With Dining Restrictions, What Are Hong Kong's Chefs Doing This Chinese New Year?

Tatler Asia

11 Feb 2021

Five industry veterans on how they're passing the extra time off while the dine-in ban persists
Though many look upon the Lunar New Year as a time of feast after family feast—a cavalcade of suckling pig, abalone, steamed garoupa and the like—for those in the kitchen, it's one of the busiest, if not the most profitable, times of the year, as tables become a hot commodity at Chinese restaurants across Hong Kong. Suffice to say that Chinese New Year in 2021 will be near unrecognisable thanks to a government ban on public gatherings more than two people, and a dine-in ban after 6pm. While there is light at the end of the tunnel—with the relaxation of these measures due for 18 February—for now, the restaurant industry must contend with a quieter festive period.

With the nighttime F&B industry reduced to delivery and takeaway meals, what are Chinese chefs planning to occupy their first free Lunar New Year in years with? We talked to five veterans to find out.

Chef Chan Kai Ying, Chilli Fagara

"In the past, I’ve spent the holiday celebrating with friends and family. We drink Sichuan wine and tea and burn firecrackers—it’s a shared experience we have all come to love. This year we'll be staying at home and celebrating in a small group. I’ll prepare Sichuan food of course! I’ll use this time to experiment with new recipes—I hope to put some tasty yet healthy recipes on the Chilli Fagara menu and I’d love to create a Chinese wine pairing menu. I’ve been impressed with the pours coming out of China in recent years. I hope for good health for everyone and that we’ll pass through the pandemic without further loss. I wish to see travellers return to Hong Kong; I’ve always enjoyed teaching foreigners about regional Chinese food and sharing the unique flavours of Sichuan food with them."