Hong Kong Hangover Cures
How are you feeling today? A little fragile perhaps? The sad and cruel truth about getting into the festive spirit is that you’re likely to feel dreadful the next morning. Finding a failsafe hangover cure is like searching for the holy grail and throughout history the hunt has involved food and drink.
Apparently the Greeks favoured cabbage as a cure while the Romans chose sheep lungs and owl eggs. Altogether more palatable is Lemuel Benedict’s remedy: he ordered toast, poached eggs, bacon and Hollandaise sauce (and invented the Eggs Benedict) at the Waldorf Hotel, New York in 1894 following a heavy night.
Most recently, scientists at Sun Yet-Sen University in Guangzhou have found that a can of Sprite is the best way of dispensing with those dreaded morning after symptoms.
But what do Hong Kong chefs rely on to get them through the morning after?
Umberto Bombana, Chef and Owner, 8 and a Half Otto e Mezzo Bombana:
“I will have a nutritional drink of fruit juice and mineral water to cure a hangover. It is the most efficient way to do so.”
[UPDATE: Chef Bombana is winner of The Diner’s Club Lifetime Achievement Award 2017, part of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.]
Lau Chiu Shing, Executive Chef, Fook Lam Moon:
“I recommend double boiled ginseng soup with black-boned chicken. Ginseng has many benefits including reducing fatigue and the black boned chicken is nutritious. By double boiling the ingredients for four hours, the nutrients go into the soup and it’s easier for the body to absorb. It’s a comfort food and a tonic.”
Patrick Goubier, Executive Chef, La Table de Patrick:
“I recommend drinking Perrier water and eating white rice but I remember back in France my friends and I would drink Fernet Branca (a bitter aromatic spirit from Italy containing 27 different types of herbs and spices) the morning after.”
Jason Atherton, Culinary Director, 22 Ships, Ham & Sherry and Aberdeen Street Social:
“My guilty secret for a hangover cure is sliced white bread, a layer of cheese and ham, then peri peri sauce with Pringles laid on top (they have to be Pringles for the crunch).”
Kwok Keung Tung, Head Chef, The Chairman:
“To ease a hangover, we need water and carbohydrates. I suggest a big bowl of rice congee – that gives you both elements. Intoxication will lower blood sugar and that causes discomfort, sugar in the form of carbs will help. And of course, water also eases dehydration.”
Pino Lavarra, Chef Director, Tosca:
“I will first wake up to a cup of strong double espresso. Then I will wear my sunglasses and go for a simple lunch including lots of breads such as ciabatta, focaccia and grissini, that can absorb all the alcohol inside my body. Then, another great cup of espresso.”
Richard Ekkebus, Culinary Director, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental:
“The one that works for me after a rough night is a fatty, carbohydrate & pork rich breakfast. The Brit’s offer the very best – the “full English breakfast” that includes fried eggs, potato cakes, grilled tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, sausages, black pudding, bacon and baked beans. My wife, who is originally from Yorkshire [in the UK], is the best at making one!”
Patrick Shimada, Head Chef, The Grand Hyatt Steakhouse:
“I like something greasy and heavy the morning after. Having been born and raised in San Diego I love Mexican food. My favourite is a chorizo, egg and potato burrito. It’s greasy and has the starch to soak up all the bad stuff.”
Man Sing Lee, Chef de Cuisine, Man Wah,
“Fish congee made with tench, a river fish, is great hangover food. It doesn’t have a very strong flavour and is not greasy either so it’s good to clean out one’s stomach after a night of excessive consumption of alcohol.”
Oyvind Naesheim, Executive Chef, Nobu:
“My cure for a hangover is a banana milkshake. It’s like an instant energy boost; and it calms the stomach. Banana is also rich in potassium but low in salt, so it’s great for helping to lower blood pressure. Meanwhile the milk helps to re-hydrate and soothe. I add some honey to rebuild my blood sugar levels. It works every time.”
Philippe Orrico, Chef Director, Upper Modern Bistro and On Dining:
“When I have a hangover, I always start the morning with a fresh orange juice and a burger with lots of melted cheese. I find I need something easy and comfortable in my stomach.”
Adam Cliff, Head Chef, Chachawan:
“My remedy is a long sleep in, a double black coffee and cheese and bacon pie.”
Felipe Lopez, Head Chef, Carnevino:
“After a good night of drinking, the best thing I’ve found that works for me is a shot of Jameson and a good burger. I feel the burger helps to coat your stomach and soak up all the alcohol and the whisky, well hair of the dog never hurts.”