Kezia Chan, Rùn tea master, The St. Regis
Hong Kong has one of the most vibrant food scenes on the planet, filled with cooks and taste makers galore. In our Cheat Day column, we spotlight some of the best players in the kitchen and behind the bar, delving into their personal favorites on their days off.
Meet Kezia Chan from St. Regis
The culture of tea has been embedded in the Chinese psyche since the dawn of time. We are anointed until Sunday weekly yum cha with our family, and better believe that each family has “its” tea which To to order. For mine, it was 普洱茶 (Pu’er). Kezia Chan and her loved ones were no exception to this cardinal rule, and I was delighted to learn that the tea mistress herself also had a soft spot for Pu’er.
“Pu’er has a reputation for being a breakfast tea,” Chan says. “We have a saying in Cantonese that roughly translates to: Pu’er is tasteless, but after drinking you will feel the sweet aftertaste and the comfort of your digestion. It really is my favorite tea. Most people don’t know it either, but like wine, Pu’er is a region-specific tea that is traditionally produced in Yunnan, China. If they are grown elsewhere, they cannot call it Pu’er.
Meet the tea master
Chan, the charming tea mistress and manager of the Rùn restaurant at the St. Regis, exudes such youthful exuberance that one would be almost comically shocked to learn that she spent nearly 26 years in the hotel business.
“I started my career at the Regent Hotel (InterContinental) where I had the opportunity to rotate in the different departments as part of their 9 month internship program. They had a tea pavilion there and the course really ignited my nostalgia and love for the drink. Now, I am a professional tea master certified by the International Tea Masters Association (ITMA) and am fortunate to be able to work at a hotel that really supports my growth in this field.
The Cantonese restaurant Rùn, one Michelin star, is a haven of peace in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Wan Chai. Chan meticulously selects only the best crops from the best estates and is there almost every day to help guests meet their tea pairing needs.
Tell me a little more about what you do on a daily basis.
There is the preparation and sourcing of the leaves, the creation of our House Special blend, the care of our premium leaves, the brewing of some and then, of course, I also get requests for advice on tea pairings. both in the main dining room of the restaurant and in the private area. rooms. The team is excellent here so I am very well supported.
What is your favorite tea pairing with Rùn’s signature dishes?
If there’s one thing you’ll notice when you dine here, it’s that every table will have a roast meat dish ordered. Always. These are our signature dishes, of course, but I have to say that our char siu made from Iberian pork is second to none.
When it comes to association, I like to play and create my own mixes. I have this one that I nicknamed 五 花茶 (five flower tea) but it is nothing like the traditional Chinese herbal tea you imagine! I wrap my chosen flowers in a scoop of tea leaves – always with a mixture, like Chrysanthemum with silver needle tea and millennial flower buds, for example. It pairs really well, of course, but it also looks great when the leaves are unfolding. Presentation can make such a difference.
Cheat day time! What are the five small sips or bites that you feast on on your days off?
It won’t be a surprise, but I really, really enjoy Chinese food. Some of my favorites include Fung Shing Restaurant (鳳子) ‘s Fried Fun Gor with Soup (上 湯粉 粿), Heritage Tea House (文博 軒)’ s Sesame Roll Puff with Fermented Red Beancurd Sauce, Lao Shang Hai Restaurant (老Ground pork from 上海) in Sesame Puff and Sha Tin Pigeon from Lung Wah Hotel (沙田 乳鴿).
For drinks, I know I can’t choose at the St. Regis Bar (although I love Don’t crack the egg), then I’ll say the Old Fashioned from the Dim Sum library. It’s a classic.
Rùn, 1 Harbor Drive, Wan Chai, +852 2138 6808