Apologies everyone, Milktea has now disappeared off the face of the Earth. She has been away on some mini adventures in interstate and also has a severe case of writers' block.
Have you missed the sarcasm and lame jokes? yes? fear not, she is back! with more lame and sarcasm than ever! Brace yourselves!
I make a return to blogging with a first, what first you ask?
An interview of course! So who is this person that caught her attention?
*drum roll please!*
Kosei Kamatani of the famed Via Tokyo in Hong Kong!
Kosei is a guy with guts IMO! Originally from a business background, he left his highly attractive and stable corporate job for F&B simply because he realised where his heart really was, with his family being in F&B for over 30 years.
Kosei also heads up a few other food ventures ( highlighted below) but the other one you can't miss is definitely Ramen Jo. Delicious ramen I tell you!
It was a shame I didn't get to meet him in person when I was in Hong Kong earlier this year, Kosei is super friendly and you can feel his passion for food even via email! now that's what I call for the love of food!
Like The Peak, Via Tokyo is a must visit for any matcha lovers when in Hong Kong (Big call I know!). Over half their menu is dedicated to matcha items and they use 3.6 hokkaido milk, which is creamier and has a vanilla after taste (This stuff is so good that I drink this stuff straight even though I'm mildly lactose intolerant and almost never drink milk straight!)
It is no surprise that visiting Via Tokyo on an average night means standing in queue for a good 20-30 minutes! But trust me, this place is worth the wait!
shiratama azuki matcha soft cream
"pour that syrup baby! " is what I said, probably a bit too loud because it garnered a few odd looks from my table neighbours.
Wait till you try this azuki matcha soft cream though, because you may very well be saying the same thing. The matcha soft cream is creamy and intense in matcha flavour, the azuki beans and the mochi balls give it an refreshing change in texture. It may have be cold in Hong Kong at the time, but that did not stop me!
royal milk tea parfait w/ housemade langue de chat
asides matcha ( and hojicha, which i missed out on!) they also have a popular royal milk tea section of their menu. Essentially all the matcha items in royal milk tea flavour! The tea flavour is robust and is offset by the vanilla creaminess of the hokkaido milk. It complements the creamy soft serve really well. What surprised me was the house made langue de chat or cat's tongue biscuit. buttery and short, I could easily eat a dozen of these!
Now on to the interview with the highly successful man behind the operations of matcha heaven, Via Tokyo ( and a handful others including a shisha bar!)
I hope you all enjoyed the interview with Kosei! I definitely can't wait to meet him in person, he is such an inspiring guy!
want to know more? you can find him on instagram here and here!
Till next time,
1. What is your favourite creation from Via Tokyo?
At the moment, I really am happy with our milk tea parfait! I think the combination of ingredients has worked out pretty well.
2. You use to work in one of the big 4 companies, what made you leave the corporate world and delve into the world of food? And why HK?
I went school at the University of Southern California, at the Marshall Business School specifically. I always thought I was going to go the corporate route with steady and safe kind of career. But 3 years in, I realised it just wasn't what I wanted to do anymore; my family has been in F&B for 30 years, and where my heart always was. It was a natural decision for me. I was actually born in HK and my parents live here too - this is home for me!
3. From pizza to ramen to matcha heaven, you’ve got a fair few food ventures under your belt, can you tell us which one has been your favourite so far and why?How do you feel about all the accolades attached to your name?
When I first quit my corporate job, I actually started a Frozen Yogurt store called Yogo (which is the exact location where Via Tokyo is now). That was my favourite venture, the one that gets me nostalgic and leaves me with the most memories. It has since closed down, obviously, but it's where I got my start and learned the most about how tough the industry is.
The accolades (and there aren't all that much really!) are great, and provide good motivation for me. You always feel happy to be recognised for hard work. But my personal goal has always been to provide something which customers would find delicious and love to eat. There's nothing more wonderful than seeing a customer really enjoying one of your products!
4. So how did the super successful via Tokyo come by?
Via Tokyo was an idea me and my family had to offer quality Japanese desserts to the people of Hong Kong. I think previously there wasn't much in the way of a dedicated and authentic Japanese dessert store in Hong Kong, so we wanted to fill that gap. Before we opened, the concept was actually to offer a relaxing and quiet environment where people could have a coffee, read a book and have some dessert as well! I'd be lying if I said I knew it would get so busy.
5. So you call yourself a junk foodie, what do you get up to food-wise when you're not managing your ventures?
I love to eat, and it is my greatest passion (besides running my restaurants, of course). When I'm not working a lot of the time I'm eating! Fine dining at posh places is great but not always my thing, as I can't always justify paying for that kind of meal. Which is why I love to eat junk food! Quicker, cheaper, easier to enjoy. My ideal meal is a dirty burger or quick bowl of ramen, and of course desserts as well.
6. Who is one of your biggest inspirations when it comes to your creations and food related adventures?
My mother. She's done this for 30 years by herself mostly, and it's inspirational to me that she could come to HK so many years ago and start from nothing. I would be nothing without her and she taught me to love food since I was young.
7. As a child, what did you like to eat? What about now?
My favourites haven't changed much! I had a terrible sweet tooth as a kid and I still do now.
8. Are there foods that you won’t touch with a 10-ft pole?
I guess insects? That totally revolts me! Can't imagine eating an insect. Durian as well, can't handle it!
9. You do a fair bit of travelling, do you have a favourite city for eating?
It would have to be Tokyo. The quality, variety, and price of food (with the low yen now) is quite unbeatable. They also do most other foreign cuisines quite well too!
10. Your most memorable meal so far?
Ahh sorry to cheat a bit, but can't say there's a clear-cut most memorable meal! If anything, I absolutely love the experiences during my annual ramen crawl in Tokyo/rest of Japan. The ramen is just too good.
11. And let’s hope you won’t be needing this anytime soon, what would be your Death Row meal?
Wow haha! Yes wouldn't want that, but for the sake of clarity, probably a steaming hot bowl of shoyu ramen. Would drink every last drop of soup.
12. What should we expect from you next? Any amazing food ventures in the planning?
I have too many ideas! Can't execute them all of course, but for the short term, would love to expand on Via Tokyo.
13. And last but not least, butter or margarine?
Butter any day. Cholesterol be damned.
want to know more? you can find him on instagram here and here!
So guys, what is your favourite dessert? are you a matcha fan like me? let me know in the comments below!