One of the huge advantages I found in CouchSurfing during my time in Hong Kong was getting a local’s experience of a town. And that wasn’t just limited to sightseeing and information, but to eating as well, particularly with a cuisine as foreign as Chinese!
I ate dinner with my host, Roddy, all three nights I stayed with him. The first night we shared Taiwanese fare. The second, a break with Vietnamese fare. My last night, we settled for something on the adventurous side (for me, at least)…the cuisine from a town in neighboring Guangdong province (where Guangzhou is).
As we approached, Roddy warned me that it was a very “local” (read: hole in the wall) place and that the food “was tasty, but not pretty.” He wasn’t kidding. But, feeling up for something new, I entrusted my appetite to him (as the menu was entirely in Cantonese).
For a main course we settled on something easy; fish of the day (whatever it was). Since we were right by the ocean, it seemed like a plan. But we needed a smaller dish to go with it. I was given three choices, all of which sounded abstract:
- Rice with dried fish
- Squid with something
- Goose Wings
None of them sounded particularly appetizing, but I figured, I’d had chicken and turkey wings before…how different could goose wings be?
The food arrived and the fish was quite tasty. Of course, it was a whole fish that had simply been cut open, which, while not my favorite way of serving fish, does not really phase me as I’ve had it many times before. But the goose wings looked rather horrifying.
I watched Roddy skillfully eat one, as he basically put the entire thing in his mouth and spit out of the bones, absolutely clean. This thought was quite unappetizing to me, so I picked up a piece and struggled to get the meat off with my chopsticks. Unsuccessful, Roddy asked the waitress for a fork to help me. “Ta” he says. The waitress walks away scoffing “Ta!”
The fork arrives (after a bit of a laugh in the kitchen) and I try the goose meat, which was amazingly rubbery. I only had two wings before I gave up and focused on the fish!
Roddy mentioned he was impressed that I chose to eat there, as most Westerners wouldn’t have. And to be perfectly honest, if it weren’t for my CouchSurfing host, I probably wouldn’t have!