10/20 Daisann McLane
Award-winning travel writer and New York native Daisann McLane came to Hong Kong in 2001, since then becoming a local fixture with one of our favourite travel consultancies Little Adventures in Hong Kong
, offering local intelligence, food experiences and private walks off the beaten tourist path.
1. You’re a well-seasoned traveller, so what made you settle in Hong Kong of all the places you’ve visited?
It has brilliant connections, both transport and digital. I’m also a huge fan of 1990s HK movies, and fell in love with the sound of Cantonese.
2. Can you remember your first ever dining experience here, what were your initial impressions?
At the late lamented Ngau Kee with critic/restaurateur Lau Kin Wai. He ordered chicken and scallions, and extolled the importance of Wok Hei.
3. Which local delicacy would you say visitors often miss out on (whether it be through distrust or a language barrier) that actually tastes rather delicious?
Slow-braised Pomelo skin – what a wonder! Usually served with braised goose foot or shrimp roe, most Westerners give it a wide pass.
4. What is your favourite area of Hong Kong for a culturally-insightful wander, and why?
I adore the area where Kowloon City meets San Po Kong, with its 1950s factories and vintage cha chaan tengs (diners).
5. You’re also a dining consultant for international chefs, TV crews and food writers: who’s the best person you've worked with, and why? An impossible choice! From Bourdain to Zimmern – we love the way food pros arrive with curiosity and enthusiasm for local tastes and textures.
6. Overcrowded tourist traps aside, name one daytime activity that can give visitors a real glimpse of Hong Kong life…
Cantonese believe food should be fresh, meaning “I saw it killed”. So visiting any wet market is a must-do. I recommend travelling out to Shau Kei Wan.
7. Where would you usually go for dim sum on a Sunday afternoon, and is there one dish you always order?
I prefer any weekday before 8am at Lin Heung Kui, a working class, push-cart place where I gorge on sausage-filled buns and Ma Lai Go tea cake.
8. Where is your favourite weekend getaway?
As a foodie, I’m spoiled for choice with Chengdu, Bangkok and Penang nearby. I’m putting together a super-foodie tour that will take in all three!
9. What phrase should all travellers learn for survival in Hong Kong?
Diehard foodies should learn to ask, “What’s your most tasty food?” and recognize simple Chinese characters for noodles, congee, soup, etc.
10. If you could only travel to one more place in your life, where would it be?
The Kamchatka peninsula in Siberia. It’s one long string of jagged mountains and active volcanoes, probably one of the most difficult places in the world to get to.