Originated from the Philippine military style of eating where folks gather around sheets of banana leaf with foods (usually grilled and less saucy) all piled up over mountains of rice.
I have been a crazy food consumer and it is my greatest goal to be able to go around the world and taste the different cuisines that lie on the streets worldwide. Boodle Fight is gonna be my food feature for exactly just that. And it’s not just gonna be about food from outside the country. It’ll be anything that I’d experience eating and everything that I would wanna share to the rest of you and this whole journey is gonna be very exciting.
What better way to kick this new feature off than to talk to you about my culinary experience in the streets of Hong Kong & Macau (2 months late, of course) whose cuisines aren’t too far from my heart. With streets filled up with smoke coming from squid being grilled, smell of stir fried noodles and sounds of crispy fried chicken being consumed, the food scene that welcomed me surely did not disappoint. If anything, it got me so excited ready to jump in even before I changed some local cash.
As soon as we got out of the airport, I wanted to look for something to eat right away. But we landed at the local airport past 12 midnight already so my sister and I were tired from all the walking that we did (got lost along the way). We got in to our hotel a little later than 2 in the morning and we just ran out of energy to go out. If we decided to go out, however, there were still some stalls serving snacks (usually hot) that were just across the streets.
Perhaps what amused me so much about the food scene both in Hong Kong and Macau is the fact that good food is literally everywhere. Most of them don’t even cost a lot. It’s so easy to spot a stall serving hot fish balls or milk tea or basically anything you can possibly think of. This is amazing especially for me who is the kind of person who usually walks around while munching on some food. So I thoroughly enjoyed walking along the chilly streets of Hong Kong knowing that anytime I need to get something, there is a store I could got some food from.
As I have mentioned, Chinese cooking, as a whole, is very close to my heart so it was not as difficult to feel like I was home when we were in Hong Kong. We can literally get something to eat and remember how my mom used to cook something similar. A couple of blocks away from our place, we can get a bowl of hot noodles that reminds me of good bowls of soup taken in during cold nights. Walking along the streets exposes you to a whole atmosphere of meats, vegetables, puddings and pastries that have all gathered together tickling your senses so you’d want to get more from it. And then you know that when things are starting to feel weird because you’re immersed to a whole section of stalls serving innards and exotic food, it’s so easy to move around just a bit and find something that strikes your heart and reminds you of what good food is and how you consume it with the rest of the household.
There maybe some biases when I say this but the foods that you’ll get from Hong Kong (and Macau, since they’re closely related if not completely similar) especially the more authentic and locally-prepared ones aren’t difficult to understand. It will literally scream years and years of tradition with the whole culture of the locals embedded on it but this does not mean it isolates you from the whole experience. It will be intimidating to look at and overwhelming to understand but the more you get to taste the food you’re served with, the more you’ll realize that years of preparing the food the same way (maybe tweaked along the way but barely) is exactly what makes their food very profound. You’ll know for sure that they have been cooking it the way the learned how to cook it. It’s not overly dressed. Flavors are straightforward. Foods are cooked exactly the way they should be. Some may even be following centuries old recipes and just everything you see is worth the money you’d spend.
To wrap the whole experience, I’d say that my food experience in Hong Kong (and Macau) was nothing short of good narrative. There’s a good introduction to the whole scene which gradually progresses as you try the food they readily serve you with until you reach that perfect ending of wanting to go back just to eat more. It attracts you from afar and then takes you back to wherever it feels like home. And that may go even for those who did not grow up eating Chinese food (nearly) every meal.