Three Hong Kong icons of the 1980s-90s – when the city’s mojo was bigger than all the other mojos in Asia put together – pass on. The borderline-wearisome excessively-British-in-a-Chinese professional personality David Tang recently checked out. And now his relatively understated namesake former Chief Secretary Sir Ford has departed.
When Anson Chan succeeded Ford and moved into the official residence up on Barker Road, she had to have the whole kitchen torn out because everything was equipped to make boiled beef and spotted dick and all the other gwailo culinary grotesquerie.
And the subject of Westerners’ dietary horror-habits brings us rather neatly to the third dying remnant of Hong Kong’s heyday – Lan Kwai Fong. Once a buzzing bar district with even some edgy and bohemian dashes, LKF has degenerated into a landlord money-machine of overpriced plastic tapas-bodega-concept outlets. The drunk schoolkids vomiting outside 7-Eleven are the only vestige of authentic character.
Lan Kwai Fong’s last glimmer of class and sophistication now seems to be slipping away with news that Hooters has rent problems. While some might regard it as a tacky hovel for the educationally subnormal, the mammary-themed restaurant (if you please), is a beacon of elegance, refinement and taste by the standards of the surrounding streets.
A planned gentle stroll through Lan Kwai Fong this morning turns into a hasty trot down to Queens Road in search of air to breathe. Forget the broken bottles and other riotous debris strewn along the gutters – the stench! Eeewww… Of course, an essential secret ingredient of LKF’s charm is the refuse collection station, but I was nowhere near the Municipal Rancid Festering Black Plastic Bag Depot. Everywhere, the unmistakable air of carrion hangs over the place.
Mercifully, there is a solution.