Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Eating Chinese

Lou and I just got back from a two week trip to Hong Kong and Shanghai. We ate non-stop and already miss the food. I wanted to update the blog as I traveled, but I had issues accessing the site and well, who wants to spend their vacation publishing posts anyway? So, I took notes and I hope over the next few days I cover everything I wanted to tell you about eating Chinese...

We arrived late on our first night and were hungry to experience the food of Hong Kong. Instead of using our trusty guidebook, we decided to wander the streets around our hotel to find a late-night bite. We were staying in Wan Chai, a district centrally located on Hong Kong Island and a good bet for some traditional Cantonese, which is exactly what we found. We decided to go into the one restaurant with a sign that read in only Chinese symbols, no English. We looked at other tables to see what we might want in case we'd have to point to order, but they luckily had an English menu with pictures, something we'd use often in the following days. We steared clear of the duck innards on this first night and ordered some familiar dishes: vegetable potstickers, wonton soup, and fish in a clay pot. It was all so delicious-the potstickers were more doughy than we were used to, but the filling was so fresh and green tasting. The wontons were stuffed with three medium sized whole shrimp-they weren't ground up as they often are here in San Francisco. Cradled together into a ball inside the wonton wrapper, these shrimp were just-plucked-from-the-sea fresh and were cooked perfectly. Not the least bit tough or chewy. Definitely the best shrimp wontons I'd ever tasted. The only hurdle in the meal was the huge bones left in the fish. I was forced to pick them out with my fingers and then realized we had no napkins. The rich carmelized sauce stuck relentlessly to my fingers and I realized how dependent our western culture is on this simple piece of paper that accompanies us at every meal. I so wanted to just dab my mouth as I continued to devour our Cantonese feast napkinless.

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