March 23, 2022

A few of my favorite places

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So... a little shameless self-promotion here. A few weeks ago I was asked whether I would be willing to share some of my restaurant recommendations with the readers of the South China Morning Post. I know Andrew has been doing this column for a while, and I was once told that it's among the more popular columns at the paper. Naturally, there has been a pretty big list of places sourced from people with diverse backgrounds, and I was flattered to be asked to add to the pool.

As I wanted to take my time to get my list right, I chose to submit my text to Andrew rather than speaking over the phone in a "real" interview. I've read enough of these over the years to kinda know what Andrew's looking for.

As with any published piece, it goes through the hands of sub(-editor)s, who end up mangling your text and, inevitably, some things end up lost in translation. So I'm superimposing my original text onto the published piece here (subscription required). Oh, and they managed to get my name wrong in the introductory paragraphs...

Article begins below:

Hedge fund professional Peter Chang was born in Taiwan but has worked in Hong Kong since the mid-90s. He is also known in culinary circles as a blogger for his site Chang spoke to Andrew Sun.

I’m a hedgie who is just another among tens of thousands working in finance in Hong Kong. I’m known for my love of fine-dining [establishments,] but I’m equally happy hitting up a cha chaan teng, street stalls or McDonald’s – to the surprise of people who only know me through my blog.

I’ve witnessed the town’s dining scene evolve over 20 years. The question I get asked the most is “What is your favourite restaurant?” I have many favorites depending on the type of cuisine, but [in terms of] using frequency of visits as a measure, Neighborhood (G/F, 61-63 Hollywood Road, SoHo. Tel: 2617 0891) is a perennial favorite [option]. I’ve been a fan of David Lai’s since 2010.

He has the uncanny ability to come up with flavour combinations that just make me salivate. When I ask friends where they would like to go eat with me, this is the most requested.

Another favourite is Caprice (Podium 6, Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central. Tel: 3196 8860). I’ve been a fan of [liked chef] Guillaume Galliot since 2014 when he was still in Macau. I’ve watched him refine his craft since then. These days he is truly “the king of sauce”, as some people say. This is the second-most requested venue to take friends.

[A] One of the most-underrated place I love is Ta Vie (2/F, The Pottinger, 74 Queen’s Road Central. Tel: 2668 6488). Chef Hideaki Sato was trained in French cuisine, learned to making French pastries, and ran the Hong Kong outpost of Seiji Yamamoto’s RyuGin.

He’s now back serving French cuisine but with distinctive Japanese and Asian flavours. Everything is made in-house, from bread, butter to noodles. The dishes aren’t always “Instagrammable” but the deceptively simple-looking creations are a reminder that simplicity isn’t simple.

My wife’s favourite place to go is Hidden (Room D, 3/F, Prosperous Commercial Building, 54 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay. Tel: 2504 1511), which primarily serves battered and deep-fried food on sticks. Before the pandemic, they opened till the wee hours [until late] and were frequented by chefs after finishing service. It’s now one of the [city’s] hardest restaurants to book in Hong Kong.

We used to take visitors to Seventh Son (3/F, The Wharney Guang Dong Hotel, 57-73 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai. Tel: 2892 2888) or Fook Lam Moon (Shop 3, Newman House, 35-45 Johnston Road, Wan Chai. Tel: 2866 0663) for their reliable dim sum, and wouldn’t dream of not ordering [always order] their roast suckling pig whether we go for lunch or dinner.

To experience chasing down push carts and fighting for dim sum, we also take people to Lin Heung Tea House (2-3/F, 46-50 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan. Tel: 2156 9328) or Metropol (4/F, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Admiralty. Tel: 2865 1988).

[Moreover, ]I’ve been introducing people to the roast goose at Yat Lok (34-38 Stanley Street, Central. Tel: 2524 3882) since before they got a Michelin star. Of course the Chairman got plenty of requests from visitors, too. Sometimes, I introduce [take] new arrivals for the “soy sauce Western” food at Tai Ping Koon (four locations including 60 Stanley Street, Central. Tel: 2899 2780).

For special occasions, we call upon a short list of chef friends at Amber, Caprice, and Petrus who always make sure our evenings are memorable. In fact, we exchanged our wedding vows at Caprice during the pandemic when social distancing restrictions limited us to just 4 people at our lone table.

[When] Should travel resumes, my first destination would certainly be my native Taipei to see my parents. Besides [my] mom’s cooking which I dearly miss, I can’t wait to dig into a bowl of braised pork rice at Formosa Chang (29 outlets across Taiwan) or My Stove (various locations including No. 9-1, Lane 100, Songjiang Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei. Tel: +886 2 2522 2697), or chomp down on some youtiao [fried sticks] wrapped in shaobing at Fu Hang Dou Jiang (2/F, 108 Zhongxiao East Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei. Tel: +886 2 2392 2175). The rest of the world can wait.

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