New stars: sweet durian and hot Punjab fare

A durian dessert restaurant and two stalls selling tofu and soy milk made the cut on the latest Michelin Guide for Hong Kong and Macau.

Sophie Hui

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A durian dessert restaurant and two stalls selling tofu and soy milk made the cut on the latest Michelin Guide for Hong Kong and Macau.

The two-story restaurant - Durian Land - in Tsim Sha Tsui joined the Michelin-recommended street food series after opening its doors just three months ago.

One of the owners, Nicole Wu, said her restaurant offers different types of durian, and all of its desserts are made from fresh fruit from its own orchard in Malaysia.

Some of the items offered include durian bubble tea, a parma ham wrap with durian and cheese, cheese cakes and tarts with durian.

Wu was surprised and overjoyed about her restaurant joining the Michelin street food list, and believes the service and atmosphere played a key role in the accomplishment.

She said the restaurant was founded by a few friends who loved eating durian.

"We hope we can share the fabulous food with people and let them know about the durian culture and about Durian Land," Wu said. "We hope people can leave the restaurant with happiness after eating the food."

Wu is not worried about rent increase as the premises is owned by one of the business partners. She also hopes to expand the restaurant by opening branches on Hong Kong Island in the future.

Also featured on the list for the first time were Kung Wo Tofu in Sham Shui Po and King of Soyabeans in San Po Kong.

The 58-year-old Kung Wo Tofu is famous for its tofu pudding, soy milk and tofu snacks, while the King of Soyabeans is renowned for its Shanghainese sticky rice rolls, soy milk and other bean curd snacks.

So Kee in Yuen Long - which offers double-steamed egg white with milk - and a cart noodle restaurant in Central - The Noodle Hive - also made the list.

Meanwhile, 63 restaurants in Hong Kong received Michelin stars this year, with seven of them earning three stars. There were also 71 local restaurants featured in the Bib Gourmand restaurants list, as they offer three courses for HK$400 or less.

Among the three-star restaurants, Lung King Heen retained its ranking for the 11th consecutive year, while Caprice at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong was promoted from two to three stars this year.

Six restaurants joined the single-star club for the first time, including two Chinese restaurants - Guo Fu Lou in Central and Xin Rong Ji in Wan Chai - and two French restaurants - Arbor and Belon - in Central.

An Italian restaurant in Central - Octavium and a Pakistani restaurant in Central - New Punjab Club also made the cut.

Belon and New Punjab Club are under Black Sheep Group, and have been open for three years and one-and-a-half years respectively in Hong Kong.

Syed Asim Hussain, the owner of the two restaurants, said one of the bestsellers in Belon is roasted chicken as the restaurant uses high quality poultry from the New Territories, while the two tandoor ovens at New Punjab Club is a hit among customers.

He said earning a Michelin star will not impact the way his restaurants operate.

They will, in fact, work harder, he added. Hussain is also confident of adhering to the higher expectations after obtaining the coveted star.

Meanwhile, Lei Garden in North Point, which received a star last year, failed to retain its place on the list this time around.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com