Thursday 11 June
It’s been a hard slog at work and I’ve got the travel bug so my trip will take me to some places in Asia. First off is a trip to Japan but before I get there, its a 1 day stopover in Hong Kong.
I’m flying Cathay Pacific but well before the departure time, they’ve already announced a 40 minute delay which means my midnight flight will now depart into the early morning. I managed to get some sleep but not enough.
Anyhow, the excitement of a holiday is enough to provide plenty of energy once we arrived. Leaving the supposed winter of Perth with blue skies and temperature of mid 20’s for summer should be easy. But at 8am in Hong Kong it’s already 31 degrees!
I got a sim card at Nobletime and then picked up an oyster card for public transport. I caught the city flyer A21 which takes the scenic route but offers plenty of seats on the double Decker bus and lots of room for luggage storage. About 50 minutes to Kowloon and sights along the way and I’m here.
I stopped at a tailor to get some clothes made (why not when Hong Kong has great tailors like a lot of Asia) and then dropped my bags of at the hotel as I’m really early for check in. Then it’s off to explore.
First stop was a visit to the MRT to go a few stops to Yau Ma Tei where I walked a few blocks to Dundas St which has lots of eateries. We’re in the heart of Chinatown, particularly, Mong Kok which is close by. It’s a bustling place full of activity.
I was pretty hungry and saw some interesting delights. I settled on Shui Wah Restaurant where I had stir fry beef fried wide rice noodle with dark soy sauce. Excellent flavour enhanced by some seasoning and hit of chilli oil. I enjoyed that with some complementary Chinese tea.
Then it was off to a bakery for a Portuguese egg tart and a mung bean filled pastry. Pretty good but now thirsty. Got some white cap milk tea. Yum! Its pretty hot and humid so any airconditioning is welcome. I walked around browsing the fresh food markets. I walked by a fish stall where the attendant grabbed a swimming fish and put it in a bag for a customer. Next door was hanging raw meat. Interesting sights abound.
I headed towards Langham Plaza, a 12+ storey shopping complex with cinemas. Explored some more before cooling off at the hotel before going to my tailor fittings. I’m obviously still running on excitement as I should be out like a light by now.
Before long I was hungry again so I set off to Macau restaurant. They serve roast goose, a specialty of Hong Kong so I got a serve of that, a Portuguese egg tart, and some Macanese fried rice.
First time eating roast goose and it was amazing! Tender, succulent, moist, oozing juices, crispy skin, just yum. The fried rice was also tasty and I love Portuguese egg tarts and this was better than the one I had earlier in the afternoon. So stuffed but satisfied.
I browsed a few shops before heading to the peninsula which is an amazing sight looking ahead at the Central skyline.
Friday 12 June
I popped out for a moment to find a bakery I had walked past yesterday but couldn’t find it so went back to the hotel to check out and waited for the bus. It was only 7 am but it was very humid. I enjoyed the scenic bus ride again, grabbed some sponge cake slices for breakky at the airport and was on my way to Japan.
Tuesday 30 June
Despite my best efforts to leave early from Seoul, the subway and AREX express took a long time to get to the airport. The interchange stations can leave you walking for quite some time and up and down many steps. Not easy with luggage, but I got to my boarding gate with time to spare, just.
Then it was on to the plane to eat lunch and catch up on the endings to two movies I was watching on different airlines during this trip.
There’s been some unusual things in airports during this trip. Korea has cameras at immigration, but they were pointing below my neck – seriously? I’m not that tall. Most airports have stepped up measures on MERS. My first visit to HK was no issue. This time round I was shot in the head – to get a temperature reading.
It was on to the bus and I got a front seat on the upper deck of the double Decker bus. Lovely scenic view of HK to be enjoyed again.
I stopped in for a quick fitting at the tailors before checking in to the hotel. I was hungry and went exploring. I couldn’t find anything that took my fancy in the way of food or shopping. Most things are very expensive.
I did seek out a famed 24 hr seafood restaurant but despite getting directions and probably standing right in front of it, I can’t read Chinese and the articles didn’t have pictures of this place. So disappointing. What’s worse is not just travelling all the way, it’s the stifling humidity. It’s really hot too.
I headed back towards my hotel and found another restaurant eventually, but they didn’t offer what I was after for dinner. Walking back I saw a place, Relax For A While, and it was reasonably full so I took a seat and noticed they also had dim sim. Just what I was after.
BBQ pork buns, steamed shrimp dumplings, steamed egg custard bun
So I gorged on lots of food but was disappointed there was no chicken feet. I instead had to settle with crispy chicken wings.
Absolutely stuffed, I took a couple of the steamed egg yolk buns away for breakfast.
Wednesday 1 July
A new financial year and maybe a Greek exit from the Euro. It’s time to see more of HK so I head out to Central, to take a tram ride to Victoria Peak. It’s 34° and stiffling humidity once again which makes things very uncomfortable. Fortunately, I have unobstructed views from the peak.
From Admiralty MTR, I caught the 12A bus and at the next stop, one has to walk a short distance to Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus to get the return ticket (83HK).
The ride up the mountain is interesting and at times feels like you are going vertical. You are not, it’s an optical illusion because of the apartment blocks.
There’s a number of escalators to take to get to the observation deck which opens at 10am to see the view at the top of Victoria Peak.
The views are fantastic! An audio guide is also available to help you out with the different sites you are looking at.
It’s a steep ride down
I then walked to Central and went to the pier to get a ticket to the 1 hr Star Ferry cruise but just missed the cutoff point.
It took me some time to find the ticket office which is at the front but openness and closes in specified time slots. That’s what threw me. So I caught a taxi to pay a visit to Kau Kee (21 Gough Street, Sheung Wan) which do excellent beef brisket, but they were closed.
Fortunately there were a few places close by so I went to Shanghai Lane for some silky smooth pork and pak choy dumplings and melt in your mouth braised pork belly with bean curd knots.
The dumplings and the broth have a very mild flavour and partnered well with the slightly intense and salty pork belly. Delicious meal, I’m so stuffed! They charge a 10% service charge. I think I managed to get a smile out of the stiff waiter, so got my money’s worth.
Time to walk it off till I saw the steepness of the hills. I went up one and that was enough. Taxi! Time to hop into an airconditioned vehicle and travel in comfort. As soon as I step out, it’s back to the furnace.
I was in time for the opening of the ticket office which sells tickets for each slot on a first come first served basis. I got my ticket and went to the right where there are seats for boarding. The guy at the ticket office collects you and then it’s all aboard for a relaxing ride.
I initially sat outside for some good photo ops but that didn’t last long, scurrying back to the air conditioned comfort of the cabin.
You also get a voucher for a free drink and eats. I just took the drink, too full from lunch.
The cruise is excellent and a great way to see how big the water area is and the unending skyline.
I had a look around the shopping mall between the Central and Hong Kong MTR stations (where the unmissible Apple Store is) before making my way back to the hotel for a drinks stop.
I then headed to the Hong Kong Science Museum which is free on Wednesdays (lucky me) but it’s more suited to kids as per the numerous families. Nonetheless, it’s a good way to see things in action.
I wondered about and then was close by the peninsula so I waited a long time to see the laser show at 8pm.
I think I picked the wrong spot so I walked along but couldn’t really see what the show was about. One can see lasers beaming from the top off buildings but they didn’t appear to be forming a pattern or anything. The skyline at night is still impressive.
Lastly, it was time for a really light dinner so some street food should do the trick – I got some Taiwanese pork meatballs on a skewer which were pretty good.
Thursday 2 July
Today I had a sleep in before stopping by a bakery for a quick breakfast. Then it was onto the MRT for a ride to Causeway Bay in Central. I spent a few hours shopping before heading to my final activity: Hong Kong Foodie Tasting Tour.
It’s a shame they didn’t have this available at an earlier date as I’m at the end of my trip. Hopefully I can discover something new and have some tips for a future visit.
I was pretty hungry so our first stop is a wonton noodle shop, Tsim Chai Kee Noodle. This is run by a brother and sister team and is an example of a local restaurant. Unfortunately, rents are skyrocketing forcing long standing local family restaurants out of business. They are being replaced by chain restaurants which isn’t the same and the area loses the authenticity and character of such venues.
The broth is amazing, so flavoursome. I like the egg noodles too, and the fact there is a small amount to let the broth shine through. They’ve also added three shrimp dumplings which are excellent. The silky smooth wanton wrapping is excellent. Fantastic meal!
They also have two other dumpling varieties – I believe pork and chicken. You can also have one meal with a dumpling from each variety.
Next stop is to a local roasted meats restaurant, Dragon Restaurant, though I can’t seem to locate it on TripAdvisor which has Lung Kee at the same address. A rarety that a restaurant has their own roasting oven.
We had BBQ pork with flavoured rice. Roast pork and roast goose, along with BBQ pork, are the top three favourite meats among the Hong Kong people.
A whole roasted pig out of the oven (yeah they have an oven big enough to roast this beast!)
The effect of having their own roasting oven is apparent. The BBQ pork is simply fantastic! It’s succulent, tender, and moist. Having the roasting done offsite and having the meat transported, even if only a few hours old, causes it to dry out. This version is certainly not dry and brimming with flavour. It’s also not too sweet.
Next stop after walking about is to a sugar cane juice shop, Kung Lee Sugar Cane Juice. Asian food isn’t eaten just for taste, as every food or drink has a purpose. The sugar cane acts as a cleanser to flush toxins from your body. This stop was purposely chosen after the foods we just ate.
The sugar cane is steamed and goes through a few other steps before being juiced by hand through a grinder. It’s very manual work and the shop is into its forth generation. The juice is much sweeter and less grassier than a Singapore or Malaysian version. Very refreshing and delicious. They also sell herbal teas and turtle jelly which is good if you’ve been eating spicy or deep fried food. I probably need heaps of that!
More walking about seeing different spots of Sheung Wan. Also visited the wet markets.
Our next stop was to something completely different, preserved sweets – Wong Wing Kee Preserved Fruits Factory, 52 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Mon – Fri 10am-10pm. First up was a refreshing, slightly tart, cup of lemon cumquat tea.
We then got a box of preserved sweets:
Preserved lemon (also ginger)
Maw (like a fruit rollup)
These aren’t just sweets. They too have a purpose – to open up the stomach. In this stifling heat I’ve been disappointed that I haven’t been able to eat more. Just a light breakfast, a hearty lunch, maybe a snack, no dinner. These sweets increase appetite!
After more walking and a quick visit to Man Mo Temple, we were off to out next stop – dim sim @ Dim Sum Square.
We had four different varieties – pork & shrimp steamed dumpling, steamed shrimp dumpling, baked BBQ pork bun, and spring roll with Worcestershire sauce. Each was as delicious as the other.
Our final stop is to a bakery for Chinese egg tarts @ Hei Lee Cake Shop. They’re eaten in the afternoon (kind of a Chinese high tea item) and they’re made fresh out of the oven. I have eaten a few of these already but I won’t say no to more!
The pastry is like puff pastry, buttery, rich, a tad salty, more savoury than sweet, and had a lovely custard that is not sweet. Tasty. I prefer Portuguese egg tarts though as they are sweeter. Well that concludes the tour which had been great fun and I’m really full. I did feel a bit hungry hours later but a fast would do me good.