Teachers’ Memories from the Trip 2016 to Hong Kong & China

MILLIE FULCHER OF DENBIGH HIGH SCHOOL

“My trip to Hong Kong was unforgettable. The hospitality and generosity of all parties involved was very much appreciated. There were so many highlights, too many to discuss, so I’m going to outline only a few of my favourites. 

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The number one area that stands out, of course, was the food. On our first night we dined at the Dragon King, The food was exquisite and in addition to learning and taste testing a range of new, authentic dishes, we tasted traditional tea, something that we went on to explore further throughout the week. My absolute favourite was white peony; it was so light and refreshing. The same can't be said for the Kong Kong tea made with condensed milk! - Served at breakfast, which was another new adventure. The Dim sum was amazing and I even plucked up the courage (excuse the pun) to eat a chicken foot! The vegetarian restaurant was also a great experience; the setting, the variety of mushrooms and the new ingredients were superb. 

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I have never travelled to East Asia and I was mesmerized by the temples - from the calm, tranquil Chi Lin to the bustling, loud Wong Tai Sin temple. The views and colours were stunning and it was great being able to immerse yourself in the culture.  

Another highlight was the trip to Lee Kum Kee headquarters. Cooking alongside Alice was a pleasure and I was honoured to meet company leaders and a member of the founding family. Performing the company clap was a personal highlight of mine as it really showcased the spirit of the company. To see how vast and large the tanks were, was quite something. 

Finally, who could forget the night-time views from the peak? This was a wonderful introduction to Hong Kong with a view to remember. I’m particularly proud that I can now successfully use chopsticks! - A skill I will be teaching my GCSE class! Once again, thank you so much for the opportunity.

JONATHAN LEWIS OF ST MICHAEL’S CATHOLIC COLLEGE

“The trip to the food market was a real eye opener for me and I was amazed by the variety of ingredients for sale. The first part of the market focuses on fish and seafood, which were mostly alive in tanks. Some of the shellfish were massive and of a size I had never seen before, especially the prawns and clams, with some of them costing £50+ for a kilo. Keeping the fish and seafood alive in tanks meant that not only that it was as fresh as possible when purchased but that there was very little if any waste.

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The second area of the food market we went into was the fresh meat area where all of the different cuts of meat were displayed on the stalls. Most of the cuts were very different to what we see in butchers and supermarkets in the UK and it was very obvious on some stalls that every part of the animal had been butchered and was on sale. My favourite stall had a whole pig that had been butchered displayed on a rack and you could see every part of the animal from its tail to its snout and tongue. Every type of meat and poultry was on offer and one stall even had black chicken, which I had never seen before.

The next area we walked into had frozen meats, poultry and seafood and different types of fish and meatballs that can be used in soups and hot pots. The variety of ingredients was mind blowing. At the end of this area there were stalls selling cooked poultry and meats and there were roast ducks, chickens, roast pork and crispy pork on sale. The poultry had to be roasted whole and were hung up on the racks by their necks and looked amazing. All the stalled specialised in their own products and there were stalls dedicated to dried fish and dried seafood, eggs including 1000-year-old eggs, tofu, dried vegetables and dried mushrooms, noodles and rice and rice based products. 

The final area we went into was the fruit and vegetables and the colours that we were met with were so vibrant it was instantly obvious that the fruits and vegetables were as fresh as possible.  All of the stalls were covered with fruits of vegetables many of which I had never seen before and we were able to identify some of the vegetables that we had consumed during the banquets and lunches previously. My favourite stall in this area was the fresh mushrooms and fungus. The smell was amazing and there were mushrooms and fungus of all varieties, shapes and sizes.

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I loved the visit to the market, as I have never seen the variety of ingredients that were on offer! One part of me wanted to have this sort of market in the UK so we had access to the freshest of ingredients but another part of realised that if we did have markets like this in the UK it would take me hours and hours every day to do the shopping as I would be walking around in awe of all the ingredients not being able to make up my mind what to buy.”

SARAH BONA OF ST THOMAS MORE CATHOLIC SCHOOL

"Hong Kong, we arrived after a fantastic flight and experienced a jaw dropping entry to Hong Kong island. The sun was beaming and as we crossed the astounding bridge I felt excited. We had a wonderful first meal where we got to try a range of foods, including an amazing crispy duck, so very different to the duck that is served in the UK. The restaurant over looked the bay which was beautiful. Following this we travel to the Peak to enjoy the view of Hong Kong at night, it was breath taking.

The following day we went out for a traditional breakfast, noodles were sampled a very unusual thing for us to eat at breakfast and coffee which was completely different. We then went to visit a traditional garden: the juxtaposition between the tranquil garden and high rise building made me feel that I was starting to understand the essence of Hong Kong. We then went to visit several temples, in the heat and crowds as gardeners worked, peopled prayed and tourists snapped. We also travelled to Aberdeen beach and enjoyed a cool afternoon tea looking out to sea. That evening we went out for another fantastic evening meal, 100 year old eggs were sampled; a huge array of food was presented and enjoyed.

The following day we travelled to the LKK headquarters where we had a tour and enjoyed a cooking lesson with Alice, we learnt new techniques of thickening foods which were great. We worked as a team to create a range of foods for our lunch which was great fun the food was simple to create but tasted amazing. We the travelled to see a working fishing village, the smell of fish was strong, it was amazing to see people making nets by hand. . Following this we went to visit a food market, the huge arrange of live produce and internal organs was quite a shock, the fruit and veg so colourful and exotic, do many that I had never seen before. That evening we went out for Dim sum and to shop at a night market. The Dim Sum was exceptional; I did try chickens foot which tasted great but still looked far too much like a foot for my liking. I really enjoyed the prawn and beef Dim Sum and the pig shaped custard ones and the mushroom puffs, which were my absolute favourite.

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The following day we woke early to travel to the factory, I was astounded at the size and scale. It was so interesting to see all the processes that go into the production of what seemed like a relatively simple product. I was very excited to learn that Lee Kum Kee sauces have been to space. The staffs were very welcoming. We returned exhausted and decided to go to a very peaceful informal café, where we enjoyed noodles and salted sprite and shared our experiences of the trip.

There are very few places that I feel I could call home but Hong Kong is one. During my stay I experience a wide range of food and learnt new cooking techniques. I was able to experience the culture from a very privileged perspective. The experience will stay with me for ever. When I now teach pupils about Chinese cuisine I can say when I was in Hong Kong, I am able to share my photos and storied with them which they love. I am so thankful for the opportunity to go on such an amazing trip, to experience such continued kindness, which is something I can now share with my pupils. Thank you so much!“

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