OUR HONG KONG TRIP
Hong Kong, much like New York, is someplace I don't think I would ever get sick of visiting. Perhaps it's because I have roots there, but it certainly helps that the city has so much to offer, day or night.
We arrived in Hong Kong past 9 PM, and even though everyone wanted to get a good night's sleep for the day ahead, we couldn't do so without getting some dinner at Peking Garden Restaurant and dessert at Chung Kee Dessert. Peking Garden Restaurant is a very popular spot that's famous for their Peking duck and their longevity noodles, which they make in-house, right in front of you. Some of you might remember that I snapped about the noodles on our last trip back in 2016. We were quite full after dinner, so we decided to walk it off and enjoy some fresh air, which ended up with us at a dessert place. None of us had been to Chung Kee Dessert, but we were all pleasantly surprised with how good everything was. While in Hong Kong, I always get the mango sago pomelo soup, which is seriously one of my favorite desserts ever. It sounds strange, a dessert soup, but trust me, it's amazing!
This was an incredibly short trip, so of course, we tried to squeeze in as much as possible. When it comes to traveling, Samuel prefers shorter trips to ones that last over a week, so typically, that's what we do. The only "long" trips I've ever been on have been to Hong Kong and Canada, but I would like to go on a month-long trek through Europe sometime.
We started off our first full day with breakfast at Tiffany Restaurant. I talked a bit about my family's connection to this restaurant in this blog post, in case you haven't had a chance to read it! After a hearty meal, we crossed over to the Hong Kong side and enjoyed a long walk by the harbor, taking in Kowloon from across the peninsula. We then went into Central and explored more of Soho and Lan Kwai Fong. I found that both of these areas are much more lively at night. In the daytime, there were just crowds of businesspeople hastily getting to their next destination. We did make sure to make a few stops, such as Pottinger Street, Graham Street Market, and the old prison before crashing at Ciak for some good ol' pizza and pasta. I think we were there for a few hours, exhausted from being out since the break of dawn.
My childhood best friend had planned a very special tea several weeks back at the Palm Court at the Langham, so I was looking forward to that for the entire day. I think that tea at this Langham easily beats out the one in Boston. There was more creativity with our sandwiches and desserts, especially given all my dietary restrictions. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing some shopping nearby, visited the clock tower, and stopped by the hotel at 1881 for some iced tea.
Stuffed from all the food we had consumed that day, my parents just wanted to grab a few small bites at a random café. While I didn't get anything there, I did as to stop in to Hui Lau Shan for some dessert. Apparently, they are famous for all their mango desserts -- we got the mango sago pomelo soup, mango mochi, and mango pancakes to share. There wasn't a single bite left between us!
We went back to Tiffany Restaurant for our first meal of the day. What always astonishes me is what counts as "breakfast food" in other countries. In America, it's typically eggs, bacon, toast, waffles, pancakes, etc. In Hong Kong, it can range from buttered toast (normal) to a fish filet meal (what?!). I wasn't really in the mood for something heavy and greasy, so on our walk back, we stopped by Maria's Bakery for some sponge cake.
For lunch, we went to one of my favorite restaurants in Hong Kong, Tin Lung Heen. Located on the 102th floor of The Ritz Carlton, you dine with a spectacular view of Hong Kong. They always prepare a special pescatarian menu for us whenever we visit, which includes har gow (shrimp dumpling), steamed veggies, and yi mein. If you don't have any dietary restrictions, there's a wide variety of traditional Cantonese dishes for you to choose from -- their dim sum is phenomenal. But if you need any special dishes made, you simply have to call in ahead of time, and they will accommodate your needs. We have dined here so many times, and never once have I been disappointed or underwhelmed by the food.
Since we didn't get a chance to visit Stanley with Samuel last time, we went there after lunch. I loved going to Stanley when I was little. It used to be a fishing village, and is now a quaint, relaxing seaside town. I just love sitting on the rocks and watching the boats rock and the waves crash.
My parents found a new popular restaurant, China Tang , that they wanted to try out, so we made our way back to Harbor City. The restaurant had the cutest decor -- lots of Chinoiserie and old China influences. They created a special menu for us, with plenty of dishes that we'd never had before, since we typically eat Cantonese food, not Shanghai-style food. My favorite was the wok-fried garlic and ginger prawns dish. Before heading back to our hotel, we swung by the Dalloyau store for a few macarons, which, unfortunately, were a letdown.
The next morning, my mom wanted to show us around Mong Kok. Since most places were not open yet, we stopped in at Di King Heen for some dim sum. Did you know that senior citizens love getting dim sum first thing in the morning? It's their breakfast. They don't gorge themselves with the heavy stuff, but they might get a plate of rice noodles or congee and read the paper.
Once the clock struck 10:30 AM, we went down to explore the Kowloon markets. While there are plenty of supermarkets in Hong Kong, people love to shop at the markets. There, you'll find booth after booth with all fruits and vegetables imaginable. We spent the better half of the afternoon getting a tour of the city from my parents.
We had a hankering for some Italian food prior heading in to Disneyland, so we went in to Cova. This is another spot that we love -- one that my grandparents used to frequent. While their entrées are delicious, their mango cake is what really shines. If you're ever there, make sure to get a slice to enjoy there, and maybe even one to go.
Another spot that's in the same mall is Queen's Café. I used to be a huge fan of this restaurant, and even though their food might still be just as good as before, there isn't much that I can eat anymore. I do love their nougat, and we always pop in to pick up a few bags.
We headed into Disneyland for a few hours, leaving my parents to do their own thing. So far, I've visited three Disneyland's: the Disneyland in Anaheim, Disney World, and Hong Kong Disneyland. The park in Hong Kong is quite small, especially compared to the other parks. I really hope that they have plans to expand. You definitely wouldn't need to set aside a full day if you plan on visiting.
We always go to the Crystal Lotus at The Disneyland Hotel (the one modeled after The Grand Floridian) after going to the park. It's another favorite restaurant of mine. They make mouthwatering vegetarian versions of their most popular dishes, like their yummy veggie lotus steamed rice.
The last day of a trip is always so bittersweet, especially when saying goodbye to a place that you know and love. Even though I know that we'll definitely be back in the future, I didn't want to leave.
My parents rarely take me to Hong Kong style cafés (aka cha chaan teng) because they're typically extremely crowded and don't meet my cleanliness standards (I'm very picky when it comes to that). Samuel had never been to one, and there just so happened to be a very famous shop close where we were exploring, Kam Wah Bakery & Café. They are known for their pineapple buns, thick toast, and milk tea, all very traditional Hong Kong-style foods. The pineapple buns were fresh out of the oven and were the most delicious ones I've ever had. For a quick and inexpensive breakfast or snack, definitely stop by this place!
We showed Samuel around Goldfish Street and the Flower Market and somehow ended up on Nathan Road, where my parents continued to teach us more about Hong Kong. They showed us one of my great-grandfather's hospitals and some of my great-grandmother's buildings, which was so mind-blowing. I love having so much familial history in Hong Kong. We passed by Temple Street, too, which at night, transforms into the most insane night market.
One thing that I really wanted to do was pick up some antiques and decor for the house. My mission wasn't as successful as expected, but I did end up finding a few items to bring back. We saw this garden set that I fell in love with, but we're holding off on it until we settle down.
We went back to The Ritz for afternoon tea at Café 103. I was pretty psyched about this tea because it's usually pretty flawless and the view is amazing. It was a big disappointment this time around, which bummed me out. After a lackluster afternoon tea, we booked a taxi to take us around sightseeing. The driver took us to several spots that overlooked Kowloon, places that I don't think even my parents have been to. The views would've been great had it not been foggy that afternoon.
For dinner, we met up with my dad's family at Lee Garden, another place that I love. They make a mean clay-pot fish, and Samuel is a huge fan of the black bean chicken dish. Remember that mango sago pomelo soup I've been going on and on about? It was invented by this restaurant, so that was a must for dessert.
We ended the day on a high note: with a ride around the peninsula on a junk boat. This was something that has been on my list for years, and just never had a chance to do. It was so much fun, taking in the sights from the water, with the wind in my hair. Yes, it's a touristy activity, but it's a boatload of fun!
We woke up bright and early the next day, made a few stops to pick up some pastries and snacks to bring back home, and headed straight to the airport. As per tradition, we popped into Pokka Café for some of their famous coffee and toast before jetting off.
The Hong Kong airport is probably one of the few that I wouldn't mind arriving early at. There are so many stores I could shop at to kill time.
I could go on and on about my favorite spots in Hong Kong. In fact, I've got a post on the way with a huge list of things to do, see, and eat. Stay tuned!