Hong Kong's Top Chefs Share Their Favourite Bib Gourmand Eateries

Following the recent launch of the MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong and Macau Bib Gourmand selections, we speak to some of Hong Kong's esteemed chefs to find out which from the list are their favourites.
The announcement of the Bib Gourmand results for MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau two weeks back revealed a fine selection of eateries serving good quality food. A Bib Gourmand distinction is handed out to eateries that offer a quality three-course set menu for a maximum of HKD400. From the 73 restaurants in Hong Kong that made the list, some of these are chefs' favourite haunts for good food. We speak to some culinary luminaries in Hong Kong to find out more.
Yoshiharu Kakinuma
Executive Chef, Three Michelin-starred Sushi Shikon

Sushi Shikon, the first international branch of Sushi Yoshitake founded by master chef Masahiro Yoshitake in Ginza, Japan, is the proud recipient of three Michelin stars in the Hong Kong & Macau MICHELIN guide for four consecutive years, and is known for masterfully recreating the Ginza sushi experience outside of Japan.
Helming this Hong Kong outpost is executive chef Yoshiharu Kakinuma. The 42-year-old Tokyo native's love for cooking and good food led him to the doorstep of chef Yoshitake, who believed in the young man's passion. Chef Kakinuma then moved to the US to hone his craft in restaurants in New York and Atlanta for 10 years, before Yoshitake contacted him to helm his first restaurant in Hong Kong. With such a sensitive palate, we speak to Kakinuma to find out his Bib Gourmand picks.
"My favourite shop is Sang Kee. Each time my mentor Masahiro Yoshitake is in town, I will definitely take him to Sang Kee to enjoy a casual yet authentic Hong Kong meal.

I first got to know of Sang Kee thanks to the recommendations of my restaurant guests. I fell in love with the place immediately, the first time I ever went. My favourite dish there is the saute chicken with black bean — I admire the techniques they use to cook it and the amount of labour that goes into preparing the dish.

Besides my mentor, I also make it a point to take my friends to Sang Kee when they visit Hong Kong from Tokyo. To me, Sang Kee is a place for gatherings with friends, and I go there about once a month."
Jacky Tauvry
Chef de Cuisine, two Michelin-starred Pierre

Born in La Guerche-de-Bretagne, a small town in Brittany (Western France), Jacky Tauvry made his first foray into the F&B industry at the tender age of 14, where he discovered the pleasure of cooking for others and seeing their enjoyment of the dishes he cooked. Fine-dining became a route he knew he would embark on, while doing an internship at L'Arpège, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant of Alain Passard in Paris.
He then went on to work under chef Guy Savoy's restaurant for two years, where he honed his basics of French cooking, before he landed a spot in the Paris kitchen of one of his idols, chef Pierre Gagnaire.

His favourite Bib Gourmand restaurants are Din Tai Fung and Brass Spoon.

"The first time I went to Din Tai Fung was because of a recommendation by a friend who lives in Singapore. He told me that the place serves delicious dim sum, which is one of my favourite Chinese foods. I was impressed by the staff's ability to cook and entertain a large volume of guests at the same time, while still keeping the standards high!

"Each time I go to Din Tai Fung, I will order the xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Made a la minute, the delicious combination of juicy meat and savoury hot soup, packed in a paper-thin dumpling skin, is full of flavour."
Din Tai Fung is one of chef Jacky Tauvry's top Bib Gourmand picks.
Din Tai Fung is one of chef Jacky Tauvry's top Bib Gourmand picks.
"Brass Spoon is where my girlfriend usually goes for lunch. The pho here reminds me of the authentic flavours I had in Vietnam, and the combination of the beef and the flavourful soup goes really well together to make for a well-balanced bowl. To me, their pho is the best in Hong Kong!

The two restaurants I picked might not be fine-dining, but their standards are always high and the food is consistent — I have never been disappointed going there."
Nicolas Boutin
Executive Chef, one Michelin-starred Épure

At 14, Boutin realised he preferred the hands-on experience of working in a kitchen over rigorous academics in a classroom, and became a chef. He has since worked at three-Michelin-starred restaurants such as Lameloise and Troisgros, as well as travelled the world working in restaurants of top hotels.
In 2013, Boutin finally settled down in Hong Kong to open Épure, a French restaurant that emphasises the origins of ingredients, respects the French seasons and the terroir, complemented by Boutin's concise and refined cooking method. It received a Michelin star in 2017.

His favourite Bib Gourmand restaurants are Liu Yuan Pavilion, Lin Heung Kui and Cafe Hunan (Western District).

"If I wanted to eat authentic Shanghai food, I would go to Liu Yuan Pavilion. I really like their xiao long bao, salted duck, drunken chicken, sautéed pork with pepper and chili, deep fried Mandarin fish with sweet and sour sauce, and pork knuckle in red braising sauce. The portions are all good for sharing with friends and family. They also do a very valuable set lunch, though dishes tend to take a while to be served when it is busy."

Interior of Lin Heung Kui
Interior of Lin Heung Kui

"When I crave for tea, I will head to Lin Heung Kui. They do a dim-sum trolley service where you can just pick what you want off the trolley when it is pushed around the different tables, a special experience for both tourists and locals. There's a great variety of dim sum, from prawn dumpling to egg tart and barbecue pork bun. It is my go-to place to bring friends who are visiting Hong Kong.

And it might be surprising to know, but I really enjoy spicy food! The dishes at Cafe Hunan are spicy but not overwhelming. Each time I go, I will order the "fish heads in spicy oil”, because the fish head is really fresh! "Sautéed celtuce and barrel of sizzling beef with cumin" is also memorable. Prices here are very reasonable, and I know I will be guaranteed a spicy journey.

Man-Ip Fung
Executive chef, two Michelin-starred Duddell's

With over 35 years of experience, this Hong Kong native became a chef thanks to his love for discovering great eats tucked away in the winding streets of the city. Since joining Duddell's in March this year, the restaurant has become even more known thanks to his signature dish — sautéed lobster with salted egg yolk. His favourite Bib Gourmand eatery is also as local as it gets.
"My top Bib Gourmand pick is Good Hope Noodle. It was a pure coincidence that I got to know of this stall. I was shopping around Mong Kok, and was feeling a little hungry. It so happened that Good Hope Noodle was nearby, and the clean, tidy interior drew me in. I ordered the fishball soup noodle. The fishball had a good bite to it, the soup base was very flavourful. For food that only costs HKD20 to 30 to have such high standards, I feel this is very impressive."

This story was originally written by Mandy Li and translated by Meryl Koh. Click here to read the original version of this story. 
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