Food Glorious Food- Celebrating Hong Kong’s Michelin Star Restaurants

michelin_guide_hong_kong_macau_2015_press_conference_photo_1_high_resHong Kong’s plentiful restaurants and eating-houses are one of the city’s star attractions. Dining out is so ingrained in Hong Kong’s culture that outsiders often remark that Hong Kongers don’t like to cook at home and would rather eat out. This observation is incorrect for Hong Kongers are very passionate about food.  Hong Kongers throng the city’s wet markets and supermarkets daily as they try to source the freshest produce and meat. In fact; the city’s residents are adventurous, knowledgeable and opinionated diners who do not hesitate to share their ‘foodie’ views on the various streams of social media.

It is no wonder then almost every kind of cuisine finds a representation in Hong Kong. The city’s constantly evolving dining scene has drawn, several and world-famous names like Mario Batali, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and others to set up shop in the fragrant harbor. The world-renowned Michelin guide in 2009 launched its inaugural guide for Hong Kong and Macau. Since then the publishing of the guide has become an annual affair and in October 2014, Michelin released the Michelin Guide for Hong Kong and Macau 2015.

The Michelin inspectors use three main categories to award their coveted stars. Three stars for those eateries, which are exceptional and worth a special journey. Two stars for those restaurants that serve excellent fare and are worth a detour and one star for those restaurants that are very good in their category.

In addition to these star awards the inspectors also recognize a bunch of restaurants as ‘Bib Gourmand’. Restaurants categorized so offer quality cooking for an exceptional value of less than HKD 300 for a three-course meal sans drinks. Many popular Hong Kong restaurants feature in the category.

Beef and Liberty (a casual burger restaurant in Wan Chai), Chili Club (an established Thai restaurant in Wan Chai), Crystal Jade (Shanghainese cuisine in Wan Chai) and Din Tai Fung (Taiwanese Dim sum in Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui) are some of the much-loved names that feature on this list of 60-odd eateries. This ranking gives credence to the fact that it is entirely possible to find delectable and eats in Hong Kong without breaking the bank.

As for the much-desired Michelin stars, as many as 75 restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau earned them for the seventh edition of the guide. 60 of these restaurants are located in Hong Kong while l1 are in Macau.

Chefs who receive one or two Michelin stars always try to maintain their standards at the very least or then improve their standards in order to make the highest grade of three Michelin stars. These celebrated chefs fear a downgrade more than anything else. Luckily for the highest ranked restaurants in Hong Kong there was no change as compared to 2014.

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Three stars

Five Hong Kong restaurants namely Bo Innovation, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Lung King Heen, 81/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana and Sushi Shikon all retained their three stars rating for 2015. 

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is the Hong Kong outpost of celebrated French Chef Joel Robuchon.  While Sushi Shikon, a minimalist, 8-seat eatery housed in the nondescript Mercer Hotel in Sheung Wan is the first overseas venture of Tokyo Chef Masahiro Yoshitake. 

The restaurant was previously called Sushi Yoshitake like its similarly ranked Tokyo sibling. Sushi Shikon features an Omasake only menu, and its creations crafted with premium quality imported ingredients seem to justify their eye-watering high price tag.

If you are a fan of molecular gastronomy, then innovative chef Alvin Leung’s eatery Bo Innovation, located in a quiet corner of the J residence hotel in Wan Chai should be on your must-visit list.

81/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana located in a secluded corner of the Landmark building offers famed Chef Bombana’s exquisite modern Italian preparations, which feature seasonal delicacies such as white truffle. The restaurant is especially known for its top-notch wine list and inventive cocktail menu. Rounding up this marquee list is Lung King Heen, housed in the Four Seasons Hotel. Lung King is the first Chinese restaurant in the world to earn three Michelin stars. This elegant restaurant, which affords stunning harbor views, is renowned for its delectable dim sum dishes that showcase the best of Cantonese cooking.

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Two Stars

14 Hong Kong restaurants earned two Michelin stars this time around. Newcomers to this category, include Yah Toh Heen, The Principal, and Duddell’s.

Yah Toh Heen is a spectacular Cantonese restaurant housed in the Intercontinental Hotel in Kowloon. Highly experienced Chef Lau Yiu-Fai commandeers this harbor-facing restaurant and serves innovatively tweaked traditional fare including an excellent Peking duck.

The modern European restaurant, the Principal, occupies a quiet corner of the Star Street dining precinct. This sleek, modern restaurant under the tutelage of its executive chef, Jonay Armas serves a menu that features the finest ingredients sourced from around the globe and offers signature dishes like 63 Egg. A mention must also be made of the restaurant’s extensive, carefully curated wine list. A collection that features nearly 750 labels hailing from old and new wine-producing regions along with vintages that hark back to the turn of the century.

Duddell’s located atop the Shanghai Tang Mansion on Duddell Street is a Chinese restaurant that makes the grade. This expansive dining space encompasses a dining room, a salon, private rooms and an outdoor terrace. Its menu features several classic dishes such as Bird’s Nest, Abalone, Prawns Two Way and Scallops in XO Chili Sauce.

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One-Star

The Michelin inspectors awarded a total of 45 Hong Kong restaurants with a single star.  The list of these eateries includes three branches of the world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurant, Hong Kong’s famous export Tim Ho Wan and five branches of the consistently good Chinese eatery Lei Garden.

The list also includes Spoon by chef Alain Ducasse, which as a matter of fact lost a star this year as did the Chinese restaurant Ah Yat Harbour View located in the I square mall in Kowloon.

Newcomers to the one Michelin star category include NUR(Western fine dining at Lyndhurst Terrace), Akrame( a French restaurant in Wan Chai), CIAK(Chef  Bombana’s casual dining Italian eatery), Seasons by Olivier Elzer and Upper Modern Bistro.

Aside from the above-mentioned pricey offerings, the list keeping in tune with the diversity of Hong Kong’s vibrant culinary landscape also includes several modestly priced restaurants.  Kam’s Roast Goose, Yat Look and Ho Hung Kee, a rather nondescript noodle and congee restaurant located in bustling Causeway Bay all made the cut this time around. 


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