Posted by: jyunbugspeaks | May 14, 2012

Jyunbugspeaks in Hong Kong: Where East Meets West…and then some.

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Well I’ve arrived in the bustling and crazy city called Hong Kong. Now if you are not familiar with this city I can tell you that it’s one of a kind. It’s not quite orderly chaotic as Tokyo and not as friendly as Taiwan, Hong Kong is a city all its own. Its between the rudeness of New York and crazy frenetic atmosphere of London. It also blazing hot now and not recommended to visit this time of the year (April till November) unless you love pollution and stifling humid heat. I’m not kidding I had a chance to visit during the Chinese New Year (February) and that was pleasantly comfortable. Like I can wear a light jacket, however people over here seem to panic when the thermometer drops below the 20’s and scramble for North Face or Canadian Goose lined winter jackets! Right now i need a drug called AC, that’s Air Conditioning. I crave it every 15 minutes as my internal body temp soars as I navigate through this metropolis during high noon. I try to enjoy the outdoor temples and the lovely botanical gardens however in a few hours I succumb to the heat and start to seek out a mall.

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That’s where the AC is and I make a bee line to cool down. You see Hong Kong is the land that showcases financial excess and wealth with shopping malls. There are malls at every metro stop. Sometimes 2 or 3 in one densely packed area. There’s the IFC, Pacific Place, Landmark, Langham, iSquare, Lane Crawford and The Miramar just to name a few. In all there are over 90 malls just between the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. This city is mainly made for tourists and shopaholics however if you can get past all the glitch and glamour you will find some awesome places to see and eat!

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Let’s not forget the Hong Kong has some of the best tasting and cheapest foods around! All you need to do is start walking around Wan Chai, TST or Mong Kok and soon you’ll bump into a cafe, diner or restaurant that will tickle your fancy. I mean there are even more restaurants than malls if you can believe that! I’ve had curry, noodles, pizza, spaghetti, fish and chips, vegetarian, vietnamese, hot pot and I still have a week left! I’ve just barely scratched the surface. Oh I’ve eaten so many different types of breakfast sets than I care to remember. Both asian and american styles!

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Before I took off to Hong Kong I did some research on the culinary hotspots or unique place that this city offered and one such place was called Butao. This tiny japanese noodle joint first caught my attention on a food show in Canada and the host raved about its hand made noodles and the incredible slow simmering pork broth. Apparently a Japanese expat that perfected his broth in Japan brought his recipe and hand made noodles to Hong Kong to ply his trade to new and eager customers. Well in a few years his popularity grew so much and so fast that his restaurant is now on every top 10 ramen list in Hong Kong and around the world.

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Now coming from a Japanese family and raised on noodles I was intrigued. Even the soft curdled Japanese egg was a euphoric delight to the host that I had to try it. C’mon an EGG?! Well I finally tracked it down and i scoped it out early around 10:30am. To my surprise there was a lineup already! At least 20 people long (the lineup is not visible on the shot) I had to ask to make sure this was the line up and sure enough it was. I was also told that I should line up now as they only serve 200 bowls a day and then once they hit that magic number they close up shop?! Well at first i was like, hell no i’m not waiting in line for some noodles but I kept seeing the pure enjoyment of that host slurping those noodles and broth in my mind that I couldn’t pass it up. I’m such a sucker for lineups. I also thought I don’t plan on coming to Hong Kong often so after an hour(!) in line I finally got to sink my teeth into this famous bowl of noodles.

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The noodles and broth can be custom made to your liking! You want it extra hot, soft texture noodles and with seaweed no problem. I had the works plus the Japanese soft curdled egg and they did not disappoint at all! What can I say…pure noodle heaven. The broth is unlike anything I’ve tasted (and I’ve tasted quite a bit). It’s so rich and creamy, I was told that they simmer and cook the broth for hours in the morning and its that smell that draws the crowds every day.

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If you ever get a chance to drop by Butao in Hong Kong, go for it! It’s definitely worth the wait…and be prepared to wait though, you have been warned.

Food: 5 out of 5        Service: 4 out of 5          Atmosphere: 3 out of 5            Price: 3 out of 5

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