Dinner and beer with the locals

5 July, 2006 at 8:44 (Hong Kong)

Having arrived back at the halls of residence around 20:30, a group of the students arranged to meet at 21:00 to go out for dinner.  As I was not quite ready at about 20:55, I just told them to head off without me, and I would sort something out myself.  Not that I’m anti-social or anything, but I do have a slight aversion to the whole tourist group thing, which I had been doing all day, and while they are all a great bunch of people, I needed some one-on-one time with the city.

So, I left the halls of residence by myself around 21:30 to cruise the local streets and see what I could find.  My idea was that I would either find an english/cantonese menu, or some food on display which I could point to.  Failing both of these, I was prepared to just point at something random on the menu or at another diners bowl.  Luckily none of these were necessary, as, I was stopped infront of one restaurant – with a cantonese only menu – when a worker there came out and spoke some english.  Having been informed that they do a good fish ball soup – which  I wouldn’t be a good judge of yet, so had to take his word for it – I ventured forth into what was a small, simple restaurant with less than 10 tables which sat at least 4, but maybe more people.

Of course I ordered the fish ball soup with flat noodles, and a lemon iced tea, both of which cost me the princely sum of $24 HKD (about  $5 AUD).  Although the fish ball soup I thought was average, the tea was good.

Anyway, there is something of a story in here, i’m getting there…

At the first table on the left of the restaurant at the entrance, there were three older gentlemen drinking beer and talking. I had smiled at them as I entered, and waved at one of them when he turned around to face me when I was sitting at the table next to them.  As I was about half way through my soup, they motioned  to me and asked me if I would like some beer, which I duly accepted and, to accept their offer, moved around to the other side of my table closer to theirs.  I initiated a toast with the phrase “gan bei” – actually mandarin but most people understand some mandarin here.  Returning to my dish, they resumed conversation and let me finish my meal in peace, once refilling the glass with more beer for me.  I also chatted to one of them in english and learnt that he was 60 years old, which he proved by showing me his drivers license.  He asked me how old I was and found it funny that I was 21, actually, alot of people here are interested to know how old you are.

I finished my fish ball soup and said goodbye to my new friends, who all shook my hand and told me to come back again, which I think I will, only with someone who can read chinese so we can try some other dishes.

It was a great experience, I only wish I knew more cantonese so I could say a few things back, I only really know thank you and hello so far.

All in all, a very interesting experience and the reason that I do like to sometimes do the solo thing and just see where it takes me.  So far, everyone in hong kong has been great, if you are polite and make a bit of an effort with the language – even simple things like hello – most people will help you out and be friendly.

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3 Comments

  1. sarah said,

    sounds ace! im painfully jealous. definately get some photos of the peak.. i will live vicariously through them. today was yet another mildy boring winter day in melbourne, i bet youre kicking yourself!

  2. Emma said,

    Tristan, I could have told you not to have the fish ball soup!!Ewww yuck : ) However, i could not have told you what to have because there would have been a high possibility that it would have been something much worse! Party on Bro…

  3. sim said,

    Nice one tris, drinking beer! who’d have known. sounds like they’re nicer than the romans when you try to make an effort with their native lingo.

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