Actually, before Gary and I went on our little two day debauch, we decided the allure of the dog meat smell at the Walled City made us a bit peckish. So, Gary insisted we have have some authentic Hong Kong cuisine.
He decided on the perfect place for me. That’s what he told me while supressing very obvious urge to start giggling. I knew I was in trouble.
Don’t ask me where we ended up. I have no clue. The best I could understand was it was along the coastline to a body of water I think they called “Junk Bay” which pretty well gives you an idea about how dinner went.
You know those hole-in-the-wall diners you occasionally see in small towns with a beat up sign outside that just says “Eat”? Presumably, because the owner didn’t have the cash for a sign with the name on it or didn’t care enough to even make up a name at all? That was this place.
I knew I was in for a real treat when I stepped into the restaurant and hit my head on the door frame. However, I felt better once we got inside. It looked a lot nicer than expected and had close to a full house.
The ceiling in the entire place was six feet high. This was done specifically to ensure that all tall American half-wits would hit their heads on EVERYTHING. Every time I stood up, my head went through a ceiling tile. It didn’t matter where I walked. My head would periodically hit something strategically placed by management as revenge for a history of ancestoral round-eye indiscretions. As we stood waiting for a table, the customers kept glancing at me briefly before discussing, among themselves, the various aspects of my inferior white-round-eye-running-dog heritage.
There was a large fish tank ahead of us which I guessed was management’s idea to add a little atmosphere. The maître ď, looking way too happy to see us, started making some excitedly odd gestures while pointing to the fish tank indicating that whatever we wanted for dinner was currently swimming IN THE FISHTANK.
The idea was to identify the one out of 50 fish frantically swimming in the tank for honorable chef to prepare it and for me to eat it.
Now, we’re not taking any fish. These fish were considered delicacies. Delicacies, in the fish world, are, evidently, fish caught at the sewage treatment facility right next to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
I mean, these were some seriously fucked up looking fish: eyeballs in various places, thorns sticking out, horns, fluorescent colored skin with major league deformities.
I asked for suggestions from Gary.
“Like I care. It’s fish. Pick one.”
So, I looked around for the least offensive looking one of the bunch and selected it before being guided to our table by a stunning looking woman. I was staring at her while we walked before hitting my head on a piece of wood protruding from the ceiling much to the amusement of the other patrons.
The woman gave us menus and I prayed they would have anything I could actually eat which they didn’t. I knew this immediately because the first item on the menu is something called FISHLIP CASSEROLE. You think I’m kidding. I am not kidding.
The other appetizers didn’t look much better. Fish Balls. That was next on the menu. The house speciality was Chicken Feet. Oh, if Chicken Feet wasn’t bad enough then they could’ve always rustled up a basket of Chicken Testicles. We could always have gotten some Stinky Tofu. What could be better then some good old Stinky Tofu and spending a couple hours next to a guy cooking dog meat? I was advised by the waiter that I probably wouldn’t care for the Turtle Jelly as it was a bit of an acquired taste. We went with the Snake Soup which smelled like wet mulch. It definitely did not taste like chicken.
It tasted like shit.
We ordered a couple rounds of the stiffest drinks they had. I was hoping there’d be enough booze to kill my taste buds. I could only handle two drinks because, even though they put in plenty of grain alcohol, the taste was an unfortunate blend of Diet Mountain Dew and formaldehyde.
“Dinner” consisted of something that may have been the totally disgusting fish all cut up but looked no less horrifying than it did in the tank. There were some weird things that look like oysters but were so slimy that I couldn’t transfer it from plate to mouth without putting my mouth on the edge of the plate and shoveling them in. There was, also, some sinister looking yellow, grainy mass. The idea was to put a little of this yellow crap on your fish before eating to give it a kick.
This is something you must never do.
Now, I’ve had spicey food in my life but NOTHING like this. It was so hot I literally jumped to my feet (putting another hole in the ceiling) much to the amusement of everyone in the place who enjoyed watching Loser-American-Maggot explode into little pieces. This stuff made my toes hurt. I was drenched in sweat within two seconds.
Once I came off life support, I had to eat the rest of it just to show I wasn’t some stupid American who couldn’t handle local cuisine which, as it later turned out, I couldn’t.
Oh, yeah, desert. I think the desert was their take on flan. You’ve heard the saying there’s no difference between good flan and bad flan? Oh, yes there is. You don’t know for bad flan until you’ve tried THEIR flan. THEIR flan looked like someone with a horrendous sinus infection sneezed into a bowl a half dozen times and someone with a sense of humor put a cherry on top of it.
It wasn’t long after we left the place when I threw it all up. Dinner didn’t taste any better the second time.
It didn’t taste any worse, either.
I considered the visit to the Walled City earlier that day to be an eye-opening experience especially since it was me that I was eyeing.
Anyway, we went back to the island where we partied our blues away for the next couple days with 20 or so of my new best friends. Way too much fun. I’ll spare you the details. I survived.
Best we leave it at that.