So, do you know where is Wallachia? Not a single clue? Me neither. I first thought it must be somewhere in some African countries like Mauritania, or Tanzania, or even Burkina Faso.
All well and good it seems, but not true even by a long shot! Turn out Wallachia is a region in Romania.
But you can't blame me for being such a dimwit for an armpit of nowhere like that, can you? For one, I'm not working for the Office of Foreign Affairs. Second, even I were, last time I checked, no one ever told me they're selling great steamed buns with BBQ pork over there.
The point is clear, that unless you work for the UN, there are endless dowdy places in the wild that you'd never have known living the rest of your life.
Let us now pan our lens closer to home and take, say, Shataukok for example. Do you know exactly where it is? How to get there, say, from Central? Here's how: you first swing into the MTR for Kowloon Tong, then you cross the turnstile for the KCR for an uninviting old town called Fanling. Next, you need to wait for bus route 78K at the terminus just outside upon arrival. By the time you finish reading Tolstoy's War and Peace and have your spine dwindled because of aging, a bus ride that takes approximately 40 minutes to get to the destination is up next. Finally, because Shataukok is a closed area, you have to show the poker-faced police officials your Closed Area Permit, which is nearly impossible to get. To wrap it up, the brutal journey to this destination far afield takes 2 hours. Just. And in case you forget to do the maths, it works out like this: flying from Hongkong to Shanghai takes as much the same.
In summary, this is the Uzbekistan of Hong Kong, with far fewer inhabitants. Nothing but the last dregs in city dweller's afterthought.
So why the quandary? Because I am told that there is a teahouse serving authentic, top of the world Hakka cuisine (個D客家菜好掂！).
The starter, as typically features among first courses, was an appetite-enhancing plate of blanch shrimps that 'fed me, our gang of 12 and there was some left over.' This was so ringin' up my 'prawnography' bell.
Stir-fried fish bladders with pork innards came up next. In the risk of boring you all to death, allow me to tell you this: The Dutch erected probably world's first condom back in the seventeenth century with fish bladders; Chinese, meanwhile, has been eating this for at least two thousand years. But both dovetails with being good for sex (the former self explanatory; the latter, according to Chinese medicinal classics, works wonder for man with infertility problem).
Back to the food, the highlight of this Hakka delicacy is timing, or for hou (火候) in Chinese. Different parts of innard require different heats -- eating overdone fish bladders with undercooked jelly-like pig's intestines or liver isn't a pleasing dining experience for sure. Ours was perfect. Again, the portion was massive.
The fare of Hoi Shan Teahouse is cheap, immorally cheap to be exact in keeping with the location. After all, looking out from the window, mainland China is just a street across.
All that being said, it's true -- I've really come this far for a decent meal. Somewhere, somehow, someone's going to
payeat. What, you think I'm kidding you? [Flickr set of the outlaying meal here]