Lotus chips are another example of how Wong marries Western flavours with Hong Kong food culture
Stephanie’s lotus chips are another great example of her ability to create nostalgic Western flavours while paying respect to Hong Kong culture. The savoury snack is perfect for sharing — and for chatting the afternoon away while sipping on a crisp chardonnay. As I run a New World wine bar, I hardly ever get the chance to sit down with a classic French drop, and I’m pleasantly reminded of times in Europe as I sip away at her 2014 Pouilly-Fuissé, Domaine Valette Chardonnay. Unlike the bigger, creamier styles of Chardonnay that I’ve grown to love, this one has a gorgeous line of racy acidity that runs through it, leaving you wanting more chips, more wine and more conversation.
Taking another bite and another sip, we turn to the topic of physical well-being and mental health. Despite our little indulgence today, we’ve both largely stopped drinking this year in an effort to better cope with everything that’s been thrown at us. In part thanks to shorter restaurant opening hours, we’ve both been going to bed earlier, waking up fresher and sometimes even running into one another on our morning hikes up The Peak. ‘The topic of mental health is one that I feel very passionately about, and that no one speaks about in this industry,’ Stephanie points out.
Indeed, sustainability goes far beyond the food we serve. We need to live more balanced lives. We need sleep, we need time with our loved ones and we need to feed ourselves regularly and healthily — all things that often fall by the wayside for members of the hospitality industry. There’s an expectation on us to be forever switched-on, upbeat, friendly and patient, but of course these are difficult if we’re struggling with mental and physical health issues below the surface. Stephanie and I agree that we need to apply the aeroplane mask theory to our industry — put your own on first, and then help others.
In an amusing, positive twist, the pandemic has made us all slow down, take a deep breath and think. Time is a gift we’re not often granted when we’re moving at 100 miles an hour. It was imposed on us this year, but ultimately, both Stephanie and I agree that we’re deeply grateful for it. Going forward, we aim to be there for our community in ways that feel more balanced and holistic. We say goodbye and give each other a hug. This year will be better than the last.