Don’t miss a chance to visit the extensively renovated Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts in the heart of SoHo on your next trip to Hong Kong. The former Central Police Station is now a hive of culture and dining, including star of the show Madame Fu. This modern newcomer is home to seven distinctive Shanghai-meets-Paris dining rooms and lounges, such as the pearly Pink Room, The Library and The Veranda. Serving up elegant Cantonese fare, afternoon tea and drinks colored to match the décor, the restaurant has quickly become an Instagram haven. We chat with chef Ah Kit and bar manager Michael Chong to learn more about what’s on the menu and, with their help, pick out the perfect introductory meal. madamefu.com.hk
Wok-fried rice noodles with sliced Angus beef
The beef: “This is a very traditional recipe. We pair wide rice noodles with premium Angus beef — our shoulder and back cuts have some marbling, so there’s this really nice beefy aroma after it’s cooked.” The sauce: “We make sure there’s a perfect mix of light and dark soy sauce, as well as a strong fire.” The method:“We cut the beef into strips then add a little bit of light soy sauce and corn flour. Next, we use a method called lai yau (to pull oil) for about two seconds. It’s kind of like deep-frying at a low temperature. The most important part is to make sure the beef isn’t overcooked.”
Crispy calamari` with spicy salt
The squid: “It’s important not to overcook the squid because we want it to be soft and tender.” The salt: “The spicy salt excites the palate before the tender squid meets the taste buds. It’s also about balance. The dish is salty and slightly spicy, inspired by flavors of the sea.” The process: “Once the squid is cleaned, we pat it dry and cut it in diagonal lines for better texture. Then we whisk an egg, pour it on the squid and flour it with some chili flakes. Next, we deep-fry the squid at 200°C for 25 seconds for a nice golden color. Then we pour out the oil from the wok, return the squid and toss it with crispy garlic purée.”
The Kung Fu Cocktail
The name: “We call it the Kung Fu Cocktail because it reminds us of Chinese heritage, plus the radiant yellow-orange color has that ‘wow’ factor.” The base: “We try to use lots of Chinese ingredients in our drinks. For this we use Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) as the base. We use about 30ml of the wine, 30ml of passion fruit syrup and about 45ml to 60ml of ginger ale.” The balance: “Add a little bit of lemon juice to balance the flavors, and the result is something easy to drink – sweet, sour, a little bit spicy. People love this cocktail.” The glass: “A big Burgundy wine glass makes it look very elegant, plus the shape of the glass enhances the aroma. For the best look, smell and taste, this is the ideal glass to use.” The garnish: “A bit of rosemary, because it smells amazing and pairs well with the passion fruit.”
. . .
Check out three of the hottest newcomers at Tai Kwun:
For the super shopper: No Brand No Name brings together a curated collection of logo-free accessories — think designer sunglasses — sans gut-wrenching price tags. nobrandnoname.com
For the fab foodie: Opened in September, the Chinese Library draws inspiration from the vast cookbook collection of Aqua Restaurant Group owner David Yeo. The elevated menu spans traditions from Shanghai, Sichuan, Guangdong and elsewhere. chineselibrary.com.hk
For the barflies: Dragonfly, designed by creative mastermind Ashley Sutton, is a vision with Art Nouveau aesthetics, a surreal green palette and whimsical cocktails such as Dragon’s Pearls, a bubble tea spiked with gin and cognac. diningconcepts.com/restaurants/dragonfly
This article first appeared in the November 2018 issue of Smile magazine.