Here’s what Author and Dining Expert Adele Wong has to say about the most exciting food destinations in the world.
For Adele Wong, Hong Kong is without a double one of the most exciting food destinations in the world. “It’s got a rich Cantonese heritage, and at the same time there’s a bit of colonial influence that manages to peep through,” she explains.
The culinary maverick made a name in this city’s dining scene as HK Magazine Dining Columnist. Working on her new book for over two years, Adelle launched Hong Kong Food & Culture: From Dim Sum to Dried Abalone in October 2016. The newly published book pays homage to Hong Kong’s fascinating food culture through the eyes of local artisans, restaurateurs and streetside hawkers.
Read about everything from cha chaan teng dishes, to the origins of dim sum, to traditional local medicine to wet markets. Other highlights of the book include classic Cantonese recipes like Ketchup Prawns and local food translations or a fully immersive journey.
1. Can you tell me about yourself and your background?
I was born in Hong Kong, but grew up in Toronto. I hold an engineering degree and came back for a job opportunity at an investment bank 9 years ago. Very early on, I switched career paths, venturing into the media industry and not looking back. I was an editor and also the dining columnist at the now defunct HK Magazine until last year, when I founded Man Mo Media, the publisher of online lifestyle website The Loop HK, and more recently, a hardcover book called Hong Kong Food & Culture: From Dim Sum to Dried Abalone.
2. What was the trigger to write about Hong Kong Food & Culture?
Having written extensively about the F&B industry in my former role as dining columnist for an English-language publication, I noticed that there was a bit of a gap in terms of coverage of the more traditional and local establishments. Also, I realised that this particular subset of the city was a bit difficult to access if you did not speak the language. I wanted to uncover all these lovely Hong Kong gems to a non-Cantonese-speaking audience in an easy-to-read, visually stimulating format.
3. How long did it take for you to put together?
The project from conception to finish took two years. But the actual putting together of the book took about a year and a half.
4. What are your top 5 places to eat in Hong Kong?
My favourite places to eat in Hong Kong change on a monthly basis — there is always so much going on. Right now, on the top of my list are:
1. Chau Kee in Sai Ying Pun
2. Mama Malouf in Kennedy Town
3. Siu Choi Wong in Sham Shui Po
4. Paradise Inn in Tai Kok Tsui
5. Man Sing in Tai Hang
5. How did you conduct the research for your book?
The restaurants, shops and stalls we interviewed and included in our book are mostly traditional establishments that have been around for years. We uncovered these establishments through researching traditional media channels, and word of mouth recommendations from friends and members of our team. Our incredibly talented translator and project manager Chan Sin Yan sourced and arranged the interviews for many of the establishments.
6. Did you discover anything interesting whilst putting the book together?
I have learned so much through this project. I realized how many dedicated craftspeople and food artisans there are in this city, and have just been overwhelmed by the diverse nature of the culinary scene in Hong Kong. It was really, really tough to try to cover it all in one book.
7. Any last thoughts on the F&B scene in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is without a doubt one of the most exciting food destinations in the world. It’s got a rich Cantonese heritage, and at the same time there’s a bit of colonial influence that manages to peep through. You never stop getting inspired, in a city like Hong Kong.
For subscribers and Hive members, Adele is offering HKD$30 discount off per book. Use the promotion code thehivehk at checkout on Man Mo Media.
Also published on Medium.