The day after we arrived from Paris, we were on a plane again, this time with the rest of the family to a well deserved break in Hong Kong. We used to spend our new year holidays in this lively and lovely city every year but had stopped doing so after 2006. This would be our first time back as a family after all that time.
This bright shiny inflatable pig with wings greeted me in Hong Kong.
With pink letters that screamed "LOVE ME!" it was a sign!
The food gods were telling me that since I had fallen off the vegetarian wagon in Paris, it would be hypocritical and just plain wrong to get back on it in Hong Kong.
"Eat Pork" they chorused at me from on high -- "We are sending you this huge pink pig as our messenger!"
I am not one to refuse to heed a message from the gods so off I went to follow their commands.
For me, there is only one place to indulge in all my porcine fantasies in Hong Kong -- Guangdong Barbecue House in Hankow Road, very near our hotel. Gleaming brown roasted meats hung at the doorway -- just waiting to be ordered and chopped.
I headed straight for the kill -- the dead baby pig of course.
Sympathy and tender heartedness be damned! A plate of suckling pig please!
The portion was just seven thin slices but each was succulent, crisp and had hardly any fat
between the crackling and the meat -- as it melted in my mouth, all my reserve and doubts melted away too. My baser foodie self had once again won the day!
Everyone in the family loves char siew pork, my son most of all. That reddish, sweetish, slightly charred, honey-and-hoisin basted hunk of roasted pork goodness is our collective waterloo.
Char siew pork comes from a single recipe with the same ingredients but there is something about Hong Kong and how they make it -- it tastes like no other char siew pork in the world!
My husband is particularly fond of lechon kawali or deep fried pork belly, Philippine style. That is, when he's not being prudish, prissy or watching his diet.
Guangdong Barbecue House serves up the chinese version called roast pork with crispy skin.
Since it's been hanging on top of the counter for quite some time in the chilly December weather, the order comes to us cold but surprisingly, the skin is wonderfully crisp and the fat has not congealed at all. It's like a plate of cold cuts ... chinese style!
After that dinner at Guangdong Barbecue House, I willy-nilly trod the path to porky perdition -- throwing all caution and reserve to the winds. Vegetarian, excuse me -- is that a word?
Next meal is a bowl of milky white ramen from a Japanese noodle chain, Aji-sen.
The thin pork belly slices are well flavored and go well with the broth of pork bones.
I even have a side order of gyoza to mark my descent to porky hell.
The buffet breakfast at the Prince Hotel where we are staying was quite a spread -- chinese, indian vegetarian, japanese, american and european cuisines were all well represented.
What made me truly happy though was the large platter of soft cooked bacon -- just the way I like it. Some people like their bacon cooked to a crisp but I find that akin to eating thin sheets of paper.
I like my bacon thickly sliced and gently cooked so it comes to me soft, salty and melt-in-my-mouth irresistible. Aaaah! I go into raptures just thinking about it.
This was my breakfast everyday at the Prince. With a cup of hot steamed rice -- the only thing missing (and that I was too shy to ask for) was a saucer of good old vinegar. That combination of salty and sour would have really made my piggy day!
Alas, Pork Yorick, I knew him -- but all good things must come to an end.
I have vowed on the bones of all the poor pigs slaughtered before their time that after 2012 -- I shall go back to my vegetarian ways. A stroke after midnight, the first minute of January 1, 2013 will find me a new, renewed, born again, fundamentalist, rightist, hawkish vegetarian!
Otherwise, I am sure that I will end up looking like this pink pig should I not repent of my porcine sins!
Ad astra per alia porci! In the literal, not literary sense, if I do not mend my hoggish ways.
Happy new year everyone!