Hong Kong is a place brimming with talented and intriguing people. In 27 Questions, we get up close and personal with notable local personalities, learning about their whims, aversions, pivotal life moments, hopes and dreams — all revealed in roughly the same amount of time it takes to sit through a round of speed dating.
In this week’s edition of 27 Questions, we speak to Shakib Pasha: serial restaurateur and co-founder of Ming Fat House. Since its establishment in 2014, the group has made a name for itself by steadily opening a series of eclectic speakeasy concepts. Each Ming Fat venue is a den of whimsy hiding behind a secretive facade: Mrs. Pound is a theatrical burlesque-inspired bar hidden behind a locksmith; Foxglove, an opulent cocktail lounge (masquerading as an umbrella shop) that’s known for live jazz and aviation inspired interiors; Frank’s Library, a speakeasy-within-a-speakeasy hidden inside Foxglove; and Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour, a Knickbocker-esque “clinic” where the medication just so happens to consist of Hong Kong’s widest (and most creative) selection of G&Ts.
Although Pasha worked at local trading firm Shun Shing Group prior to co-founding Ming Fat House, the award-winning restaurateur has always been enthusiastic about F&B. To that end, a few years ago he founded BestBev — a stalwart of the Hong Kong craft beer retail scene. With additional gin and cider labels — Shojo Distillers and Neonotic Cider respectively — in the works, it’s clear that Pasha is a man for whom idleness is not an option. This week, he waxes lyrical on the Hong Kong F&B scene and where he finds inspiration.
Name: Shakib Pasha
Neighbourhood: Sai Ying Pun
Occupation: Director of Ming Fat House, Bestbev, Shojo Distillers, Neonotic Cider
A line from my favorite poet Rabindranath Tagore: “The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has enough time.”
The place that I often find myself going back to for an exceptional meal is at Ta Vie; I feel it sets the standard for innovation and refinement, combining technical precision and unique recipes to create very memorable meals.
My father. He started out with very little, but along with his two brothers managed to build a very successful business. A familiar immigrant story, he moved to Hong Kong with his siblings and their families for a better opportunity. They started a small trading firm which gradually evolved into a successful bulk commodities business that operates across the globe.
I interned at a satellite/bandwidth company while I was in high school. It was quite fun because I got to access the rooftops of various buildings in Hong Kong in order to inspect their satellites.
Michters sour mash on the rocks — a delicate bourbon that not many other distilleries make.
I drive all the time! Alas I’m a terrible driver so I try to only drive at night when there aren’t too many cars on the road!
A night owl — it’s one of the reasons that I got into the restaurant game!
LaLa Move – The app is a life saver when you need to organise and transport things for events, or move between restaurants.
My Cathlove art pieces — she is a talented local artist who has a quirky style combining street art with anime.
Carbonara, it’s so hard to find a good one in Hong Kong.
Hate is a strong word, but I do feel there’s a lack of support for creative endeavours here and a lack of appreciation for anything old.
I’d love to go to Peru to experience the cuisine and try all the indigenous fruits and vegetables.
I prepare my own meals every day. For breakfast, I usually do charcuterie and cheese from Monsieur Chatte, a sourdough baguette from Levain Bakery and local farm fresh eggs.
Lunch is homemade hummus or other dips alongside Levain breads (check out Cardamom and Tea’s IG for recipes). And for dinner I love to go through cookbooks: I’m currently on Nadine Levy Redzepi’s Downtime.
Burgers from Honbo!
Recency bias – A Star is Born.
I usually try to do a fun activity and explore the city on Sundays. Last Sunday I went on an MTR Line Tour with my friends where we stopped at every station on the green line and went to one famous site or restaurant. It’s a great way to see parts of Hong Kong you’d rarely otherwise visit. Typically, my day starts off with a search for new music and creating some playlists. Afterwards, I meet my friends for brunch, get in a game of basketball, and watch a movie or play board games with my family.
The first time I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Most likely Istanbul, the culture fascinates me.
Anyone who calls Hong Kong their home!
– Neil Degrasse Tyson
– Mr. Lyan (Ryan Chetiyawardana)
– David Chang
– Lady Gaga
– Esperanza Spalding
Stairway to Heaven
Anyone who clips their nails in the MTR!
I own around 25 pairs of shoes. I’m a big sneakerhead, I love collecting collaborations and anything else I find interesting. My latest purchase was a pair of original Jordan 1s. I tend to wear my Adidas NMD x United Arrows the most nowadays.
It’d have to be the Cacio E Pepe that I make using fresh pasta.
My favourite memory was watching Saturday morning cartoons. I actually learned English by watching TV — my favourite cartoons were Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
I never lose at beer pong!