Hong Kong’s Top Chefs Share Their Lockdown Recipes

Hong Kong’s Top Chefs Share Their Lockdown Recipes

After nearly three years of lockdown in Hong Kong, we’d like to think that we’ve brushed up on home cooking skills. However, it doesn’t quite compare to dining out at the city’s best fine dining and Michelin-starred eateries that have been delighting gourmands from across the globe for years. As we wait for restaurants to reopen past 6:00 pm again—with the first phase of lockdown relief tentatively scheduled for April 21—we ask Hong Kong’s top chefs to share their lockdown recipes to get us through the next few weeks.

Note: restaurants in Hong Kong are allowed to open until 6:00 pm as of publishing—so you can also visit these venues during daytime hours, and use these lockdown recipes anytime of the day.

On Hong Kong lockdowns, see also …

Hong Kong Wellness Experts On Their Mental Health Tips For Lockdown

Hong Kong Gyms Offering Online Fitness Classes In Lockdown

Sonia Samtani Of All About You Wellness Centre On Conscious Parenting & How To Cope During The Pandemic

Nike Master Trainer Utah Lee On How To Stay Fit & Motivated In Lockdown

The Best Healthy Hong Kong Takeouts & Deliveries To Try Right Now

Lockdown Recipes | Images courtesy of MONO

Chef Ricardo Chaneton—MONO: Venezuelan Arepas Stuffed with Mashed Avocado & Organic Chicken Salad (Arepas de Reina Pepiada)


For the filling 

  • 2 pieces of ripe avocado 
  • 350g organic chicken breast 
  • ½ small white onion 
  • 1 medium size bay leaf
  • 1 small carrot
  • ¼ of a green bell pepper 
  • 20g coriander
  • 1/2 red onion or 1 piece of shallot, diced
  • The juice of 2 limes
  • 90g pasteurised mayonnaise 
  • Necessary qty of salt

For the corn dough

  • 400g pan flour (pre-cooked white corn flour) 
  • 300g warm water
  • 2g salt
  • 10g corn oil 


For the filling 

  1. Place the organic chicken breast in a large pot with water, bring to boil and as soon as the water starts to boil, pour away the water and put new cold water in the pot keeping the chicken inside.
  2. Add the green bell pepper, a medium size bay leaf, half of the white onion cut into three big pieces, the stems of the coriander and a small peeled carrot. Bring to a boil again and fully cook the chicken breast.
  3. Once the chicken breast is cooked take it out and let it rest at room temperature for couple of minutes, shred the chicken breast and place aside.
  4. The poaching vegetables can be thrown away or put into compost.
  5. In a bowl, mash the ripe avocado pulp. Then add the chopped red onion or shallots, lime juice, pasteurised mayonnaise, salt, and the shredded organic chicken breast. Mix all together and add the chopped coriander leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

For the corn dough / Arepas

  1. Place the flour, salt and oil in a large mixing bowl, add the warm water in intervals as you mix with your hands.
  2. Mix all the dough until all lumps are gone. Let rest for five minutes.
  3. Place a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and coat the plan with some oil using a tissue paper. Once smoke starts to appear, turn the heat down to medium-low and place some more oil with the paper again. 
  4. Divide dough into eight pieces, around 80 grams each and place over clingfilm. To shape an arepa, roll the dough into a ball and then pat it, between your hands into a disc. Press your thumbs to flatten the disc. Discs should be around 1-2 cm thick and 7-8 cm diameter.
  5. Place the arepas on the cast iron pan and sear them until a brown crust forms on both sides (around four minutes each side). Once the colour is dark brown and with some “burnt” spots, place the arepas in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about eight minutes, or until they are puffed up a bit. Take them out of the oven and set them onto a baking sheet for just a minute or two until they’re cool enough to handle. Using one hand to hold the side of the arepa, make a cut using the bread knife and take out part of the dough on the inside of the arepa without breaking the crust to make a pocket for the filling. Add some butter to the inside of the arepa and fill with the chicken avocado filling. Serve warm.

Compare Retreats Readers Exclusive: Compare Retreats readers can purchase a MONO arepas kit to be picked up or delivered to their doorstep. MONO will provide a ready-made chicken avocado filling, all the ingredients for the arepa dough and a link to a video of Ricardo doing a step-by-step of the cooking process.

The price is HK$780 per set (set is for 3 pax) and is available for a limited time only. Readers can choose between pickup at MONO in Central or delivery to HK Island for HK$100. Delivery to New Territories or Kowloon will require an additional delivery fee. The arepa set is exclusive for Compare Retreats readers.

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Lockdown Recipes | Images courtesy of Peggy Chan

Chef Peggy Chan—Executive Director of Zero Foodprint Asia: Rice Rolls (Banh Cuon)


For the rice roll filling:

  • 50g dried wood ear mushroom
  • 200g firm tofu, crumbled
  • 100g Jicama
  • 100g shiitake mushroom
  • 100g Chinese celery
  • 10g sesame oil
  • 20g vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 10g mushroom seasoning
  • 3g galangal powder
  • 3g white pepper powder

For the rice roll batter:

  • 100g rice flour
  • 112.5g tapioca flour
  • 700ml water
  • 55ml rice bran oil/sunfower seed oil
  • 4.5g salt


For rice roll filling:

  1. Soak cloud ear mushroom for approximately 30 minutes. Rinse through with filtered water to ensure sediments are removed.
  2. Squeeze dry. Then dice them finely and reserve on the side.
  3. In a food processor, pulse shiitake into fine granules and reserve on the side. Repeat with jicama and Chinese celery.
  4. Add oil to a non-stick pan. Toss in crumbled tofu then season with salt and pepper. Leave to sauté on medium-high heat until they are golden brown on all edges. The longer you cook the tofu, the drier and crispier!
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients into the pan. Turn the heat down to low-medium heat and allow the sauces to be absorbed by the vegetables.
  6. Reserve on the side.

For rice roll batter:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Make sure they are fully incorporated.
  2. Lightly oil a non-stick pan on medium heat. Pour a ladle of thin batter onto the pan and swirl the pan to allow for an even rice roll. The rice roll will steam as long as the heat is controlled to below medium. It will only take approximately 1.5-2 minutes to cook each rice sheet through.
  3. Remove the pan away from the heat, let it cool for approximately 20 seconds, then tilt the pan upside down to tap the rice sheet onto an oiled tray or a cutting board.
  4. Scoop two tablepoons of rice roll filling onto the middle of the rice sheets. Fold each rice sheet from bottom up to cover the filling, then fold the sides into the middle. Finally, gently roll the rice sheet with filling from bottom up to close off the rice packet.
  5. Serve with chopped cilantro, vegan nuoc cham (pg.50), and fried shallots (optional).
  6. Note: In between batches of rice sheets being cooked, make sure that the batter is evenly whisked together from time to time. Otherwise, the flour will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the rice sheets will fail to form properly.

This recipe is from Peggy Chan’s cookbook Provenance. Buy the English e-copy here or the Chinese e-copy here.

Find out more about Zero Foodprint Asia

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Lockdown Recipes | Images courtesy of Ando

Chef Agustin Balbi—ANDO: Ajo Blanco Kuruma Ebi, Green Grapes & Scallops 


  • 170g Marcona almonds 
  • 720ml cold dashi
  • 2pcs medium cloves garlic 
  • 230g crustless rustic bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt 
  • 8ml sherry vinegar
  • 25ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish and for serving
  • Green seedless grapes
  • Crushed toasted almonds
  • Micro shiso leaves 
  • 2pcs clean scallops
  • 2pcs Kuruma prawns 


  1. In a blender, combine almonds with dashi and garlic and blend at high speed until milky; you may need to stop and scrape down sides of the blender jar once or twice.
  2. Add bread and blend until very smooth. Season with salt, then blend in vinegar and olive oil. If using a less powerful blender, you may want to pass the soup through a fine-mesh strainer at this point; with a high-powered blender, that won’t be necessary. 
  3. Transfer the soup to a sealed container and refrigerate until very well chilled for 24 hours. 
  4. Salt the scallops heavily and let it rest in the fridge for 2 hours. Once the time has passed, rinse the salt and dry very well with a paper towel. Slice them thinly into four pieces. 
  5. For the prawns, cook them in salted water with the shells on for 30 seconds and immediately pass them to an iced water bath to stop the cooking process, peel them gently and reserve the tails. 

To Serve

  1. Cut up grapes into smaller pieces and toss with almonds, baby shiso and just enough olive oil to coat. Season garnish with salt. Shake or stir soup well. Check consistency and thin with cold dashi, if desired. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt and/or vinegar, if desired. 
  2. Arrange your gapers, almonds, slices of cured scallop, and the prawn tail beautifully in chilled serving bowls and Pour around the ajo blanco gently . Spoon grape garnish on top, lightly drizzling more olive oil onto each serving in a decorative manner.

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Lockdown Recipes | Images courtesy of Osteria Marzia

Chef Luca Marinelli—Osteria Marzia: Risotto alle Erbe


  • 250g carnaroli rice
  • 3l hot vegetable stock
  • 150g butter, cut into cubes and kept in fridge
  • 100g extra virgin olive oil
  • 120g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 60g shallots, finely chopped
  • 15g fresh herbs—parsley, wild fennel and chervil, finely chopped 
  • 300ml white wine 


  1. Melt a cube of butter in a pan. Tip in chopped shallots and cook on low heat until golden. 
  2. With the heat on medium, add the rice and toast it quickly. Touch it to make sure it gets hot but not burnt. 
  3. Pour in the wine and cook until it has evaporated.
  4. Stir in the hot vegetable stock one cup at a time and simmer until the liquid of each addition is absorbed. Repeat this step and cook the risotto for 14 minutes.
  5. Turn down the fire, chop the fresh herbs finely. Add the chopped fresh herbs, the cubes of butter and the cheese to the risotto and mix them with the hot vegetable stock to make the risotto all’onda—ripple like waves yet maintain a creamy and dense texture. Drizzle with cold extra virgin olive oil.

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Lockdown Recipes | Images courtesy of Bakehouse

Chef Grégoire Michaud—Bakehouse: Brioche French Toast


For the brioche:

  • 25g sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 350g egg yolks
  • 25g salt
  • 150g fresh milk
  • 980g bread flour
  • 25g instant dry yeast

For the French toast:

  • 350ml whole milk
  • 150ml full fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of salt


For the brioche:

  1. Knead all the ingredients into a smooth dough.
  2. Check that your dough is nicely extensible.
  3. Let your dough rest for one hour in a covered container.
  4. Shape your dough into a long log and place it in a rectangle mould.
  5. Allow proofing for about 45 minutes.
  6. Apply egg wash on the top and score the top of the loaf with a knife.
  7. Bake the brioche for about 30 minutes at 185C.

For the French toast:

  1. Mix the above into a well mixed batter.
  2. Slice your brioche into an inch thick slices.
  3. Prepare your frying pan with a bit of butter and/or olive oil.
  4. Dip your slice of brioche into the batter for about 10 seconds holding it submerged.
  5. Drain a bit the extra liquid and fry the toast on low to medium heat for about four to five minutes on each side.
  6. Once golden brown, take it out and dust it with cinnamon sugar.
  7. Serve it with berries, maple syrup, jam and anything that you’d like!

For those who don’t want to make Brioche bread from scratch, Bakehouse sells their Brioche bread loaf in stores.

Find out more about Bakehouse

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Lockdown Recipes | Images courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels

Executive Chef Uwe Opocensky—Island Shangri-La Hong Kong: Homemade Risotto #ShangriLaAtHome


  • 500g risotto rice or arborio rice
  • 1.2L water or stock
  • 180g cream
  • 8g chopped garlic
  • 150g chopped onions
  • 70g olive oil
  • 80g parmesan cheese
  • 110g spinach leaves
  • 250g baby tomatoes
  • 2g fresh thyme


  1. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil, add the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté for two to three minutes or until slightly translucent.
  2. Add the risotto rice and stir it briskly.
  3. Add water or stock and cook for 12 minutes.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, add cream and stir.
  5. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese.
  6. Add spinach leaves, baby tomatoes and fresh thyme.

Find out more about Island Shangri-La

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Lockdown Recipes | Images courtesy of CHAAT | Rosewood Hong Kong

Chef Manav Tuli—CHAAT, Rosewood Hong Kong: Punjabi Dhaba Chicken Curry


For the marination of chicken:

  • 1kg chicken whole 
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder

For the curry:

  • 4 tbsp mustard oil
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 5 bay leaf
  • 1 cup curd (whisked with 2 tsp maida)
  • 1 tsp garlic (chopped)
  • 5 green cardamom
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 green chillies
  • 2 cups onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup tomato (chopped with seeds)
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp Kasuri Methi
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ginger (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp Chaat garam masala powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander fresh chopped


  1. Mix chicken with the ingredients for marination and let it marinate.
  2. For the curry, head mustard oil in a pan, heat it until it just starts to smoke (to remove the pungency of the oil).
  3. Once the oil is hot, add cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, green cardamom and let them crackle.
  4. Add onion and fry until slightly browned.
  5. Add ginger and garlic paste and green chilli and cook for 3-4 mins.
  6. Now add the marinated chicken and cook on high heat for 4-5 minutes.
  7. Add tomato and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  8. Add curd and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  9. Now add coriander powder, turmeric powder, kashmiri red chilli powder and salt to taste and cover and cook until chicken is done.
  10. Add garam masala powder and kasuti methi and cook for another minute.
  11. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve with hot rice.

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Lockdown Recipes | Images courtesy of 22 Ships

Chef Antonio Oviedo—22 Ships: Salmorejo with Melon & Sherry Ice Cream


For the salmojero:

  • 800g Spanish plum tomato
  • 400g EVOO (preferably Castillo de Canena Picual olive oil, which you can find at 22 Ships)
  • 1 garlic clove 
  • 15g sherry vinegar.
  • 500g red bell pepper 
  • 15g salt
  • 200g water.
  • 100g white bread crumbs

For the marinated melon:

  • 500g cantaloupe melon 
  • 200g sherry wine (preferably Fino en Rama Gonzalez Byass, which you can find at 22 Ships)

For the fino sherry ice cream:

  • 500g  egg yolk
  • 100g white sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 200g melon sherry wine


For the salmojero:

  1. Wash and dry the vegetables. Roast the red bell peppers 180 degrees Celcius for 15-20 minutes, peel and reserve. Cut the tomato, the key of the dish is to use red, sun ripe tomatoes.
  2. Soak the bread with the water, add the rest of the items and keep in the chiller for a few hours until they are cold and macerated. Blend until make a smooth cream and strain with a fine sieve. Keep it in the chiller and serve very cold.

For the marinated melon:

  1. Cut the melon in segments and marinate in the fridge with the Sherry wine for 2 hours. Reserve the melon and keep the sherry for the Ice Cream base 

For the fino sherry ice cream:

  1. Add the yolk, sugar, and salt in a metal bowl, keep the sherry wine. 
  2. Set a bain Marie. Place the metal bowl on top of the hot water and whisk till the egg yolk is foamy and double the size, do not go over 80 degrees Celcius to get a smooth final texture. 
  3. Prepare an inverted bain Marie with ice water, place the metal bowl and add the sherry wine, stir until it’s cooled down. 
  4. Place in a container overnight in the freezer until needed. 

To garnish:

  • Mint 
  • Dill 
  • Marigold flowers 

To finish:

  1. Serve the cold Salmorejo in your favourite bowl, make a quenelle with a table spoon and garnish with the flowers and cantaloupe melon and some drops of extra virgin olive oil. 
  2. For extra pleasure I recommend to add jamon iberico. 
  3. Enjoy the Spanish Summer!

Find out more about 22 Ships

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Lockdown Recipes | Images courtesy of Margo

Chef Mario Paecke—Margo: Puntalette with White Asparagus, Morels & Garden Peas


  • 450g puntalette
  • 90g white wine
  • 600g mushroom stock or vegetable stock
  • 5g salt
  • 20g olive oil
  • 20g chopped shallots 


  1. First, start by sweating the shallots with the olive oil.
  2. Add the puntalette pasta and keep sweating again for around 20 seconds.
  3. Deglaze with white wine and add step by step the vegetable stock.
  4. Season it with salt.
  5. Stir continually and cook the pasta until it’s al dente.
  6. Transfer it on a flat tray until the pasta is cold.
  7. Roll portion by portion in cling film 160g.

Find out more about Margo

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Lockdown Recipes | Images courtesy of Ho Lee Fook

Chef ArChan Chan—Ho Lee Fook: Steamed Five Spiced Chicken with Spring Onion and Ginger Sauce


For the chicken:

  • 2 tbsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp five spice*
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1.2kg whole chicken, well washed

For the spring onion and ginger sauce:

  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 6 tbsp finely chopped spring onion (scallion)
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 125ml vegetable oil


For the chicken:

  1. Rub the salt mixture all over the outside and inside of the chicken. Cover and let it sit in the fridge for two days.
  2. Take the chicken out of the fridge and wash it thoroughly, then pat dry with paper towel. Put the chicken on a steamer tray or heatproof plate.
  3. Pour two litres (eight cups) of water into a large wok or saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the chicken on the tray or plate and cover with a lid. Steam for 25-30 minutes.

There are a few ways to test and see if the chicken is done:

  1. A classic Cantonese home cooking method is to stick a chopstick into the chicken leg and see if the liquid comes out clear. If it is clear, then it is cooked.
  2. If you want to achieve a better product, invest in a kitchen thermometer, stick it into the chicken thigh, and aim for 65-70 degrees Celcius.
  3. Let the chicken rest and cool for 15-20mins.
  4. Cut the chicken with a cleaner. First, cut off the wings, then the legs and breast. Cut the chicken into desired size pieces.

*Chef Tip: For an even better result use half a tablespoon five-spice and half tablespoon sand ginger/zedoary. Less is more, use good quality ingredients and let time do the work. Try to get the best chicken you can, Hong Kong is a great place for it! We recommend local three yellow chicken—you can find it at Sheung Wan Market, try Ivan’s Hop Woo store, or you can get really good quality pieces at Yuen Heng Spices in Sheung Wan.

For the spring onion and ginger sauce:

  1. Mix together the ginger, spring onion and salt in a small heatproof bowl.
  2. Then, heat the oil in a small saucepan until smoking hot, then pour over the ginger mixture and stir to combine.
  3. This sauce will keep in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to one week.

Find out more about Ho Lee Fook

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Faye Bradley

Faye Bradley is the editor and business development manager at Compare Retreats. She is an avid writer, editor, illustrator and yogi who is passionate about all things wellness, travel and the arts.

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