Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Food

Probably the hardest part of acclimating to Hong Kong for the kids and Benjy has been adjusting to the food. With nary a chicken finger or a cheese quesadilla in sight, the first couple of weeks were rough.  But, it’s amazing how quickly a growling tummy can broaden the taste bud horizons.  One of the first restaurants we ate at in Sai Kung was a dim sum restaurant.  The kids barely touched their food.  Now, three and a half months later, it’s one of their favorite restaurants in the area. 

Benjy and the kids have quickly had to learn how to use chopsticks.  All three started out with “training wheel” chopsticks that my sister had given them. 


As you could imagine, training wheel chopsticks in public are not at all cool, so those were swiftly jettisoned for the real deal.

 dad aaron eating

 As for me, I’ve discovered that, when it comes to the food in Hong Kong, I am in that respect (and, sadly, only in that respect), like Br’er Rabbit in the Briar Patch.  All the salted foods like these dried fish, shrimp, cuttlefish and oysters are quite familiar to me.   

dried fish

The heads on EVERYTHING are fine by me too. 

roasted duck

Living in Hong Kong has brought back gastronomic memories of the Filipino food I ate as a young child.  One of my favorite foods was bagoong (I’m opting out of providing the phonetic pronunciation for you) and green mangoes.  Bagoong is a Philippine condiment made of fermented baby shrimp and salt.  It’s the color of Pepto Bismal and it smells like, well, salmon-flavored cat food that’s been left out in the sun too long.  I also loved the oyster bagoong which looks like dark green slimy boogers (sorry for the graphic description, but I’m afraid it’s an accurate one) and I used to eat that with a bowl of steaming hot white rice.  After reading the foregoing, it is probably hard for you to believe that I was a picky eater as a child.  I’d barely eat any meat at all.   But, I’d eat bagoong with no complaints and I’d snack on dried fish, dried shrimp and cuttlefish similar to what’s in the picture above.  I confess as I write this my mouth is watering. :0)

I can remember my grandmother coming to visit us at our house in Meridian, MS.  We’d go fishing in a pond at a farm we owned and then she’d take the fish we caught and dry them in our backyard.  At the time, I didn’t think that it was odd at all to see fish hanging from our clothes line.  One year, we roasted a whole pig (head, snout, hoofs and all) on a bamboo spit for 3 days in our backyard in preparation for a party my parents were throwing.  Remembering it now makes me laugh and wonder what our neighbors must have thought of those crazy “Chinese people” drying fish and roasting a pig in their backyard.  It was the late 1970’s and it was Mississippi, so I’m sure we might as well have been from Mars to some of them.

So when I walk past this 


Duck egg yolks and fish drying in the sun 

And this 


I feel right at home and I’m loving it.


Lest you think that I’ve forgotten the DOD photos, here is another shot I took. 


These pooches live in my apartment complex.  Their names are Brush (on the left) and Fay(on the right).  In Hong Kong, it is a common custom for children to be named Chinese names at birth and then later, when they are older, they are permitted to choose a western name.  I was told by their human that Brush and Fay both have Chinese names, too, but I’d never be able to remember them. 

Ho Chi Minh City

Guest post by Webley Woods

The first day we were in Vietnam we went on a “back of the bike” food tour to 5 street food places, while riding on a moped. A moped is like a motorcycle.

HCMC BOB family


First we had goi du du bo which is green papaya salad. It tasted just like cole slaw.


Next we had banh khot which is coconut rice cakes topped with shrimp or pork.

Next we had bun thit nuong. This was our favorite. It was grilled chicken with noodles.

Chicken Webleysweetnoodles

We had fried spring rolls, too.


The last food that we had was bun bo hue which was pho or meat with noodles.


Dessert was a lot of ice cream with different fruit toppings.

HCMC BOB fruit dessert

HCMC BOB ice cream

HCMC BOB dessert webmomdad

Over all I thought it was really fun. I know Aaron had fun because on the moped by the end he was able to steer or do the gas.


By the time we were back at the hotel I was stuffed to the max though.

Another place we visited was the Cu Chi Tunnels. The Cu Chi tunnels are a whole underground village made by the Vietnamese during the French War. They continued construction of the tunnels during what they call the American War.

HCMC Aaron tunnel door

They slept, ate and even schooled and performed plays in the tunnels! They could stay down there for the maximum time of one month. When we finally got in the tunnels, Dad was on his hands and knees and those were widened for tourism, so imagine how small they really were!

HCMC tunnel benjy

HCMC tunnel Aaron

The tunnels were also used  for transporting troops and supplies to the battle grounds. The tunnels had three levels and included sleeping quarters, meeting rooms, hospitals, and much more.

Here are some pictures of us there:

HCMC family tunnel tank

HCMC tunnel bomb crater

Aaron and I are in a crater that was left by a bomb dropped by a B-52 U.S. bomber.

On the last day Mom and I went to a cooking class. We made spring rolls,

spring roll

green mango salad,

mango salad

and then fried rice.

lotus rice - Copy lotus rice open - Copy

The class was really fun and the food was pretty good (even for my picky taste). Here are some pictures of us at the class:

Tala eat


It was a great trip!