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IT DOESN’T MAT­TER IF YOU’RE CULI­NAR­ILY CHAL­LENGED, IN HONG KONG THERE ARE PLENTY OF PLACES TO EAT THE FINEST FOOD

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - CONTENTS - CAL­LIE WAT­SON

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.

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