October 25, 2008

Gosht Vinadaloo

Last night I hit a tipping point. I couldn't, as one colleague put it, bear to eat one more slimy noodle.

We went to grab some dinner last night in our new neighborhood of Tin Hau. Now, we've been in Hong Kong for 23 days, and I've probably had Chinese food (or food, as my brother Dan likes to say) 21 of those 23 days. My aim had been to hit a Thai restaurant I'd seen as we walked to the park in the afternoon, but before we got there, I spied an Indian place.

I'm not too proud to say I came just short of begging Paul to go in. He likes Indian, but is allergic to curry. I promised him there would be something he could eat. The menu was in English, the smells were exotic and nothing came with noodles. We ordered papadam (which I adore) and chicken tikka and lamb vindaloo and cheese naan. It was delicious.

My vindaloo, which supposedly had potatoes as well as lamb chunks, was incredibly spicy. Apparently, I have lost much of my ability to handle really spicy food, and this was a bit over the top.

Hong Kong has a long-established population of South Asians, according to Wikipedia, including more than 20,000 Indians. It is my understanding that a large number of them live Kowloon-side. Regardless, we haven't seen any Indian restaurants that I can recall.

Like Wan Chai, Tin Hau is dotted with dozens of restaurants. Unlike Wan Chai, however, there is a greater variety of cuisine available and a bit more attention given over to decor and presentation in the restaurants, without, it seems the prices going up dramatically.

We passed three Thai places, two Vietnamese, a Japanese and two dumpling restaurants. There also were two Chinese sweet shops serving only dessert. One of them, Ching Ching Desserts, is noted for its cream of almond and black sesame soup. According to one blogger "It's like drinking marzipan . . . and could find its way onto the menu of any five star restaurant in the world but you can get a bowl in Hong Kong for less than three bucks. "

And all this -- including the usual Chinese fare -- in a three block stretch.

The place we're staying now is well-located. We are surrounded by restaurants (there is a Chinese hot-pot place just across the alley) and food stalls and there is both a grocery and a laundry across the street.

Each neighborhood we go to (and this is our third) I find something even more appealing than the last one. If things go as planned (and of course, the never really do) we will try at least one more neighborhood and perhaps two before we leave.

It's been a blast discovering all these things. Now I have 10 days or so here to take advantage.

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