Hong Kong #1: Photos and Afternoon Tea

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April 29th 2023
Published: August 22nd 2023
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Up early and out the doors of the hotel to do our photo shoot. It sounds a bit wanky, but it is nice to have some decent (I’m saying that but haven’t seen them yet) pictures to remember the trip by. We have tried to book the same photographer as last time, but he never responded so we ended up with a different one. We spent an hour and a bit wandering around Central getting some shots. We went to some of the same places as last time, I think the photographers must follow the same route and to be fair I can understand why if you get good shots there. It was nice to wander around Central after so long and while it was still the same some bits had changed a little. Then we headed over to Sham Shui Po to get some pictures there. We had also been there on our previous trip, but to do a walking tour of the area. I like Sham Shui Po as it is a bit more gritty when compared to Central. Also I don’t think that they are used to people getting their photos taken there as we got a few more stares and even a thumbs up from one old woman.

Since we’d skipped breakfast, we headed off to find an early lunch after the shoot was over. We didn’t have to walk too far before finding a mall which housed a good few options. After having a look around we went for a wonton and noodle place. I ordered some spicy wide flat noodles with chicken and peanuts and an oolong tea to wash them down with. We didn’t have to wait long for the food to be ready and I happily devoured my meal. The noodles were nice and really hit the spot. Afterwards, we had a bit of a walk around. The area feels very local with people doing their Saturday morning shopping at the various small shops selling meat, and fruit and vegetables. We hopped back on the subway and headed back to Central, where we got a coffee and had a bit of a sit down.

The next thing on our agenda for today was the afternoon tea harbour cruise on the Aqua Luna. When deciding on things we wanted to do in Hong Kong, I had fancied going for afternoon tea as I had seen a friend’s photos in a fancy hotel years ago and it looked really nice. However, when doing some research I came across the cruise on the Aqua Luna and thought it looked great. I liked that it combined afternoon tea with seeing some of Hong Kong. Also, the menu was mix of Eastern and Western foods which appealed. We headed down to the Central Pier and watched some boats and ferries come and go. There were quite a few people doing private cruises. Oh to be rich! While we waited, I could see the Aqua Luna out in the harbour. I love how old fashioned and traditional it looks compared to the other boats that were about. About five or ten minutes before we were due to leave it pulled up (don’t know the correct boating term) to the pier. People must use a variety of different booking sites to book the cruises as the bloke checking off our confirmations had a few different sheets of paper. Not very high tech, I was expecting them to scan the QR codes.

We headed onto the boat and went upstairs to get a seat under the canopy. Downstairs was either all enclosed with windows or fully open to the elements. So upstairs was best as you go the views and possible breeze without the windows obstructing and the canopy/roof provided some protection from the sun, not that we had to worry about that. The seats were great, big cushioned chairs like sun loungers. We sat back and relaxed as we left the pier. The staff soon came around offering us drinks. I was really thirsty so I opted for a bottle of still mineral water. The boat wasn’t too busy, there were quite a few people on, but we had plenty of space and didn’t feel like we were on top of each other. We didn’t have to wait too long for the food either, which was good. It was served on a lovely wooden stand that was clipped onto the table in case of choppy waters. I had read the menu online before booking the cruise and liked that the food was a mix of Eastern and Western just like the city itself. It was hard to pick what to eat first, too many good looking choices. Noramlly I would do all savoury first before moving on to the sweet, but I decided to mix it up a bit and opted for the Wagyu beef puff with pepper and the classic egg tart. I love Malaysian curry puffs, so was a little nervous to try this one, would it live up to my expectations? It also looked a bit like a hasselback potato, which had me a little worried. The beef puff was delicious, I need not have worried. It was so yummy and moreish. In fact it ended up being my favourite of all the savoury dishes. I could have happily had another one or two. The egg tart was nice too, having had many egg tarts in my life (probably too many) it didn’t stand out as anything amazing, but was a solid egg tart. Next, I decided to eat the other savoury bites; the black truffle har gau and black garlic shui mai pork dumpling. I eat har gau and sui mai fairly frequently and while both of these were nice, they didn’t wow me. Maybe if I ate them less often I would be more impressed. Now it was time for more of the sweet stuff. I took the plate which contained the macaron and the lemon tartlet. Confession time: I have never had a macaron before. They just don’t appeal to me as I don’t like meringue due to its texture, alomd flour make me think of marzipan - bleurgh, and the artificial colours and neatness of the macaron make me think that they will look better than they taste. Well I had a revelation, the macaron was bloody lovely. There was only a hint of the meringue texture, and it was flavoured really well, not the marzipan monstrosity I had imagined. While I probably still won’t go out of my way to order them, since chocolate and cheesecake are my first loves, I won’t be turning them down in the future if offered.

It was time for a short break to let some of the food digest and I was happy to sit and watch the scenery go by as we sailed along. We had sailed up past Wan Chai towards North Point and beyond. While some might not think that the scenery is too pretty and would prefer more nature on a cruise, the scenery is true Hong Kong. I liked the small sailing boats that were gliding along next to concrete overpasses busy with traffic and huge tower blocks of apartments and offices. I was ready for more food so decided to have the scone. I was a bit shocked that it didn’t have strawberry or even raspberry jam but an orange marmalade, but was willing to give it a go as it may be a taste revelation. While the scones were nice and I did enjoy it with the marmalade, I had to admit to my mate that they weren’t as good as home-made and not a match for my mam’s scones. My mam was very pleased when I told her that later. I need a longer break before digging in to the rest of the sweet stuff. I had saved the best until last and there was no way I wanted to leave any of it. We sailed past more high-rise apartment buildings. I feel like the apartment buildings in Hong Kong are a lot taller than those in the mainland. I don’t know if they really are, but they look a lot more imposing. We made it to some kind of dock that was filled with a real mixture of boats. We turned around and headed back to the pier. Now was time to dig into all the chocolate desserts. I had the chocolate opera cake first as I am not a fan of opera cake. I have had them quite a few times at different buffets and just find them to be lacking. They look pretty but don’t have any real flavour. Thankfully this one was different and I really enjoyed it. Next was the chocolate mousse, the menu had said that it was white chocolate but this one was a milk chocolate mousse in a chocolate biscuit cup, yummy. The final item was a mini tiramisu in a chocolate cup. A perfect final coffee and chocolate indulgence. Heading back we were able to see the Kowloon side of the water. There were what looked like little shanty towns built along part of the coast. It also looked like the sun was setting and we got some nice views of the harbour. There was a real mixture of people on the afternoon tea cruise, all age ranges and different nationalities. I over heard a young British woman talking with her pals about how the tea hadn’t been served yet. She asked one of the waiters about it and they said that they weren’t serving tea as the water was too rough. I was gutted as was she, you can’t have afternoon tea with the vital component of tea being missing. I think they could have at least offered us another drink as one wasn’t enough. Overall though I really enjoyed the cruise, the food was nice, the pace was relaxing and I enjoyed the views from being on the water. The cruise took about ninety minutes, which was a good amount of time. When we arrived back at the pier it was raining lightly so we got an uber to the hotel.

Back at the hotel, it was time for a nap. I think we crashed for a couple of hours or so and then up to get ready to head out to Lang Kwai Fong. Honestly, my partying days are well and truly behind me, but my friend loves the atmosphere of Lang Kwai Fong so I couldn’t disappoint her. I had also heard that the area had died a death due to Covid so it would be interesting to see what it was like now as last time we were there many, many years ago it was absolutely heaving. When we first got there, it was pretty quiet. We had a good walk around the streets taking in the changes that had occurred since we’d last been there. There were quite a few places that had shut down and I don’t remember all the street art when we were there before, so a mix of good and bad developments. It was pretty quiet. We found a nice bar down of one the side streets that was pretty busy so we headed in there for a drink. It had been forever since I’d had a glass of rose wine so that was what I opted for although some of the cocktails on the menu sounded really good too. The bar was nice and relaxing. It had a nice chill atmosphere. I just wish we’d been able to sit on the small terrace but that was reserved for smokers. After we finished our drinks, we headed out for another walk around. It was a lot busier now, which was a good thing to see. We headed down another side street and found another bar/restaurant that looked good. It was busy and mainly outdoor tables, so we got to sit outside. We were hungry again by this point, so wanted to order some food to go with our drinks. However the kitchen had closed but the guy overseeing the place had it all sorted. He handed us a take away menu from another Thai place and we ordered with him, paid and he brought us the food when it was ready. We sat enjoying our drinks while waiting for our food. I liked the atmosphere here, it was really lively without being too over the top. One of the tables near us was freaking out as there was a giant cockroach scurrying about. I was glad when one of them killed it. Disgusting creatures. Our food arrived and we dug in. We had a papaya salad and chicken satay with fried rice. The food was really good and I loved the flavour of the fried rice as it was quite peppery. Once we were done, we headed off for a walk around and to find one last bar to have a drink in. We found the perfect place, a tiny little bar with only a few tables, chill music and all the doors and windows open onto the street. We ordered some cocktails and relaxed. We also got to people watch as there were quite a few people going up and down the street and the bar next door was a hive of activity. I quite enjoyed watching the young ones enjoying their Saturday night out on the town and I was slightly envious that I hadn’t been able to enjoy the Hong Kong night life in my youth. Once we were done with our drinks we headed down to a more easily accessible spot to grab an uber home.

Additional photos below
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Afternoon TeaAfternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea

Waygu beef puff with black pepper and classic egg tart

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