Hong Kong Airlines will be launching its new Vancouver to Hong Kong route on June 30, and its latest announcement will likely whet your appetite.
The Hong Kong-based carrier has partnered up with two popular spots in Vancouver’s culinary scene: award-winning Cantonese dining destination Dynasty Seafood Restaurant, and Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel’s new flora and fauna-inspired restaurant Botanist.
Business class passengers will be able to indulge in award-winning dishes from Dynasty restaurant, including baked mince pork pie and an in-flight version of the eatery’s popular hand-shredded smoked chicken.
The latter dish will feature a combination of bamboo juice, seared chicken, Canadian maple syrup, and fried five-grain rice.
“Creating a customized culinary dish for in-flight use actually takes a lot of thought and time, and there are sacrifices,” Dynasty’s executive chef Sam Leung told the Straight in a phone interview. “In the end, everyone was very happy with the outcome of this version of the [hand-shredded smoked chicken].”
The celebrated Chinese restaurant’s dim sum head chef, Garley Leung, also made some slight changes to the popular Taiwanese food item that will be served on the new Hong Kong Airlines route.
“I’ve made some tweaks to accommodate the palates of North Americans,” Garley Leung explained to the Straight in a phone interview. “I’ve decreased the spicy-level by adding less pepper, and the exterior puff pastry is softer and flakier than classic baked mince pork pies in Asia.”
It is unprecedented for a Vancouver Chinese restaurant to work with an airline. Downtown Vancouver’s Hawksworth restaurant has collaborated with Air Canada for a business class menu, but it specializes in serving Pacific Northwest cuisine.
“I want to present that best food that we can offer on the aircraft,” said Sam Leung. “I want to be able to share Canada’s multicultural culinary sphere with passengers and surprise them with good eats.”
“If passengers can remember the dishes are from Dynasty, that would be an added bonus,” said Garley Leung. “But I hope that passengers can learn about Chinese cuisine, and appreciate Vancouver’s diverse food culture.”
The in-flight culinary offerings don’t end with Dynasty’s dishes. Hong Kong Airlines has also partnered with the newly opened Botanist, and its renowned head bartender and mixologist David Wolowidnyk has created a signature cocktail for business class travellers.
Aptly named the Bauhinia—an orchard native to Hong Kong and is featured on the Hong Kong flag, and is the logo of Hong Kong Airlines—the cocktail is made with Rémy Martin XO cognac, champagne, freshly pressed grape juice, jasmine green tea, and lemon.
“There is a depth of character from an XO cognac, because it has been aged for a minimum of 10 years in an oak barrel,” Wolowidnyk explained to the Straight by phone. “From this, you get some really deep rich notes of oak and vanilla and spice. But this is complemented by fresh pressed red grape, fresh lemon, which balances it slightly on the tart side, with a hint of floral influence from the jasmine flower.”
The libation is inspired by both Hong Kong and Vancouver, and will be served on the airline’s business class skybar.
“The style of cocktail itself is what I associate with Vancouver,” said Wolowidnyk. “[It is] bright, fresh, and lively. To me, that is what embodies Vancouver.”
Hong Kong Airlines’ new daily flight service between Vancouver International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport will be its first North American route.
Its daily flights, serviced on an Airbus 330-200 (264 economy class seats and 18 business class seats), will depart YVR at 12:10 p.m. and arrive at HKG at 4:50 p.m. the next day, while return flights leave HKG at 12:30 p.m. and arrive at YVR at 10:10 a.m.