Hong Kong: A Food DiaryMonday, June 03, 2013
Hong Kong is just a 3-hour plane ride away from Singapore.
But it has taken me 50 years of my earthly life before I finally set foot on this famed city.
Taking in the scenic visuals, I got the impression that I had been in these locations before. Many scenes of this city have been embedded in my mind since I started watching HK TV shows and films as a child.
|View from the Peak|
While one may think that this city is just about sky scrapers jostling for space, the visit to the New Territory area was a refreshing country-side experience.
We would have been rather touristy-lost if not for some good friends who hosted us. A short 3 days it may be, but we manage to catch up on some precious friendship time. I would talk a lot about them if not for the fact that this is a food blog.
Of course, we got to visit some other old Cantonese "friends"such as Char Siew Pau, Siew Mai, Ngau Lam Meen and Chee Chap Chook.
Truth be told, the food though excellent, wasn't an earth shaking experience. In fact, it largely tasted familiar. Migrating Hong Kong chefs have impacted cities round the world with their Yum Char and Cantonese dishes. One can observe that for a long time now, many Hong Kongers (especially pre-97) have not cultivated a sense of nationhood the way we - and most nations - do. They are very practical about life, whether surviving or seeking to thrive, the last thing on their minds is to see their city as a permanent home and their fellow dwellers as one big "family." It is not on their lips either to sing patriotically and this will give them goosebumps. Crooning Home Truly as a national song? Shudder at the thought.
The world has benefitted from these Cantonese migrants and you can find a Chinatown in many major cities of the world. And locals and tourists know that is where you can find good Yum Char. Here in Singapore, some tourists find it strange that there is a Chinatown but yes, there you find Chinese truly and some very good Siu Mai.
|A poorly taken photo of an excellent Char Siew Pau.|
Congee, as you would expect is consistently good every time we had it. Imagine it as soft broken rice in very good soups. Cantonese are masters at (and slaves to?) soups too. No Cantonese meal is complete without a bowl of double-boiled goodness on the side.
|Crispy Stuffed Duck at Kin's Kitchen|
In some ways, Kin's remind me of the Pusing Restaurant in Ipoh. It is Cantonese cooking at it's best, unpretentious, attention to the right details and eating the dish, you just get the sense that this is how it should be cooked. We liked the dinner at Kin so much that we returned for lunch on our last day.
|The Sponge Cake at Violet Cake Shop.|
We also visited the wet market at Tai Po and we were amazed at how they keep all their fish alive up till the point of sale. The stalls looked like aquariums but those pretty fishes were not meant to be gawked at but steamed, boiled and fried. As they are used for congee and soups, even the little ones were not spared.
We also found time to pick up dried sausages, the goose livers ones and some nice Chinese hams.
It was a short trip, at best, a whirlwind introductory experience to life in this Pearl of the Orient. We hope to be back one day.
Thanks again, Peter, Jeri, Karis, Zachary, Andrew & Irene for your friendship and hospitality, which made our HK visit so memorable.
Note: Read this post for a recipe using dried shrimp noodles I bought from HK.