Saturday, August 29, 2009

Surprise (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

As my well-travelled foodie friend Daisann has noted, there is a saying about the Cantonese -- Hong Kong's majority ethnic group -- that "they'll eat anything with four legs that isn't a chair, anything with wings that isn't an airplane"! In fairness, she also noted that "the truth is that most Hong Kong people I know are fussy eaters". To which I'd add: often more fussy with regards to quality than actual range; and not likely to be put off eating something merely from looks alone.

Skeptical? Behold the first two photos of this Photo Hunt entry then. Seriously now, aren't you just a little bit surprised that people would eat them for pleasure -- and in the case of the mantis shrimp, even if not the more humble Hakka delicacy (consisting of a wild green vegetable-beans mix encased in thick dark dough), pay good money (HK$120 for one of those suckers!) for the privilege too?

As for the bottom two photos: yes, Virginia, for all of Hong Kong's population being less than 1% "white" (the term preferred to Caucasian in official government records!), certain foods that many people think of as "Western", including macaroni, luncheon meat (AKA spam) and garlic bread, have become a part of regular Hong Kongers' diets. (Though it is not every day -- and thus came as an amusing surprise when it happened once at an eatery here --that garlic bread gets served in the kind of bamboo containers that one tends to associate with dim sum!) :D


Carver said...

Fun take on the theme. I'm never surprised by anything people will eat, considering how many times I've surprised myself with what I'll eat, ha.

upto6only said...

wow cool food. never tasted it.

thanks for visiting mine.

happy weekend

Annie said...

Love this post! What really surprises me is that the spam actually looks good in that photo. And the garlic bread is funny in the bamboo.

Have a great weekend!

gengen said...

Oh surprising take for the theme. Happy weekend. Mine is ready too.

Bengbeng said...

u mentioned garlic bread in dimsum like basket. i love dimsum too but it is not taking off here in Sibu. most establishments have closed down. it is perceived as an expensive luxury.

candi said...

What a fun take on the theme! I love the garlic bread in the bamboo.

happy weekend!

YTSL said...

Hi Carver --

Oh, I see -- you're a fellow omnivore! :b

Hi upto6only --

You've never even tried garlic bread? Wow...

Hi Annie --

The spam is very tasty when fried and goes with with macaroni (or another Hong Kong fave - instant noodles) and such as fried egg because they help make it less salty. Maybe you should try the combo sometime! :D

Hi gengen --

I kind of surprised myself too. Only came up with the idea while looking through my photo archive in search of inspiration for this theme! ;b

Hi bengbeng --

Wow re the idea of dimsum being considered an expensive luxury. Here in Hong Kong, there are cheap as well as expensive dimsum dining establishments. Usually what one ends up spending more there is time than money as it's one of those meals that needs to be leisurely enjoyed.

Hi Candi --

The sight of that garlic bread in the bamboo is pretty cool, huh? ;b

Gattina said...

Nothing surprises me anymore, I even saw people eating cold spaghettis on a warm toast !

CRIZ LAI said...

Ouch! Try catching a live mantis prawn. It has one too many spikes. But I won't mind having one cooked one on the plate. :P

James Higham said...

I just realized from that top photo that I might have a problem on St Kilda - shell seafood. Can only eat fish. The rest looks great

Colin Campbell said...

Interesting looking food. Have a nice weekend

Liz said...

I thought it looked like spam but thought it couldn't be!! What a surprise!

Life Ramblings said...

nothing beats the aroma of garlic bread. happy weekend!

sbk said...

Like your take on this week's Photo Hunt. The mantis shrimp looks tasty, the Hakka (HK$120!!) delicacy looks a photo from one your hikes...hehe though it sounds yummy.

Is the macaroni & luncheon meat concoction a British dish? I've had it served as a "side dish" at breakfast places in Western style mid-levels places and Chinese/Western restaurants in Jordan.

And the garlic bread "presentation"gives me an idea for an upcoming pot luck supper I'm going to.

jmb said...

Garlic bread in a bamboo server. LOL. While I know many people from Hong Kong here, even some who have been here for more than 40 years, they always prefer to eat Chinese food, even if they do eat Western food.

Happy weekend YTSL.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

No thank you!
Great surprise though.

A. said...

I'm game to try any of those, surprising though they may be. But paying HK$120? That I find surprising. :)

Cats~Goats~Quotes said...

Very interesting. Didn't realize that was Spam until I read it again.
Hope you have a Happy Weekend!
~ Noah and The Bunch

Mrs Mecomber said...

Some of the things that people dare to eat have me in perpetual surprise... lol. Great post!

My Photo Hunters is up! I hope you can come visit my Surprise! New York

YTSL said...

Hi Gattina --

I actually do like spaghetti on toast -- one result of having lived in England for a time -- but like my spaghetti hot or at least warm and my toast crisp rather than warm (and presumably soggy)! ;b

Hi Criz Lai --

Even eating the mantis prawn took a bit of an effort... but oh my god, it was so succulent. And BTW, had it only very lightly boiled. :b

Hi James --

Are you allergic to shellfish or just don't like eating them? Have to say that I generally prefer shellfish to fish -- and the roe... how I love roe! :D

(Oh and if people are wondering, St Kilda is a Scottish island that was tagged as "the end of the world" in the sublime Hong Kong movie, "Lost and Found".)

Hi Colin --

Thanks and the weekend's been mixed thus far, I have to say. (Watched a very good film but also saw my team - Arsenal - losing against MU and a stupid referee.) :S

Hi Liz --

Heheh... and oh, I also happen to really like spam sandwiches! ;b

Hi Life Ramblings --

Hmmm... I think we can safely take it that you're a garlic bread fan then! ;D

Hi sbk --

It's actually the mantis shrimp/prawn that costs HK$120. The Hakka thingy was a free add on to a guided tour of a New Territories village whose residents are protesting its being due to be demolished because of the planner Guangdong-Hong Kong express railway line.

The macaroni + luncheon meat concoction is actually more of a cha chaan teng concoction. Part of Hong Kong's "comfort food" cuisine.

Hi jmb --

Sure, there are lots of fans of Chinese food among Hong Kongers but Hong Kong has its share of European, particularly Italian, food too!

Hi Sandi --

No thanks to it all? So sad! ;(

Hi A. --

HK$120 for a single mantis prawn is nothing compared to the amounts others will pay for such as abalone, toro and wagyu beef!

Hi Cats~Goats~Quotes --

Heheh... yeah, the spam seems to be surprising people the most! ;b

Hi Mrs Mecomber --

Yeah, it's surprising how adventurous eaters some people are... and others aren't! ;D

squiggies said...

luncheon meat is known as spam?!? now that's disturbing.

i never knew the hong kongers were that adventurous when it came to food. i always thought that was the chinese over in china's specialty.

and yay for dim sum!! :)

lissa said...

I am more accustom to American food and I am such a picky eater, I can never eat the food of the top two photos, I don't know how other people could eat them

EastCoastLife said...

I'm not surprised at what the Chinese can eat after seeing with my eyes the weird stuff offered in Chinese restaurants. :P

YTSL said...

Hi Squiggies --

Luncheon meat is (a kind of) spam -- yes!

Re adventurous food folks: well, there are Cantonese in Mainland China as well as in Hong Kong. But, yeah, I think the general consensus is that the Cantonese are the most culinary adventurous Chinese folks there are! ;b

Hi Lissa --

American food has its unusual foods too - scrapple, anyone? ;b

Re mantis shrimp: it's really succulent... like a tastier/juicier lobster! As for the other food: let's just say that it tastes better than it looks! :D

Hi Eastcoastlife --

As the proverbial "they" say, variety is the spice of life... so power to the adventurous eaters, I say! :D