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24 hectic hours in Hong Kong

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Joseph M

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24 hectic hours in Hong Kong

by Joseph M » Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:09 pm

So I arrived home last week from my jaunt across the Pacific, and I brought back some crazy wood carvings, t-shirts with laughably bad English sayings on the front, some fresh Sumatran coffee for $6/kilo, and a million insane stories. I might consider posting another thread about the experience in Indonesia (the bulk of my trip) when I have more time, but I figured the day in Hong Kong would probably be more interesting to this forum, since I cram-packed the little time I was there with foodie experiences.

I arrived at the international airport at about 2:00 p.m. That place is so ridiculously clean and efficient that I was at my hotel in scarcely more than an hour. That includes a 25 minute mass transit rail ride (by far the most impressive I've ever been on). I rushed around and managed to find myself at the Jade Market across the harbor about 15 minutes before closing time. Bought a couple necklaces (one for Mother, and one for my girlfriend... I bet you can guess which one was more expensive ;-) ).

Close by was the Temple Street night market, which has a wealth of interesting food vendors in the area. I looked around to find the one with as little English writing as possible. At that point, I was exhausted, so I ordered a nice large beer (any beer would've tasted heavenly at this point) and fried spicy cuttlefish. It was without a doubt the most tender calimari-esque dish I've ever had. The breading was very light and not too greasy, and after having been in Sumatra for the past two weeks, I could barely detect the spiciness. I would have ordered more, but I had to respect my stomach space since I had reservations at 8:00 at Hutong, a restaurant that boasts one of the most spectacular views in all of Hong Kong.

After the snack, I resumed wandering around the market, and bought a few ounces of the most fragrant jasmine green tea I've ever encountered, as well as other various sundries. At about 7:00, I headed toward the Peking One building for dinner.

I arrived about 15 minutes early, so I decided to sit at the bar until 8. The skyscraper has two bars on its top two levels, and Hutong is the next one down. I was adventurously perched at the very top, and I would've ordered an equally adventurous cocktail had the price not been outrageous, so I stuck with a Gin and Tonic that dialed in at about 11 US dollars. Sheesh. At least it was good and I got some free peanuts as well.

When I finished up and ventured two floors down, I was greeted with a wacky reception area, decked out with hundreds of empty birdcages and a tree straight from a Dr. Seuss book. My eyes were fixated on the back of the room, though: a solid glass wall revealing the postcard central Hong Kong skyline I'd been waiting for. Thank goodness I'd used Skype to make a reservation for a window seat over a month before.

The waiters took me to my table, which could have seated 4, so I definitely had plenty of room. Every table in the entire establishment was a 4-top or more; it seems like they might have been able to fit a few more people in if they varied the table sizes a bit more. And it definitely would have been to their benefit, because even on a Sunday night, every table was filled the entire time I was there.

I was immediately served a small dish of Chinese sour cabbage and sour beans. It was very similar to an edamame sort of appetizer. It was doused with sesame oil, and there were some leafy greens in there that I could have sworn were seaweed, but the waiter told me they were greens from the cabbage. For m appetizer, I ordered chili spiced bamboo clams in a Chinese rose wine. The dish came with over 15 small clams, so it was a very decent-sized starter. I was glad that I'd saved some of my sour cabbage, because it was a wonderful soothing counterpoint to the impressively spicy dish. Even after having spent a few weeks in Indonesia, those clams took me quite a while to finish. No worries, though. The view kept me occupied.

After about 20 minutes of intense deliberation, I decided on the salted pork belly with Chinese chives for my main course. The dish was definitely interesting, but I was a little disappointed in just how salty the meat was. Think country ham, Hong Kong style. The chives were tied up into funny little knots, and didn't have a strong onion flavor at all. If I ate a piece of meat with a chive knot, it made the dish bearable, but the meat on its own was just a little too much.

Luckily, the dessert almost immediately made me forget about the shortcomings of the previous plate. Since I was still on a tropical-island-high, I had to go with the Mango pudding for desert. It was molded into the shape of two small fish, and it had the consistency of a jello jiggler. The real star of the desert, though, was the sauce that I was given separately to drizzle on the small pieces of edible art. It was also mango flavored, but it was much stronger, and it was light enough to make me question whether the chef had found a way to defy the laws of physics. Served to the side were two small fruits that the waiter identified as dragonfruit. They were extremely sour, but I love that sort of thing.

As a whole, the service was impeccable. I didn't have one specific waiter; rather, there were always staff members in the area ready to help. After all, almost every group in the restaurant wanted a waiter to take their picture in front of the window. The atmosphere was strange to say the least, but I loved the odd sensory experience. Where else would you hear a rendition of Brubeck's Take 5 played on Chinese zithers and lutes and a modern heavy metal drum set?

I might attempt to edit the post later with some pictures, but I'm getting tired, so I think I'll call it quits here. I think you guys might be able to glean from all this that I'd definitely recommend Hutong to anyone who makes it to Hong Kong in the future.
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Brian Taylor Clark

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Re: 24 hectic hours in Hong Kong

by Brian Taylor Clark » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:09 pm

Great trip report!! I may head to SE Asia at the end of the summer. Keep the info coming if you can about Indo also. i want stories :mrgreen: Now show us some pics :!: :mrgreen: :!: :mrgreen: :!:
Brian Taylor Clark
Real Estate Agent-Semonin Realtors-502-558-1441
Specializing in Investment Property/Client Sales in the Highlands, Germantown, Crescent Hill, and St. Matthews
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Re: 24 hectic hours in Hong Kong

by Joseph M » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:48 pm

Well, I'm still working on getting those pictures up, but rest assured that I haven't forgotten. I've just been having some technical difficulties with the ole computer lately. I can at least tell you that they look pretty darn good ;-)
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Re: 24 hectic hours in Hong Kong

by Brian Taylor Clark » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:31 am

Did you happen to get those photos together yet?
Brian Taylor Clark
Real Estate Agent-Semonin Realtors-502-558-1441
Specializing in Investment Property/Client Sales in the Highlands, Germantown, Crescent Hill, and St. Matthews
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Re: 24 hectic hours in Hong Kong

by Joseph M » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:01 pm

Finally!

The view:
Image
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Re: 24 hectic hours in Hong Kong

by Joseph M » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:06 pm

My super expensive gin and tonic:
Image

The first course:
Image

And the dessert:
Image

The wacky Maître d's desk:
Image

I want to go back!

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