cover image Fragrant Harbor Taste: The New Chinese Cooking of Hong Kong

Fragrant Harbor Taste: The New Chinese Cooking of Hong Kong

Ken Hom. Simon & Schuster, $24.45 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-64469-7

Some Westerners assume that the food of Hong Kong--or Fragrant Harbor, as the British colony was once called in Chinese--is as bland as Cantonese. Hom ( Chinese Technique ), who has taught cooking in Hong Kong for a decade, proves this is not the case, showing how the international city combines mainland Chinese regional dishes with innovative gourmet fare inspired by other Asian cooking traditions--Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian--in such recipes as fish cakes peasant-style and pigs' feet in wine and vinegar. Hom also gives new twists to the familiar in stir-fried beef with pickled mustard greens, fried bean curd with chive dipping sauce, and fried rice with pineapple, and braves the exotic (double-steamed bird's nest with coconut, deep-fried milk with quail eggs), while allowing that in Hong Kong ``it is now forbidden to use dogs and cats for human consumption, though that does not mean that those who delight in these treats can't find them.'' Recipes are easy to follow, though introductory notes, printed in annoyingly small italic type, are not. A chapter on stocks and sauces is helpful, as is Hom's extensive glossary of cooking techniques, equipment and ingredients (including substitutes). A short list of recommended Hong Kong restaurants is provided. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)