A bite of China

Every two summers, we go back to Hong Kong to see family and friends and eat delicious food (who am I kidding, it’s obviously all about the food). It’s the only time when my parents really let themselves go and indulge. This is one summer where we’ll be going back. I’ve been looking forward to it for a very long time now.

Hong Kong… how can I describe it? It’s so chaotic and vibrant and colourful. It’s not clean and tidy with elegant sidewalks and charming European avenues. The stacks of apartment buildings tower up all around, they crowd the sky. There is always some construction going on somewhere; the scaffolding is not reassuring modern steel, but traditional bamboo. The streets are filled with hustle and bustle. The old, historical trams trundle noisily by. Transport is cheap here. So is the food.

Keeping cool is a delicate balance. The summer heat is oppressive. It’s muggy and hot, your clothes start to stick to you in an unpleasant way. Stepping into an air-conditioned building is the most satisfying feeling in the world – for the first five minutes that is. Quickly you start shivering and wonder why they turn the air-con so high. You think maybe it wasn’t so bad outside after all…

I am so excited to go back though. I have many plans – most of them involving food (90% let’s say). I’m going to make a list of things to eat. So far it looks something like this:

– Egg tarts
– Coconut tarts
– Basically everything from the bakery
– Soup noodles
– Street food
– Zongzi
– Bao
– ???

Pathetically short and unimaginative, I know. But it’s far from complete. I will be doing some intensive research into the matter, I promise.

I stumbled on a fantastic documentary series a while back called A bite of China. It’s fascinating. I knew that my knowledge of China was pitiful but watching this only made me realise the full extent of my ignorance. China – big is an understatement. There are so many regions and provinces. The north is as different to the south as France is to Spain. It amazes me how rich and ancient the Chinese culture and civilisation is.

And last week I discovered that there is now a second series. So far I’ve watched the first episode, subbed in English here. I love it. Please do go watch. Just make sure you eat beforehand otherwise you will suffer from severe food envy and hunger pangs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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