Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong’s executive chef shares a picnic recipe for family days out, and reveals his top spots on the island to eat, food shop and lap up the sunshine

Chef Uwe Opocensky

Chef Uwe Opocensky


German-born Uwe Opocensky is executive chef at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, where he runs the Michelin-starred Mandarin Grill + Bar and oversees the hotel’s 10 restaurants and bars. A master of progressive gastronomy, with his unique presentation of dishes a focus, his culinary CV includes an enlightening and influential stint working alongside Ferran Adrià at the legendary El Bulli in Spain. Here, Opocensky lists his top Hong Kong spots to spend time with his family, whatever the weather, and some of the hottest wining and dining venues in town.

Big Wave Bay beach, near Shek O

Big Wave Bay beach, near Shek O

If the weather is nice, I visit the Island East farmer’s market in TaiKoo Place, Quarry Bay, to have breakfast and purchase organic produce for my family and I to enjoy. The market takes place on a Sunday and gathers together the best of Hong Kong’s local organic farmers, artisans and sustainable brands. You can chat to the producers and watch cooking demonstrations, and it’s fun for children.

The Victoria Peak Garden

The Victoria Peak Garden

If the weather isn’t decent, I take my family to Zuma restaurant at The Landmark in the heart of Central for brunch. You can’t make any wrong choices with their diverse Japanese-style cuisine – it’s informal and approachable.

On a sunny day, we drive to Big Wave Bay beach, north of Shek O beachside village, to enjoy the outdoors and the sunshine. We like having lunch at the Shek O Chinese and Thai Seafood Restaurant. My favourite dish is deep-fried honey squid. Big Wave Bay is popular with surfers and located in the eastern part of the Island, not far from the scenic Dragon’s Back hiking trail.

The Mandarin Cake Shop at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

The Mandarin Cake Shop at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Another way to spend the afternoon with my family is to visit The Peak Garden. Using the ingredients I purchased at the farmer’s market, I prepare a picnic for us to enjoy together while overlooking the scenic views of Hong Kong below. I usually take smoked salmon (which I smoke myself at the hotel), a variety of cold cuts, a fresh baguette from The Mandarin Cake Shop, fresh salad, grilled vegetables, roast chicken, fruit, cheese, and coffee, water and juice. I would also recommend making your own stuffed bread if you are short on time but want something a little more substantial: use a large round sourdough, cut the top like a lid and hollow out the inside to leave 2cm of bread under the crust. Stuff the bread with grilled vegetables and cooked chicken, layer by layer, to the top. Put the lid back on, press it down, and keep in the fridge overnight. The next day, slice it and take it on your picnic served with pesto.

A furniture outlet at Horizon Plaza

A furniture outlet at Horizon Plaza

For shopping, we go to Horizon Plaza in Ap Lei Chau. There are more than 20 floors of furniture and fashion outlets, as well as cafés and a supermarket. We always come away with something for our home!

Japanese-style eatery Yardbird

Japanese-style eatery Yardbird

There is so much choice of places to enjoy drinks and dinner in Hong Kong. However, some of my favourites are Yardbird, an izakaya-style restaurant that is renowned for its yakitori (chicken skewers); Ronin, another Japanese-inspired dining bar, which varies its fish and seafood menu according to what’s fresh in the market; Stockton, a new bar and restaurant, with a Victorian London influence; and Wyndham the 4th, a great cocktail venue.

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