Saturday, March 24, 2012

Café de Coral

Incidentally, the first thing that I am going to write about the trip to Hong Kong in January was the last thing I ate there. I had seen this place all over the city and it's essentially 'the' Hong Kong fast-food chain. It piqued my interest because we don't really have Chinese 'fast-food' where I come from. We can get Chinese food fast, but Café de Coral was the first chain that I had encountered that was comparable to the likes of Mc D's. 

Of course I didn't even consider eating at a fast-food outlet while we were in the city - we were in Hong Kong after all and there were only so many things we could eat in 4 days! On the last day that we were there, we spent the morning walking around North Point and Pa, who had lived in Hong Kong for a few years, made it a point to take me into a Café de Coral outlet just to show me the kind of food that they offered. The curry "ngau lam" (beef brisket) is his favourite, but they have many other popular, classic 'Hong Kong dishes' like roast meats on rice and baked rice dishes.

The great thing about fast-food chains is that you can reliably expect to find an outlet wherever there's high traffic, like an airport for example (NZ airports are an exception to this rule). So when we were looking for something to eat at the airport before catching the flight home, we were both quite pleased to see the (by then) familiar Café de Coral signboard. I queued for the food and Pa found us a seat - unfortunately for poor Pa, that meant that he didn't get his curry 'ngau lam' because it wasn't on the 'specials' menu where I started queuing and so we thought it wasn't available there. When I got to the counter, I spotted it on the overhead menu behind the counter and ordered it for myself, not realising that Pa would have wanted that in lieu of the roast goose on rice, if he had known that it was available.

And he was right, it was good. Tender pieces of beef brisket in rich, tasty curry, with steamed beans and some pineapple chunks for that bit of sweetness and acidity to offset the curry's unctuousness. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. It turned out to be a really good, archetypal 'Hong Kong meal' to have to mark the end of what was a truly great trip with Pa and Piggo (my brother).

I fell in love with Hong Kong and will definitely visit again, and again, and again....and maybe even live there for a while one day, if ever there's an opportunity.

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