By Rachel Duffell
June 15, 2021
For Korean-American Mina Park, Hong Kong was her second residence till 2018 when she left town for Los Angeles the place she just lately opened Korean eatery Shiku. An extended-time lover of Hong Kong’s various and vibrant eating scene, she shares a few of her favorite locations.
Mina Park isn’t any stranger to the culinary world. She might have began her profession as a company lawyer, however she additionally ran eating occasions via her non-public kitchen Sook on the aspect, and later, when she swapped the company world for the culinary one full time, she went on to discovered Hawkr, a Southeast Asian takeaway spot established in Quarry Bay, which later expanded to Pacific Place too.
Departing for America’s Golden State in 2018, Park settled along with her husband, Korean chef Kwang Uh, in Los Angeles. Right here the pair remained within the restaurant trade. “With my husband, we ran a profitable pop-up for 9 months and just lately opened a quick informal Korean idea in historic Grand Central Market known as Shiku, which implies ‘the folks you share meals with’. The pandemic within the US was sophisticated in several methods to in Asia, and so opening Shiku in the midst of it appeared like fairly an achievement.”
And the pair have lots extra up their sleeves. “We’re nonetheless engaged on settling down our restaurant in Grand Central Market. LA is simply beginning to open up absolutely and we must see if issues return to some form of normalcy or not. Then we need to reopen Baroo, my husband’s cult-favourite restaurant, which closed in 2018. And we’ve a couple of different ideas in thoughts that we’re fleshing out now.”
But Hong Kong nonetheless holds a particular place in Park’s coronary heart. “Hopefully, we can journey again to Hong Kong and Korea quickly,” she says. For now, Park reminisces concerning the eating locations she charges in Hong Kong.
What do you miss most on the foods and drinks entrance when you’re away from Hong Kong or haven’t been again for some time?
There are such a lot of locations and meals that I miss from Hong Kong, I don’t know the place to start. I miss the standard and number of Cantonese meals that’s accessible in every single place you look––the contemporary seafood, the cha chaan tengs, the dai pai dongs, scrumptious char siu in my outdated neighborhood of Chai Wan, yum cha, chiu chow delicacies, purchasing on the moist markets. I miss the Shanghainese golf equipment the place my pals would take me for lunch, Szechuan hot pot, really modern fashionable Cantonese and Taiwanese cuisine. I miss the ambiance of all these locations, the tiny areas with the traditional tiled flooring, the historical past.
What can be the primary dish you’ll eat in your return and the place would you go for it?
Claypot rice from Kwan Kee in Sai Ying Pun. I haven’t had a correct claypot rice since I left Hong Kong and I’ve been craving that, and I might have certainly one of my pals who’s an everyday take us as a result of she all the time organises probably the most scrumptious and enjoyable dinners there.
Do you have got a favorite restaurant in Hong Kong? For fantastic eating/particular events and for extra informal experiences?
For particular events, I wish to go to Kin’s Kitchen or The Chairman. Kin all the time has great tales to share and his private twists on Cantonese classics are all the time a delight. I had my first celebration in Hong Kong at The Chairman and certainly one of my final meals earlier than I moved there too. I’ve so many fond recollections revamped their well-known flower crab with rice noodles.
In case you have guests or visitors with you, the place do you make sure you all the time go to provide them an actual style of Hong Kong?
One among my favourites is Kam Tung Tai in Shau Kei Wan for dinner, although we frequently went for dim sum as properly. Because it began as a spot for fishermen, we order lots of their braised seafood dishes, clams with pig liver, and spherical it out with their shredded hen dish. There’s additionally a braised fish dish that my pals and I had as soon as that was to die for, however we forgot the precise title and we have been by no means capable of order it once more despite the fact that we tried. I dream about that fish.
The place do you want to satisfy up with outdated pals for meals and drinks?
For dinner and drinks, I like assembly pals at Happy Paradise by my expensive good friend, chef Might Chow. Each night time I’ve spent there was so enjoyable, just a little raucous, but in addition the meals ranges from scrumptious bar snacks like sourdough egg waffles to essentially refined fashionable Cantonese dishes such because the poached yellow wine hen, which I want I might eat daily.
Do you have got a favorite bar and/or café in Hong Kong?
My favorite bar for its inimitable mixture of design, ambiance and gin cocktails is Ping Pong 129. Their artwork and music programmes are additionally distinctive in Hong Kong. It actually appears like residence there. For cafes, I like Teakha and its sister web site, Plantation. It makes me so comfortable to have a few of their teas at residence in LA so I can think about the peace and fantastic thing about each of these areas.
Is there anyplace else that you’d by no means miss visiting if you returned to Hong Kong?
I might have appreciated to attempt chef Jowett Yu’s new dishes at Ho Lee Fook. I stalk my favorite HK locations which are on Instagram and all of his new creations look wonderful. I additionally miss chef David Lai’s cooking at Neighborhood. Then there are such a lot of locations which have opened up since I moved that I actually need to attempt like Bibi & Baba for Peranakan meals.
What do you all the time take again residence with you if you depart Hong Kong?
Sadly, US customs is so strict, in any other case I might carry again a suitcase crammed with first rate shrimp roe and lap cheung. So, I’m extra prone to carry again goodies from Shanghai Road, like cleavers made in Hong Kong, in addition to extra hand-painted porcelain ware from Yuet Tung China Works in Kowloon Bay. I’m very unhappy that I didn’t purchase a large wood chopping block from Shanghai Road once I moved. Undecided I can get a kind of residence in my carry-on now!
What do you want about LA’s eating scene and the way does it examine to Hong Kong’s?
LA is basically probably the greatest locations to eat proper now, for my part. Like Hong Kong, you possibly can have the very best low-cost eats, however in LA it’s tacos, not fish balls. And like Hong Kong, on the similar time, you possibly can deal with your self to an exquisite fantastic eating expertise at locations like Kato which is fashionable Taiwanese. LA has a various array of cuisines to pattern with so many alternative neighbourhoods to discover from Thai City to the San Gabriel Valley to Little Armenia and a lot extra.
The place do you go to seek out genuine flavours of residence the place you at the moment stay in LA?
Nothing compares to Hong Kong, after all, however my husband and I am going to the San Gabriel Valley, which is crammed with Chinese language eating places of all genres. I nonetheless have extra discovering to do there, however we like Alice’s Kitchen for Hong Kong breakfast. It was the primary place I went to that felt like residence with the primary chew of their cheung fun.