A Food Day in Hong Kong
The energy in Hong Kong is near-frenetic, with people rushing purposefully, escalators revved up to move at high speeds and traffic whizzing by. I love the signs painted on the asphalt – “look left,” “look right.” With cars driving on the opposite side of the road from the States, it’s easy to be step into oncoming traffic looking the wrong way.
We had fabulous food in Hong Kong – very refined, sophisticated, varied and delicious. We were fortunate to spend a day with Hong Kong friends of my son David. Knowing our interest in food, they wanted to give us an authentic Chinese food experience.
We started with a Chinese breakfast, crowded together in a tiny restaurant where patrons were elbow-to-elbow at Formica tables. Our friends ordered the specialty, sweet buns that were huge pillows with a crusty top, split in half with a quarter-inch slab of butter between the layers. It was decadently delicious. We also had crustless white bread sandwiches filled with ham and the creamiest eggs, macaroni in chicken broth with strips of ham, and ramen noodles with cubes of pork spare ribs.
We had lunch at the elegant Yung Kee restaurant in Central, where the first couple of pages of the menu were devoted to the many awards and honors bestowed upon the restaurant. Our friends ordered a superb meal that included roast pigeon, which came with the head intact and two dipping sauces: soy sauce and salt. It was the first time I had had pigeon. It was perfectly prepared but a bit gamey for me.
After doing a little shopping to work off our meal, we had a snack at a steamed milk/custard shop. These little snack shops are tiny, and pots are constantly going, filling the air with steam. We had a variety of custards, including one with black sesame seeds. The custards are very light and delicate and just slightly eggy. We tried the plain custard hot, as well as a chilled version. I liked the cold one better, but maybe it was because it was in reaction to the sweltering day.
Marce, one of our hosts, gave me a recipe for the custard. It’s easy but you do need a steamer. She said the custard can be made savory by substituting chicken broth for the milk and omitting the sugar.
Chinese Steamed Custard: For each serving, beat 1 large egg with 3 to 4 teaspoons sugar. Add 2/3 cup milk and stir well. Pour into a custard cup or other heatproof bowl; skim off any bubbles or froth. Seal tightly with foil around the bowl. Put the custards in a steamer with rapidly boiling water and steam about 15 minutes until set.