IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU’RE CULINARILY CHALLENGED, IN HONG KONG THERE ARE PLENTY OF PLACES TO EAT THE FINEST FOOD
Hong Kong’s array of restaurants makes it hard for visitors to stop eating.
“YOU no cook at home?” Pauline Wong, the affable cooking instructor, asks with a giggle. The Hong Kong local has me sussed. Unlike the rest of Australia, it seems, I’m no Masterchef in waiting. Indeed, so poor are my skills in the kitchen that during our class I forget to pour the sauce into what should be a relatively simple fried crispy noodle with chicken and black bean sauce.
Wong is a former high school teacher who has been holding traditional Chinese cooking classes for 20 years. Upon discovering my blunder, she howls with laughter and shakes her head. I’m not alone, though. For a generation of largely Cantonese-speaking 20-somethings gathered for lessons at the Towngas Cooking Centre in Hong Kong’s bustling Causeway Bay area, such kitchen nightmares are surprisingly common.
“The main people who came here used to be a bit older, more for fun,” Wong says. “Now it’s the younger ones; they’re not cooking in the home like they used to. Don’t have a lot of time. But they still want to provide for their partner and families, but they don’t really know a lot about cooking. The thing with Hong Kong is it’s a mini-China – it’s got every type of food you can think of.”
Chef Mak Pui Gor outside Tim Ho Wan restaurant.