The inaugural Taste of Hong Kong presented by Standard Chartered welcomed 14,683 foodies between the 10-13 March on the Central Harbourfront. The ultimate dining experience offered a casual, interactive outdoor environment where festivalgoers sampled signature and unique to festival dishes from restaurants Aberdeen Street Social, Amber, Arcane, Bibo, Café Gray Deluxe, CHINO, Duddell’s, Serge et Le Phoque, The Ocean, Tin Lung Heen, Tosca, Yardbird and RŌNIN, and visiting UK restaurant Duck & Waffle. Masterclasses, cooking demonstrations, premium beverage tastings, lounges and culinary based interactions across the six sessions meant that many Hong Kongers returned for a second serving.
The chefs, the culinary stars of the show, were all delighted with the turnout and their experience at the event.
Chef Shane Osborn (Arcane) said of the festival, “I’ve been lucky enough to do four Taste Festivals in London and one in Perth, Australia, but this festival has blown me away – the weather conditions weren’t ideal but people here are loving it. There’s this kind of we don’t care it’s a Festival, it’s a party attitude, and we’re here to enjoy it. We’ve had such a great reaction, the excitement and the feedback has been phenomenal. I knew Hong Kong people would like Taste but they’ve really gone for it and it’s been an incredible turnout.”
Chef Paul Lau (Tin Lung Heen) who was selected by his fellow chefs to win the Stella Artois Legacy Award honouring his achievements and presence in the industry at the Best In Taste Awards, said, “Taste of Hong Kong was a very attractive event for Hong Kongers; they got to personally meet Chefs from different cultures and sample their cuisine.”
Chef Richard Ekkebus (Amber), who won Best Dish at Taste of Hong Kong for his Duck ‘a la Royale’ said, “It was great that all the Chefs were there, creating a real sense of community which doesn’t often exist in Hong Kong as everyone’s busy running their own businesses. We got to know everyone better at the Festival and I think that it makes us a better food city moving forward.”
Chef Chris Whitmore (Aberdeen Street Social) said, “It was so exciting to do a service for 3,000 people as it’s something we don’t normally do in the kitchen. My colleagues got out of the kitchen and into another environment, where they were seeing and interacting with other people’s food. Super exciting – I loved it.”
Chef Mutaro Balde (Bibo) said, “Hong Kongers came out in force to discover what Taste is all about – and they loved it. From the food itself to the atmosphere, people and service, it was a great surprise to see how many people came. I wasn’t expecting so many people or such a high level of excitement because of the weather, but people came and everyone had a good time. I can’t wait till next year!”
Five fun facts from Taste of Hong Kong (across 10-13 March):
There were six sessions over the course of four days
The top three dishes were Café Gray Deluxe’s Masala Veal Cheek, Duddell’s Pan Fried M9 Wagyu and Tin Lung Heen’s Barbequed Iberian Pork
5,500 dumplings were served up by Tin Lung Heen & Duddell’s
4,000 desserts were savoured by those with a sweet tooth
Over 1,000 sea urchin dishes were served by Amber as Hong Kong diners were snapping up the last chance to enjoy the dish before it comes off their menu in May
CHINO’s Crispy Fish Tacos were a firm favourite of Taste of Hong Kong festival goers
Festivalgoers also enjoyed activities including cooking demonstrations by world class chefs at the Bosch Taste Theatre and Marriott Kitchen; exclusive masterclasses, wine and sake tastings at Laurent Perrier Champagne Bar, Wynns Coonawarra Estate “Make Your Own Blend” wine experience, and Sunday’s Grocery ‘Sake Bar’. On-site live music was served up by Cabana and San Pellegrino andDeliveroo’s games provided family entertainment. With all the senses stimulated, discerning Hong Kongers enjoyed access to world class cuisine across the festival, took a break in the Stella Artois VIP Lounge, Standard Chartered Priority Banking VIP Lounge, Etihad Airways area and THE CLUB’s members’ lounge.
Taste of Hong Kong is organised by IMG. With 22 restaurant festivals around the globe, including Paris, London, Rome, Dubai, Sydney and Cape Town, IMG selected Hong Kong as its first destination in Asia recognising the city’s exceptional food culture and wealth of culinary talent.
The Hamachi Carpaccio dish from Arcane
Simon Wilson, Event Director, IMG Culinary Asia, said; “We have been delighted with the response of Hong Kongers to Taste of Hong Kong and as we wrap up the four day event I’d like to thank the chefs and restaurants for their support and hard work, they are the culinary stars of the festival serving exquisite food for thousands of diners to enjoy. Also, a big thank you to our presenting partner, Standard Chartered and all of our sponsors and artisan producers for being a part of this celebration. The city’s F&B community is thriving, dynamic in nature and wonderfully supportive of one another. There’s a real sense of community amongst the hospitality industry in Hong Kong. We look forward to seeing you all in 2017.”