Where a Hong Kong culinary institute director goes for roast meat, dumplings and a quiet meal with friends

Swede Per Henrik Jonsson is the programme director at the International Culinary Institute (ICI), in Pok Fu Lam. He spoke to Andrew Sun.

Working as a chef and culinary educator has taken me to many countries, but I grew up in Dubai and Athens, so Mediterranean and Middle Eastern hospitality has been ingrained in me since I was young.

My earliest food memories are of raiding my grandmother’s garden for fresh carrots and berries in Sweden.

In Hong Kong, I am a huge fan of roast meat restaurants. Some of my favourite roast pork belly and char siu feasts have been at Happy Kitchen (352 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2811 8979).

I also enjoy dumpling shops like Yuen Kee Wan Dumplings (various locations including Shop 1, Fung Yuen Building, 388-414 Shau Kei Wan Road, Shau Kei Wan, tel: 5435 2175).

If I want to sit down, Ding Dim 1968 (59 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2326 1968) is a good place.

Ding Dim 1968’s Quarter Pounder Shrimp King Har Gao. Photo: Instagram/@dingdim1968
Embla’s roe deer tartare with ättika emulsion, semi dried carrots, deep fried lichens, browned butter and parsley. Photo: Instagram/@emblahk

For a more formal dinner I like Embla (11 Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2559 8508). It’s quiet, out of the way and not always too busy. Plus, the chef [Jim Lofdahl] is a fellow Swede.

I have not been many times but it has never disappointed.

Recently I had a friend visit from Dubai and we went to Café Match Box (Shop C&D, Fashion Walk, 57 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2868 0363), a Hong Kong restaurant tucked away from the area’s hustle and bustle. It’s not fancy and serves basic Hong Kong fare, but I love it.

Café Match Box’s chicken drumstick fried rice. Photo: Instagram / @cafematchbox

I always want to share the “local” experience with visitors. I try and give my guests an authentic experience, not just a fancy meal that could be eaten in any city in the world.

Sharing local heritage is a must, so my guests can see the charm of a place.

Outside Hong Kong, there are many places that I go for food. Malaysia and Vietnam are two favourites.

I love the experience at Fatty Crab (2 Jalan SS, 24/13, Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya, tel: +60 3 7804 5758) in Kuala Lumpur. The food is always fresh and tasty.

Bún Chả Hương Liên (24 Le Van Huu, Phan Chu Trinh, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi, tel: +84 24 3943 4106) is famous for their BBQ pork noodles and having been visited by US President Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain.
A fruit vendor in front of Bún Chả Hương Liên restaurant in Hanoi, where US President Barack Obama and TV presenter Anthony Bourdain shared a meal of pork noodles in 2016. Photo: AFP

I also enjoy Dubai because, like Hong Kong, it is a melting pot with cuisines from around the world.

Some of the best Peking duck I have ever eaten was at Quanjude Beijing Roast Duck Restaurant (China Cluster F08, 8 D Street, International City, Dubai, tel: +971 50 551 1508). It’s not easy to find and definitely out of the main tourist areas.

Other Dubai favourites include Oasis Restaurant (84 21C Street, Umm Suqeim Road (off Al Wasl Road), Dubai, tel: +971 55 394 9353) for shawarma and Tent Jumeirah Restaurant (31A Street, Umm Suqeim, Jumeirah 3, Dubai, tel: +971 55 275 6091) for loukoumades (Greek-style doughnuts) and tea.

In Sweden, stand-out restaurants I recommend include Två Kanten (Kungsportavenyn 27, Goteborg, tel: +46 31 18 21 15) and Mollösunds Wärdshus (Kyrkvagen, 9 Mollosund, tel: +46 304 211 08).

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