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It was awesome to see a familiar face in Hong Kong. My cousin Joel was in HK broadcasting for the East Asian Games. He covered synchronized sword fighting, badmitten, and wind surfing… no joke. We met up for dinner and I was relieved to hear him say, “Anything but Chinese.” So we headed to Al’s Diner in Lan Kwai Fung for a Yankee-friendly feast and dined al fresco. Sitting outside in LKF is an invitation for pesky people to sell, buy, solicit, or otherwise annoy. But, with the right attitude, it can be entertaining.

Before we even ordered drinks, a man *dressed* as a monk approached. These faux-monks prevail in any area with a combination of  1. Westerners, and 2. Alcohol. Faux-monks want you to think they have no worldly possessions or money and rely on you to give them alms. This grievous deception is one of many schemes to part Westerners from their money. The orange-robe-clad “monk” went straight for Joel with an outstretched arm. Of course we did not comply. About 3 minutes later, a woman selling blinking, pink devil horns approached. “80 dolla” she proclaimed, to which Joel replied “20 dolla” and she agreed. There’s a lesson in bargaining for you. 20 hong kong dollars is about 1.60 US. To cap off the evening, yet another panhandler came up to us with a sneakier than usual look about him. He was selling buttons shaped like a certain part of the male anatomy and announced to Joel exactly what it was that he was selling… in a voice about 3 decibals louder than neccisary he pointed to the buttons (which were also blinking) and exclaimed, “penis!”. Yes sir, thank you we can see that because it’s blinking.

All in all a great night, thank you to Joel for giving me a call when he was in town. It was so good to see him.

Some things just do not belong on a pizza. For example: squid, octopus, imitation crab legs, or 1000 Island Dressing. Let alone all together as found on the “seafood pizza” from Pizza Hut.

Next time, it’s Ham & Pineapple for me!

The was just a small portion of all the food that came our way!

The was just a small portion of all the food that came our way!

I experienced the “adventurous Hong Konger palate” first hand at a Chinese Hot Pot. First off, I’m very grateful to our host, (pictured below, left) who helped navigate the waters. It would have been impossible without his guidance! TIP: If you are in an Asian country and want to do this…be sure to get a local to go with you!

Our friends helped navigate the murky waters of hot pot dining. Hot Pot is a popular dining option in Hong Kong, usually more so in the “cold” winters of 70°F. A pot of boiling broth is brought to the table along with raw ingredients, which you then submerge in the broth until it is cooked to your liking. It was mostly DELICIOUS: mushroom, squid, chicken, crab, lamb, steak, oysters, corn, udon.

Other bits… (the rooster testicle, sea urchin, bone marrow, or pig’s skin perhaps?) were not so much to my liking – but a great, and very fun experience regardless! I weaseled out of eating the fish head. Unsurprisingly, that task fell on Conor who did a great job.