Black Bag Promises
Posted by BESSA ODENDAAL
In 2020… Biltong in Hong Kong would have been considered gold to any person that has ever tasted this delicacy. With no flights to and from South Africa and/or many other countries in the world, our “town” was hit with a sudden void. A gap in space, that as a South African would nag, unconsciously at first, but with a vengeance as time went by. With this nag, everyone started putting up their Biltong boxes, ordering meat and drying for self-consumption, only sometimes sharing with friends… on special occasions.
HP toyed with an idea, setting up three plastic boxes, buying a few computer fans, which in turn lead to bigger wooden boxes, still with computer fans. Our study was soon transformed into a Biltong room, with dehumidifiers running 24/7 to keep the Hong Kong humidity to a minimum. Our functional study & filing system went out the door, our dining room was invaded by a huge dehydrator, ordered out of nowhere, on a hunch… but as our river was flowing it’s course, coriander decorated our steps, with a new story. Another story Hong Kong had up its sleeve.
We worked on a logo, ordered our black bags, figured out our stickers and tried our hands at selling.
On the 28th of February we had our first market at Treasure Island Group in Pui O. One of the most memorable days in this journey. Seeing the look on people’s faces as they tried our samples, and automatically reaching out to buy a bag or two of what we had to offer. Not just South Africans, but people living in Hong Kong, all stuck in the same reality. Tasting either a bit of home, or a forgotten journey.
We felt the current, pulling in one direction, only a thought at first, but as we hit and worked through the rapids, only one option was clear. Biltong, Chilli Bites and Droëwors were going to define a new norm, one that we would be able to control, to a certain extent anyway.