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'We've packed our passports.'
'And bought our phrasebooks.'
HE SPEAKS FOREIGN LANGUAGE
'Because we're off on our biggest, craziest adventure yet.'
Meow! Meow! Bee!
HE MAKES TARZAN CRY
'We're travelling further than we've ever done before.'
'To uncover the authentic routes of Britain's favourite takeaway foods.'
I've always wanted to know how to make proper sweet and sour sauce.
'Going off the beaten track
'and being welcomed into some of Asia's hidden worlds.'
How marvellous is this?
'From the high rises and hot woks of Hong Kong.'
The heat on this is really, really intense,
-HOB FIRE ROARS
It's like a jet engine.
I love it.
'To the sweltering tropics of Thailand...
'..where they say it's impossible to eat badly.'
Thai food has arrived in Britain, but by crikey,
it's only the tip of the iceberg.
'And we fulfil a lifelong ambition to explore Japan.'
-That is perfect.
-Wow. Look at that.
I've just had a sushi-gasm.
'We finish up in South Korea, where the spicy cuisine is sensational.'
This would go down a bomb down the local.
'So leather up and take to the road.'
'For one extremely hairy...
BOTH: 'Asian adventure!'
-We're in Hong Kong.
-This is Asia's world city.
It's famous for finance and fantastic food.
And it has one of the highest concentrations
of restaurants per capita of anywhere in the world.
Chinese is now the most popular takeaway in the UK.
So what better place to come to track down the origins
of our favourite dishes than Hong Kong, our gateway to China?
Hong Kong is a dazzling, busy, crowded, hot,
steamy and stunning place where East meets West.
And it's here where our love affair with Chinese cuisine began
almost 150 years ago.
Hong Kong became a British colony in 1842.
Merchants ships crewed by Chinese sailors headed for Britain
bringing their cuisine to our shores.
Look at all the ships in the harbour! That's amazing.
What a city!
Today, Hong Kong is under Chinese rule,
home to seven million people,
and it's the most vertical city on the planet.
It's like Canary Wharf with chopsticks.
And the food here is Cantonese -
a mouthwatering mix of stir-fries, seafood and roast meats.
It's what we have on our Chinese takeaway menus back home.
Dave and I love a Chinese takeaway like anybody else.
What's your favourite takeaway?
Oh, beef and black bean sauce with crispy noodles, without a doubt.
-Well, good old predictable
-sweet and sour pork for me, matey.
We can't wait to find out how Chinese food here compares
to what we know and love back home.
Plus, we want to understand what our beloved Chinese cuisine
means to the nation that invented it.
We want to find out what Chinese people
have for their takeaways,
what they eat in their homes, and what they have for Sunday lunch.
What I'm looking forward to is to having a big adventure
in Hong Kong, to really immerse myself in Chinese cuisine.
There's got to be more to it than a number 42 with an egg fried rice.
But first, we've got to get our bearings.
Hong Kong is made up of a chunk of mainland China,
plus more than 200 islands in the South China Sea.
The beating heart of it is Hong Kong Island, so that's where
we're heading for our first taste of true Chinese cooking.
Nestled beneath the skyscrapers
that are home to some of the world's biggest banks,
are traditional food stalls that are knocking out
some of the most authentic Cantonese food in the city.
These open-air stalls, called dai pai dongs,
have been here for 60 years or more.
Today, they provide the perfect lunchtime fix
for busy office workers.
'We're meeting a two Michelin starred chef, Alvin Leung.'
So, you know, we're going to go to a dai pai dong.
-This is my favourite one.
He's going to give us the lowdown on fast food, Cantonese style.
You know, the chefs here are amazing. They do thousands of these dishes.
Can you imagine doing this 14 hours a day in this immense heat?
-He's doing the clams for us.
-And that's black bean, yeah?
That's black bean.
The dish is cooked in under a minute.
Practically done in a minute.
-You see him stir-frying, or he's moving the things around.
Get everything coated.
-Look at that.
'He's done these clams with my favourite - black bean sauce.
I love that! It's like a jet engine, isn't it?
-HOB FIRE ROARS
-It's so powerful.
Intense heat. It's over 200 degrees.
Oh, sifu, thank you.
You know, you've got a complexity of flavours there.
It's a wonderful dish.
-Is it beautiful?
Aw, man, that is...
The flavours are perfectly balanced.
Alvin has challenged us to cook for him
and the sifu here on the dai pai dong.
We're going to do a stir-fry with seafood and Chinese greens.
I hope you've got WOK it takes, Kingy!
# Hong Kong Phooey!
# Quicker than the human eye! #
Hong Kong on a dai pai dong!
I can't believe it, dude.
Now, we're going to cook a prawn and scallop stir-fry.
We've kept this simple. Respect the fresh ingredients.
Everything must be properly prepared. The same goes at home.
When I do a Chinese meal,
I'll have little pots of everything ready to go.
We're going to cook the dinner in about three minutes.
This is a culinary sprint, not a marathon.
Are we ready?
The heat is so important.
Pump up the volume, pump up the volume!
Brilliant with seafood.
And that's flavouring the oil.
We're using groundnut oil cos there's not much taste
and it's a really high temperature.
-Are you ready?
-Get it in.
Six big prawns, de-veined. Watch these little fellows bounce.
Medallions of scallops which I have seasoned lightly.
We put them on and we want them to catch on one side.
-Right, they're catching.
One spoonful of.
-All right, Kingy?
Spring onions going in.
'As well as spring onions,
'garlic and ginger are key for an authentic Cantonese flavour.'
Pak choi. Choi sum.
They're going to wilt like us in this searing heat.
Red chilli. Wah!
I'm feeling manly.
We need some liquid in there. They're sort of wilting.
Right, some light soy sauce.
The heat on this wok is really, really intense.
It's great, cos you can regulate it.
-Listen, it's like a jet engine.
-HOB FIRE ROARS
I love it.
In Cantonese food, seasoning is minimal.
It's all about preserving the fresh fragrant tastes.
You don't want to kill the scallops, prawns and the wonderful greens.
And a teeny drizzle of sesame oil.
Very simple, very quick.
That's it, Kingy, we need to get this out fresh.
They're going to get to taste our stir-fry.
Come on, sifu.
After you, mucker!
'Fingers crossed Alvin approves of our British take on Chinese food.'
Well, I'm really tempted to taste this,
and see if you guys have really learned the secret of wok chi.
-Alvin, what is wok chi?
-Wok chi is the power from the wok.
Basically, it's from the heat, the intense heat, the hot oil,
and then you put in the herbs, the ginger, the green onions,
the garlic, and before you put in the vegetables and seafood,
and it flavours the whole dish.
Alvin, could you ask sifu what he thinks
about the look of it, initially?
HE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE
HE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE
-He says, "Not bad, not bad." Now, to Chinese, not bad is good.
We're are not very complementary people, OK?
So, when he says not bad...
Guys, let's taste, come on.
Nice. Really nice.
Very well seasoned.
I don't need to add any salt, I don't need to add any chilli sauce.
The only criticism I would have is that the sauce is a bit watery.
It's good to thicken the sauce, cos the sauce is very important.
It has a lot of flavour.
You want to thicken it so you can coat all the vegetables.
If we had put some cornflour through the soy,
we would have thickened it as well, had a nice glaze.
It would have looked better as well.
Yeah, it would, it would.
I really like, guys. Excellent.
He said, "It's OK."
You know, I think we've learned more about wok cooking
from you and sifu in three minutes
than we have done in like ten years of pottering.
-I want to try that recipe again.
-Work on the wok chi.
Now we've got to grips with Cantonese fast food,
I reckon we need to find out what people eat at home
and how food fits into family life.
Well, you're in luck,
because we're going to gate-crash a local family's weekday dinner.
So, it's bye-bye to the big banks of Hong Kong Island
and hello to the New Territories on the Chinese mainland,
where three and a half million people live.
Speaking of the banks, Kingy,
Hong Kong has more billionaires per capita
than anywhere else in the world.
Yes, and you need to be loaded to buy your own gaff here.
House prices in Hong Kong have doubled over the past four years,
so nearly half the population lives in council owned skyscrapers
with subsidised rents, like the one we're going to eat our tea in.
This is a government housing estate on the Hong Kong/Chinese border,
and it consists of hundreds of high-rise apartments.
Now, each high-rise consists of 456 flats spread over 38 floors
with approximately 12 flats per floor.
With four to five people living in each apartment,
that makes a total of 2,200 people in each high-rise.
Now, as you know,
Dave and I are not adverse to "a mam knows best".
Now, well, this is "Chinese grannies know best".
I wonder what we'll find.
Our destination is floor 35, home to the Feungs -
a typical Hong Kong working family.
Jackie and Lulu's.
Hello, Jackie? I'm Dave.
-Pleased to meet you.
-I'm Si, very nice to meet you.
-Yeah. Nice to meet you.
-Thank you for...
-This is Si.
'University student Jackie lives here with his Grandma Lulu,
'two brothers, and Dad and Mum.'
And my mother.
'All six of them live in this two-bedroom flat.'
Here's my bedroom, and I share the bedroom with my younger brother
and also my grandma.
-So there's three of you sleep in here?
-My younger brother is sleeping here.
-And me, I will sleep in here.
-And my Grandma Lulu is sleeping here.
-Ah, she's got a little bed under there?
-A little pull-out.
So here's my little kitchen.
And you see our servant today.
Ah, with a LITTLE CHEF!
'Like the majority of families here,
'Jackie's parents both work full-time.
'Mum is an accountant's clerk an hour away in Kowloon.'
'And Dad is one of the half a million Hong Kong residents
'who work over the border in China.'
So there's two woks and a wok ring and a rice steamer.
'So Granny's in charge of feeding the family.'
Lulu cooks for six, in a kitchen the size of a broom cupboard,
and tonight, we're squeezing in.
'First, a bitter melon, pork and black bean stir-fry.
'Bitter melon is a bit like courgette, er, but bitter.'
-So this is...?
-Palm sugar, yes.
I think this is why it tastes good.
That's a lot of palm sugar!
-LULU SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE
SHE CONTINUES Some water.
I don't think I've cooked over a very small Chinese grandma before.
She must feel like it's like having the Gruffalo in the kitchen.
Oh, look, now.
-Jackie, now I know why you live at home.
-And there's a chicken dish coming now.
'This 70-year-old doesn't stop for a second.
'Every night she cooks five or six different stir-fries, plus rice.'
-So what dish is this one?
-Sweet-and-sour pork, Kingy.
-It's sweet-and-sour pork...
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-With sweet-and-sour sauce.
'Ah, love it! Lulu knows just how to make these Englishmen
'feel right at home.'
-She's got stuff hidden everywhere!
-Right, this is the sweet-and-sour sauce.
-This is it.
Juliennes of carrot, right?
I've always wanted to know how to make proper sweet-and-sour sauce.
-Everybody loves it.
-Yes, pineapple now.
-And the peppers.
-Ooh, you can smell... Lovely.
-I like it.
Wow, very big.
BIKERS AND JACKIE: Ohhh!
That's three quarters of a bottle of tomato ketchup.
I think it's a whole bottle of ketchup, Kingy.
'Crumbs. Dude, that's 700 calories in the tomato sauce alone.'
'Do you know, sweet-and-sour pork's been on Chinese menus in Britain
'I'm telling you, this one's definitely sweet.'
-Ah, look at those.
'This family feast
'has only taken Granny Lulu 45 minutes to rustle up.'
Now I feel as though I've arrived in Hong Kong.
Yes, it doesn't get more traditional than a family meal.
So let's start.
That's fantastic, that sauce.
-So nice and crispy.
You are a good cook, aren't you, Lulu?
SHE REPLIES IN OWN LANGUAGE
You must love her, man.
The food is just so good.
-And produced in next to no time, in the smallest, smallest space.
But bundles and spoonfuls of love and care,
and that was beautiful to see.
-Thank you very, very much.
-Yeah, you're welcome.
JACKIE SPEAKS IN OWN LANGUAGE ..you're welcome.
SHE TRIES TO REPEAT
SIMON CHEERS, THEY LAUGH AND CLAP
(SLOWLY) You are welcome.
You are welcome.
THEY ALL CHEER
-Man, your granny is the coolest granny.
-She is the coolest granny.
Jousahn - that's Cantonese for "good morning", that is.
And what a morning, dude! Back in the thick of it.
Monday rush hour on Hong Kong Island.
It's mayhem in this mega city.
Hundreds of thousands of people
are hurrying into the Central District
for work in the skyscrapers.
But we're here to find out what Hong Kongers eat in the morning.
I like the look of this for breakfast, Si.
-Oh, it's fabulous, isn't it?
-It smells of Asia!
-Fish. I can smell fish.
Can you believe it? A quarter of locals here
have their morning meal out at least five times a week.
And Dave and I have heard
the locals are rather partial to a good old-fashioned fry-up.
-There she is!
-I've been waiting for over two hours!
-You cannot be. You haven't got a watch on.
-So, if you want to eat?
All you two need is a fishing rod!
You have to help me down. Oh, I love you!
Hong Kong celebrity Suzie Wong
is going to show us how she likes to start the day.
This place is called a cha chaan teng.
A load of them opened up in colonial times
and they're still popular today.
It's as close to a greasy spoon as you'll get here,
serving mixed-up comfort foods to locals who want
a taste of Western grub on the cheap.
There's a Spam noodle.
-Yes! Spam noodles.
# Spam, beautiful Spam!
-# Beautiful Spam... #
-This is brilliant.
-Oh, egg butties!
-It's white bread, sliced, with the crusts off.
Fundamentally, that's a corned beef savoury sandwich.
-This is a Pot Noodle with Spam and a fried egg.
It's very westernised.
Are you going to have a try?
I'll give some to you.
-Have a bite.
-Aw, look at this, Kingy.
It's a Hong Kong breakfast club sandwich.
Corned beef, egg, four slices white processed.
Double-decker, dude. Class.
SI AND SUZIE LAUGH
-It's not bad.
-It's interesting. It's not full of expats in here.
I thought it'd be full of crusty old colonels
that had been left behind, having their bully beef and egg butties.
It's fascinating, isn't it, that you have these kind of echoes
-of the cuisine of the past... from 100 years ago.
You can see how important to a lot of nations Hong Kong was,
and from that, you get these multi layers of food
from different places around the world, different influences
brought in, and kind of mish-mashed together
in this mad city cuisine. It's nuts!
-Come on, let's have a go.
It is, um...
How do you like it?
It's strange, because the luncheon meat is quite kind of economy
luncheon meat, and the noodles do seem to be quite kind of instant.
Yeah, it is instant noodles.
Trust the British to leave a legacy of corned beef and egg sandwiches,
spam and egg noodles...
God bless 'em!
It's interesting that in the same way
we Brits have westernised Chinese cooking,
the people here have adapted our food for their tastes.
Well, that's not what you call an Asian treat, is it?
-I mean, it's interesting, it's a legacy that we Brits left behind,
but I did feel it's come back to haunt me.
It's still coming back to haunt me, I tell you! That's wrong.
I wanted Asian adventure, not an egg sandwich.
-We need to go and find something local.
I've got just the thing - noodles!
Of course, Hong Kong's the place that brought us Brits
this key Cantonese ingredient.
And we've wangled a rare invite
into the back room of the Lau Sum Key noodle house in Kowloon
to learn the secrets of making the ultimate heritage noodle.
This place opened in 1931 and the family business
has been handed down from father to son,
ending up today in the hands of noodle artiste Jason.
JASON SPEAKS IN OWN LANGUAGE
About 30, 35.
Duck eggs are going to make it really rich, aren't they?
The colour of those yolks is going to go through the noodles. Fabulous.
It's good to see you get cracking, Kingy.
Did you have to?!
All that's in these noodles is eggs, flour and water.
Not mixed, but pressed into a dough.
How old were you when you started making noodles?
-11 years old.
-Do you like making noodles?
I like doing this now,
but when I was young boy, I don't like this.
So far, so normal.
Having worked the dough to activate the gluten,
it's time for Jason's party trick.
Well, I can honestly say I've never seen a rodeo technique of noodle making before.
Yee-ha! Saddle up, cowboy!
The pressure of kneading with the bamboo and Jason's body weight
makes for a denser noodle with a springy texture...apparently.
Once the dough's been ridden to within 3mm of its life,
it's on to grandad's original cutting machine for noodle formation.
It's a really, really strong dough, isn't it, Kingy?
-And that means you can cut it really fine.
And long may the bamboo-pole method of noodle making continue.
I'll second that, Kingy.
The Pearl River!
You know, there's so much more to Hong Kong than the city.
We're heading out to the fishing village of Taikoo.
For hundreds of years, the Tanka people have made a living here salting and drying fish.
Their open-plan stilted houses over the tidal flats
are a world away from the high-rises of the city.
Hey, Si, you know how Hong Kong
would have been all sleepy fishing villages like this till the Brits arrived?
Back then, it only had a population of just 1,500.
I know, mate, it's mad to think
that there would have been English policemen in khaki shorts
in that colonial police station over there.
And that's where we're going to do some cooking.
We're going to do possibly the best egg fried rice you've ever tasted.
-Don't say, "Oh, no, I don't like egg fried rice!"
-Listen, this is a minter.
We're going to do our own crispy belly pork to start the egg fried rice off.
Where could be better to roast some piggy than here in China,
where they produce over half the world's pork?
This piece is super fatty, so it should crisp up like a good 'un.
But it needs a marinade.
The dry ingredients are star anise, five-spice powder and salt.
Just give that a little shoomozel.
I love Sichuan peppercorns.
It's like the culinary equivalent of local anaesthetic.
-It is, isn't it?
-And my department's the wet ingredients.
Grate two cloves of garlic,
some palm sugar and a thumb-sized piece of ginger.
Why do people say that? I mean, whose thumb's that?!
And we're going to marinate the pork in a plastic bag.
-So that's our drys.
-Invisible tennis ball. Go on, then. Go on.
Thrown the invisible ball.
Oh, nice catch, dude.
Then add the wet stuff.
Plus a spoon each of hoisin sauce and sesame oil.
Just give it a good squidgy up.
You pop that in.
And then we're going to massage the pork.
You know, you want a kind of... put Barry White on in your head.
-You know, that kind of... Hey, baby!
-BARRY WHITE PLAYS IN BACKGROUND
# My everything. #
Whoo, baby! Laying on the love!
So look at that, no washing up.
Then put it in a moderate oven, about 160 degrees Celsius,
for an hour-and-a-half, an hour-and-three-quarters,
until it's cooked through and maybe a little bit crispy.
Obviously, take it out of the bag first.
A mistake a lot of people make when they're doing egg fried rice
is just to pop the eggs into the rice and it ends up being kind of soggy.
You don't want that. Cook the eggs first in a kind of rolled up omelette.
Shred it and put it in the eggs at the end, it's beautiful.
Right, put that in there. Just throw it into the pan.
First off, about two tablespoons of ground nut oil.
Now, we've soaked some dried prawns to flavour the dish.
Bung 'em in!
Now to this, we want the garlic.
One big clove finely sliced.
-Pop that in.
-I tell you what, mate, I'm going to come round this side
-and see if I can be a bit of a shield, cos the wind's up.
Because you want to get heat under a wok, you know.
Now, take the pork... it's fantastic!
Crushed Sichuan peppercorns.
And now the rice.
Never use fresh rice, you want stone-cold leftover rice,
cos you don't want it to go soggy.
So what I often do is if I'm having rice the day before, say with a chilli,
I'll do double rice.
And now for the fresh prawns, which need less cooking time.
-Wok-static, in't it?
-Hey, man, it's absolutely beautiful!
And now the spring onions.
And now the omelette.
Look at the colours in that, though, it looks fabulous.
-Well, some people call it rainbow rice, don't they?
And lastly...a dressing of soy sauce.
That...looks and smells epic.
And where better to eat our seafood supper
than here on the shore of the South China Sea?
-Well, what a perfect end to a perfect day.
Our time in Hong Kong has come to an end.
You know, it's kind of reassuring that the Chinese dishes
we love back home are so important to Hong Kongers too.
Yes, I've also realised, Dave, it's easy to take Chinese food for granted.
It's so simple, just fresh ingredients cooked quickly.
And you know what, mate, that's its beauty.
In their most adventurous road trip yet, the Hairy Bikers tour the birthplaces of favourite Asian cuisines. In Hong Kong, they discover the secrets of wok chi at the city's street food stalls and watch noodle-making rodeo-style.