If you find yourself following the aroma of some of this city's finest dining dishes down to Taste of Hong Kong presented by Standard Chartered 2017 this weekend, here are the three dishes decided to be the tastes you most definitely want on your tongue.
These three dishes took the top awards at last night’s Best in Taste awards, which saw each official Taste restaurant enter a selected icon dish for consideration by the judges, which included local celebrity chef Walter Kei, Food Network host Debbie Wong, Tatler editorial director Charmaine Mok, SCMP's Bernice Chan, Foodie editor-in-chief Alicia Walker and special guest judge Nick Kim from New York's Shuko.
The criteria required of the winning dish to was to 'live up to the values and experience offered at the actual restaurant' and for it to showcase 'interesting and innovative presentation and flavours’. The judges faced a formidable task with the spectacular array of dishes competing for the top honours.
Here are the results for this year's finest of the fine:
For the second year running, Amber took the top honours with the Miyazaki beef with Kyushu cabbage and dulse slaw with a pepperberry Béarnaise. The rich and fatty A5 beef was expertly cut through with the pickled red cabbage that had been fermented for two weeks. The addition of the dulse seaweed contributed another nutritious element, making this a superfood-rich dish with a subtle herbal hint from the Tasmanian pepperberry.
A crowd-pleasing favourite came from Café Gray Deluxe with their braised Wagyu beef cheek. This hearty dish represented elevated comfort cooking with the mashed potato, sour cream, pickles and beets combining for a fantastically flavourful and filling dish.
With it's casual presentation, the katsu sando from Yardbird was a surprise hit that delighted the judges with its fatty, juicy and flavourful breaded meatball, cabbage and tonkatsu sauce surrounded by thick milk bread.
Yardbird took another honour here for their personal touch with a black-and-white photo wall filled with vibrant images of their team as well as diners enjoying their meals at the cool-cat restaurant. The judges all loved how the personality of the restaurant shone through and created an intimate touch to draw in the crowds, very much how Yardbird does in their own restaurant.
More superb dishes sampled at Taste of Hong Kong presented by Standard Chartered included:
Arcane's hamachi carpaccio, a standout dish with crunchy cubes of jicama, sesame, fennel and a splash of soy and ginger that combined with the fresh fish for a refreshing bite and a glorious textural mix.
Chino produced a wowing chicken tinga tostada with a corn tortilla base topped with guacamole, saucy shredded chicken and a perfectly fried egg that oozed elegantly for pictorial perfection.
Duddell's presented a beautiful steamed garoupa with egg white pudding and Huadiao wine with a silky yet firm pudding that complemented the white fish with a hint of aroma from the wine and a tiny crunch of spring onion topped with pretty flowers for a touch of colour.
Kaum arrested the senses in a wonderful way with a kick of ikan belut – sambal hijau, a pan-fried eel fillet served with a chargrilled green chilli, shallot, tomato and coconut oil relish for a traditional dish from West Sumatra that ignited the taste buds.
Mercato dished up its house-made ricotta cheese with strawberry and sourdough. Made fresh every day, this extremely shareable dish provided mouthfuls of pleasure all round.
Okra opened with an exquisitely innovative dish of sea urchin à la mode, a Murasaki uni with a smoked jelly and seawater foam for a complete taste of the ocean.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more passionately created dish than the wild Hereford ox heart tartare with egg yolk purée from Rhoda. This adventurous offering comes from organic cattle that roam free throughout the outback – as Chef Nathan Green will ardently describe to all who wish to learn about what they are ingesting – and owns an intense, meaty flavour. A great deal of heart (ha) goes into the making of this dish.
Serge et le phoque delighted the senses with their raw turbot with frozen coconut ceviche and raspberry that was a modern, fresh and fruity dish that surprised with every ingenious bite.
Tin Lung Heen contributed a solid offering of their barbecued Iberian pork with honey. The tender char sui with its sweet coating will be a sure-fire hit with punters.
Tosca enchanted the eyes with the breathtaking octopus and Amalfitano lemon mayo salad. This artful dish offered octopus two ways for a versatile and skilfully made presentation.
Zuma created one of the most inventive dishes with its Zuwagani and king crab cold noodles, made exclusively for Taste. With an initial scoop of Beluga caviar to cleanse the palate and begin the oceanic taste journey, each dish uses an entire snow crab, with the soba noodles nestled into the shell and adorned with a homemade chilli ponzu sauce that thrilled the taste buds with every bite.
Taste of Hong Kong sponsored by Standard Chartered 2017 is on until Sunday, and gourmands can also check out live cooking demonstrations, Chef's Table chats – so you can get to know the cooks behind the stoves – and Foodie Market, selling premium F&B products and an array of eco-friendly items such as metal straws, lunchboxes and tote bags for use during the festival and at home.
Click here to purchase Taste tickets – exclusive for Foodie readers, enjoy 26% savings when you use the discount codefoodie2017.