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Catching Up.

Meeting friends from school.

rain

It's now Christmas holiday time, so everyone I used to work with is currently on holiday. This gives me a chance to catch up with some of my friends.

On Monday I met up with four friends and two of their kids for dim sum in Shau Kei Wan. Going out for a dim sum brunch is very popular here. I only like to do it when I am with Chinese friends as they know what they are doing and what to order.

Dim sum literally means 'touch heart' and refers to dining on a wide variety of small portions of food often served in bamboo baskets that are placed in the centre of the table and shared among the whole group. Dim sum is always accompanied with tea and drinking this tea is known as having 'yum cha'. For our dim sum we had congee, a variety of different dumplings filled with pork, shrimp and vegetables, spring rolls, green leafy vegetables, custard buns decorated with little faces and slices of turnip cake.

Before beginning a dim sum meal, Chinese people rinse all their utensils in tea to sterilize them. This uses up most of the first pot of tea. To get more it is customary to remove the tea pot lid. This is a way of communicating to the wait staff that it's time for a hot water refill. The tea pot can be refilled many times during a meal.

In some restaurants diners are given a form listing all the different kinds of dim sum. They then just tick what they want. In other restaurants wait staff wheel around a steam cart filled with different kinds of dim sum and diners order what they want as these carts pass by.

Outside the restaurant.

Outside the restaurant.

Enjoying our dim sum together.

Enjoying our dim sum together.

Enjoying our dim sum together.

Enjoying our dim sum together.

Dumplings in a spicy sauce.

Dumplings in a spicy sauce.

Siu mai which are open pork or prawn dumplings and tea, of course.

Siu mai which are open pork or prawn dumplings and tea, of course.

Congee and leafy greens.

Congee and leafy greens.

Turnip cake.

Turnip cake.

Spring Rolls.

Spring Rolls.

When someone pours tea for you at yum cha, it's customary to thank them by tapping the table twice with bent fingers. There's a legend about why this is done.

Long ago in Ancient China there was an emperor named Qianlong who grew tired of constantly being waited upon. He wanted to experience, even briefly, life the way a normal, non-royal person would, so he took off his fine robes and dressed as a commoner. Then he set out into the world with some of his most trusted servants. The emperor insisted that these servants treat him as an equal, so that his people would not know who he was. After some time, the group grew thirsty and tired and stopped in a restaurant to drink some tea. The emperor insisted on humbling himself by pouring tea for each of his servants. To be waited on by an emperor was such an unbelievable honour for them, that the servants wanted to bow down before him to express their gratitude, but to do so would reveal the emperor's identity, so they showed their respect instead by tapping their bent fingers on the table after the tea had been poured. This tradition, known as finger kowtowing, continues to the present day and indicates gratitude and respect towards the person pouring the tea.

After we had eaten our fill of dim sum, we headed to one of my friend's new flat. She has moved their temporarily while having the flat she owns renovated. One of the most annoying things about living in Hong Kong is having to endure the noise and mess of people around you having their flats renovated, but the renovations are actually necessary as the climate here is very brutal towards everything with its high levels of humidity. It's amazing how quickly things discolour and fall apart here.

The block that my friend has moved to had very attractive Christmas decorations. Apparently there is a little model train that travels around the teddy bear at night.

Christmas tree in the mall where we ate dim sum.

Christmas tree in the mall where we ate dim sum.

Teddy, Christmas tree and railway.

Teddy, Christmas tree and railway.

Yang posing with the Christmas teddy.

Yang posing with the Christmas teddy.

In my friend Linda's new home.

In my friend Linda's new home.

Lai enjoying a warming cup of tea.

Lai enjoying a warming cup of tea.

Next day, which was Tuesday, I went to Lamma Island again to meet up with friends for a barbecue and a wander around Lamma. The barbecue was in my friend Adrian's garden and the stroll involved going up to a beautiful viewpoint on the top of Lamma Island with 360° views all around. It was possible to see Hong Kong Island, Cheung Chau and Lantau Island from up there.

Beautiful cat.

Beautiful cat.

Our group out for a walk.

Our group out for a walk.

And at the top of the island.

And at the top of the island.

Stone throwing competition.

Stone throwing competition.

Playing at the top of the world.

Playing at the top of the world.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

White Butterfly Flowers.

White Butterfly Flowers.

Papayas.

Papayas.

On the way back down we walked through Tai Ping Village. This is the highest of the villages that make up Yung Shue Wan. Apparently in the olden days people lived up here to try and avoid the pillage and destruction of pirate attacks. The village's name means peaceful place on flat land and it certainly is very peaceful here. There was an amazing garden filled with flowers, vegetables and sculptures here.

Tai Ping Village.

Tai Ping Village.

Tai Ping Village.

Tai Ping Village.

Tai Ping Village.

Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

We then walked down to the village and grabbed a quick beer before catching the ferry back to Central. We sat outside Dale Candela a Spanish tapas restaurant.

Quick drink in Spanish tapas restaurant before boarding ferry.

Quick drink in Spanish tapas restaurant before boarding ferry.

Quick drink in Spanish tapas restaurant before boarding ferry.

Quick drink in Spanish tapas restaurant before boarding ferry.

It was the shortest day so by the time I got home the sun was setting.

Wintery sunset over Discovery Bay.

Wintery sunset over Discovery Bay.

Wintery sunset over Discovery Bay.

Wintery sunset over Discovery Bay.

Posted by irenevt 01:11 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Dim sum lunch sounds fun and looks delicious! :)

The "tea thanking"-custom is interesting, while playing (texas hold'em) poker when you tap table twice you fold that round :)

by hennaonthetrek

That could pose difficulties for Chinese tea drinking gamblers. Haha.

by irenevt

Hi Irene, another interesting blog. -- The kettles aways on here, so the varnish on the tables would suffer.

by alectrevor

The British and the Chinese certainly have tea drinking in common, Alec.

by irenevt

What a beautiful kitty. I'm always taking pictures of cats. Looks like a fun day.

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally, my friend had two cats. That one was the friendly cat. The less friendly one was asleep.

by irenevt

You remind me that it must be years since I had dim sum! It all looks and sounds delicious apart from the congee - I'm not a fan :( Love the views on your walk too, and off course the cute cat!

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, early on in our stay here Peter and I had dim sum and weren't at all impressed. The first time I liked it was when I went out with a large group of people from work. They knew all the best stuff to order. To be honest I'd probably only get it if I was with Chinese friends.

by irenevt

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