Tag Archives: hong kong

Best beef brisket noodles in Hong Kong: Kau Kee

29 Jan

kau kee noodlesRight, we’ve slurped our way through the best ramen in town and chomped down the tastiest wantan mee Hong Kong has to offer. Now it’s time to hit the motherload. The final part of this culinary triptych: beef brisket noodles.

I have to admit to having lived nearly two years in Hong Kong without trying beef brisket noodles, which is tantamount to treason here. I’ve tried beef noodle dishes in the past in Taiwan and found them to be too sweet, woefully lacking in punch and, obviously, the porky hit that makes ramen so moreish. But done well these little babies can hold their own against all-comers in the soup-noodle world. Classic beef brisket noods don’t have thekau kee complex aromatic broth of that other famous beef soup dish, Vietnamese pho, which makes the quality of the beef and the noodles all the more important. But done right it’s a thing of beauty. A heartwarming blend of meltingly soft beef belly, refreshing, delicately scented soup and springy noodles.

I’m afraid any of you looking for some little out-of-the way undiscovered noodle shack previously hidden from Google’s prying search spiders and the evil clutches of CNNGo reporters are likely to be disappointed. Sister Wah (Wah Jeh) and Sang Kee are both close seconds, but my top tip is, surprise surprise Kau Kee on Gough Street.

This place has been in business for nearly a century and I’ve never walked past without noticing a queue of eager punters waiting outside. Luckily service is brusque and diners get in, slurp down and get out pretty quickly. The menu is quite long but basically boils down to two options, do you want beef brisket in clear soup or beef tendon (a slightly fattier cut) in curry soup? Each comes with either rice noodles, vermicelli-style noodles, flat noodles or e-fu noodles, which are about the shape of tagliatelle.

kau kee noodles

We got curry with flat noodles and beef brisket clear soup with e-fu in the end. Stunning. Soft beef, gently aromatic soup and al dente e-fu noodles in the one bowl and powerful curry-flavoured beef with softer and thinner noodles in the other. On balance I think the original clear soup and springy e-fu is my favourite. Beef, soup, noodles, and a scattering of spring onions. Simples.

You can get in an out for around HK$40 a head too. If you can avoid the lunch and evening queues, I’d recommend you go this very minute before the place gets priced out of the area like every other central Hong Kong eatery. Whatever you do don’t put it off for two years like an idiot.

Kau Kee; 21 Gough Street, Central, HK
(+852) 2850 5967

Hold on to your donkeys, the Chinese are coming

6 Jan

donkey kong logoSo that was 2013. In China a year of mindless xenophobia, deadly pollution and freedom crushing authoritarianism masquerading as modern nation state-ism. So no change there then. Oh, and the Middle Kingdom also managed to take food scandals to a whole new level. We had gutter waste sold as cooking oil, infected baby formula, over 16,000 dead pigs floating down Shanghai’s Huangpu river and most recently dirty pond water injected into lamb meat. Mmmmm.

So it’s goodbye to the Year of the Snake and hello to the Year of the Horse, or more appropriately the Year of the Donkey. Yup, China has kicked off 2014 as it left off … literally daring anyone to live there. This time Walmart has been recalling donkey meat from its Jinan stores because of contamination issues.

Now Walmart as I know it is the US giant that now owns UK supermarket chain Asda. The most my local Asda on the Old Kent Road would ever do to satisfy customer demand was a small Caribbean section and possibly some Polish sausages. Not so its Chinese outposts, which have obviously bent over backwards to meet that insatiable lust for donkey meat down in deepest Shandong province. That’s not all, of course. It has emerged that the donkey meat has been found to contain traces of fox DNA.

Fox disguised as donkey? It makes me ashamed to be British sometimes. The best we can do is horse masquerading as cow.

When the infant formula scandal broke in 2013 there was a sudden run on in Hong Kong for milk powder, which soon led to bare shelves and export restrictions as “locust” mainlanders gave the locals another reason to despise them. So what of 2014? If you’re a Hong Kong zookeeper or private donkey owner I’d start by building a higher fence. Then keep the TV on because in a few days I fully expect to see an alarmist public service broadcast outlining how best to protect your donkey.

At the very least, spaffing a few grand on an utterly pointless and unbelievably patronising TV ad will help our glorious leaders avoid facing the thorny topic of universal suffrage for a few more weeks.

From opium to pig jizz: Cameron turns on the charm in China

6 Dec

david cameronDavid Cameron has been in China this week on the “can you spare some change?” tour. Along with an enormous entourage of business leaders, ministers and other hangers-on, he whored his way around the Middle Kingdom trying to promote a free trade agreement with Beijing and broker more lucrative financial deals for the UK.

He managed to do all of this, of course, in a spectacularly obsequious and utterly humiliating manner. No mention of human rights, Tibet, online censorship or even the increasingly vulgar attempts by the Communist Party to intimidate journalists over here. When US Veep Joe Biden is making you look wilfully out-of-touch by raising the matter with Beijing, it’s probably time for a strategy rethink. You kowtowing cock.

So what was the highlight of the week? A contender was surely China’s subtle attempt to assassinate our PM via air pollution in Shanghai that topped 400 on the AQI today – literally off the scale. But no, my top pick was Wheeler Dealer Dave shaking on a £45 million contract to export pig semen to China. Yup. Apparently the Chinese have an insatiable appetite for the stuff – pork not pig wank – and this high quality jizz will go some way to sustaining the largest pig population on Earth. Apparently Dave joked that is was like “selling coals to Newcastle”. Given that my home town hasn’t exported coal for over one hundred years, we should probably update this phrase for the 21st century. How about “like selling pig spunk to China”? Yeah, that’ll do.

In a related story – bear with me – Hong Kong’s female population is positively crying out for jizz, although presumably with the caveat it must be human, according to The Atlantic. The gender imbalance in the SAR has apparently reached epic proportions, with over 200,000 women living alone according to the 2011 Census. The depressing reality is that one in five born today will apparently stay single for the rest of their lives. Sorry girls.

My advice: go out and get drunk once in a while. Going shopping with your parents every weekend is not normal behaviour for anyone past puberty. We all know the first step towards a stable, loving relationship is getting twatted almost to the point of blindness and then pulling a random in a bar. Never did me any harm anyway.

Been there, done that, drank all the cider: Clockenflap 2013

2 Dec

clockenflapWell that’s it for another year. After three days, 30,000 visitors, over 100 bands and thousands of pints of cider, we bid farewell to Clockenflap 2013. This year was my second time at Hong Kong’s one and only festival and it’s definitely getting better – line-up and organisation wise – but not without one or two schoolboy errors.

Still, if you live in Hong Kong and decided not to go on a gloriously sunny weekend you should be asking some pretty serious questions of yourself. Even if you don’t particularly like live music and/or have kids. Seriously…

In the end we left happy, drunk and pretty much broken on Sunday night, so I’d say job well done Clockenflap. 2ManyDJs played us out perfectly in beats and whirrs and pounding pounding techno music by way of Kavinsky, Boys Noize, Erol Alkan, MGMT, New Order and too many others to remember.

Rather than ramble on any longer, here’s my Top 10 Haps on the ‘Flaps:

1)     International school kids don’t know how to queue, or get drunk gracefully. They do, however, know how to talk loudly whilst wearing skinny jeans

2)     No festival should EVER run out of cider on the second day. Thankfully normal service resumed on Sunday.

3)     There’s no better backdrop to a music festival anywhere in the world. You can keep your rolling green fields of cow shit Glastonbury, I’ll take the neon-lit urban chaos of Hong Kong harbour front thanks.

clockenflap silent disco

4)     Someone at the Flaps needs to take a course in sound engineering. Poor old Metric had a bit of a rough time on Sunday eve.

5)     10pm is way too early to end a festival, but being 20 minutes from home is bloody brilliant.clockenflap 2013 crowd

6)     If you’re going to market free water machines as part of the event, better make sure they actually work.

7)     Nile Rogers wrote a few songs mind didn’t he? Diana Ross to Daft Punk via David Bowie in just under 90 minutes. Legend.

8)     Can we have more outdoor music in Hong Kong please? It’s not like they’re doing anything else with that piece of parkland-cum-waste ground in West Kowloon.

9)     Cider tastes 100 times better outdoors, lying in the sun, listening to indie music.

10)  Why can’t more DJs be as good as 2ManyDJs?

duk ling hong kong

lights clockenflap

bar sign

hitchcock mask

There are more pictures and vids here. See you at BloHK Party!

The best ramen in Hong Kong: hot noodle-on-noodle action

28 Nov

noodles hide chantSecond up in my Noodle-on-noodles odyssey is ramen. Arguably one of Japan’s greatest gastro-cultural exports, ramen is actually a kind of Japanese-Chinese hybrid. It typically features the wheat noodles and roast pork (cha-siu) popular in the Middle Kingdom, with that added Japanese obsessional eye for detail which helps create rich, flavour-packed soup stocks.

Being as ramen is borrowed a bit from Chinese noodle dishes it seems highly appropriate that Hong Kong-ers have taken to it in their droves. However, while in Japan there are very distinct varieties – miso (popular in Hokkaido), shoyu (a good Kanto staple), salt (a lighter broth), and tonkotsu (rich pork broth base from Kyushu) – in the SAR, tonkotsu is the clear winner. Which is fine for me, cos it’s my favourite.ramen menu

There are several above average ramen-ya in Hong Kong, in fact, the locals are spoiled for choice here. However, there are several no-nos as well. In a tonkotsu joint I want proper, thin Hakata-style noodles, I want to be able to choose my done-ness of noodle, and I want lots of choice when it comes to extra toppings – everything from more pork to soft boiled eggs and seaweed, if you please.

Unfortunately I’ve had many a poor bowl of noods in Hongkers, but am happy to say that a few places are upholding the fine tonkotsu ramen tradition with honour. Butao ramen – that hole-in-the-wall joint near LKF – has moved to Wellington Street but the place seems no bigger, still pulling in huge queues. They have a nice take on tonkotsu with squid ink, and a great almost milky stock, but any ramen-ya proprietor that serves a east-meets-west “green” version deserves to be shot.

Ippudo’s not bad either – a decades old chain from Hakata, the home of tonkotsu ramen, which now has a several outposts in Hongkers. Three things put me off about this place though. The ramen were perfectly fine but there was no choice over how well cooked I wanted them; the whole place stank of fresh paint (this is the Central branch); and the menu is just too big, featuring everything from burgers to onsen tamago. Stick to the ramen guys … and stop painting.

noodles hide chant

A steaming bowl of Red Hide

No, I’ve tried the rest and keep on coming back to my favourite: Hide Chan on Wellington St. It’s never busy for some reason, despite being in the Michelin Guide, but it should be. Eating a bowl of their White Hide ramen is like tucking into a roast pork Sunday lunch. Liquidised, of course. I believe they roast the pork bones over a high heat to get that intense flavour. The soup also has the creaminess tonkotsu should, without tasting like a lard banquet, and the pork topping is given a quick blast with the blow torch to enhance its char-grilled flavour.

The menu is also mercifully short. Choose Hakata Original, White Hide, Black (never had it) or Red (with a mild chilli-miso sauce), decide how soft or hard you want those noods and if you want pork shoulder or belly, then choose one of many extra toppings. Simples. Oh and they also do a dissembled version known as tsukemen, for those that like it or care, and serve up the lightest, crispest gyoza I’ve had this side of Japan. Beers are also ridiculously cheap (around HK$25) and I’ve never had to queue.

If you’re a ramen buff, try it out and let me know what you think. I’ve had few better bowls than this joint serves up.

Best wantan mee in Hong Kong: Tsim Chai Kee

15 Nov

wantan meeGiven the name of this blog it has struck me that I don’t actually write very much about noodles. Or death for that matter. Maybe I should have called it something else.

Well, never one to take the difficult option if an easier, lazier alternative presents itself, I think I’ll write about a noodle shop this week, rather than redesign the whole site. Not just one in fact but three. So, ladies and gents I give you my noodle triptych.

PART ONE: BEST WANTAN MEE

Wantan noodles are one of life’s great joys. In fact, I would say the dish is to Hong Kong what the world-renowned ramen is to Japan – a cultural icon-cum-culinary superstar. The best have few ingredients: stock, springy egg noodles, wantans bursting with juicy prawns and maybe a few bits of chopped up spring onion. Simple, fresh, delicious – and nowhere to hide if it all goes wrong. Even the artistry and effort that goes into making the egg noodles is a thing of beauty, dedication and perspiration that would shame most of us 9-5 jobbers.

Now everyone raves about Mak’s Noodles on Wellington St. Media food whore Anthony Bourdain has eaten there on one of his numerous trips to Hong Kong – camera crew in tow, obviously – and there is a rumour that founder Mak Woon-chi even served noodles to Chiang-Kai Shek, which is pretty cool. That said, I find the servings tiny – they say it’s cos it keeps the noods from going soft but I think that’s bullshit – the staff rude, and on two separate occasions they have assured my allergy-prone co-diner of no peanuts and she’s had a reaction to the food.

Tsim Chai kee menuNo thanks. The best place I’ve eaten this timeless dish is across the road at Tsim Chai Kee. The portions are slightly bigger, the service a tad less gruff and it’s a bit smarter inside – if these things appeal to you, they certainly do to Mr Michelin who’s stuck the place in his guide for the past few years. But most importantly the soup base has a greater depth of fishy flavour in Tsim’s and the wantan’s are the biggest, juiciest fuckers you’ll find this side of the South China Sea. They are hotter than the sun inside, but I happily chomped through them in seconds as the roof of my mouth slowly melted off.

Being something of a chilli sauce officianado, I can also recommend Tsim’s for its Chiu Chow style sauce – the chilli, garlic and oil combo which has a much bigger flavour punch than the blended commercial shit that Mak’s serves. They even sell it at the till. If wantans aren’t your thing Tsim’s also serves beef slices or fish balls as toppings – you can have all three if you’re a greedy bugger and still get away for around £3.

The bill for two bowls of wantan mee and a portion of poached greens was around HK$50 – actually too embarrassingly small to even ask for money from my co-diner. Now that’s what I call Noodles bitches!

IMG_2154

China: Be the best, screw the rest

13 Nov

typhoonThis week saw the world’s biggest ever shopping event. It was in China, obviously, where coming first at stuff has become a national pastime, and it was 11.11 day – an event made up by retailers to sell more shit on the country’s most popular e-commerce platforms, run by Alibaba.

Now I mention this because Alibaba recorded a staggering $5.78 billion in sales on that single day, double that of the year previously. If any event could define a nation at a single moment in time it would be this – Chinese shoppers scrabbling desperately to hoover up as many online bargains as possible, like so many chavs bursting down the doors of Primark on Boxing Day. Spend, spend, spend and forget the state-sanctioned human rights abuses, the endemic corruption, and the cancerous smog.

I also mention this because at the last count, China had failed to offer a single penny of aid to the typhoon-wracked Philippines. With large parts of the country totally and utterly flattened, thousands dead and an estimated 600,000 displaced, two-thirds of whom are still without food, water and medicine, it’s not a big ask. The Chinese Red Cross has offered a paltry $100,000 – not much but it’s something. Actually it’s 0.0017% of the money made in the 11.11 sales.

There are a few reasons why the response from the world’s second largest economy has been so feeble, and they offer a neat insight into the Chinese psyche, or more pertinently, the Communist Party’s priority list. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated recently over that old chestnut, territorial claims in the South China Sea. In this case, China is claiming a group of rocks known as the Spratlys just 100 miles away from the Philippines. Then there is the lingering anger at the lack of a formal apology from Philippines government for the 2010 hostage bungle, in which several Hong Kong tourists were killed when their bus was captured by terrorists in Manila.

Hong Kong, for the record, is still um-ing and ah-ing about official aid – waiting for a Legco ruling to approve a HK$40m disaster fund. This despite the fact that over 100,000 Filipino maids work in the SAR. In the meantime, local charities are taking the initiative themselves and seem to be doing ok. Even HSBC has donated more than $1 million. It also seems, according to my friends at Shanghaiist, that even the loyal state-run media in China is angry at Beijing’s lack of movement on this so far. When you’re being made to look miserly and petty by a bank, and the media outlets you control with an iron fist are having a pop, it’s probably time to rethink your position.

No wonder China’s soft power efforts are somewhere behind North Korea’s at times.

Love this: Hong Kong lets its hair down, at last

31 Oct

bunker partyRegular Noodle followers will know by now that I have a love-hate relationship with Hong Kong. Loves: food, cheap public transport, weather, beautiful scenery. Hates: shit bars, shit clubs, shit music – mass produced, commercialised banker-baiting shit.

I’ve been trying to get to a Hong Kong ‘bunker party’ for about a year and a half now. A combination of bad timing and unfortunate coincidences has stopped me up until now. Or, up until last weekend. I haven’t even been to that many illegal raves, having hit my latter teens a few years the wrong side of that deathknell for the spontaneous party, the UK Criminal Justice Act. That’s except from the first time I indulged in a disco biscuit – in a lock-up under the Byker Bridge, since you ask. Pretty sure that was an illegal rave, there were certainly lots of tyres.

The Hong Kong Bunker affairs, however, are something else altogether. A reputation for stunning locations – in caves, WW2 bunkers, secret islands and the like – and some decent electronic music you will be unlikely to find down Lan Kwai Fong has led to a loyal, if relatively small underground following. I joined that following with much trepidation – it was going to require a significant investment in time to get there and back; two taxis, a bus and a walk. And the risk that it would be raided by the fun police. Or as they’re called here: the police. Well, I’m glad to report, it was fucking worth it.

Yes, it took about 2 hours to get there and 2 to get back but a rave in an abandoned village in the middle of a forest up a mountain should never be missed. As we turned the final corner of an ear popping climb, the music began to drift through the trees. Then we saw some disco lights falling like multi-coloured jewels over the dark canvas all around us. Torches at the ready we steered single file towards the sound of fun: music, cans of beer spraying everywhere, whelps of delight, balloons exhaling. Turning a final corner and into the dance area proper was something akin to a religious experience – I’ve got a brilliant video of this but WordPress wants me to pay for an upgrade to embed this so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

bunker party

Now the first rule of Bunker Club is you shut the fuck up about bunker club (there was a fear the po-po would be monitoring taxi radios to spot where this dangerously anti-social gathering was held). However, no one reads this blog anyway, so hopefully no harm done.

I would be back in a second. The hours disappeared with each can of Tsingtao; each, er, paracetemol; each unintelligible chat with a thoroughly lovely fucked-up party person. I’d almost lost hope people like this existed over here. The bizarre array of Hallowe’en outfits, from slutty skeletons to predatorial vampires, only served to emphasise the other-worldliness of it all.

We got out just as the sun rose over the South China Sea, warming our tired and bruised bodies. I’d lost the torch long ago, but found a new reason to love Hong Kong.

(update: more pics here)

World War BoJo: Big Posh Sod lands in Hong Kong

18 Oct

boris johnson routemasterYou know how life sometimes decides to piss royally on your cornflakes? So it was with poor old Hong Kong this week.

Now citizens of this schizophrenic little outcrop of China have had to cope with many trials and tribulations over the past 100+ years. Typhoons, fires, cholera, SARS and even an outbreak of the plague close to where I now reside, have all tested the resilience of its people to the limit. That’s not even to mention British colonial rule, and today, an invasion of a different kind by hordes of cash-rich, ill-mannered mainland tourists.

I get the sense Hong Kongers were just about coming to terms with all life had thrown at them when this happened…

Boris in HK

(image: ITV)

Yup, BoJo’s in town gaffe-ing his way around the SAR with his usual aplomb, as part of a 5-day trade visit to China.

One of the new London Routemasters formed one of Boris’ centrepiece photo opportunities in HK. I believe the London mayor is keen to export the idea of a Boris Bus to other countries, although things didn’t get off to a brilliant start here after it was apparently stuck on the cargo boat for several hours after breaking down.

Undeterred the politician who is defined more by his photo opps than any actual policies took to the air in an open-doored helicopter for an Apocalypse Now style sweep across the city, golden mane twirling effortlessly above him.

BJ met George Osborne, who’s been on a similar mission in China seemingly designed to say in BIG capitals: “sorry for hosting the Dalai Lama last year, let’s forget about that and all that human rights nonsense and get as many of you rich sods over to the UK spending your MONEY!”

So it was that dear Gideon declared there is no limit on the number of Chinese students that can study in the UK – hint, hint – and that visa rules for Chinese tourists would be simplified.

Now I’ve got no problem with encouraging rich social elites who probably accrued their wealth illegally in countries which pay little or no heed to human rights to come to the UK to kick-start our economy. You know, cos they sort of owe us anyway for letting them have back Hong Kong even though we’d already named ALL the roads and built loads of stuff there…

I do have a slight issue with the idea that there could be no limit to the number of Chinese students studying in the UK, however. For a Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Osborne is displaying a worrying lack of aptitude for simple mathematics.

There are roughly around 1.4 billion people in China, and a fair proportion of them have the financial means to send their kids abroad to study. However, at the last count, there were fewer than 600,000 undergraduate places available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Apparently 130,000 Chinese are already studying in the UK – although not all on university courses. Let’s see how friendly Georgey boy is to the Middle Kingdomers when that number doubles, or triples over the next few years.

That said, given the trade and investment deals struck with China this week, the UK will soon have no option but to brush off its haughty post-colonial attitudes as Chinese banks and nuclear power stations start popping up all over the People’s Republic of Great Britain.

Transform This!

BoJo’s flying visit at least seems to be going down better with the locals that that of Hollywood director Michael Bay, here in the city to film yet another Transformers film.

As he explained in a brief blog post, a meth’d-up, possible Triad took umbrage to his film crew and tried to shake them down for some “compensation” money – using an air conditioning unit as a stick and, well, there wasn’t a carrot.

Perhaps enraged not just by the methamphetamine coursing through his veins but the dreadful motion pictures Bay has inflicted on the world, the unnamed assailant tried to strike the director.

Bay continues:

That’s when the security jumped on him. But it took seven big guys to subdue him. It was like a Zombie in Brad Pitt’s movie World War Z—he lifted seven guys up and tried to bite them. He actually bit into one of the guards Nike shoe, insane. Thank god it was an Air Max, the bubble popped, but the toe was saved.

Thank god it was an Air Max Michael. Thank the sweet lord above.

China’s tourist style guide: falling before the first hurdle

4 Oct

chinese touristsIt’s the National Day holiday period in China this week – a time when the nation venerates the founding of modern China by flaunting the newly acquired wealth made possible by its beloved Communist Party. Ish.

Of course one way those slack jawed, badly dressed, free internet hating Middle Kingdomers are increasingly doing this is by travelling the world. Most studies agree that Chinese tourists now spend more than any other nation when holidaying abroad, but on the flip side, so many of them are absolutely dreadful at being tourists. Loud, arrogant, rude, [insert insult here].

Unfortunately, what’s acceptable in many parts of China – public urination, hawking one’s guts out onto the street, and travelling around places of interest in groups of no less than 30, making that great Instagram shot of the Colosseum virtually impossible – is rather frowned upon elsewhere.

All of which leaves us in the West, Hong Kong and elsewhere with something of a dilemma. We moan about their uncouthness but covet their cash. To misquote Stewart Lee, Westerners slagging off Chinese tourists is like a punter punching a prostitute in the face because he’s sickened by his own desire.

So what’s to be done? Do we just sit there and think of England until, eventually, they get the idea and modify their behaviour abroad? After all, it’s sort of worked for Brits abroad if you discount vast swathes of the Med. Well, no actually, because – never one to pass up an opportunity to tell its subjects how to live their lives – the Communist Party has done all the hard work in a newly released Guidebook for Civilised Tourism.

Whilst laudable in its aims – to improve China’s image throughout the world and presumably prevent teenagers from graffiti-ing their names onto priceless Egyptian relics – the result is somewhat bemusing. In fact, the guide itself is testament to just how ignorant China’s leaders are of the world beyond – despite many of them having been schooled abroad at some of the finest universities on the  planet, and UCL.

Yes, there are the obvious rules – don’t swear at locals; don’t steal life jackets from airplanes; don’t piss or gob into fountains; don’t talk about pork to Muslims; and, of course, don’t take a dump standing on the toilet seat. But there are some rather strange bits of etiquette advice too.

Never click your fingers at a German; avoid playing with your hair in Japan; don’t touch people’s heads in India; don’t smash mirrors in Hungary; don’t comment on babies’ eyes in Iran; don’t give yellow flowers to French folk who invite you into their home; and finally, for the ladies, ALWAYS wear earrings in Spain. Now I may be showing my ignorance of some actually well understood tourist faux pas here but my first thought was “what the holy fuck are they on about??”

Still, as long as it eases cross-cultural understanding and helps the world hate itself just a little bit less, I’m all for it. It should also be mentioned, of course, that Chinese tourists are sinned against as well as sinning, with rogue tour operators, unscrupulous cab drivers and money grabbing restaurateurs all guilty of exploiting the poor chaps in various countries.

However, it strikes me that China should probably get its own house in order before teaching its citizens how not to act like a tit abroad.

Reports from Shanghai reveal that visitors to the zoo there chucked over 70 plastic water bottles into the lion’s enclosure, in a situation staff described as “heartbreaking”. Previously a giraffe there apparently died after eating a plastic bag tossed into its enclosure; punters in Hangzhou in January thought it would be hilarious to pelt the lions with snowballs; and in Shenzhen zoo crocs were stoned to death by bell-ends who wanted to see if they were real or not.

Congratulations China. You have made me sympathise with a carnivorous reptile.