IN A culinary destination like Hong Kong, just about every nation is represented by its cuisine. And even a single cuisine, be it Chinese, Italian or French, the restaurant selections are vast. So, how does one go about choosing which place to dine in?

There are always a few that will stand out from the rest. Either you've seen the long queues by the doors, checked the web or just be guided by the stars-the Michelin stars.

For Cantonese cuisine with Michelin stars head to Shang Palace at the Kowloon Shangri-La Hong Kong. The restaurant is a recipient of two Michelin stars and has been on the Michelin Guide (Hong Kong and Macau) from 2009 to 2016.

The name, the address and the accolade are good reasons to get you there, and Shang Palace will meet your expectation, if not exceed it.

Entering Shang Palace is like stepping in a movie set where detail is of utmost importance-interiors resplendent in red and gold, curated oriental artworks and decors adorn the hall, high gloss tableware set against the crisp ivory linen topping the mahogany-hued table. Perhaps Imperial China will come to mind.

Just as the eyes are teased by the ambience so will the dishes. Shang Palace's Cantonese specialties evoke the grandeur of traditional China.

"The delicious food, ornate décor and friendly and efficient staff make dining here a truly wonderful and memorable experience," said Patsy Chan, director of communications of Kowloon Shangri-La.

Masterminding Shang Palace's culinary creations is Chef Mok Kit Keung. The award-winning chef has a wealth of global experience, which includes working as head chef in Singapore, guesting at international affairs from Vancouver to Melbourne, and a member of the judges to a prestigious culinary contest in Hong Kong.

The talented chef has also prepared meals for kings, like King Mohammed VI of Morocco, the president of Russia and many other prominent dignitaries and celebrities from around the globe.

I am no king but having a special meal in a Michelin two-star restaurant prepared by Chef Mok certainly made me feel like I was one.

The Cantonese lunch menu had the elements of the famous Cantonese saying of "something that flies, that walks, swims" and add the noodles for long life. It was my birthday feast after all.

It started with a trio of dim sum: steamed scallop dumpling in gold fish shape (a sign of longevity, I was told), steamed assorted vegetables dumpling, and crispy-fried turnip pastry with Spain Jamon Iberico Bellota 60 months.

I took my sweet time savoring the unique flavors of the lights bites.

The traditional braised shredded chicken broth with fish maw and mushroom came next. The rich, flavorful soup hit a spot, comforting like it's made from home, and uplifting on the rainy day.

If I ask Chef Mok to how else can eggs be prepared, his reply would be his dish of steamed jade egg white and sliced spotted Garoupa fillet with spring onion. The lightness of the dish, the texture and flavor was truly surprising, and lovely at that.

The stir-fried rice vermicelli with Spanish red prawn and preserved vegetables was delectable. One would certainly wish for a long life if noodles are delightfully prepared this way.

To end the meal was a duet of lightly sweetened desserts -glutinous rice dumplings with osmanthus soup and crispy-fried sweetened egg ball filled with cheese.

It was the end of the meal I got to meet Chef Mok, a good-looking man who looks younger than his age. This was the man who elevated Cantonese dining experience in Hong Kong that earned the Shang Palace the two stars it deserves.

Shang Palace is at the Lower Level 1 of Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong.

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit www.ofapplesandlemons.com & www.jeepneyjinggoy.com