This is no industrialized production of the Tsui Wah fish noodle (翠華) – where the food ingredients are made in bundles of plastic bags at a factory somewhere in the Mainland.
This is 山窿謝記魚蛋 (literally Tse Kei Fish Ball at Cave). Carefully selecting three kind of fishes, Mrs. Tse makes fish balls, fish slice and fish skin everyday which will all be sold out by midday.
The ones I like the most, and also the one I have to fight for before they are sold out again, are the fried fish balls and fried fish slice. The crispiness at the outermost layer just works hand in gloves with the fresh fish meat to produce the ‘springy’ texture within your mouth.
|The good and old fashioned menue|
Sadly, this place is going to close by the end of this March due to inflation, lack of fresh fish supply and lack of people with the same insistence to continue the business anymore.
Another truly representing Hong Kong food, 美而廉 (literally Good and Cheap) is sliding into sunset as well. In there, you see old folks running here and there, busy serving dishes, piling glass and heavy metal plate on top of their arms – an acrobatic feat akin to performances in La Cirque du Soleil.
And here they are – delivering my mélange of sausage, grilled pork and sirloins steak, along with a glass of lemon coke, on a hot cow – shaped metal plate. When the old folk pour the pepper sauce, the metal plate sizzles, with vapour and smoke rising up in the air.
|The unpretentious melange|
My mom said when she was at my age, 美而廉 was a fashionable place where young people went to have a steak after clubbing. Now the long queu of people at the front, most of them in 20s or early 30s, testifies after 20 or 30 years, this is still the fashionable place where people go to have a steak.
I look back. With briskness, the old folks move but with sadness, they’ll leave jobless, sooner or later. This place, like 山窿謝記魚蛋, is going to close soon – at late April.
With the old culture fading, what will fill this up? With the industrialized mass production of fast food from Café de Coral (大家樂) or with the army of amorphous waiters at Tsui Wah? I know not.