Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tai O

It was a public holiday. To get away from the usual city lights and hustle and bustle, me and my family decided to go to somewhere far and fishy- Tai O. Apparently many shared the same thought, so together we brought into Tai O an unintentional, phenomenal surge of rowdiness. Despite the crowd, Tai O was still scenic. Never seen in cities except Venice, there were pang uks, stilt houses built over the waterway. As we peeked into the pang uks, we crossed the bridge and entered into a narrow, noisy street of seafood stalls, tuck shops and welcoming (you don't say!) vendors selling local delicacies. As if the place was not vibrant enough, the pungent smell of seafood crescendoed.

As my dad, my brother-in-law and I went crazy experimenting with our cameras, capturing the animated faces of the vendors and the colorful mix of food, my mom and sister really got into buying, eating and feeding us the local delicacies. We ate so much! We had those extremely old-school but tasty biscuit sandwich with malt syrup 麥芽糖餅, barbecued squid, scallops, refreshing roselle tea, chewy egg puffs (texture similar to that of a waffle, but the inside is custard-like) cooked over charcoal, and of course, my sister's new-found  favorites- barbecued mullet roe 烏魚子 and Chinese Taco. I have reproduced two of these delicacies at home and shall share with you the recipes in the next two posts. 

It is quite interesting as I look back, I realize that no matter where we travel to, our enjoyment and exploration always and inevitably involve FOOD.

As we squeezed our way deeper into the other end of Tai O, farther from the food stalls and pang uks, there were peace and quiet. Along the shore sturdily stood a few simple, little huts made out of metal scraps, that housed mainly elderly and small families. The masters of the houses are usually out to fish, leaving behind the mothers and wives home, making and selling simple local delicacies such as cha guos (glutinous rice cakes with fillings made out of red bean, black-eyed peas etc.) and tofu pudding. I love seeing this other face of Hong Kong, so serene and pure.

Inside these blue buckets were shrimp paste. In that, we could taste Umami 鲜味- the 5th taste, well-known and familiar in the East and less known in the West. I have scratched my head and still cannot write an accurate and comprehensive description for this taste, sorry! You may learn more about this taste on Wikipedia.

Having walked so much, we were too lazy to walk on the return route. We took a speedboat, which was so so fast, exciting and fun, and in less than a minute we got back to the narrow streets, just in time to grab the stall's last four Chinese Tacos!

No comments:

Post a Comment