By now, you've likely heard all the buzz about The Mac Attack: the search for Hong Kong's best mac n cheese from January 25th to February 29th 2016 (if not, read more about it here). The five fiercely competitive chefs each bring a unique style of mac n cheese to the table, making it difficult for us to determine a clear winner. We were able to get a sneak peek (and taste) of the five dishes, and have shared our thoughts on each chef's take on the traditional American mac and cheese below to help narrow down your list of must-try's.
Chef May Chow from Little Bao
Little Bao Mac & Cheese - Applewood Cheddar Sauce, Drunken Foie Gras, Steamed Rice Roll
To start a night filled with carbs and cheese, we had Chef May Chow's Little Bao Mac & Cheese (though perhaps it should be named "Rice Roll & Cheese" given its lack of macaroni). This was, by far, the cheesiest dish of the night - it took actual effort to put a spoonful onto our plates without getting cheese everywhere. Not that we're complaining; the more cheese the better as far as we're concerned. The foie gras was the perfect addition, taking this dish from Korean street food standard to dishes that grace chic-hipster Little Bao's menu. The only thing we'd change is the texture of the the steamed rice cakes, as they were far too chewy (though perhaps a good jaw workout could burn off a few of the thousands of calories you're likely to be consuming from this mac n cheese).
Chef Satoru Mukogawa from Tiger Curry
Tiger Style Mac n Cheese - Soy Bechamel, Saikyo Miso, Macaroni, Mountain Yam, Scallop
If you're looking for something that is very unlike your typical mac n cheese, this is it. While we do applaud Chef Satoru for trying to fuse a traditional mac n cheese with Japanese flavours, this dish just didn't work for us, both in terms of flavour and texture. The mountain yam and fish roe really threw this dish off: the yam was hard, crunchy, and flavourless, and we kept confusing the yam with the scallops, as they looked incredibly similar on the plate. As for the fish roe, unless you would eat these giant sacs by the spoonful, it's likely you won't be a fan of them in the dish - they were far too overpowering and, well, extremely fishy.
Chef Vinny Lauria from Stone Nullah Tavern
Black Truffled Carbonara Mac & Cheese
Out of the five mac n cheese dishes, Chef Vinny's was by far the most traditional. This dish has been served up at Stone Nullah Tavern for awhile now, so it was no surprise for most of us. To compliment the traditional mac and cheese base, an egg yolk was placed in the center along with a ridiculous amount of black truffle (a new addition for The Mac Attack). Everyone's mouths around the table hung open as Chef Vinny literally covered the entire dish in truffle. The smell, coupled with its creamy, encompassing texture after all of the ingredients were mixed to perfection, had us licking the bowl clean. Worth the calories? We think so.
Chef Fabrizio Napolitano from NOM
Mac n Balls - Wagyu Beef Balls, Beef Cheek, Smoked Eggplant Puree, Gruyere Bechamel
Despite not having something akin to mac and cheese in Italy, Chef Fabrizio is all too familiar with pasta. Using his strong Italian roots, he created the "Mac n Balls". Chef Fabrizio wanted to incorporate some truly Italian ingredients into his mac n cheese dish, which is why he added smoked eggplant puree at the bottom of the dish. While we enjoyed the mac and cheese, we didn't feel like it came together as it should have, as the ingredients were all separated from each other: the beef cheek and eggplant puree at the bottom and the meatballs and Parmesan crisps spread out at the top. If the ingredients were more fluid, we would have made like the Italians and said, "come il cacio sui maccheroni".
Chef Billy Otis from Lily & Bloom
The Lobster Mac & Cheese - 1⁄2 Local Rock Lobster, 36 Months Aged Parmigiano Reggiano, Cognac, Basil Breadcrumbs, Three Cheeses
For the grand finale of the evening, Chef Billy put on quite the impressive show as he prepared The Lobster Mac & Cheese tableside in a massive wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. Everyone was enthralled the second the container of cognac lit up, while he remained cool and calm (he had obviously done this a few times), and explained each ingredient that was added. But, did the taste of The Lobster Mac & Cheese meet our sky-high expectations based on the performance given? We'll let you decide.
Head to any of the above-mentioned restaurants between January 25th to February 29th 2016 for The Mac Attack: the search for Hong Kong's best mac and cheese. The chefs are competing for two awards: the first of which is title of "Best Mac n Cheese" based on the number of dishes ordered and the second award goes to the most popular photo on Instagram using the hashtag #TheMacAttack (so be sure to use that hashtag when you post your mac n cheese photos)! Winner of the awards will donate 10% of the proceeds generated from the promotion to a charity of their choice. All five of the mac and cheese dishes are HK$188.
Lily & Bloom
Website or Tel: 28106166
5/F & 6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
Website or Tel: 2194 0202
G/F, 66 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong
Website or Tel: 2540 7988
1-5 Elgin Street, Soho, Hong Kong
Website or Tel: 2511 1051
G/F, 14 Pennington Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Stone Nullah Tavern
Website or Tel: 3182 0128
G/F, 69 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong