Friday, November 28, 2008

A very Hong Kong Thanksgiving (Part I)

So as Thanksgiving--that truly Americanest of all holidays approached, I steadfastly avoided thinking about it. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday by a long shot. The meaning of the holiday is still palpably at hand, most likely because it has evolved over time into whatever we wanted it to be, and unlike the progress of other holidays, Thanksgiving at least glorifies things worth glorifying.

So it was with denial that I approached my most revered holiday, as I feared that a remembrance of the day that celebrates one's family and loved ones would only digress into a sappy mope-fest. But then something struck me on the train home Thursday evening, and I decided that even without my favorite people I would celebrate them blog-style. So here goes, this posting is dedicated to everyone I'm thankful for. Which is most everyone I know.

Deciding that one wants to cook themselves a Thanksgiving feast on the afternoon the day of was not as impossible a task as it might sound. Remember, for everyone here, it was just Thursday. But even before departing for the grocery store, one fact rang in my head. I haven't seen turkey for sale the entire time I've been here. According to K, my housemate, "Chinese don't like turkey." K is an exception apparently, he got heavy into ground turkey during college in the states (as did I!).

So with turkey off the list, I decided that rather than a literal T-Day feast, I'd go for a more symbolic menu, with the target being to create a truly American feast, of the kind modern-day settlers might partake in. So here's what I got:

The first dish I settled on was pizza. Pizza is, I would argue, America's second dish. Coming after the hamburger (good luck finding ground anything here...), pizza can be found anywhere English is spoken. The down side is that the frozen pizza's at the local park and shop came in two flavors: Pepperoni (the picture looked like a pizza with Chicken Pox), and Seafood (I'll take the crab juice...). Realizing the futility of this avenue upon first glance, I became excited by the prospect of assembling pizza from the available ingredients. I'm not going to lie, there's no cheese here:

This is a pan-fried dough disk. Its sort of like nan but with more oil. They came from Singapore, and were in the freezer section, each individually wrapped. Tomato sauce was easy to find, but cheese limits you to cream cheese, cheese spread, or kraft singles. I found an off-brand singles pack labeled mozzarella and shrugged: What harm could it do?

Here's my pan fried pizza getting its melt on:

Second, I needed some garlic bread. Okay, this one isn't so so American, but the packaging is. Inside the box is a plastic bag containing an aluminum tray and 18 think slices of bread, frozen, and covered with margarine and garlic. What could be more wasteful? Clubbing a baby seal and then not using its skin as a coat:

When you spread them out and toast them, they actually come out quite delicious:

The last of the main dishes was sausage. I saw these in the freezer and couldn't help myself. Sausage is awesome (I know, I was this close to being all veggie...) boiled and stir fried with onions and red peppers produced an actually palatable course:

Of course, I purchased some buns for the sausage--they were labeled cocktail buns, and came three to a pack. When my sausage was done I sliced one open:

Thats right, filled with some kind of coconut cream. Just plain weird.

Beverages were not a hard choice. Thanks to this globalization we got goin' on, PBR and Coke were plentiful. Hunter Thompson would be very happy.

For desert, there was cake, but I forgot to take a picture. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!


  1. U. Rene' says you only forgot the eggs ;-) Happy Thanksgiving Chris! Don't feel too bad...I tried an experiment with the turkey..not a good thing to do on Thanksgiving. All to say I don't recommend 'brining' a turkey-it supposed to make it moist-it does-but then it just tastes very salty like deli meat. Oh, well. There's always next year. A.C.

  2. Oh, and the only reason I'm posting as anonymous is bc I can't figure out how to work this......sad ;-( a.c.

  3. We all missed you very much around here, but very much enjoyed the phone calls. Your meal looks...interesting. I will make it all up to you when you are back in the States - one enormous turkey with all fixings. We're very thankful for you!

  4. your mom and I have had an interesting conversation....i thought Putong-Kong was your self given Chinese name....yet I am left wondering what it really means...a.c.

  5. Oh man bread fillings. I got that all the time in Japan. It seems no one likes to have just regular bread. It needs to have some sort of wierd filling.