Island Shangri-La: Savor HK Classics at ‘Local Bites’ Buffet
July 13, 2022
Island Shangri-La's signature all-day dining restaurant café TOO is set to present the “Local Bites” buffet, a collaborative gastronomic experience in the city featuring our treasured local Hong Kong dishes and signature plates celebrated for decades.
The pop-up series sees Island Shangri-La host five iconic restaurants in the city to spotlight quintessentially Hong Kong dishes all-year around. The first iteration of the buffet line features Michelin-starred Summer Palace, the Admiralty-located Shangri-La's signature Chinese restaurant, and gourmand-favoured Yat Lok Roast Goose in Central.
Family-fun generational restaurants On Lee Noodle Shop of Shau Kei Wan, Mui Kee Congee in Mong Kok, and Honolulu Café in Wan Chai feature TOO in the roster, celebrating childhood favourites and city classics
“These no-frills local restaurants have captured our city's culinary heritage in the most authentic and appetising ways to satisfy the tastebuds of every generation,” said Inasa Yick, marketing communications manager of the Shangri-La Group.
For breakfast, bakery goods from Honolulu Café and Mui Kee Congee are served. Lunch sees all five partner restaurants deliver salty and sweet treats, with dinner offering plates from Yat Lok, Summer Palace, On Lee, and Honolulu Café.
Food and drink
The culinary team at Island Shangri-La embarked on a project to expose diners to the local flavours of Michelin-starred Hong Kong venues and family flavours found in city diners. Entering the decadent café TOO, evident is the attentiveness and detail of authenticity the team places on emulating the recipes of each five local vendors and employing the local chefs to deliver a precise delicious product.
We began our Local Bites journey with a serving of roasted meats from Yat Lok and Summer Palace: Roast Goose sourced from Yat Lok and Honey-glazed Barbequed Pork and Marinated Chicken in Rose Wine and Soya Sauce from Summer Palace.
Each cured meat, be that pork, chicken, or goose, offers a contrasting flavour notes and textures playful to the tongue. The crisp skin of the goose is faintly sweet which helps to balance the juicy, salty white meat coating the tongue in a tangy fat. The gelatinous chicken brings a classic sweet and sour combination that releases a honey aroma into the nose for a full-bodied bite.
The Shau Kei Wan hometown staple, On Lee Noodle Shop, brings the decadent stirred noodles in soya sauce, fish balls, fish cakes, and fish soup to the Shangri-La, the six-decade old diners' best selection of salty treats.
Sourced daily from Shau Kei Wan, the thin wheat noodles tossed in a light sweet soya sauce are bouncy to bite and ooze of umami, a perfect combination for such a simple dish. The fish balls and cake are delicate creations, hand-made in-house to ensure a hard exterior with the shrimp juices to burst open when crunched. We loved the clear fish soup that was briny, tangy, and salty.
Heralded as a Mong Kok treasure, the original Mui Kee Congee recipe sees its celebration in one of Hong Kong’s elite hotels, whereby buffet-goers can dip a spoon into the silky, wokhey-heavy Fish Belly Congee, packed with soft rice and ginger-infused fried fish.
The congee, imported daily from the Mong Kok store, is boiled with pork bones and raw ginger to infuse the bowl with a tingly spice and gaminess. The fish belly is fried to remove any abundant “fishy” taste; it is crispy exterior is softened in the congee soup, which also helps to extract and release umami into each slurp.
Hong Kong’s famed Honolulu Café delivers with the signature egg tart and Hong Kong-style milk tea, items available all day at café TOO that employ the exact ingredients the Wan Chai-cha chaan teng used in their pastry and tea mixture.
With the 192 layers of puff pastry decadently folded into the egg tart, a bite into the tart coats the mouth with a thin layer of sweetened honey, addictive and rich. The milk tea holds true to the original recipe, with the silkiness and herbyness of the Honolulu recipe precisely brewed at café TOO.
Presented at one of Shangri-La's leading buffet-style restaurants, the Local Bites project hits the mark in a celebration of the restaurants that have breathed life into the city for decades. Sweet pastry treats from Honolulu Café, salty juiced meats from Summer Palace, and soup noodles from On Lee Noodle are truly authentic to the standards of local eaters and generational chefs.
Each dish will remind you of a treasured time crunching, slurping, biting, or sipping on a Hong Kong classic plate spent with your family or friends. The elegance of café TOO elevates the dining experience with a sharing of fresh seafood, colourful deserts, and rich meats on hand too to eat.
“We aim to be a helping hand for the family-run third-generation businesses of Hong Kong suffering from the pandemic. Coming out [of the fifth wave], we aim to work with local chefs to deliver these plates,” said Inasa.
The Local Bites buffet is set as a permanent fixture at the Island Shangri-La, with bi-annual refreshments of the menu sourcing beloved recipes from local Hong Kong classic diners and restaurants.
Local Bites buffet prices per adult
Monday–Friday, 11:30am–2pm: $498
Saturday, 11:30am–2pm: $558
Sunday and public holidays, 11:30am–2pm: $708
Monday–Thursday, 6:30–10pm: $758
Friday, Sunday and public holidays, 6:30–10pm: $788
Saturday and public holiday eves, 1st seating (5:30–7:30pm): $788
Saturday and public holiday eves, 2nd seating (8–10pm): $758
This food review is based on a complimentary media tasting provided by Island Shangri-La in exchange for a truthful review and no compensation. The opinions expressed within represent the views of the author.
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