My apologies for not being able to supply a recipe for this section. We just didn't come up with one on our whirlwind tour of this area.
Ah food in Hong Kong! Whatever you want, it's there somewhere. We sampled the familiar and the unfamiliar and had some memorable dining experiencesfrom the sublime to the bugs in the cocoa.
Not to be missed in Hong Kong are its dim sum offerings. Dim sum is a Cantonese dish (or more appropriately dishes), typically steamed in small bamboo baskets. Some, like spring rolls, are fried. But the essence is that there are four identical pieces of whatever you are getting, most commonly something like spicy pork or shrimp inside a soft fluffy rice bun. The quantities are not large, so you can sample a wide variety. In most dim sum restaurants carts are wheeled around with the baskets for you to select from.
We found the "Luck Yu" dim sum restaurant on Hong Kong Island by a combination of guide books, maps and asking every third person on the street. (You'll always get an answer, but it may not be the right one! You have to go by consensus.) It was down a narrow side street, and a turbaned Sikh opened its huge doors for us. Its high booths and table were dark carved wood, there were pressed metal ceilings and it had a rather. . .colonial. . .air. The surly waiters spoke nothing but Chinese, and seemed intent on ignoring us. We took it as local color (remember the famous Sam Wo's in San Francisco? It was famous for its good food and the rude and unforgiving Mr. Wo.) It was late in the day, and if there were dim sum carts, they had been put away. We ordered from a menu that we mostly didn't understand, but what came back was wonderful, even if sometimes not what we expected.
The most fun we had was discovering the Hong Kong Mexican Association Restaurant courtesy of our new found friend, Susan. We met Susan riding up the Victoria Peak Tram--she on her way home, and we, out for an adventure. She was trying to help her son locate some props for a movie he was working on. She finally located the sombrero he needed, but "since it is sombrero season in Hong Kong" they wanted a fortune to rent it! She instead found one gratis from the restaurant. She gave us directions, and the next night we were hunting for it as our reward for spending nearly a whole day trying to arrange travel in China.
It is run by a couple of British ex-pats, and while the food wasn't exactly what we would have experienced at home, it was good and we enjoyed it immensely. We enjoyed equally signing up our favorite Anchorage Mexican food restaurant owner to be part of the association (you have to be a member to eat there), and hearing the owner's stories of the difficulties of finding correct ingredients and learning to make tortillas in Hong Kong.
As we've said elsewhere, we didn't spend enough time in Macau. Its rich Portuguese and other foreign influences, combined with a Macanese penchant for making things their own, results in a marvellous variety of intersting foods.
The recipe I wish I could give you is for the Macau specialty of African chicken baked with peppers and chilies. We sampled this delicacy at the Hotel Sintra and found a delicious blend of flavors that I couldn't identify. I suspect lemon grass, garlic, and peppers that are not too spicy are part of the mix. If I get the recipe later, I'll share it with you. Macau has other, mostly fish, specialties with a Portuguese twist, but our time was too short to sample them. And the Portuguese wines are plentiful, good and relatively inexpensive. (sigh!) Next time, next time.
We didn't have much time in China, and mostly ate hotel (or near-hotel restaurant) food. The one thing that stood out from this brief experience (which may or may not be typical) is that our encounter with Chinese rice made us remember our friend Jeremy's statement that Japanese rice is the best in the world. (Not particularly being connoisseurs of rice, we just shrugged. )The Chinese rice we ate was coarse and nearly tasteless , and could not compete with the Japanese rice we had so recently sampled.
Last note: We have decided to try McDonald's wherever we go, partly to see if they have local dishes on the menu, and partly because the girls get homesick and need a break. The Hong Kong McDonald's menu was the same as the US, but it was cheaper. The only difference we noted was that it had a "McMerchandise" (or some such) counter selling McDonald's commemorative pins, toys etc. How very Hong Kong to make eating a shopping experience!