17 February 2019
A video played at the wedding banquet showed how a Hong Kong-style chicken pie brought the couple together. Photo: EJ Insight
A video played at the wedding banquet showed how a Hong Kong-style chicken pie brought the couple together. Photo: EJ Insight

Chicken pie, a cross-border love story

It was a touching moment witnessing my best buddy finally settling down with a young lady from Chiu Chow (or Chaozhou, the city in Guangdong province where billionaire Li Ka-shing was born). 

My high school classmate is the kind of legless bird who enjoys dating more than a long-term relationship.

He has long enjoyed his life in advertising, a cradle for romantic relationships, especially in mainland China, which he calls paradise.

But things started to change when he entered life’s second half.

Like movie star George Clooney, the longtime bachelor suddenly wanted to be the head of a family.

It was no longer amusing being one of the few classmates who was still receiving red packets during the Lunar New Year.

The pair met each other at one of China’s biggest advertising firms. He was an executive creative director and she was a junior account executive.

Their relationship turned upside down, however, once she became the official girlfriend and the single most important client to please, especially in their preparations for marriage.

Marrying a Chiu Chow woman is somewhat more difficult than immigration, as my friend can testify.

Chiu Chow must be the place where marriage is taken the most seriously.

Most parents push their kids to get married immediately after their teenage years. In their culture, it is unacceptable not to get married before turning 25.

The proposal was a unique experience. When my friend first visited his soon-to-be-in-laws during the Mid-Autumn Festival to ask for their consent, he had to meet six of their close relatives and a reputable fortune teller to seek their blessing for the marriage.

The couple must have been exhausted in the past month, preparing a wedding banquet to remember.

At the Serenade Chinese Restaurant in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre last Friday, they showed their guests in a video how love brought them together.

Early in their relationship, my friend, a frequent traveler between the mainland and Hong Kong, brought his girlfriend a chicken pie, and she immediately fell in love with it.

So every time he returned, he brought back a box of Hong Kong-style chicken pie.

She became a chicken pie lover, not so much for its taste but because she knew she was always in his heart.

Because of the Hong Kong pie’s unique taste (which also conquered Clifford Hart, the US consul general, within his first two months in the city), my friend could not find a similar snack in the mainland, and so he decided to learn how to make it.

On the couple’s big day, guests were shown on the video how he made a chicken pie.

Now, the pie is like a meal at McDonald’s, which you may be happy to have once in a while.

No matter how good it tastes, however, the law of diminishing marginal utility kicks in at some point — and that is when love becomes the gravy that holds the pie together.

Congratulations to Cisa and Au.

Now you have each other, may your journey be like a chicken pie, tasty and meaty, and may you never grow tired of it.

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EJ Insight writer

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