Monday, January 08, 2007

Hai-ya Hong Kong!

For this year’s holiday season, I took my normal pattern of excessive eating and partying to another level – by doing the same exact thing in another country. Yes, in Hong Kong! I’ve already done the New York new year’s eve thing and it was lame. I love Asia and every time I watch the global countdowns on TV, Asia really puts on a good show.

Hong Kong literally means ‘fragrant harbor’, but one look at that green-colored water, you’d think otherwise. It’s like calling the waters off Venice Beach clean and fresh. But it’s ok, I’m not there to frolic in the waters of Hong Kong with those arm floaties and my 7 dolphin friends. I’m there to consume the eccentric city life. I had already gone to HK last year and thought every day about the fabulous food I ate. Being a noodle whore, I had many noodle dishes lined up at the eating range. Attack!

Wonton Noodle Soup (Wonton Mein)
I have dreamt of these every day since last summer. If I knew how to compose a song, I would chant about these beautiful medallions of goodness. The same way Michael Bolton sings so
passionately about women. I don’t know how HK does it but I think the hand mixing of the pork really adds bite to wontons. There is actually a nice ‘crunch’ to it. Maybe they use a grade of MSG that is as highly-coveted as the truffle. I consider Wonton Time in Alhambra to be one of the better wonton restaurants but compared to HK’s, it’s night and day. The heavily-flavored pork/chicken/fish broth, chewy noodles and the addition of red vinegar and chili oil make this one of HK’s most famous dishes. When I hear the words ‘hong kong’, I think of these. And the green sea water.

Beef Brisket Noodle Soup (Ngau Nam Mien)
China and Taiwan have their beef noodle soup, Vietnamese have pho and we have these. The meat is braised in a broth using soy sauce, dried orange peel and of course, star anise. The soup used is the same as wonton mein but a scoop of the braised beef sauce is added for flavoring. Man, it was like eating Kobe beef over noodles… so tender it broke when I picked it up with my chopsticks. At this particular restaurant called Chi Kei, it was packed. I had walked to their other location but got rejected because they had sold out of their noodles. I luckily found another chain across the street (like Starbucks) and ended up sitting with an old couple who slurped and splattered all over the table. They were so into the soup and probably would have enjoyed a bath in the stock pot.

Fish Ball Soup Noodles (Yu Dan Mein or Fun)
Oh man, these are disgusting in a good way. This dish is a product of the wonderful people of Chiu Chow province. When asked what kind of fish they use for this, my mom explained that these are basically the Spam of fish. Since the Chiu Chow province is near the ocean, they have access to a plethora of fish. The fish is robbed of its fillets and whatever is not used becomes a fish ball. That sucks… I’d hate to be resurrected as a delicious beef ball. Again, the hand mixing of these fish balls adds bite and ‘bounce’. So good.

Beef Ball Noodle Soup (Ngau Yuk Yuen Fun)
This is also from the Chiu Chow province. Amazing thing about these is that they are juicy inside. It’s almost like a Chinese soupy dumpling… one bite and there’s an explosion of juices. Anything served with a spoonful of scallions and fried shallots is my pal.

Fish Dumpling Noodle Soup (Yu Pei Gow)
Another delectable product from Chiu Chow. Here, the skin of the dumpling is made out of pureed fish, and so is the filling! It’s like bacon-wrapped bacon. Imagine the life cycle of this fish. He’s swimming one day. Gets caught and is then butchered into pieces. He is then rolled into a ball and then wrapped again by his own flesh. RIP Little Nemo.

Preserved Duck Egg and Pork Congee (Pei Dan Sow Yuk Jook)
This is like Chinese oatmeal minus the creepy old guy with the fake curls and pilgrim hat. Many Asian people devour this for breakfast because it’s light and not at all greasy. Of the many varieties of porridge to choose from, I love the combination of ground pork and preserved duck egg. No, it isn’t like the Filipino duck embryo. They actually have instant porridge out in the markets. Imagine seeing these packaged boxes out on the shelves of the market. Each one containing a random Asian prize like a face visor or dashboard decoration.

Chinese Donut (Yau Za Gwai)
There’s nothing like starting out your morning with a bowl of hot porridge and tetanus-laden Chinese donuts. Porridge and donuts go together like peanut butter and jelly. I was about to order a pair of these before I saw these rusty scissors on top of them. I then remembered that I took my tetanus shots recently and went ahead and spoiled myself. Heavy metal!

BBQ Pork Steamed Rice Noodles (Cha Siu Cheung Fun)
These are an absolute must when I eat dim sum. These beautiful crepes are made a few minutes before and when cooked right, appear translucent and thin. You can choose between fillings of minced beef, shrimp or bbq pork, which is my favorite. The best way to eat these is to let them sit for 30 seconds on each side and marinate. Flip each crepe over and make sure they have some frolicking time in the soy/sugar/sesame oil sauce. Weeeee!

BBQ Pork, Roasted Goose and Roasted Chicken (Cha Siu, Siu Ngoh, Siu Gai)
Ah yes, the standard window decoration in the majority of Chinese restaurants. This is the type of scenery that makes PETA activists hot and bothered. I call it the Chinese Zoo… where animals aren’t incarcerated within iron bars but are rather granted the freedom to roam… within your stomach. Freedom is tasty!


Mong Kok (Miu Gai Street)
Ever see people wearing clothing with logos that say…

“Deisel”
“DKNYC”
“Guccci”
“Seventy Jeans”

Well you can find them all on this street. This narrow path leads you through vendors selling all kinds of cheap stuff. On the outside, it appears to be a swap meet, but it’s also home to some very expensive fabricated goods. Many women come here to shop for fake purses, but you’ll be surprised as to how similar they are to the originals. Vendors will put out the really crappy fake goods but if they see that you’re interested in the higher end fake goods, they’ll bring you up to their office, which is tucked inside shady alleys. I got J’s fake purse which she thinks is real, here in ‘Miu Gai’.

You know you’re in a good place when you’ve got streets named ‘Soy Sauce Street’. Not far from ‘Miu Gai’ is this avenue of good street vendor food. I really think they should reconsider naming this street to Deep Fry Drive. Here’s why – the main ingredient is oil and the word of the day is ‘fried’.






Just looking at the previous photos has increased your cholesterol level. Sorry about that.

After a few hours of eating oily food, you get thirsty. Which is why there’s ‘Lan Kwai Fong’, HK’s version of Sunset Blvd. There are about 30 clubs and bars here ready to quench your thirst. This particular night was fun. It was Christmas Eve and a few hours later, barricades were setup to allow the thousands of party people to parade through the streets. By 11 pm, it was nearly impossible to walk around without being sandwiched on this small stretch of concrete. About a decade ago, 100 people were crushed to death during a holiday celebration.

‘Lan Kwai Fong’ actually has its own beer. I hope it’s not made with the green harbor water.

For those that haven’t been to Hong Kong, it’s awesome. There’s good food everywhere you go and nice fake clothing to sport. But if you don’t like to eat or shop, you’re better off in something more tropical because the water is uninviting. There are not too many historical places to check out. At night, the skyline is simply amazing. I took this shot from the $0.35 ferry ride across from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central Hong Kong. HK is very westernized and it is not hard to get directions if needed. The subway system is laid out in a user-friendly manner. Come to think of it, HK is truly a foodies paradise because it is basically an island food-court. Taiwan is next. Thanks for reading.

35 comments:

H. C. said...

I think I downright had a coronary looking at all those delicious photos! Great post -- for me, HK is one of those places that's great to visit, not so great to live in ~ if only for the sakes of my arteries ;)

The Guilty Carnivore said...

Dear god - you can't do this to me. It's Monday morning, 10:20 am, and I can't split for lunch for another hour and half.

Amazing soups, chow fun, fried and roasted delights. I can't take it anymore. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!

One Food Guy said...

I have a hangover and just ate lunch, but damn, I'm hungry now! Looks like you've done some good eating!

Daily Gluttony said...

One word:

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

(and that's not "waaaaah" as in crying "waaaaah," that's "waaaaah" as in cantonese excitement "waaaaah." but you should know that already)

Welcome back! Looking fwd to your Taiwan post. (Unfortunately I won't know how to say "waaaaaaaah" in Taiwanese or Mandarin...or is it the same?)

elmomonster said...

Oh man. Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan! You are a well travelled food lover! I am green with envy.

KirkK said...

Didya' get enough to eat? LOL! After checking out those photos I got right on the phone with my cardiologist.... ;o) Happy New Year! We are not worthy.....

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Happy new year fellow gluttons.

HC/Guilty/One Food Guy, I am starving as we speak too. I am glad to be back in LA but I miss the food dearly. If only these photos were scratch n' sniff. I need to visit my doctor soon.

DG, haha. I know exactly what you're saying. I don't think waaaaaaaah is proprietary to HK. it's the universal reaction of Asian Fobs haha.

Elmo, I'm really happy I got to go to Asia twice in a year. This year will hopefully be another year of global eats. Will you be going back to Indonesia to provide a food report for everyone back here?

Kirk, I still have Taiwan, Shanghai & Macau coming up haha.

rameniac said...

man i haven't been to hong kong since pre-1997. this was edumacational - i'd forgotten that beef ball noodle soup is from chiu chow and the wontons look crazy good, esp. since there's no other vegetables or toppings to distract from them. as my mom would say, 'ho ch(ts)ing ah!' ch(ts)ing meaning "clear tasting", i think yoo know what i mean...

Yuzu said...

I feel so bloated after looking at all those pictures. =P Looks like you did some good eating in HK, dude! Did you bring back some cool knockoff apparel & accessories?

Christine D. said...

Eating noodle soups was the most recurring memory that I have from visiting Hong Kong in 2000! Yumm...Hopefully I'll be able visit HK again at the end of the year!

Maybe that "green water" is what gives the beer it's kick?

Passionate Eater said...

I think I can never look at another blog's pictures again. You truly are the whore of noodles. No, you are the gigolo of noodles. No, I take that back. You are "DA PIMP" of noodles. And I think that Mandarin excitement that DG is looking for is "Woh shing-tsai yow sih luh" (I want to die now).

BoLA said...

Whoa! Great photos!!! Lots of noodles, meat, and BALLS! hahah!

Great post! And welcome home! We all missed you!

ps) I'm partial to "PRADO" accessories myself. ;)

rick james said...

it all looks so good man... means they prob didn't get an "A" rating then huh...

hey d, one day we'll have to do a 909 outing... there's this really good rib joint out here called Joey's BBQ in Chino.. you gotta try em'

Chubbypanda said...

Oh my stars and garters...

I've been using my tea mug to catch my drool. You're a cruel but well-traveled man, my friend. Aiya! If only I wasn't dieting (and poor)!

=)

- Chubbypanda

Eddie Lin said...

one of my favorite memories of hong kong was in a lan kwai fong bar when they were offering 2 for 1 long island ice teas. oh my lord!!

the food was good too.

Captain Jack said...

I remember the Soy St. area. For me it was like "everything I never imagined on a stick St.".

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Welcome back! Dang...all the food looks so good. Seriously- how do ya'll stay so thin? I want to eat it all but I think I'd become the new spokeswoman for Jenny Craig. "Food Blogger to be Jenny Craig Spokeswoman." I can see it now....then I'd have to appear on Oprah in a bikini, do a bunch of silly commercials.....see what path you're setting me down? Sheesh.

christianne said...

The photos are fantastic! Sounds like an amazing trip.

2nd-favorite said...

I don't know what the rest of that says, but I know the second character in 'soy street' is oil. Must be a fun place. Unfortunately I am waiting for pizza dough to rise right now so I can't read this post to thoroughly lest I succumb to hunger and start eating the cookies that the wife brought from the office. Great post as always.
I am determined now to make those dim sum rice noodles. Anyone with a recipe?

Colleen Cuisine said...

NOODLE WHORE!!!!

Welcome back, we missed ya'!

sneakypeteiii said...

Oh man, pei dan sow yuk jook is so good (and cheap!). I could never handle the yu pei fun though, even though I've theoretically been eating it since I was a kid. Something about the fishy aroma.

Don't you love the fresh veggies in HK, too, like stir-fried snow pea sprouts with minced garlic (shoon yung dow miu)? They're just not the same here.

I guess the real question is, however: how much weight did you gain?

Anonymous said...

great posting! i love asia but never been to HK. i definitely can't wait to plan a trip there soon.

i LOVE taiwan and shanghai (not just because my roots are from those two places)! can't wait to read about your articles on those two.. :)

-tes-

furry_feline said...

I celebrate Michael Bolton's entire catalog. It's all beautiful.

Damn you D, all this beautiful food. And the sad thing is that I know it tastes even better than it looks!!

Single tear.

Jeni said...

You make me sick!

Blue Plate said...

Your noodle soup pics are making swoon. : )

Deb said...

I am so incredibley jelous! Everything looks awesome. Glad you had a great time and made it home safely!

Bon Vivant said...

Best looking food ever.

~Cinnamon Kitten~ said...

As a child, I used to go to HK every summer but haven't been back since 1996. I was hoping to go back in 2008, but I may have to bump that up to this year after seeing your photos!

Mmmm, your post really brought up some fond memories - eating noodles at a street vendor at 2am, shopping at Miu Gai Street, the ferry ride and, of course, the best dim sum in the world! Even congee (which I normally hate) is yummy there!

Thank you! Your photos are noodle porn for me! :D

Patty said...

Thanks for posting those wonderful pictures of the street food. I really miss them a lot, only in Hong Kong. My favorite noodle soup is always the fish balls fish spam fun (flat rice noodle). Did you get to eat the dumplings on a stick? Those were fish meat siu mai, with the special soy sauce (a bit sweet and spicy)...ahh.....

Chubbypanda said...

Yo dude, I could have sworn that I added this comment earlier, but I think I'm just getting senile in my old age.

You've been tagged for my Save Our Faves 2007 food blogger campaign. You can see an example of a post for this meme here. Hope you'll join in the fun! =D

"Double U" said...

HOLY MOTHER OF ALL THINGS BIG AND SMALL!!!! dude i want a bowl of wontons soooooo bad right now! ddgfdfsdf

e_ting said...

Excellent HK food tour! Wish I could eat the pics on the screen... Better go get myself some Siu Ngoh right now before we hear the crunch of the monitor or the cpu...

Garden of Eden said...

It's great that you enjoyed the food in HK. Pls come again! I'll show you a lot more interesting places where you can have authentic Chinese food.

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