Food + Beverage
A gourmet chef launches a private culinary programme for visiting foodies wanting to learn how to cook those mouth-watering Hong Kong style Chinese dishes when they get back home.
When I travel to other parts of Asia and tell people I live in Hong Kong, the response is always the same: “You’re so lucky!” they invariably say.
No, it’s not the posh shopping malls or the bustling street markets or the frenetic nightlife that they envy. It’s the food.
I even found this during a recent trip to Stockholm, Sweden, where I attended TBEX Europe, a convention for travel bloggers.
First, I was surprised at how many of the travel bloggers I met that had been to Hong Kong. Second, I was surprised at the rave reviews they uniformly gave the city’s culinary landscape.
“You are so lucky to live in Hong Kong,” a travel blogger from Brazil told me.
“I’ve been to Hong Kong, and I want to eat Hong Kong food for the rest of my life!”
Private Cooking Class
I’m not sure if my Brazilian friend would learn enough to cook Chinese food for the rest of her life following a three-hour lesson, but she could learn at least enough to cook one main dish and two side dishes at a recently launched private culinary programme.
Classes are held at Rent-a-Kitchen, an upscale events venue equipped with a home-style kitchen.
And when I say “home-style kitchen” I’m referring to the kind of kitchen you would usually find in an American home rather than one of the tiny kitchens you will find in most cramped Hong Kong flats – unless, of course, you live on The Peak or in Tai Tam.
I’d be willing to take the class just for the chance to cook in such a spacious, well-equipped kitchen.
Located in Kowloon’s rapidly gentrifying Kwun Tong district, Rent-a-Kitchen was launched in 2014 to provide an affordable private venue for family and/or friends wanting to spend a fun or romantic evening cooking and dining together.
The concept is especially meaningful in a city like Hong Kong, where kitchens are usually very, very small.
And what better place to offer a cooking class to visiting foodies?
Classes begin with a trip to a traditional wet market to purchase fresh ingredients. This in itself is an eye-opening experience.
They return to the kitchen, and a one-on-one tutorial in Chinese cookery begins.
Participants can choose from nearly 30 main dishes – running from sweet and sour pork to Sichuanese prawns. Side dishes run from desserts to dumplings to dim sum.
The chef will also attempt to honour special requests if participants have them.
A small production team is included in the programme, which is fully documented. Participants get a record of the class with instructions when the programme ends.
“Food is an indispensable part in any culture,” says Nelvin Lim, who teaches the classes.
“Travelers can learn more about Hong Kong’s culture and heritage through local Cantonese food and its Western influenced delicacies.”
Chef Nelvin is an experienced Chinese gourmet instructor and an award winning tour guide.
With a family background in food manufacturing in China’s Fujian province, Chef Nelvin has worked with Hong Kong Tourism Board to design special culinary and historical programmes to visiting VIPs and international media.