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May 30, 2005

Hong Kong, shark fins and all that

Jason and I have been in Hong Kong for almost a week now. We are staying in a tiny little matchbox room in the Mongkok area in HK. It looks to be an area where the youth of HK gather to slouch around, shop and eat.

The title of this entry means -- yes, Jason and I have partaken of the infamous shark fin soup. Accidentally, if you would like to know. The soup came as part of the set dinner menu (menu written in Chinese), described by our waitress as a "seafood" soup. When the soup was served, I fished out something triangular-shaped and gelatinous in the soup. It was tasteless and chewy. The helpful waitress stopped by, no doubt attracted by my puzzled look and sure enough, it was a bit of that Chinese delicacy, shark fin! Jason finished most of his soup, but I'm afraid I lost my appetite. In the English language newspaper, there's a bit of debate over Disney's decision to serve shark fin's soup in the restaurants. After tasting the stuff, I can't figure out what folks like about it.

Hong Kong is rather nice, but I prefer the shady peace of Singapore. (I liked Burma, I liked Singapore... perhaps I may want to visit North Korea now. heh, heh.) Hong Kong is terribly crowded. Imagine trying to walk around the mall on Christmas eve: getting knocked over by those in a hurry, knocking over laggards. That's pretty much what Hong Kong is like on an average day. I'm in the "gets knocked over" category. While I'm slowing down to look in amazement at a high rise, some high powered banker is _really_ in a hurry and steps on me.

Our hotel is in an immense "house" (Sincere House), with 15 floors and a maze of rooms. We have a window in our room, but as it turns out, the window looks onto a little air shaft. The room fits a bed and not much else.

There are no little places to eat in Hong Kong. Just really big, loud, bright places to eat. In the States, I was always suspicious of Chinese restaurants -- ugly neon sign, weird name, HUGE menu, gross looking fish tank, tacky decor, shabby suited waiters, big dining area, usually empty. 'Course, that's what all of them look like here, so I've become considerably less choosy. I think "dining atmosphere" is just not essential to the average Chinese person.
There are some fancy places that look like Western restaurants, hotel restaurants are swanky (as usual), but the majority of restauants don't offer a relaxing dining experience.

Also, I used to think it was incredibly disgusting how Chinese places would hang roasted birds in the window. Gross, like, who would want to eat duck meat from a duck that's been hanging up all day? Ha, ha. Me, now. Perfectly good stuff. Food that's been sitting around since morning doesn't faze me at all anymore. Seems normal. As long as there's a steady stream of customers...

Posted by Cathy on May 30, 2005 12:51 AM
Category: Hong Kong

"Hong Kong is rather nice, but I prefer the shady peace of Singapore. (I liked Burma, I liked Singapore... perhaps I may want to visit North Korea now. heh, heh.) "

- that made me laugh.


Posted by: Cousin Holly on May 30, 2005 02:59 AM

Yes, we agree on the Shark Fin soup not being our favorite either. We'll stick with the old chicken soup minus the chicken feet. In Hong Kong "Space" is a premium as you have discovered.

Posted by: Kraston & Alice on May 30, 2005 02:48 PM
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