Leading lifestyle and travel channel TLC has partnered with Hong Kong Tourism Board for the third consecutive year to present A TASTE OF HONG KONG 3. The three-part series sees the return of Ian Wright – one of TLC’s most renowned hosts – to the channel. Ian, a professional globetrotter who has seen (and eaten) practically anything and everything across Asia and the world explores Hong Kong’s exciting food scene with local chef Christian Yang. Foodie extraordinaire Christian Yang loves everything about his city, especially its one-of-a-kind food culture. Its gastronomic landscape is like no other in the world and Christian wants to create a pop-up food event as an ode to his hometown’s delicious sights and smells.
In each episode, Ian and Christian will travel around Hong Kong to uncover the very best of a particular type of food – from star eats to street eats and style eats. Each person will pick out a place they envision will fit the pop up event, with the goal of finding five to six dishes to feature at the event. In addition to the duo’s selections, Christian will flex his culinary skills by creating a unique dish inspired by his adventures with Ian.
Join Ian and Christian as they hop on to the iconic Hong Kong tram to uncover a tantalizing slew of local delicacies ranging from the exotic to tasteful avant-garde and Michelin-starred bites!
Hong Kong is Asia for beginners. Everything’s brilliantly accessible; transport, food and more. You could be anywhere and within a five minute radius, you could get the most amazing street foods for cheap, try some of the best high dining eats or simply stand at the ferry to enjoy the incredible view of the beautiful harbour. The contrasts are fantastic.
Hong Kong is a culinary encyclopaedia of food that’s quite consistently of a high standard, especially since they’re produced with a lot of passion. It’s also so easily accessible and has something in store for everyone.
A true advocate of Hong Kong culture, Chef Christian Yang uses his culinary expertise in European culinary techniques to convey the iconic flavours of Hong Kong to the world’s foodie population.
Christian has trained in many Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe before settling back in Hong Kong. He hosted the highly rated “Food and Culture” 味之天下 by RTHK alongside his mentor Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook).
Christian continues to host NOW TV’s critically acclaimed food programs “Chef Corner” 煮角 and “Junior Chef Corner” 小煮角 and travels to Europe to teach chefs about Chinese Cuisine and Culture.
Englishman Ian Wright, the most travelled man on the planet, has been the face of travel TV for two decades. He is best known for hosting GLOBE TREKKER and INVITE MR WRIGHT.
Before presenting GLOBE TREKKER, Ian spent three months in Guyana with Operation Raleigh, a Prince’s Trust initiative, traveling in a self-made bamboo raft down uncharted rivers. He spent three months in Egypt, seven months traveling around India and Nepal, and six months traveling around Europe including Poland and Romania.
An accomplished artist and theatre performer, Ian has had an exhibition of his paintings at Chats Palace. He also devises plays in schools, runs drama and art workshops at the Children’s House in Islington on the weekends and works with children with behavioural difficulties in special schools. After leaving art school, his ‘odd jobs’ included working as a cycle courier and making and selling crafts, jewellery and homemade jams at Spitalfields Market in East London. He currently lives near here with his wife and family. To relax, Ian enjoys playing football, eating out, and going for walks in the English countryside.
Christian meets up with Ian at Central Mid-Levels Escalators, the perfect location to kick-off their journey with the episode’s theme: Star Eats. Christian shares the escalator’s history and how it’s seen as an iconic part of Hong Kong, a star in the city’s makeup that has appeared in a number of films including the world-renowned Chungking Express. The film made the escalators and icon of the city, recognized the world over but as Ian and Christian snoop around the escalators for more juicy bites of its star studded history, they hit on what they think would be a great opening shot at curating the taste of Hong Kong – Celebrity eats! A fitting tribute for a city that has produced no shortage of celebrities as well as leisure grounds for the rich and famous.
They decide that they are not going to find out what celebrities love to eat, but also places that they’ve opened up, making their own unique contribution to the city’s already vibrant food scene. They’re spoilt for choice, but Christian’s got a secret weapon – his very own Map of the Stars, where he’s plotted every celeb foodie spot in the city. Together with Ian, they begin narrowing down where they’re headed…
Our pair’s first stop is Ser Wong Fun, hidden just beneath the iconic escalators. They meet owner Gigi Ng who reveals that the restaurant is a favourite of numerous politicians and celebrities. She talks about growing up in and around her family restaurants, surrounded by the glitz and glamour of superstars who became regular customers and dear family friends. Ian’s curious to find out what it is about the soups that keep celebs coming back for more. Christian reveals the restaurant’s iconic dish: snake soup… It’s their most sought-after concoction, but will it appeal to Ian’s palette? And what inspiration can Christian draw from this?
More interestingly, Ian soon discovers that snake soup is more than just a delicacy in Chinese cuisine, with its believed properties of adding warm or “yang” energy to the human body. It’s a piece of Chinese culture boiled into an unlikely broth favoured by celebs and plebeians alike.
But having tasted a hint of Hong Kong’s oriental roots, Ian wants a more international taste that is in line with Hong Kong’s cosmopolitan image. Christian takes up the challenge by bringing him to a star hang out of a different kind: AMBER.
This gem of Hong Kong’s food scene is Culinary Director Richard Ekkebus’ contemporary interpretation of French cuisine has earned numerous awards, including two Michelin stars, and No. 20 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List 2016, sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. Using only the finest ingredients, Chef Ekkebus uses his classical training and creativity to invent dishes to excite and enthuse even the most jaded palate. Ekkebus himself is there to greet our hungry pair. Christian and Ian experience the chef’s incredible creations – but which dish truly captures the heart of ‘Star Eats’? And which of the dish can truly be said to reflect Hong Kong beyond that of amazing French cuisine?
From old school tastes, to international fare and even food that evokes different corners of the world…. Now Ian wants to take charge by focusing on another aspect of celebrity diets in this modern day. Healthy eating? But how does one balance that if one is craving some sinful Canton-cuisine? Ian’s got just the spot, and he whisks Christian off to his new favourite spot in the city: The Chairman. Serving up traditional Cantonese favourites, re-imagined with a healthy take – it’s the perfect fix for the health-conscious foodie. Not only are the meats served cured in-house, the produce also comes from the restaurant’s very own organic vegetable farm. Christian’s dying to get a peek at their meat-curing process but it’s the restaurant’s signature Fresh Flowery Crab that steals the show for our pair. It’s no wonder celebrities are obsessed with healthy eating if it tastes this good!
We re-cap Christian and Ian’s journey thus far. It’s a new day in Hong Kong, and while Ian’s got a taste of what old-school Hong Kong cuisine tastes like, he’s dying to try out the city’s latest celebrity must-eat hotspot: On Dining.
More importantly, Ian issues Christian a challenge: As a port city, Hong Kong has always been a land of many destinations and peoples. Ian wants something that reflects this sense of constant journey and shifts,
After much consideration, Christian takes Ian to ON Dining, the latest concept from Michelin-starred chef Philippe Orrico. ON Dining offers fresh, modern European food but with a more Mediterranean twist. Our pair are treated to a unique dining experience: learning about cheese from Cheese Master Jeremy Evrard. A key ingredient in most European fare, Christian and Ian uncover the finer points of the various types of cheese.
With the event looming closer, we head to Christian’s kitchen, where he now has the task of whipping up his own dish to pay homage to the city’s Star Eats. What elements will he borrow from his experiences with Ian across the city?
Meanwhile, Ian plays the devil’s advocate as he scrutinizes Christian’s efforts in the kitchen. After all he has his own inspirations and perhaps different ideas on how the locations and dishes inspired him. Besides, how will Ian’s international take on the city’s food help shape Christian’s dish? With so much going on, there’s no telling what Christian will whip up!
Even with the world’s obsession with healthy eating, there is still always room for luxurious indulgence…. especially when you are a celebrity. So what would it take to pamper a star? Ian wants Christian to take him to a place where he can experience the same VIP treatment that the stars get to enjoy.
Christian decides that the best bet would be to give Ian a taste of what it’s like to have a luxurious private dining experience right here in the city. The pair enters the stunning Mandarin Oriental but are quickly whisked away right into the heart of the kitchens, where one of the city’s best kept secrets lies in wait. This is the Krug Room, a 12-seat exclusive dining experience not for the faint of heart (and really for those with much deeper pockets). This is what VIP superstar dining is all about and our pair gets to experience the astronomical gastronomic creations. The Executive Chef is nothing short of a culinary maestro, one who confidently navigates and conducts an impressive roster of high-quality ingredients into a symphony of flavours, textures and sights.
The day of the event is here, and Ian and Christian have invited a select few guests (a mix of celebrities, locals and expats) to experience a taste of the city’s Star Eats. Our guests are in for a surprise with the location as they are taken up to Sky100. Hong Kong is a star in its own right. What better way to let it take centre stage, than to host an event with panoramic views of this mega-celebrity of world cities?
Christian is walking along a busy street – he’s meant to be meeting Ian but can’t seem to spot him. Christian finally runs into Ian walking out of Munchies, an artisanal donut dessert stall – it seems Ian’s got a head start on the episode’s theme: Street Eats.
But now the challenge is navigating around to some of the city’s most delectable street food…Ian wants to be in touch with the locals on the ground and insists that they find a way to get around just as most Hong Kongers do.
But instead of bringing Ian to the city’s extensive subway stations however, the pair head towards a tram station and Christian reveals they will be taking the city’s iconic trams or ‘DingDings’ as locals like to call them – with their open rooftops with excellent street views, it’s the perfect way to get around and explore Street Eats. All over the world, Hong Kong is associated with top-notch street fare, even becoming the world’s first city to have a Michelin-starred street food guide. With 120 tram stops, and hundreds more street food options, our pair are spoiled for choice – how will they narrow it down?
Ian’s intrigued by Chiu Chow cuisine and Christian’s personal association with it but he’s looking for something with a little more kick, and perhaps more playful as well so Christian suggests they head over to Sheung Wan. Hopping back onto the tram, Christian spots a familiar stall – Super Bowl King. He excitedly gets Ian to hop off the tram and makes a beeline for the stall, where he picks out a variety of his favourite childhood sweets for Ian to try. Could this blast from his childhood past inspire any thoughts in Ian that could help Christian craft his dish for the episode?
Ian is keen to check out Causeway Bay and that’s where they head next. It’s been awhile since Ian’s last visit and he’s keen to see how the scene has changed. Along the way, Christian can’t resist stopping by Mammy Pancake for some iconic HK style egg waffles – it’s one of his biggest guilty pleasures and his favourite street food so he’s loathe to let Ian miss out on it.
With a full belly, Christian and Ian explore the streets of Wan Chai, a bustling crowd of people and stores that never ceases to amaze. Delicious smells waft in from every direction but variety is not the only reason why Hong Kong street food is so renowned all over the world. Ian lets on that he knows that some street stalls have even been conferred Michelin stars. Ian himself is a big fan of Hong Kong street eats, and he’s curious.
Exactly what makes street food grab the attention of world-renowned culinary connoisseurs? And just what does Michelin-starred street food taste like? Christian brings Ian to Michelin-starred Keung Kee to have a taste of one of Hong Kong’s best-loved eats… Glutinous Rice… done in a way that has left the world salivating.
It’s a hot day out and both of them agree it’s time for a cool, sweet treat to take off the edge from all their exploring. Christian takes Ian to one of his favourite dessert joints – Cong Sao Desserts. A vast and varied menu of shaved ice, cream custards, durian pancakes and watermelon sago has Ian’s mouth watering. He jokes that they should have a taste of everything on the menu ‘for thorough research’. Will the shop’s iconic Durian Ice dessert prove too much for Ian’s palette? Christian and Ian taste and discuss an array of desserts, and Christian takes notes of different texture and flavour combinations that he may want to use in his dish for the event.
As the sun begins to set, our gastronomic adventurers are once again starving and looking for something sumptuous to fill their bellies. Ian’s heard a lot about ‘cart noodles’ and asks Christian if there’s somewhere they can get their fix. Christian admits he wasn’t a fan of cart noodles until his wife, a cart noodle evangelist, took him to Wing Kee Noodle. There’re usually too many options and ingredient combinations are usually a gamble but Christian has a fail-safe when it comes to ordering at Wing Kee – the Wing Kee Special. Ian’s blown away by how surprising each bite is, always holding a gem of goodness. The pair both agree it’s a great representation of the city that’s full of surprises, where every moment you find yourself in a different world.
Our pair are back on the tram, recapping their experience so far. And even though the journey has been sweet so far so to speak, Ian’s still not quite satisfied his sweet tooth. Christian whisks him off to have a bite of one of Hong Kong’s newest dessert offerings.
Munchies is a certified organic and GMO-free bakery that specialises in a delectable variety of homemade chewy cookies, fluffy donuts and artisanal ice-cream. But our pair is here for their customisable ice-cream sandwiches – Ian is thrilled at the chance to concoct his own sinful ice cream donut.
But as the duo gets underway with the journey. Ian decides that he wants the next stop to be a personal one for Christian. After all, wasn’t Christian born and raised in Hong Kong, surely there must be a place that holds special significance for him beyond just good taste.
Christian decides to bring Ian to their first stop in Sai Ying Pun – Kam Hing Chiu Chow Restaurant. Most visitors are familiar with Cantonese or Szechuan cuisine, but Chiu Chow is equally popular amongst the locals. The cuisine holds special memories from Christian, who spent his early adulthood chowing down on cheap Chiu Chow fare as he worked his way up in the kitchens at Mandarin Oriental. He has since become a Chiu Chow connoisseur thanks to the influence of his wife. This particular restaurant has barely changed over the decades and Christian thinks it’s the perfect first foray into the vast and varied world of the city’s Street Eats for Ian. Chiu Chow cuisine is blander than its Canton or Szechuan cousins, but will this appeal to Ian’s adventurous palette?
Meanwhile, Ian tries to find out the dishes Christian holds dear to his heart – dishes he savoured back then between those long hours in the kitchen when he was first starting out. After all, some dishes always taste better when seasoned with old memories.
Hong Kong has changed a lot since Christian’s younger days. Ian wonders if there have been new concoctions that perhaps may become future classics, to be reminisced as much as the Super Bowl King traditional snacks.
Our pair take their hunt along the bustling streets of Sheung Wan for more inspiring street eats. They are taking in the sights when they chance upon Oddies – one of Hong Kong’s hottest (and quirkiest) new dessert joints. It seems Hong Kong is still in love with sweet treats, but this is a far cry from the traditional fare they have just had. Oddies is not your usual ice cream joint – with a display window where whimsical ice cream cones and special flavoured egg waffles are lined up. Ian’s blown away by some of the creations which border between wacky and wonderful. Could Oddies creations add some culinary contrast to Christian’s own childhood sweet tooth… and perhaps provide some inspiration as well?
Street food is something that is very close to the hearts of Hong Kongers and Christian has his work cut out for him as he tries to come up with his own unique representation of the city’s street fare. The event is looming closer and Christian calls Ian up for some advice on what flavours to include – what will he come up with? As it turns out, Ian may have had a different takeaway from what he feels are the defining flavours of Hong Kong’s street eats. Can the duo come to a consensus, for Christian to put out a dish that encompasses their divergent views?
Before the event, Ian wants to share a bit of his own childhood with Christian. They head to I See I See Handcrafted Desserts. Ian’s got fond memories for ice pops in the summers of his childhood but over here, they’ve put an artisanal twist on this simple frozen treat. Served with wooden sticks and in cups, I See I See boasts an ever-changing menu of ice pops, with refreshing and interesting flavours. Ian and Christian each pick out their favourite flavours.
Ian and their guests are waiting along the street, wondering where Christian’s pop-up event is. This is the address he gave, but he’s nowhere to be found – but wait, is that him atop a tram? Ian and the guests board the specially chartered tram and the guests are treated to a smorgasbord of street delights. As the guests taste the food and take in the hustle and bustle of the streets, Christian reveals his own contribution to the city’s street food scene. What will Ian and the guests think? Has he succeeded in creating a delicious representation, or will nothing beat authentic street fare?
All those pints have helped our pair work up quite an appetite and Christian has a great spot lined up for Ian – they may have seen their fair share of stylish eating experiences but this is Christian’s new favourite foodie haunt when it comes to dining in style – Popsy Modern Kitchen. The dimly lit dining space is surrounded by charcoal grey walls with themed artwork displayed around the dining area, and the entire dining experience is a marriage of art and food – a good start to a journey with style.
Ian finds himself in what seems to be a stylish umbrella shop. He walks the aisles and is surprised when Christian pops out from behind a hidden door. He whisks Ian inside to Foxglove, one of a growing number of speakeasies around the city and arguably the most stylish. The pair is greeted by what looks like a classic aeroplane hangar. Ian is blown away – it’s right out of a James Bond film! Slick, sexy, and super-spy worthy. It’s a great spot to kick off our pair’s mission for this episode: to uncover how style and design have integrated themselves into Hong Kong’s food scene in Style Eats.
But while Foxglove may be the newest kind of cool chic to hit the Hong Kong gourmet scene, what of its old traditional eats? Dim Sum, for instance, has always been a mainstay of Hong Kong cuisine. It is even a lifestyle given how people can simply while away an entire day picking at delicate dishes in a traditional dim sum restaurant.
Ian is convinced that the Hong Kongers have reimagined this age-old eating pastime and iconic fare, but just how? Christian whisks Ian off to Duddell’s where the pair satisfy their dim sum craving – in a truly chic fashion. Not only is the restaurant designed by British designer Ilse Crawford, with marble floors and beautifully muted mustard, jade and gold accents to boot, the menu is filled with award-winning chef Siu Hin-chi’s mouth-watering creations. Ian’s favourite part? They even house a small art gallery! Could there be something here that can inspire Christian for his own dish?
It’s a new day in Hong Kong and this time, it’s Ian’s turn to pick a spot. He takes Christian to Hollywood Road, where he hears a new kind of restaurant is making waves in the local food scene. Grassroots Pantry is a homespun restaurant and workshop with a simple core philosophy: to create food that heals with the highest culinary standards and using the freshest, most nutrient-dense of sustainable, plant-based ingredients. Ian’s not usually a huge fan of vegetarian cuisine, but he’s delighted by the detail and care the team at Grassroots Pantry put into creating wonderfully delicious vegetarian fare.
Inspired by the numerous creative ways Hong Kong-ers are reinventing the food scene, Christian is busy brainstorming on the dish he could design to reflect his experiences and commemorate Ian’s visit to the city. Are there key ingredients he should use? What about the presentation? Let’s sit back as Christian attempts to work all of these out in time for the event.
After all that hard work in the kitchen, Christian takes Ian to one of his favourite places to unwind. They arrive at Second Draft, where they are greeted by chef and local food guru May Chow. The brains behind the wildly-popular Little Bao, May created Second Draft to reflect her cosmopolitan upbringing. May takes the boys through her selection of domestically-brewed drafts.
Christian’s got something special in store for the last leg of Ian’s visit. Ian thinks he’s just turning up for one of Christian’s pop-up events but he’s whisked away (in a Rolls-Royce, no less!) to one of Hong Kong’s spectacular green spaces. Awaiting our pair are a select group of guests and a delectable selection of dishes from their recent adventures. There’s even a sketch artist on hand, who sketches a portrait of Ian and Christian as a souvenir for Ian to take home with him. The group discuss the dishes and how Christian’s own dish is a unique portrayal of the city’s Style Eats – has he managed to nail it or is it all presentation without the flavour to back it up?