As diverse and complex as it is, Japanese cuisine is a subject that could take even a well-versed food critic years to fully understand its nuances. For this reason Okinawa remains a gastronomic region less explored by Hong Kong diners. For the first time, Garden Café at Conrad Hong Kong sets out to unpack the secrets of Okinawan cooking from 1 to 24 November with the help of Guest Chef Norio Todome and Chef Ryuji Shimabuku. From sea grapes to Okinawa prime Agu pork, patrons will have a chance to taste various special ingredients prepared in the original manner.
Gifted with a warm, sub-tropical weather, Okinawa is a land filled with quality food produce. It is also far apart from the Japanese main islands and their historical influences, which provide the conditions for it to develop a distinctive food culture integrated to a close relationship with other countries in Southeast Asia and a balanced lifestyle. If there is anyone who knows about all these intricacies behind Okinawan food, it’s chef Ryuji. He was born in Okinawa and spent years honing his cooking skills at local and overseas restaurants. In May 2017, he joined Hilton Okinawa Chatan Resort, serving his home cuisine at an upscale setting. Together with Chef Norio, the Executive Sous Chef of the hotel with a wealth of 20 years culinary experience, the team will bring a slew of Okinawan dishes by purely seasonal and market-fresh ingredients to appeal to both the eyes and taste buds.
Chefs’ creations can be found at Garden Café’s lunch, dinner and weekend afternoon tea buffet services, as well as in the bar snack menu at the poolside Garden Café Terrace. Among the dishes, sea grape capellini and seasonal Okinawan fish carpaccio turn the local specialties into palate-cleansing starters, making a statement about the uniqueness of the regional cuisine. Guests will find deeper flavours in Agu pork shabu-shabu. Known for its sweet, marbled flesh, the pork will be paired with a citrusy shekwasha sauce. Other delicacies like stir-fried bitter melon and tofu, tuna confit with pineapple salsa and barbecued marinated Agu pork with rice malt take full advantage of the natural riches of the region, extracting sumptuous flavours from the produce with simple cooking techniques.
In addition, live cooking stations will be set up for the lunch, dinner and weekend tea buffet services. Okinawan tempura will be prepared by the Garden Café team on the spot using fresh shrimp, squid, red potato and goya (local bitter melon). There will also be two culinary demonstrations at the dinner buffet – patrons can witness the making of two signature dishes of the area, Okinawan sashimi carving show and salt crusted Okinawa roasted beef with island shallot sauce, before finishing the meal with local deep-fried buns “sata andagi”, seasonal red potato sesame dumpling and other desserts.
A Taste of Okinawa at Garden Café
Address: Lower Lobby Level, Conrad Hong Kong, 88 Queensway, Pacific Place, Hong Kong
Reservations: Please phone (852) 2822 8890 or visit ConradDining.com for online reservations
Pricing: Lunch Buffet
Adult: HK$368* | Child: HK$258* (Monday to Friday)
Adult: HK$448* | Child: HK$298* (Friday, Saturday & Sunday)
Adult: HK$598* | Child: HK$378* (Monday to Thursday)
Adult: HK$668* | Child: HK$398* (Friday, Saturday & Sunday)
*Subject to10% service charge