Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Night in with Citrusy Baked Salmon

Not sure what to make for dinner this weekend? TFT HK founder Steph Tan is here to help! See below for her recipe for baked salmon. Salmon is a delicious source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. The wild, Alaskan variety of this fatty fish is considered the most sustainable choice. The barley in this recipe is a very good source of fiber and selenium, and a good source of phosphorus, copper and manganese; and the spinach is rich in vitamin K (important for bone health!), and contains a variety of antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer flavonoid compounds:

Citrusy Baked Salmon

I never tire of eating salmon, and there are so many ways to prepare it. Baking it is one of the easiest and simplest ways to enjoy this fish, and the added lemon brightens and enhances the salmon's savory flavor.

Local Buzz: Two Great Events THIS WEEKEND!

Today, we're bringing you two fantastic events that you should attend if you're not traveling over the long weekend (our founders, Katy and Steph, are in fact traveling. They're going to Qinghai to visit the school where your generous donations to TFT HK are being directed, to meet the students who are, thanks to you, receiving more nutritious lunches! We'll have photos and an update on the trip next week.). I happen to be lending my voice to both:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Global Food News: 2012 US Farm Bill passes in the Senate

Last Thursday, the US Senate passed a farm and food bill, which is now up for debate in the House. This bill represents a fairly substantial change in the structure of farm subsidies. US subsidy programs, in their current state, tend to favor large producers of "program commodities": corn, soy, wheat, sugar, and rice. The bill entails a good deal of subsidy reform, but, as reported by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, it is still "far from perfect." NSAC Policy Director, Fred Hoefner stated that the "bill would benefit greatly from more agriculture reform, a greater local and regional food focus, and a much greater commitment to economic development and jobs. He went on to say, "We are also disappointed with the $3.7 billion cut to conservation programs on working farms and ranches.” Here are the five main components of this five-year bill:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Food Hero Tuesday: TFT Japan Food Team!

Note from the Editor: Every Tuesday, TFT HK will bring you a post or article from/about one of our local or global food heroes. These are people who inspire us, and whose visions align with the values that TFT espouses and promotes. This week's post is from a member of the Table for Two Japan Food Team, dietician Shoko Ohno, who comments upon an article that addresses current trends in global obesity and food imbalance. TFT Japan Food Team, we at TFT HK salute you!

"Thoughts on 'The Weight of Nations' article"
Author: Shoko Ohno, Certified Dietitian, TFT Food Team
Editor: Shoko Iijima, TFT Food Team
Original Texts (in Japanese):

Throughout my many years as a dietitian, I’ve always believed that the “obesity problem” must not be painted as an issue of individual choice.

I believe we must, first and foremost, learn to treat people of every size with kindness and compassion. Recently, I found an article from the United States, which cited the fact that one in three Americans suffers from obesity, and that there is a human rights group for overweight people. This group is called the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA). I agree that the “sizists,” those who discriminate against overweight people, should not be tolerated. We cannot stand by and accept such behavior.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

TFT HK Monday Update!

Good Monday to you!

Our "green wine" tasting event was a great success this weekend. Thank you to Wesley and David, everyone else at Spike's Wine Cellar, and all the oenophiles/TFT HK supporters who attended! Guests tasted ten wines, and decided which ones will be up on the Spike's site, with the TFT HK stamp of approval. We'll update you with the results, and which sustainable wines you can buy from Spike's, with a portion of the proceeds going to TFT HK! Here are a few photos:

Wine, wine everywhere! We tasted ten varieties

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pizza Party!

Not sure what to make for dinner this weekend? TFT HK founder Steph Tan is here to help! See below for her recipe for a simple, party-ready pizza. The recipe swaps out a white crust for one made with whole-wheat flour (so it contains more vitamins, minerals, and fiber!), and calls for olives, which contain numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Olives should be eaten sparely, as they are relatively calorie-dense foods, due to their high fat content (80 to 90% of their calories come from fat). However, nearly three quarters of the fat they contain is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. Consumption of monounsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol and may benefit insulin and blood sugar levels. The nutrients in olives can positively affect the cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, musculoskeletal, immune, inflammatory, and digestive systems!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Local Buzz: HK Farm

HK Farm (edited with PicFrame)

A little over a month ago, I visited HK Farm in Ngau Tau Kok, for a planter-making workshop. This "organisation of Hong Kong aspiring farmers, artists & designers founded in April 2012" is located on the roof of an industrial building (140 Wai Yip Street, just off the Ngau Tau Kok MTR stop), and is open to the public every weekend day from 12pm to 5pm. The space is beautiful and the three young, creative, and passionate guys behind the magic that is this 4,000 square foot green space are helping to generate the kind of buzz and excitement needed to get urban agriculture and sustainable food systems into the minds and hearts of Hong Kong's citizens.

At the moment, HK Farm is growing crops like basil, string beans, bush beans, chili peppers, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, okra, nasturtium, marigold, lavender, peppermint, lemon balm mint, lemon grass, and brussels sprouts on a small scale. They're testing out various soil mixes, composting methods, and companion planting schemes to see what works best, as they encourage the public to volunteer and learn more about urban agriculture, sustainable farming in general, issues surrounding food systems in Hong Kong and globally, and principles of permaculture. In the next three years, founder Michael Leung (of HK Honey fame) says, they hope to ramp up production and to collaborate with various local restaurants and local artists. On the day I made my planter, over 70 people visited the roof. Here are a few photos from a truly lovely and inspiring day:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Global Food News: Food Security and the 2012 G20 summit

Oxfam International demonstration in Mexico City

Monday marked the beginning of the 2012 G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. During this meeting, representatives from the world's 20 largest economies, were slated to discuss key issues including economic stabilization, reform of the international financial system, sustainable development, and alleviation of global food insecurity.

Last Thursday, Oxfam International staged a demonstration near Mexico City's Monument to the Revolution, to urge G20 leaders to create a concrete plan of attack on the problem of food security. Members of Oxfam, asserting that G20 leaders can and should use their influence and access to funding to tackle global hunger, donned masks of G20 leaders' faces, set out a giant lock labeled "food security", and held on to a large key and balloons with pictures of food and dollar signs.  Oxfam, like all of those organizations and individuals seriously concerned with the global food crisis, hoped that this year's G20 conference would be a step toward sustained, vigorous international cooperation on this front.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Food Hero Tuesday: Time Out Hong Kong's Dorothy So

Steamed crab at The Chairman

Note from the Editor: Every Tuesday, TFT HK will bring you a post or article from/about one of our local or global food heroes. These are people who inspire us, and whose visions align with the values that TFT espouses and promotes. This week's post is an interview with Dorothy So, serious eater and food editor for Time Out Hong Kong. Dorothy, who has also written for HK Magazine, South China Morning Post, and Fodor's Travel Guide, was generous enough to share her thoughts about the recent evolution she's witnessed in the Hong Kong dining scene . Dorothy, we at TFT HK salute you!

Being a food writer has its obvious perks. You get to eat (a lot) and, more importantly, you get to meet great people who are talented and inspiringly passionate about what they do. And in just the few short years since I’ve moved back to my home city, it’s been exciting to see how the community of food artisans has grown. I’m not saying that this is a completely new thing for Hong Kong, but when I was a weedy highschooler, there definitely weren’t as many organic farmers, eco-conscious restaurateurs or indie chefs.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

TFT HK Monday Update

Happy Monday!

Our sustainable wine-tasting event with Spike's Cellar is THIS SATURDAY. Please RSVP to, or buy your tickets on the Spike's Cellar site! We'll be tasting ten "green" wines for only $100, to determine which ones will be featured in Spike's online store. All of the proceeds from tickets for this event are being donated to TFT HK. Thank you to our generous friends at Spike's Cellar!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Salads: Tuna and Greens!

Not sure what to make for dinner this weekend? TFT HK founder Steph Tan is here to help! See below for her simple, delicious salad, packed with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and healthy polyunsaturated fats. Remember, when buying canned tuna, select dolphin-safe varieties of yellowfin (caught by troll/pole, instead of longline) or albacore from waters off of the US or Canada. For more information on how to select fish responsibly, check out this Seafood Selector from the Environmental Defense Fund:

Tuna and Greens

Here's a quick, healthy summer salad, which I find equally satisfying for weekend and weekday dinners. I used mache leaves for the salad, but any type of greens are fine. Also to save time, I used a black olive tapenade which I bought from Just Green on Graham Street (they also have a store in Wan Chai, on St. Francis Street, and on Lamma). They offer a great variety of organic products! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Local Buzz: Introducing cruncha ma-me!

Note from the Editor: Today, we’re excited to share an interview with the Hong Kong marketing manager for a healthy snack we’ve seen popping up all over Hong Kong: cruncha ma-me! TFT HK co-founder, Katy, had the chance to meet with Emily, who launched cruncha ma-me in Hong Kong. Emily was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to tell us more about this snack that packs a nutritional punch, now taking Hong Kong by storm.  Thank you Emily!

Katy: So what is cruncha ma-me?

Emily: As the name suggests, cruncha ma-me is essentially a crunchy edamame snack.  Edamame are young soybeans, often served steamed or boiled in Japanese restaurants.  We wanted to develop a snack that is tasty and packed with nutrients using all-natural whole ingredients.  Edamame was our answer.

Katy:  I have to say, I’m a bit skeptical of snacks touted as both healthy AND delicious.  The two are not mutually exclusive, of course, but it’s a hard balance to achieve!

Emily: Here why don’t you try some and see for yourself!

(Emily handed me the “Lightly Seasoned” flavor soybeans, and I was proven wrong as soon as I popped a few into my mouth.  The first layer of the freeze-dried beans was flaky and flavorful, the inside crunchy; and the whole snack retained the original, nutty edamame flavor.  My assessment: savory and addictive!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Global Food News: the UN dubs 2013 the International Year of Quinoa

Quinoa is versatile, nutrient-dense, and delicious

Uncooked quinoa
Cultivating quinoa

Yesterday in Rome, at the opening of FAO 's governing Council, Bolivian president Evo Morales was named the Special Ambassador to FAO for 2013: the International Year of Quinoa. Quinoa, widely regarded as a "superfood," is seeing a surge in popularity worldwide; and the UN is now encouraging its further cultivation and consumption, as a means to alleviate global hunger, as stated in the FAO press release:
Quinoa is a highly nutritious, cereal-like crop that is rich in protein and micronutrients. It was of great nutritional importance to pre-Colombian Andean civilizations, second only to the potato. The International Year of Quinoa aims to attract global attention to the role of this crop in support of food security, nutrition and poverty eradication.
Here's a quick snapshot of quinoa's history and health benefits:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Food Hero Tuesday: Katie Amara Forster

Note from the Editor: Every Tuesday, TFT HK will bring you a post or article from/about one of our local or global food heroes. These are people who inspire us, and whose visions align with the values that TFT espouses and promotes. This week's post is an interview with Katie Amara Forster, HK PR guru, restaurant launcher, food writer/editor, and foodie. Katie is currently a Director at Golin Harris; has written pieces for Hip Hong Kong, Crave, and Foodie; and has edited numerous food and wine books (she's even ghostwritten for Joel Robuchon!). Katie, we at TFT HK salute you!

Katie in the kitchen!

Hi Katie! Ok, first thing's first: tell us about yourself!

I was born in Singapore and raised in Hong Kong bar a rather unfortunate stint at UK boarding school. I graduated with an English Literature degree but am a lover of all things creative, not just the written word. I travel more than most but less than I’d like. I don’t really have one exceptional skill… I generally just live life trying to create beautiful things whether that be through words, art, music or food! I work in public relations and I think it ties in with that motto – my job it to take something unknown and seemingly uninteresting, and create a compelling story about it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

TFT HK Monday Update

Happy Monday!

Today, we're introducing you to the founders and staff of TFT HK. We'd also like to thank our wonderful interns, Sophie Yang (of CUHK) and Allison Dommu (at CUHK, on exchange from the New School in New York), for all of their help!! 

TFT Founders

Stephanie Tan

Stephanie is a Senior Vice President of Asia Financial, a Hong Kong listed company that focuses on insurance , investments in retirement funds, health care providers, and other sectors.

Stephanie received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Claremont McKenna College in Economics and Studio Art. After graduating, she worked at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in New York. Stephanie’s passion is food. She attended the French Culinary Institute in New York where received her diploma in culinary arts. Shortly after, she worked at Alain Ducasse Enterprise in communications and marketing.

Stephanie is also a wine enthusiast and holds an Intermediate Certificate from the London-based Wine & Spirits Education Trust. Stephanie is a member of Social Ventures Hong Kong and a representative of the Family Business Network Pacific Asia. 
Katy Yung

Katy is an Associate Director at Sterling Private Management Ltd., a private family office in Hong Kong. Her current role focuses on sustainable and impact investments as well as philanthropic activities of a specific portfolio. Formerly an investment banker at J.P. Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Limited.
At J.P. Morgan, Katy founded "JPMorgan Gives Back", an employee volunteer network in Hong Kong as a pilot for the rest the Asian offices. She also initiated and mobilized employees on several firm-wide disaster fundraisers. Katy is an avid explorer of the food scene and previously pursued internships with the Maxim’s Group in Hong Kong, M on the Bund in Shanghai and was a food editor for her university’s newspaper.

Katy graduated from Duke University in North Carolina with a BA in Economics and a minor on Comparative Area Studies. She plays the harp and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level 2 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Friday Night Feast: Tacos!

Not sure what to make for dinner this weekend? TFT HK founder Steph Tan is here to help! See below for her easy, healthy, and delicious recipe

Taco night with friends

My friends and I have random cravings for Mexican food, and since there is a general lack of good Mexican restaurants in Hong Kong, we normally cook up tacos at my place. We try to make everything from scratch, except for the hot sauce and the tortillas. We create a build as you go station in the middle of the table, for everyone to get what they like, including a side of lettuce wraps to mix it up a bit.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Special Event: Sustainable Wine-tasting with Spike's Cellar on June 23rd!

Local Buzz: AmCham's "Moving Hong Kong's Growing Mountains of Food Waste" Seminar

Last week, we were lucky enough to attend the American Chamber of Commerce's seminar on food waste, titled "Moving Hong Kong's Growing Mountains of Food Waste".  Speakers Anne Gillman (associate at Hamilton Advisors), Gabrielle Kirstein (Executive Director of Feeding Hong Kong), and Bobsy Gaia (sustainable lifestyle advocate and owner of Mana! Fast Slow Food and Life Cafe) each commented on the state of Hong Kong's food waste problem, and the actions being taken, on a variety of fronts, to address this very serious issue.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Global Food News: Agricultural Commodities Speculation and Global Food Insecurity

Today, we present you with two videos that focus on the widespread speculation in agricultural commodities during the 20th and early 21st centuries, and the effect of this speculation on volatility of food prices and global food insecurity. The first clip is a BBC newscast from 2010, in which Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, presents information from his report, "Food Commodities Speculation and Food Price Crises":

The second is a short piece from Oxfam Germany, depicting the disastrous effect of that rampant speculation on the the world's food insecure:

For further reading on this subject, please see De Schutter's piece (linked above) and "The great hunger lottery: how banking speculation causes food crises", an informative and detailed report released by the World Development Movement in July 2010.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Food Hero Tuesday: Interview with Peggy Chan of Grassroots Pantry

Note from the Editor: Every Tuesday, TFT HK will bring you a post or article from/about one of our local or global food heroes. These are people who inspire us, and whose visions align with the values that TFT espouses and promotes. This week's post is an interview with Peggy Chan, rising star of the Hong Kong dining scene and sustainable food system champion. Chan, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute, Hotel Institute of Montreux, and Swiss Hotel Management School, is the founder, director, and chef manager of Grassroots Pantry--a new cafe and workshop that focuses on health through eating; green values; local and sustainable food systems; and plant-based cooking and eating--in Sai Ying Pun. Peggy, we at TFT HK salute you!
Chef Chan in the kitchen

Sunday, June 3, 2012

TFT HK Monday Update

It's Monday again, and time for a TFT HK update!

1. The TFT HK team attended an engaging and informative seminar on food waste in Hong Kong last week at the American Chamber of Commerce. The speakers included the Executive Director of Feeding Hong Kong, Gabrielle Kirstein; green restaurant owner (Life Cafe and Mana! Fast Slow Food) and sustainable lifestyle advocate Bobsy Gaia; and Hamilton Advisors associate, Anne Gillman. For more information, check out our Local Buzz post this Thursday. 

2. Our Diamond Jubilee lunch was a lovely celebration of food and community (oh, and the Queen, of course!). THANK YOU to Staunton's Group (a TFT partner), the staff at Yorkshire Pudding, and everyone who came out! Here are some photos from yesterday: