We’ve had incredible food this week and very, very low prices eating local. I can’t say eating “like” a local in this city with such high poverty it’s staggering–I can’t imagine that someone running a shop 12 hours a day has that much time to eat out. In fact, the Hong Kong government released a Poverty Situation Report 2015 that spells-out the plan for dealing with poverty in this city-state. But in this “eating local’ experience, except for our two meals on Hong Kong Island, averaging $60+ each, we haven’t spent more than $40 for three people. That always is the trick for the most authentic food at the best (local) prices: eating in neighborhoods where the heartbeat of the people is louder than the heartbeat of the cash. In other words, one MUST avoid the “Hard Rock” area of any city and stick to the neighborhoods where life really happens. For us, this week, that has been Mong Kok.
What I learned new this time, though, is that eating Asian food in Asia doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s all really, really great food. We’ve learned this in Europe. I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me, here. Just like in any place, there are mediocres. Like Dalat Vietnamese Restaurant. After several meals of different cuisines, we settled this night on one we hadn’t tried, Vietnamese. While the food was pretty good, the rest of the experience at this particular restaurant was less than desirable. A long, narrow restaurant with tight seating. Dirty dishes stacked by the back door to the alley. The bathroom *almost* at the back-alley-exit (literally, just before the open back door leading to the alley-way between buildings). Eh. Much less than desirable. My son said, well, I guess we should make sure we use Open Rice rather than just choosing a place.
This is where technology is a big plus. In the US we have Zomato, Yelp and Open Table. Here, there is Open Rice. It’s an app to use and use often…or always. A little mediocre is minor amidst the other wonderful choices, but we will be sure to consult open rice first from now on.