On a recent trip to Hong Kong for professional development, a friend of mine suggested we hit up an amazing Indian restaurant that was highly recommended by one of her colleagues. And since I love good food, I was all in. A few minutes into the convo, my friend shares the location of this “amazing” restaurant – the notorious Chungking Mansions. I immediately questioned just how “amazing” this place could be if it was located inside that den of debauchery and horror.
You see, I’d had my own experience with Chungking three years ago. Based on a recommendation from a friend, I stayed there with my daughter as we explored Hong Kong and Disneyland one Halloween weekend. When we arrived at the entrance, I immediately felt a knot forming in the pit of my stomach. My daughter and I exchanged nervous glances as we snaked our way to the elevator, moving through the crowd of hustlers and vendors located in the passageway. The line for the elevator was ridiculously long, so my friend suggested we take the stairs. So, we begin to climb the stairs only to be met with droplets of blood on the second flight and then a large, fresh pool of blood on the third. At this point, I will admit that I should’ve run back down those stairs immediately. But I didn’t. Not sure if I was in shock or if I actually believed it would get better. Anyhoo, we get to the “guest house” and I am seriously pissed with my friend and his standards by now. All I can say is, this “guesthouse” was obviously a pay-by-the-hour kind of place and my suspicion was confirmed when we were met by a pimp and his lady of the night going down in the elevator.
So that was my first and ONLY experience with Chungking Mansion before this weekend. Obviously, I wasn’t very excited about going back even if only for dinner. But in the spirit of adventure and open-mindedness, I went along with my friend and a few of her colleagues. And I’m pretty happy I did. The Indian restaurant is called The Delhi Club and the food was, in fact, phenomenal. Ironically, most of the restaurants in there have a good reputation and outside of murder, drugs and prostitution, Chungking Mansions is known for restaurants with darn good food. Who knew? Obviously, I’ll never stay there again unless it is completely gutted and turned into at least a mid-level hotel one day, but I will definitely be back for the grub..