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Hong Kong’s Hot Cuisine!
By Echo Garrett

Long known for its wealth of shopping venues, Hong Kong has emerged over the last decade as a glittering star in the culinary world. This vibrant foodie paradise has tied New York City with seven three-star Michelin restaurants, and racked up 15 two-stars, 51 one-stars, and 78 Bib Gourmands. Most astonishing is that Hong Kong’s breadth of offerings from its 11,000-plus restaurants range from traditional street snacks, dim sum and Cantonese fare to Southeast Asian, Mediterranean, and lesser-known cuisines such as Scandinavian and Himalayan. No wonder its vaunted food culture is attracting world-class chefs!

Vasco Spanish Fine Dining/Isono Eatery & Bar www.vasco.com.hk

Whereas Hong Kong has long been known for its love affair with high-end French cuisine, a passion for Mediterranean is the current rage. Executive Chef Paolo Casagrande (from two Michelin-starred Lasarte in Barcelona) debuted his two new eateries – both designed by acclaimed Joyce Wang – in July. At handsome Vasco, choose modern Spanish cuisine from two tasting menus, one degustation menu or a seasonal tasting menu based on local organic ingredients. Downstairs you can experience the star Spanish chef’s creations at the more casual Isono where the Mediterranean kitchen turns out rustic, family-style dishes like homemade pastas and French stews.

Mott 32 www.Mott32.com

Despite the cheeky nod to New York City’s Chinatown’s main street, the focus for Chef Fung (a Hong Kong native formerly at the helm of the Michelin 2-star Dynasty) is squarely on classic Cantonese hits with a sampling of Sichuan and Beijing dishes. On the menu: Shanghai-style, slow-braised pork belly, Peking duck and Sichuan stir-fries. Chef focuses on farm-to-table ingredients and treasured recipes passed down through generations. Joyce Wang, winner of “2014 Wave of the Future,” designed the space in an old bank vault.

Seasons by Olivier E. www.seasonsbyolivier.com

Celebrated Chef Olivier Elzer, a 3-star Michelin chef formerly of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon and Pierre, opened his own contemporary stunner in the summer of 2014. Have cocktails on its Garden Terrace before tucking into Chef’s modern French-meets-Asian creations, which are works of art. The tasting menu is omakase-style – meaning you put yourself in Chef’s hands.

The Eight www.grandlisboahotel.com/dining-the_eight-en

For a dim sum lunch, try The Eight, a 3-star Michelin winner, where you can select from among 50 Cantonese dishes with a creative edge like abalone amuse bouche, goldfish shaped prawn dumplings and porcupine-shaped pork buns. At dinner in the dark and sexy dining room, most guests opt for the signature stir-fried lobster or baked sea whelk with crabmeat and diced chicken in Portuguese sauce echoeing Macau’s colonial past. Make reservations well in advance. (Parties of more than six must book a private room at an additional charge).

Amber (inside The Landmark) www.amberhongkong.com

Culinary Director Richard Ekkebus, who trained with decorated Dutch and French chefs, presides over a team of 52 chefs at this romantic winner of 2-star Michelin (six years running) and Pelligrino’s Best Restaurant in China. The menu heavily emphasizes fresh seafood, flown in daily. If you’re feeling decadent, save an evening for the Chef’s 9-course degustation menu with wine pairings.

Wagyu Takumi www.ginsai.com.hk/en/wagyu-takumi

Tucked away on a backstreet of Wan Chai, it’s one of Hong Kong’s new Michelin 2-stars. Make arrangements early to snag one of only a dozen seats at this intimate restaurant’s L-shaped bar. Innovative Chef Konishi’s Japanese and French influences shine through his high concept offerings. Try the fried (but tender) frog leg with watercress risotto and the teppanyaki abalone. Bonus: you’re seated inches away from the talented Chef in the open kitchen.

Little Bao www.facebook.com/littlebaohk

For a taste of traditional Cantonese cooking with a twist, stop by Chef May Chow’s casual, hip new Little Bao – a little difficult to locate, but worth it. The former Yardbird chef (who began by selling Momofuku-inspired Chinese burgers at street markets) deftly uses Thai, Japanese, and Cantonese ingredients. Ask Chef May for her recommendations, and don’t miss the deep fried green tea bao for dessert.

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