Beloved food critic Wei Ling dies at 87

Condolences poured in for veteran food critic and former journalist Wei Ling who passed away at the age of 87.

His journalist friend Cheng Ming-yan announced Wei's death on Facebook yesterday. "Wei Ling, the food critic of an era, has passed away," Cheng wrote, saying Wei's wife told him that his friend died on Tuesday.

Cheng said Wei was chiefly responsible for "promoting Hong Kong cuisine to the Western world" with his excellent English.

Netizens also paid tribute to the food critic, with Facebook user Book Ipse saying: "His books have witnessed the development of middle-class food culture in Hong Kong. Thank you, Mr Mak!"

Wei, originally named Mak Yiu-tong, was born on January 28, 1936, in Shunde, Guangdong. He adopted the pen name Wei Ling after his alias William.

He called himself Au Au in his articles. The Chinese characters of Wei Ling and Au Au consisted of 10 mouths, symbolizing his desire to eat all food in the world.

Wei had appeared in numerous Western media interviews to introduce Hong Kong cuisine - including the famous Ah Yat Abalone and Yung Kee Restaurant's roasted goose.

In 2005, he became the first person to be dubbed a "Chinese gourmet" by the China Hotel Association.

Despite his love for his good taste, Wei joked in a 2010 interview that "you can say I am a foodie, but please don't praise me as a god. God only eats incense sticks."

After graduating from United College with an English major in 1958, Wei began his career as a translator, later becoming a finance journalist and eventually editor-in-chief of Sing Tao Daily at the invitation of Sally Aw Sian.

He was a food columnist at the British newspaper Financial Times and the local Chinese newspaper Hong Kong Economic Journal.

He also served in a public capacity, including for the Tourism Board and related industries.