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Beijing, Shanghai and Surrounding Areas


amyknyc
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For those who are interested in touring Hong Kong, I just found a website "ypmap.com" which offers online interactive maps of Hong Kong. You may search by street name, building name, and it even has an area showing tourist attractions. I tried it and it works fairly well. It offers searches in Chinese as well. You may also use it to find restaurants. For example, I entered the restaurant name as "luk yu", category "restaurant - Chinese", district "Hong Kong", it returned the address "G/F 26 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong" and Tel "25235464". But the links don't work too well. Looks like this website still needs some work. But overall it is nice.

http://www.ypmap.com/en/viewer.asp?mapService=LocationMap

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Joining this post a bit late... but as a (somewhat) local foodie, must reply:

HK is a great city, and the weather is lovely and cool at the moment, perfect time to visit! My restaurant list is somewhat skewed towards Central, since that's where I work), but here goes:

- China Tee Club (1/F Pedder Building, Pedder Street, Central. Go for the excellent English afternoon tea on Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.)

- Delicate, delicious, authentic Italian: Isola (IFC, Central), Baci (Lan Kwai Fong), Gaia, Sole Mio (Soho) is more homey

- French: Poison Ivy Wanchai, Petit Pomerol (Shelter Street, Causeway Bay), Cafe Des Artistes (Lan Kwai Fong), Brasserie de Fauchon (Soho), Le Parisien (IFC, very pricey)

Chinese

- Cantonese: Yung Kee, City Hall Maxim's for dimsum (not any other maxim's), The Square (exchange square), if you are feeling adventurous and want to go super retro try Leen Heung in Central. I can take you there if you like. Bit intimidating to go on your own.

- Northern cuisine: Hunan Garden (The Forum, Central)

- Sichuanese: Sichuan Da Ping Huo (most excellent home-made set dinner, Central), Yellow Door (http://www.yellowdoor.com.hk/)

- Shanghainese: Lao Fan Dian (Tsim Sha Tsui), Xinjishi (Lee Garden, Causeway Bay)

Drinks

- Aqua is a big no no for food (Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, go for drinks & view rather than food)

- Boca in soho has delicious white sangria (quite a girlie drink...)

If you need phone numbers, let me know, I'll try and get hold of them. If you are interested in private kitchens, there are countless different ones dotted all over town. Most listings are in Chinese though. I've been to a couple, so feel free to shoot any questions.

Yum yum! :raz:

Heaven - steaming bowl of perfectly slippery flat rice noodles, coriander, spring onions, thin slices of marbled beef, hot hot hot broth...

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Hong Kong is the capital of the best Cantonese food.  It certainly offers decent Sichuan food, Indian food, Italian food, and food from many other regions.  But it just boggles my mind that why does one want to order steaks while in Boston, and order lobster while in Dallas?

I wholeheartedly disagree with this and feel it probably deserves a topic of its own...We aren't living in the 17 or 1800s, fresh food, from any corner of the globe, can be found at all corners of the globe. If you are only going to be in HK for a day or two, I could understand eating only Cantonese food (or other Chinese food), but any more than that and I'd say, try what the city has to offer. To take the Boston-Dallas example, just because somebody is in Boston, doesn't mean the lobster they'll eat will be better than the one they have in Dallas. That is decided by personal preference, cooking style, and the chef. Further, it is interesting to see the approach of a chef in another part of the world takes with a certain regions food and then you also have to look at minority populations. HK has a large South and SE Asian population and you can sample excellent foods from these places. I've only been to HK twice, so not really sure about making recs, but I can say with certainty, I can't imagine anyone going to Beijing or Shanghai for 4 or 5 days and only eating Chinese food, let alone "local" food.

As for tourist sites in HK, one huge recommendation, don't sign up for a tour. On my first trip there we made a huge mistake by signing up for a half day tour through Grey tours (?, not sure the exact name, grey something, most big cities in the US have this tour company) which was absolutely horrible. Its easy to do things on your own and the only major tourist site is Victoria Peak. I would second doing the star ferry and also a drink at the Felix. If you like to gamble and are in HK for more than 3 days, go over to Macau for a day and hit the casinos.

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Hi all -- Got home to NYC this afternoon after a fabulous trip and I'm so jetlagged that I'm writting a quick note before I crash. Great hairy crab in Shanghai, unbelievable dumplings that I stood an hour in the rain for (and they were so worth it!)

In HK, had some great meals but have to say that I'm completley addicted to dim sum. Had it every day (metropole, Maxim's, you name it) and found out that hubby and I are two people cursed with the eyes-bigger-than-stomach problem! Had a great (and spicy) meal at Da Ping Hou and a delicious farewell at Hu Tong.

Anyways, I am writting this to promise I will post a full report, but probably not until after Thanksgiving Day (Thank god -- I need some non-Chinese food!). Thanks again for all your suggestionss -- Hong Kong and Shanghai are both such fascinating, welcoming cites (and incredibly safe! just in case anyone was scared by th epast above).

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Woo hoo! Here’s to jetlag folks. :wacko: Been up since 2. Since Michael, my husband, has ditched me to go to the office at an ungodly hour, I’ve got nothing left to unpack so I figured I’d give this post a try. Caveat: this is insanely long, because I am insanely jetlagged.

But first, before we get to the food, please indulge me for just a sec to tell you a little about these vastly different cities. I was stunned by Shanghai – totally floored by it. On the one hand there is this completely futuristic skyline and on the other, they are still driving on highways in packs of bicycles and rickshaws. I had a cab driver get out of the cab at a red light and walk up to two cars ahead of him and start screaming at the driver (and then he came back without a word and we continue on). :blink: Scenes like that blew my mind. I am an admittedly aggressive NYC driver, but would never get out of a car to yell at someone – it’s too dangerous! But that kind of crime hasn’t come to Shanghai yet. What has come is a level of food worthy of international attention in beautifully decorated spaces. Some of it is very authentic, some of it is great new twists on Shanghaiese food and some of it is missing the mark.

The other thing is that service in Shanghai is outstanding. This will make your meals so enjoyable. I mean I’m not going to praise Communisim – it’s got its drawbacks. But when they say everyone works, well, that means there are 19 people working at your local Starbucks (yes, they’re everywhere) hovering over you to see if you’re all set. And at restaurants, service was in total better than in the states. They may not understand exactly when you’re asking for, but they smile and are friendly and are never more than a quick glace away. It was great.

But first, one word about the prices. Except in extremely cheap situations, I have no idea what food cost. Michael was there on business and I was along for the ride. Most of these places can be looked up online though.

So here goes (I’ll talk about HK further down):

I landed in Shanghai after a looooooooooooong trip from JFK, connecting in Tokoyo. Pretty much every other westerner on this packed flight was going for business (evidenced by all the laptops, meetings in the aisles, etc.) This was pretty much true for most of my stay in Shanghai. I was there in the off-season, but still, I barely ever saw another westerner tourist. Got in Saturday night, had a quick meal at the hotel bar and crashed. Ambien is my new best friend (except for right now when it clearly isn’t working!) On Sunday, Michael didn’t have to work so we made a quick beeline for the very long line of Chinese folks waiting in Old Town at Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant. I kept wondering how we’d spot the place (there are SO many people in China). But let’s just say it’s the only 2-hour line in the area. No one spoke English so by the time we got to the front we made the universal sign for 2 orders ($1 U.S. for one order) by holding up our fingers and when our time came we were handed a paper container (like the kind you get fries in at baseball games) stuffed with a dozen pork dumplings that were so hot you had to blow on them. They were amazing – Michael wanted to wait in line again and I refused. :wub: (I have pictures, but it’s 4 a.m. and I don’t feel like figuring out how to do that now, so that will have to wait). From there we street-grazed … roasted chestnuts, yams being cooked over an open flame on a sidewalk, sweet mealy pieces of candy from one of the millions of stores. I couldn’t even contemplate dinner and we ended up eating at a sort of passé touristy place called T8 that I would not suggest a trip back to. Stick with the buns, baby.

OK, Monday and Tuesday I was on my own exploring and lunch for the most part took some form of wait-in-line-and-get-some-dumplings form. Monday night we went for an outstanding meal with Michael’s Chinese co-worker and her husband. I had mentioned in an e-mail to them that I wanted to try hairy crabs (they were thrilled after having suffered so many Americans who only wanted to eat at the Italian place) They took us to Wang Baohe Restaurant – the oldest restaurant in Shanghai (and I won’t lie, it’s decorated straight out of pink tablecloths and crystal shandaliers). Basically it’s crab crab crab all the time. I was in heaven. There were steamed asparagus with crab meat, a lovely bean curd with crab meat in a sauce, crab and row stuffed dumplings, fish and crab balls in broth, shrimp and crab with a garlic sauce..... OH! And crab! One for each of us that they bring to the table live first and then come back a few minutes later with some tools and you’re off. Michael and I must have hesitated a bit too long, because the waitress came right back and proceeded to undo Michael’s crab while I watched (still not sure how he managed to swing that one). Using the pointy tips of other legs she pulled out all the meat in about 8 minutes and then recreated the crab’s shell on a plate (that is, she broke no shells getting the meat out) Again, got a pic, promise to figure it out. I pretty much ate my crab the local way – that is I put sections of it in my mouth and spit out the shell. The Chinese are realllly good at doing this without distracting from the conversation. I was not so practiced. The crab was wonderful and the meat is mildly sweet and not fishy– its shell is slightly softer than blue or stone crabs so you can use a scissors-like instrument to cut through. The roe, which is I guess the delicacy, is rich and buttery and so good when it’s dunked into a ginger/soy dipping sauce they give you. I had to be rolled home.

Our last night in Shanghai, I wanted to try one of the restaurants on the Bund. Michael had eaten several times at M on the Bund and had not had very good meals there, so we decided to try one of the new spots in the 3 on the Bund complex, a place called the Whampoa Club. My memory of this meal is probably the worst (started a little too early with drinks, the rational being Michael is finally officially on vacation with me and it’s our last night in Shanghai, and oh, whatever). If you go, be sure to go to the top of the complex and grab a drink overlooking the water and Pudong across the way (that place with the very cool skyline). We started with a grilled eel and a fried squid that bore no resemblance whatsoever to calamari. This stuff was almost caramelized to the point where it was crunchy round nuts of squid. It was like an utterly addictive bar snack. Then we had a whole lobster that was stir-fried in piles of minced garlic and ginger. It was wonderful – tender, tasty, but again there were quite a few run-ins between me and the shells. Even Michael is getting better at this. We had a shrimp dish too, and I think maybe a vegetable, but now I’ve blanked on both of those.

OK, off to Hong Kong…..

You guys were great with your suggestions. Hong Kong is such a fun city – shopping and eating – our two favorite things! One word of advice, if you’re going for knockoffs, stick with shanghai – I found some great things there. HK is better for higher end stuff. Some advice, if you’re young (or young at heart) there’s a great little guidebook out there called Luxe Guides. It’s only $7.50, it’s updated every 6 months, it’s written with total British ‘tude and it’s a great resource for taking you shopping down streets you wouldn’t even think of and for steering to you some of the latest nightspots, restaurants, etc. You can get them online (I read about them on some other board, come to think of it, maybe it was here).

Ok, I know, I know, *the food*. So, we landed in HK around 1 p.m. and didn’t quite have time to get from our hotel to any of the dim sum spots recommended so we ended up grabbing our first dim sum at Spring Moon in the Penninsula Hotel where we were staying. It was lovely and serene, but we really wanted the old ladies pushing the carts and all the loud families. Tomorrow, we promised ourselves, tomorrow. That night we headed out to Da Ping Huo a Szechwan place in SoHo. This was wonderful – “steel glam” was how I think the luxe guide described it – like you and 6 other tables are in someone’s basement for a feast. And what a feast. You don’t order, but the dishes just keep coming – a perfect medly of “just little hot,” then so hot you can’t finish it (at least I couldn’t – Michael fared slightly better), then calmingly cool. From marinated cucumbers, to bean soup to chili green beans, to pork with yams, to spicy beef in noodle broth (Had to change my chopsticks after that one) to a spicy fish dish it was quite an experience. At the end, the owner’s wife who is also the chef came out to sing peking opera for us. Bravo!

Next day (Thursday) we did dim sum the right way at Metropole (big thanks to HKDave for that one). They had the carts, zero view, spoke zero English, had zero Westerners and lots to try. We had tons of variations on dumplings, steamed pork buns (which I am now seriously addicted to), roast meat buns, shu mai, and the most outstanding mango pudding that was more like a custard with tapioca peals. I’ll never eat again, I thought…

I was wrong, but that night we ate intentionally light. It was sushi at Aqua – good views, decent fish. We needed a break from Chinese food (Michael had been eating it for a whole week before I got there) and what I was really craved was a nice big chopped salad. Couldn’t have that so some tekka had to do. Great view at Aqua of the harbor – another plus was it was a block from the hotel.

Next day we did Maxim’s at City Hall for dim sum. This was my fault it went wrong. We had been putzing around the city all morning, didn’t get to Maxim’s until 1 p.m. I totally underestimated the line on a Friday and we waited a half-hour and by the time the first carts rolled around at 1:45 they were practically packing up. Not a great experience. But I saw stuff at Maxim’s that I hadn’t seen at Metropole, so I wanted to give it another shot….

OK, this is for the poster above who couldn’t understand why you wouldn’t come to China and eat only Cantonese food. On Friday night we went to Yung Kee and had an epiphany. We learned that what we’ve been telling ourselves all these years about Chinese food in America is actually not true. I always believed that America’s version of Chinese food was the “dumbed” down version – bland and thick-sauced. Apparently, that’s Cantonese food. Now, don’t everyone jump on me for saying this but that’s pretty much what we had at Yung Kee. The roast goose with stewed beans was great. The rest….. eh. Not worth it. But I had a big discovery that night – it’s not that I don’t like American Chinese food. I’m just not crazy about Cantonese food! But I love Shanghai food and like Szechwan… sort of interesting for me. Anyways, after Yung Kee we stumbled on what must be ex-pat haven at Lam Fook Kai or something. It seriously looked like a New Orleans street party complete with beer gardens. We fled to a nearby bar called Alias, which was pretty cute and had good music.

Last day for food and this time we prepared. We skipped breakfast and headed back to Maxim’s at noon, waited a half-hour and sat down like old pros waiting for tea and dumplings. Good lord, I’ve never ordered that much food in my life. Along with the usual assortment of dumplings and fried wontons, bean curd rolls and spring rolls, I became obsessed with cheung fan – these long rice noodles wrapped around shrimp and doused in a sweet soy sauce. I was going to explode by the end of this one, and we wandered around Causeway Bay in a food coma the rest of the afternoon.

Dinner that night was our last and we wanted it to be fun. We made 9 p.m. reservations at Hu Tong – again right next to our hotel which was such a bonus. Unfortunately we got there and there had been a reservation mix-up (despite having no other problems with any other restaurants) so they sent us to the bar to wait. Two drinks later and they tried to sit the 2 of us at a 6-top and I was getting pissed. I slightly raised my voice at the hostess (who I was pretty sure understood about 1/8 of what I was saying) but kept it polite and instantly a manager-type-man was at our sides taking our coats and handing us two glasses of champagne, telling us it would only be two more minutes, not to worry. Hmmm. I guess I’m not as worried if I have this champagne to drink. Needless to say, my memory of this meal (although it is most recent) is a little fuzzy. But it was damn good. Started with apps of bamboo clams with a spicy tomato topping – the clams were long and thin but plump – delicious. Also had a shrimp roll in taro – this was our choice and since it was so much less stellar than the clams we decided to go with the waitress' recs. We got a crispy fried de-boned lamb that was great. Then a dish of fat green beans smothered in dried pork crispies and chili. But I gotta say, the highlight was the shrimp in egg sauce. This dish was like jacked-up comfort food – whole shrimp smothered in a slightly runny, thick version of scrambled eggs. We were moaning it was so good. Had to go for dessert after that – pan-fried taro cakes. Perfection. One block to bed. Never eating again.

So that’s it – I meant to only write the highlights, but kept stopping to try to go back to sleep and couldn’t. Can’t wait to go to work today!

Thanks again everyone for all your help. HKDave – it was great to meet you and Michael sends his regards!

Edited by amyknyc (log)
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Glad to hear you had a great time, sounds like it was very busy though, take some time to relax and then we're all looking forward to pictures! Haha, I have always wondered how long it takes waiting in line (if its at hightime, typically will just stand around a table upstairs and look longingly as other people eat) at the xiaolongbao place at Yu Yuan...

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Glad to hear that you had a great time in Shanghai and Hong Kong. I really want to try the sheng chian bao but didn't make it to Shanghai last summer, maybe I will be lucky this summer.

I am sorry to hear your experience at Yung Kee was not great, but I still love Cantonese food(heh, not a surprise).

edited: I meant sheng chian bao and not xiao long bao, personally I don't really care for xiao long bao.

Edited by Yuki (log)
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Thanks for that report, Amy!

Two comments:

(1) I believe it's capitalism and not communism that makes service good in Shanghai. Shanghai is a very capitalist city where a lot of money is being made.

(2) I don't think you don't like Cantonese food. You loved all that Cantonese dim sum. Hu Tong sounds pretty Cantonese to me, too, though I'd describe it first of all as Hong Kong-style. If I'm acting on a misimpression, I'm sure someone will correct me.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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One of the main reasons why services are so good in China because workers are dirt cheap. One of my mother's friend who work as an accountant in a large restaurant told me that the waitress only makes around RMB 600-1000 per month. Also, they probably don't earn any tips.

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Thanks for that report, Amy!

Two comments:

(1) I believe it's capitalism and not communism that makes service good in Shanghai. Shanghai is a very capitalist city where a lot of money is being made.

(2) I don't think you don't like Cantonese food. You loved all that Cantonese dim sum. Hu Tong sounds pretty Cantonese to me, too, though I'd describe it first of all as Hong Kong-style. If I'm acting on a misimpression, I'm sure someone will correct me.

True, true about the dim sum. I guess in my mind that was a cuisine all to itself! Hu Tong was probably Cantonese too -- just a much more modern version with stronger flavors. OK, I won't rule out all Cantonese food yet....

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Wow, this is a great thread for anyone planning to visit HK or Shanghai.

Im going also, to these two cities in early-mid March 2005. Actually, ill be spending 6 days in HK, and 6 days in Shanghai area (5 city tour).

The question of "where to eat" seems to have been pretty well covered, and eating Crab in November was discussed, so my question is:

In March are there any (seasonal) specialties to be had in either HK or Shanghai?

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One of the main reasons why services are so good in China because workers are dirt cheap. One of my mother's friend who work as an accountant in a large restaurant told me that the waitress only makes around RMB 600-1000 per month.

Hmm...I don't think its an issue of either communism or capitalism. I think the service, for the most part, is usually horrible in Shanghai (or anywhere else in China), with rare exceptions. While I'm not sure the kind of hours a waitress works in China at the larger restaurants, the average office worker in a Chinese company whose working a 6 day work week, probably somewhere around 50 hours or so, is making 1200-1800 per month, so if a waitress can bring home 600-1000 per month for a job that isn't full time, thats nothing to sneeze at. Service in China is usually extremely fast as there isn't the strict table assignments as in the US (probably because they don't get tips, they aren't territorial like here), so when you want something, you can flag anyone down and they'll get it. Outside of this, the service is usually ver bad, extremely impersonal, always looking for ways to cut corners or get customers to pay more, and often with a lot of attitude. To me, that is the service I'm used to receiving more than anything else in China...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just found this thread. I want to plan a trip to Asia in 2005 - because my husband and I have never been there before. But (big but in light of what I've been reading here) - we'd like this to be a refreshing relaxing somewhat non-adventurous trip. In fact - I'm looking at transpacific boat crossings so we won't get a megadose of jetlag before we arrive.

We don't want to worry about boiling water - peeling veggies - getting sick - etc. Been there - done that (when we were younger and it wasn't much fun even when we were younger). I had assumed we'd be able to travel very well in Shanghai and Hong Kong and not worry about these things - but - after reading this thread - now I'm not sure. Are most of you basically saying that going to these cities is like going to someplace like Cairo? Robyn

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Relax. Hong Kong is cleaner and safer than many big American cities. We still do apply some of the usual 3rd world hygiene practices, but the fact is that these days you can drink tap water if you want to. I've been brushing my teeth with it for 15 years now... Bottled water is available everywhere. You can eat salads or sushi with impunity, and you can assume that restaurant or supermarket food isn't much riskier than the same food would be in the West. Hong Kong is most certainly not 3rd world.

Shanghai isn't at the same level. Tap water is not drinkable anywhere on the mainland, (again, bottled water is everywhere) and you do need to be cautious about eating uncooked food outside the better hotels and restaurants. But that still leaves you with many excellent options. You can travel and eat very well in Shanghai and Hong Kong, without things getting 'adventurous'.

I like the idea of coming by boat. I've flown across the Pacific so many times that I lost count years ago, but always wanted to cross by freighter.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Dave, wouldn't you say that for travellers whose systems are not used to the local bacteria, it would be safest to be careful about raw vegetables trucked in from China that were probably grown with nightsoil fertilizer? Are there any safeguards being taken on "imports" to Hong Kong that would really make a salad of Chinese vegetables safe for visitors from abroad?

And on a side note, I'm slightly surprised to see the words "Hong Kong" and "cleaner" in the same sentence. The Hong Kong I visited in 1987 was vibrant and lived-in but the more crowded streets weren't clean -- which didn't make me love the city less (as, for example, I found the spotlessness of Singapore's streets in 1976 offputting). But anyway, it sounds like there's been some cleanup since then.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Hi Robyn --

Having just returned from a week in Shanghai and Hong Kong not too long ago, I'd have to agree with HKDave on this. Bottled water is everywhere and I used tap to brush my teeth every night in both cities. I basically felt that as long as I didn't drink glasses of water straight from the faucet, I was just fine (and I am someone with an extremely weak gastro system). I never felt sick there and I ate in tons of restaurants and dumplings from stands on the street without any worries (and if you think about it, how often do you eat out in a restaurant on vacation where you order raw veggies?). Personally, I was more taken with Shanghai than with HK, only because I felt like I was seeing Shanghai at such a fascinating time in its history -- HK to me was a very cool city, with great food, but not too different from lots of other big cities. Honestly, though, if I were you, I would head to Beijing. I can't speak to the safety of water there or the food, but after just going to Shanghai and HK I felt very starved for Chinese history and culture. It was just too cold to go when I was there.

I'm happy to pass along any recommendations if you want!

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Amy, I think you're lucky not to have gotten sick from using the tap water in Shanghai to brush your teeth with. Didn't your hotel provide you with an electric water boiler? We used only boiled and bottled water to brush our teeth with, though I admit I slipped at least once and, before putting the toothbrush in my mouth, tried to make up for it by putting some antibiotic mouth wash on my toothbrush. (I use a prescription antibiotic mouth wash on my upper molars and all my lower teeth twice a day.)

how often do you eat out in a restaurant on vacation where you order raw veggies

It's not that you order raw veggies; it's that your lovely dish is garnished with raw cilantro or/and little slices of cucumber, etc. -- bits of raw vegetables that are hard to avoid completely.

If I remember correctly, all four of my family members had at least some intestinal troubles while in China last summer (certainly, at least three of us did). Also, three of four (not including me) came back sick (respiratory or general weakness). I contended with a respiratory ailment when I was in China, too, but I think that was due to "sick air" in the Novotel Hotel we stayed in in Beijing, one of those [sARCASM]wonderful[/sARCASM] modern hotels that continually recirculates its air and has hermetically sealed windows. (Actually, with that one huge exception, it was a pretty good hotel.) I think that all of us felt our wonderful trip was worth the health stuff we dealt with, and I would certainly go back and visit other parts of China, but I'd be remiss if I were to reassure Robyn that nothing can go wrong.

By the way, Beijing water definitely isn't safe to drink unless boiled, and has an off taste then, but it's way better than Shanghai water. But just drink bottled water and beer (tea is fine in Beijing but you may find it tastes bad in Shanghai because of the water). Everyone else does.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Well, we stayed at the Ritz in Shanghai because that's where my husband's business puts them and so I don't know if they treat the water themselves. But I haven't heard of any of his co-workers getting sick from it either (they also stay at the Westin) and I checked in with a lot of them before I left, so maybe it depends on where you stay. All I'm saying is, I had a relatively easy time there, compared to what I thought it would be like.

You know, I'm sitting here thinking of the meals we ate, and I can't remember garnishes or anything raw in any of them. Again, just my experience, and it could have been due to the winter season.

Honestly, I've had worse reactions to the food in Germany and Prague (albeit 10 years ago) than to the food in China, so I think it just depends on the individual.

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Are there any safeguards being taken on "imports" to Hong Kong that would really make a salad of Chinese vegetables safe for visitors from abroad?

I have talked about this in some other threads. Chinese eating habits are different from Westerners/Americans. In most Chinese restaurants, you won't find "salads" as you know them in American -- with raw lettuce, raw carrots, raw mushrooms, raw celeries, raw everything and a drizzle of dressing. Chinese in general don't like to eat raw vegetables, with the exception of lettuce for wrapping (e.g. minced squab in lettuce) or for garnishing (e.g. chopped green onions and cilantros).

So I think it would be hard pressed to find salads on the menu in most Chinese restaurants. Unless, of course, you go to those that are geared towards tourists serving non-Chinese food.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Amy, I think you're lucky not to have gotten sick from using the tap water in Shanghai to brush your teeth with. Didn't your hotel provide you with an electric water boiler?

I am not sure about an electric water boiler in every room. Maybe they do provide that now.

From my travel experiences in China, in every hotel we stayed in the housekeeping always brought in a bottle of boiled water in a thermos. You see, Chinese like to drink hot tea in the room. Providing a bottle of hot boiled water is just about the most basic service as one can get.

If you don't find one in the room, you may certain ask the housekeeping to bring in one for you. They always have hot boiled water and thermos handy.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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And on a side note, I'm slightly surprised to see the words "Hong Kong" and "cleaner" in the same sentence. The Hong Kong I visited in 1987 was vibrant and lived-in but the more crowded streets weren't clean -- which didn't make me love the city less (as, for example, I found the spotlessness of Singapore's streets in 1976 offputting). But anyway, it sounds like there's been some cleanup since then.

I am not sure if this is a fair statement (that "Hong Kong" and "cleaner" in the same sentence).

Hong Kong is a first world metropolitan, comparable to Tokyo, London, New York and Toronto. Do you consider Tokyo, London, New York, Toronto are clean? Then you need to apply the same measure to Hong Kong.

When I grew up in Hong Kong, I didn't think the place was clean. Started in the late 70's and through 80's and 90's, the government did spend some efforts in improving hygene and condition of the city. The Hong Kong now is certainly much better than the Hong Kong 30 years ago. I didn't have any comparison until I had been to other cities around the world. If you compare HK to cities in other third world countries then perhaps you can have some appreciation.

Singapore is a very unique place. Yes it certainly is a model showcase when it comes to tideness and cleanness. But bear in mind that this comes at a price. It's a "fine" city. Thousands of inspectors are hired for the purpose of catching people stepping their feet on the crosswalk before the pedestrian traffic light turns green.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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