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Hongkong eating

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© Lonely Planet Publications

E ATI N G

Asian Kitchen (p196)
Beira Rio Wine Bar & Grill (p189)
Chungking Mansion (p192)
Cococabana (p190)
Little Thailand (p195)
Lung King Heen (p177)
M at the Fringe (p177)
Man Fung Seafood Restaurant (p198)
Peak Lookout (p183)
Pierre (p177)
Private kitchens (p184)
Shan Loon Tse Kee Fish Ball (p191)
Tai Wing Wah (p198)
Top Deck (p190)
Yun Fu (p178)

HISTORY & CULTURE

The modern history of Hong Kong begins
with the First Opium War (p21), but the roots
of Hong Kong cuisine were laid long before.
Prior to its colonial history, Hong Kong was
already home to three major clans: the Punti
(Cantonese Chinese) and Hakka (non-Cantonese Chinese) peoples lived in what is the
New Territories today, while a humble fisherfolk called the Dan lived on the coast, especially in the south of Hong Kong Island.
Not wanting to have much to do with the
local fare, the British brought their own provisions, and in this far corner of the world
continued to eat their gammon and sausage,
pies and kippers, and wash it all down with
milky tea and warm beer.
The local inhabitants, living in walled villages, ate what they could herd and grow or
catch from the sea. Produce was abundant.
Certain ancient food traditions from these
peoples have remained, and the most notable
among them is the ‘basin dish’ (poon choy).
The story has it that the last emperor of the
Southern Song dynasty (AD 1127–1279), Zhào
Bǐng, fleeing from the Mongolians, headed
south and ended up in Hong Kong with his
entourage. The villagers were gobsmacked
by the sudden arrival of their supreme ruler.
And although he was only eight, they treated
him to the best food they could scrape together, according to the imperial tradition of
wastefulness. Not a people overly endowed
with beautiful crockery, the villagers resorted
to serving the mountain of fine foods to the
emperor in a basin. Poon choy has become a
dish for festival occasions ever since.
The Crown Colony maintained its stability
and prosperity for most of its 150 years, even
as the mainland skipped from one upheaval
to another. Many of the best mainland cooks,
especially those from Guangzhou, eventually found refuge in Hong Kong. Given the
colony’s resources to play around with, they

strived for the best and the most exotic, making Hong Kong the ‘real’ Guangzhou.
With the declaration of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, floods of immigrants
from Shanghai, Sichuan, Hunan and Peking
(Beijing) came looking for safety, jobs a...
EATING
Asian Kitchen ( p196 )
Beira Rio Wine Bar & Grill ( p189 )
Chungking Mansion ( p192 )
Cococabana ( p190 )
Little Thailand ( p195 )
Lung King Heen ( p177 )
M at the Fringe ( p177 )
Man Fung Seafood Restaurant ( p198 )
Peak Lookout ( p183 )
Pierre ( p177 )
Private kitchens ( p184 )
Shan Loon Tse Kee Fish Ball ( p191 )
Tai Wing Wah ( p198 )
Top Deck ( p190 )
Yun Fu ( p178 )
© Lonely Planet Publications
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