Friday, November 21, 2008

The Language of Food

Only two more days in Hong Kong, and I feel like I'm hardly ready to leave. Lots of hard work completed, lots of great students in sessions, and more learning about the different cultures and people of HK. I love the public transport system here - so easy and simple. You buy an Octopus card and use it on everything. Train, bus, tram, ferry. You can also use it in some shops to pay for things. How easy is that? You put more credit on it at the station or the local 7-11. Why our government in Victoria can't simply buy this system is beyond me. Four years on a system that still doesn't work? MyKi is a waste of time and money. Buy Octopus!

As always in HK, we are eating a lot of noodles. At a function on Wednesday night, it was interesting to see that nearly all of the food was Western-style. Baked potatoes, sausages, fish, salads, cheesecake, chocolate etc. Sue and I ate two huge plates of green salad. We both had a craving for fresh greens! But noodles are great too. As are dumplings, her favourite. We have fallen into the habit in restaurants and cafes of perusing the menu and talking about all the things we'd try if we were more adventurous - jellyfish, pig's knuckles, duck gizzards, beef tendons - but we know we won't. We just order either noodles or dumplings!

I have found a couple of places that serve my favourite drink - hot ginger tea. But there are many other flavours, and jasmine tea if you want something refreshing. There are literally hundreds of cafes and restaurants in Wanchai, where we are staying, and people eat out all the time. When a filling meal is AU$4-5, why wouldn't you? And here, sharing food is part of the pleasure. I've even shared tables with complete strangers at busy times. And looked suspiciously at what they're eating!

After a month in France, where I seemed to eat cheese, especially goat's cheese, nearly every day, it's the complete other end of the spectrum to focus on noodles instead. But if you are staying in a new place, why would you stick to steak and potatoes? Or go to McDonalds? Exploring the food of a country is part of the experience, and seeing how other people eat is part of learning more about them. It's the same in stories too - what your characters eat can be an important part of who they are. Now that's food for thought!


Anonymous said...

'Now that's food for thought' ... Love it!

Kristi Holl said...

Hmmm...jellyfish, pig's knuckles, duck gizzards, beef tendons? Now THAT would take an adventuresome spirit--and cast iron stomach too.
Kristi Holl
Writer's First Aid blog