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Friday, September 29, 2017, 18:43
Bring on the bubbly
By Maggie Beale
Friday, September 29, 2017, 18:43 By Maggie Beale

The pork knuckle platter served at the King Ludwig Beerhalls chain outlets looks yum. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

This town loves a celebration and right now we're looking forward to a festival that began way back in October 1810 in Munich, Bavaria, to mark the marriage of Prince Ludwig I to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The townsfolk partied with lots of beer, food and horse races thrown in to honor the union. That was how Oktoberfest came into being. In the beginning there was just a carousel and a couple of small beer stands but by the end of that century the stands were replaced by beer tents and dedicated beer halls, backed by the breweries.

Oktoberfest is no longer restricted to Bavaria. The festivities usually start in mid or late September, concluding in the first weekend of October. 

This year King Parrot Group will host Oktoberfest at its four King Ludwig Beerhalls in Causeway Bay, Stanley, Tsim Sha Tsui and Hung Shui Kiu; Prost by King Ludwig at Mira Place One on Nathan Road, Table 18 Bar and Restaurant in Kwun Tong and Tong’s Road House Seafood and Grill in Yuen Long.

Following the tradition, the festivities will kick off with “keg tapping”, to get the parties off to a popping good start.

In earlier editions of Oktoberfest, the German Band Gehrenbergspatzen belted out foot-tapping numbers, trying to get everyone to the dance floor. Alongside the traditional festive German music, the band introduced the hilarious chicken dance. This is always greeted with much laughter.

The German band Gehrenbergspatzen introduced the hilarious chicken dance to the Oktoberfest venues in Hong Kong. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Other activities include beer shuffling, beer puzzle, chicken run and an exciting beer drinking contest! And there's also a chance to win a “Beer Passport”. The said “passport” is also on sale starting Sept 1 at HK$500 for 10 glasses (500ml) of German beers. It is redeemable at all of King Parrot's participating outlets.

Usually a hearty meal is served at most Oktoberfest events around the world. It makes sense to go in a group to these events. The reason being that the special Oktoberfest platter is quite enormous, featuring succulent tranches of pork knuckle, fat and juicy Nuremberg sausages, potato cakes and a mound of delicious sauerkraut.

I remember my first Oktoberfest in Hong Kong in 1992 rather well, thanks to Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel. They continue to adhere to the tradition. Between Oct 20 and Nov 11 they will celebrate Oktoberfest. There will be dancing against the panoramic backdrop of Victoria Harbour from 6 to 11 pm, with food and wine befitting the occasion. From Thursday to Sunday entry tickets (includes a glass of beer) cost HK$160 for adults and HK$120 for those under 18 (includes a soft drink). On Fridays and Saturdays adults also receive a German Bierfest beer mug as a souvenir. The food menu includes beef goulash with mashed potato, peas and carrots and a number of tasty desserts, including apple strudel! The Notenhoblers, a very lively seven-member band from Germany, are in attendance.

The Beerliner German Bar and Restaurants round town (Langham Place, Olympian City, Whampoa Garden) are also commemorating the event in style — how could they not with a name like that! The German sausage platter (HK$228) is stuffed with bratwurst, regensburger, cheese krainer, nurnberger sausages, braised potatoes and sauerkraut. And their roasted pork knuckle comes at HK$218, very well matched with an exclusive Hacker-Pschorr German draught beer. And that's not all — during the festive period, these Beerliner outlets are offering a special promotion of “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” which applies to main courses, set lunches and drinks.

Wherever you go, have a good one or two — or more if you like.

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