Hong Kong – City of Lights

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I still find it difficult to accept the fact that my long-awaited vacation is finally over and now I am sitting in front of the screen and typing this post. I was away for slightly more than 2 weeks. It does sound like a long time, but time flew by without much of my attention.

By the time we landed at Chek Lap Kok, it was almost evening. Although I felt a little tired and sluggish after about 12 hours of flight, I was very excited as our holiday had eventually started.

Hong Kong – sounds like a familiar place yet stayed blurry in my memory for the past 20 years. My parents brought me and my sister to Hong Kong for holidays when we were young. All I could remember were Ocean Park, Ladies’ Market (Tung Choi Street) and Jumbo restaurants, I think. Other than that, I couldn’t recall much of what other things that I saw or ate.

This time around, I visited Hong Kong no longer as a kid. But, as a grown-up, who likes to travel and very passionate about food! I tried my best to picture Hong Kong in my head before we landed. Hong Kong is a place that can be summarized with a few words, ‘fantastic night views, sky-scrapers, food, and shopping!’

Due to the rapid changes to my body sleep-wake cycle, I woke up at 5am the next morning. As if my mind couldn’t wait to start exploring Hong Kong. “We have to make full use of our time in Hong Kong.” I said. “But, 5am in the morning is too early to go anywhere!”

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I tuned into NHK channel and let my mind flow freely without paying much attention what was on the TV. Then, I jumped out from the bed and said, “I’ve got an idea!”

“There is this place that I have read about, they serve congee from 6am till 10pm. Apparently, they start the preparation work for congee at 3am daily for the past 50 years! The shop is called Law Fu Kee (140 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong), which is near to where we stay.

In Hong Kong, one can easily find shops that specialise in noodles, rice, and congee. Not to mention restaurants that serve up incredibly good roast goose! Ahh… and seafood!

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We both agreed on the idea to start our day with the soft-textured congee at Law Fu Kee. I opted for Dace Ball Congee, which apparently is one of the most popular congee at Law Fu Kee. Dace is a type of fish, also known as Chinese mud carp. However, it’s commonly known as Dace in Hong Kong. The texture of the congee is so fine and super soft, the grains literally breaks into the tiniest pieces to be spotted; topped with a good portion of dace ball was really a great start for my day in Chinese way!

It was a pretty chilly morning and slightly hazy that day. There is always advantage to wake up early as you don’t have to join the crowds, especially when the plan was to go to The Peak. Even if you want to take some amazing shots from The Peak, you get less hassle to make your way through to the best spot.

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A short tram ride to the highest point of Hong Kong island was breathtaking. The smell of clean fresh cold air and the chirping of birds; all made me appreciate every second of it! When we got to the top, we were overwhelmed by the 360° views of Hong Kong. I started to imagine the picturesque views at night; I think that would be incredible too!

One thing that I have always wanted to do in Hong Kong is to tailor-made myself a Qibao (Cheongsam). I have read about Linva Tailor (38 Cochrane St, Central) in the guidebook. Apparently, the Qibao that Maggie Cheung was wearing in the movie called ‘In The Mood for Love’ was tailor-made by Linva. Unfortunately, my stay in Hong Kong was too short to get one Qibao tailor-made. So, this is one good excuse for me to visit Hong Kong in the near future – to get a tailor-made Qibao! 🙂

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We spent a few hours in Central shopping. As lunch time approached, we went to Yung Kee 香港鏞記酒家 (32-40 Wellington Street, Central) for lunch. Yung kee was awarded 1 Michelin-star in 2010 Michelin Guide to Hong Kong & Macau. It has been around for nearly 60 years. So, this restaurant has been around for so long, passing down from one generation to another; there must be something that it has been doing so right! At Yung Kee, that something is roast goose. I went there for just one purpose, to savour the best roast goose around town!

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We ordered a quarter portion roast goose, 2 bowls of steamed rice, topped with succulent Char Siew (BBQ pork) and Gai Lan (Chinese broccoli). The portion of goose has got very glossy skin, juicy and gamey meat. Absolutely delicious and it was a delight for both goose/duck lovers! A simple but tasty meal like this always put a smile on my face.

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Mong Kok is probably the most densely populated area in Hong Kong. Situated in the heart of Kowloon, Mong Kok is a large shopping district, also a great place for dining. I have noticed a lot of food stalls at the shop corners that offer quick and cheap snacks. The crowds and the smell of food in the street, are much of the scenes in Asia!

Shopping for clothes in Hong Kong is great! Another thing is to shop for dried seafood and tonic food. Top quality of dried abalone and scallops can easily be found at traditional medicine stores in Sheung Wan area. Well, try to bargain for the price that you think it’s reasonable for you and you are willing to pay. After all, there’s nothing to lose. I always bargain. 😉

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Wandering around till late evening and headed to Temple Street Night Market is a great way to feel the real vibes of Hong Kong. Temple St night market is a great place to go for cheap clothes, dai pai dong (street food stalls), fake lables, pirated CDs, etc. There were several choices of street food stalls that you can order a few small dishes to enjoy and eat like a local. We didn’t have a definite place to go for dinner, so, we just followed our feelings, let our senses bring us to places that feel right.

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We stopped by a noodle house that serves various types of noodles in a soup. One thing I wanted to try was fish ball noodles soup. We sat ourselves down and waited for our orders. In front of me was a bowl of piping hot fine egg noodles in a soup, serves with fish cakes and fish balls. Looked drool worthy! The noodles were good, not too chewy, but it was cooked just right – al dente! While having my noodles, something caught my attention. A shop just opposite the noodle house serves only desserts. Chinese desserts! I quickly suggested as we finished our dinner.

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This little shop called Ming Kee serves Hong Kong desserts. I have tried a few of Hong Kong-style desserts but not all. We ordered black sesame soup and my all time favourite, tau fu fa (douhua). The richness of the sesame soup, slightly nutty and thick. However, not too sweet or heavy to cool down after a day’s of walking around town! Silky tau fu fa served in syrup was just pure heaven! I had it warm and I absolutely love the fine texture and smell of it!

Before hopping onto the Star Ferry that costs only HKD2 from Kowloon to Central, one thing that couldn’t be missed was to check out the Symphony of Lights 幻彩詠香江 that takes place every night at 8pm. The light show was simply amazing. It is a synchronised building exterior decorative light and laser multimedia display, featuring 44 buildings on both sides of the Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong accompanied by music.  The best vantage points include the “Avenue of Stars” on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. The neon glow at night was simply amazing. Gazing at the skyscrapers made me think how small I am!

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