Trust us when we say that this is the dish you’ll not want to miss when it returns to Taste of Hong Kong this month
Back in November 2017, we invited six brilliant local chefs to pair up for Dim Sum Duets, a series of unique dining experiences that presented their vision for the future of yum cha. T.Dining readers gathered at the V-ZUG showroom in Causeway Bay to sample never-before-seen dim sum creations by talents such as Vicky Lau (Tate Dining Room & Bar), Max Levy (Okra), Daniel Calvert (Belon) and May Chow (Little Bao), who worked together with masters of the Cantonese kitchen—namely, Leung Fai-hung (Hoi King Heen) and Lee Man-sing (Mott 32)—to create menus that fused their individual cooking styles.
During those four evenings, we got to experience incredible creations such as BBQ freshwater eel and miso-steamed foie gras puffs with pickled wood ear fungus; wild boar and salty egg custard buns; and lap cheong pâté en croûte. Undoubtedly, one of the most popular dishes that came out of the series was May Chow and Lee Man-sing’s “surf and turf” bao—a combination of crisp suckling pig, cuttlefish paste and celtuce salad in a fermented shrimp paste-slicked bao. We tried to convince Chow to put it on the menu at Little Bao, but the work required to create each bao—not to mention roast the suckling pig each morning—would have been too much for the restaurant’s tiny kitchen.
The good news? Chow, who is taking part in this year’s Taste of Hong Kong, is bringing back the Dim Sum Duet exclusive bao throughout the festival. We spoke to Chow to get the lowdown on this special Icon and Taste Exclusive dish.
Tell us about how the idea of the bao come about.
I was doing a collaboration with Lee Man-sing at Mott 32 for T.Dining’s Dim Sum Duet series—his team are masters of the Chinese kitchen. Stuffed suckling pig is more often served at a refined Cantonese restaurant, due to its complexity and skills required. We wanted to showcase that and not to mention it's so delicious!
Why is this bao a true taste of Hong Kong?
I think the bao burger has now become an original signature of Hong Kong. We’re able to showcase the mastery of Cantonese cooking and its deliciousness in a Chinese burger format. I think can't be more Hong Kong than that!
What is the level of craftsmanship that is required to create each element of this bao?
We’ll have to use freshly roasted suckling pig every morning. We portion out the skin, removing the fat and keeping the meat. We then get fresh cuttlefish and blend it with the pork fat and mix it until it's bouncy in texture. This cuttlefish mixture goes with a layer of suckling pig meat onto the skin to order and is fried over medium heat. Once the cuttlefish is cooked we flip the skin to crisp it up a bit more. We then air dry it a bit and the cuttlefish is able to rest. For the rest of the bao, we use a local shrimp paste to make a mayo; we also use hoisin sauce. We then layer a celtuce coleslaw on top.
Catch May Chow and other leading Hong Kong chefs at Taste of Hong Kong, taking place at the Central Harbourfront between March 22 and 25.
For more about Taste of Hong Kong, visit www.tasteofhongkong.com