It was way past our bedtime when we turned in for the night after our evening at the Happy Valley race track, so it was way past our usual wake up time when we finally made it out of bed this morning.9:30 a.m. By the time we were washed and dressed, it was too late for the continental breakfast (and, in my wife’s case, her whipped butter pancakes). So, instead, we hit the mall for my second suit fitting and lunch at either Sichuan Restaurant or Peking Restaurant. It’s either or because, although the name outside the restaurant was Sichuan Restaurant, the name on the bill was Peking Restaurant. We naturally ordered out of two similar but not identical menu’s – one for Sichuan Restaurant, the other for Peking Restaurant. We mixed and matched and had a nice camphor-smoked duck, some very good pork dumplings (though, to be fair, I’ve had just as good at Vancouver’s Long’s Noodle House), and a fabulous sweet and sour fish that was lightly batter dusted and nicely seasoned with garlic and green onions. Excellent all-around.
We headed back to the hotel and, on our way, passed the bakery in the basement level where we spotted some pistachio macaroons. My wife found them too sweet so I gladly ate hers as well.
We spent the afternoon in Kowloon shopping or, more to the point, my wife shopped while I was on hand to offer moral support. Hong Kong is truly a high-end shopper’s dream come true with more designer shops and specialty boutiques than anywhere in the world. I counted eight different Cartier stores in the three and half blocks we covered. My wife pointed out that between the 10-20% discounts some places offered and the fact that there is no tax on items purchased, the deals can’t be beat. I agreed. 10-20% AND no taxes! It’s like we’re MAKING money on the purchases. We’d be foolish NOT to buy.
In the Harbour City Mall, we took a break by a big bay window that looked out onto Hong Kong harbour. As we stood, looking out at the beautiful view, my wife grew pensive and told me that when she died, she wanted to be cremated and have her ashes scattered at sea. Although I’d never really given it serious thought, in those few seconds, looking out at the harbour, I came to a decision myself. I told her that if and when I died, I too wanted to be cremated and have my ashes scattered – but in cookie batter. And then I wanted the baked cookies to be distributed as Christmas gifts to my unwitting friends and family so that, in some small way, a part of me would be with them forever. Or, at the very least, twelve to thirty-six hours.
6:30 p.m. finally rolled around and we headed up to the 28th floor of Peking One for dinner at Hutong, a fabulous restaurant with an equally fabulous view. The dish of the night was the first to arrive: deboned lamb ribs served with a green onion sauce, minced garlic, and shallot accompaniment. It was so good that I bet even my buddy Carl, who hates lamb, would have loved it. Tender, crispy-skinned, and very tasty. My wife pronounced it the best lamb dish she’s ever had. We also had what I believe was the spiciest dish we’ve ever been served in a restaurant (not counting the time we went to Blue Water where Master Chef Hiro, evidently annoyed at my constantly dissing the wimpiness of his spicy dynamite rolls, laced my order with Blair’s After Death sauce. One piece and I’d felt as if someone had butted out in the back of my throat): The soft-shell crab arrived in a pot swimming with red chilis. They were fiery but delicious. My wife, unfortunately, couldn’t get past her first bite and instead redirected her attention to her fried rice with egg whites and green scallions which she enjoyed immensely. Somewhere between these terrific dishes, we also had an order of forgettable veggie dumplings and a so-so wok-fried baby eel with shallots. We ended the evening with dessert: a light osmanthus flower-almond soup with black sesame dumplings for her, and a heavy taro cake with two scoops of ice cream (coconut and hazelnut) for me. Surprisingly, I preferred her dessert as I expected subtle flavoring from the soup but not the ice cream.
One fifteen minute hair-raising cab ride and we were back in the hotel. Tomorrow is our last full day in Hong Kong so we’ll be making the most of it with not one but two tours: a trip to the New Territories and something called “The Splendid Night of Delights” which I have a feeling sounds more fun than it will actually be. But, just in case, I’m wearing my new underwear.