Night view from Victoria Peak
I just returned from having nine meals in city of nine dragons.
Since the Handover in 1997, when I last lived and worked in Hong Kong, a lot has changed. The city’s skyline has spread; it’s now wider and taller.
The I(nternational)F(inancial)C(enter), which was still a glimmer in some architect’s eye when I worked a few blocks away in Central, is now the tallest building on the Hong Kong horizon. On the Kowloon side, cranes labour to top off the new Morgan Stanley building, which, incomplete, already dwarfs all the other buildings on that side of the city.
To the relief of many a pilot and passenger, there’s a new airport. The old one, where I landed and departed 12 years ago, had a narrow and claustrophobic approach that would make most daredevils queasy. The new one is much safer and features an “Airport Express” train, which shoots travelers into the city, lickety-split, in a 24-minute, air-conditioned ride.
And, perhaps the most notable improvement to me, was underground in the MTR stations. They’ve now been outfitted with glass walls to separate the tracks from the platform, keeping the stations cooler.
Weather, for the most part, was picture perfect (though I wouldn’t have minded if the thermostat and humidifier were turned down a few notches). Clear skies prevailed until my last day, when, sad to see me go, Hong Kong cried cats and dogs.
While I tried to stick mostly to Cantonese food, French, Italian, and contemporary American cuisines crept onto my plate. Here is where I ate (I’ll hyperlink these to their reviews when I get around to writing them):
In a city overrun with excellent food, I ate very well. But I wasn’t thrilled with everything that passed in front of me. A couple of meals were downright disappointing.
But thankfully, the majority of what I experienced was not only very good, but quite memorable. Highlights included pomelo skin braised with shrimp roe; pork stomach sauteed with pickled vegetables and olive seeds; a fantastic Peking roast duck in two services; a fiery kung po tofu; a creamy ball of buratta imported from Italy; an impossibly fluffy scrambled egg and tomato sandwich; duck tongues in abalone sauce; a silky flower crab salad with grapes and artichoke hearts; a tangle of e fu noodles dressed in a creamy, crab and champagne sauce and studded with black truffles; and shark’s fin soup in a superior broth of chicken so rich it would make any Jewish grandmother turn green with envy.
I certainly have my blogging work cut out for me. I’ve already accrued a backlog larger than I care to admit or acknowledge. I’ll hopefully get around to sharing some of these meals with you soon!