World chefs: Goldstein aims to be truffle king

Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:35am EDT
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By Cathy Yang

HONG KONG (Reuters) - New York-born Harlan Goldstein, known to many foodies as the best Western chef in Hong Kong, can thank his mother for his culinary career.

Despairing of her 14-year-old son's propensity to get mixed up with the wrong crowd, she put him to work in his uncle's restaurant to keep him out of trouble. He went straight from high school to an apprenticeship arranged by his uncle at the Montreux Palace Hotel in Switzerland.

Now, after 17 years in Hong Kong and 14 months after he had started Gold by Harlan Goldstein in Lan Kwai Fong, Goldstein is opening his second restaurant in Hong Kong next month, a 1940's style New York steak joint called Strip House.

Goldstein, 51, spoke to Reuters about his ambitions in Hong Kong, his interest in fine wines, and his obsession to become the reigning king of white truffles in the city.

Q: How has your cooking evolved in Hong Kong?

A: "I wanted to create a taste that was welcome by the local community, so I created a dish like red prawn pasta with baby shrimps, garlic, chili, which is like a Har Mein (prawn noodle) from Singapore, which has a good flavor and taste.

"And my sauces are very light and tasty. They're not over-reduced, so they don't have a lot of salty flavor, because the Chinese palate is very light, because Cantonese food is freshness, light and cooked simple, so I would say my flavor is very bold, very rich and I work on presentation and taste. You don't see meat loaf and mashed potatoes on my menu."

Q: And then the wines come in.   Continued...

An interior view of Gold restaurant run by Harlan Goldstein in Hong Kong March 6, 2012. REUTERS/Andy Ho