Craving for home-cooked meals on a work day? You’re in for a treat – get ready to sample a range of seasonal, Hong Kong-grown produce when Tong Chong Street Market (TCSM) continues in the new year. After offering coffees, burgers and beers, during weekdays from 2 January to 28 February TCSM will see local chefs and farmers joining forces to serve up delicious yet wholesome dishes and drinks, all made from fresh, organic produce harvested by participating farmers. Think tomato, radish, beetroot, cauliflower, kale…you name it.
“There are so many must-tries,” says David Leung, who represents the four participating farms from Hong Kong Farmers Pride, a collective of local farmers. “A favourite is the sourdough sandwich with veggies and healthy sauces. You may also like a lunchbox with vegetables and wild seafood, or a borscht made from local tomatoes. For drinks, try the lemongrass ginger tea or a hibiscus tea with lemon.”
Besides these unique dishes created exclusively for the market, you can also purchase fresh fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers, so you can try your hand at recreating fresh flavours at home. “Check out our curated baskets such as the Beetroot Veggie Soup set, which includes beetroots, carrots, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and more,” Leung recommends.
Having been a partner of TCSM since its beginning, Leung believes the market is an incredible platform at which to share local, organic foods with the community. “I can’t emphasise enough the benefits of adopting a regional diet,” he says. “Locally grown crops are better for both the environment and the body. Less travel time from farm to table means lower carbon footprint, and you get to enjoy fresher, safer and more nutritious produce.”
Many chefs in town are picking up the farm-to-table trend and incorporate local ingredients into restaurant menus. One of them is Chef Ha Yiu-man of Le Monde d’Ulysse who have been sourcing ingredients from Hong Kong Farmers Pride’s farms for his French bistro. Fusing French cooking philosophy with Hong Kong food culture, he is known for his innovative French dip tau faan – a plate of rice paired with other ingredients, commonly served in cha chaan tengs, Hong Kong-style restaurants.
For Ha’s debut at TCSM, he’s transformed dip tau faan into a nourishing lunchbox for TCSM. Inside, you’ll find all sorts of nutritious goodies, such as locally sourced fish, organic eggs and at least five kinds of seasonal vegetables, including a good mix of roots, leaves and beans. These are all prepared with a moderate amount of olive oil, salt and other seasonings. “It provides all the nutrition you need for a balanced diet, including both soluble and insoluble fibre, which are important for digestive health,” he says.
For Ha, cooking healthy isn’t an option, but a responsibility as a chef. “In French cuisine we talk about respect a lot: respect for the ingredients and for the people,” he says. “The former translates to a thorough understanding of the ingredients’ characteristics and origins – so homegrown, organic ingredients are always easier to track – while the latter stresses how we craft the whole experience to make the diner feel good.”
According to Ha, a great dining experience begins with the presentation. At TCSM, he’s selected a natural material instead of plastic for his lunchbox. Then comes the main act – the dish’s composition. “That includes everything from the texture and flavours to the nutritional value of the dish,” says the chef, who uses a low-temperature cooking method to help preserve nutrients and freshness of the ingredients.
“Eating healthy food makes your body and mind feel great, and to me that’s also a kind of respect,” he continues. “At the end of the day, I just want to provide an enjoyable, complete lunch experience at a reasonable price – because we all deserve to feel good.”
Discover more natural delights at Tong Chong Street Market from 11am to 3pm on weekdays. Stay tuned on TCSM's Facebook
for updates on the market offers as well as the exclusive hero series: The Gourmet Theatre.
Tong Chong Street Market
Date: 2 January – 22 January & 3 February – 28 February 2020 (Monday to Friday)
Time: 11:00am - 3:00pm
Location: G/F, One Taikoo Place