Meal: Ngau Lam, King's Palace Congee and Noodle Express, Hong Kong Airport
Cost: HK$4 (about £3.60)
Thoughts: Ngau lam is a Cantonese dish of stewed beef, frequently with some tendon thrown in for extra chewy goodness. It's not unlike a British beef stew, just meat and gravy, but fragrant with the Cantonese braising staples of star anise, tangerine peel, Chinese cinnamon (cassia bark), garlic and ginger. I eat it in London's Chinatown quite a bit - where vats bubble away in windows, ready to be served near instantly - and it was a definite to do in HK. Alas although I saw many a noodle house serving it up it was never when I needed a meal, luckily for me one of the places in HK airport had it so I made it my last meal there.
I've read it's an ideal hangover cure and I needed it. The last night in HK turned out to be a big one and we'd stumbled in at 6.30am having started 12 hours before. At one point in the early hours we bought and polished off a bottle of vodka in a club between 2 or 3 of us in the space of maybe 2 hours. It was a heavy night. Add to that getting up at 10.30am to leave for the airport and I definitely had a hangover I needed curing.
Whilst not as exciting as the HK noodle shops - with their bubbling vats of beef, tendon and tripe - the airport version (to the right of the snap) was just what I needed. The meat was melt in the mouth and the noodles slippery soft but with just enough bite. Whilst it may not sound the thing for when you're feeling tender the tendon was just the ticket, gelatinous and soft but meaty in taste. The stock itself ended up a bit on the fiery side after I spooned in a load of chili oil before testing how hot it was - a bit of sweating was probably just what I needed though.
It was until a few hours later, sat on the plane and getting ready to land in Kuala Lumpur, that it dawned on me I'd survived the day pretty much hangover free - maybe it is the great cure folk say it is.