The problem: It’s really possible to eat at one of Hong Kong’s best Chinese restaurants and have a mediocre or even terrible meal if you don’t know how or what to order. The solution: our Guided Dining programs.
Hong Kong was just selected as the top large foodie city in the world by Saveur Magazine. Sadly, though, Hong Kong’s best Cantonese and other regional Chinese dining is the “final frontier” for food lovers.
Your typical fabulous Hong Kong Chinese restaurant has a menu as large and weighty as a Bible, a staff without much English, and (sadly) little interest in spending the time with you that’s needed so you might learn your way around these extraordinary flavours and unfamiliar ingredients. Aside from the pointing method (“I’ll have what they’re having”), getting a splendid and authentic meal usually involves a lot of luck, or limiting your dining choices to a handful of upscale hotel Cantonese restaurants used to dealing with foreigners. While often superb, they represent a thin slice of the culinary scene, and do not begin to touch the expanse and depth of our nuanced, delicate and under-appreciated (by Westerners) cuisine.
Over the last 15 years, our founder Daisann McLane fell in with some terrific Hong Kong connections–a generous Hong Kong food historian, columnist and restaurateur, a local chef, a Hong Kong politician who knows every great cheap noodle shop in the city, and a Hong Kong couple who are fabulous home Cantonese style cooks who invited her to informal and perfect rooftop dinner parties several times a week–marvelous evenings full of flavour and conversation, where the tablecloth was a newspaper, piled high by the end of the meal with the shells of freshly steamed shrimp and clams. (Thanks, Ah Lan and David!).
When it came time to start Little Adventures, McLane reached out to the top culinary writers and most progressive Cantonese chefs in the city. There’s no team in Hong Kong with such a deep bench. When you book a Guided Dining or Dim Sum program with us, you’ll have the best resources at your disposal.
You won't just be enjoying a splendid Hong Kong dinner, you'll be getting a food appreciation course at the same time. Which will, of course, enhance your understanding of Chinese cuisine wherever and whenever you might dine again. It's the best gift you could bring home with you from Hong Kong.
Here’s how it works: You tell us your tastes and food interests, and we will suggest restaurants, then arrange a meal (or two!) for you (and your guests). This could be a dim sum (or as we say in Hong Kong “yam cha”) a dinner, or a lunch. The restaurants we recommend will be ones that would normally be difficult for you to navigate smoothly as a non Chinese speaker, and as someone unfamiliar with the signature dishes and flavours of authentic Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine. (We may also steer you to some of the regional southern Chinese cuisines that you may not even have heard of yet, like Shun Tak (Shunde) and Chiu Chow.
We consult via email at this stage, and once you’ve decided on the venue, we’ll go to the restaurant and organize your special menu with the manager (this advance prep is an ESSENTIAL part of Cantonese fine dining). On the day of your meal one of our hosts will be there to guide you (and your guests, if any) through the experience.
As the dishes arrive, course by course, we’ll explain them–how they are prepared, what the ingredients are, how the flavours and textures are meant to work. In other words, we don’t just translate language, we translate the Chinese palate for you so you can better appreciate the whole experience and begin to develop a connoisseurship.
We’ll also give you an up to the minute rundown on Hong Kong’s Cantonese cuisine and Hong Kong’s dining scene. (With this service, as with all our others, we provide you with our Added Value Services–our personal staff-written guide to favorite eating places (with best dishes to order noted) so you can explore further on your own after our meal, and access via email to our staff for dining questions and tips during your stay.
Your personal guided dining host will be a member of our LAHK team, which consists of four top Hong Kong food journalists and a Cordon Bleu trained chef. Let’s just say we know our way around a wonton.
Our Guided Dinners and Lunches are one of the few modules of our service in which we welcome groups larger than three persons (in fact, for a guided dinner, groups of 4 to 8 persons are about perfect!). A guided dinner makes a wonderful special event for work colleagues, or family.