Thursday, April 23, 2015

KENNEDY TOWN AND FURTHER

When the MTR is finally completed, Kennedy Town will loose the 'beyond nowhere' ambiance. At present, the best way to get there is by the double decker trams (香港電車,西行 'heung gong din che') that run along Catchick Street to Davis, which is the last stop but one on the westward leg. One block north is the New Praya along the water, one block south is Kennedy Mansion at Belcher Street; classic crowd-housing. In between is Hau Wo Street, which stretches for only one block between Davis and the parking structure on Smithfield. Small eateries, laundromats, and shops selling items for daily use.

[Trams: 香港電車 ('heung gong din che'; incense harbour electric vehicle). The Hong Kong tram company (香港電車有限公司 'heung gong din che yau haan gung si'; 有限公司 = "have limits public manage", LTD) started service in 1904. Riding a double-decker tram is probably the best way to see the island, and during the day service is regular and frequent. Western District Trams (西環電車 'sei waan din che')) run along Catchick, then loop on Cadogan.]

My prediction is that someone will eventually want to turn Hau Wo into a destination restaurant alley. If by now that hasn't already happened; there's plenty to eat there already.


Sun Hing Restaurant, where drunken expats go for early morning eaties, is at number eight Smithfield Road where Hau Wo ends. They open early, but by a more reasonable hour (like, say, seven or eight A.M.), the clientele consists primarily of aunties and uncles scarfing down runny custard buns, siumai, and hargau.
HKU students flock here later in the day.

Do not go there at three A.M.; that one trip to Lan Kwai Fong exposed you to enough Smashed Aussies and Hamsap Englishmen to last a lifetime, you don't need anymore.
There's only so much 'Oy-mate' ruckus a grown man can take.
Beyond that it becomes dreary and repetitive.
And English perverts are jejeune.
As well as dirt-common.

[Honestly why DO so many Englishmen (and Dutchmen, Germans, etc.) display their worst side when abroad? Thailand, apparently, now assumes that every white visitor is there only to engage in degeneracy, and Malaysia justifiably employs the rotan on misbehaving white backsides. European cities standardly call out the riot squads when soccer fans flock in from neighbouring countries. Americans, I concede, are certainly not known for classy behaviour, but Euries get smashed everywhere they go, and then start waving their privates around. 
Or vomiting. It's quite incomprehensible.]


新興食家
西環堅尼地城,士美菲路,8號,地下,C號舖。
SUN HING RESTAURANT ('SAN-HING SIK-GAA')
Shop C, Ground floor, 8 Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town.

Trust me, everything is 太好食,舊式點心風味。
You will love it.

It isn't a large place, and may feel a bit crowded. But the food is great, the ambiance vibrant and bustling, and the staff friendly and helpful.
If communication becomes an issue, just point.
And please don't act drunk or hamsap.
Enjoy your meal.


香港大學出版社
HONG KONG UNIVERSITY PRESS

One other major reason to head west is books. A university bookstore is, naturally, a major magnet. The Hong Kong University Press does a few dozen titles a year (the best dictionary for students of Cantonese is one of theirs, BTW), and many of their publications are worth acquiring.
 See this link: HKU PRESS


香港大學出版社書店
香港,薄扶林道,香港大學,百周年校園,逸夫苑,地下。
HKUP Bookshop
Ground floor, Run Run Shaw Heritage House, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong.

Open five days a week, holidays excepted.
Ten till tea time.


GLOSSARY

Kennedy Town: 堅尼地城 ('kin nei dei seng'; solid nun ground city). Catchick Street: 吉席街 ('gat jik gaai'; propitious seat street). Davis Street: 爹核士街 ('de wat si gaai'; daddy kernel scholar street). New Praya: 堅彌地城新海旁 ('kin nei dei seng san hoi pong'; solid complete earth city new sea-beside). Kennedy Mansion: 堅尼地大廈 ('kin nei dei daai haa'; solid nun great multistory). Belcher Street: 卑路乍街 ('pei lou jaa gaai'; inferior road primary street). Hau Wo Street: 厚和街; 'haau wo gaai'; generous harmonize street). Cadogan Street: 加多近街 ('gaa do gan gaai'; add much nearby street). Sun Hing: 新興 ('san hing'; new prosperity, up-and-coming). Smithfield Road: 士美菲路 ('si mei fei lou'; official beauty luxuriant road).

Drunken: 醉 ('jeui'), 醉醺醺 ('jeui fan fan'; quite plastered), 飽醉 ('baau jeui'; filled up), or 爛醉 ('laan jeui'; stinko, rotten drunk); people from the British Isles are frequently 醉到啤啤 ('jeui dou pei-pei': lacquered beyond the point of being a spectacle).
Hamsap: 鹹濕 "salty - greasy"; perverted, lecherous.

Runny custard buns: 流沙包 ('lau saa baau'; flowing sand bun; 流沙 = quicksand). Apparently it's delicious. Siumai: 燒賣 (roasted vends; pork and sometimes shrimp in a pasta envelope; rarely beef).
Hargau: 蝦餃 (shrimp bonnet).

I have never had a runny custard bun, in case you were wondering.
Never even knew that there was such a thing.
And yet, I am drooling.

A few dimsums that one must try:
Haahm seui gok: 鹹水角 ("salt water cornet"), deep fried pork dumpling. Fan gwo: 粉果 ("starch fruit"), a Teochow pasta bonnet with diverse filling. Wu gok: 芋角 ("colocasia cornet"), fried taro pouf around a meaty filling, extremely good to eat with hot sauce. Yu chi gaau: 魚翅餃 ("fish fin dumpling"), shark fin dumpling; a mixed filling item so named because of the cunning way the dough skin is folded along the top.
There are, of course, very many others.

For a complete listing of dimsum, see this essay:
Dim Sum: Kinds, Names, Pronunciation (March 28, 2012)


Lan Kwai Fong: 蘭桂坊 ('laan gwai fong'; orchid laurel lane), a bar district in Central (中環 'jung waan') filled with clubs, misbehaving Westerners, and hip dives. A place to avoid. Smashed Aussies: 醉酒佬 ('jeui jau lou').
Hamsap Englishmen: 鹹濕英紅 ('haam sap ying-hong').
Euries: 歐垃圾 ('ngau laap saap').


ADDENDUM

Pok Fu Lam: 薄扶林 ("indifferent protection forest"), a village in Hong Kong (薄扶林村 'pok fu lam chuen') and the valley of the same name, on the other side of the hill from Kennedy Town. This is where the first dairy farms were established, so that Englishmen could have a proper tea, such a beverage being theretofore utterly unknown in China.

夢裡仙女

The settlement was founded in the sixteen hundreds or before. A local shrine, the Li Ling Fairy Tower (李靈仙姐塔 'lei ling sin je taap'; Li spiritual immortal elder-sister pagoda) is probably the only place where the spirit Lee Ling is venerated. According to local lore, centuries ago the village was tormented by ghosts. One night miss Lee appeared in a dream to a resident and promised to drive away the spirits. Since then the village has been under her protection.
The tower honouring her was built in 1916. Though many of the villagers are now Christian, there is still a modest yearly festival associated with the two-storey monument.

Presently modern housing development threatens the village.
It is likely that it will make way for apartment blocks.
Trampled under the hooves of progress.



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