Posted by: Sam Olsen | September 7, 2011

Heavy food

One of the advantages of living in China is that you have all the heavy metal you can want. Not in the form of Iron Maiden you understand – they are more likely to be found in India, where they have recently developed a unique and obsessive following – but mercury, lead and other metallic food additives. Lucky us. I don’t particularly want to star as the Mad Hatter in a contemporary remake of Alice in Wonderland, but if you eat local produce then there is a good chance of it. Indeed, a HK study revealed several people over the last few years have been severely effected by mercury alone through over consumption of fish, among them a two-year old.

But as ever, there are choices to be made. Does one hold out for the expensive option of Australian meat every time, or go with the cheaper but riskier local flow? Larry gets the Antipodean choice each meal, but his parents are happy to chance it more times than not as they are spending all their money on the rent.

And if you want cheap food, then Hong Kong is the place to come. The combined cost of lunch of both parents today came to a whopping $60 (£5) including drinks. The trick though is to find a place which at least looks like it doesn’t have silver polish as an ingredient.

Canteen is the name of our favourite local, ahem, economy kitchen. (And with a tagline of “eat. Can be more…” what is there not to like?) For $36 you can get a “twin rice box” – more rice than you can manage, two meat dishes, plus drink. It doesn’t taste of industrial effluent, quite the reverse in fact. The only less than attractive element is their habit of hanging whole roast ducks and chickens (with beaks still on) just above where you order, but this is better than having live snakes and turtles floating about around your table as they do elsewhere. But, and this is a big but, why is it we are the only gwailos there every time we go. What does the expat community know that we don’t? One way tickets to the mental hospitals could be on the way…

Lovely roast chickenBill please


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