I will be in Hong Kong two more days (including today), heading home on the 16th. The time has flown by on this trip, but it’s been immensely enjoyable and I’ve learned a lot about an area of the world of which I was largely ignorant. I’m using my last two days to see the island of Hong Kong and surrounding areas (today I head for Macau), so posting will be spotty until I’m back and settled on the 17th. In the meantime, a few photos from Hong Kong. (Some of the photos of other food experiences, especially formal banquets, will be forthcoming.)
First stop: Kam’s Roast Goose, an unprepossessing but famous place (but not a dive) that has one Michelin star–for its justly renowned roast goose. We went on Sunday, and even at about 11:45 a.m. the line was already down the block. It was an hour wait to get in, but that was okay as I chatted with Winnie, my genial friend who lives here and speaks Chinese, and who has taken me around the city the last couple of days.
The roast geese aren’t visible in this photo, which shows the variety of BBQ meat you can get, but the geese are sourced from mainland China and roasted locally.
The prized dish: a quarter goose with drumstick. They had a few left. It was without doubt the most delicious fowl I’ve ever put in my mouth.
The goose came with a soup containing veg, goose broth, and big rice noodles. You eat the soup and dip the roast goose in a special sauce they provide:
Winnie ordered goose-liver sausages, which she loved but I found a bit too gamey (I don’t relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls):
We also split a plate of pork roasted two ways:
On the street I saw my first shop cat. He had a docked tail, which makes three out of three cats I’ve seen here and in Hong Kong that had stumps for tails. I’m now pretty sure that they do this deliberately—for some reason I can’t fathom. We asked the shop owner what the cat’s name was, and he said it was something like “Bal Zoi”, meaning “little ball” (singular). Bal Zoi was very friendly and came out of the shop, meowing for petting.
We then repaired to the Peak: the top of the island that overlooks it all, giving a 360° view. At the top, typical of new Hong Kong, is a big shopping mall. And, also typical, the sterilization procedures (a remnant of SARS) that are prominently posted on doors and in rest rooms:
Winnie also found out the location of one of the “lucky cat” (maneki neko) stores in Hong Kong, which sell the cat statues, usually with one paw raised, said to bring luck. They have been culturally appropriated from the Japanese. the cats’ color, the items they carry, and which paw is raised all convey what they’re supposed to bring: prosperity, good luck, love, health, and so on. Here are a few:
Look at all those lucky cats! The most traditional one is the calico, but there are black ones too.
A lucky cat. Traditionally one one paw is raised, though there’s a difference between the meaning of the left and right that I can’t recall. The two-paws-raised version, below, supposedly originated during the world financial crisis, when both paws had to be raised for extra luck:
A very fancy lucky cat with ancillary cats:
A lucky cat piggy bank:
A lucky cat spoon that came with a matching bowl. I was tempted to buy it, but confined myself to purchasing two smallish maneki nekos:
The south and southeast side of the island are largely undeveloped, a real change from the towering skyscapers of Hong Kong’s north side and Kowloon across the harbor:
The city itself enveloped by mist. Foreground: Hong Kong proper (the “central” area), with Kowloon and its tallest building (the financial center) across the harbor. The combination of mist and cloud made, I think, for a lovely picture:
And so on to Macau today.