Fierce Traveler Scott Goetz serves up the insider’s guide for foodies in Asia’s world city. Read the article on our blog and in the debut issue of Quest Magazine.
For more than 150 years Hong Kong has embraced her colonial role as the world’s gateway for Westerners heading East. Now, for the first time, China is experiencing booming wealth, and the tides have opened to the West with a flood of vacationers hungry for international luxuries. Hong Kong is embracing her new era by graciously playing the part of the energetic host who welcomes her guests to revel in the cultural explosion of the arts, architecture and food.
This new appetite has unleashed an East-meets-West cultural clash of tidal-wave proportions. Nowhere is this confluence of cultures more evident or enjoyed than in the restaurants, where a total of 63 Michelin stars shine bright on the plates being served under skyscraper roofs.
With so many celebrated chefs inspired by international fusion, a creative competition has broken out into a citywide foodie fight to claim the best culinary dining experience in Asia. The most alluring and creative epicurean adventures can be found in the luxury hotels, which have the brand resources to arm chefs with the finest ingredients flown in from around the globe, host multiple award-winning restaurants under their roofs and offer experiential culinary journeys.
Top venues often have months-long waiting lists. The best way for lucky luxury travelers to savor these exhilarating food experiences is to contact their trusty operators—who have direct access to the insiders with eyes in the kitchens, ears in the bars and the taste to know when to strike that booking while the kitchen is still hot. Here is a quick bite of what to expect, and the secrets that make all the difference.
Peninsula Hong Kong
For the culinary take on Hong Kong’s golden era with the biggest wow factor and a thrilling twist, book the Peninsula’s Fly and Dine program. Depart from the hotel’s Clipper Lounge on the 30th floor for a 15-minute helicopter flight over the city, followed by a meal in one of the dining venues. The eight-course culinary journey starts with Grand Peninsula cocktail and canapés at The Bar, followed by a six-course Chinese dinner in Spring Moon, or a three-course dinner in Gaddi’s, with dessert and coffee at Felix. As a bonus, book the Art of Tea Appreciation class at Spring Moon.
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Deep in the Mandarin, the unmarked Krug Room boasts the status of most private dining room in Hong Kong. And it’s one of the city’s great culinary secrets. In the newly renovated, dining-car-like room, the menus are only presented after chef Uwe Opocensky’s fast-moving kitchen delivers 10 to 14 courses of molecular gastronomy. For this year’s 50th anniversary, dishes inspired by the 1960s included fruit loops made of vegetables in chicken broth, Julia Child’s beef bourguignon and Baked Alaska—all accompanied by Krug bubbly.
The Upper House
Dinner becomes experiential when you venture into the streets of Hong Kong with Michelin-starred chef Gray Kunz who takes you out of the hotel for a journey to the city’s famous wet markets to source local ingredients for a meal at Cafe Gray Deluxe, located on the top floor of HK’s cool kid on the block, The Upper. The lobster you picked makes a mean Cobb salad, accompanied by a watercress ginger broth with steamed garoupa that captures the subtle taste of the sea. Join the local glitterati for the monthly fireside chats. Booking ahead includes champagne in the bar or your bath and a Lexus limo transfer.
InterContinental Hong Kong
The InterContinental is the only venue in the city with three different Michelin-starred restaurants. Try not to crack under pressure when you apply some of the well-guarded techniques that won SPOON by Alain Ducasse its two Michelin stars when you take the class Cooking with the Culinary Stars. Or just leave the cooking to the experts and book SPOON’s Chef’s Table where Chef Philippe chats with the guests to find out their preferences before creating an amazing customized menu, which they watch the kitchen prepare from their glass box seats.
Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
The revelry starts in the elevator as you shoot up 118 floors to the highest bar in the world, OZONE, with views over Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong Island. Expect fun yet serious mixology by Teresa Moon, whose signature cocktails include the Basili (gin, basil, green apple, lime and yuzu) and a Thai Spritz (chili-infused tequila with lemongrass, blackberry and chili foam), which pair nicely with the haute watering hole’s Asian tapas. Teresa will also shake up the essence of you in a glass. Ask her to name it and you score the ultimate bar bragging right.
Four Seasons Hong Kong
Word is spreading about the new Caprice cheese bar at Four Seasons. Velvet sofas and carved wood paneling welcome guests into a sumptuous, sexy space. Then you can relax with a rare wine paired with cheese flown in from France. Along with unusual Caprice Bar, the Four Seasons is the only hotel to contain two threestar Michelin restaurants, and one of the most authentic fromagerie experiences in Hong Kong. Enjoy artisanal unpasteurized cheeses that are flown in every week by cheese connoisseur Jeremy Evrard, who sources them from the contacts he made while working at Le Cinq at Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris. Pair the cheese with a wine from Caprice’s expansive list and a brilliant charcuterie board from chef Vincent Thierry.
For more information about adding Hong Kong to your itinerary, contact your Travel Professional or visit us online at www.kerdowney.com. To read the current issue of QUEST magazine online, click here, and be sure to stay up to date on all of QUEST’s online content by following the QUEST Facebook page.