Cooking up a Storm in Hong Kong

Cooking up a Storm in Hong Kong

My favourite pastime is eating and drinking my way through a country. My second favourite is taking a local cooking class, preferably in a small group with a local and with some wine pairing. The latter isn’t always available, but various foods and spices react differently with wine, and I’ve discovered this is a great way to learn what suits the local food best. Hong Kong has many excellent cooking schools with classes varying from a couple of hours to a full day.

If you’re serious about cooking and want to include Michelin-star chef training on your CV, then a class at the Peninsula Hong Kong is a must. The iconic Peninsula is renowned for its gourmet restaurants, and their small group lessons offer a behind-the-scenes look into their exclusive culinary world.

The 60-90 minutes classes include background and history of the food, a hands-on session, the consumption of your creation plus a selection of the chef’s specialities.

Preparing ingredients for a cooking class.   Image: © Nannette Holliday

Another is the Inter Continental’s ‘Cooking with the Culinary Stars’ with their two and one Michelin star chefs. Classes range from classical cooking, seasonal and specialty international dishes covering Japanese, French and Cantonese modern and traditional techniques. The two to three-hour classes include a light breakfast, the meals prepared for lunch and wine pairing.

If you also want to master the art of dessert and cake making they have a two to three-hour Baking Club class, as well as special Chinese Festival Classes. All include a certificate, branded apron and the recipes to take home. There’s a 20 percent discount for online bookings.

Be prepared to get your hands dirty at Martha Sherpa’s Cooking School. If you previously weren’t confident about cooking, you’ll walk out a true hands-on cook. In Martha’s kitchen you’ll prepare the curry paste and dipping sauces from scratch, as well as cut, marinate, roll, pound, cook, eat and wash your utensils.  

Most cooking classes are very hands-on.   Image: © Nannette Holliday

The half to full-day English courses include Chinese Wok, Chinese Barbecue, Yum Cha or Dim Sum and Thai cooking courses. You’ll walk away knowing the genuine methods and professional secrets in Chinese cooking.

Yum Cha offers private Dim Sum Cooking Classes for a minimum of from eight to 20 people. They have two restaurants in Tsim Sha Tsui and Central. Their 75-minute afternoon classes in Cantonese have English translations. You’ll make Pork and Shrimp Siu Mai, and hot custard buns with your own hands then eat them along with seven other Yum Cha afternoon dim sum dishes.

Home’s Cooking and Wet Market Tour is my personal favourite. You’ll not only cook and consume the meal in the home of a local but shop for the fresh ingredients at the markets first. The only prerequisite is the love of food, people and a little adventure.

You’ll be amazed at what Edith achieves in three hours. After meeting you outside Lei Tung MTR Station she takes you on a ferry ride across to Aberdeen to the local wet market (have a current Octopus card ready).

Shopping for fresh ingredients in a street market.  Image: © Eermakova | Dreamstime

You’ll indulge in a few local eats while picking out the freshest fruits, vegetables, seafood and more for the three-course meal you’ll be cooking. Loaded up, you jump aboard a local bus for the short ride to Edith’s humble home (her words).

As this is her domain, she supervises while you prepare and cook the magical meal that you’ve pre-chosen from her host of signature dishes. The best part is then sitting down with her and the other cooks to enjoy the well-earned home-cooked meal together with tea. It’s a delightful way to experience how the locals live and eat. 

Another market-to-table cooking school is Hong Kong Travelicious. Their culinary adventure begins at 9am at Kwun Tong Markets to pick all your fresh ingredients and meat cuts before heading back to their professional cooking studio in a former factory. Here head chef Ada unravels the secrets to authentic Cantonese cooking and shows you how to create delicious dishes.

After cooking, you’ll get to eat the dishes you have prepared.

ABC Cooking Studios has three venues in Hong Kong at PMQ, City Plaza and K11, 130 in Japan and 15 across Shanghai, Beijing, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand. Classes of four to one teacher ensure maximum support while learning the art of washoku, wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionary), cake and bread making.

If you’re not sure if a cooking lesson is for you, ABC Cooking Studios also offer trial lessons as they want everyone to fall in love with hand-cooking, with their slogan saying it the best: “We aim to bring happiness to dining tables with smiles all over the world”.  

Header image: Martha Sherpa

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