Weird & Wonderful: Hong Kong

Blimey, she's a bit forward!
I don't understand number 4...
"...some stay dry while others feel the pain"
I've heard you either love or hate this restaurant.
Bamboo scaffolding!
They cut these fish so the hearts are STILL BEATING,
apparently keeping them fresher for longer.
Cabbage bouquet.
Who's recycling their rubber duckies?!
Clearly they have gone out of style in HK.
Double-decker tram!
As if trees weren't insecure enough!
The vans have come full circle!
No paraphernalia for what?!
Nobody likes me, everybody hates me...I think I'll go eat worms.
Tee hee...fanny.
No bombs on the bus? What is the world coming to?!
Wax on. Wax apple.
Funky, lucky incense spirals.
Nuff said.
"No climbing into giants' ears"
It's Jamie Redknapp!

Hong Kong In My Mouth

Our trip was fleeting. 
We prioritised eating.
We ate some Dim Sum.

One fantastic meal that we had was actually at Hong Kong airport...
Dry noodles with pork sauce. Spicy, nutty. yum.
Roast duck and noodle soup.
Dave thought this was "incredible".

While exploring the city, we followed our noses to some other delicacies too:
Disappointing and expensive dim sum.
Not off to the greatest start...
Delicious beef in a gooey peanut sauce with wide, flat rice noodles.
Spicy and yummy chicken in fish soup.
Amazing beef and fish with veg.
Some of the best Japanese food we've had!

The meal Louise and Ray treated us to - Northern Chinese cuisine.
Dead tasty pork dumplings.
Fantastic beef rib soup with glass noodles.
Lamb cooked in loads of cumin - it tasted quite Indian!
Flaky pastry sesame pockets.
Dave made a mess eating these!
Top class Kung Pao chicken

While in Hong Kong, we decided to treat ourselves to our first taste of Michelin star food. Of course, in true SobCoe style we did this at the world's cheapest Michelin star restaurant. We arrived 45 minutes before the place opened, and still had to wait another 40 minutes to get a table.
Let's have a look at the menu:
While we waited, we made our hindsight, we were a little ambitious.
The queue before it even opened!
It's not an obvious place (aside from the queue),
so here's what to look for if you decide to try it out.
Baked bun with BBQ pork.
Unbelievable and probably our favourite thing. The dough was crisp,
soft, sweet and buttery...and the BBQ pork was tender...mmm...
Vermicelli rolls stuffed with BBQ pork, and beef.
Definitely the weakest link. Pretty bland and took up
valuable stomach space...NEXT!
Steamed dumplings chui chow style.
This was our mystery order, as we had no idea what they were.
But wow. Sticky on the outside, crunchy, fresh and nutty inside.
A contender for the top spot if you ask me!
Deep fried dumplings with meat.
Crisp batter, not too greasy, with sweet meaty goodness inside.
Steamed fresh shrimp dumplings (ha jiao).
The shrimp were really fresh and the chewy outside was a great
contrast to the crunchy filling. Simple and elegant.
Deep fried spring roll filled with beef and mushroom.
Fantastic. The filling was delicious and the pastry was crisp.
WARNING: Contents of the roll may be hotter than they seem.
Steamed spare ribs with black bean sauce.
The meat was tender and very garlicy.
Dave loved this while I was a little less impressed.
Tonic medlar and petal cake.
A home made, firm jelly, with a subtle sweet and floral flavour,
that had bits of flower in it. Weird, but surprisingly good.
This gargantuan meal (of which we left enough for a lovely midday snack later on) came to a whopping £15 ($22)...TOTAL! The restaurant itself was cosy and humble (read: cramped and drab) but we highly recommend the experience, if you are willing to get up early and queue at 9am!

The food in HK was pretty darn good, and there looked to be a good selection of international cuisine too. All in all Hong Kong seems to be a foodie heaven and left a lasting impression in our mouths.

Hong Kongland / United Kongdom / Britasia

After the relaxing beaches & paradyxical (see definition) nature of the ‘Ppines, it was time to explore Hong Kong. We had two nights and three days to soak up the city so we did it at a blistering pace. We stayed with my family (whom I had never met); Louise and Ray and their son Jesse. What fantastic hosts they were! Both were as busy as you expect people to be in Hong Kong but they found the time to show us around and take us out to dinner. I know they are family but the hospitality of (near) strangers was still astounding – thanks again Ray & Louise.

Hong Kong centre is connected by an 800m escalator, which makes moving from place to place easier.
Before 10am, they go down.
After 10am, they go up.
We don’t know if it was because we were staying in an expat home, or what, but Hong Kong really had a British feel to it – more so than anywhere else in Asia. Between the same font on license plates, familiar road signs and markings, and English (not American) spelling, it really felt like the UK. We know this is due to HK being an ex-colony but it was still nice to see after 14 months away from the motherland. This feeling resulted in the coining of a new SobCoe term:

Oasian: adj – A place in Asia that serves as a welcome, homely oasis for western travellers by reminding them of home in one way or another.
The same red man as at home.
Anyway, we visited HK park; a beautiful sculpted & maintained garden in the heart of the city centre.

The HSBC building is very cool and has become a victim of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement – the first time we had seen any of this in person.

Around central were lots of tall, well designed buildings and an impressively large number of parks. It may surprise you to learn that over 60% of HK is in fact park or forest.
Another park...

Our first day ended with Louise taking us on a hike up Victoria Peak, during which we all saw a firefly (Katie’s first!).

The Peak was overloaded with tourism but cool nonetheless and we got some lovely views of the city. The weirdest bit was the noise emanating from the city combined with the sounds of nature buzzing from the trees.
Massive tourist trap at the Peak.

The next day started with a visit to the fairly decent history and science museums (free on Wednesdays!) where we learnt about the harsh British colonial rule and the even harsher Japanese rule during WWII.
Steamed bun tower.
If you could climb up and grab a bun,
you would have good luck all year.
We then went to Goldfish Street – a long street specialising in the sale of aquatic pets.
Go Fish.
Next up was another market called Ladies market – perfect for buying clothes and tat! We very much enjoyed this market.
Another nearby market selling Jade products.

The Avenue of Stars afforded a smoggy view of the city and was a fun area of town.
Ray and Louise then took us out for an amazing meal, which will be detailed in the food post!
After dinner we took the Star Ferry, which is a sightseeing must at night. It was really cool and showed off the bright lights of this Asian tiger, but we both agree that the night view in Shanghai was better.

Our final day was spent window shopping, eating, and visiting the Nan Lian park and neighbouring nunnery.
There's a restaurant in there!

Hong Kong was a fantastic city break that we think everybody would love!