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A designer’s guide to Hong Kong dining, with André Fu and Joyce Wang

  • Written by Design Anthology

Joyce Wang and André Fu have become known the world over for their daring luxury designs, many focused on food & beverage. But Hong Kong is home for both of the designers, and for some of their most stunning (and delicious) work: Wang’s Ichu, Spiga, Mott 32 and Ammo and Fu’s St. Regis Bar and Guo Fu Lou, to name a few, all of which merit a visit on any trip to the city.

You can’t say you work in Wan Chai unless you frequent the local restaurants on Landale Street and around Wan Chai Market.

Joyce Wang

These venues are part of a new wave of dining in Hong Kong, one that caters to an audience that loves design as much as food, and that complements the city’s many traditional dining destinations serving Cantonese, southern Chinese and more. For Wang, the pace of change is awe-inspiring. ”There’s a hunger to get things done in Hong Kong,” she says. "As a design studio, we’re able to test and experiment with ideas.”

But the two aren’t just restaurant designers, they’re foodies themselves. We asked them for their own list of must-tries.

“I feel you can’t say you work in Wan Chai unless you frequent the local restaurants on Landale Street and around Wan Chai Market,” says Wang, who is based in the eclectic neighbourhood on Hong Kong Island. The designer enjoys the no-fuss service — and the equally simple decor — in a few of these more basic venues. ”A couple of my personal favourites are 榮式 (Wing’s Catering), which serves the best chicken cutlet with battered lotus roots, and 幸屋 (Yuki House Ramen) for al dente ramen. I always go for the cold sesame soup base — it’s perfect for hot summers.”

St. Regis Bar

At the other end of the scale, Fu is a big fan of the St. Regis Bar, “a secret speakeasy,” as he calls it. While the bar is one of Fu’s designs, it’s the other elements that draw him back time and again. “I’m always mesmerised by its handcrafted cocktails, alongside the mural by Beijing artist Zhang Gong, a colourful and whimsical work that records local historic hallmarks such as the Star Ferry and heritage street scenes.” The designer is also a regular at NINETYs in Soho . “It’s a fun and contemporary brunch spot,” he says. “I particularly enjoy their brunch board that allows you to combine dishes like honey-glazed iberico char siu with lemon vinaigrette-dressed kale and truffle scrambled eggs.”

André Fu

Hong Kong is a city that truly embraces cultural nuances. Everywhere you turn, there’s something depicting a distinct spirit of visual juxtaposition.

André Fu

Mido Cafe

The designers both note that much of Hong Kong’s charm is derived from just this type of contrast. “It’s a city that truly embraces cultural nuances,” says Fu. ”Everywhere you turn, there’s something depicting a distinct spirit of visual juxtaposition. I admire its diversity — architecturally, I’m hugely enamoured of the cinematic quality of the city back in the 60s, as depicted by Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love. There are many local cha chaan tengs [traditional Hong Kong-style diners] and Bauhaus spaces built back then that still exist.”

night shot of eastern district

“I love the different modes of public transportation the most,” adds Wang. “It takes you on a topographical journey through Hong Kong, from the slow ‘ding-ding’ tram to the speedy minibus; from cruising cross-harbour on the Star Ferry to riding on the Peak Tram. You immediately tune in with the pulse of the city and can experience it from different perspectives.”

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