Art Central VIP Preview @ Central Harbourfront – 20 March, 2017

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The sun emerged, after weeks in hiding, to shine on the start of Art Week and turn Art Central’s two massive tents into impromptu saunas. That didn’t deter the opening day crowds who flocked to see what was on show.

Again there’s a little of something for everyone but the trend still seems to be for massive works that look fine in a big tent, but would be out of place in our space saving flats. Last years paint a massive picture cut it up and give away the pieces has in true HK style been replaced with a massive painting where you can buy a small square…

Art Central runs until the 25 March, click on any photo for the full gallery.

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Taste of Hong Kong @ Central Harbourfront – 16 March, 2017

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Four days of delicious food on the Central Harbourfront, Taste 2017 is a vast improvement on 2016. The restaurants are more prepared, have a better understanding of the event, have prepped more portions (3-500 portions per regular dish/session seemed the average) so it’s unlikely they’ll run out… Purchasing food is quicker and easier. There’s more seating – if a lack of bins.

It’s expensive, dining at these 16 restaurants is anyway, but the food dishes we tasted were good. The portion sizes of some dishes are a little small for the price, the paper plates environmentally friendly but not the best given the quality of the food. And there’s lots of samples from the various shops and market to try.

While all 16 featured outlets are worth taking a look at, Richard Ekkebus Culinary Director at Amber has done something more than a little special – and raised the bar for all participants for next year – he’s set up a special seated dining area and each session the producers and suppliers of the ingredients of each of his dishes are introducing and talking about what you are eating. Fascinating!
Click on any photo for the full gallery of images.

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Hong Kong And The Commonwealth

Although Hong Kong ceased to be a member of the Commonwealth in 1997, it still has strong links through its business, legal and sports community.

The modern Commonwealth is a free association of 52 independent nations with historical links and shared values of democracy, rule-of-law, tolerance and diversity. With a population of 2.3 billion (nearly a third of humanity, with the majority under 25) it represents a very strong soft-power network or ‘Platform for the Future’. It is also characterized by the use of the English language. In the light of Brexit the Commonwealth may be ripe for a renaissance

Hong Kong has an active branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) which provides a network for citizens of Commonwealth countries (especially Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa) and their Consuls-General to come together at speaker lunches, cocktails, exhibitions and concerts. There is also an annual Essay Competition and Charity Ball.

The RCS (HK Branch) is particularly keen to attract more young people as members and has therefore introduced more informal, fun events.

This year, Commonwealth Day falls on 13 March and there will be a reception in the Garden Lounge of the Hong Kong Club with British Consul-General, Andrew Heyn, reading the Queen’s Commonwealth Message at 7.30pm. Anyone in Hong Kong is welcome join the RCS. Annual subscription is $500 and $250 for those under 35. See www.rcshk.com

 

Japanese Pop-up Food Fair at Sogo

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If you fancy a taste of Japan head over to Basement 2 of Sogo in Causeway Bay where a Japanese Local Speciality Fair (Actually Sogo are calling it a ‘speialty’ fair). There a range of Japanese food products you can’t often find locally including Hokkaido cream puffs ($38), Japanese cheesecake, assorted sweet rice desserts. A broad range of seaweed and savoury delights  as well and a 5019 Premium Factory pop-up burger stand.

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The 5019 Premium Factory is a well known burger outlet in Kochi and will be opening a branch at 46 Graham Street in April. Before then you can sample their wagyu burgers including the signature Ryoma ($98) which is a stacked burger made from a 90g wagyu beef patty, demi-glace sauce, cheese, eggplant, tuna, grilled tomato, lettuce and a variety of sauces. The pop-up store is also offering a wagyu egg burger ($68) and a wagyu avocado burger ($78).

The fair runs until the 21 February.

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Hello Kitty Pop-up Supermarket

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Opening today in Sai Wan is a pop-up Hello Kitty Supermarket at the new Yata Supermarket in Hong Kong Plaza. The Hello Kitty themed promotion will run until the 31 May and features a range of themed goods.

Among the Hello Kitty items are a selection of macaroons ($25 each), cup cakes ($35). Two Hello Kitty themed sushi boxes ($78 and $88) offer some savoury delights while the Hello Kitty Fuji Apple ($99) has a white Hello Kitty stencil ‘painted’ on it.

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The 2 storey Yata store offers a range of premium products with over 60% sourced from Japan. Spend over $300 and you can redeem a free Hello Kitty premium.

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Yata Hello Kitty Pop-up Supermarket
188 Connaught Road West
Sai Wan
Opening hours: 9am-9:30pm.

Taste of Hong Kong 2017

The Taste of Hong Kong returns for a second year to Central Harbourfront from 16 to 19 March. This year’s festival features an increased number of Hong Kong’s top restaurants, confirmed so far are Amber, Arcane (Sunday only), Cafe Grey Deluxe, Chino, Duddell’s, Kaum at Potato Head (Thursday & Friday only), Mercato, Okra (Saturday only), Rhoda, Tin Lung Heen, Tosca, Yardbird and Zuma with perhaps three more to come. Each restaurant will serve four taster portion sized plates: three standard items at prices $50-$200 and one iconic dish that could cost anything…

So what is Taste? The concept is that you can sample taster size portions of dishes from restaurants that you might never visit and create a meal from a range of cuisines. It is a interesting idea, sort of like changing restaurants between each course of a meal – and organisers IMG have turned it into a very profitable global concept.

bc was underwhelmed by last year’s event, not by the concept but by the execution – read the report here. We do love food though, so we spoke to IMG about how they’re looking to ‘improve the experience’ this year.

As HongKongers we’re accustomed to queuing but IMG have said they’ll be working with the participating chefs and restaurants to improve the service efficiency. Increase the information about which dishes are still available, including having far more of the icon dishes per session. As well as having drinks carts serving people in the queues.

There is to be more seating, covered and uncovered. A wider range of entertainment and more artisan shops to purchase food and drink from. Plus an expanded range of talks about food and wine.

The invited chefs look to have a better understanding of the concept and several of the icon dishes show they’re looking to offer something unique at Taste.

IMG appear to have addressed a lot of the frustrations that dampened enjoyment last year with some more improvements yet to announced but it all sounds promising for a tasty event in March.

Taste of Hong Kong
Date: 16-19 March, 2017
Venue: Central Harbourfront
Tickets: $678, $198, $168 from Ticketflap