How Art, Curation and Sustainability Inspired Hong Kong's New Culinary Scene
Yenn Wong, the restaurateur behind nine of the city’s most popular restaurants, tells us where to eat right now in Asia's World City.
Art Basel planted its flag in Hong Kong five years ago, and that really kicked off a period of transformation. Basel brought a lot of curators, gallerists and collectors to the city, which created an opportunity for people like me to open projects that this community would enjoy. Duddell’s (Level 3 Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell St, Central) is a great example: It’s a Michelin two-star Cantonese restaurant that does highly curated art shows three times a year.
But there are more subtle ways in which the art world—and the stylish, craft-obsessed values of the people it attracts—has left its mark on food culture in Hong Kong. High-end restaurants continue to thrive here, but we’re starting to see a move away from that formality.
Chef Uwe Opocensky gave up his position at the Mandarin Oriental to cook gourmet burgers at Beef & Liberty (23 Wing Fung St.), and Alain Ducasse closed his haute French concept Spoon at the InterContinental and replaced it with Rech (18 Salisbury Rd., Kowloon), a more casual seafood eatery.
People are also beginning to pay more attention to the foundation of delicious food, supporting small organic farms, rooftop agriculture and other local ventures. At Fish School (100 Third St., Sai Ying Pun), which I opened with chef David Lai, we take pride in the wild seafood we get from area fishermen.
The newly revamped Tate Dining Room & Bar (210 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan) also takes a sustainable approach, with a tasting menu that incorporates a lot of locally grown and sourced foods. From the art world to the restaurant space and beyond, there’s just a huge influx of new creative energy in Hong Kong. The scene is so incredibly vibrant and competitive right now, you could get spoiled with all the choices.” —As told to Christine Quinlan