+ Alain Ducasse
In Hong Kong, Alain Ducasse, the only chef to have been awarded three Michelin stars in three different countries, sits down with PAUL EHRLICH for some table talk
Published on Jan 18, 2011
How to select just one place in a city with so many options? Hong Kong lives for food, whether sitting at table in a sophisticated venue or enjoying local cuisine from a dai pai dong (small street-side eatery). I find the choices endless. This has a lot to do with Hong Kong being at the crossroads of several culinary traditions: from the mainland, with its diverse regional cuisines, to its close Asian neighbors—and even faraway Europe.
For exciting culinary contrasts, I have two favorite restaurants. Yan Toh Heen, in the InterContinental Hotel, has magnificent Cantonese cuisine. Not even the view from the dining room can distract me from what’s served on the carved-jade plates. Dramatically different is the very local Tien Heung Lau. Founded in the 1950’s, it’s in bustling Tsim Sha Tsui. The restaurant specializes in Hangzhou cuisine, which is very similar to Shanghainese cuisine, but slightly lighter in taste. A specialty is a Shanghainese seasonal dish, hairy crab. The ones at Tien Heung come from a lake west of Shanghai called the Yangcheng. They migrate for breeding to the Yellow River in the fall, which is the catching season.
The dish owes its special taste to the quality of the coral. To bring a special touch to the rich flavor, the crab is served with very acidic vinegar and a grate of ginger. The entire crab is presented and then cut up. It’s best enjoyed with an excellent Chinese rice wine.