Our oceans – and the marine resources that occupy them – are in very real danger. We often see images of nets full of fish lifted out of a clear blue sea, so it may be difficult to imagine the deep blue without the teeming life within. But this improbable idea becomes very plausible when you couple those nets with the world’s fervent love for a tasty fish dish: it equals overfishing.
Currently, 90% of the world’s oceans are either fully fished or overfished, meaning that the rate of fishing exceeds the rate at which fish stocks can reproduce. But there is hope, and this hope lies in giving the oceans a little rest to get back into shape by being a smart consumer and eating seafood that is sustainably and responsibly sourced so that the number of species, as well as the environment, can be protected and remain healthy.
Here’s a handy list of some of Hong Kong’s top places to dine that source their seafood sustainably and responsibly so that you can feel good when you indulge in a dish of your favourite fish:
Le Bistro Winebeast
At Le Bistro Winebeast, passionate chef Johan Ducroquet’s creative menu of modern French cuisine with wine-pairing suggestions changes every eight weeks to offer gourmands a variety of delicious dishes. In this cosy restaurant, you can find both Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)- and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)-certified seafood products such as sea bream, cod and scallops.
G/F and 1/F, Tai Yip Building, 141 Thomson Road, Wanchai, 2782 6689
Serving up sustainable fiery Sichuan cuisine in Central is Michelin-recommended Chilli Fagara. They use sustainable lobster tails to create some of their most notable dishes such as crispy lobster tail fried with a fiery blend of fresh and dried chillies, Chinese leek and celery. Sourcing sustainable seafood options from an accredited MSC supplier, they understand the importance of promoting and creating awareness for their sustainable seafood programme. They invite diners to ask servers to identify the right choices on the menu, and we are told to expect even more sustainable seafood dishes in the near future.
7 Old Bailey Street, Central, 2796 6866, book online
Bostonian Seafood and Grill
Expect a menu filled with tasty international influences showcasing seasonal and sustainable seafood specialities. The sustainable seafood products served at Bostonian Seafood and Grill are certified by MSC, ASC, Friends of the Sea (FOS) or the WWF (World Wildlife Fund). Diners are welcome to ask their servers for more details.
Lower Lobby, The Langham, Hong Kong, 8 Peking Road, TST, 2132 7898
Foxglove understands the importance of serving sustainably sourced seafood. In order to reduce the environmental impact of their operations, they offer sustainable Boston lobster and Chilean sea bass that are MSC certified. Foxglove is committed to developing and implementing sustainable seafood practices.
6 Duddell Street, Central, 2116 8949
Pololi, Asia’s first poké (pronounced “poh-kay”) chain, was first set up in Hong Kong in 2014 by Stephanie Kudus. Specialising in ahi (Hawaiian for “tuna”), it’s a place where busy folks can get protein-packed meals with more than 30 different flavours of poké. At Pololi, the poké is made fresh throughout the day and served chilled, just the way the ohana (Hawaiian for “family”) like it. The tuna used to create Pololi’s beloved poké comes from a MSC-certified longline fishery in Micronesia.
Central: 39 Graham Street, 2755 8099
Causeway Bay (opening in late June 2018): Shop C, G/F, Food Street at Fashion Walk, 58–64 Paterson Street, phone TBC
Invisible Kitchen bills itself as Hong Kong’s greenest gourmet catering company, founded by a British chef with a love for natural and ingredient-driven menus. It brings the methods and passion of the world’s top restaurants to the world of catering by preparing high-quality, natural ingredients and providing excellent customer support at every stage of event planning and execution. They have adopted the WWF’s Ocean Friendly Menu for their classy canapés, which are often used at weddings and corporate events. Additionally, their recipes with cod, shrimp and lobster are highly recommended because only MSC-certified options are used.
2711 5788, www.invisiblekitchen.com
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
Grand Hyatt is firmly committed to using sustainable seafood, and around 60% of the seafood used in the hotel is MSC or ASC certified. Some of our favourite dining spots here include:
Operating since 1989 when Grand Hyatt Hong Kong first opened its doors, Tiffin is a legendary destination for sophisticated, innovative dining. Newly refurbished, it aims to be Hong Kong’s go-to spot for indulgent continental buffets and French-inspired afternoon tea. Eighty per cent of the seafood featured at Tiffin’s buffet spread is sustainably sourced.
M/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, 2584 7722, book online
This kitchen-focused dining hub (think open work stations where you can admire the fresh ingredients and chefs’ culinary prowess) offers à-la-carte and dinner-buffet menus highlighting sustainable seafood on ice, alongside international delights such as its famed Hainanese chicken rice. Seasonal signatures at Grand Café include sustainable Atlantic lobster sourced from around Maine and Nova Scotia, which you can enjoy in creamy lobster chowder, as a vol-au-vent (a crisp puff pastry stuffed with lobster meat), sushi style or in a classic mac ‘n‘ cheese.
Lobby, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, 2584 7722, book online
One Harbour Road
One Harbour Road is a split-level restaurant resembling an elegant mansion in Shanghai during the 1930s, with superb Victoria Harbour views. Expect traditional homestyle Cantonese dishes, refined by Chef de Cuisine Chan Hon Cheong’s efforts to replace endangered seafood with sustainable options without compromising on taste. Highlights include the chef’s signature braised Boston lobster with Chinese yam, American wild rice and lobster broth.
8/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, 2584 7722, book online
The Ocean by Olivier Bellin
Michelin-starred The Ocean by Olivier Bellin is an exquisite dining experience by Le Comptoir Group, serving Breton cuisine combining the best of earth and sea. With an expansive 10,000-square-foot space at The Pulse in scenic Repulse Bay, the restaurant’s artfully designed decor complements the Southside’s natural beauty. From the floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, to the tailor-made ceramics, to its booths and tables, designed to convey the beauty of coral reefs, every feature unites to evoke a sense of oceanic tranquility. Helmed by Chef Bellin, the eatery is twinned with the chef’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant L’Auberge des Glazicks in France, with both restaurants sharing a passion for art, food and refinement. The chef believes that treating all ingredients with care and respect is the best way to provide guests with confidence and assurance of quality. Since the menu is entirely seafood based, it is particularly important to The Ocean that it supports sustainability and environmental protection, and over 80% of the seafood served is MSC or ASC certified.
Shop 303, 3/F, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2889 5939
238 the grill
238 the grill is a cosy restaurant on Hollywood Road that prides itself on the quality and provenance of its seafood – all oysters and mussels served are MSC certified. Informal, intimate and affordable, 238 the grill offers a wide range of Western and seasonal seafood dishes that pay homage to Chef Patrick Verhoeven’s Dutch heritage.
238 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2517 7322
Café Gray Deluxe
The Upper House’s contemporary modern European hotspot with breathtaking views of Victoria Harbour is headed by internationally acclaimed chef Gary Kunz. At Café Gray Deluxe, fresh, organic and seasonal ingredients are locally sourced whenever possible, helping to reduce the restaurant’s carbon footprint and aligning with the chef’s “Kunzian values” of cooking with sustainability and well-being in mind. Café Gray Deluxe offers seafood recommended by the WWF’s Ocean Friendly Menu and avoids endangered species. For example, you can feast on house-cured gravlax served with brioche (pictured above), made with cultured Tasmanian salmon from Australia.
49/F, The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 3968 1106
A spacious and modern respite away from the bustle of Mongkok’s streets, Alibi at Cordis features refined sharing plates with European and Asian influences, as well as bespoke cocktails. The restaurant’s seafood selection is made in accordance with the WWF’s Ocean Friendly Menu, and priority is given to seafood with MSC, ASC or FOS certifications.
5/F, Cordis, Hong Kong, 555 Shanghai Street, Mongkok, 3552 3028, book online
Photo credit: American Museum of Natural History