Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hong Kong: Conclusion

My last few days in Hong Kong were slow ones. We spent Christmas at the apartment, opening presents and enjoying them.

We played a few rounds with Mike's new mah jong set, often only very loosely following the rules.

I've always got to try the local stuff. This is Sam Seng Luk Yung Tai Pao Wine (phew). It's a bit sweet but it has a very unwine-like kick to it. A shot glass was included in the box. After I tasted it and passed it around, I started to read over the advertising. It was a treat.

Sam Seng Luk Yung Tai Pao Wine contains plenty of natural tonic which is easily absorbed by the human body. It has the remarkable efficacy to the improvement of poor appetite, gastroenteric weakness, insomnia, poor blood circulation, chills, Fatigue[sic], weak constitution, weakness after disease and childbirth and etc.

Sam Seng Luk Yung Tai Pao Wine is an excellent tonic to the health with mellow and sweet taste. It is good to drink in four seasons for both men and women. One cup befor[sic] dinner or at bedtime will be good to maintain radiant appearance and complexion, to get rid of fatigue and disease and to promise longevity.

That is but an excerpt of the rambling provided on the box. It's obviously a skillful combination of alcohol and life enriching herbal medicine.

This ingredient list is suspiciously provided on the inside of the box. Highlights include "male silkworm" and "semen cuscutae". Some worried research revealed that the latter is a plant product.

I couldn't get enough of Mike's neighborhood. The buildings have so much texture. There are so many pipes and things hanging off of everywhere.

When I go someplace new, I want to do the things. I want to eat the Hong Kong food, I want to see the shows, I want to buy the things that the people are famous for making. I don't need anything lavish, but I do want to experience the things that are quintessentially Hong Kong. That was a bit difficult to pin down sometimes, though. I think that Hong Kong is a bit of a hybrid between East and West, China and Britain. I didn't feel like there was necessarily a unique culture underlying everything, as much as there is in Japan for example. Urban centers are always a mix of things anyway, though, aren't they?

I did learn a bit about British culture during my time though. I went with Mike and Allison to a Christmas dinner with their friends. The majority of people at their company teaching English are from the UK, so the event was a bit different. We met at a pub and ate from a set course with a couple of options. The dessert options were especially British: mince pie or Christmas pudding. Those present shared stories about Christmas' past. It was a nice time.

I think that the contrast between the different parts of Hong Kong is interesting. Over the past few entries I've shown you Hong Kong's super slick skyline and a few rougher neighborhoods that take a bit more effort to love. It was all great though. I'm really glad I could check it out.

Next up: Thailand


  1. Okay, hate to tell you this but I have a bottle of this at home. Friends from Hong Kong were kind enough to tell me what's in it and why it tastes so awful. It's made from the horn of the male deer. It's also commonly given to women after giving birth so they can keep up their strength.

  2. That must be why I'm the strongest dude around.

  3. I'm from Hong Kong and can't read Chinese to save my life: drinking some of this stuff now, and it is not the most pleasant thing I've ever tried. Chinese med uses deer velvet, which comes from antlers that are relatively fresh. The Chinese believe deer velvet has rejuvenating and anti-aging properties. Let's see if I look any younger tomorrow. ;)