In February, we visited Bordeaux expecting a weekend drowned in wine tastings. I had been dreaming of walking from winery to winery in Saint-Émilion, happily making our way to the town center from the train station in a haze of red wine giggles. I wanted to eat their famous coconut macaroons while overlooking the French countryside in a mildly intoxicated stupor.
That did not end up happening.
I tried to call the wineries to make appointments, but no one would answer, even though the social media accounts were active. I also reached out to a tour group to arrange tastings, who replied to say they were on holiday during that time. In all the research I had done, nothing indicated that wineries were closed in February - I thought "holiday" meant they simply weren't available that weekend.
Significantly less red wine was consumed than I had hoped during that trip. Good news, however, was that we ate a variety of Asian food!
As I mentioned before, we were in Bordeaux for the Lunar New Year. In anticipation of a wine-soaked weekend, I hadn't done much research on how to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the city, but after seeing the parade, I wanted to have some semblance of a New Year's meal.
We decided to go to Restaurant Hong Kong, just a short walk from where we were staying. According to the internet, they had a delicious looking dim sum options, and these days, you can get dim sum at any hour.
Everything about it felt right: it had maybe 20 tables, a good variety of Asian decor, and an older Asian man sitting in a corner watching TV. The host was extremely patient with us as I spoke terribly broken French and he spoke decent English. It was the perfect way to ring in the New Year.
Even though it was the dim sum that got us through the door, we ended up ordering two pork buns, caramelized pork, and spare ribs. The pork buns were ginormous - so big that one took up an entire steamer. It wasn't a char siu bao, but I still enjoyed it.
The spare ribs also were not what I expected, but were still tasty. I thought they would be smaller for some reason, like Chinese spare ribs, but these seemed to be Vietnamese - crispy and served with nuoc mam (a dipping sauce consisting mostly of fish sauce). The caramelized pork was the least surprising but probably most delicious part of the meal.
All in all, our experience was a wonderful way to spend the Lunar New Year weekend.
Restaurant Hong Kong, 116 Boulevard Maréchal Leclerc, 33000 Bordeaux, France, +33 5 56 96 62 11