Saturday, March 7, 2009

Asia Adventure Part 3: Back to Hong Kong

We were relieved to come back to Hong Kong, although we did love Bangkok. Less culture shock, I guess. But onto the food!

Greg had emailed us a few places recommended by Anito Lo from Anissa. I guess she had spent some time in Hong Kong and had a few key spots for us to visit. We decided to go to Arirang, a Korean barbeque spot located somewhere in a gigantic mall. Anita Lo is Korean, after all. We literally walked around this mall for what seemed like forever, stopping to ask directions at at least three different Information booths. They were mostly useless. When we finally found it around 8 or 9pm, we felt as though we had found the holy grail. And we were hungry.

So we go in and sit down somewhere in the middle of this huge restaurant in this huge mall, and guess who's sitting practically next to us? Shivaun, and about eight of her three hundred cousins. Nothing makes you feel at home quite like running into people you know :)

One of the best things about this place is the free condiments you get with your order. Kimchee, bean sprouts, green beans, and three others. We ordered the spicy pork and some beef. It was tender and spicy and, of course, hot. We were so hungry after running around this mall that we would have been grateful for any kind of food, but this was really superb. I can only think about two Korean bbq spots I've been to in the city, and this trumps both of them.
Then they brought out some free strawberry ice cream for dessert. I was in love.

Harbour City
Tsim Sha Tsui
Shop G07, Ground Floor, Ocean Terminal
Kowloon, Hong Kong
2956 3288

Our last day in Hong Kong was arguably the most memorable. Rob and I took a ferry from Central to Lamma Island, a somewhat large (third largest in HK, of many), mainly desserted island. No cars, only dirt roads, lots of farms and sleeping dogs. We arrived in one fishing village and hiked across the mountain to the other fishing village, using the few directional signs along the way as our only means of navigation. The whole experience felt like a dream. We didn't see a lot of people on our journey. When we reached the top of the hill and saw the second fishing village down below, we rejoiced. We were starving!!

There were lots of little seafood restaurants along the waterfront. They all begged us to sit down, they gave us menus and business cards, some even said "table for two?" and pointed to a nearby table. The entire space was practically empty. I guess it was the off-season? We walked across the little boardwalk before settling on a place called Rainbow. They offered a free ride on their private boat back to Hong Kong. Sold!!

For the equivalent of about $50 USD we enjoyed a very fresh seven course seafood lunch. We deserved it after that long hike! And we had a nice view of the water, watching the old fishing boats bob in the water.

First course, calamari. I've never been a big fan and these were fried in large pieces so as to retain its rubberyness. Luckily they gave us three kinds of sauces that kind of helped in the taste department.

Next, spiny lobster! Unlike the lobsters we all know and love in Maine, these little guys are smaller and don't have any claws to speak of. Served simply, with a few chopped onions. Buttery and tender.

Course three: an unidentified white fish. The waiter de-boned it for us so quickly we didn't even get a good look at what we were eating! But it was buttery and soft and obviously fresh tasting.

The next dish was our favorite: scallop with glass noodle, tons of garlic and scallion. Honestly I've never been a big scallop eater (unless its wrapped in bacon!) but I loved it served this way. It was fun to tug the meat out of its shell and wrap it up with a forkful of garlicky noodles.

Next, the veggie! I think it was kale. It was slippery, like it was doused in oil.

Then the shrimp fried rice. It was good to get something a bit more substantial, but we were getting full so we barely dented it.
We finished with some fruit -- cantelope and pineapple. Simple and elegant. Everything was just so fresh and to eat it in this setting was nothing less than amazing.

After our meal we went up to inspect the tanks from which our lunch was just fetched. Kind of a scary sight. This is why we checked it out after lunch and not before.

Interesting sidenote: Chow Yun Fat was born in Lamma, and he has eaten at Rainbow! Oh the funny things you can find online.

Rainbow Seafood Restaurant
First St. Sok Kwu Wan
Lamma Isand, HK

We didn't have a meal that topped this one in HK, so I won't bother explaining any more. But on our last night in Hong Kong, Shivaun took us to a Chinese restaurant where we ordered a number of dishes, including this one pork dish. Any ideas what this fat noodley-looking garnish may be?

If you guessed anything other than jellyfish, you are wrong! Because it's jellyfish. This was our tender send-off. We were ready to go home the next day.

Thanks Shivaun, for making the most amazing trip of our lives possible!!

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