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The “It” Foodie Experience at TCSM

Are you an experiential foodie – someone who craves not just good food, but also an exceptional overall dining experience? Now with pop-up dining on the rise, there are more scrumptious options to satisfy those of you seeking new flavours and unusual communal experiences.

Here at Taikoo Place, the annual Tong Chong Street Market (TCSM) has been bringing a variety of gastronomic experiences to the neighbourhood. And to create a truly unforgettable journey of flavours, Taikoo Place partnered with WOM Guide last month to craft an exclusive dining event – Hero Series: The Gourmet Theatre – showcasing produce harvested by Tong Chong Street Market farmers and specialist ingredients recommended by culinary curator Christina Keung.
On 16 and 17 January, the 37th floor foyer of Taikoo Place’s iconic One Island East office tower was transformed into a spectacular dining “theatre”. Against the backdrop of Victoria Harbour views, the usual lunchtime hustle and bustle of the space was replaced by the cheers and chatter of excited diners sat among five open-kitchen stations. On these two nights, the stars of the event – Hong Kong-based chefs Jacky Chan (The Refinery), Nicholas Chew (Bibo), May Chow (Happy Paradise), Sang Jeong (Ichu Peru), and Barry Quek (Beet) – each presented two masterpieces at their own station, while celebrated sommelier Ambrose Chiang was on hand to pair wine with each course. Guests could also enjoy bespoke cocktails by Baijiu Society at their speakeasy-style bar.

With hometown flavours as the evenings’ theme, the chefs all took this as a unique opportunity to experiment with farm-fresh ingredients and create new, home-inspired dishes. Take Chef Sang Jeong, for instance. “I grew up in the seaside city of Incheon, in South Korea, where my grandma used to make a lot of seafood dishes marinated in soy sauce for me,” he says. “I’ve also worked in Peru, which I consider my second home. So for the event, I decided to combine inspiration from both of these places to make a yellowtail ceviche with soy sauce, housed in a dragon fruit.”
Other chefs also drew ideas from their hometowns and local cuisines, such as Singaporean, Peranakan, European and Japanese. But beside these distinct flavours from around the world, guests also recognised some familiar flavours. Chef Jacky Chan, an expert in Cantonese cuisine, recreated the popular home-cooked dish pei pa tofu. “This was the first dish that I learnt when I began my career as a chef,” he says. “This time, I made it with bird’s nest to add an elegant touch.” His second dish, pan-fried spotted garoupa fillet, was just as indulgent, and a treat for both the palate and nose. “I prepared in front of the guests a sauce made with artisan soy sauce and aged mandarin peel from Xinhui, which is famous for its incredible scent,” he explains.

While the food and drinks were impeccable, the intimate setting that encouraged interaction between diners and chefs also impressed guests. Just like speed dating, guests hopped from station to station every 30 minutes to meet and experience each talented chef at work. “It was such an innovative way to experience food,” says event guest Steven Ng, APAC regional head of leadership and learning at Baker McKenzie. “And it went beyond dining. From the moment that I walked in, every part of the evening had been wonderful. I wasn’t expecting something so eloquent, fun, hip, and engaging, all at the same time.”
For some, the social aspect of the experience was especially appreciated. “There was a sense of community at the event,” says guest Gigi Chung, senior marketing manager of Make Up For Ever. “It was very fun to meet new people – some are our neighbours while others work elsewhere – and share ideas.”

With great food and an engaging atmosphere, it’s no wonder such pop-up experiences appeal not just to diners, but also to the masters of the culinary arts. “At an event like The Gourmet Theatre, you can really feel the authenticity of what the chefs want to present,” says May Chow. “I also feel amazing when our guests are happy because the energy comes from the people, and not just the space.”

Hungry? Check out these Quarry Bay lunch spots to try with your team and clients!
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