Jowett Yu is the Executive Chef of the beloved quirky Chinese restaurant Ho Lee Fook. Ho Lee Fook was inspired by old school Hong Kong cha chaan tengs and late-night spots in 1960s Chinatown, New York. Yu is known for his playful take on traditional Chinese favorites which, along with the restaurant’s fabulous decor and vibrant atmosphere, is known to attract lines around the block! So how does modern Chinese cuisine work with American ingredients? We found out!
Tell us a bit about your experience with American ingredients
In Brazil, we have many options for U.S. food but here in Hong Kong, I’m discovering more and more, for example, U.S. seafood.
You have a new project coming up, can you tell us a bit about it?
I’m very excited about it because it will give me more opportunities to use U.S. ingredients. I love American food culture and I’m inspired by it. I’m using scallops, lobsters, and definitely some beef. I’m very excited to discover more and more and apply what I know to the U.S. ingredients.
What are some of your favorite U.S. ingredients and how did you discover them?
I’m crazy about seafood so I would say Alaskan salmon. I love to use salmon with bagels, I have very good memories from when I went to the U.S. and had salmon bagels every morning. [I love] lobster roe too. Being in New York and discovering the best restaurants to eat, the steaks are amazing, great texture. When you have good ingredients like you do within U.S. cuisine, you can have a great final product to serve to customers.
What are some of your signature dishes using U.S. ingredients?
Salmon is my favorite ingredient for sure. Very subtle. I can cook it, use it raw. I love love love salmon tartare with a good sour cream. I love the lobster, the vegetables. I like to eat light most of the time. The combination between the seafood and vegetables is amazing to me and to serve to my clients.
What are some of the trends you’re seeing with food and wine in Hong Kong?
I see a lot of restaurants using California Wine, I really like Californian wine. I’m very happy to talk about it because with our new project, the Candour Bar, we’re going to use seafood and pair it with some Californian wines. Summer in Hong Kong is super hot and having fresh food to have with an amazing wine, probably white wine will be amazing to have.