Sunday, May 5, 2013

Se Wong Yee at Causeway Bay - a lucky find in more ways than one

In the vibrant food paradise that is Hong Kong, there seems to be a restaurant for every 10 steps that you take .  Hong Kong natives are serious foodies -- witness the very engaged and opinionated members of that invaluable culinary resource,  
My purpose for arriving for a business meeting a day ahead was to ensure that I could walk around, discover something new,   indulge in old favorites (yes, fall off the vegetarian wagon yet again) and experiment with new tastes.  
That sounds so lofty -- but who am I kidding.  I arrived early to stuff my face silly.

My room at J Plus Hotel was not yet ready when I checked in a little before noon.  Which was just perfect, I could walk around and find a place for lunch.  
Causeway Bay has lots of alleys and side streets where good eats can be had.  
My footsteps led me to Percival Street, where I saw this very attractive red frontage.  
Big thanks to Google maps for the image you see above since in my haste and hunger, I forgot to take a photo.
The signage was in Chinese but it looked inviting and I saw the usual suspects hanging in the window, duck, goose, roast pork and char siew and dark chinese sausages. 
It looked like just the place to have my first lunch in Hong Kong!

The lunch time crowd looked like a bunch of regulars. Menu boards were in Chinese but the waiter gave me a one page english menu that showed just the basics -- the topped rice with the various roast meats.  
Later on, I would learn from my research on that the name of the restaurant was Se Wong Yee and that its specialty was actually snake soup!  That and the aforementioned roast meats.
It's a good thing I didn't see snake soup in the english menu ... who knows what I might have done.
I'd hate to have my baser foodie self in a confrontation with my anaconda loving self!

Nothing goes better with Chinese food, specially roast meats than a cold cold Coca Cola!

The waiter was quite amused when I pointed to my order -- roast pork on rice and roast goose.
Bird flu be damned!  Vegetarianism, go hang! My baser foodie self gets the better of me every time.
What I ordered are really very common dishes but when done uncommonly well, they are better than any gourmet meal.
The roast pork meat was  lean and tender with only the thinnest bit of fat between the meat and the crackling skin. The roast goose was flavorful right done to the tiniest bone.
Did I finish this meal?  My oily lips are sealed.

The food at Se Wong Yee, heretofore untested and untried, was a lucky find.  
The other serendipitous discovery was that of my lunch mate -- since the restaurant was so full, I had to share my table for 2 with this smiling and friendly Chinese gentleman.  
He spoke english and told me that he was a 77 year old retired civil servant, a regular at the restaurant and had just come from church. 
We passed a pleasant time together, sharing our individual meals (guess who ordered more?) and sharing bits and pieces about our lives.  
It was such a nice way to spend a lunch hour.  I enjoy eating alone but having a cheerful, amiable lunch companion, albeit someone I didn't even know, seemed like a pre-destined gift from the travel gods ... and a wonderful start to my Hong Kong week-end!

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