This is a large topic…
On one hand, you can spit and dribble half masticated food into a pile of bone and sinew on the table in front of you and not raise an eyebrow from your dinner friends…and on the other…those same dinner friends will spurn you as a disgusting semi-human freak if you commit the sin of putting a toothpick near your teeth without shielding that toothpick with your other hand like it’s a top secret government file.
Welcome to the world of Hygienic Inconsistency in Hong Kong!
Actually, nothing much is half masticated in Hong Kong. If your teeth can bite through it and it’s at least small enough to fit half of it into your mouth…you can eat it. I’ve seen people with pork chops the size of dinner plates in their gobs. I’ve seen people gnawing splintery bones for minutes at a time, playing them around in their mouths like a kid sucks a lollipop. I’ve seen people spit king size slobbery chops onto their plate and spin them around and chomp on them from a slightly more interesting angle if it means getting access to more coddled vein. Yet…if you accidentally drop a spring roll onto the table cloth and go to pick it up and put it back on your plate…the entire table erupts in horror as if you have just bent grandma over the table, lifted her skirt and started fucking her up the ass. “Oh, so dirty!” they cry.
What the fuck Sally Wong!? I just watched you spit bone and sinew onto the table for half an hour and now you’re shocked when I put a spring roll on my plate? That’s inconsistent Sally.
Hong Kong people are obsessed with cleanliness but don’t have a clue what cleanliness is. They wash their hands like murderers…they go through tissues like a beaver goes through wood…yet they sneeze openly, cough anywhere and spit all over the place. Something’s out of whack.
Dogs eat bones with more class than your typical Hong Kong local chows down on a restaurant lunch. I’ve heard them burp and fart and slurp and slop and suck and chew and gnaw and crunch so vocally I wonder if they have brain damage. There’s a pretty conspicuous base impulse to shovel food in one end and then let fermentation and digestion take over contaminating the piss out of anyone within 5 -10 meters…or more.
Get to know the locals. Listen to and watch their natural game. Watch stunned as Mr Chan cocks his leg and farts a slow, deliberate, audible stinker while he chats to Miss Chen in the office. My nostrils don’t think you’re very hygienic Mr Chan. Try to keep a straight face as Ms Wong burps up a beauty from deep down and continues right along with her conversation. That’s just wrong Ms Wong. Try to look the other way while the company senior tongues food onto the table inches from your left arm. Hey, mind my sleeve there Wong Ling Spit. Watch stunned as Cindy Tam shows you her food while she chews it. Thanks Cindy, that’s great. But don’t ever, ever, keep a few loose Tic Tacs in your top pocket (this happened to me) and be seen taking one out and putting it into your mouth. Because your pocket is a crime scene! It’s a tip, a dump, a horrific culture of germs and bacteria! Your top pocket is an un-flushed toilet and that Tic Tac is a turd!
See…it’s ok to spit half chewed food onto the table while you eat, but you can’t take a Tic Tac out of your pocket. Because that’s dirty. That’s the topsy-turvey world of Hong Kong hygiene.
HK Hygiene highlights:
– Wash your tupperware, plates, knives and forks from lunch in the toilet hand basins. Don’t worry about your proximity to the 2 guys who just finished shitting and are washing their hands in arcs of splashing water right next to you. Don’t worry about the stench in there. Take your time! Gotta rinse your teacup! Hong Kong’s tight for space – no kitchen sink? The shithouse will do.
– Fart and burp anywhere you want as loud as you like and…never excuse yourself. This is China. No need for shit like manners! Smelling other peoples’ farts is what makes us Chinese!
– Chew with your mouth wide open and don’t forget to talk while you’re chewing! But for the love of god cover your mouth with both hands when you use a toothpick!
– Gnaw bonesSpitting…a sign of affection in some tribes .
– Spit on the ground anywhere you like/ hawk back snot – also to be done anywhere you like. Blow your nose onto the ground…without a hanky.
– Spit half chewed food onto the dinner table. See if you can make the biggest pile out of everyone at the table. I’m sure that’s a sign of something in Hong Kong. Probably a sign of health……as opposed to being what it should be – a sign you’re dirty.This guy has two spit styles…the usual – direct from mouth to table technique he was trained with…and the more polite – spit into ever present tissue then drop to table. Note the mobile phone action….no more than 6 or 7 seconds are allowed to pass in HK before it comes into play. .
– Suck rice, or scrape it as quickly as you can from your bowl with your chopsticks. Really slam that food into your mouth. It’s a race didn’t you know?
– Throw your rubbish anywhere because it’s not your problem.
To be continued….complete with more pictures and more video!