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Dining Out... - Part 2 出街食-下卷

Both my freelance work and my day job give me plenty of opportunities to live out a foodie’s dream. As a restaurant reviewerI get to try out fancy new places and sample their best dishes for free. The price to pay, however, is having to keep detailed notes of everything I put in my mouth so that I can spit out a thousand words on a two-page magazine spread the next day. Likewise, expensing client lunches sounds like a no-lose proposition until I find myself stuck with a table of stodgy bankers yapping about China’s next big IPO and why everyone should buy gold. It all bears out the old adage that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Hong Kong is a foodie’s paradise and we have the numbers to prove it. There are over 20,000 eating establishments listed on Open Rice, the city’s popular online restaurant guide. Based on that figure alone and excluding thousands of hole-in-the-wall noodle houses and neighborhood kitchens yet to be catalogued by the website...


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NEWS FLASH: Jason's Book Now Available! 快訊:《香港情懷》現已出版!

Dear Readers, My new book HONG KONG State of Mind is available in Hong Kong at: Page One Dymocks Bookazine Swindon G.O.D. 住好啲 商務印書館 三聯書店 天地圖書 and book kiosks at the HK Int'l Airport Readers outside Hong Kong can order it from: www.amazon.com www.blacksmithbooks.com

Dining Out... - Part 1 出街食-上卷

The Michelin Guide published its first Hong Kong/Macau edition in 2011. Since then, the little red book has sparked spirited debate and sometimes even nationalistic rumblings among citizens. Hong Kongers balk at the idea of a bunch of foreigners judging our food, when most of the undercover inspectors sent by the guide can’t tell a fish maw from a fish belly or know the first thing about dun (燉), mun (焖), zing (蒸), pou (泡) and zoek (灼) – to name but a few ways a Chinese chef may cook his ingredients with steam. For many of us, it seems far wiser to spend the HK$200 (that’s how much the guide costs) on a couple of hairy crabs currently in season than on a restaurant directory published by a tire manufacturer.



Food is a tricky business. It confounds even the most sophisticated of cultures and peoples. The English and the Germans, for instance, excel in everything else except for the one thing that matters most. Young nations like America, Australia and Canada...


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Post Mortem on a Massacre 屠殺後的檢討

Not since the SARS outbreak in 2003 has a news event gripped the city with such intensity, as live coverage of the hostage crisis in Manila unfolded on prime time television and left us in shock and disbelief. On August 23rd, what started out as a media stunt staged by a frustrated ex-cop ended in a shooting gallery leaving nine dead and three seriously injured. In the days that followed, as details of the bungled rescue were exposed, dissected and analyzed, citizens of Hong Kong united in a kind of collective anger never seen before directed at another sovereign nation. 


A lot of ink has been spilled by the local press over the sheer incompetence of the Manila police force. We saw it with our own eyes: rescue units performing a slapstick comedy titled Amateurs’ Night at Rizal Park. Using props from sledgehammers that bounced right off unbreakable windows to ropes that broke after a few pulls and purple glow sticks that smacked of a Halloween toy, the comedians completed their unfunny …

I Died Three Saturdays Ago 我在三星前期死了

“I have never given much thought to how I would die,” wrote Stephanie Meyer in the opening line of her best-selling vampire romance Twilight.



Well, neither have I. But on the ordinary summer morning of July 17, at a busy intersection on Pokfulam Road not 50 feet from my apartment building, my moment of reckoning finally arrived. And in the last few seconds of my life, I realized that death, that ultimate leveler of mankind, was not nearly as fearsome as I had thought. Nor was it as remote...

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Read the rest of this article in HONG KONG State of Mind, published by Blacksmith Books, available at major bookstores in in Hong Kong, on Amazon and at Blacksmith Books.

An Okay Performance 不過不失的一埸

The World Cup is over. Finished. The End.

Now that the soccer circus has left town and the blare of the vuvuzela is no longer ringing in our ears, we can’t help but feel a little lost. I am not talking about that sense of emptiness we get when something spectacular has finally come to an end, like finishing a great vacation or learning your best friend is moving to California. Instead, it feels more like watching a firework rocket into the sky, explode and then realizing that it is merely good but not great. Okay lah, as we Hong Kongers would say.


Calling this World Cup a bore or a disappointment would have been too harsh. To be fair, there was no shortage of twists and turns, surprising upsets and reversals of fortune. Who could have predicted that past champions France and Italy would crash out after the second round in such public disgrace? Even the once invincible Brazilians became suddenly beatable, losing 1-2 to The Netherlands in the quarter-finals. But as much as the suspension …

And Then There Were Thirteen 剩下的十三個

After months of jeers and cheers, gaffes and laughs, even a mock referendum and a televised debate, the government’s 2012 Reform Package was passed by a wide margin this Friday. Less than two weeks before the bill was put to a vote, with time running out and Beijing breathing down his neck, Donald Tsang cobbled a feeble campaign together to promote what he touted as the only way to break the legislative impasse and to pave the way to universal suffrage. But the snake oil salesman failed to impress and Tsang was all but ready to accept defeat, just as he did five years ago when the pan-democrats vetoed a similar bill. Then suddenly, the storm calmed and the sky cleared: the biggest opposition party came to the chief executive’s rescue and handed him the seven votes he needed to close the deal. The rest, as they say, is history.



Before we begin talking about the reform package, you need to understand a few of things about our wacky political system. The Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-consti…

Paradise of the Blind 瞎子的樂園

Not long ago I asked a friend of mine what he thought about Vietnam. Lee, a Taiwanese living in Hong Kong, travels there frequently for business. “The country is not much to look at,” Lee shrugged, “except for their beef noodle soups and mail-order brides.” Indeed, there is a perception in the wealthier parts of Asia that, with all the human trafficking going on in the country, you can order Vietnamese girls online or even bid for them on eBay. My friend’s candid response left me with a frozen smile and a broken heart. That’s when I decided to write an article for all the Lees out there, not to change their minds but to open them to a beautiful country with an ugly past.


I visit Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s twin metropolises, a few times a year for work. Few in Hong Kong know or care much about Vietnam...
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Read the rest of this article in HONG KONG State of Mind, published by Blacksmith Books, available at major bookstores in in Hong Kong, on Amazon and at…