May 24, 2012|
Our reporter Grace Tsoi did an excellent story on food waste last month, and it really brought home the fact that we Hongkongers are sometimes too spoiled for our own good. So it’s good to know that there are people out there who’re working hard to channel our culinary excesses into something beneficial for society. Half a year ago, two cool ladies, Katy Yung and Stephanie Tan, launched Table For Two Hong Kong, an organization that helps feed hungry children around the world by partnering with local restaurants to offer special TFT-associated menu items (So no, it’s not a dating site—which many people have mistaken it for).
When you order a TFT item from a partner restaurant in Hong Kong, $2 will automatically go towards another prominent charity, Changing Young Lives, which in turn will help to fund a meal at a primary school in Qinghai. The TFT-marked dishes are typically the healthier dishes on the menu, just because TFT wants you to be more health-conscious in general too. Katy and Stephanie tell me that many schools in developing countries like China don’t provide their students with nutritious-enough meals—watery vegetable soups and mantou buns that are low in protein, are the norm. With a TFT-funded meal, Katy and Stephanie will see to it that there is at least more meat and protein provided for the students.
The Table For Two concept was conceived in 2007 by social entrepreneur Masa Kogure in Japan, and now even has a branch in the States. Together, the TFT organizations reach out to schools in Africa and of course, Qinghai. In Hong Kong, there are about 30 restaurant brands (or about 100 restaurants in total) who have partnered up with TFT, including Red Bar+Restaurant, Itamae Sushi chains, Fofo by El Willy, Suzuki Café, Harakan-S and Café O. To help the cause, all you need to do is look for the TFT logo on any of the restaurants’ menus, and order from there. And voila, you’re on your way to being a healthier and more responsible citizen.
For more information, check out www.tablefor2.org.hk.
If my fantastic media experience at the newly opened Messina (5/F, The Harbourfront Landmark, 11 Wan Hoi St., Hung Hom, 3641-1720) is anything to go by, Hong Kong has just been blessed with three true fine-dining gems thanks to pachinko and casino tycoon, Kazuo Okada. Seems like Okada-san hasn’t been too distracted by his ongoing lawsuit against former buddy Steve Wynn, and has been quite busy indeed diversifying from his core business. Hung Hom is one of Okada-san’s latest stomping grounds, where his dining arm, K.O. Dining Group, just unveiled three generously sized venues: an Italian restaurant (Messina), a Japanese restaurant (Kazuo Okada) and a Chinese one (Yu Lei). These establishments are in the middle of nowhere—not just because they’re in Hung Hom, but because they’re hidden in a sea of indistinguishable residential complexes in the area. But executive chef Francesco Greco’s dishes alone make it worth the journey. The dessert trolley is enough to cry home about (I almost did)—the cannolis are without frills and absolutely delish. The pastas, appetizers and the crispy suckling pig are, again, not eye-popping reinventions but exquisitely crafted pieces that are get all the flavors perfectly. I can only imagine what Yu Lei (headed by chef Miki Imagawa) and Kazuo Okada (headed by chef Hirofumi Imamura) will have on offer.
Since moving into its new home in Admiralty, Asia Society has been doing non-stop promos and exhibits and hosting fab events for members and the public alike, and now it even has its own restaurant, Ammo (9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, 2537-9888), fabulously designed, with industrial-chic accents here and there (copper and other metals give the space—quite literally—a cool touch). Ammo pays homage to the site’s military past (it used be an explosives magazine compound for the British military)—its name, supposedly an acronym for the somewhat clunky string, “Asia, Modern, Museum and Original,” is also obviously short for “ammunition.” But the food, thank goodness, has nothing to do with mess hall grub. The official line is Ammo offers Asian- and Mediterranean-style dishes, but from the pictures alone (I haven’t been yet), the food looks very Italian indeed.
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