Eating Sparrow: Tales from the Ivory Tower (video)

As part of the Festival of the Mind activities hosted by the University of Sheffield I participated in a session called Tales from the Ivory Tower. The aim was to talk about research in a story telling format.  Here is the video of my storytelling, which focuses on social inequality and eating sparrow in Hong Kong.

A time of Lychee

Just about this time of the year, in Hong Kong one begins to anticipate the new crop of Lychee. The sweet, almost rose scented flavour of fresh lychee, for me, is a harbinger of summer–a time for slowing down a bit, for refreshing oneself in the sea, for drinking cocktails on the veranda of some gentrified colonial building or in a modern rooftop garden. Lychees can be made into drinks, eaten just as they are, or, as I liked to eat them, tossed into this salmon salad. Continue reading

Hong Kong: Markets walking tour from Central to Sheung Wan

This walking tour starts at Central and travels west toward Sheung Wan. The tour takes in Fa Yuen Streets, Central Market, the Mid Level Escalator, Graham Street Market, Gough Street, Cat Street Market, Sheung Wan Market, Western Market and ends at the Sheung Wan MTR station.

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A Positive Word About the Future of Food

Organic, grow your own mushrooms in Hong Kong

Organic, grow your own mushrooms in Hong Kong. The “Europe tomato” are a european variety but were grown in Hong Kong

It is easy to become anxious and depressed over the state of the world’s food system. Indeed, at a social event I recently attended someone asked me if there was anything positive going on that might give hope. This is a good question as sometimes it is useful to consider not just what the problems are, but to also reflect on some of the creative, interesting, and engaged activities that people are doing that have positive effects on the state of the food system today as there are thousands of examples to be found in cities and rural places in every part of the world.  In this post, I want to highlight just three of these small and sometimes larger scale engagements that seek to redress food insecurity and environmental sustainability that I witnessed while on a recent trip to Hong Kong. While none are going to individually solve the problems we are collectively facing with regard to food security and food justice, together they offer hope for the future of food.

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Stifling street life: The demise of Graham Street Market in Hong Kong

Looking across what was once a block of buildings toward the facades of Graham Street.

Looking across what was once a block of buildings toward the facades of Graham Street.

As you head up the mid-level escalator, just to the right of the bottom, you will see a small street (wet) market. Known as Graham Street Market (but actually comprising parts of Graham, Gage, and Peel Streets), the activities here have been part of Hong Kong Street life for over 150 years (172 years according to a recent article in Hong Kong Magazine). This street market has survived Japanese occupation and previous rounds of urban development, but that is about to change. The market traders are being evicted and building clearance has begun (as evidenced in the photograph). In one fell swoop, the street life that calls forth community, memory, and a way of life will shortly be erased from the landscape. One has to wonder what is the mentality that allows for this sort of urban erasure and consider the depth of what is lost.   Continue reading

We need to talk about hunger

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If you look through the door of my pantry you will see a window into my world.  My pantry expresses my likes and dislikes and my cultural background by the presence and absence of certain goods. You will also see that in my house, we are not hungry.  I have been hungry in the past.  I plan against this by stocking up for the possibility that there might come a day when I might not have money.  It isn’t an entirely rational approach to domestic food provisioning as it is a practice that produces waste.  But, I always know where my next meal is coming from.  My household budget is shaped by my past experience of hunger.  I am sure I am not alone, but for some reason hunger is not a fashionable term these days.  What is that all about?

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