Sushi with Hong Kong caught fish, a ‘flight’ of barbecue pork from three places – food highlights we’ve enjoyed

At his eponymous sushi bar, Leung – taking a cue from sushi bars in Japan – has copies of Hong Kong Market Sea Fish by Keith Lai (a fish enthusiast and expert) to educate diners about the fish on his menu, which is sourced from local supplier Davey Wong.

Nigiri might include threadfin, lightly torched to bring out the fragrance of its oily flesh; there is also springy orange-spotted grouper, aged for a few days for a more tender texture.

Mantis shrimp, a sweet shellfish normally cooked typhoon shelter style and hidden under a blanket of fried garlic and chilli, is laid bare here, served only with a light daikon and yuzu-scented sauce.

A copy of Hong Kong Market Sea Fish by Keith Lai at Sushi Zinc. Photo: Charmaine Mok

Leung does not – nor could he – exclusively use Hong Kong seafood, but that is fine. It is a great beginning, kick-starting a conversation about the possibilities of local seas.

Sushi Zinc, Shop A1, G/F, Pak Ling Mansion, 5-11 Miu Tung Street, Shau Kei Wan

After some offal news, the good news

Fortunately, I was able to visit Hung Kee in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island with a fellow noodle-loving friend shortly before its sudden hiatus earlier this May.

Its owner, known affectionately as Hung Jai, announced on Instagram last week that he would have to close the restaurant until further notice because he needs time to recover from a hand injury and subsequent surgery.

Because closures of beloved local restaurants are just far too common these days, the post promised that Hung Kee is not closing because of the all-too-frequently heard reasons like rent increases or retirement. Hung Jai insists that he will reopen the shop no matter what once he is cleared to work again.

Hung Kee is known for its fresh beef offal noodles, carefully prepared – a very labour- intensive process of cleaning is involved – and served in a light, yet umami-rich broth. Its beef brisket curry macaroni is also a satisfying bowl, as well as the pan-fried cheung fun with its crisp exterior and tender, yielding heart.

In the meantime, Hung Jai continues to post updates on his journey to recovery, and photos of him visiting friends in the food and beverage industry. We wish him a speedy one, because many are missing their noodle fix.

Hung Kee, Shop B2, 6 Heard Street, Wan Chai

Pan-fried cheung fun with egg at Hung Kee. Photo: Charmaine Mok

How much do I love char siu? Let me count the ways

A Chinese-American food writer I respect a lot was passing through Hong Kong, and his request was for some proper Cantonese cuisine, and specifically glutinous rice done traditionally – read, stir-fried from raw grains, which is something not many restaurants have the patience to do these days.

We ended up at Hong Kong Cuisine 1983 in Happy Valley, which is fast becoming my go-to whenever anyone is in the mood for solidly executed dim sum and traditional Cantonese courses done properly without short cuts.

Chef Silas Li did not disappoint – our guests were enamoured with the pristine dumplings, and the al dente grains of sticky rice studded with preserved Chinese sausage.
A char siu flight featuring pork of three different origins at Hong Kong Cuisine 1983. Photo: Charmaine Mok

Another show-stopper was the “flight” of char siu, which presented us with pork of three different origins – Hong Kong, Japan and Spain.

Kurobuta pork from Kagoshima, Japan (which is from the British Berkshire pig) and Iberico pork are often listed on high-end menus serving char siu, but hand on heart I did prefer the local option, which had what I considered a better fat-to-meat ratio and porky flavour.

I might need to go back and retest the hypothesis, though.

Hong Kong Cuisine 1983, 1/F, Elegance Court, 2-4 Tsoi Tak Street, Happy Valley


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