January 9, 2007

Being re-introduced to HongKong...

With reckless zooming vehicles, crammed streets flooded with pedestrians scrurrying in a hurry; to loud noises from buses and street vendors yelling at the top of their lungs, "Hustle and bustle" didn't even BEGIN to describe the city of Hong Kong.
"Frantic" and "excitable" would probably give a better perspective to the whole picture. Flickering lights from towering highrises and thousands of neon signs protruding into the main streets from the sidewalks, brightly lit the entire city into a breathtakingly beautiful scene. It was my favorite time of day to venture out into the City of Hong Kong.

Sidewalks along the main streets of Kowloon were often painfully swarmed with people on weekends; making it almost impossible to walk in a straight line. There was human traffic moving towards me in almost every direction. For a couple of minutes upon arrival; I felt lost; overwhelmed....and out of place. Despite being a full grown Chinese kid from a Cantonese speaking family; I surprisingly had a bigger problem with communication than I had expected. Everything was written in Chinese..and everyone spoke to me in Cantonese... I felt a little silly struggling to reply with my almost retarded command of my native language. *laughs* Our Cantonese language in Malaysia deferred slightly from what everyone in Hong kong spoke, but adding English in between sentences for more complicated descriptions helped along the way. I was tickled by the local Chinese accent which often went by a certain tune. Almost sung like a song. *giggle* - those who have "Hong-kie" friends are probably aware of the 'tune' I'm referring to :P
We spent our nights in the Kowloon Hotel in Tsim Tsa tsui directly behind the prestigious Peninsula Hotel which is famous for star studded crowds. My parents and I had a
shopping spree in expensive international brand names located around The Peninsula's lobby and snuck in for a drink at its luxurious and classy cafe. The interior architecture and plaster molding above its columns and ceilings were delicate, detailed and absolutely magnificent. I had a cocktail eggnog...which wasn't too bad at all~This wasn't my first visit to Hongkong, but I didn't remember Hong Kong the way I experienced it this time around. I was only about 14 the last time I was here; and didn't have much of an eye for detail or a passion for adventure and travel. I saw alot more; absorbed more culture and had a chance to give it's cuisine another go.

5-6 years ago; I never knew how to appreciate Chinese cuisine the way I do now. I didn't remember having had 'good' food of any sort. I was probably desperate for a burger/fast food outlet at that age *naughty grin*. With a new taste for ingenious culinary creations; I was really looking forward to this opportunity.
I was impressed. I was literally blown away by Hong Kong's local cuisine. From when I began appreciating flavors and having an interest in food; I don't think I've ever had Chinese/Cantonese cuisine the way I experienced it here in Hong Kong. I'm not sure if it was just the restaurants we happened to luckily "bump" ourselves into randomly; but I was truly impressed. It was a different level of satisfaction. Different from our Malaysian Chinese food; but superb nonetheless. Chinese Take-out stores in Sydney should be ashamed of themselves *grin* The prices of seafood and most famous delicacies were a little steep. But I guess you can't really expect good quality and cheap food bang right in the city center~What you pay for is what you get. Good food had "good" price tags.
From seafood to simple noodles and congee...we were often swept off our feet. I came across a couple of disappointing dishes along the way. But I didn't let a couple of bad eggs ruin the show.
I would strongly recommend all lovers of Chinese cuisine to visit this spectacularly impressive city filled with so much good food. My advice would be; look out for places where the locals dine, get in line for a piece of whatever the vendor is selling..the good stuff is often at the end of that ridiculously long queue!
I wish I had more time. Hong kong had so much to offer...and I had so little time to rummage in deeper. The sights and sounds were fascinating. The shopping was ridiculously good; we must have picked the right season for a weekend shopping 'quickie'~ Everything was on SALE!!
I'll definitely be back again..to check out those tiny lanes I peeked into, those desserts I was too full to eat and occasional flashy signboards I didn't have the time to explore. I've had a taste, and the city has left me longing for more!~

*drawbacks: Noise and Air pollution....OMG *GASP*....the density of the city doesn't really help the situation much. Grow more TREES residents of Hong Kong! *cheeky grin*


Mary said...

Hi Su-Yin :)
I've been reading your blog for 2 months now and it is fantastic!
I check back every day for more recipes etc! keep up the great work

Anonymous said...

hey girl!
I was in hk too; just about a week ago! I totally agree with you about the pollution; hopefully you didn't get sick. take care; looking forward to more of your food posts :D

Su-Yin said...

mary: aww thanks so much for the kind words :) I hope to be blogging more often soon...don't have any working kitchens at the moment (im still holiday-ing in singapore) hehe XOXO thanks again!!

panda:did u enjoy HOngkong? I didnt get sick ...was just having difficulty breathing! hehehe///you're sweet :) LOL

pastry princess said...

hi there! I just read your HK entry. I just got back from HK too last week. Love the weather. The first time I went to HK, it was all fastfood for me. We were too scared to try the unfamiliar restos. But this time around, I was able to enjoy the local cuisine. And I had a huge dose of milk tea. Yum! You should have made a side trip to Macau where the pace is much slower and the streets are more colorful. And a lot less polluted :)

Tang said...

I agree with you. I lived in HK for 3 yrs and find that their cuisine is mou dak teng. Esp their private kitchens...

If you go again, I must introduce you to the restaurants..

SAHM to Megan(7.5) and Macy(4)