From ornate Cantonese dining halls to brasseries serving fine French cuisine, several of Hong Kong's Michelin-starred restaurants were designing takeaway menus so diners fearful of venturing out due to the COVID-19 pandemic could still enjoy their favourites at home, a media report said on Saturday.
The Ying Jee Club, a Cantonese restaurant with two Michelin stars, began offering a takeaway menu this week that includes five- and seven-course set meals for two to four people featuring wok-fried Wagyu beef with leek and black pepper, double-boiled matsutake mushrooms with Chinese cabbage and the restaurant's signature crispy salted chicken, said the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper report.
The restaurant was also offering some dishes, the ones that travel better, from its a la carte menu. Chef Siu Hin Chi, who has earned Michelin stars at three different restaurants in Hong Kong since 2009, the pandemic is affecting restaurants "in a way that takeaway business cannot replace".
JIA Group offers services
JIA Group, which operates 15 bars and restaurants in the city, was now offering catering, delivery and home cooking experiences with its chefs through the company's JIA Everywhere service, which debuted in March. That includes takeaways for the first time from its Michelin-starred restaurants, Duddell's and Louise.
Duddell's has introduced home classics, such as barbecued pork rice with sunny-side up egg, steamed pork patty with rice and sauteed pork with kale. Other Michelin-starred restaurants, Belon and New Punjab Club have also debuted takeaway menus for the first time.
Hong Kong's restaurant industry has been hit hard since last year as months of street protests deterred tourists from visiting the city and discouraged Hongkongers from eating out, the SCMP report said.
This was followed by the fallout from the pandemic after Lunar New Year earlier this year. The report said that in the fourth quarter alone, restaurant sales fell by nearly 15 per cent to HK$26 billion ($3.4 billion), from HK$30.4 billion a year earlier. It was even worse at the city's Chinese eateries, where sales fell by 19 per cent to HK$13.4 billion in the quarter.
As the number of cases spiked in Hong Kong in recent weeks, the city's government has ordered 1,200 bars and pubs to close until April 23 and mandated that restaurants limit party sizes and move tables further apart. Public gatherings are now limited to no more than four people. The number of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong increased to 1,000, with four deaths.