A somewhat domestic day today as the washing machine needs replacing in our hosts flat and we offer to stay close by for the call when the delivery arrives. Whilst OH enjoys the delights of a Chinese speaking hairdressers called Tommy’s (very brave) I wander the streets and alleys around Graham Street, these are still home to many small market stalls and open air canteens serving predominantly the Chinese community. The market stalls sell fruit and vegetables, some familiar some not, as well as fish and meat , the meat open to the air and in cuts not always for the squeamish. The fish sellers also extend their product range into amphibians, specifically large frogs, …alive, …in a cage.
The open air canteens in the morning specialise in congee , a form of rice porridge eaten as a breakfast dish. Not so appetising for us westerners in itself and rendered even less so by some favourite local additions such as pig intestines or solid pigs blood.
For lunch we try the cheap joints on Mercer Street in Sheung Wan, and settle on Masala , an Indian place, where we eat a watery dhal soup followed by some nice curries (a Keema Lamb and a Chicken Tikka) with rice, nan and salad together with a soft drink for $50HK (about £4 each). This area also has interesting antique shops and Chinese medicine shops where some of the larger establishments have display cabinets labelled in both Cantonese and English with the various ingredients used in animal,vegetable and mineral formats. Next time you have a touch of lumbago, you might consider the efficacy of the Fur Seal’s testes and penis (in dried form of course)
After the delivery and installation of the washing machine, we go back out to explore the IFC Mall, a collection of designer shops that makes the Trafford Centre look like Conran Street Market in Harpurhey. They are all here, every designer you can think of and many other European multiples ,doing very nicely thank you. As it is getting close to dusk , we repair upstairs to the 4th floor , which has a fantastic roof garden overlooked by all the largest skyscrapers and not one but four upmarket cocktail bars with huge glass windows looking out over the harbour to the lights of Kowloon.
We choose G-Bar and order Frozen Margaritas, the hefty price tag mitigated only by a small bowl of Chilli popcorn. The setting and the view is fantastic, and I must admit, marginally better than the tea stand at the indoor part of the aforementioned Conran Street market in Manchester.
We meet our hosts and decide to eat Cantonese in Central, HK son suggests the famous Yung Kee on Wellington Street. It is very busy and people are queueing to try it’s famous food including the best roast goose in HK. We take a ticket and start to look the menu. The prices are high and somehow this is all looking just a bit too ethnic for our taste. My experiences earlier in the day at the Graham Street Market are recalled by the menu entries as follows:
Sauteed Frog’s Leg and Bamboo Shoots
Steamed Frog with Ham and Mushrooms
Sauteed Frog with Vegetable
Braised Frog with Gluten
We decide to pass on this one and so another opportunity to try Abalone, Fish Maw or whole baby Pigeon complete with it’s head escapes me. The wimp alternative is the Double Happiness on Staunton street where the dishes are more familiar , the place welcoming and the menu wallet friendly. An interesting meal but unfortunately it seemed that some dishes may have been spiked by MSG and thus cheep equals no sleep for some.