Top Tips: Chef Vicky Lau’s Guide to Hong Kong

This article is part of a guide to Hong Kong by FT Globetrotter

I was born and raised in Hong Kong until I was 15 when I moved to the United States for school, and I stayed to study at New York University. I had a career as a graphic designer, and before deciding to get into the culinary arts, I had hoped to return to Hong Kong to work with my sister in advertising.

But it’s a different path that brought me back to town. Following my training at Cordon Bleu in Bangkok, I returned to Hong Kong to work under the supervision of the chef Sebastien lepinoy with Michelin-starred grape variety. In 2012, I opened my restaurant, Dining room TATE, where I serve French inspired dishes with Chinese influences from my upbringing here.

As a chef, I love living and working in Hong Kong. We are spoiled with fantastic food and an innovative food scene, and the city itself is vibrant, exciting and energetic. Here, I’ve shared with you a mix of some of my favorite places to eat and drink, along with some suggested cultural activities, markets to visit and more.

Food drink

The diplomat

LG / F, H Code, 45 Pottinger STREET, Central, Hong Kong

The classic but innovative cocktails of the Diplomat are the perfect precursors. . .

.  .  .  with a homemade burger or pulled pork cubano

. . . with a homemade burger or pulled pork cubano

The diplomat reminds me of a good New York-style cocktail bar where you can enjoy classic drinks with an innovative twist. An evening here with friends is guaranteed to be a good time.

I’ve tried the entire cocktail menu (and everything is delicious) but my all-time favorite drink here is Tarling – pandan infused gin, white port, baking spices, clarified orange juice, and coconut water. It’s so refreshing and heartwarming.

The food offered goes well with the drinks menu. The Diplomat Burger is my favorite and is done properly with a good bread / meat ratio, and the Cubano Pulled Pork Sandwich has the tastiest and tastiest sauce.

Howard’s Gourmet

5 / F, CCB Tower, 3 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong

Howard's Gourmet private dining room

Howard’s Gourmet private dining room

`` Something I always want '': the restaurant's hot and sour noodle soup

“ Something I always want ”: the restaurant’s hot and sour noodle soup

AT Howard’s Gourmet, you will enjoy unique and distinctive modern Chinese cuisine in a warm environment. I love the way Chef Howard Cai creates light and refined dishes based on traditional ingredients and classics from Chiu Chow. The hot and sour noodle soup here is something I always crave – the base has a lot of depth and the acidity comes from the lemon, which is very refreshing. The crispy pork knuckle is also exceptional: perfectly juicy and chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside, demonstrating the skill and technique of the chef.

Yuen Kee Dessert

32 Center Street, Sai Wan, Hong Kong

Yuen Kee Dessert: A Hong Kong Foodie Destination Since 1885

Yuen Kee Dessert: A Hong Kong Foodie Destination Since 1885

His signature `` dessert soups '' include a sweet oriental herbal tea with hard-boiled eggs and lotus seeds

His iconic “ dessert soups ” include a sweet oriental herbal tea with hard-boiled eggs and lotus seeds © Tory Ho (2)

Yuen Kee Dessert, established over 130 years ago, serves thong sui, Cantonese Dessert Soups – sweet and hot soups or custard served at the end of a meal, prepared with a traditional stone grind. One you must try is the sweet mulberry mistletoe tea soup with lotus seeds and eggs – it’s such a classic dish but few places make it yet. The sweet almond and sesame soup is also delicious.

Cultural activities

Liang Yi Museum

181-199 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

A piece from Liang Yi's recent `` Under the Surface '' exhibition

A piece from Liang Yi’s recent “ Under the Surface ” exhibition

The museum is renowned for its collections of Chinese and European antiques

The museum is renowned for its collections of Chinese and European antiques

Liang yi is the largest private museum of design, crafts and heritage in Hong Kong. You can find world-class collections of Chinese and European antiques here. Its exhibitions are renewed every six months, and the themes are always well thought out and intelligently organized. The museum offers tours by appointment only, where you can interact with the exhibits in an intimate, boutique environment. This gives you a unique opportunity to understand the history, design and cultural significance of the collections.

Beauty

Spa INUF

21 / F Penthouse, MW Plaza, 40 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

INUF offers all-natural products

INUF offers all-natural products

In addition to a spa, the space includes a concept store

In addition to a spa, the space includes a concept store

INUF (I Never Use Foundation) is an environmentally conscious lifestyle concept store and spa that offers 100% herbal formulas. Its all-natural products are free from harmful chemicals and the packaging is minimal and made from recycled materials. B5 moisturizing gel is an important part of my daily routine.

The spa can be booked exclusively for private appointments, which is a great way to treat a partner, family member or friend for a special occasion. I also love to indulge myself with one of their facials or body treatments. My favorite is the English Rose Miracle, a facial treatment that helps soften and nourish my skin, and also includes a back massage.

Things to do

Lantau Island

Tai O on Lantau Island is one of Hong Kong's last remaining fishing villages

Tai O on Lantau Island is one of Hong Kong’s last remaining fishing villages

Tian Tan Buddha: one of the landmarks of the island

Tian Tan Buddha: one of the island’s monuments © Alamy (2)

Lantau Island, Hong Kong’s largest outer island, is well worth a visit for its beautiful beaches, landmarks such as the Buddha Tian Tan, unspoiled countryside and great bars and restaurants. For those who enjoy the outdoors, Lantau has a lot to offer, with stunning scenery to explore, waterfalls to see and summits to challenge you. Depending on where you’re coming from and what part of the island you’re heading to, Lantau Can be reached by ferry or MTR.

Tai O Fishing Village is one of my favorite places in Lantau. Famous for its traditional Chinese stilt houses, it is one of the few remaining fishing villages in Hong Kong. You can spend an entire day here exploring its small streets, enjoying fresh seafood and snacks, and taking photos. I recommend trying the street food from the old fashioned stalls, like the giant fish ball with chili sauce, the tofu pudding and cha guo (tea balls).

Ap Lei Chau Market

8 Hung Shing Street, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong

Fishermen bring their catch to Ap Lei Chau market

Fishermen bringing their catch to the Ap Lei Chau market © Alamy

Part of the wide range of seafood offered on the market

Part of the wide range of seafood on offer on the market © SCK / Hungry Onion

Wet markets are essential spaces for the Hong Kong community. Ap Lei Chau Market worth the detour. There is a pier right next door so you can find the freshest and best seafood selection here. The variety depends on the catch of the day, but is generally wider than in most wet markets in Hong Kong. I love to walk around to see what the sea has to offer and bring home fresh or interesting ingredients to create a new dish.

Vicky Lau is the owner and chef of Dining room TATE two Michelin stars in Hong Kong

What are your highlights in Hong Kong? Tell us in the comments

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