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
Age: 30
Neighbourhood: Sai Ying Pun
Occupation: Director of Ming Fat House, Bestbev, Shojo Distillers, Neonotic Cider

1. What is your life motto?

A line from my favorite poet Rabindranath Tagore: “The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has enough time.”

2. What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten in Hong Kong?

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.

3. Who is your role model?

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.

4. What was your first job?

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.

5. What is your drink of choice?

Michters sour mash on the rocks — a delicate bourbon that not many other distilleries make.

6. When was the last time you drove a car?

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!

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

A night owl — it’s one of the reasons that I got into the restaurant game!

8. Which phone app could you not live without?

LaLa Move – The app is a life saver when you need to organise and transport things for events, or move between restaurants.

9. What is the best thing in or about your apartment?

My Cathlove art pieces — she is a talented local artist who has a quirky style combining street art with anime.

10. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Carbonara, it’s so hard to find a good one in Hong Kong.

11. What do you hate most about living 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.

12. What is the top destination on your bucket list?

I’d love to go to Peru to experience the cuisine and try all the indigenous fruits and vegetables.

13. How often do you prepare your own meals?

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.

14. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Burgers from Honbo!

15. What is one movie everyone should see?

Recency bias – A Star is Born.

16. What is your typical Sunday like?

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.

17. Which moment in your life would you most like to relive?

The first time I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

18. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

Most likely Istanbul, the culture fascinates me.

19. What makes someone a real Hongkonger?

Anyone who calls Hong Kong their home!

21. If you could invite any five people in the world to your dream dinner party, who would they be?

– Neil Degrasse Tyson
– Mr. Lyan (Ryan Chetiyawardana)
– David Chang
– Lady Gaga
– Esperanza Spalding

21. What is one song you know all the lyrics to?

Stairway to Heaven

22. If you could banish someone from Hong Kong forever, who would it be?

Anyone who clips their nails in the MTR!

23. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? which do you wear the most often?

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.

24. Are you a good cook? What is your best dish?

It’d have to be the Cacio E Pepe that I make using fresh pasta.

25. What’s your favourite childhood memory?

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!

26. What is your unique party trick?

I never lose at beer pong!

27. If you had to describe Hong Kong in one word, what would it be?

Hypnotic.

Evelyn Lok
Associate Editor
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. At Lifestyle Asia she covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.