Traditional “Summer Specials” From Birthplace Of Cantonese Cuisine In Fine Dining Style At Lai Bun Fu
The seasonal specialties from Shunde on the Pearl River Estuary are showcased by one of the district’s modern-day master chefs, Chung Kin Leung, the former Head Chef at Hong Kong Government House.
Shunde’s legendary cuisine found international fame when spread by its amah domestic helpers famed for cooking like Michelin-star chefs when they emigrated to Hong Kong and Singapore. Chef Chung now continues that heritage of traditionally simple dishes with exquisite flavours, with a modern twist of immaculately elegant artistry at colonial-style Lai Bun Fu in On Lan Street, Central.
A famous hallmark of Shunde’s homely style is coming up with “101 ways” to cook banal ingredients in a tasty manner and several of the new specials exemplify this ancient culinary art – notably, fishcakes of“Pan-fried Minced Mud Fish with Lotus Root and Black Truffles” (HK$188), “Assorted Seafood Soup served with Papaya” (HK$278), “Fresh Chinese Yam with Preserved Plum and Hawthorn Sauce” (HK$98), and “Luffa with Preserved Vegetables” (HK$148), believed to “cool the body” during hot weather.
Seafood is another specialty of the Pearl River enclave and a summer appetiser staple from bygone days is “Shredded Shrimp and Sea Cucumber with Mixed Vegetables” (HK$188).
“Steamed Crab and Egg with Flat Rice Noodles” (HK$688) is flavoured with Hua Diao Wine Sauce, from the famous wine making city of Shaoxing. Alternatively, “Whole Fish” (HK$348) is traditionally braised and presented on a fresh lotus leaf, combining the scent of the summer water plant with Shiitake mushrooms. “Deep-fried Snapper” (HK$228) is served with a piquant lemon sauce.
Combining the old with the new, a modern twist on “Drunken Pigeon” (HK$168), traditionally soaked inHua Diao Wine, is instead marinated in Laphroaig Select Cask, one of the most richly flavoured scotch whisky. The specialty by Chef Chung is adapted in collaboration with Laphroaig’s 200th anniversary, and serves with a complimentary glass of Laphroaig Select Cask whiskey. This dish is available subject to reservations two days in advance.
Also included is a modern-day delicacy beloved in Chinese cuisine, “Iced Whole Abalone” (HK$188) in HuaDiao Wine.
Two refreshing cocktails named after Hong Kong’s iconic destinations are also on the new summer specialities menu – “The Peak” (HK$88), a seductive elixir of passion fruit and Chinese Hawthorn, and “The Junk” (HK$88), blending rose with lychee.
Lai Bun Fu derives its name from two Chinese phrases embodying its elegant culinary experience: “Lai Bun” meaning “refined hospitality” and “Fu” abbreviated from “xi fu”, meaning “Master”.
Designed in British-colonial Hong Kong style with a modern touch in an elegant 2,000 sq ft venue, the restaurant seats 52 guests with private dining for up to 12 guests. The VIP “Lai Bun Room” is framed in glass and brass, evoking an elegant English country house and garden.
Lai Bun Fu opens Monday to Friday, from 12:00 to 15:00 and 18:30 to 23:00; Saturday, from 11:30 to 15:00 and 18:30 to 23:00.
It is located at 5/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong. For reservations, please call (852) 2564-3868, or visit www.laibunfu.com for more information.