‘Best noodle spot’ in Hong Kong, plus dim sum and roast goose favourites: where this Italian steakhouse chef likes to eat
Josh Stumbaugh, chef of Italian steakhouse Associazione Chianti in Wan Chai, has come a long way from a small town outside Philadelphia, in the US state of Pennsylvania. Beginning as a dishwasher, he started cooking in Philadelphia's top restaurants before journeying to Australia then back to New York's famed Barbuto. He talks to Andrew Sun.
I love visiting Jean May (14 Gresson Street, Wan Chai, tel: 3590 6033) for some fantastic French food. The setting is quaint and feels like you're in a little bistro in the heart of France, with well-executed and flavourful dishes.
One of my all-time favourite restaurants is 22 Ships (22 Ship Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2555 0722), across the road from us at Associazione Chianti. I love Spanish food, especially tapas. It offers a much-needed escape to Spain while we cannot travel freely. My favourite dish is the roasted suckling pig.
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Since arriving in Hong Kong, I visit Hotal Colombo (31 Elgin Street, SoHo, tel: 2488 8863) whenever I am in the SoHo area. The Sri Lankan flavours and execution of the dishes by chef Gisela "Gizzy" Alesbrook are always first-class, and the restaurant's ambience is fantastic, not to mention the awesome playlist churning out '90s classics.
A favourite for dim sum is Luk Yu Tea House (24 Stanley Street, Central, tel: 2523 5464). You can find all of the yum cha classics, from baked puff pastries stuffed with different meats and fillings to steamed dumplings, crispy deep-fried chicken, fried noodles with sliced beef, and sweet and sour pork.
Kau Kee (21 Gough Street, Central, tel: 2850 5967) is the best noodle spot in town, proven by the queue snaking out the door at all hours. I love the atmosphere of being tucked away while everyone is slurping aromatic bowls of beef noodles, hurrying to get that satisfying fix. I recommend the curried beef noodles and tendon.
At Yat Lok (34-38 Stanley Street, Central, tel: 2524 3882), you will find exceptionally well-cooked roast goose, one of the city's best. In pre-Covid-19 times, people would fly to Hong Kong just to visit Yat Lok, and I don't blame them.
I also like Seventh Son (3/F, The Wharney Guang Dong Hotel, 57-73 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2892 2888) for classic Cantonese dishes. The signature is suckling pig - the textures and flavours of the smoky, crispy skin and the tender meat are out of this world.
As for bars, I enjoy Quinary (56-58 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2851 3223) which is pretty much a Hong Kong institution. Their Earl Grey martini is a must-try. I also like The Diplomat (LG/F, High Block, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, tel: 3619 0302) for classic cocktails reimagined, and Bar de Luxe (7/F, The Steps, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, tel: 3706 5716) for an inventive Japanese cocktail or two.
Overseas, my favourite downtown Manhattan restaurant is Estela (47 East Houston Street, New York, New York, tel: +1 212 219 7693) by chef Ignacio Mattos. His food is always spectacular and refined. The restaurant has a neighbourhood wine bar feel, paired with top-notch food. It is no surprise the restaurant has a Michelin star.
In California, Osteria Mozza (6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, tel: +1 323 297 0100) by Nancy Silverton is a classic. The food is the epitome of Italian-American farm-driven food. The team is always warm and welcoming. Visiting the restaurant is a real experience that is difficult to find elsewhere.
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