With almost a quarter of a century of culinary expertise up his sleeves, chef Hung Chi-Kwong is known for taking Cantonese cuisine to a new height. Helming the newly opened Rùn at The St. Regis Hong Kong, the award-winning chef is delivering delicate gastronomy with innovative seasonal dishes for every palate.
E: When did you first realise you have a passion for cooking?
It all happened by accident, I guess. After finishing school, I was fortunate enough to be working with some of the great chefs who taught me about cooking, and it was at that time that I discovered that I was quite good at it.
E: Can you briefly share some of the highlights of your long career?
I have been blessed to work at some of the best dining venues in Hong Kong. I worked in Man Wah Restaurant at The Mandarin Oriental, and the Chinese restaurant at The Mira Hotel for three years, retaining the Michelin star-status in both restaurants. And in 2012, I won the silver award in the lobster category for the Best of the Best Culinary Award for my dish.
E: Have you seen a change in your style of cooking over the years?
In recent years, I have been more focused on presentation. It has become increasingly more important because of the notion the “camera eats first”, and people very often focus on the presentation before the taste. This is very different from when I first started cooking.
E: You are responsible for creating amazing dishes for Rùn at the newly opened The St. Regis in Hong Kong. How would you define the restaurant?
Traditional fine Cantonese cuisine. We aim to use the best quality ingredients to create delicate and innovative seasonal dishes.
E: What should people expect when they come to your restaurant?
Rùn is a place of elegance. Guests will appreciate the stunning modern setting that was designed by renowned designer Andre Fu. He was inspired to create this place as a traditional Chinese tea pavilion. The restaurant lightning is a contemporary take on the classic Chinese lantern, to transform it to a relaxed Chinese setting.
Aside from the interior design, the tableware and glassware are customised and designed for each outlet; our aim is to offer our guests a bespoke experience. At Rùn, we also have an experienced Tea Master who greets guests with a welcome tea of the day and who can tailor each brew according to guests’ preferences. In summer, a cold infused tea is presented, and a digestif tea is offered at the end of the meal.
E: Before moving to Rùn, you were awarded a Michelin star. Are you setting the same goal for your new place?
Of course! That is one of the goals that we try to achieve together as a team at Rùn.
E: What did it mean for you to be awarded a Michelin star?
It is the highest honour. It means that our hard work is being recognised with the most prestigious award in the culinary industry.
E: What is your favourite signature dish at the restaurant, and why?
There are many, it would be hard to choose just one. The best sellers are the deep-fried diced Wagyu beef puff, deep-fried lobster spring roll with black truffle sauce, nourishing soup with double-boiled conch soup and simmered tiger prawns.
E: In a country that is so diverse in its culinary scene, what are the challenges you still face as a chef?
Being such a diverse culture, our guests are very receptive to other cuisines and flavours, so we try to incorporate some of those elements into our dishes. I think the challenge is making sure that our menu maintains seasonal freshness, and consistency is upheld. It’s also important that we adapt according to guest preference and palate. It is important as a chef to listen to guest feedback and adjust dishes where necessary.
E: When you are away from the kitchen, what do you do to relax?
I like spending time with my family, especially my two sons.
E: And finally, what advice do you have for budding chefs?
Be humble and always be proactive in learning from different people within the industry.
Stir-fried Roasted Pork Belly with Bitter Gourd
- 200g roasted pork belly
- 400g bitter gourd
- 10g fermented black soybeans
- 10g fresh garlic
- Oyster sauce, to taste
- Chicken powder, to taste
- Chinese rice wine, to taste
- A pinch of sugar
- Light soy sauce, to taste
- Dark soy sauce, to taste
- Corn starch in a little water
- Scrape out bitter gourd core, slice thinly.
- Marinate it in salt and rest for 30 minutes. Blanch for 15 minutes, until soft. Drain.
- Crush the garlic and chop finely.
- Thinly slice roasted pork belly.
- Heat the work. Add bitter gourd slices and stir-fry with a little light soy sauce. Add pork belly slices and brown. Remove both from wok. Reserve.
- Heat the same wok again. Stir-fry garlic and fermented black soybeans. Stir in bitter gourd and pork belly slices.
- Add a little Chinese rice wine and stir-fry briefly.
- Add in oyster sauce, chicken powder, sugar and soy sauce to taste.
- Add little corn starch to thicken the sauce.
- Serve it with rice.
Rùn at The St. Regis Hong Kong
Exquisite Taste September – November 2019