Chef concierge • October 2017
The Toronto-born chef has been a rising star on Hong Kong’s culinary scene since she opened Little Bao in 2013. Meantime, her innovative steamed burger buns have gained a cult status, and in 2017 The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards named her Asia’s best female chef. Here, she shares her top tips for eating out in her hometown
Breakfast spot worth getting up early for
I love the pancakes at The Upper House hotel’s Café Gray Deluxe. They have other great choices too, but their fluffy pancakes are the best. The 49th-floor restaurant has amazing views over Hong Kong Island, and the lighting is incredible: in the morning, it helps to wake you up.
Weekend brunch worth battling the queues for
Belon (pictured) on Elgin Street is a refined spot for Sunday brunch. The tasting menu includes everything from oysters and sashimi-style dishes to a roast chicken and lots of natural wine. I try to save it for special occasions with friends, but usually end up going once a month.
Best ‘grab-and-go’ snack?
Sheung Wan’s Dim Sum Square is like Tim Ho Wan – the famous, super-affordable Michelin-star eatery with ridiculous queues – but better. It’s known for its baked char siu buns. Order the crispy spring rolls, spinach shrimp dumplings and the siu mai – it usually all comes in under HK$80 (£8).
Local independent that deserves to stay in business
Stained-glass-windowed Mido Café in Kowloon’s Yau Ma Tei is an institution. It looks the same as it did when it opened in the 1950s, and serves the original French toast and milk tea.
Hip hangouts where children are welcome
Kids love Little Bao: we serve bao burgers (pictured), ice-cream sandwiches and fries. They also love the interaction of watching the chefs cook in the open kitchen – plus the stickers and Little Bao T-shirts to go.
Lunch spot for taking care of business
It has to be Mott32. The interiors – by Hong Kong interior designer Joyce Wang – are stunning, and the service is excellent. The Chinese food is quite traditional – think Peking duck and dim sum – but it’s all perfectly executed. It’s an impressive experience for out-of-town visitors and is conveniently located in the business district.
Where to impress on a date
Foxglove on Duddell Street is a speakeasy hidden behind an umbrella store. Twist the umbrella and you’ll find yourself in this old-school jazz club. My favourite signature cocktail is the Mizuwari: Yamazaki 12-year-old whisky with plum wine, chocolate bitters and plum soda.
A reliable place for a pre-dinner drink
The Old Man (pictured) on Aberdeen Street is inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and owned by Agung Prabowo, former bartender at Hong Kong Island’s Shangri-La hotel. Hidden in an alley, it has a secret feel, with only 20 seats. Plus the bartenders serve only classic drinks that Hemingway would have, like Old Fashioneds.
Foodie souvenir of the city to take home
Definitely some Yu Kwen Yick hot sauce. It’s the chilli sauce offered at Mak’s Noodle, an iconic Cantonese restaurant known for its wonton noodle soup, and is sold only in Hong Kong. Think of it as HK’s version of sriracha.
Dining experience worth leaving town for
Sun Hon Kee in Fanling, New Territories, does some of the best Hakka-style Chinese food. It’s all in the ingredients, which are brought fresh every day from the markets. Something unassuming such as fried squid and red onion turns out to be a sublime dish created with the sweetest red onion and the blackest squid ink. Whenever I take friends, they ask me if I can take them again.
May Chow is owner and chef behind Little Bao and Happy Paradise
Interview by Cathy Adams