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Weekly Chow


Solo dining is no longer for those abandoned on dates; eating out alone is a trend now! (BBC)

Who can kiss up to 200 women a day as part of their job? An old school maitre'd, apparently! (GQ)

7 staple sauce recipes you should try and make at home this summer. (NYT Mag)

The journey of how food photography became part of our zeitgeist... (WIRED)

Discerning consumers rate craft beer over the regular stuff. Why? (Market Realist)

From Chinese dumplings to global warming - a long (but worthwhile) read on the phenomenon of refrigeration in Mainland China. (NYT Mag)

P.S. Why restaurants should stop serving food on slates...

Homemade Chow: Gluten-Free Scones


I tried my hand at gluten-free baking for the first time a few weeks back, joining a GF baking evening class at a recently opened studio called The Mixing Bowl in Sheung Wan. A couple of reasons for signing up: I needed a hump day treat; I craved baking with an actual oven (a rarity in Hong Kong apartments); but most importantly, I wanted to find out more about going gluten-free and how to make palatable GF baked goods!

So, what is gluten?
Gluten is a protein composite mainly found in wheat, barley and rye, and is a common component in breads and baked goods, pasta, cereal, sauces, beer, malt and more. Gluten is what gives elasticity - aka that chewy texture - to dough, helping it rise when baked and keep its shape.

Why go gluten-free?
Besides those who are gluten intolerant, advocates of GF living say that limiting one's intake of gluten can lead to an increase in energy levels and a healthier digestive system. However, just because something is gluten-free doesn't mean that it's inherently healthier for you or contains fewer calories.

Since moving to Hong Kong, I've met several people who are or have developed an intolerance to gluten, and it was high time I learned about gluten and what it means to live without it. The demand for GF baking classes in HK was so high that Victor Lo and Kyle Giesbrecht, the couple behind The Mixing Bowl, have designed a specific workshop with original recipes to meet the needs of their students. My taste testers and I were particularly impressed with the results of the GF scones from class, which were unexpectedly fluffy and crumbly in equal parts. Do give these a try if you are going GF, know someone who's gluten intolerant, or just want a new scone recipe in your arsenal.

Gluten-Free Scones
Makes 12 

210g All purpose flour (gluten-free)
35g Caster sugar
2tsp Baking powder (gluten-free)
55g Unsalted butter (cold and cubed)
60ml Whole milk
60ml Heavy cream
Clotted cream and Jam to serve

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

2. Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder in a generous bowl. Gradually add the butter cubes into the flour mixture, using your fingertips to "rub" in the butter until the texture of the overall mixture is of a consistency comparable to that of breadcrumbs.

3. Stir in the milk and cream by hand until all the ingredients combine to create a rough dough.

4. Dust your chosen worktop with some flour and transfer the dough onto the floured surface. Knead the dough very lightly for 20 seconds, then use a rolling pin (or floured wine bottle!) to roll out the dough to 1.5 inches thick.

5. Cut the scones using a round pastry or cookie cutter. Brush only the tops of the scones with a touch of milk, and bake for c.20 minutes, until the scones have risen and browned slightly on top. Serve with a hearty helping of clotted cream and jam - it's up to you whether you cream or jam first!

Weekly Chow


Scarcity of food drives advertising success. Where's the beef? Got milk? (fastcocreate.com)

It's the rise of the multipurpose restaurant, as they are now doubling up as bookstores, bike shops and barbers. (theguardian.com)

There's a right way to organise your fridge. Find out how! (businessinsider.com)

Everyone needs to check out this formula for how to make a great salad! (impatientfoodie.com)

Where are the top food truck cities of the world? LA, NYC, London, and more... (cntraveler.com)

Restaurants in France are using pre-prepared food to the point where a new "homemade" sign is being introduced nationwide... (bbc.com)

P.S. The truth behind vodka - find out what's inside the drink of choice for "Russians, dieters and college freshmen"!

GA x Sassy presents: Building a Business People Love: Restaurants Edition


The best part about working in the restaurant industry and simultaneously writing The Chowdown is that I've had the rare opportunity to meet some of Hong Kong's most inspiring F&B owners and operators. This materialises on the blog through the interviews, special events and features showcased in The Chowdown On, but will also go beyond the pages of the site in a few weeks when I am moderating an industry panel on how to design, build and run restaurants. Behold:

General Assembly and Sassy Hong Kong have teamed up once again to host a fun, informative panel event with three of HK's top restaurateurs: Syed Asim Hussain of Black Sheep Restaurants (La Vache!, Motorino); Tony Cheng of Drawing Room Concepts (AMMO, Drawing Room); and Andrew Li of PrivĂ© Group (Common Room, NUR). If you've ever been curious - even a little - about what it takes to create your own food business, or have a burning question about how to run a successful restaurant, sign up to the event and I'll see you there!

When: 7-9pm, Monday August 4th, 2014 
Where: Ho Lee Fuk, 1 Elgin Street, Soho
Cost: $150 for the session; includes drinks and nibbles

Update! Event recapped in this post.

Weekly Chow


The crowdfunded potato salad that has become a global sensation. (kickstarter.com)

"Pomegranate juice cheats death", and other wild claims by food marketers! (theguardian.com)

Why you should put your phone away at dinner, and other dining pet peeves... (independent.co.uk)

Martha Stewart's latest obsession with...drones?! (forbes.com)

10 handy cooking conversions to speed up your meal prep. (food52.com)

The difference between "local" and "organic" food, clarified once and for all! (time.com)

P.S. Congratulations to Germany for their World Cup 2014 victory! Celebrate mit German beer...

Weekly Chow


Chef-author Anthony Bourdain comments on the fetishisation of food, eating and cooking in this latest interview. A #longread but well worth it! (smithsonianmag.com)

Soft serve ice cream is the way to go this summer... (nytimes.com)

18-34 year old millennials are consuming YouTube food videos like nobody else! (clickz.com)

China now has a creepy vampire restaurant, where drinks are served in blood bags... (eater.com)

Bravo Burger King! Check out how a piece of fast food packaging can show support towards the LGBT community.  (peppergang.com)

These scantily clad male food bloggers are taking "foodporn" to the next level... (gigacircle.com)

P.S. Check out the Tipping Calculator - now you'll know exactly how much to tip when abroad!