Food, glorious food: Victor

I’d like one slice of Hong Kong, please! Actually, make that two!

Looks at the newly assigned blog theme…

”Hmm, food…”

Looks down at my bloated belly…

“…yup, this should be a piece of cake…”

 “I get way too much happiness from good food.” – Elizabeth Olsen

 Greetings fellow students! So you want to know about food in Hong Kong, eh? Well, I think it’s safe to say Hong Kong is among the best in the world in terms of culinary experience one could enjoy, with its innovative and masterful blends of Eastern and Western styles. Heck, you know you’ve landed at a place that cares about food, when a standard greeting in Cantonese is “Have you eaten yet? (Sik zo faan mei aa?)”.

I must say I really hate food, because it tastes so good and I get so fat! So I tell myself I’m on exchange and I can work off the gains later. Anyway, here are what’s on the menu:

 The university canteens
Yes, I know. Out of all the places I can choose, I start with your boring old campus restaurants. But honestly, this must be put first simply due to the sheer amount of times I have been there, and been there I have! Even though they won’t show up on your Michelin guides, they still serve some damn good grub. Don’t believe me? See for yourself!

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Diced-chili fish with rice, tea, and Canton Soup!
1
Sizzling seafood teppan with soy sauce!
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Scallop and mixed vegetable-covered rice, with HK-style milk tea!
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Beef knife-shaved noodle with a side dish of rice noodle roll!

Now that you’ve seen for yourself, it is regrettable that you, my dear readers, cannot taste for yourself. Alas, Auckland Abroad doesn’t cover budgets for instantaneous food delivery, so you will just have to settle for amateur photography instead.

The above are, obviously, just a taster for what I have had the privilege to enjoy for my time at HKU. Scattered across the campus, it was no less an adventure to discover all that was available when I initially arrived. From small yet delicate cafes to crowded mess halls, a world-class dining experience is just five minutes from your classroom.

And did I mention about the bonkers prices? As far as I’m concerned, most of the meals I paid for are between $20 to $40 HKD, which converts back to around…4 to 8 NZD?! Yes please! I will certainly miss this a lot when I return to Auckland. To those, well, not-so-bonkers-priced canteens back home…

 Care for some dim sum?
Dim sum needs no introduction. As the poster child for Cantonese cuisine, how can you afford to miss this while going on exchange here? From the more accessible shrimp dumplings and barbequed pork buns, to the chicken feet and cow stomach fit for the more adventurous types, a dim-sum experience is tailor-made for everyone. Much like a Chinese-version of Spanish Tapas (or perhaps Tapas is like a Spanish dim sum?), one has the benefit to taste a variety of bite-sized dishes without committing to one particular dish. I know I’m always guilty of wanting to take food off of someone’s else’s plate!

Interestingly, I only had one dim sum here in Hong Kong so far, but it could not be in a more fitting context: a Cantonese class field trip. Having been learning about how to order food, our lovely teacher planned a trip to a local restaurant near the campus on a day off for us students. Restricting ourselves to be only using Cantonese during the meal, we feasted on authentic and delicious steamer baskets of delicacies to our heart’s content, filled with prolonged periods of silence and awkward, broken phrases of Cantonese:

5
Dim sum, chopsticks, and tea
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A sweet sesame roll

 

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Happy class portrait

 Out on the streets
While abroad, you are naturally drawn to roam and discover the streets, where all the food resides. Currently it is the semester’s final week for me, so studying’s a bit hectic to just stroll through the city right now. But boy did I do a lot of that when I came here initially, with the food most delicious and also most expensive (compared to campus prices, they are usually more than double!).

One particular story that stands out is the tale of the expedition to Mr. Wong’s. One exchange student in our Facebook group suggested this Friday night event to a place called Mr. Wong’s, an all-you-can-eat joint where the prices are so cheap that legend has it that this is only possible because Mr. Wong has elusive ties to the Hong Kong Triads and drives a Ferrari…

Setting off in a group of about 10, we got to the set location to be greeted by a small, already-packed restaurant. We had to wait about 10 minutes before Mr. Wong himself brought out extra tables and chairs for us to eat on the pavement. Sitting down, the whole evening can be concluded as nothing short of a mystical madness. There’s no menu, and no waiting either. Food just came pouring out like a waterfall from inside the kitchen, usually delivered by Mr. Wong himself: plates after plates of below-average dumplings, sweet-and-sour pork, fried rice…truly summarized by the quote of “quantity over quality”. By the end of the night, I’m sure everyone present was passing out from the sheer amount of food, but the urban atmosphere together with the jovial company made the night one to remember.

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At Mr. Wong’s
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Food…
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…and more food!

The wrap-up
Hopefully that didn’t make any of you too hungry! I know I am just by writing this, but good thing I’m grabbing my dinner soon. Here’s a toast to you, dear reader! May your semester be terrific and your plate always full of your favourite food! Until next time.

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