Exploring the local cuisine of one given place is one of the most down-to-earth ways to connect with local culture. Some may like museums, others shopping for local products.. some may dig adventure, others relax… but I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t enjoy eating!
It was precisely with that desire to learn more about Chinese cuisine that we joined a class at Home’s Cooking in Hong Kong, to learn more about local markets, ingredients, and preparations.
The Wet Market
The whole activity takes an entire morning or afternoon and starts by visiting one of Hong Kong’s wet markets. The wet market is a street market where locals would typically buy fresh products. And by fresh, I mean really fresh! Not only the fruits and vegetables are just picked, you can still find meat and fish… alive! Whenever you think the products you buy at home are fresh, remember it doesn’t get much fresher than this!
Unfortunately, many wet markets around the city have already been closed due to the generalization of big supermarket chains, but not only the prices won’t be as attractive, the quality of products can’t also compare. But truth be said, if you’re the kind of person who buys meat sliced out of a shelf, a visit to the wet market can be a true adventure! Just to give you a glimpse, we saw frogs being gutted alive and fishes debating themselves between life and death – talk about a complete Asian market experience!
Our teacher Joyce walked us through the entire place, explaining the difference between products and pointing out some key ingredients from the region.
We had time to take photos, ask questions, smell new fruits, chat with the vendors and, of course, get the ingredients for the dishes we were about to learn how to cook! Back at Joyce’s house awaited us a chopping, seasoning, stir-frying and deliciously tasting experience!
The Cooking Class
The main thing that distinguishes this cooking class from previous cooking experiences we have joined in the past is the fact that the lesson takes place at Joyce’s home. The food is prepared in her dining room and cooked it in her own chicken. Unlike other classes where the teacher stands behind a counter establishing a gap between chef and apprentice, here you really feel like you’re cooking with friends.
Along with Annie, another girl who joined the class, we spent a really good time, while Joyce would tell us about life in Hong Kong in general, discuss food and restaurant recommendations, compare dishes from our countries and even talk about the differences between cuisines from different parts of China.
Considering one of our favorite cuisines is actually Chinese, we were surprised at the realization that we barely knew how to cook any Chinese dishes. I mean, I may know how to stir-fry some noodles with vegetables and soya sauce, but for a self proclaimed foodie and cooking lover, this is simply not enough!
We prepared 3 dishes from scratch:
Appetizer: Bean curd with sesame oil
Main dish: Sweet and sour fish fillet
Dessert: Sweet dumpling with chocolate
Once you’re done cooking, you get to eat the food you’ve prepared. This is a complete experience: from ingredient sourcing, to cooking to tasting – the recipe for a perfect cooking class!
So you want to know how to prepare these dishes?
You have to go to Hong Kong, join Joyce in this enriching activity and have tons of fun in the process!
More info and class bookings:
Hong Kong (close to MTR Shau Kei Wan station)
Wet market tour + cooking class cost HKD600 / USD77 per person (transportation from market to cooking class included).
Make sure to check the weekly class schedule as the menu is different every day. If you’re a vegetarian, remember to mention it when you book a class!
I am so happy we are currently living in China as the food is so delicious. Although it’s fat and oily I can’t stop eating it. What I love the most about Chinese cuisine is that it takes few minutes to prepare each dish and it’s so convenient when you’re in rush. Well done on your first dishes. Your dessert looks amazingly yummy!
Lucky you having (real) Chinese food anytime you want! It must be a real treat! :)
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what a wonderful experience! chinese food is wonderful, but like many westerners, I thought chinese food was the stuff I ate in Lisbon. Until I worked in the kitchen of a London pub with a chinese girl (a pretty traumatic experience, foodwise, for both of us). Sometimes she would bring food she’d prepare at home and it was wonderful: healthy and light and full of flavour, the opposite of what I thought chinese food was (and also the opposite of what we served at the pub). so when I think of chinese food, I think of sargent suzie, as she was called by the barmen (she was a sweetheart, but she ruled the kitchen with an iron fist). And the thing she complained about the most was the lack of freshness of food in London. Now I understand why!
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