Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Anthony Bourdain Moments....

After the not so welcoming entry into Hong Kong, I had a blast of sorts in the city...

You guessed it right, I am talking of the food.

After settling in and resting for a while, Neeti and I roamed down Des Voeux West Road past the Sheung Wan and Central MTR stations towards the Peak Tram. Being a Sunday, there was a huge queue for the tram. We finally reached Victoria Peak after a long 45 minute wait.

Naturally, it was time for tea!

We stopped by at a typical Hong Kong-style café called Hong Kong Day. We ordered some omelet sandwiches with tea. Those were the freshest, softest sandwiches I guess I had ever had, or was it that I had a big appetite that evening? The tea was a bit disappointing. But the enthusiastic waitress replaced our teas twice to try to make it to our liking, though it finally did not work. But the sandwiches more than made up for it.

After watching the Symphony of Lights at the Golden Bauhinia Square, we headed a few blocks down the Gloucester Road at Wan Chai and found a streetside eatery, Ada.

Ada had an amazing array of barbecuing meats, gravies, etc. The helpful ladies manning Ada helped Neeti get a plate of vegetarian noodles, while I settled for barbecued octopus and sausages! They were heavenly!

The next day in Macau was quite a treat for me but a gastronomical struggle for Neeti. As we walked from Rua de S. Paulo towards the Senado, we passed by a narrow market street, with several food-stores, stocked with snacks and groceries. And then I spotted a man selling the famous egg tarts. We bought two. Man, they were simply heavenly.

Further down the street, we came across a series of stores selling 5 mm thick layers of cured meats - pork, veal, chicken, beef, etc. in several flavours - chili, pepper, garlic, honey, etc. Sampled quite a few of them, except the beef ones - that's not kosher for me!

Wow, Macau was such a gourmet's paradise!

And what the hell, losers come to Macau for all things sinful - gambling, sex and all.... Perhaps, they've not discovered food yet!

But the Macau main course was yet to come. At the Senado, I freaked out on spicy flat noodles with grilled pork. But in her quest for vegetarian fare, sadly, had to settle for sandwiches, muffins and tea at the McDonalds McCafé.

Besides, the daily lunchtime samplings of Japanese sushi, evenings were reserved for guilt-free binging on the street side.

One evening after Neeti got over her retail therapy at the Ladies Market in Kowloon, we headed towards Nathan Road and I FROZE.....

There they were, the sizzling, aromatic pork dumplings!

And I made a dash for the stall, dropping all the bags, leaving Neeti to care of all that she had splurged on.

And what's Chinese cuisine without duck. I finally found a quaint café off Nathan Road, with something for both of us. Braised duck with noodles for me and some veggie greens for Neeti... And we gorged on, with full satisfaction. Neeti finally got a warm, wholesome vegetarian meal and I got her contentment alongwith mine!

Neeti's discovery, Lan Kwai Fong was alive, energetic and rocking. Food was great, the drink even better! Lan Kwai Fong was a welcome break for me from the street food.

And yesterday evening , we strolled past the Causeway Bay MTR station to Times Square. And I smelt something.

The sweet aroma of egg tarts wafting through the cool evening. I rushed in, into this little bakery and picked up a box of egg tarts and a fresh pork bun! Call that killing two birds with one stone - I got my tarts and also got rid of the heavy coins from my wallet!

And today morning after checking our baggage in, we took Route 6 from Exchange Square to Stanley. The quaint peaceful village was better than I could have imagined, but the cafés on the promenade were even better, great soups, amazing pastas and the just the right kind of tea. It was lovely relaxing in the misty breeze, with a warm cup of tea and staring into the infinity of the South China Sea, completely at peace with my soul, before heading back to dusty, stinky, bustling Bombay.

At home, in India, I never enjoyed Chinese food, the Indianized version of what we think is Chinese, tainted with our garam masala, red chilli powder and turmeric.

These moments in Hong Kong and Macau were amazing for me. I fell in love with what is the true Chinese food.

Truly, these were my Anthony Bourdain moments.....

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