HONG KONG | Now in its 7th year, the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival (and the associated Wine & Dine Month) is the premier event promoting Hong Kong’s diverse and vibrant food and beverage scene. Having just been to Hong Kong thanks for the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Cathay Pacific, I gained a new-found appreciation for the breadth of dining and drinking options on offer. Here I have highlighted some of the more interesting events and/or venues that you should consider getting to if you are in Hong Kong during the Wine & Dine Festival. For a more in-depth guide to food in Hong Kong , keep an eye out for our Hong Kong Food Guide, which will be up on The City Lane next week.
Flagship Event – Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival
Kicking off the Wine & Dine Month is the flagship event, the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival, which is staged at the waterfront in the Central area of Hong Kong Island, providing a great view of Victoria Harbour. This year’s festival is the biggest ever, with over 300 stalls grouped into various themes including (but not limited to):
- The Discovery Zone where you can taste whisky and craft beer
- The Cheering Zone which focusses on wine and champagne
- The Tasting Room where wine-pairing meals are available
- The Gourmet Trails where you can try signature dishes from some of Hong Kong’s best chefs and restaurants
- The Food Booths offering barbecued meat, other appetisers and sweet snacks
Live music and entertainment as well as an alfresco seating area will also be available to complete the experience.
When: Thu 22 October 2015, 8:00pm to 11:30pm; Fri 23 to Sun 25 October 2015, 12:00pm to 11:30pm
Entry: Presale – HKD 30 per person, does not cover the cost of tastings. Wine tasting packages are available which include the cost of admission.
Where: Central Harbourfront Event Space, Central, Hong Kong Island (Near Central Piers 9 & 10)
Most Interesting Event – Taste of Classics at Lai Bun Fu
The first week of the Wine & Dine month coincides with the last week of the ‘Taste of Classics’ promotion at high-end Cantonese restaurant, Lai Bun Fu. For this event, head chef Chung King Leung has created a six-course sharing feast that has been paired with six whiskies. Matching wine and beer with food is now commonplace however whisky pairings are now becoming more popular and having really developed a taste for single malt whiskey of late this event grabbed my attention.
The food has been specifically chosen to match the smoky flavours of Scottish single malt whiskies and the pairings include Daliang chicken liver roll with Auchentoshan Three Wood, braised sea cucumber with dry shrimp roe and pomelo reel with Glen Garioch 12 year old or baked squid stuffed with glutinous rice with Bowmore Darkest 15 year old. The menu is available until 31 October 2015 for groups of six or more and is somewhat pricey at HKD 6,280 with a whisky match or HKD 5,280 without.
Lai Bun Fu
5/F, 18 On Lan Street
Open: Mon to Sat, 12:00pm – 3:00pm and 6:30pm – 11:00pm
Most Interesting New Restaurant – El Mercado
Opened in August 2015, El Mercado is a unique ‘Peruvian Nikkei’ restaurant that aims to serve Peruvian food with Japanese influences, reflecting the style of Japanese immigrants who attempted to recreate the dishes that they ate at home.
The menu offers a range of small bites, sushi and ceviche that pay homage to the primary roots of the menu as well as entrees that include tuna tataki and a saltado (Peruvian stir fry) done with shiitake mushrooms and tofu. The main courses are designed for sharing and range from suckling pig with edamame tacu tacu (essentially edamame beans mashed together with rice) and a special hot sauce to an oven-baked fish with Asahi beer foam and Peruvian-style duck rice. The concept sounds absolutely fascinating (and delicious) so I will definitely be heading here the next time I am over in Hong Kong.
21/F, 239 Hennessy Road
Open: Mon to Sun, 12:00pm – 3:00pm and 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Most Interesting New Craft Beer Bar – Beer & Fish
In a small corner location in the Central area, Beer & Fish is one of the newest entrants to the Hong Kong craft beer scene has been open for about 3 months or so now and combines two things that go very well together – craft beer and fried fish – it surprises me that no-one had tried this concept before! The beer list is quite impressive for a very small venue, with 4 beers on tap and another 13 beers and ciders available in bottle, from (on this occasion) 6 different countries. Tap beers are also available for takeaway in a growler.
To help soak up the beer the venue also offers fried seafood (fish, shrimp or oysters), which can be done in a witbier, chilli amber or blackened stout beer batter. These are served with triple cooked fries which in turn come with your choice from six sauces. There are beers from all of the major styles ranging from accessible lagers and pale ales to more intense beers which means that this place should definitely be added to the list whether you are a craft beer nerd or just in need of some good fish and chips.
Beer & Fish
67 Staunton Street
Open: Tues to Sun, 12:00pm – 12:00am
Most Interesting New (Non-Beer) Bar – The Pontiac
Having opened about 3 months ago, The Pontiac was one of my most interesting finds on my most recent trip to Hong Kong – styled as an American dive bar with a grungy feel it is definitely a rarity in this city. The frontage is deliberately raw, industrial and unpolished, consistent with the feel of the interior of the venue which takes cues from bars in Portland, Brooklyn and San Francisco. The all-female staff are very friendly and genuinely look to establish a connection with all of the customers in the bar – this was evident from the amount of conversation across the bar on the day that I visited and made for a really good vibe in the place.
The focus of The Pontiac is on craft liquor – if you look past the lovely lady serving my drink you will also see that there is a wide range of craft spirits on offer including some relatively rare whiskeys. The bar offers a range of 9 signature cocktails (all of which use the same premium spirits range) with heavy metal-themed names as well as jello shots which as the menu suggest were quite ‘rad’. This is definitely a place I will be revisiting in the future, perhaps for the ‘midnight special’ layback shots.
13 Old Bailey Street
Open: Mon to Sat, 3:00pm – 1:00am
Hong Kong Wine & Dine Month runs from Thursday 22 October 2015 until Monday 30 November 2015. For more details visit http://www.discoverhongkong.com/au/see-do/events-festivals/highlight-events/wine-dine-festival.jsp