Hong Kong’s melting pot of cuisines means that whether you’re in the mood for ramen or curry, pork buns or pizza, you never have to travel far to fix your cravings. This week, we’re taking a jaunt around Southeast Asia — from South Indian-inspired curries to a spicy miso ramen guaranteed to snap you out of the winter lull. And for a solid reason to visit an old fave, don’t miss a Michelin-starred pop-up from chef Anita Lo, who arrives bearing culinary gifts of hairy crab chawanmushi and foie gras dumplings aplenty.
Anita Lo at Ho Lee Fook
A Michelin-starred takeover is set to take place at funky Cantonese kitchen Ho Lee Fook this month, as chef Anita Lo descends into the Fragrant Harbour for one night only on 29 January (get your tickets before they sell out here). The Chinese-American chef (named one of Food & Wine magazine’s ‘Best New Chefs in America’ in 2001) made her stamp in New York City with dumpling bar Rickshaw and fine dining spot Annisa; translating to ‘women’ in Arabic, the latter was as much a showcase for Lo’s unique culinary voice as it was a platform for her to inspire other female chefs around the world.
While Lo has long been in the spotlight — she’s an avid cookbook author and famously beat chef Mario Batali on the first season of Iron Chef America — her charm is her down-to-earth demeanour, parlayed into a menu flooded with multicultural flavours and references. Uninhibited by boundaries, her style is a seamless fit for the similarly eclectic kitchen at Ho Lee Fook. Guests of the pop-up can expect a greatest-hits menu to include signatures such as hairy crab, uni and black truffle chawanmushi, strawberry tofu custard and her famous foie gras soup dumplings. The 5-course tasting menu at Ho Lee Fook is priced at HK$788 plus 10% surcharge per person.
Ho Lee Fook, G/F, 1 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2810 0860
Lunch lands at Daarukhana
The Indian food scene in Hong Kong has seen a distinct shift in tide in recent years, graduating beyond simple, straightforward curry houses to refined, contemporary kitchens putting a modern spin on familiar Indian fare. The latest to join the bunch is the stylishly outfitted Daarukhana, which serves adventurous regional Indian dishes with touches of European influence.
This month, Daarukhana is drawing in the Wan Chai lunch crowd with an all-new Chef’s Special lunch set including a small plate, main, accompaniments, optional dessert and complimentary drink, priced at a wallet-friendly HK$138 per person. Available from Monday to Friday, the lunch set kicks off with the popular shakarkandi & papdi chaat, a fragrant mix of roasted sweet potatoes, fried flour crisps, yogurt and tangy tamarind chutney. With your appetite whetted, dive into the main course, Chilean sea bass moilee — an arrangement of lemon and curry leaf marinated sea bass slathered in a South Indian bean mix and coconut curry; or, opt for the crow-pleasing chicken tikka masala, paired with roasted papadums, spicy daal and fluffy naan breads. Cap off the meal with the chef’s choice of dessert for just HK$18 additional per person.
Daarukhana, G/F and 1/F, Tai Yip Building, 141 Thomson Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2771 1112
Sapporo-style spicy miso ramen
Made your way through our list of the best ramen bars in Hong Kong yet? Don’t pack away your soup spoons and chopsticks just yet — there’s a new ramen flavour making a splash this month, courtesy of Hokkaido import Ebisoba Ichigen. Known for their famous amaebi, or sweet shrimp soup base, this tried-and-true favourite has just launched a new Hong Kong-exclusive item: the spicy miso ebisoba, an instant winter warmer to get you through the last dregs of cold weather.
Each bowl is cooked to order, starting with the fragrant base of shrimp oil, minced garlic and ginger swished around in a searing wok. The aromatic base is boiled with shrimp and pork bone broth for a thick and unctuous soup, with the core ingredient, a homemade miso, adding the final, spice-heavy dimension to the soup. Ebisoba’s ramen bowls are topped off with thick and pliant noodles, char siu pork, a half-boiled egg, spring onions and crispy shrimp tempura bits plus shrimp powder for a double dose of umami.
Ebisoba Ichigen, Shop OT G59, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3105 1199 (also available at the Wan Chai location)