Urban food: Lines of opportunity into patterns of possiblity


rain gutter garden
At the moment the Sheffield Food Festival is happening.  Over the course of the weekend, in the town centre, there are stalls of folk selling the foods they grow, make, deliver, and cook.  Given the weather has been wonderful, it makes for a very nice day out.  This being England, along with purchasing your food items to take home, you can also buy a nice bit of something to eat, a drink to get a bit happy with, and find out more about urban gardening (the last of which is what this post is really about).  Continue reading

Carefree in Stanley

Belgian Beer and a view of Murray House

Belgian Beer and a view of Murray House

One of the things I like best to do on a sunny day in Hong Kong is go to Stanley.  This small and rather upscale village on the far side of Hong Kong Island takes some energy and effort to get to, but here you can sit behind a Belgian beer and watch the ships on the horizon go by on their way to distant ports. The combination of journey, beer, and view provide a sense of holiday for the few hours one spends in this place.  But Stanley was not always such a carefree place, and indeed for some it is a place where although cared for, the circumstance is not free.

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Hong Kong Coffee Culture

IMG_0180I like coffee.  In fact, I like coffee much more than tea.  This preference was easy to indulge when I lived in Seattle, where getting a cup of coffee is not a difficult task.  It became much more difficult in England, where quite often what is passed off as coffee is actually some sort of instant coffee drink with lots of milk and sugar (to my mind instant coffee is not really coffee).  I didn’t know what to expect when I moved to Hong Kong.  I worried that the cultural residue of being a British colony, combined with the modern relationship with China would mean that in Hong Kong a good cup of coffee would be hard to find.  Tea?  Easy.  Coffee, well what to expect? Continue reading

A modern Chinese masterpiece?

High Speed Rail Terminal, Shanghai

The High Speed Rail network in China is a modern masterpiece of engineering and implementation and had a budget of about US$262 billion (£170 billion). Trains travel at speeds in excess of 300 km and hour and in doing so shrink the vastness of China.  What can take 12 or more hours on a regular train service, now just takes a few hours and has the potential to move millions of people around the country, thereby reducing the difficulties of travel during golden weeks experienced by so many.  Yet, this rail service, paid for and pushed through by the Chinese government does not ease the travel problems of many migrant workers. Continue reading

Fresh Meat and Hot Pot


Meat is big news amongst foodies these days. It is conceptualised as alternatively a luxury item and a problem.  Although pork is the most widely consumed meat in China (followed by chicken), beef has been gaining in popularity. The increases in overall meat consumption by the Chinese have cause some food scholars and activist to raise the alarm because of the potential impacts this will have with regard to diet related public health and on the environment.  In this post, I want to argue that the diet related concerns need a closer investigation that pays attention not just to the volume of beef consumed but also the ways that meat is being incorporated into the diet of many Chinese.  Continue reading


I find myself awake at 4 in the morning because I am thinking about returning.  I have come to Hong Kong as a trailing spouse.  It is a common story in this place, and while it is often gendered female, I can think of a number of couples where the trailing partner is male.  Indeed, there is even an internet group here called Tai Guy–a pun on the reference to Tai Tai.  Tai Tai are the Hong Kong equivalent to ladies who lunch… and shop… and occasionally volunteer…and attend gallery openings on the first Tuesday of the month…and shop…and sometimes start businesses…and shop. Did I mention shopping was part of being a Tai Tai?  Although technically the term for wife, it isn’t a complimentary one. It implies being kept. Continue reading