I’ve been meaning to write more about my time in Hong Kong.
One of the many new things I experienced there was the food. People who’ve eaten out with me on a regular basis know that I’m quite the picky eater. In general, I dislike eating veggies and seafood (yeah, I’m an unhealthy carnivore). In Hong Kong, you cannot avoid vegetables and seafood; every meal comes with some form of green stuff or shrimp or whatnot. I’m almost always eating out with the HK colleagues, and since I’m a guest in their country, they’ll always invite me to taste everything. I’ve probably eaten more seafood in those three weeks than I have for the previous years of my life. I’m probably exaggerating, but there’s a good chance of me being correct.
Since most of my days were spent in the Wan Chai area, we often had lunch and dinner at the restaurants there. Anyone who’s been to Hong Kong will probably know about Wan Chai: the area is full of bars and nightclubs and such. It seems that the area is frequented by foreigners. In the evening, many of the clubs have some pretty young women outside enticing passing Caucasian guys to have a drink or two. Of course, I didn’t go into the bars or nightclubs because that’s not the sort of thing I do.
Lunch was the expensive meal of the day, since we usually had to pay for it ourselves (as opposed to dinner which was company-reimbursed). The HK guys would usually decide where we would all have lunch and we just go along with them. Most meals cost around 40 HK$ – more than 2.5 times I normally spend for lunch back home. But these meals are usually larger servings and good quality stuff, not fastfood-level or carinderia-type junk. We get soup, plus drinks (I usually order Lemon Iced Tea or Milk Tea) then the meal itself. Usuallyyou have some meat or fish, plus veggies on the side, and you can choose your viand from rice, spaghetti, mashed potato, etc. Many restaurants allow you to choose from a list of set meals, so sometimes I joke that I can just choose randomly, “Today I’ll have meal B” and just order it without asking what it is. But of course I’m a picky eater, so I don’t.
Since dinner is company-sponsored, it seems the HK guys always choose cheaper places for dinner. We ate once at a McDonald’s and once at a Yoshinoya. And several times at this small chinese place that had a TV. I kept trying to follow the plot of the TV show aired during dinner but the inability to understand Chinese makes it hard.
Well, of course being unable to speak Chinese makes almost everything hard – I need to ask for help whenever I’m ordering, etc. I also started out quite bad with chopsticks. Despite my years of honing hand-eye coordination using the game controller, my dexterity is terrible, and that leads to being really bad with chopsticks. On my first Sunday there, I had to eat lunch alone at a cafe. I ordered some pork with noodles in soup (I like noodles), but I had trouble eating since I’m not used to eating noodles with chopsticks. I tried to ask the counter lady for a fork, but she and I couldn’t understand each other. I wonder if the other cafe patrons noticed me eating the noodles in a terrible manner.
I was wondering if my time in Hong Kong would change my eating habits when I got back home, making me less picky in what I eat. Turns out, not by much.