The declining Aussie dollar…

by Forager on October 28, 2008

It’s scary how weak the Aussie dollar has become.

I’m currently in the process of booking accommodation for myself in HK as I’m off this Saturday for 2 weeks and boy have I chosen a bad time to travel. Had I chosen to travel, say 2 months ago I would have been laughing! In fact, had I bitten the bullet and booked my hotels last week and not deluded myself into believing the Aussie dollar could not possibly drop any more, then I’d be paying only 2/3 the price I’m paying now. Is it greed, indecision or my need to over analyse everything?

I’ve been reminded that the Aussie dollar really only took off at the end of 2007 so the AUD to HKD exchange rates aren’t actually that dissimilar to the rates the last time I went to HK – back in 2005/2006. The difference though is that the global economy has been booming since then and HK prices have been on the rise since 2005 so it will still sting. I’ll have less money to shop, less money to eat, less money to…splurge!

Luckily I don’t have expensive taste – just good taste! I love my fine dining Tetsuya and Buon Ricordo degustations as much as the next gastronomist, but I am also not impartial to a bargain value meal from a dingy hole in the wall eatery. As long as it’s delicious, it ticks my boxes!

So I’m really looking forward to eating some delicious dai pai dong food! Especially squilla! I think they’re also called mantis prawns. I remember them to be deliciously sweet – the Chinese would called it “xin”, a word that describes the fresh, sweet quality of food. Mmm… plain boiled squilla with a soy, black vinegar and chilli dipping sauce.

I’ve done all my food research for the trip – best places to eat wherever I may end up. I found the HK tourism board’s Best of the Best Culinary Awards Guide to be invaluable It lists the best dishes by location in HK, so if you end up in Tsim Sha Tsui which is where I’m staying, you’ll find enough fantastic award winning dishes to keep you satisfied for a week. And I love that it’s not just about expensive fine dining options – it lists everything including cheap wanton noodles and congee.

I’m also very excited about the Night Markets in Taipei. I’ve seen them on food shows on Chinese cable and they look like a great outdoor dai pai dong set up. From what I’ve found in my research – Taiwanese food has it’s own flavour and is quite distinct to Cantonese food. I’m ashamed to say the only experiences of Taiwanese food I’ve had so far include Mother Chu’s Vegetarian Taiwanese Cuisine (Pitt St, Sydney) and Easy Way’s bubble pearl tea. Neither really classifies as “real Taiwanese” and well, vegetarian is hardly really food…

Anyway – weak Aussie dollar or not, I’m going to eat myself silly in HK, Taiwan & China!

Speaking of which – off to Chinatown now to catch up with some old workmates for some northern Chinese dumplings at Chinese Noodle Restaurant. Yum!

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