Friday, 6 July 2012

Of fish and food

A weekday off equals an opportunity to avoid some of the weekend crowds at places of interest in Hong Kong. Tuesday's outing was somewhat random: I had a few places in mind and took the first bus that came by. It took me to the south side of the island, to Aberdeen, home to part of Hong Kong's commercial fishing fleet.

Unlike Stanley, the southside beach where I enjoyed the dragon boat races, Aberdeen is not really rural. It's an inlet surrounded by the same highrises that populate the rest of the city. The big draw is the chance to walk the promenade and look at the floating wholesale fish markets -- I spotted a man drying his catch outdoors -- and the opportunity to take a sampan ride. Sampans are small wooden boats with canopies covering them to keep out the sun. Today, they are motorized, but I am certain that wasn't the case in the past when they were used for commercial fishing.

I loved being back on the water. As an fan of sportfishing, I've missed being in a boat this summer, so this was a treat. Aside from a couple that my "driver" was returning to their trawler docked nearby, I was the only passenger. We cruised the entire inlet to give me a closeup of the large black trawlers decked with their Chinese flags, the sleek white yachts and the drydocks where boats are repaired. There are also two huge floating restaurants, which are a real tourist draw. I will certainly return sometime to check them out.

I had my first taste of local fish -- seafood, actually -- this past week at a cooked food hall. A what?, you well may ask. I envisioned something like a food court where one visited booths to see which was serving something that appealed. Wrong! It's actually a large restaurant with no frills. There are large wooden tables with linoleum tops set up and the place is jammed with families and friends enjoying a cooked (Cantonese) meal.

I went there with a couple of colleagues and we tried some local specialties: fried tofu (never my favourite food), prawns and fried garlic, and a pumpkin and mushroom dish. Wonderful! The prawns were fresh and extremely flavourful and the garlic was everywhere -- clumps of minced pieces that had been fried. Together, they were a tasty mouthful. The pumpkin dish was a real delight, too. It was actually a butternut squash that had been hollowed out. The shell was filled with a squash sauce, and it was surrounded on a platter by a pieces of the pumpkin, white seaweed and a variety of mushrooms. Visually lovely, delicious and healthy, too! (Pumpkin is a common item here -- I see large pieces in the grocery store.)

Fishing and seafood -- I'm on the right track, and there are more adventures to come.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Elaine. Sounds like you're really enjoying HK so far. The food and the sights sound amazing - I can almost taste the dishes you're describing. How are you holding up in the heat? The heat in TO can rival HK today.