A Travellerspoint blog

Lamma Island

Dat Island Life Doe.

Last day in Hong Kong! We were supposed to go to Macau but we got a late start to the day and it was super crowded trying to get on a ferry.

We headed to get breakfast at Tsim Chai Kee Noodle House. We all got the 3 choice noodle soup which includes a HUGE fish meatball, beef, and wontons! The wontons were huge and filled with delicious shrimp. The fish meatball was tasty but kind of too big. Should have shared one of the meatballs. Haha but it was really delicious and satisfying.
We then tried to make it to Macau but due to circumstances we headed to Lamma Island instead. We had a cocktail bun and salmon onigiru as a snack and then we hopped on to the ferry at pier no 4 and endured the rocky ride over to the island. Lamma island is an interesting place and apparently the people who live here LOVE the island life. I don't think we really understood the huge appeal but it was nice walking around a fancier fishing village.
On the ferry
We headed to the beach and on the way there, we stumbled upon the best tofu fa! And some really good curry fish balls. I hate tofu fa but it was just the right amount of sweetness and the perfect texture. (You win moos, who I also ran into for the 17748292 time this week. Haha small world.)
We continued onward to the beach which was strange because if you looked to the right, there was a huge power plant....so not the cleanest of beaches but seemed very laid back and fun.
We were by this point tired of island living and headed back to Central for milk tea boba at Teawood.
Milk tea boba (pretty darn tasty)
Popcorn chicken (it was aite)
Then we headed over for the opening time of Yardbird. A newer place that specializes in izakaya! The food was charcoal-y delicious. Most of their food is from chicken. Chef Matt is originally from Canada but worked at Masa in NYC. The restaurant prides itself in not taking reservations and so you need to get here at 6p when it opens.
Corn tempura
Chicken skin - stuff dreams are made of
Shiitake mushroom (chicken breast was dry)
KFC - korean fried cauliflower
MY FAVORITE - chicken meatballs that you dip in soy sauce and raw egg
Achilles from the chicken (good but not worth it; I thought it was going to be tendon)
Pork belly - so juicy and yummy
Furikake rice cakes - grows on you but I like furikake popcorn better
Chicken skin pea fried rice -- buttery deliciousness
If you come here, get the chicken meatballs, chicken skin, and the chicken pea fried rice!! 👌

Full and content, we headed back to erika's place so I could wash up and prepare for my 12 hour flight home. Cannot be happier with my trip and extra ten pounds of weight. Thanks, sissy and gav!

Posted by E.M.N 18:37 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged island curry tofu lamma fa fishballs yardbird Comments (0)

Noi yun gai and other markets

Today's theme was learn to bargain or die trying. I was on a mission to find some plain rice noodles slathered with hoisin and hot sauce. We headed straight to Shim shui Po to go to the popular Hop Yik Tai Cheung Fun. There's was a small line for to go but it was well worth the wait. The to go line is only for rice noodles with peanut, hoisin, and hot sauce. You can either get it in a bag for eating away from the stall or in a plastic plate for eating right next to the stand. These noodles were SO FRESH and perfectly soft and chewy. I don't even like peanut sauce and it was still delicious. You can get multiple orders but we were planning to snack on the go so I ordered one order which was HK$9. Mmmmm. Definitely have to come back.
We then headed towards Fuk Wing st because I had read that there were more stalls but we were unsuccessful in finding anymore rice noodle places. But while we were walking, we passed this little old lady who was selling the most delicious looking preserved meat and duck rice and since we didn't get preserved duck the other night, I decided I had to order some. It was served with sticky rice that was steamed with lop yook and lop churng. The preserved pork belly and preserved duck were deliciously salty but the lop churng had a funny sweet flavor that I wasn't a fan of. The sticky rice and the peanuts thrown in were so good and flavorful. I would definitely order from her again because it was so good and because she was one of the nicest food sellers in HK.
We then walked the streets of Sham Shui Po which are divided by type like apparel, electronics, etc. I tried to bargain a little but wasn't very successful so we left and headed to Sneaker street. Pretty cool that you can basically find all the new kicks and cool colors. Gav bought a pair at SMS which was on a second floor hidden in a hallway. We then briefly walked through a part of Ladies Market and I remembered why I would get anxious there when my mother used to bargain with the vendors when I was younger. I tried to just ask for a price for someone's present and was going to come back later so walked away but the vendor kept yelling numbers at me as I was walking away. Basically dropped to half the initial price very quickly. So much yelling. Haha
We met up with my sister to go to Lei Yue Mun to get the freshest and best seafood in Hong Kong. We got mantis shrimp (pissing shrimp which when I was younger was my most favorite thing), tiger prawns, tung sing (super expensive fish), and razor clams. The fish and tiger prawns were my favorite but all was so good and fresh. The flavors were super delicious as well. I could just eat the sauces and garlic with just rice!! Our waiter initially was very rude to us because we were clearly Asian American and so our food came slower than the other table. But the food was worth the wait and even the less than clean conditions. They cap off the dinner with a half of a papaya. Perfect ending to a delicious meal. Also, I'm super proud of my sister for bargaining with the fisherman and ordering our cooked meal and yelling at our waiter!!
Live mantis shrimp
Crabs trying to escape
Geoduck and razor clams
Waterfront view
Black bean sauce razor clams
BEST fish ever, steamed in soy sauce of course
Tiger prawns in soy sauce
Deep fried mantis shrimp with garlic
We then headed back to Ladies market so my sister could bargain more clearly and aggressively for me! Still Cantonese bargaining is a huge work in progress for the both of us.

Posted by E.M.N 18:13 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Big Buddha, big Buddha, big Buddha. Oh yeah, Big Buddha!

Lantau Island, Tai O, and Buenos Aires Polo Club

So I forced myself to sleep in today since I've felt pretty run down the last day or so. And met up with Jen, I mean MooMoos. (I actually knew she was in Hong Kong because of Facebook and had seen her at Clockenflap and randomly ran into her at Happy Valley. The world is truly a small place. We met at Pier no 6 in central and took the ferry over to Lantau Island (to the Mui Wo port). From there we hopped on to a bus headed towards Big Buddha. The ride took about "2 hours", so said google, but was really like 30 minutes.
Apparently, this Buddha was inaugurated in 1993 to "bring tranquility and promote the Buddhist monastery", in other words, bring money. The Buddha is pretty impressive though. There is a stall where you can pay for a meal ticket but walking up the stairs to the Buddha is free. (Do NOT try to make a joke about not paying for a meal and walking being free...you may be cursed at...ahem, moo) we hiked up the stairs and enjoyed a close up view of the big bronze Buddha and then enjoyed the view of the monastery and the Lantau greenery! Still had a layer of that mist smog around but beautiful nonetheless.
We were super starving and the BEST CURRY FISHBALLS are sold by the lady at the very beginning right where you get off the bus. The fish balls were so amazing HK$20. We then headed down to the "village", basically a bunch of shops built for tourism like Subway (also, one of the cleanest bathrooms). After admiring the neat picturesque town, we took a taxicab to Tai O (HK$57).
Tai O is a tiny fishing village that is very popular with tourists. It has a very old time feel. I loved walking around to look at the foods they were selling or contemplating eating the foods they were cooking. If they also cooked the fresh fish and shrimp right off the boat, I totally would have tried that.
We got some not as good fishballs, a squid on a stick, pork jerky, and mochi filled with red bean paste or peanuts. The pork jerky was super delicious and she cooks it right there in the stall. Don't forget to try a sample before buying! I wish I could get more jerky like this stall. The squid was on a long stick and was tasty but they throw a lot of seasoning on and it becomes overpowering. We were convinced into buying the mochi HK$6 from a very nondescript stand on the walk towards Tai O hotel by a retired Tai O police officer. He told us this was the best Mochi ever and the 90 yo man runnning the business wakes up at 6a to make it and they usually sell out by 4p. The sad part is that the old man is apparently looking for an apprentice to past down his mochi making abilities. We sat for a bit enjoying the old boathouses stilted over the water. We then headed back to the bus terminus past the ladies yelling at you to ride their boats. We took the bus to Tai Chung to take the MTR back but I have to say this is ride felt like it took about an hour. You can also take a gondola to and from tai Chung instead.
Mochi stall
I got back home and said bye to Moos. I then headed to Stevva with Gav to enjoy cocktails on the roof of the Prince Edward building in the middle of central. I got a sort of Pimm's cup which was delicious and they give you free rice cake snacks that are pleasantly hunger satiating. We all headed (Gav, Er, and her coworkers/friends) over to Bruno's Aires Polo Club in LKF. The bar here is known for their cocktails which are unique with interesting flavor profiles. We then proceeded to devour chorizo, steak, and dessert. The cool thing about the restaurant is that they give everyone a different kind of knife to use, like a samurai one or a switch blade. The chorizo was super tasty and juicy and paired well with the chimchurri sauce. The T-bone steak was super flavorful and perfectly cooked. The ribeye was also delicious but for some reason I liked the T-bone better. They give you different sauces but the chimchurri was my favorite. We also got mashed potatoes, fries, and heirloom tomatoes. The potato sides were worth the extra space in my stomach. We then had dessert which was a smore with frozen chocolate ice cream inside that you roast over a charcoal fire at the table!! It was such a great way to end a delicious meal. We also lucked out because there was a free musical performance starting at 930p. It was Brenda Voss from Oakland of all places!! She had a great jazz/soul vibe. Then, we headed back home.

Posted by E.M.N 01:28 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged club buddha big buenos aires lantau polo Comments (0)

Vices of Hong Kong

Victoria Peak, Happy Valley

This morning I had a little time to myself for breakfast and classic me, I decided to buy enough food for three people. I initially had wanted to try Mcdonalds Twisty pasta with sausage and egg but then also found out a good dim sum place was also nearby called Sun Hing. I went to order my dim sum in Cantonese and they fulfill take out orders the minute you order. My kind of service. I ordered spareribs over rice, ha gow (shrimp dumpling), Siu mai, and a runny egg custard bun. The spareribs rice was on point with the soy saucey goodness and slightly oily spareribs. The buns were good but tasted too much like egg yolk for me. The other two items were okay and I would eat it if I was in the area and needed dim sum but nothing to write home about.
Then I walked to McDonald's and the best thing about Hong Kong ones is that they have automated screens that also include English!!! I tapped in my order and paid. I have to say the pasta was interesting, not better than Cafe de coral but decent. I decided to try the cheese one because why not. The broth wasn't heavily salty but didn't have a lot of flavor. The classic McDonald's sausage patty was really good in it. The value meal also comes with a drink (I got milk tea) and hash brown.
After I was happily full and disgusted with myself, Gavin came back and ate some. Food is really a terrible Vic's to have. We then headed to Victoria Peak so I could work off my disturbing eating habits.
We took the tram up the mountain. If you have an octopus card, you can walk to the left and enter and skip a rather huge line of people buying tickets. It cost HK$32. Worth the money to take it up the steep slope. If you are standing on the ride, they carved little trenches to help you stay upright at the steep angles so you are basically parallel to the floor. Pretty crazy. There are also a couple stops along the hillside for residents or hikers to board on or off. When you get to the top, there's a huge mall called Peak Galleria. You can pay money to go additionally further to the top of the mall but you can actually get an equally awesome view on the 3rd story of the smaller adjacent mall building. They even have telescopes you can see through for free and you can look at the penthouses and imagine you are rich. The weather was really good but there was still a layer of smog and mist in the air.
View from the mall
We then decided to do a hike towards Lugard Waterfall. We took the popular Victoria Peak Circle walk. The Peak Circle Walk is a flat 2.2 mile walk along Lugard Road and Harlech road. We started by heading clockwise but I think most people do counterclockwise and just look at the view. I think the entire walk is actually really nice and enjoyable given there is plenty of shade and no slopes. While we were hiking, we heard a helicopter overhead and for some reason it just hovered right near the radio towers for like 15-20 minutes. It was so close my ears definitely suffered but it was worth watching a helicopter fly so close to my head. We took tons of videos and pictures and then continued hiking. A huge thing in the parks here are the outdoor "gym" equipment. They are these fun structures that you can use and have instructions on them like a pull up bar or jump up and over Or monkey bars. We explored many of them and decided this would be a great place to work out. Around the Pok Fu Lam country park area there's also a decent public bathroom, in case you are worried about needing to urinate on this hike. We then circled around through these amazing India rubber trees that swing down branches to soak up nutrients and then grow from the sky into the ground. As we circled on Lugard road, you also get to see these amazing residential complexes that you can rent for a mere HK$180k a month. I don't know why you would live here because getting home or leaving would be such a nightmare...but the views would be crazy awesome. We started nearing the end of the circle and came out to the expansive lookout over all of Hong Kong. It was stunning and well worth the hike even if you just come here and come back. I realized how small and minuscule I am compared to the world and we headed back to hike down the mountain. The trail down is actually all paved and I ran half the way just because it was less stress on my knees. It spits you straight into the mid levels.
Lugard falls
The most still grasshopper
The helicopter that we don't know what it was doing or why it hovered for so long
India rubber trees
Views for days
We hopped in a cab and headed to Wah Fung for super late lunch. Mainly because it was in central near Sunny Hills and because Yat Lok was closed on the one day out of the month it closes (last Wednesday of the month--we saw some pretty disheartened tourists). We ordered all the meats and I have to say it was pretty good. The squab was the most tender and juicy one I have ever tasted and although I would have liked some lemon and five spice salt, I was delicious without it. The roast duck was decent and deliciously fatty. The roast pork had a really crispy crunch but the rest of the meat wasn't anything special.
Roast pork
Roast duck
Squab (baby pigeon)
We then headed to sunnyhills to pick up the special request my mother had made and to compare chiate to sunny hills. The shop itself was really cool and minimalistic and would be a great place just to enjoy some tea and pineapple cakes but we had to get going so I bought a bunch and they came with cute little sunny hills canvas bags!
Sunny hills
We then headed home to change and head to Happy Wednesdays at Happy Valley! I definitely recommend going to check this horse track out if you are in Hong Kong on a Wednesday night. It's MASSIVE and feels like the place to be. Literally tons of people come to enjoy the scenery, the beer, the food, the people, and the gambling. It's like a huge party if you go to general admission HK$10 and walk around the beer gardens. The fences also put you super close to the completely grass track and horses! It's a way different culture than the racetracks in the USA. Very much so a night time scene. You can buy pitchers of beer or pints as well. And if you want to bet on a few horses, the workers are SUPER helpful and help you fill out the betting slips. The first race starts around 730 and the last one is around 1030-11z we watched the last 4 races but if we had been there earlier I don't think we would've waited for the last race. It's so entertaining to cheer and yell with the crowd and we even WON one of the many bets we placed. But we definitely lost money. But considering the entertainment value, the money was well spent.
We quickly headed on to a ding ding and headed to central to meet up with my sister who was just getting off work. :( we are some late night eats at the Chinese equivalent of a Denny's, Tsai Wah. We ordered some fish balls, hainan chicken, and minced pork chow mein. The noodles were the only thing worth getting but they were really crispy and had a lot of flavor.
We finally headed home after a full day of activities.

Posted by E.M.N 17:55 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged victoria valley happy peak Comments (0)

Ding ding!

Free rides for all

Today was free tram and ferry rides day! So naturally we decided to ride on the ding ding trams.

We started today like I have been with a hearty breakfast. Today it was at LAN Fong Yuen. We all ordered the chicken chop with noodle soup. The noodle broth was delicious and the noodles reminded me of the cup noodles. The chicken was super delicious and they somehow crisp the skin to perfection. We all devoured our breakfast. I was so full and have no idea how people eat this for breakfast and then go to work.
We then headed back home to shower and prepare for the day. We then walked to The Belchers so I could scope out the Wellcome superstore. The produce and meat section is impressive. I documented what I wanted to get later and came back later that night to stock up. Heavy but worth it late night jaunt. We then continued to walk around the city towards Queen's road where we hopped on to the famous ding dings! They remind me a lot of the Harry Potter Knight Bus!! We quickly grabbed some seats on the second level and I took in the Hong Kong scenery as we switch from dirty and old to new and hipster. It's really interesting to see the disparity even if you look at a super nice store on the first floor and then look at the high rise above, it can be completely different. There are also so many crooked and crowded alleyways with numerous vendors that people swarm at lunch time and after work.
The ding dings pass each other SO CLOSELY
The streets are so confusing. Also, this looks like Hong Kong "Flatiron" builiding

We got off at Times Square and immediately got a snack of curry fish balls (these were so delicious and had a strong kick!) and warm eggettes (just okay).
Then we walked around to admire the craziness of the malls here where escalators shoot diagonally and skip floors. Also, all these places are decorated heavily for the holidays! We then continued to walk around Causeway Bay, looking at and exploring all the different shops like Nike lab and Gentle Monster. We then headed to KOK for an afternoon tasting menu (lunch for us). They gave us a ton of food and a drink for HK$48. The laksa noodles were creamy and spicy in a warm your soul kind of way.
We then headed to the Excelsior to walk underground to the Noon Day gun which apparently is only visible during the firing at noon and one hour after.....but I did get to see some cool old water taxis.
After that, we headed to Cafe Grey Deluxe at Upper House in the JW Marriot at Pacific Palace ("PP" haha).
Cool design of snowflakes!
The views up here are on point and if you are lucky enough to get a window table, you get to enjoy it fully. The cocktails here are really delicious and mixed well. I got a Palma fizz, vodka, orange, lime, ginger, rose, orange blossom, and soda. Nomz! Best part is enjoying the super fancy bathroom. Haha
We then headed towards central to enjoy happy hour at Meo. Cool hipster bar with free arcade games and foosball. Mainly expats here though. At happy hour, they put out small appetizers for people to enjoy free and beer and wine is a little cheaper. The snacks weren't terrible but not the greatest. It was a good place to chill at though and we played a little fighting game and a little pinball. Then it was time for dinner and to meet up with Er.
We headed over to Kwan Kee, famous for their hot pot and clay pot rice. I had already made a reservation in my broken Cantonese earlier in the day for 830p. This is the only way to eat dinner here and they don't take reservations by phone, they take it in person and write it down on white pieces of paper taped to the wall. Anyways, we were seated promptly at 830p. We ordered a pork bone broth hot pot, a white eel and sparerib clay pot, and a preserved meat and Chinese sausage clay pot. The pork broth was clean and flavorful. The eel rice was salty and deliciously filled with black bean sauce. The preserved meat was good but nothing compared to what I'm used to in SF, mainly because it was on the sweet side and not the salty side. The burnt crispy rice on the bottom was sooooo good and came off the pot so cleanly. Honestly, I think SF clay pot wins but maybe that's just the nostalgia speaking. With our stomachs fully and hearts happy, we went to acquire my snack goods and headed home.
Pork bone broth
Eel clay pot
Preserved meats clay pot

Posted by E.M.N 19:22 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged dingding kwankee Comments (0)

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