Friday, September 2, 2011

Food Adventures in Hong Kong

I spent the past two weeks on the other side of the world visiting friends in Hong Kong, snapping photos and exploring as much as I could everyday.  To be honest I wasn't as strict of a vegan as I normally am, but over all, Hong Kong is pretty vegan friendly.  Here are a few of my favorite vegan meals that I had while I was there!

I had this pasta dish at a restaurant called Jungle Juice.  The name of the place made me laugh because when I think of Jungle Juice I imagine a giant vat of juice, beer, and what ever other liquor college kids have on hand to toss in the mix.  This place, however,  had absolutely nothing to do with college or drinking.  I had the Pumpkin and green bean in light curry over spaghetti and a giant bottle of water to wash it all down.  It was the only vegan dish on the menu, but that didn't stop it form being yummy in my tummy!

One afternoon I met up with my friend Naoto for lunch.  He took me to a Chinese restaurant for Dim Sum.  He order some dishes with meat for him and his brother in law, but stuck mainly to vegan fare.  These were the Vegetable Dumplings.

Pan Fried Turnip Cake with some sort of spicy dipping sauce.

Chinese Steamed Kale with Soy sauce.  Simple and fresh!


I can't remember what this was exactly, but I do remember that it was sweet and may have been squash.  It was served along side of sugar and was super yummy!

For dessert, we had the Black Sesame Roll

and Pan Fried Water Chestnut Cake. This had to be my favorite thing I at in all my adventures in Hong Kong.  It was sweet, mapely, and crunchy all at the same time!  Delicious!

I went to various markets over my two weeks in Hong Kong I saw some pretty disgusting un-vegan things but I also tasted some of the best fruit that has ever passed my lips.  The mangos were like candy and I have never had kiwi that was as perfect as it was there. I also was lucky enough to see and taste some fruit that I had never seen or heard of before.

Yellow Pomegranate 

Dragon Fruit

This visit to a local noodle shop was one of the craziest experiences of my trip.  When my friend Hugo and I walked we were directed to share a table with two other people.  I was handed a menu that was almost entirely in Chinese.  It had a few words on it in English such as, beef ball, fish ball, soy bean cake and chive.  I looked up at the Chinese waitress and shrugged my shoulders and said, "Ummmm.... I'm not sure what to order.  I just need something with no meat." She proceeded to get obviously annoyed with me and shouted something at me in Chinese. I gestured with my hands as best I could and said "No meat..." At this point the waitress became incredibly angry and she slammed another menu in front of me that was only in Chinese.  She pointed at the menu yelling at me. So I said, " well that is helpful... I'll have chive, soybean cake and NO MEAT!"  Hugo was stumped too and quickly ordered something as best he could as well. She ripped the menu away from me  and stomped off with our orders.  I wish I could tell you exactly what this is and where I ate it, but all I know is that it was a bowl of meat free noodles with tofu and chives. 

The food we got that afternoon at the crazy noodle shop was one of the best meals I had while visiting Hong Kong even though I had no idea what it was I ordered.  Plus it was SUPER cheap!

One evening Chloe took her brother Hugo and I out to the vegan Chinese restaurant Pure Veggie House. We ordered a huge spread of cruelty free food.  We started the meal out with Dim Sum.  This was the Steamed Vegetable Ball.  I like the idea of these little guys and can image that they are really good when done right.  The outside was made out of steamed rice flour but the inside was filled with veggies that didn't have much flavor. 

The Vegetable Dumplings were okay.  They had a little too much oil and were filled with the same exact filling at the vegetable ball, so the inside again did not have much flavor.

The Vegetable Soup Dumpling was good.  It was a salty, vegetabley, stuffed noodle.

The Turnip Pastry was my favorite of the Dim Sum adventure.  It was flaky and delicate on the outside and had a creamy, gooey, turnipy inside... YUM!

We ordered a few dishes to share as a main, but we were pretty stuffed after all that Dim Sum.  This was the Sweet and Sour Konak.  This dish was a bit to greasy for me.  It tasted a bit like fried fried.  I don't know how else to explain it.  It was just too much frying and not enough freshness for me.

The Eggplant and Seitan was my favorite main.  There was very little seitan incorporated in it and although it had a bit too much oil (as Chinese food tends to have) it had plenty of veggies to soak it all up.

The Vegetable Fried Rice was good, but not the best I've ever had.  I did like the addition of pine nuts though.

We order a few different things for dessert including a soy pudding which I did not take a picture of.  It wasn't very tasty, it fact I think it was just warmed up silken tofu.  It would have not made a very pretty picture.  This dessert pictured was the Sesame Roll.  It was my second time trying this dessert and I have to say, I LIKE it!

The Red Bean Pudding was my favorite among the desserts.  It was mildly sweet, perfecctly cold and had a nice hint of coconut in the mix.  Yum!

One of my last dining experiences was at another local noodle shop.  This time the experience was a little less fun.  After a long day visiting the Big Buddha, we hopped off the subway at Central and stumbled into the first noodle stop that we could find.  It was a tiny little place, I don't think it even had a name.  When we walked in a woman eating at a nearby table shouted something at us and we quickly figured out by her gestures that she meant to close the sliding glass door behind us. Once we sat down at a table that already had someone eating at it the same woman that yelled at us previously reluctantly got up to take our order.  This time the menu was in English and Chinese, so it made it a little easier to order.  I got the Vegetarian  Dumpling Noodle Soup. The noodles we soggy, the broth was flavorless as were the dumplings.  So, I covered it with chili and it seemed to do the trick.  

My trip to Hong Kong was an amazing experience.  I was very lucky to have been able to spend two weeks with some pretty amazing people and share some delicious meals with them as well.  I cannot wait to go back to show Jared everything that I now know about this unique, bustling, and silly city!