When was the last time you went somewhere for the first time?
Going to Perth in September last year was actually a check off my list, but Australia is Australia. I’d known the culture before, gotten to speak to the locals and hung out at local spots when I was in Melbourne on previous occasions. So when my South-East Asian Hong Kong ticket came flying before me, I was full of butterflies! And the trip was just the best.
Before I begin, I have to share that I had a slight culture slash social shock on the trip. I hadn’t expected that Hong Kongers would be so stoic, busy and overall… cold. Of course, I cannot determine this of the entire population. We didn’t take offense though, we always laughed all the mildly uncouth gestures off and went along with them.
Yun are you sure this is going to be about your favorite things Hong Kong?
Piping hot soup on every corner
As a kid, I was a huge fan of Wanton Noodles. If I only had school in the afternoons, my mom would pack a Wanton Noodle lunch home for me everyday. Then I got really bored and stopped eating Wanton Mee for the years that followed. You can imagine the warmth in my belly when the familiar flavor hit me at Tsim Chai Kee. The noodles, meatballs and dumplings are handmade and bathed in a delicious savoury soup. Here you can choose among a variety of ingredients – I got the Two Toppings Noodle (HK28) with prawn dumplings and beef slices and it was heavenly.
Menus in Hong Kong are generally foreigner-friendly, and are written in both English and Mandarin. However, at street stalls like Sing Heung Yuen, the local owners are much older and may only speak their native language. I had immense difficulty ordering my delicious bowl of Tomato Egg Soup Noodles (HK24) and Iced Salted Sprite (HK12) until the young couple I was sharing a table with (it’s very common practice to share tables) helped me with their perfectly fluent blend of Cantonese and English.
Of all the local cuisines I got to try, I also made time (and stomach space) for others. Nha Trang, a Vietnamese speciality on Wellington Street in Central, was such a delight to fall into. We’d been having dinner at Tsim Chai Kee and passed the beautifully lit restaurant, with a long line out, no less.
So the next day we went back and the Viets did not disappoint. I took a chance with the Hanoi Tomato and Crab Noodle Soup (HK58) and what I got was a thick, delicious broth with actual chunks of crab flesh and succulent tomatoes. They should probably consider renaming the dish Hanoi Minced Pork, Scrambled Egg, Tomato and Crab Noodle Soup. Because that’s what else was in that bowl of joy. (SALIVATES BIG TIME)
Hong Kongers’ version of a hearty brunch is way simpler and costs so much less
I’ve never been the biggest fan of ‘Hong Kong Cafes’ in Singapore because a simple macaroni/Maggi noodle combination simply asks for too much for the little it gives. So you can say I surprised myself when I enjoyed the homemade delicacy numerous times on my trip.
Our experience at the Australian Dairy Co. was unfortunately, a hilarious disaster. It was our first meal out, naturally meaning it was the first time we got to meet the locals, and the waiters left us in a heap of embarrassed hysterics. They weren’t the friendliest, and rolled their eyes at us when the milk tea we’d ordered hadn’t arrived… We had a ball of a time looking back on that morning though.
Me (looking at glass-bottled milk by the counter): “Oh my God! I need to have one.”
Waiter (in mockery): “Oh my God!”
Thank God for a sense of humor.
I was texting my mom the whole time I was here because the Macaroni Tomato Broth (HK31) with an abundance of potatoes and ham made me miss her a little. Not because she actually cooks this dish, in fact she hates macaroni I believe, but because the food here was home cooked at its best. Funny story is that in comparison with my visit to the Australian Dairy Co., the folks at LFY were the loveliest!
I bought a new pair of heels from Argyle Centre for a night out, but the both times I wore them left me with squashed toes. It’s no wonder I hardly saw any girls in heels. The slopes make for great photos though! I love that the buildings, walls and art all seem to be architecturally intentional for the camera.
There are skyscraper buildings EVERYWHERE
Please allow the following shots to speak for themselves.
The nightlife is the right amount of madness.
And by that, I mean that it’s not that mad at all. In comparison with our local Clarke Quay, Lan Kwai Fong is almost a church. The wild cats are still civilized, bartenders are charming and the streets aren’t laden with drunkards. Sounds like the dream, no? We had a ball of a time at Brickhouse. They have great cocktails and music, and the best part of the bar is its location. It literally is in a pitch-black alley in the wall.
On one of the nights, we tried going clubbing. Yeah, tried. Even saying the word sends a surge of hot puke straight to the back of my throat. We’d researched intensely for the best hip-hop join in LKF and when we reached the Beijing Club (I KNOW. LET’S NOT.) at midnight, it was empty. The lack of any judging eyes meant I could bust my moves to the promised hip-hop music spun by the DJ with a MacBook. After which I fell into a deep, rested state due to the buzz, or buzzkill, of alcohol and we headed back to the hotel.
I’m super fun.
So Hong Kong’s pretty cool no?!?!? I already can’t wait to go back.