The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Learning to Dine and Wine, Hong Kong Style

Posted on | May 11, 2010 | Written by Jane Nelson | 3 Comments

Finally after nearly twenty-two hours on a plane, I arrived in Hong Kong. I was slightly tired—and more than slightly hungry. I was hungry to the point of feeling that I would never feel full again. I was quickly proven wrong because the four members of IWM Hong Kong showed me what it is to eat as if there is no tomorrow.

Meals are communal here. Often one person orders a variety of dishes for the whole table, and everyone serves each other. Even when we order individual dishes, once the plates are set down on the table the first action is to offer and to serve a portion to your companions. I was accustomed to sharing my food with my large family at meals, but the ceremony of offering one’s food to others is new to me, and I’m growing to love it—and to fear it.

IWM Hong Kong has quickly adopted the Hong Kong tradition of Dim Sum lunches, and the group customarily orders at least two additional items for the table. At my first Dim Sum lunch with the team, I made the mistake of thinking that a bunch of small pieces would not fill me up as much as one large sandwich. However, by the time dish five of around thirteen was delivered, I was well past full. As each round passed, I was leaving more and more remnants on my plate. More disconcerting, however, was the contrast between my stamina and the stamina of the four other people at my table. They showed no sign of weakness and happily welcomed the suggestion of seconds. By the time the meal finally drew to a close, I was glad to walk back to the office and minimize some of the damage of the meal.

For the past week, I have grown increasingly anxious at meal times. I have to approach each meal with strategy, looking at my eating plan of attack, auguring what food there is to follow, and calculating at what point in the meal I’ll have to submit and call it quits. Moreover, I’ve had so much food to consume that I often can’t even consider adding wine to the agenda. However, last Friday night proved a successful campaign that included food, wine, and fortuitous planning.

At about 9:30pm we decided it was time to pack it in for the day and go grab some dinner. A cab ride across a very long bridge brought us to what is considered the best roast goose in Hong Kong. We brought our own wine to accompany: Fantinel Refosco and Tocai Friulano. As the dishes started to stream from the kitchen, I took a deep breath, bracing myself for impact. The first dish was none other than the whole roast goose. I was reminded of the scene in the perennial holiday movie classic A Christmas Story. Like the one brought to the table of the hapless Parker family, our goose too was brought to the table with beak intact. I couldn’t resist the temptation to quote the movie and say, “Fra-gi-le… Must be Italian.” Thank goodness for the fact that our wine was Italian, so the scene was brought full circle. The Tocai was classic and appropriate—a zippy white wine with Chinese food is a necessity. To my pleasant surprise, the biggest feat of the night was my ability to make it through the entire meal without begging “Uncle,” and how well the Refosco complemented the food.

I’m learning a lot here in Hong Kong. It’s exciting, vibrant and new. I also can’t help but miss my own bed and my customary midday sandwich. In the meantime, I’m off to another Dim Sum lunch, which I’ll enjoy with proper planning.


3 Responses to “Learning to Dine and Wine, Hong Kong Style”

  1. Kerry-Jo Rizzo
    May 11th, 2010 @ 11:18 am

    Sounds amazing!

  2. perry
    May 11th, 2010 @ 11:40 am

    sj-when you come back you may actually be over 90lbs?? p

  3. Kerry-Jo
    May 12th, 2010 @ 9:35 am

    I’d give anything for the best roast goose in HK, lol. Glad your having fun out there!

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