Sunday, July 8, 2018
I’ve been to some shockingly bad Hong Kong cafés in my time, all of them in Hong Kong. Cramped, crowded, legitimately unsanitary… don’t get me wrong, it’s meant to be that way.
But this place in Melbourne’s Chinatown takes the cake. I don’t know if it’s because it’s inside a crusty and neglected European-style terrace, but the combination of that with the eight tables crammed into a room not even big enough to fit a car, and the twelve-page menu plastered all over every single wall like a Hollywood psychopath’s bedroom, just kind of made my skin crawl.
You could tell they took the utmost care, too: when I asked for a ham and egg sandwich, they kindly offered a choice between fried and scrambled (fancy!). And when they delivered my satay beef instant noodles in a colour-coded plastic bowl, it was meticulously garnished with a single pea and a slice of chilli.
The crazy thing is, it all tasted right. The flavours were spot-on. And in spite of being located at the end of an obscure back-alley, this place was PACKED the entire time I was there.
I guess the taste of home really does go a long way.
The ABCs of ABCs is a light-hearted attempt to explain the ins and outs of Australian-Born Chinese culture for Caucasians who can’t make any sense of it. There’s a lot of idiosyncratic behaviour I get asked the same questions about, so I’m doing my best to answer them. Call it my way of bridging the gap between cultures.