Restaurant Hong Kong

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Restaurant Hong Kong, Boulevard St-Laurent

Je ne vais plus au restaurant Hong Kong, sur Saint-Laurent à Montréal. Lorsque j’y suis retourné la semaine dernière, juste pour voir, pas pour manger, j’ai remarqué qu’on avait complètement changé l’intérieur, et qu’on avait tout enlevé le mur qui séparait le comptoir du BBQ chinois du reste de la salle à manger.

Le Hong Kong est probablement l’un des plus vieux restaurants chinois du Quartier chinois qui soit encore debout aujourd’hui. Dans les années 80, lorsque j’étais enfant, je me souviens qu’en bas du Hong Kong, il y avait une poissonnerie du nom de Kowloon. Comme une blague que seuls ceux qui connaissent Hong Kong comprendront (car sur le territoire de Hong Kong, Kowloon est la partie péninsulaire en face de l’île appelée Hong Kong).

Dans un des premiers articles de ce blogue, écrit il y a plus de deux ans, je reprenais des photos prises du Chinatonwn par mon père en 1984. Le restaurant Hong Kong existait déjà, mais c’était une épicerie sur de la Gauchetière, avant qu’un incendie vienne la ravager quelques années (mois?) plus tard. Ça, je ne m’en souviens pas du tout.

Boulevard St-Laurent 1984
Boulevard St-Laurent en 1984, photo par Jean-Pierre Sam

Ça se dit comment « Go Habs Go » en chinois ?

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Habs in Hong Kong
En 2008

GO加人隊GO!

Complètement en chinois, ça pourrait donner:

加人隊加油!

加拿大人隊 = Canadiens, L’équipe

加拿大 = Canada

加拿大人 = Canadiens

加人 = Abbréviation de Canadiens — p-ê ça sonne mieux (mon papa me dit que ça pourrait aussi être 加拿大國民隊, qui se traduit un peu comme Peuple Canadien)

隊 = Équipe

Donc en langage parlé? En putonghua/mandarin, ça donne Jia Ren Dui. En Cantonais, on obtient Ca Yan Dui. Litéralement : “Ca(nada) Personne Équipe”.

加油! = Go! (JiaYou / Ka Yao)

Le plus meilleur fan de Canadien à Hong Kong : http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/Local_News/Montreal/ID=1490358230 (mauvais vidéo la dernière fois)

(Une fille de la Chambre de commerce canadienne de Hong Kong me dit qu’un bar dénommé « Champs » à Wan Chai offre des parties le matin. Mais je suis sceptique.)

Addition: 聞到杯味 (En putonghua/mandarin : wen dao bei mei — sentir peux coupe odeur — j’arrive à sentir la coupe — ÇA SENT LA COUPE)

Hockey: Comment suivre Canadien à Hong Kong

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La dernière fois que Canadien a gagné une série, j’étais également à Hong Kong, en vacances là-bas cette fois-là. On a cherché à voir des matchs sur une télé, en direct avec d’autres fans finis du Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, mais on s’était heurté à des serveuses grincheuses qui venaient d’ouvrir leur établissement de Lan Kwai Fong, le quartier de bars pour expatriés. On a découvert plus tard, cet hiver, que ces mêmes bars étaient ouverts pour des événements vraiment spéciaux comme le Super Bowl (qu’on a vu au Bulldog’s à Lan Kwai) et la finale Canada-É-U (dans divers bars expats de la ville, selon cet article écrit par notre amie Virginia de CNNGo.com).

Je ne sais pas si ça changera pour une finale de la Coupe Stanley Montréal-Vancouver (ha-ha), ou advenant que le Toronto fasse les séries une autre année (ha-ha-ha-ha). J’avais posé la question à Andrew, un gars de la Chambre de commerce canadienne de Hong Kong (la plus grosse en son genre ici), et il n’avait pas l’air d’avoir d’idée précise du tout.

Donc, pour répondre à la question, comment donc suit-on Canadien d’ici? D’abord on se couche tôt le soir d’avant: il y a un décalage de 12 heures l’été, et un match à 19h en heure avancée de l’est, ça veut dire 7h du mat en heure de Hong Kong. Un match le vendredi ou samedi, ça va toujours, parce qu’on peut se traîner entre le lit et la table du salon en pyjamas, mais les journées de semaine, ça veut dire beaucoup d’organisation. On doit se lever à 7h, et en se rendant au travail, “regarder” sur son téléphone la première période jeu par jeu sur NHL.com (on finit par s’habituer au real-time scoreboard), ou sur le feed audio de CKAC (http://208.80.52.176/CKACAMAAC). On arrive au bureau vers 8h00-8h30, et on suit comme on peut le reste du match sur un feed vidéo quelconque du coin de l’oeil.

Et pis y’a toujours Facebook et Twitter. Sur ce dernier, on aime bien suivre Sportnographe, Fagstein, et le toujours réputé Denis Coderre. Et si on veut faire la fête avec la foule même si on est pas là? On regarde du côté des scanneurs de fréquences radio, ou bien on se trouve une webcam publique.

Listening to the game

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Canada-USA on i-Cable in Hong Kong
Celebrating Corey Perry’s goal, Canada’s second

2nd intermission. 2-1 for Canada vs. USA. Unlike an all-star game, you can imagine, players are playing competitively and hard-hitting like there was no tomorrow. Take into account that this is Canada and the US, two teams known traditionally for their physical play.

How is it, watching the game here in Hong Kong? First of all, there is an official (non-pirated) live Web feed provided by i-Cable Sports, as shown on the picture here above. Unfortunately, the feed mysteriously interrupts at various random moments that are not for advertisement (unless it’s timed advertisement for the Hong Kong Olympics provider). That’s not really nice, and I hope that the actual television feed isn’t as such. It stopped just one second before Toews’ first goal for Canada.

The commentary on the i-Cable feed comes from England, and the commentator is experimented (knows his hockey vocabulary), but you are not necessarily used to this accent. Like soccer with an American accent. Color commentary is given by a guy presumably North American.

Otherwise, some people might be in bars in Wan Chai watching the game on a real TV, reports CNNgo. On Lamma, where I live, one of the co-Canadian-owned bars, the Island Bar, said that they were not planning to show the game.

Edit (later that day): We won the game, in OT, but I missed the goal as I was making breakfast, and i-Cable interrupt just two seconds after it went in.

Vendredi matin sur le traversier

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J’ai apporté ma caméra au travail ce matin, et ai pris cette photo de l’arrière de mon traversier. Il y avait une petite brume ce matin dans le port de Hong Kong. Après une semaine et plus de froidure depuis le Nouvel An Chinois, il a fait subitement super chaud et humide (27℃ et plus) depuis mardi.

La grappe d’immeubles au loin est le complexe Union Square, amassés autour de l’ICC, ou International Commerce Centre. Si on s’en approche par voie terrestre (à pied, disons), ces immeubles ressemblent carrément à une colonie lunaire ou martienne, comme dans les films de science-fiction, tant les lieux autour sont vides. Imaginez d’avoir juste des terrains vagues ou parcs en bordure de mer à un kilomètre à la ronde de cet énorme complexe immobilier, et pis voilà, vous avez le “District culturel” de West Kowloon.

Les nuages ces jours-ci sont aussi parfaits pour tester mon nouveau filtre polarisant, mais un peu moins pour le moral. C’est mieux que les -40℃ et les 30cm de neige qui caractérisent d’habitude mes févriers.

Le dévoilement du budget 2010-11 à Hong Kong

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Si vous vivez à Hong Kong, voici une pub télé qu’on pouvait difficilement éviter ces derniers mois:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQl5Chg3DuE[/youtube]

Qui est le monsieur avec la moustache et la manne de cheveux grisonnants? C’est John Tsang, secrétaire aux finances dans le gouvernement de Donald Tsang (aucun lien de parenté). Je ne verrais pas John Flaherty ou Claude Bachand faire des pubs pareilles au Canada/Québec, alors avant de me renseigner, je croyais que c’était une sorte d’acteur, star du Cantopop vieillissante.

Voici ce que Harry, caricaturiste du SCMP, en pense:

Harry's View on 2010-11 Tsang budget in #scmp, 2010-02-25. #hkbudget

Les deux personnages en avant-plan sont les deux monsieurs récurrents des caricatures de Harry. Souvent, on les voit assis autour d’une table, avec un moineau dans la cage qui fait des simagrés.

Pour en savoir plus sur ce budget, en général très généreux (on a tendence à sur-budgéter en faisant des prévisions relativement pessimistes), y’a Twitter et aussi la copie du discours sur le site du gouvernement.

Tai Hang 大坑: the hippy valley

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Tai Hang 大坑

Tai Hang 大坑

After spending part of my Sunday afternoon two weeks ago exploring Tin Hau and Fortress Hill, I set out to another area that was kind of a black hole to me on Hong Kong Island: the enclave of Tai Hang (大坑) near Victoria Park.

Previously, I only knew Tai Hang, as the name for Tai Hang Road, leading up to the mountain which forks into the “Tai Hang” drive (now with an opulent new development called The Legend). However, this does not represent Tai Hang proper, as the “real” Tai Hang is in fact a valley accessible by road only through Tung Lo Wan Road from the north side.

If you know the Hong Kong Central Library, then you can locate Tai Hang as being towards the mountain, a tad to the east. It’s out of everyone’s way, a 10-minute walk from Tin Hau MTR.

Tai Hang is perhaps also a remarkable spot because it is very slightly built-up, with relatively narrow streets and little traffic. From what I gather, listening to relatives who lived there, or people of my age living in nearby areas, many of the new businesses opened shop only in the past few years, with the neighborhood’s increasing gentrification. To the north of Tai Hang, closer to Tung Lo Wan Road, trendy bars go elbow-to-elbow with fashionable clothing stores and cute dessert houses.

As you walk further to the south, inside the valley, not only does it get darker (because of the taller nearby buildings on Tai Hang Road), but also the “interesting” businesses aforementioned tend to diminish, replaced with motor shops that service taxis and expensive vintage vehicles alike.

Continue reading “Tai Hang 大坑: the hippy valley”

A stroll on Electric Road, from Tin Hau to Fortress Hill

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Tin Hau 天后

Tin Hau 天后

Two weeks ago, I set out to Tin Hau MTR for a walk in a new random neighborhood that I did not know. When I came to Hong Kong in 2008, I stayed in North Point, with Causeway Bay as one my frequent hangouts, as it is for a lot of returning overseas Chinese. You can either take the tram or the MTR from North Point towards the more popular/international neighborhood to the west. In between North Point and Victoria Park are two MTR stations which eventually lent their names to the neighborhoods they serve: Tin Hau and Fortress Hill.

One is named after a temple to the Chinese deity Tin Hau, and the other took its name from, well, a hill with a fortress on it (although I’ve never seen it). On the mountain side of TH and FH is a relatively well-off high-rise residential area.

AIA Tower

Closer to the sea, around the MTR station and the main arteries of King’s Rd and Electric Rd, lie some more popular apartments. The neighborhood is clearly gentrifying because of the proximity to Causeway Bay and relatively new office skyscrapers around Fortress Hill MTR like the AIA Tower (1999) and the Manulife Tower. While walking on Electric Rd, close to Tin Hau, you would recognize a strip of mid-scale, clean-looking Southeast Asian restaurants.

Bakery in Tin Hau 天后

Bread

Maybe one-third on my way from Tin Hau to Fortress Hill, along Electric Rd, I stumbled upon a bakery, which was by no means fancy, but had a lineup in front of it, while the staff scurried to provide with freshly baked egg tarts, pineapple cakes — I had one of those and it was very good, especially warm, fresh out of the oven. I also bought a loaf of bread, eight slices for cheaper than Garden bread, and also straight out of the oven.

Tin Hau 天后

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As I progressed north, half-way there to Fortress Hill MTR, I passed by a street of motor shops, at the ground floor of old manufactures, probably transformed into office space today.

Not quite there yet

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Outside Exchange Square

Outside Exchange Square

Outside Exchange Square on a (early) Sunday morning

This is an unfamiliar sight on a Sunday morning in Exchange Square, in Central, Hong Kong. Normally, these are prime spots for Filipina maids to take on the only day off of the week for many of them.

In Hong Kong, Central (and Victoria Park too) is known as the hang-out places for domestic helpers, who otherwise live with their employers. You can picture it as Hong Kong’s financial heart being transformed into a sort of outdoor bazaar.

The note to make is that it was barely 8AM when I took this picture this morning, which explains everything. However, you could already see a few people preparing their spots, or at least reserving theirs.

Free stuff! (But you have to line up)

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Lining up for samples

Lining up for samples

Lining up for free stuff is definitely one of those “strange things” taken from a North American perspective. Free stuff here is never taken for granted, and a line usually naturally forms without much external force.

People are very eager to get their free stuff, and this line (for shake-in flavoured chips from Japan?) stretched for a good 30-40 metre, under the rain…

What will $200 in fact still get you on Shanghai Street?

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Golden Lake brothel on Shanghai Street
Golden Lake brothel at night…

Golden Lake brothel on Shanghai Street
…and during the day.

One of my most popular posts ever on Comme les Chinois, was when in March 2008, I re-posted on a friend’s article on a friend’s impression (as a passerby) of Shanghai Street in Kowloon.

Why was it so popular? Because Shanghai Street, along with Portland and Reclamation Streets in their Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei portions (between Shantung and Dundas) are often synonymous with the sex trade and is home to one of Hong Kong’s most well-known red-light districts. Day or night, as seen in the previous pictures, brothels operate as if prostitution was legal in Hong Kong. You walk around these streets at any time, and you will notice lit-up signs in flashy pink, or the red/pink neons hanging outside on the street or inside the staircase leading up to the establishment.

Perhaps most shockingly comes the “price list“, where the Chinese girl goes for HKD250 (CAD35) and the Malay or Filipina girl will make your wallet lighter by HKD200 (CAD28).

Langham Place, Mong Kok, west of Nathan
Langham Place

The Mong Kok red-light district is in fact just one or two blocks away from flashy Langham Place, a commercial complex that opened in 2004 and whose unavowed goal was to “sanitize” the neighborhood west of Nathan in Mong Kok. In terms of urban renewal, Hong Kong has used this stratagem before, in the early 90s with Times Square (時代廣場) in Causeway Bay and more recently with the apm shopping mall in Kwun Tong, which opened in 2005. While Times Square was a huge success, developing a largely residential area into the location to be for brand-name shopping in Hong Kong, it is still to early to tell if this would have the same effect on Langham Place’s surroundings.

A walk in the neighborhood (during the day) is quite uneventful. The area mostly has home renovation, and construction material, and metal shops, with a brothel at about every 50-100 meters. Ah-suks (uncles) working in the businesses look at you funny, but what seemed to be pimps, left you alone as you took a quick picture of their premises (without them in there, of course).

As it provides an “essential service” in a city of about 7 million souls, the Hong Kong government should leave this part of the city alone, as long as the triads don’t start shooting each other in broad daylight.

Mong Kok, west of Nathan
Home renovation and green light

Chinese BBQ
Chinese BBQ

And now, on a cultural note… In Chinese, “ordering chicken” (叫雞), like in getting chicken from a Chinese BBQ shop, is slang for patronage of female prostitutes. So, “ordering goose/duck” (叫鵝) is the patronage of male prostitutes…

SOGO crossing, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

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SOGO crossing, Hennessy Rd., Causeway Bay (1 of 4)

SOGO crossing, Hennessy Rd., Causeway Bay (2 of 4)

SOGO crossing, Hennessy Rd., Causeway Bay (3 of 4)

SOGO crossing, Hennessy Rd., Causeway Bay (4 of 4)

L’intersection du SOGO – du nom du grand magasin dominant ce coin de rue – est probablement l’un ou le lieu le plus cher à Hong Kong en termes d’affichage publicitaire. La confluence d’au moins cinq rues différentes, celui-ci rivalise en achalandage avec l’intersection de Shibuya à Tokyo ou Times Square à Manhattan.

The SOGO intersection, named after the department store dominating it, is probably Hong Kong’s most expensive spot for billboards. At the confluence of at least five different streets, it rivals in traffic with Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing or Manhattan’s Times Square.

Comme les Chinois goes to Hong Kong

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奶茶 Milk Tea

I am going to Hong Kong next Wednesday, September 30th and will be staying there for at least two months. Primarily, I will be looking for something to do, but I will also be keeping this blog as I did last year and will be also calling in to our Radio Centre-Ville Cantonese show, almost every Wednesday at 11:20PM (Montreal time). If you want to contact me, e-mail is still the way to go: cedric@commeleschinois.ca.

Comme les chinois s’en va à Hong Kong ! Je pars mercredi prochain, 30 septembre, et y restera pour au moins les deux prochains mois. J’irai principalement pour me chercher quelque chose à faire, mais garderai une présence sur les Internets grâce à ce blogue (comme l’année dernière) et sur les ondes de Radio Centre-Ville, alors que j’appelerai mes collègues de l’émission en cantonais, tous les mercredis vers 23h20 (heure de Montréal). Si vous voulez me contacter, par courriel reste la meilleure façon: cedric@commeleschinois.ca.