Saturday, August 25, 2012

Anonymous Hong Kong eateries

This was originally written for my friend Jemma's food blog, because I wanted to try something different and failed. I'm mainly re-posting it here because it's annoying having it wafting around in my drafts.

Eating blind has mostly been a rewarding experience in the various non-English speaking countries I've lived in over the past 18 months, though it carries risks. I won't go into some of the disgusting things I've eaten by accident here.

But for a change, I was visiting Hong Kong with someone who spoke the dialect, and could help me understand what I was putting in my mouth. Unfortunately, it turned out she couldn't read Chinese, so most of the time we were back at square one with the blind leading the blind. At least our senses of taste were still working, so here are three random, anonymous dining options from Tung Choi Street in Hong Kong's ridiculously bustling Mong Kok district.

Restaurant 1

His: Chicken strips and bean curd with rice in prawn sauce (HKD 42)
Hers: Fresh prawn won ton noodle soup (HKD26)

Writing can be really therapeutic sometimes, and even as we waited impatiently for about 20 minutes for our iced tea to be made before we reminded them, I was already looking forward to being able to criticise this place and its dismissive staff later. Except I don't know what it's called or anything. It looks like this:

The food was pretty good though... oh dear, I've already come across another deficiency of me reviewing mysterious food in anonymous restaurants - I don't have the requisite vocabulary or sufficiently refined taste buds to describe it in any meaningful way. Maybe I should stick to the day job of documenting disgusting parasite museums.

Restaurant 2

His: Prawn dumplings (HKD 20)
Hers: Shaomai (HKD20)
Theirs: Chicken curry puffs (HKD12)

Well, that looks a lot better value, the food arrived in the same century and the dumplings I'm told were called shaomai were brilliant. Whatever they are.

If anything, the staff here were too good, leaping to remove plates from the vicinity within five seconds of the last morsels being picked up. Think I'm exaggerating?

Restaurant 3

Theirs: Some kind of noodle soup with beef and prawns in (HKD28 each)

I knew it wouldn't be long before I came across my all-too-frequent adversary: menus with no pictures to point to. Though there was a big picture on the front of the menu that looked nice enough, so we had that.

Because I'm in post-colonial Hong Kong and not in The Real China yet, it's probably safe to assume I'm not eating anything too disgusting or immoral. But even if I am, it all tastes pretty nice. 'Gou' is Cantonese for pork, right?

I don't understand the Chinese tradition of keeping dogs in your restaurant window. Fortunately, the noise died down as they were removed one by one over the course of the evening

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