Hansik Goo, the jewel in Hong Kong’s culinary crown, has unveiled its autumn menu, a sumptuous ode to Korean gastronomy. The restaurant, acclaimed for its Michelin star, serves as a canvas for the creative genius of chefs Park Seung-hun and Kang Min-goo. As the leaves begin to turn, diners can indulge in a dish that truly embodies the essence of fall: gaesal jatjeuptang. This masterpiece mingles the mild, nutty flavors of pine nut soup with the sweetness of hairy crab, complemented by Korean zucchini and silky tofu—a sensory experience that captivates with each mouthful.
The tale of Hansik Goo’s evolution is inseparable from the journey of chef Park. His unforeseen ascendancy to the role of head chef—a position announced by the ZS Hospitality Group—follows the fond farewell to Steve Lee, the restaurant’s inaugural head chef. Park, a cornerstone of Hansik Goo since its inception, has been pivotal in propelling the restaurant to new heights. Despite launching amidst the challenges of a global pandemic, the establishment not only survived but thrived, relocating to a grander venue and garnering Michelin acclaim in 2022. As the sole Korean establishment in the city with such an honor, Hansik Goo has set a benchmark for Korean fine dining.
Park’s passion for cooking sparked early, rooted in his youth spent assisting his mother in her restaurant. His family instilled in him a resilience that would define his career. A chance job opportunity in his uncle’s Western-style eatery and a formal education in hotel culinary arts at Kyungmin University further fueled his culinary ambitions. His professional career, diverse in experience, saw him honing his craft in establishments such as Sorrento in Korea.
A serendipitous encounter with an article on Mingles during his military service would set Park on a trajectory toward contemporary Korean cuisine. A stint at Mingles under chef-owner Kang and later at Mama Lee Market, a homestyle deli, would crystallize his culinary philosophy. In 2020, an invitation from chef Kang to join the opening team of Hansik Goo in Hong Kong would bring Park’s expertise overseas.
Transitioning to life in Hong Kong posed its challenges for Park, not least the language barrier that initially hindered communication in the kitchen. Yet, with perseverance, his language skills improved, fostering a harmonious blend of Korean tradition and local Hong Kong influence in the kitchen.
The autumn menu, a collaborative creation with chef Kang, embarks on a seasonal exploration. It begins with appetizers like perilla seed porridge adorned with caviar and transitions into raw beef with mushrooms. The menu progresses with autumn hweh, a seafood dish with aged kimchi and sancho pepper, and geumtae gui—a blackthroat sea perch delicately flavored with gochujang. Korean beef over mushroom rice and an array of desserts, including iced persimmon and ginseng ice cream, round out the feast.
Yet, it is the gaesal jatjeuptang that has become the talk of the town, especially during the hairy crab season. Hansik Goo prides itself on using high-quality, authentic Korean ingredients, often flown in from Korea, to bring out the full depth of traditional flavors.
Park acknowledges the robust flavors of Hong Kong cuisine and carefully curates his dishes to resonate with local palates. He takes pride in presenting Korean cuisine as not only authentic but also as a fine dining experience, riding the wave of global Korean cultural appreciation.
His vision is ambitious—he aspires not just to run a successful restaurant, but to redefine Korean cuisine abroad, showcasing its authenticity and flair. At Hansik Goo, Park aims to confront and surpass the expectations of diners, proving that Korean cuisine can stand tall in the realm of high-end gastronomy.