Kevin Pang
Happy New Year

HONG KONG--Twenty years have passed since I left this gleaming metropolis on the South China Sea. Those memories came rushing back on a sweltering afternoon in a crowded stall with one perfect bite. At Kau Kee Restaurant in the Sheung Wan neighborhood, my table--no bigger than a nightstand--sat six strangers, and in front of them, six bowls with steam billowing. In it were hunks of beef brisket so impossibly tender and offering so little tooth resistance, it risked prematurely sliding down our gullets. Instead, it melted in the mouth, the marbled beefy essence spiced with star anise glazing the palates. Funny that moments earlier, we yelled over each other, calling for the waiter,...