Tatler Tips: How To Survive A Food Festival
1/6 Identify What You Can't Live Without
This year’s Taste of Hong Kong takes place between Thursday March 22 and Sunday March 25, but not all days will feature the exact same line-up. If you’ve been wanting to try out the Nordic delights of Frantzen’s Kitchen, for example, aim for the weekend sessions when the restaurant will actually be at the festival. Likewise, Haku will be serving their Japanese kappo-inspired cuisine on Thursday and Friday only.
In addition, we'll be hosting exclusive chef talks throughout the four days (see more below)—with each chef on for one time only. So check the schedule to make sure you don't miss out.
2/6 Buy Smart
Tickets start from HK$96 for general entry (if you’re a Standard Chartered cardholder) and go up to HK$678 for the Sub Zero & Wolf VIP package, which includes all manner of festival perks (fast-track entry, champagne, two complimentary drinks from the VIP bar, three signature dishes and unlimited access to the Taste VIP lounge and its fancier washrooms). If you’re more about checking out the various cookery demonstrations and chef masterclasses, you might want to consider the Tasteful Menu package or, if you’re a cardholder, the Standard Chartered Exclusive package. Make sure to use our exclusive promo code tastetatler for 30% off your general entry tickets!
3/6 Dress To Ingest
Any food lover will tell you that any event involving mass consumption (see: buffets) requires the most comfortable of clothing. The grounds are vast, too, so leave the heels at home and don your airiest flats. Skip the handbags and opt for totes or cross-body bags—you’ll need both hands free to optimise for the most efficient acquisition of food and drink. Avoid light colours, lest the chorizo-tinged juices of Blacksalt's Kathmandu meatball dumplings (pictured above) do a Jackson Pollock all over your clothes.
4/6 Be Discerning
There will be more than 60 different dishes that will be served at Taste, and while we usually encourage diners to throw caution to the wind and just graze indiscriminately, this isn’t a canapé fest. With limited stomach space, it’s best to scan the festival menu to find the items you’re most interested in sampling.
Our tips? Aim for the festival exclusives—these are the dishes that are not normally on restaurant menus and are unlikely to be found after it ends. These are some of our top picks:
- Okra x Kin's Kitchen’s dried Lau Fau Shan oyster with egg, Lea and Perrins, and bean noodles
- Little Bao’s Surf & Turf bao (first seen at our T.Dining #DimSumDuets event and brought back just for the occasion)
- Caprice’s lobster with Comté espuma, confit leek and white mushroom
- New Punjab Club's chicken biryani
Don’t forget there are a few international names on the list too, such as London’s Bubbledogs and Sydney’s Black Star Pastry. The former has collaborated with Duddell’s to create the Duddelldog, a pork frankfurter topped with Hong Kong style sweet-and-sour pork featuring pineapple and peppers.
5/6 Mind Your Drink
This year’s festival is full of alcoholic delights—from The Johnnie Walker Highball Experience (we love a craft-your-own session!) to The Singleton of Glen Ord Single Malt Whisky Sensorium (look out for the giant cask). If highly rated American wines are your thing, then The 90+ Club is the obvious choice for imbibing; alternatively, we loved the La Cabane Natural Wine Bar last year and look forward to quaffing a few funky wines again this year. Cocktail lovers should head to Foxglove, who will be showcasing brand new cocktails from their Frank’s Library concept, or to the Fevertree gin and tonic garden—fingers crossed for fair weather. And if you’re off the drink? This year sees the launch of the Seedlip Bar, featuring the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit.
We also recommend doing your own part for the environment by bringing your own refillable water bottle and, if you're thinking of caffeinating yourself at the Elephant Grounds booth, your own reusable coffee cup.
6/6 Feed Your Curiosity
It’s not all about sating your appetite—in between courses, make sure you stop by Off Menu by T.Dining (you’ll find us next to the VIP lounges!) to listen in on and participate in the festival’s most consuming conversations with top chefs, where nothing is off the table. Get up close and personal with your favourite names behind the restaurants and what makes them tick; we’ll also be speaking with international names visiting the festival, from London’s Andrew Wong of the newly Michelin-minted A Wong to Sandia Chang of Bubbledogs. We’ll also be giving away copies of our 2018 Best Restaurants guide and exclusive dining prizes. Click here for the timetable of talks (subject to change) and follow us on @tdininghk for the latest festival updates!
Taste of Hong Kong, taking place at the Central Harbourfront between March 22 and 25. For more about the festival, visit www.tasteofhongkong.com