Ngau Kee Food Cafe in Central (my first meal in Hong Kong)
This was my first meal in Hong Kong (about a month ago now) and it wasn’t the kind of meal you move continents for. It was, however, the kind of experience you move continents for. And check out the natty stools.
In summary, Ngau Kee Food Cafe is a cheap family run eatery of which there are probably thousands in Hong Kong. The picture of the stools says it all. This is not fancy stuff. It is a simple Chinese cafe but for an ex Londoner that is what makes it all the more different. Quite frankly I was lost from the moment I walked in. They spoke no English. I spoke no Cantonese, Mandarin or other Asian dialect. It was evident from the look of surprise on their faces that not too many other Westerners have travelled 7,000km to eat there.
The menu was long. Aggressively so. The kind of length that you know will result in terrible food at any Western restaurant. I choose something after some inter cultural haggling and bemusement on their part. It turned out to be some wide rice noodles and beef. It was ok, I don’t really have too much to say about it really. The kind of thing you could get at any Chinese restaurant in London.
And that is the nub of my problem. I am sure I ended up getting what they thought I could manage. What I wanted was what was different, something to punch my mouth around. The fault is mine, I can’t order, I can’t speak, I don’t have the knowledge to get what I don’t know. I’ll learn.
Interestingly I googled Ngau Kee Food Cafe when I got back and found out it is actually quite reckoned and semi famous as a cheap authentic eatery. Also what you order is beef brisket with noodles. What I did was a bit like going to Yung Kee and forgeting to order the roast goose. Shows how bad my gweilo (the HK term for a foreigner) ordering skills are.
So from now on before every meal I will be reading OpenRice, having a look at my new favourite blogs (check out the right side of this page under Hong Kong), reading CNNgo (I know who knew they might be good resource?!) and asking our secretarial pool to transcribe Chinese characters for me.