‘Best fish and chips’ in Hong Kong, ‘real comfort food’ dumplings, dim sum: a gourmet food importer’s restaurant picks

Austrian Stefan Gross is the managing director of Blue Danube Gourmet, which imports food and wine from his homeland. He spoke to Andrew Sun.

I’m lucky to have grown up in Austria, a country with a lot of local agricultural produce, so we don’t really depend on imports. We always had quality comfort food.

One of my favourite dishes is schinkenfleckerl, made with ham, small bow-tie pasta and a cream sauce – you can say it’s Austrian macaroni and cheese. It’s just as good if you bake the leftovers with cheese the next day, gratin-style.

I went to hotel school and worked in Vienna and Switzerland. I got bored with Europe and decided to go to New York. I’ve also lived in Malta, Edinburgh, the Caribbean and eventually settled in Hong Kong.

Roasted bone marrow at Chef’s Cuts. Photo: Instagram/@chefscutshk

I eat at Chef’s Cuts (Shop G01-G03, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road, Central. Tel: 9574 4254) about two or three times a week. I love the vibe. There are people from all walks of life. I would eat here even if I wasn’t a supplier. It’s casual, a good place to meet people. The seafood and the bone marrow are good. The pork knuckle is also authentically made.

You might also see me at Soho Banh Mi (Shop 2D, 1/F, The Center, 99 Queen’s Road Central. Tel: 5498 4236). This is another favourite. To me, it’s like a kaiser roll banh mi. The bread is the crispiest in town. I love the pâté made from locally sourced pork liver and they do everything themselves. The bun (rice noodle) salad is great in summer.

Pâté from Soho Banh Mi. Photo: Instagram/@sohobanhmi

Before a night of drinking, I love having the city’s best fish and chips at Hooked (86-88 Caine Road, Mid-Levels. Tel: 2915 1118). I love the blue cod.

For local food, Chuan Yue Lou (7/F, Coda Plaza, 51 Garden Road, Mid-Levels. Tel: 2838 2828) is my dim sum place. It’s Sichuan and Cantonese. We love going there. If you can get a table by the window, the view is great.

My really local favourite is Sister Wah (13A Electric Road, Tin Hau. Tel: 2807 0181). It started in Sai Ying Pun but is now in Tin Hau and is Michelin-recommended. The funny thing there is the owner’s English is non-existent but he speaks a bit of German because he used to work in Austria. The beef brisket for me resembles tafelspitz, the Viennese boiled beef and tripe I ate growing up.

Beef brisket noodles from Sister Wah. Photo: Instagram/@makanterusss
Dumplings from Shanghai Lane. Photo: Instagram/@shanghailane_hk

For visitors, I might take them to Shanghai Lane (three locations including 35-37 Gough Street, Central. Tel: 2850 7788). It is family-owned still, so often you can see them making the dumplings. It’s real comfort food.

There are a couple of places outside the city I like. I go to Rainbow Seafood Restaurant (23-27 First Street, Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island. Tel; 2982 8100) a few times a year but it can be pricey. In the New Territories, I like Fu Kee Restaurant (56 Shan Tseng Village, 41-63 Castle Peak Road, Sham Tseng. Tel: 2491 8002) for roast goose after a hike.

Dragon Inn Seafood Restaurant (12 Tsing Ha Lane, Castle Peak Bay, Castle Peak Road, Tuen Mun. Tel: 2450 6366) is also a good option if you’re out around the Gold Coast area. It opened in 1939 and has a big hall and a nice terrace.

A dish from Rainbow Seafood Restaurant in Lamma Island. Photo: Edward Wong

In Austria, Schweizerhaus (Prater 116, 1020 Vienna, Austria. Tel: +43 1 72801520) is a beer garden with 3,000 seats. It’s inside an amusement park. Beers run non-stop from the taps. They have real Budweiser beer – from Budweis, Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic – not the American stuff. The tanks are as big as gas station tanks. It’s an amazing thing if you’re a beer lover.


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