried for a crisp exterior, the salmon flesh was tender and well cooked, smoked with sakura wood from Japan for over two hours to achieve an additional dimension of flavour.
The spaghettini glacier ($220) would be perfect for warmer days and slightly more adventurous diners. Served with shaved asparagus ice, Hokkaido sea urchin, asparagus and onsen egg, the final result was unexpectedly creamy yet light and refreshing on the palate.
If you like seafood, you might want to try the sautéed Boston lobster ($400), which is prepared with Chef Kihachi’s secret recipe of some 13 spices for a deliciously aromatic finish.
Save some space for the white sesame blan manje ($90), which is reminiscent of a white sesame panna cotta, paired perfectly with black sesame, red bean, assorted fruit and topped with a crisp sesame biscuit.
Chef Kihachi has hand-picked 29 dishes for LUMI’s menu (from some 3,000 that he had originally considered), so it’s no surprise that the food here is refined and skilfully executed. Chef Kihachi has said that these are the dishes he personally likes to eat over and over again, and I can certainly see why this is the case – I’m already planning my return visit.
With the start of the new year comes the arrival of new dining concepts. We were recently invited to sample the new Aussie Grill by Outback™, the American brand inescapably known for its Australian-inspired chain of restaurants. Now, there are only two reasons that large restaurant chains undertake spin-offs to an already established brand: to offer something more high end or to make their brand more affordable and accessible. Aussie Grill has opted for the latter.
Aussie Grill sports a distinctly orange interior (not unlike the inside of a Fairwood joint)
Retaining the decidedly Australian-themed menu offered at a traditional Outback Steakhouse, Aussie Grill is essentially Outback Steakhouse lite. It offers a more wallet-friendly selection of the same curiosities – like the Bloomin’ Onion, for instance – alongside new creations. The restaurant puts great emphasis on each meal being freshly prepared and cooked, but at the price range of around $100–180 per meal, freshly made items ought to be expected.
Reminders of Australia are everywhere
Being a pilot programme of sorts, there is only one branch in Hong Kong. So if you find yourself nearby Metroplaza in Kwai Fong, Aussie Grill is an excellent alternative to the usual humdrum selection of restaurants one would expect to find at a mall.
Here are three items we tried on the menu that pleasantly surprised us:
Bacon Bomb ($98)
One of the aspiring signature dishes of Aussie Grill is the Bacon Bomb. Tired of dry beef patties and infatuated with the smoky flavour of bacon? The Bacon Bomb is a refreshing alternative to the classic cheeseburger. It has a juicy bacon patty with bacon onion jam, aged Cheddar and pickles and is topped with a generous dollop of aioli. The patty was nice and porky, well seasoned all the way. Together with the sharpness of the Cheddar and the sweetness of the jam, the Bacon Bomb really does implode in the mouth.
Impossible Burger ($108)
Here’s yet another alternative to the classic burger, this time a meat-free, vegetarian version. From past experience, most meat substitutes fail to conceal their true origins. However, the Impossible Burger surprised us by tasting uncannily meaty, almost like a real burger. That is as big a compliment an undercover veggie burger can get, and as a bonus, vegetarians won’t have to opt for salad. Again.
Peanut Butter Crunch Sundae ($48)
To top off your meal, have a heart-stopping, artery-clogging, sugary explosion of a sundae that alternates between layers of frozen milk custard, caramel and thick, creamy peanut butter – and we can assure you that they do not skimp on the PB – crowned with mini digestives and even more peanuts. What we have just described does, understandably, sound like overkill. However, the salt from the peanut butter worked wonders in taming the sugary sweetness from everything else, making this sundae balanced and highly palatable. It’s a steal.
If you have too much time for fast food but not quite enough for a three-course meal, Aussie Grill delivers on its promise to provide affordable fast-casual dining, while losing none of its Outback Steakhouse charm. Keep an eye out for new locations in HK in the future.
No need to hunt for the perfect Easter main course – we know how much of a hassle it is to make decisions like this. So we’ve sourced some delicious roasting cuts to (hopefully) inspire your Easter menu and kick off the holiday festivities. Impress your Easter brunch or dinner guests with a few of meatmarket.hk’s tasty meal ideas.
meatMasters will receive 15% off and regular customers will receive a 5% discount. Sorry, this offer cannot be used in conjunction with the meatRookie discount. To make sure you get the best deal, use the discount code EASTER2019 upon checkout.
meatmarket.hk is a customised online butcher and grocery service – cut to order, how you want it and when you want it. They support good ingredients that are produced locally and around the world such as hormone- and chemical-free meat items and sustainably sourced seafood with certifications.
meatmarket.hk has also created a space in their food factory to support and encourage FoodPreneurs looking to take that next step. Their co-share kitchen offers a generous commercial space to produce fabulous dishes and host product and cooking demonstrations, cooking classes, culinary workshops, private parties and more.
March is a wonderful time in Hong Kong for art lovers. Hong Kong Arts Month sees inspiring art initiatives and celebrations of both local and international artists all over the city.
Last year, Asia Society hosted its first-ever art after-party – and good times were had by all. This year, our artsy friends have stepped it up a notch by adding the groovy theme “Hong Kong in the 1960s”. All art lovers are called on to visit this iconic space for a night of live music from the 60s, nostalgic local snacks with a modern twist and free-flow drinks.
Food night market – enjoy poke from Pololi, crêpe cakes from Lady M, Hong Kong and Asian favourites such as satay, Chinese bao, local desserts and more!
True nostalgia in the from of traditional Hong Kong pastries from the 60s
Free-flow champagne for the first hour, red and white wines and customised Hong Kong craft beer thereafter
Live performances by young local talents Kessay Chan and Hattrick
Award-winning a-cappella star Kessay Chan will perform with his loop station to the tunes of the 60s. Last year, Chan won the 12th Gatsby Creative Awards, Music, to represent Hong Kong to compete in Tokyo with other Asia representatives. He was also the champion of the A Cappella Championships 2018, Loop Station, held in Singapore, and was named the SCMP Student of the Year 2014 – Performing Artist.
Hattrick is a busking band formed by three talented young people from The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups – Jockey Club Tin Yuet S.P.O.T. The members of this intergenerational band are each born in 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Hattrick will be performing 1960s Cantopop songs.
Date: Sunday, 31 March 2019
Location: Asia Society, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty
Enjoy the luck of the Irish by celebrating St Patrick’s Day with Happy Wednesday on 20 March 2019. The night will be filled with an Irish twist on food, beer, horse racing and music, with awesome prizes to win at Happy Valley Racecourse!
Irish band Dargle will be bringing down the Valley with their Irish spin on pop hits that will have your feet hopping and your fists pumping into the air all night long.
The bites, brews & giveaways
You’ve got to celebrate St Paddy’s Day with a pint of Guinness or Magners to get into the proper vibe. With every two pints of Magners purchased, you’ll find yourself the proud new owner of a pair of vivid green clover frames to wear with pride. And you’ll want to get the “darty party” started with a go on the dartboard, trying your aim to win yourself a tall Guinness hat or other great prizes with the purchase of a Guinness.
Here are some of the Irish eats to feast your eyes on and fill your tum with on the night:
Chicken pie ($55)
Irish lamb stew ($75)
Corned beef and cabbage egg roll ($60)
Baked Irish potato bites with corned beef and cheese ($58)
It wouldn’t be Happy Wednesday without their renowned #HappyWednesdayHK Best Photo Contest, where this week you could win round-trip flights to Bangkok! In partnership with Hong Kong Airlines, you can turn the luck of the Irish your way with a fun holiday by simply submitting your best photo from the night to Instagram with the tags #HappyWednesdayHK, #GoRacingHK, #HKAirlines and #WherePartiesBegin (set your Instagram profile to “public” so that we can see your photos). You could be jetting off on a trip to the Thai capital!
Exclusive offer for Foodie Club members
Enjoy free entry and a free beer when you register via the below link.
Soak in the harbour views at Lobby Lounge as you unwind over cocktails showcasing this artisanal and award-winning distillery from Ireland. Since 1782, the Teeling family have been crafting Irish whiskey. In 1782, Walter Teeling set up a craft distillery on Marrowbone Lane in The Liberties area of Dublin, commencing a 230-year-old tradition of distilling for the Teeling family. The latest generation of Teelings, Jack and Stephen, now carry on the family legacy with the Teeling Distillery, established in 2015 as the first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years. It is located a stone’s throw from their ancestral distillery in the heart of the Golden Triangle, Dublin’s historic distilling district.
Sabrina has chosen this distillery for her cocktail creations, explaining, “The essence of a cocktail lies in the spirit. For our new artisanal cocktails, I have sourced the flagship Irish whiskey in the Teeling family.”
The Teeling Whiskey used for the new cocktails is made with hand-selected casks, which are given an additional 6–9 months further maturation in ex-rum barrels in order to impart the extra character and distinctly smooth flavour unique to Irish whiskey. Bottling at 46% with no-chill filtration completes the creation of an Irish whiskey of true character.
Sabrina has created five cocktails with Teeling Whiskey. For further details, please click here.
Lobby, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, TST, 2313 2323
We’ve been watching a recent sci-fi show, The Crossing, about a group of people from the future who wash up on a beach baffled by their journey and this antiquated world in which they find themselves. It’s not a great show by any means, but one particular line uttered by one of the time travellers jumped out: “I heard they get their meat from actual animals here.”
This statement doesn’t even feel that rooted in science fiction anymore, but perhaps that’s our own plant-based echo chamber reverberating off the walls of the food industry. Our feeds, inboxes, newspapers and menus are filled with plant-based meats, milks and eggs, and people are embracing them.
We first wrote about Impossible Foods when they launched in Hong Kong last spring, choosing two high-visibility restaurants to get them off on the right publicity train, Beef & Liberty and Little Bao. It worked, and now they are available at over 150 different restaurants around town. We’ve heard from Beef & Liberty that sales are very good – in fact, at last year's Clockenflap music festival, they sold more of the Impossible Burger than they did their own beef burgers. Sure, it could’ve been the novelty factor, but either way, people were gunning to try it.
Now Impossible Foods have launched what they say is a new-and-improved version of the original, and this one’s also gluten free. We thought the first one tasted pretty good, so bring on 2.0.
We spoke with Nick Halla, Senior VP for International, who joined Impossible Foods as their first-ever employee and has helped to build the company to where it is now.
So, what’s new about the Impossible 2.0?
The new recipe is better in every way: taste, texture, nutrition and versatility.
The Impossible Burger 2.0 has 30% less sodium and 40% less saturated fat than the original recipe and just as much bio-available protein as 80/20 ground beef from cows. It is also kosher and halal certified, contains no animal hormones, antibiotics or cholesterol and has 0mg of gluten. We swapped out wheat protein with soy protein, which gives the product a better and firmer texture, including a meaty chew. In addition, we added sunflower oil and reduced the amount of coconut oil, bringing down the amount of total and saturated fat in the Impossible Burger. We also added cellulose, making the recipe juicier and easier to handle – whether raw or cooked.
The new recipe is also delicious in any ground meat dish, including stews, chilli, sauces, braises, minces, meatballs, meat pies, dumplings, dim sum or any other beefy menu item. It’s easy to cook on a BBQ, charbroiler, flat-top grill, high-speed oven, steamer, wok or sauté pan. Chefs can use the Impossible 2.0 in a variety of recipes, from lasagne to lo mein. It can be steamed, seared or sizzled on slats over an open flame, retaining its texture and juiciness throughout the cooking process.
Where in Hong Kong will it initially be served?
Impossible 2.0 will be rolling out into existing and brand-new venues starting on 1 March 2019. Amongst the first to serve the new recipe will be burger chain Triple O’s, Classified, Castelo Concepts restaurants and Aussie Grill by Outback. More will follow in March.
Is there a particular restaurant in Hong Kong that the first Impossible Burger is selling particularly well?
The Impossible Burger is proving incredibly popular with a wide range of our customers, but if I had to call out a few places where we’ve seen a particularly great response, they would be Beef & Liberty, Cali-Mex, Urban Bakery and Marco Polo Hotels.
How does Hong Kong compare to Impossible’s other markets in terms of selling and embracing it in different restaurants so far?
Hong Kong’s collective of discerning foodies and chefs are renowned and responsible for cultural and food trends all over the world. It’s one of our fastest-growing regions, with 150 venues soon to be serving the Impossible less than a year after launch. We’ve been amazed by how chefs here have created an amazing diversity of Impossible dishes over the past year, everything from stews, sauces, braises, minces, meatballs and meat pies to dumplings and dim sum.
Is there a certain sector of the public or type of cuisine that is proving a bit more resistant to embracing meat alternatives like Impossible that you’re keen to go after?
Impossible is blazing a new trail everywhere we go. There have been meat alternatives for decades, but they are just that – alternatives. Impossible is made from plants and the first and only product that competes head on with meat for meat lovers. Burgers are the first global category, and we’re seeing accelerating adoption in the US and Hong Kong. Impossible is earlier in our penetration into Chinese cuisine, and we are just starting to see adoption into mainstream Chinese dishes such as dim sum, dumplings and more.
We hear you’re launching in Singapore – what restaurants will start serving it there and will it be launched with 1.0 and 2.0?
Starting 7 March, Impossible Foods 2.0 will go on the menu at Park Bench Deli, Potato Head Singapore, Three Buns Quayside, Privé Orchard, Empress and Marina Bay Sands’ Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay, CUT by Wolfgang Puck and Adrift by David Myers. The restaurants will serve a wide variety of Impossible selections from Western and Asian gastronomy.
Will Impossible be launching in supermarkets soon?
We decided to first focus on restaurants because of the opportunity to tell the story of our mission and vision and to showcase the full versatility of Impossible. Hong Kong has more restaurants per square foot than any other city in the world and is located in a region that consumes more meat per capita than any other region in the world. It made a lot of sense for us to strategically focus on introducing Impossible through restaurants first, before expanding to other channels.
That being said, we have announced that we will be entering retail in the US in 2019, and our goal is to be mainstream, mass market – and available anywhere you can find meat from animals.
What’s next after the 2.0 release?
The long-term goal of Impossible Foods is to accelerate the switch to a sustainable food system, starting with the Impossible Burger and expanding to a range of delicious products, including pork, chicken, fish and dairy.
Our research team are making new recipes of Impossible every day, and the best version in our research is already better than 2.0. We’ll never be satisfied until every global consumer chooses Impossible. Finding a beef alternative was naturally our first goal given the environmental impact of scaled cattle farming.
However, the platform is designed to do anything animals do for food, but better. Our aim is to produce a full range of meat and dairy products for every region in the world, and we already have many early versions of other meat, fish and dairy products.