Acclaimed Chef Mingoo Kang Brings the Essence of Korean Cuisine with the Opening of Hansik Goo

Chef Mingoo Kang, the acclaimed culinary talent behind two-Michelin-starred Seoul restaurant Mingles, is bringing his creative interpretation of authentic Korean cuisine to Hong Kong with the soft opening of Hansik Goo in Central, Hong Kong on June 1. Chef Mingoo’s first restaurant outside of his native Korea is a collaboration with Hong Kong-based ZS Hospitality Group – the company behind two Michelin star Ying Jee Club and hotspots like Lee Lo Mei, Miss Lee, Moi Moi and more – and looks to introduce diners to truly authentic Korean food, with dishes based on a diverse array of traditional recipes that have been given a unique contemporary twist.
Sharing a new perspective on Korean cuisine
The name Hansik Goo is a play on words that can refer to both “a family that shares meals together” and “Korean cuisine by Chef Mingoo”, and the food reflects both of these ideas, offering a dining experience that is meant to be shared by friends and family, and which respects Korean cuisine while expressing the chef’s youthful and creative personality.
Still in his early 30s, Chef Mingoo was the youngest-ever Head Chef at Nobu Bahamas before returning to Korea to open Mingles, and counts industry heavyweights such as Cho Hee Sook who was awarded Asia’s Best Female Chef by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, Buddhist priest and chef Jeongkwan and Martin Berastegui as mentors.
Typified by its bold interpretations of Korea’s diverse culinary culture, from traditional home cooking to dishes that were once reserved for royalty, Chef Mingoo’s dishes at Mingles are famed for surprising and delighting diners who are already familiar with authentic Korean food while giving newcomers an unforgettable introduction to the cuisine and he is also known for his skillful use of seasonal herbs and other ingredients, particularly jang, the traditional fermented soy sauces that are at the very heart of Korean cuisine.
Due to the present travel restrictions, Mingoo is currently unable to fly to Hong Kong, so Chef Mingoo’s team from Korea will soft open Hansik Goo with a tasting menu of dishes the acclaimed chef has created. Once the restrictions have been lifted, however, Mingoo will travel to Hong Kong to officially launch the restaurant with a full menu of his unique creations.
“I am proud and excited to open my first overseas restaurant in Hong Kong with ZS Hospitality, and I look forward to welcoming our guests in person as soon as I am able to travel to the city,” says Chef Mingoo. “Until then, I am delighted to be able to introduce diners to the essence of Korean cuisine with our exclusive tasting menu, which features my interpretations of some of my all-time favourite Korean dishes.”
The tasting menu: a journey through Korean flavours
The eight-course tasting menu, which is priced at HK$780 per person (+10% service charge), offers a compelling introduction to Mingoo’s cooking style. Designed to be shared family-style, the dishes are elevated by using high-quality ingredients imported directly from Korea, including jangs, kimchi and ginseng, while Korean wines and coffee are also available.
The menu begins with Bugak, inspired by ancient Korean temple cuisine, with an assortment of seasonal Korean chips made from seaweed, fish skin, chili and perilla leaf. This is followed by Dubu Wanja, a modern take on traditional Korean meatballs made from tofu, crab meat and diced zucchini with anchovy and crab stock and a pine nut sauce. For the third course, Yukhoe – Korean-style Australian Wagyu beef tartare – is given a contemporary twist by combining Australian Wagyu beef with Korean pear, Jerusalem artichoke chips and quail egg yolk. Samgye Risotto combines two popular Korean dishes, traditional Korean ginseng chicken soup and Korean fried chicken, using the entirety of the chicken: bones for the soup and slow-cooked chicken breast and leg for the chicken roll, then coated in rice flour and fried, leaving it moist on the inside and crisp on the outside. Next comes Korean Style Fish, pairs snapper that has been marinated for two days to give it the perfect tenderness and texture with aged kimchi (two years) served with wild sesame oil and sesame seeds.
For the main course, guests can choose between Bulgogi or the Barbecue Duo. The Bulgogi – thin slices of beef marinated with homemade ganjang, ssam (lettuce wrap) and jang – is served with Korean glass noodles, local mushrooms and chopped onion. The Barbecue Duo – jang-marinated pork and chicken with ssam and jang – uses meat that has been marinated for maximum tenderness then cooked sous vide at 68°C to give it the perfect temperature. This is followed by Bibim-Guksu – spicy Gochujang noodles with kimchi, perilla leaf and US beef short rib, which can be substituted for Noodles with Black Sesame Seed Paste and Tomatoes depending on preference.
For dessert, guests have a choice of Omija – sorrel sorbet with omija berry juice – or Garu – mixed Korean grains ice cream with crispy puffed rice. A selection of specially imported Korean fruits then brings the meal to a refreshing close.
Guests also have the option to enhance their meal by adding any of the following five dishes for an extra charge: Dotori-muk, a traditional jelly made from acorn starch; Burrata & Korean Sesame, made with premium sesame oil mixed with Korean herbs to Mingles’ secret recipe; Tteokbokki, a spicy rice cake with calamari that is a Korean comfort food staple; Korean Fried Chicken, which features a crispy and satisfyingly crunchy coating and is served with deep-fried lotus root; and Naengchae, a traditional Korean cold shrimp salad served with a spicy mustard dressing, Korean apple and cod roe.
A natural space
The restaurant has been designed to celebrate contemporary Korean design and nature, as well as to offer the ideal visual complement to the elevated cuisine being served. The intimate space features natural elements such as timber, glazed clay tiles, straw, limestone and plants, which are used to represent the Sky, the Earth and the Bounty, the three elements that help create the crops that feed the people of our planet. White oak and birch timber, meanwhile, are used because these trees are native to Korea.
Hansik Goo soft opens on June 1. Bookings are essential: please call +852 2798 8768 to make a reservation. Please note menu items are subject to change according to availability of fresh ingredients. Hansik Goo is located at 2/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2798 8768. For more information and updates, you can visit www.hansikgoo.hk and join Hansik Goo on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/hansikgoohk/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/hansikgoo/)