Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Culinary Adventures in Hong Kong, Part 1

Culinary adventures have been few and far between of late. Not because life is any less adventurous, but because life is a lot busier and cameras less handy. Also, there are only so many times your friends will let you sing the praises of cong you bing before they run you out of town.

But do not despair, for I am pleased to bring you some new adventures. This weekend the fair lass Josephine and I went on a pillaging raid upon the high seas. In our sights? The opulent port city of Hong Kong.

Those scurvy British dogs sat pretty on this dainty little Pacific jewel for a hundred years, but now it is in our sights. The succulent booty is ours for the taking.

We got there on a rainy day, and carried all of our earthly goods in rucksacks slung across our weary shoulders. Climbing up the riggin' and riding trains and buses and all sorts of laborious efforts. We arrived at the hotel too early to check in, so we sought shelter in a humble tavern off the port bow. It was a Shanghai-style restaurant in the food court at the mall.

It had exceedingly cute fat Chinese babies painted all over the walls. Awww... I mean... avast!

I ordered the one thing on the menu I could find that had vegetables. I wasn't in a greasy meat mood and I also didn't want to spend a bajillionty dollars. Not spending a bajillionty dollars turned out to be one of the hardest feats to accomplish in Hong Kong. Aye, they love their gold, the scallawags. Well, the "noodles with vegetables" turned out to be a very bland soup. I remembered that Shanghai cuisine was supposed to be "light and fresh." Maybe it wasn't bland, maybe it was light and fresh.

So I ordered the guotier (potstickers). Because this is Hong Kong, birthplace of dim sum, land where wee babes suck on potstickers for pacifiers. They had to be good.

Instead, I got the worst potstickers man has ever known. I'm not complaining, mind you, I'm just reporting the facts. These are the worst potstickers man has ever known. Look how thick the skin is - the skin is not supposed to be that thick. It was like bread. And on the bottom, where they had touched the pan, it was like a thick bread crust. And the inside was bland. I cursed the scurvy cur who gave it to me. Actually, I didn't, I just asked for some white rice.

The fair lass Josephine fared better. She ordered the fish, not realizing she was ordering The Fish. As in, THE fish. It was steamed, with a lightly pickled green vegetable diced on top, sliced fragrant mushrooms (which are very nice to taste, as compared to the dried ones which are still hard for me to eat while smiling politely) and some sort of ham. I helped her convey the poor fishy soul to its demise, and we were surprised how much of it we ate. Normally I'm used to having all sorts of fish scraps, but this whole fish was so soft it just kind of melted into little chopstick-fulls and pretty soon all that was left was a lonely little skeleton and a lonely little head. Sorry, ye pitiful little picaroon. I'll convey ye respects to the little Fish Missus and sprats you left at the bottom of the harbor.

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