First Look: The New Hong Kong Cuisine. Chef Silas Li takes a modern approach towards traditional Chinese cuisine

First Look: The New Hong Kong Cuisine

Chef Silas Li takes a modern approach towards traditional Chinese cuisine

by:  
Ashley Tang  Ashley Tang  on 17 Jan '23


Opened a decade ago, the 10th-anniversary milestone comes with a total revamp of Hong Kong Cuisine’s concept, complete with a new chef, team and interior. The space doubles as an educational institution and platform for young chefs who are looking to enhance their Chinese culinary skills; these chefs are given a hands-on opportunity to experiment with traditional dishes.

Owner Baldwin Cheng and Head Chef Silas Li break boundaries as they revive old-school Chinese dishes. Chef Li trained in French gastronomy, building his knowledge from experienced Chinese culinary masters, and has sourced the best ingredients and nurtured his relationships with suppliers in China.


Hong Kong Cuisine’s upscale, soothing interior


The xiao long bao (HK$88 for 3) are crafted using a secret dough recipe. Within the sturdy yet thin dumpling wrappers, tender minced pork belly intermingles with a soup made of collagen from prized Jinhua ham, pig skin and chicken feet, replacing the old-school gelatin method. I loved the piping-hot, savoury soup, which goes so well with the accompanying sauce of black vinegar laced with punchy young ginger.


For a modern twist, each crispy mashed taro puff (HK$78 for 3) contains a fresh, plump Hokkaido scallop. Chef Li combines seafood and meat throughout the menu to extract the strongest umami flavours. The deep-fried yet soft taro is wrapped in thin ribbons of crispy egg drop. These well-seasoned puffs are so comforting.


The bamboo fungus with scallop mousse (HK$168) exhibits a pleasing textural contrast. Scallop is made into a smooth mousse and piped into netted bamboo fungus, then steamed with chicken stock, retaining a slightly crunchy structure. The dish is topped with a homemade XO sauce containing dried seafood, garlic and shallot, giving a chewy bite.


The dish of mixed cherry tomatoes (HK$108) is refreshing. The peeled Dutch tomatoes are complemented by a clear, sweet ginger-tomato jelly. The tomatoes are marinated in huadiao wine as well as black vinegar, pink vinegar and aged vinegar, which bring out the subtle flavour of the ginger and umami of the tomatoes.


Tasting menu

East-meets-West cooking techniques are utilised by Chef Li and his team of accomplished chefs in the tasting menu (HK$2,180/person). Authentic Chinese flavours dominate this menu, complemented by quirky, modern aesthetics.

In Chinese cuisine, sea cucumber is usually served whole in an abalone sauce, but in this case, the crispy sea cucumber is deep-fried whole for some crunch and then stuffed with a subtly flavoured tofu-fish mousse. This is quite a filling dish; it sits atop a hearty British-Chinese-style mapo tofu sauce made with minced pork and small cubes of silken tofu. There is a kick to the sauce, but it isn’t a crazy-hot, chilli-focused sauce.


One of the highlights of the menu is the three-layered delicate egg. It’s presented in an eggshell and contains a layer of steamed egg white with homemade Chiu Chow crab broth, topped with a layer of crabmeat cooked with huadiao wine, followed by another layer of steamed egg white and, finally, a layer of sweet lily-root foam. A homemade roasted crab oil is added tableside to enhance the richness of the dish. This is an umami flavour bomb!


The braised boneless duck web stuffed in chicken wing is one of Chef Li’s signature dishes, playing around with the Chinese idiom 鷄同鴨講, or “chicken speaking with duck”. The dish is very technical, featuring deboned goose web stuffed inside a chicken wing, then braised twice in a secret-recipe traditional duck-web sauce. This dish is full of flavour, and it’s essential to scoop up some of the sauce with each bite.


The dessert of steamed ginger and egg white is an egg-white custard crowned with fluffy, bouncy meringue coated in a light brown sugar syrup. The ginger flavour is refreshing and not too sweet. This was the perfect way to finish our dinner, and I loved the focus on monochromatic shades of white.


Verdict

Hong Kong Cuisine offers some of the most technical, meticulously crafted Chinese dishes I’ve ever tasted. Chef Li pays tribute to Hong Kong’s unique heritage, reimagining classic dishes with innovative touches. It’s a treat to witness the talent of the chef and his team of young apprentices.


Where: 1/F, Elegance Court, 2–4 Tsoi Tak Street, Happy Valley

For reservations: phone 2893 3788 or book online


This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.


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Ashley Tang

Ashley Tang

The perfect balance of sweetness and tang.