During his three-night run at Chefs Club in New York, Le Garçon Saigon chef Bao La shared some of his favorite spots in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is truly one of the world's greatest food cities. Chef Bao La of Hong Kong's Le Garçon Saigon, who is cooking at Chefs Club in New York for three nights this week, shared his tips for eating and drinking your way through his adopted hometown.
"Hong Kong is a really crazy city to come and eat in, but I always tell people to eat in Hong Kong what you just can’t get anywhere else. The city has a lot of extremes. You have your really good, fine dining restaurants, but you also have your super chilled out local scene as well. It's a little bit of both worlds."
Yat Lok, Central
For chef La, eating in Hong Kong is all about seeking out the specialties and eating dishes that are specific to the city. One of his personal favorites is the roast goose at this Central eatery. "My favorite place for roast goose is called Yat Lok," he says. "It’s a small place, but basically all they do is roast goose. That’s one thing I love about Asia, people’s shops are super specialized and they’ll just prepare one or two dishes really well. Yat Lok is a perfect example of that."
Chef La's ordering strategy: "I always tell people to get the leg, which is the best part of the goose. Since Yat Lok is so popular, everyone wants the leg, but the trick is ordering half of a goose since they then have to give you a leg by default. Also, if you order it with a noodle soup, ask for the goose on the side so that the super crispy skin doesn't get soggy in the broth."
Wing Wah Noodle Shop, Wan Chai
Chef La also swears by Hong Kong's egg noodles, which are often served with red rice vinegar. Lucky for him, one of the city's best noodle shops is just a few blocks away from his restaurant. "I go to a place called Wing Wah all the time for their bamboo noodles," he says. "They’re on the pricier side of noodles in Hong Kong, but the texture is super unique and very few places in Hong Kong still make them in the traditional way. The noodles have this really great texture from the alkaline they use, so they have that great bounce and that al dente feel. They also use duck eggs in their noodle dough, which gives it a different taste and balance."
Under Bridge Spicy Crab, Wan Chai
Once a simple dai pai dong (or street stall) found under a highway overpass, Under Bridge Spicy Crab is a favorite of visitors and chefs including La. "Under Bridge Spicy Crab is another place in Hong Kong you have to check out simply because you just can’t really get it anywhere else," he says. "It's super spicy, but if you're visiting Hong Kong for the first time, I definitely recommend it."
Ronin & La Cabane, Central
While chef La isn't much of a drinker these days, he stands by Hong Kong's reputation as a great drinking city. Two spots that he recommends in particular can be found just west of Le Garçon Saigon in the Central district. "I don't drink out too much anymore, but La Cabane has a bunch of natural wines that I really like," he says. "Also, Ronin has an excellent selection of Japanese whiskeys and they do a bunch of small nibbles of top-quality seafood."
Reservations are still available for chef Bao La's Wednesday & Thursday night dinners at Chefs Club. To book, go here.