Header image courtesy of @honestfoodnetworkbc (via Instagram)
While Hongkongers could natter on about dining out—for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner—there isn’t as much love for home cooking. Whether that’s because you’re bored of your tried-and-tested recipes, never learned the basics, or simply lack kitchen space, we reckon everyone could use a couple of cooking classes.
From family-friendly candy-making classes to workshops on making dim sum and plant-based alternatives to popular dishes, here are some of our favourite culinary workshops in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is one of the best places to eat dim sum—so it only makes sense that it’s one of the best places to learn how to make it, too. While you won’t reach dim sum sifu (師傅; master) level in one class, it’s a fun, hands-on way to learn how to create some classic yumcha favourites.
If you’re a fan of Yum Cha’s molten lava custard buns, then you have to check out their private dim sum-making classes at the Central flagship, where you’ll learn how to make the googly-eyed buns yourself, as well as some pork and shrimp siu mai, before tucking into some afternoon dim sum.
Meanwhile, if you’re the sort of person who would risk it all—“it” being a burnt tongue—for some sweet, sweet xiaolongbao (小籠包; soup dumplings), then head to Shau Kei Wan, where home chef Feliz Yau leads hands-on classes on how to produce the delicate dumplings according to her family recipe. His classes, which are adored by tourists and long-time locals alike, start with a wet market shopping trip so you can get the full experience (wet floors, haggling aunties, Red A lamps and all). While the standard filling is made from organic pork, you can also choose to make a meat-free version out of a mixed vegetable filling.
Yum Cha, 2/F, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, Central | (+852) 3708 8081
Feliz Yau Cooking Experience | (+852) 9862 5882
Learn how to roll with the best of ‘em in a hands-on pasta-making class for two at Associazione Chianti, Black Sheep Restaurants’ Tuscan trattoria. Classes are intended as an intimate experience for two, and you’ll receive Tuscan antipasti, dessert, and a bottle of wine as part of the package—throw in the freshly made pasta and a dose of romance, and you’ve got yourself the perfect conditions for a recreation of the famous spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp.
If you’re not fussed about all the extras, try the pasta class at Bite Unite, where you can learn how to make two simple yet delicious dishes—Italian meatballs and fettuccine marinara—from scratch.
Associazione Chianti, 15 Ship Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 3619 3360
Bite Unite, 15 Lung On Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2366 3231
Have your cake and eat it too with any of Hong Kong’s many, many baking workshops and schools. Some, like Sweetpea Café, are eateries that offer classes on how to make their signature products, while others—such as The Mixing Bowl—are bona fide cooking schools with diverse programmes.
From cakes to cookies, bread, scones, and tarts, there’s a class for (almost) every popular bake you can think of in Hong Kong. Want to know more? Click here to read our full guide to the top baking schools and studios in Hong Kong.
While many of the above classes can accommodate vegetarians and vegans, there are also plenty of classes showcasing vegan-friendly recipes.
For a unique, restorative day out spent learning how to make vegan Israeli food in the leafy green hills of Lamma Island, check out Olive Leaf. Learn how to make healthy, flavourful Middle Eastern dishes like stuffed vine leaves, rose-scented (plant) milk pudding, and pomegranate-studded tabbouleh while taking in the gorgeous surrounds of chef-owner Ayelet Idan’s home.
If you’re interested in making vegan Israeli fare but find Lamma to be a bit of a trek, there are also vegan Israeli cooking classes at The Mixing Bowl in Sheung Wan, which cover hummus, babaghanoush, falafel, pita bread, and more. Prefer Southeast Asian flavours? They’ve also got a vegan Thai class on how to make green curry, rice paper rolls, pomelo salad, and other delectable bites.
Meanwhile, Japanese-focused grocers FoodCraft and Veggie Labo both offer plant-based food products as well as a host of cooking classes. Learn how to make vegan takoyaki (たこ焼き; octopus balls), eel rice, and wagashi (和菓子; small tea cakes) at Veggie Labo’s light-filled Sheung Wan space, or head to FoodCraft to try your hand at making soy-free miso and amazake (甘酒; fermented rice wine) and traditional Okinawan dishes with a vegan spin.
Olive Leaf, Pak Kok Tsuen, Lamma Island | (+852) 9723 0459
FoodCraft, 16/F, Yiuga Factory Building, 62 Victoria Road, Kennedy Town | (+852) 2884 1299
Veggie Labo, Unit 503, 5/F, 3 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan
Create an intricate, edible piece of art through the medium of sugar at Spanish rock candy specialists Papabubble’s cute Tai Hang shop and studio. The hour-long workshops, which are conducted in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin, are available for those aged three and above. Flex your creative muscles at the rock candy workshop—where the only limit to the design is your imagination—or go for a classic with the swirl lollipop class.
Papabubble, 34 Tung Lo Wan Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2367 4807
All right, so this one isn’t a culinary class as such, but just consider it a little bonus. After years of being a homegrown success, The Coffee Academics is finally letting us normal customers in on the “academics” part of their brand.
The café brand recently introduced a series of deep-dive workshops on coffee for all you budding baristas out there, with three options—“Brewing Skills,” “Espresso & Milk,” and “Sensory & Cupping”—which provide a holistic learning experience into the process of making coffee. The classes, which are held on the first three Thursdays of the month, can be attended individually, though we imagine that being able to say you’ve “bean there, done that” after attending all three would be quite satisfying.
The Coffee Academics, 225 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai