is dining-in the new dining-out?

not long ago, hk magazine had a leader with the same title and the whole issue was devoted to this new hk fad of dinning at home instead of going out.

with this crazy panic on wall-street and on other markets around the world, the article now seem more prescient than we could have imagined just a few weeks ago.  will the current economic crisis makes us discover the inner jaimie oliver or the julia child that lie within us all??

with food prices going up all over and with wine prices that are not going down even if the import tax was abolished 7 months ago you can bet your next dinner that i will be fitting up my kitchen, dust those cobwebs off my cook books, and get down and dirty in front of my own stove.

in fact, hong kong is becoming friendlier and friendlier to foodies of this world.  i remember 15 years ago when i first arrived here, the only place to buy "gweilo" food was in the tiny basement of seibu, now an excellent, if somewhat pricey, food-hall called "great".  watson's wine cellars, now with 13 locations around hong kong, did not even exist and the selection of wines available at those few shops that did sell wine was very tiny.

now, we have a great many choices and i list my favourites:


il bel paese: the finest and most authentic italian food selection in hong kong.  they have an excellent offering of salumis of all kinds as well as great cheezes, and olive oils.  here, it is very much try-before-you-buy and they care very much about their clients - italian style! g/f, no, 25 queen's road east, wanchai, h.k.  tel: + 852 28042992

mr. chatté: an excellent selection of cheezes, fois-gras (the "demi-cuit" is to die for...), wines and other foods from the south-west france.  friendly service and a neat little shop.  g/f, 121 bonham strand, sheung wan, h.k., tel: + 852 3105 8077

oliver's delicatessen:  perfect one-stop shop where you can buy pretty much everything you need for a nice dinner.  the staples here can be pricier than buying them at park'n shop, but their meats, international cheezes, and salumis are excellent.  their wine section is actually pretty good with wines from all over the world and free tastings on most saturdays.  the store is small so that it is easy to navigate and service friendly and attentive.  shop 233, prince's bldg., 10 chater rd., central, h.k.  tel: +852 2810 7710

le salon de thé de joël robuchon: where you can buy absolutely the best bread in hong kong, especially to eat with the crazy delicious demi-cuit from mr. chatté.  the desserts are a sin just to look at, and the croissant a super nice treat for breakfast the morning after.  definitely a must for any dinner at home on a saturday night. shop 315, 3/f, the landmark, central, tel +852 2166-9000 wine:as you know how i feel about wine prices, i will look for diversity and quirky wines from grapes or regions i have not tried yet so that at least, if i will be paying paying extr, i will justify it as the premium to pay for my wine education.  never again i will buy mainstream wines in hong kong until their prices go down by at least 30-40%.

and so, i will look for those quirky wines at il bel paese, mr chatté, and berry bros & rudd, the british wine merchant, which has an excellent selection of fine wines from bordeaux: 307-308, 3/f, the lee gardens, 33 hysan avenue, causeway bay h.k., tel: +852 2907 2112tools:

for those tools i need in the kitchen, my favourite place to buy them is definitely the "the pan handler" in the prince's building with their offering of many professional tools.  there is also pantry magic which has a good selection and ikea always amazes me on how cheap the items are and how wide their range of products is.