But anyway, back to World Asia Cafe, which is hosted by Bobby Chinn. Bobby Chinn is a restaurateur who has a restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam. The first episode of World Asia Cafe was in Hong Kong. Chinn opened by stating that in Hong Kong, when they greet you, they don’t say hi, hey, how are you? They say, “Have you eaten yet?” – this is actually a typical Chinese greeting. But it does not mean, “Are you hungry, do you want something to eat?” it just means “Hey, how are you?” We don’t really want to feed you when we say that. The correct answer is, “I’ve eaten” just like when someone asks “How are you?” you’re supposed to say, “Good” – not some long winded answer about how good or bad your day has been.
The highlight of the show was straight after this opening. Bobby Chinn was at a stall where they served snake as a dish. Yes, bizarre food here we come. Chinese are famous for eating everything – Chinese will eat anything that walks, flies, jumps, swims – and even slithers. I have never eaten snake before or been in a food shop/cafe/hawker stall that sells live snake. The snake slithered around Chinn’s shoulders before it was killed and cooked.
But the show went down hill from there.
Chinn showed viewers how to make fried rice, seafood congee (rice porridge or ‘jook’), and sweet and sour. I mean puh-lease. Fried rice, congee and sweet and sour? I guess this show isn’t about real Asian street food, it’s more about what Westerners think of Asian food – apart from the congee dish. But really, congee doesn’t have a place on a cooking show unless it’s Cooking for Dummies.
It was disappointing because there are a lot of great street food in Hong Kong that I’ve only seen in Hong Kong. But I wouldn’t count fried rice, congee or sweet and sour as any of these great street foods.
But I guess it was a good effort for a first ever episode.