It is the last day of our Chinese New Year adventure. We manage to fit in a little shopping, then head to a beautiful restaurant called Aqua Spirit for afternoon tea. It affords us sweeping views over the harbour. Valli, Maeve, Mary and I enjoy excellent sashimi and cold French champagne. It is a very civilised afternoon indeed.
We head to the flower markets, which have opened today and will remain open until the Chinese New Year. People go there to buy fresh flowers and fruit decorations for their homes.
It is kind of like going into the showbag pavilion at the Easter show, it is packed with people and the alleys are one way only.
Besides the fresh flowers, there is also a weird and wonderful array of other items like cherry blossoms fashioned out of balloons, cushions and hats and tote bags. Because it is the year of the horse, many of these things are horse-themed. There are also political parties and student groups with stalls, so in all, it’s a fairly surreal experience.
After the markets we head out to dinner. We go to the eating area of one of the wet markets. Is a huge hall, with hundreds of people at laminate tables – the kind of place where I just know we will get fabulous and authentic food. There is a mixture of fabulous and slightly challenging dishes. My favourites are a lovely burnished sticky chicken and the deep fried fish with shallots and seafood soy sauce.
I always try everything when I travel but I don’t always like it. There are two dishes that I find challenging in this meal. The first is a bowl of steamed egg white with crab roe. The texture is slippery and the taste slightly salty. Not my cup of tea. The other dish that would be an acquired taste, is the prawns dipped in duck egg yolk and deep fried. Duck egg yolks are very pungent.
But there is so much wonderful food, all washed down with Chinese bowls of beer, and I leave my last meal in Hong Kong a very happy camper. We head off very early in the morning. The enduring memories I will carry with me include Typhoon Shelter crab eaten on a junk in Victoria harbour; the weird and wonderful ingredients at the wet market, and experiencing a true Chinese New Year reunion dinner in a real home. But most of all I will remember the people. The hospitality and unfailing generosity of our gracious hosts from both Oriental Merchant and Lee Kum Kee, and of course my travel companions. We got on so well and laughed and laughed, and then laughed a bit more. Thanks to all involved.