Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Borgo and Wunsha's Kitchen - SO Hong Kong

I make that sound like it's derogatory. Why do "That is SO New York" or "That is SO Parisian" sound instantaneously better?

Many people are critical of large cities, accusing them as uniform, lacking in individuality, losing its charm in favour or multinational hooha, and so on. To some extent, this is true - starting first and foremost with the almighty golden arches, then to Starbucks and even Krispy Kreme. But then again, like its inhabitants, constantly finds itself in the battle between assertion of individuality and societal acceptance. (Dear anthropologists, psychologists and sociologists, please excuse my naive use of terminology)

Nonetheless it is within this struggle, or perhaps with this struggle as a backdrop, that there breeds another identity that is unique to that city.

What makes Hong Kong Hong Kong? I'd be here till next year if I were to go on with this ethnographic analysis, but there is one kind of cuisine that is "SO Hong Kong", actually, make that "SO Hong Kong, right now".

HKers are increasingly skeptical of 'authentic' Chinese cuisine in HK, as many are now frequent travellers to China and have tasted 'the real thing'. They usually come home with exotic stories about how they saw a snake skinned alive before their eyes, or how the chicken tasted real, unlike the fleshy chilled crap we're being fed from supermarkets. Actually, I'm one of them, but the thing is, do all these people realise that as a result, HK is steering away from what is traditionally believed to be 'authenticity', and doing just as well?

At WunSha's Kitchen, we were served a mushroom sautée in a Korean stonepot (dolsot), soy sauce chicken infused with tea, five spice poached pork with xo sauce, raw turnip and cucumber, and almond sweet soup with white fungi in a baby papaya. All of these were pretty fantastic, though hardly traditonal.

Borgo, one of the earliest in this 'genre', has an awesome signature dish of vinegar marinated fish (fish depends on what's good that day), served cold - shock and horror in the Cantonese kitchen. But it's awesome. Did I just say awesome twice? (now it's thrice...)

And that, is nothing to be ashamed of.

WunSha's Kitchen
33 Wun Sha St
Tai Hang
Hong Kong
+852 2890 1230

Borgo
GB01-02 Tai Hong St (aka Soho East - man I detest that name)
Lei Yu Mun
Hong Kong
+852 8100 8446

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