What a beautiful weekend it has been. Food, family, and friends. Or should I say copious amounts of food. Thanksgiving in America is a fairly consistent indicator that overeating will ensue. But oh how lovely it is to be surrounded by the people you adore, as you inhale four variations of potatoes, nana's stuffing, turkey with all its fixings, and not one, or two, but four kinds of pie. I am still suffering from the comatose state illicited by my formidable Turkey Day five course marathon of consumption.
Beyond being with my family, I was very thankful to be in the good old United States. I recently returned from Hong Kong and although it was remarkable, nothing beats the comfort of home. Ravishing though was my experience. After an intimidating 16 hour flight, myself and a few other students from Georgetown commenced on our journey to the East. It was my first time in all of Asia, so I was anxious but also a bit nervous. The flight, the language barrier, you name it, and I am comfortable handling it. What I wanted to know is... how's the food!?
Coming from an Italian family, I am extensively acquainted with pasta. We have it virtually all the time, whether baked rigatoni for dinner, or a quick pasta bolognese for lunch... even a pasta frittata with leftovers from the night before for breakfast. But I had not anticipated the emphasis the Chinese place on those noodles! Every meal....noodles. For breakfast we had scrambled eggs and nothing other than lo mein. Greasy, fried lo mein. Granted we were staying in a university, so the food was not paramount, but it was so odd having your morning tea, toast, scrambled eggs (if you could call them that) and some vegetable lo mein in all its glory. Kind of a weird experience for me, but refreshing to take a bite of a different culture.
We endeavored to the Peak Tram on our day off and rode it all the way to the top, from which we were able to see an absolutley breath taking view of all of Hong Kong in its glory. The sky was a clear bright blue, and as Barabara Streisand would say, you really could see forever. After doing the tourist gig for a bit, we settled down for a nice meal and I had the most bountiful pineapple, (yes you heard me correctly) pineapple filled with rice that you have ever laid your eyes on.
And obviously I finished it like a champ. Would you expect any less of me?
We had our fair share of street food ranging from obscure meats to dumplings in broth, with some seasonings I cannot name to this day, but nothing compared to the fine wine and dine experience we were offered by our corporate sponsor Citi Group. Dining in their posh headquarters, we sat in the boardroom and conversed with all of our new international friends. Dishes varied from traditional dim sum, which is an assortment of steamed, bite sized, Chinese delicacies offered at lunchtime, to fresh vegetables, American favorites, and fried rices to die for. Sushi and some Western dishes were also served to accomodate the diverse palletes in attendence and lastly we finished with some petit fours for dessert. Bite sized tiramisu and fruit tarts were a perfect ending to a whirlwind day, as we gazed outward at the majestic city. Surreal...
All in all it was a cultural and culinary overload. I met kind people from all over the world and various parts of the United States. We danced until 4:00 am to American pop music in the heart of Hong Kong Island. Experiencing Halloween eve in Lai Kwai Fong was a night never to be forgotten. If you ever thought Americans took Halloween seriously, you should check out this cultural nook. A narrow street, lined by bars and clubs, and charismatic people from all over the world. Over the top costumes and loud 80's music blaring from every direction. Posh people with GREAT accents, provocative getups, and lots of booze flowing, let's just say that it was an experience unlike I have ever had, and probably ever will have!
Above all though, the new found friendship and foods are what I will remember. The breathtaking backdrop as I barter with a woman who is blabbering incomprehensibly...trying to sell me coins for nearly 100 American dollars. Ok, lady whatever you say... walk away inconsipicuously. Meeting new acquaintances on the plane, and dining in the finest of hotels, it was a week to remember.
Dear Hong Kong, thanks for the memories.