|Six p.m. is here the time to say good-bye to twilight, for the night of Hong Kong is waiting impatiently to unfold to the visiting tourists the wonders of this metropolis. The heat of August has already been dispelled by the sea-wind blowing from the Victoria Bay. Let"s put on our evening dress and plunge into the charming nightfall.|
Hong Kong people are very fond of seafood. They will certainly tell you that since you have arrived at Hong Kong you have no choice but to eat seafood. The reason is very simple. There is not only a great variety of seafood here but the cuisine and Chinese recipes are also full of novelties. In this respect,cuisine and Chinese recipes, no other place can hope to succeed in vying with Hong Kong. At seafood banquets in Hong Kong the most commonly seen dish is the steamed grouper, on which only a little garlic, spring onion and soy sauce are sprinkled to keep its original taste. Crabs and prawns are kept in aquaria, and they leap about when they are taken out for cooking. You may order that they be cooked by steaming or frying in shallow or deep oil, cooking recipes as you like. There are scallops, conches, clams and other bivalves, and a great number of unfamiliar sea products in the menu, so that you will be so confused while reading their names of recipes as to find it difficult to do the choosing. Dishes of seafood are supplied by almost all restaurants in Hong Kong, and the quality is generally quite high.
The best dishes of seafood, however, are to be found only in Sai Kuang, which is reputed as the "the back garden of Hong Kong".
It is also the Hong Kong citizens" first choice as the place to spend their leisure at. Here Chinese fishing boats and Western yachts are anchored side by side. On the shore, Spanish villas and local Chinese houses make an interesting contrast. You may stand outside a seafood restaurant and do your choosing right there so as to save your time, and the cooks will prepare the recipes and dishes according to your requirement and have them carried into the cabin for you and your guests to enjoy. You can get delicious seafood served up as if by just saying "Presto chango".
Although I have said that seafood is what you need to taste when you are in Hong Kong, I"d like to arrange for those of you who have come from afar for the purpose of participating in the horsemanship contest of the Beijing Olympics a rich evening dinner of the Guangdong style. At that dinner you will first have as the hors d"oeuvre an appetizing sambal cucumber of the Southeast-Asian recipe style. Sambal is a condiment which is quite common in food recipes of Malaysia. When it is mixed into cucumber, yellow pear and mango, these common foodstuffs of subtropical areas will become fascinating.
A close follow-up to the above dish will be a big bowl of chicken soup prepared by steaming, the Chinese recipe of this soup is with slices of American ginseng and Chinese dates (jujubes) in it. Soups have a unique and high position among Guangdong dishes. Not only are there numerous Chinese recipes and cooking methods of soups, but the materials in them are mostly of the highest class. It is believed that the nutritious ingredients in soups are easy to be absorbed for the improvement of a person"s health. The soup I am planning to supply you with is said to be able to nourish your internal organs, better your looks, give you a lift and replenish your waning energy. It is pale and light, suitable for those who have put on too much weight lately.
The next I"ll order to be served up is a Guangdong-styled assorted dish of roasted and cured meats. In this Chinese recipe the plate brought to the table there will be roast goose, meat of a sucking pig, roast pork and pot-stewed chicken. This kind of meat food can be found in Chinese recipes pertaining to the cuisine of each of the several large regions of China. But roasted and cured meats of the Guangdong style are most highly lauded. The reason is that Guangdong cuisine relies on soy sauce made according to a secret recipe. The meat is generally cured with the soy sauce for a certain length of time and then roasted in the oven, and the product has a taste that is slightly sweet, which appeals to Guangdong people; the surface skin is roasted to a deep red color with an alluring luster and is crisp but not tough; and the meat is peerlessly fragrant and tender, so as to become highly palatable. The shop of long standing named "Deep-well Roast goose" sells roasted and cured meats which can be considered the perihelion of good taste.
The prawn is the seafood we often eat, but that dish of prawns which I"ll order for you is distinctive in several respects. It is cooked with a special fish sauce, chilli, and tomato paste supplemented by other condiments so as to become fit to be called the salty-vinegary prawns. Owing to the great variety of seasoning material used in this recipe and cooking it, the taste has assumed an intricacy which you seldom meet with. Besides, you are bound to be allured by the color, which will convince you that the prawns are fresh and tasty. I guess you will not stand on ceremony and will no doubt help yourself to more than one prawn. The steamed grouper will of course be indispensable. Some sea foods may be eaten raw. Why don"t you have a try?
It is very hot in August. I think it will be appropriate to provide you with the following staples at the end of the evening dinner: a cold dish of buckwheat noodles of the Japanese style, which will appeal to those friends who like green mustard, which is a pungent seasoning; pancakes rolled up with vegetables of different tastes; and porridge of black glutinous rice, fragrant and sweet, accompanied by thick cocoanut butter.
I think it will be nice for you to let the dinner come to an end when you are satiated with food and drink but still have a wish to seek further enjoyment. The night of Hong Kong is waiting eagerly for you to admire its beauty. The daytime Hong Kong has concealed itself in the brilliance of the lights, which, like thousands of birds tired with flight, perch in rows at high places. Let"s take a walk to the Victoria Bay. At this time, the night sky of the Victoria Bay is an immense expanse permeated with a deep blue color which is beyond the power of literary description. This dark blue color is deepening further with the passing of time into a deep gray. The best place to behold and admire the nocturnal scene of the seaport is the narrowest part of Kowloon Tsim Sha Tsui, where the sea surface is only 1,000 meters wide. The brilliance of concentrated lighting engenders the splendor of Central---the commercial center of this metropolis. The lighting sketches the contours of the entire island in unparalleled beauty. The Victoria seaport is like a mirror reflecting the wonderfully lighted-up Hong Kong. The neon lights of the inverted image of the city in the sea water bear close resemblance to a rainbow. There are laser demonstrations at the Central every night. Look at the laser lights in the picture. This is not a night scene of Hong Kong on any holiday. It is that of an ordinary day. You would feel that the dazzling and bewildering lamplights and laser lights form as if the real substance of Hong Kong. Let"s stand here for a while and lose ourselves in admiration of the scene. Are you a little tired with standing? Why not find a place to sit for a few minutes? How about having a few glasses of cocktail in the Lan Kwai Fong Barroom, a nightclub?
Lan Kwai Fong is a nightclub rich in petty bourgeois sentiments, has retained all along the character of European barrooms and nightclubs. It has set up by now more than 50 consumer sites in the way of barrooms. The shop names and their decorations are fully Westernized, flaunting an exotic emotional appeal. It has won reputation as a special cultural region specific to Hong Kong. It is the place of convergence of men and women of fashion addicted to night life and the forum of personages of some fame in the city.
I gather that many people have a liking for some particular brand of cocktail. Here, in this special column on the culture of China for the Beijing Olympics let me recommend to you two cocktails recipes connected with sports and tourism. Don"t you like this suggestion of mine? "Around the World" is a summer drink. It comprises gin and mint alcohol, combined with pineapple juice and lemon juice. It will make you feel cool in hot summertime.
"The Runner" is a cocktail to which are added almond liquor, cocoanut milk and an ounce of vodka. It has an intriguing flavor, especially suitable for drinking after a meal, I think many nighclubs serve " The Runner".
Many people not only like cocktails, but they are also fond of inventing and creating a beverage of their own making and give it an interesting name. Maybe one day IĄŻll also design a cocktail and call it SANLIDA. Why not?
It is near midnight. Feel tired of nightclub? Do you want to retire to your bedroom in the hotel? Perhaps it is still a little too early to do so, isn"t it? The night market on the Temple Street is not far from this place. It"s the right time for you to pay a visit to the "big stalls", which are filled with bona fide Guangdong usage and customs, to enjoy a rich night snack there. You will be astonished to find that the night market is located in the open but is brightly lit up, swarming with customers and seething with activity. It will make you feel very comfortable in the stomach to eat a bowl of porridge of Guangdong characteristics after drinking so much alcohol. As for porridge (gruel), I"d like to tell you that it has a long history in China. It dates back to a time perhaps even earlier than dry cooked rice. Guangdong people are very particular about the quality of the porridge that they eat. It must be boiled for so long as to become fine and smooth like silk fibers. Various kinds of meat and vegetables are added to it for producing porridge of different styles.You would find many Chinese recipes of porrige here. Snacks will continue until six o"clock in the morning. They will be followed by morning tea of the next day. Do you find it fantastic for people to engage in this relay race of providing food and drink? Do Hong Kong people eat, drink and play all the time without making any effort to do any work?
The answer will be given you in another article. For the time being, let"s say, "Good-bye!" I hope you are satisfied with this one-day"s tour of Hong Kong that you have made, with me as your guide.