Neil Perry's guide to Hong Kong

Neil Perry takes Gourmet Traveller's Maggie Scardifield on a whistle-stop tour of his best-loved haunts in one of his favourite cities.

By Maggie Scardifield
Neil Perry loves the energy of Hong Kong but it's the food, of course, that has a real hold on his heart - so much so he's returned to the city more than 30 times since he first visited over 20 years ago. "Every time I visit, I walk away with inspiration and a respect for Chinese cooking," he says. Here are his picks for what to do with 24 hours in Hong Kong.
Kowloon to Central on The Star Ferry
As much cultural touchstone as mode of transport, The Star Ferry has been running between Kowloon and Hong Kong since 1888. "A lot of the places I like to go to are in Central, so if I stay in Kowloon it's an easy trip on the ferry," says Perry. "It's cheap, easy and offers an amazing opportunity to see Hong Kong from the water."
Star Ferry Concourse, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, +852 2367 7065, $16 for an adult round trip
Graham Street wet markets
"This is a glimpse of the original Hong Kong city; it's where all the action is," says Perry. Look out for ingredients that are unavailable in Australia such as fresh straw mushrooms and bamboo clams. Perry also suggests stocking up on dried and fermented goods such as shrimp paste, black vinegars and soy at Kowloon Soy Co. "The taste difference is like chalk and cheese to the imitation stuff in Australia."
Graham Street wet markets, Graham St (between Queen's and Hollywood rds), Central; Kowloon Soy Co Ltd, 9 Graham St G/F, Central, +852 2544 3695
World-class dumplings at three-Michelin star restaurant Lung King Heen
"These are the very best dumplings in the city," says Perry. "The quality of the wrappers is exquisite." Dim sum from a daily-changing menu such as gold-leaf topped har gau are prepared and cooked to order by executive chef, Chan Yan Tak, while suckling pig, pigeon and Peking duck from the roast kitchen are also worth seeking out. "The duck here has one of the most crisp skins in all of Hong Kong."
Lung King Heen, The Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance St, Central, +852 3196 8888
Helicopter flight from The Peninsula Hong Kong
You don't have to be staying at The Peninsula to book a 15-minute whip-around on the hotel's chopper, which takes off from the roof. "From the helicopter you can see all the building going on and out across Hong Kong's beaches," says Perry. "It's strangely almost like being in the Mediterranean."
The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, +852 2802 0200, $1765 for 15 minutes
Modern Cantonese at Ho Lee Fook and Mott 32
Chef Jowett Yu, an alumnus of Sydney restaurants Mr Wong and Ms G's, heads the kitchen at Ho Lee Fook. The food - slow-cooked wagyu short rib, say - is "fresh, hip and has a great energy about it", says Perry. Ibérico pork char siu ("the wagyu of pork") is a standout, meanwhile, at Mott 32. "As soon as it hits your mouth it starts melting."
Ho Lee Fook, 1 Elgin St, Central, +852 2810 0860; Mott 32, Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4a Des Voeux Rd, Central, +852 2885 8688
Cocktails and views at Sevva
Perry's pick for after-dinner drinks is Sevva - an outdoor terrace bar on the 25th floor in the middle of Central. "It has the most phenomenal views of the city and there's always great music."
Sevva, Prince's Building 25th Floor, 10 Chater Rd, Central, +852 2537 1388
Bespoke suits at Apsley
"It's hard to put on a suit off the rack once you've had one made for you," says Perry. "These guys have a Savile Row connection and use beautiful fabrics." Three suits (each with two sets of trousers) will set you back $5000. If you can't make it to Hong Kong, the tailors visit Australia twice a year.
Apsley Bespoke Tailors, Shop G & H, ground floor, Burlington House, 90-94c Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, +852 2366 5635
Wonton soup in the Qantas Lounge, Hong Kong
"The broth is boiled for about seven hours with dried fish, shrimp and chicken bones," says Perry. "And the noodles have a wonderful bite to them."
Qantas Hong Kong Lounge, level 7 (above gate 15), Hong Kong International Airport, 1 Sky Plaza Rd, +852 2261 0422
  • Author: Maggie Scardifield