Categories
Hong Kong

Durian and Jellyfish in Hong Kong

We have had a great time in Hong Kong. We are making lots of new friends and even found an old friend. In true Hong Kong fashion we being taken out to eat alot. Great big amazing meals. We have had so many new foods. We are getting all the Dim Sum we need and are finding some new favourites.

We have tried chicken feet,

grass jelly, squid in various forms, seaweed balls, red beans in the bottom of our milk shakes and many, jellyfish

and many more new tastes. Even TJ has become an expert with her chopsticks.

The other day was a momentous day. We all tried Durian.

We have been hearing ominous tales of Durian for years. According to Andrew it smells so bad that you are not allowed to take it on public transport in Indonesia. The locals love it, crave it. Foreigners can’t stand it and think it to be the most vile thing that has ever crossed their lips. But we are not the typical tourist. We are adventurous and enjoy strange and unusual flavours. We have eaten camel, squid, jellyfish, chicken feet and inflated lungs of salt cod and enjoyed it. Not to mention the fact that Durian is supposed to smell like onions. We like onions. Bring it on. Now, instead of buying it in its raw, spikey ball form from one of the many street vendors we opted for a nice civilized form. We went to a posh dessert bar at the top of a prominent new skyscraper on the edge of the red light district. Well…. Dino ordered Durian pancakes. It arrived layered with cream and wrapped in a green tea pancake. We all tried it. Not sure if the bravest person was Andrew who tried it first or TJ who tried it after hearing all of us moan and put on the “Durian face”. After we all tried some Dino finished it off with big smiles and great satisfaction. You know, for the record, it doesn’t smell like onions. It smells like rotten onions! To make matters worse Durian makes you burp.  Burping in public here is not bad manners but when it brings back the Durian aroma and taste. We were burping up Durian for 6 hours afterwards!… DANG!

 

On to better things. Theresa flew over from Korea when she heard we were here, she stayed with us and adventured with us for 5 days. So great to see her again. She is sitting here with Carol who has been organizing our social life here. Carol is a hard task master : ) but we think she’s great. Since we are staying on Lantao Island  we take the ferry to Hong Kong city most mornings and Carol meets us to take us around.

Some things Carol, and others, have taught us about eating out around here.

Tap water in Hong Kong is NEVER OK to drink.

Do not drink Juice from those machines at little streetside shops. Go to the nicer juice bars with the “shrinkwrap” lids and chunky things (beans, jelly, fruit, sago) at the bottom of the cup.

Rinse your dishes in hot water or hot tea at the table. Many restaurants will provide a small bucket or bowl and some hot water. If they don’t then put some tea in your largest bowl and use that to rinse. Just rotate your dishes, one at a time in the hot water. Teacup, small bowl, put spoon in bowl and rest chopsticks resting on top of the bowl rim. Never put the spoon or chopsticks on the table top. The tabletop is considered dirty. One person cleans for all. There will probably be extra dishes on the table. Only rinse what you will use. You don’t need to do this at more upscale restaurants – we only went to 2 restaurants that we didn’t rinse our dishes.

Pour tea for others at the table first. Say thank you for someone pouring your tea by tapping on the table twice with two fingers.

Don’t be afraid to try new tastes – you will probably be pleasantly surprised over and over again.

Try the Durian.  This will probably not be a pleasant surprise but it is a rite of passage. People WILL ask if you did

 

Categories
Food Morocco

Looking back on our time in Marrakech

Looking back on our time in Marrakech. What a great camping spot we had in our own little quiet corner in the centre of the city. Here are some thoughts.

The Immam is SOOOO much better than Aourir. It is like waking up to an angel at 5 in the morning. I like this guy. I was talking to Karim about the responsibilities of the Immam. I think he has it rougher than the Christian priests and pastors. He does his big call to prayer 5 times a day. Yeah, think about it 5 times a day. He is hanging with a friend. Ooops, time to go. He wants to have a bit of a lie in. Oooops, time to get up. He does this every day of the week AND the call to prayer is just beginning. After the bit on the loudspeaker he goes downstairs and prays with people and does a bit of teaching. I think the Immam works hard.

So, the souks. Yeah, easy to get lost. At day you can wander through the souks. Well, wander is the wrong word. Because every stallkeeper wants you to come in. Now, I think we are getting a bit better at this but we still need to get better. Alana and Abi got lots of attention from the young men. They complained, of course, but they kept getting dressed up and going back in and well, 2 plus 2 equals… The hard time with the souks is if you have a particular place you want to be in them. By the end I found what I was looking for and had a greaat time walking around with the kids. We looked into lots of stalls that showed people working on the different stages of making shoes by hand. Saw a man soldering with a little heated hammer instead of a soldering iron. A man demonstrated how to make rounded discs of metal. We saw several people punching designs out of metal. Lots of smoke, lots of noise, lots of creative people. Loved it.

In the evenings to eat a couple of times as food to cook your own meals with in the centre is hard to come by and we figure when we go back into Europe we won’t be eating out much as it is much less expensive down here. There is this souk of prepared food that pops up in the evenings at the fna area. All these little swirly metal boxes surrounded by table and tarps come in to join the orange juice and dried fruit stalls. Every evening this village is created and stays up til about 4 in the morning. A note about eating out. You go to a normal western style restaurant, even one with moroccan food you will pay big. If you go and get pizza or other exotic foods and you will pay big. A rule for every country is that if you want to get better local food for cheaper prices go to where the locals eat. Sometimes you need to insist. One time me and the girls went into the non-touristy part of the souk. As we were leaving a man told us we were going out of the area we were wanting to be in. We said we were looking for Moroccan food. He directed us back to the tourist restaurants. No! We want to eat moroccan food where Moroccans eat it. We were directed into a tiny little restaurant with thin white-tile counters against the wall, little plastic stools and about 5 guys grilling lots of food next to us. All this in a stall about the size of our truck. We loved it! Back to the pop-up prepared food souk. We went out for Harrira (moroccan soup) one night with a desert, well. It was swirly and sweet and you eat it with your fingers. Karim said there is a legend about this sweet of a great battle between a japanese warrior and a moroccan warrior. Of course, the moroccan warrior won and this dessert is in the shape of a Japanese swear word.

I would like to finish off with a warning from Alana and Abi about their time in Marrakesh.

Beware of the Henna ladies – they are evil.

We are now in the Cascades. We have met up with the German family again and they told us of this German future campground in the Cascades on the way to Fez. Sounded good so here we are. They will arrive tomorrow.