These foodie experiences are a must if you find yourself in this vibrant Asian city.
Hong Kong is full of surprises. So much more than the bustling, neon-lit streets that the city is associated with – more than 40 per cent of the city's land is made up of parklands – it is a complete sensory delight, with sights, sounds, smells that are uniquely its own. Chinese traditions collide with British influences in this colourful, pulsating city, and nowhere else is this more evident than in its culinary offerings. From Michelin-star rated hole in the wall restaurants, to the ultimate in European sophistication, and home restaurants (where home cooks open up their kitchens for small groups of people to sample authentic food), the gastronomic landscape here is varied, to say the least. Whether you’re in Hong Kong for a week or are passing through on a short stopover, here is our pick of what to tick off your list.
If you want to try authentic, traditional Cantonese in an elegant setting, look no further than the Michelin starred T’ang Court restaurant, at the Langham hotel. With its lavish décor – think silk drapes and contemporary art on display – you are guaranteed a dining experience as opulent as the renowned ruling dynasty the restaurant is named after. Expert chef Siu Hin Chui is at the helm of the kitchens, which serves up a vast menu (it is 12 pages long!) featuring delicacies like Stewed fresh abalone with Beche-de-Mer and black mushrooms and Cambodia noodles with shredded duck, black mushrooms and preserved vegetables in soup, utilising only the freshest produce and time-tested cooking techniques. You will find plenty of delicious options that you are familiar with, but if you're adventurously inclined, then you won't be disappointed with everything from snake soup to fried pig's ear on offer! In spite of the refined status of the restaurant, you will get good food served in a fuss-free manner – with sharing encouraged – guaranteeing an authentic experience. Visit www.hongkong.langhamhotels.com for more.
Street food is probably the best way to explore any Asian city’s culinary offerings, and Hong Kong is no exception. While you’re sure to get the tempting aromas of stir fries and dim sum wafting through most streets of Kowloon and Central, make your way to SoHo, the nightlife hub of the city, for an unforgettable night of food and drink. Start with an authentic home-style meal at the Zhong Guo Song Chinese restaurant (6, Wo On Lane, Central. Tel: 28104040) – a tiny outlet with three tables cramped in at best, where you won’t mind bumping against your neighbour each time you turn, because the food is just to die for. Whether it’s a simple broccoli stir fry, or an assortment of dim sum, the simple, hearty, fresh flavours will keep you coming back for more. The super-affordable prices will leave you enough to splash out on a bar-hopping spree across SoHo’s numerous bars – from Irish pubs to edgy lounges with live bands – which spill out on the narrow streets that cling on to the hillside (the best way to get here is via the Mid Levels escalator, once renowned as the world’s longest) with crumbling commercial and residential buildings precariously teetering at its edges. Popular with western expats and tourists alike, SoHo offers a fun, unpretentious experience that you shouldn't miss.
An excellent example of the influence the British have had on the Hong Kong culture is the popularity of afternoon teas. Many leading hotels offer their versions of it, but the Peninsula Afternoon Tea is something of an institution in the city. You will find queues stretching across the lobby of this prestigious hotel every afternoon, so booking ahead is necessary. With the plush yet understated ambience instantly transporting you back to another era, the ritual of afternoon tea, served by white-gloved waiters naturally, includes choices of different teas and an array of sandwiches, cakes and pastries on a three-tier tray and fine silverware. A real holiday indulgence!
Where to stay: The Langham, Hong Kong is a luxe, urban oasis in the heart of Kowloon, that offers a tranquil sanctuary in a central location, just minutes from the Victoria Harbour, with easy access to the ferry terminal. The landmark hotel, part of the Langham group which opened Europe’s first grand hotel in 1865, exudes opulent sophistication with exquisite design and attention to detail in every space, from the inviting lobby to the ultra-luxurious rooms – which come kitted out with all conceivable mod cons. A suite booking also includes access to the Langham Club, a gorgeous haven of relaxation where you can breakfast in privacy, catch up on emails, or grab a cocktail for sundowners, in a designer setting surrounded by artisan furniture and carefully curated artworks. Room rates start from HKD3,650 (approx. Dhs1,730), visit www.hongkong.langhamhotels.com.
How to get there: Cathay Pacific offers convenient direct flights from Dubai
and Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong. Book in for a business class flight (which is surprisingly affordable, with prices starting from around Dhs7,500), to enjoy flat bed seats and personalised service. Visit www.cathaypacific.com.