It can be difficult when dining to find a balance between food, wine, service and ambience. We visit restaurants for different reasons – a down-at-heel char siu shop might have delicious food which has to be eaten while crammed amongst plastic chairs in a dingy lit room. Or a 30th floor restaurant with sweeping city views might be better for just an afterwork cocktail, with the food not worth the time or money. With guests chefs arriving from Korea, The Mira Hong Kong manages to tick all the boxes this time, combining the Mira’s signature stylish interiors and glam clientele with Korean food to write home about. Chefs Jo Yong Jun and Chun Young Jin made a special guest appearance at the Mira Hong Kong’s Yamm restaurant. The chefs hail from the famed Lotte Hotel in Seoul. This was their first time cooking in Hong Kong, and they came prepared with their own seasonal produce. We took a few minutes of their time to ask them what it was all about.
AP: Asian Palate J&C : Chefs Jo Yong Jun and Chun Young Jin
AP: Was this your first time coming to Hong Kong as guest chefs?
J&C: Yes, this was our first trial as guest chefs in Hong Kong.
AP: What was your process for bringing an authentic taste of Korea to Hong Kong?
J&C: When planning the menu for this event, we wished to deliver genuine and authentic Korean dishes to our guests, so we brought some ingredients from Korea ranging from kimchi and fresh ginseng to black sesame and dried red pepper powder. We bought other ingredients from a few Korean grocery shops near the hotel, where they offer a big variety of fresh and dried ingredients to choose from. We also took into accounts the preferences of Hong Kong people, so we showcased well-known dishes from around the world to cater for the taste buds of the Hong Kong diners. Of course, we stood firm with the spiciness of the dish, we did not reduce the hotness!
AP: The dishes you provided were very well-known by Hong Kong diners, like gingseng chicken soup and kimchi fried rice. Can you suggest one dish we must try?
J&C: I will recommend the Seafood Pancakes, which are very famous in Korea as every Korean often cooks this at home or orders it in restaurants. It is a simple fried pancake with spring onions, mussels, shrimps and scallops, cooked and served hot and ready to eat.
AP: How did you go serving your cuisine in a buffet style?
J&C: The Korean dishes are all well fit in buffets. I am sure diners would have been satisfied having our buffet, as it gave diners the ability to experience a wide range of authentic hot Korean dishes cooked on the spot in one meal.
AP: Can you name one Korean dish or ingredient we must try in spring?
J&C: Korea dishes emphasise the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients. As for spring, Cooked Green Sprouts is the best to have. It is a cold dish with boiled green sprouts and seasonings. It good to have in spring when green sprouts are in season. Simple, however the dish delivers an amazing refreshing taste.
AP: Korean food is gaining notoriety around the world, what do you think the trends will be for your cuisine?
J&C: Korean food is becoming increasingly famous, thanks to Korean popular culture such as movies, TV, beauty and fashion. While striving to preserve the Korean food culture, we also look for new ideas to match our national culinary items with those from other countries. We think French cuisine would suite well with ours, as both emphasise the use of ingredients in season and delicacy of food presentation.
AP: Any plans to spread your footprint further outside Korea?
J&C: I plan to look for opportunities to go to more Asian countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia to further promote the Korea food culture in the region.