Food & Drink

Recipes, cookbook reviews, interviews with chefs, culinary insights and wine columns
  1. This is your first trip to Hong Kong. What have you been up to? “We haven’t done much sightseeing, more eating. I’ve enjoyed what I tried. There are many things I’ve never had before, like snake soup. I would have liked it more if I didn’t see the live snakes. I’m scared of them!”What are your childhood memories around food in Tuscany? “I always liked eating and cooking. I started cooking with my grandmother. Every Sunday she made ravioli with ragu. That’s where my passion for cooking began. I…
  2. El Invernadero sits at the top of Calle Ponzano, a trendy street synonymous with tapas and cocktails in Madrid’s central Chamberí neighbourhood. Its block, though, is quiet and nondescript. From the outside, chef Rodrigo de la Calle’s Michelin-starred restaurant is rather inconspicuous; inside, understatement – not minimalism – reigns. The dining room is intimate and stylish, with leafy plants and glazed, apple-green wall tiles offsetting speckled white walls and bare, dark wood tables. The…
  3. Cashew chicken is not a dish you’re likely to come across at restaurants in Hong Kong. There are chicken dishes here that are garnished with cashews, but they are not listed on the menu as cashew chicken. That’s because cashew chicken is a Chinese-American dish – something you find primarily at places that cook up large batches of food at once, and keep it in warming trays under heat lamps or on steam tables. That doesn’t mean it can’t be good, though. This version takes about 45 minutes to…
  4. Interpretation“Like the food, there’s a Cantonese baseline in the decor but it’s just a jumping off point. You see that in the Star Ferry green that we use, especially on the metal canopy over the bar. It’s a heritage touch that strikes an emotional chord in people here. Instead of powder coating, we’ve hand-painted it for that authentic thick, globby quality that is so familiar to us.“I wanted to create a nostalgic kiss to the romance and history of Victorian Hong Kong but avoid that…
  5. For many people, Mexican food begins with tacos and burritos and ends with combination plates. These plates are often just tacos and burritos (with a tostada or taquito for the adventurous), but instead of being served on their own they’re accompanied by refried beans and pink Spanish rice.In Made in Mexico (2019), Danny Mena, the chef of La Loncheria in Brooklyn, New York, shows the diversity of the cuisine of his hometown, Mexico City.Mena didn’t set out to be a chef, though. In the…
  6. How did you wind up in the United States as a teenager? “My paternal grandfather’s brother was a prosecutor and I thought I would follow him into public justice and defend people, but I didn’t enjoy studying. When I was a teenager I wanted to go to the United States to study. My parents told me I had to figure out how to get there myself so I applied to be an exchange student. What they did was very unusual for Japanese parents, but I am thankful for it. I wanted to go where there were no other…
  7. After the indulgences of the winter holidays – and with more feasting to come with the Lunar New Year in just a few weeks – it’s a good time to give your body a break by eating lighter meals. These vegetarian dishes are healthy and easy to make. Steamed tofu with ginger, garlic, spring onions and chillies I love this light but flavourful dish, which can be ready in about 15 minutes. For a more substantial meal, serve with stir-fried green vegetables. I use Thai soy sauce for this recipe; it…
  8. For many, each new year is accompanied with pledges to lead a healthier life – and that usually means compromises.That’s not the case at the W Hong Kong’s Woobar.The Kowloon bar has turned the traditional afternoon tea on its head, so guests can keep the weight off their butt, with the launch this week of a Fuel Your Body and Mind Tea Set that’s packed with superfoods – and not a cream-filled scone in sight.“It’s a really fun concept,” says the W’s culinary director, Robert Nilsson. “Hotels…
  9. The authors of The Food of China (2001) acknowledge the common threads that are essential to traditional Chinese cuisine, even though they may take different forms in the various regions of the country.Beijing-born, Oxford-educated Deh-Ta Hsiung has written numerous cookbooks, focusing primarily on Chinese cuisine. American food writer Nina Simonds lived in Taiwan in the 1970s, where she learned how to cook Chinese cuisine.In the introduction to The Food of China, they write, “Chinese meals…
  10. Tell us about your childhood. “At around 11 years old I knew I wanted to become a baker because my grandfather apprenticed in a bakery and though he ended up being a captain on a river boat, he kept baking bread and I liked eating it. Then I realised that bakers needed to wake up early. That didn’t sound like a lot of fun, so I became a cook instead.”Describe your journey to becoming a chef. “When I was 14 years old, my mum got me a job in the only restaurant in our village [Loon op Zand, in…