February 12, 2022

Only the brave

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The situation in Hong Kong has worsened rather quickly in the last 2 weeks, as the number of new confirmed cases of Covid-19 has nearly quadrupled in the space of a week.  I guess this was inevitable, as families were likely to ignore the government's warning and continued to gather and congregate during the lunar new year holidays.  Social distancing measures have been further tightened and took effect 2 days ago. It now makes a lot less sense to dine out, especially at certain establishments. Unvaccinated people are now effectively unable to enter some restaurants, and I've already seen dining rooms at restaurants being pretty empty starting from the day the stringent measures took effect.

We had a table at Seventh Son (家全七福) for lunch today as it still allows for a table of 4 on account of it operating as a Type D restaurant. This is as safe as it gets in Hong Kong, as it means all staff on premise at the restaurant must have completed 2 doses of Covid-19 vaccine, and all dine-in customers must have received at least one dose of vaccine. Perhaps due to the requirement that diners be vaccinated, and clearly as a result of fear among the population, the restaurant's main dining room today was maybe a third full.

I was pretty happy that the couple in the Tiny Urban Kitchen could join us today, as they're always pretty fun. The funny thing is that they've only been here a couple of times, and each time I've been present at the table. We chose to collectively order some dim sum items and dishes that appealed to us.

Marinated jellyfish with spring onions oil (香麻海蜇)

Fried wontons with crab and chives (韮王炸蟹盒) - Sankala loves this, so we're having this again. It IS pretty tasty... with crispy wrapper and a springy filling.

Steamed prawn dumplings (七福鮮蝦餃) - this time around the wrappers were thinner and more translucent, and these had not been over-steamed.

Steamed chicken feet in black bean sauce (豉汁蒸鳳爪)

Pan-fried radish cake with cured meat (香煎蘿蔔糕) - always liked these, and I love those big strips of radish inside. Very nice and moist, but still held the shape.

Braised winter bamboo shoot with shrimp roe (蝦籽乾燒冬筍) - I do love this dish, and as it happened we also ordered this when we first met up in Hong Kong. Delicious, crunchy winter bamboo shoots.

Shrimp toasts (窩貼明蝦) - apparently our friends haven't had these in a while, so I ordered this again. Not as moist and soggy as a few weeks ago, so this was better.

Steamed rice flour rolls with spring roll (春風得意腸) - these were rice rolls wrapped around deep-fried spring rolls and then steamed. The spring rolls inside were pretty nice, with strips of pork and chunks of shrimp along with yellowed chives (韭黃). But the rice rolls were grossly over-steamed and got to be mushy, just like they were 2 weeks ago.

Stir-fried glutinous rice with preserved meat (生炒臘味糯米飯) - I haven't had this dish for a long time, and since it's seasonal, I just had to go for it. While we didn't think the rice was truly 生炒 - fried in the wok from uncooked rice grains - it was good enough for me and brought back fond memories of having this in years past. The rice grains had good bite, although I would have preferred them to be just a tad less moist.

We had a pretty good time, and I was grateful for the opportunity to catch up with my friends again. I hope the situation in Hong Kong improves so that the social distancing restrictions and dining bans are relaxed. Meanwhile, at least I know of some places where I feel relatively safe when I remove my mask.

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