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Asia » Hong Kong
September 29th 2018
Published: October 7th 2018
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The journey to Hong Kong unfortunately began at about midnight for me; I woke up with violent case of food poisoning. I spent a about four hours feeling incredibly sorry for myself before I managed to get a couple of hours sleep prior to our alarm going off.

Fortunately we'd decided to get a taxi to the Yangshuo train station rather than take the bus. I collapsed into the back seat feeling sorry for myself while we settled in for the one hour drive to the station. Despite the name the Yangshuo train station is no where near the town of Yangshuo.

We waited at the station for about 40 minutes before boarding the fast train to Hong Kong. I napped for most of the three hour trip to Shenzhen. At Shenzhen North train station we hopped onto the metro which took us to Tuen Mun station. A Tuen Mun we cleared immigration to leave China / enter Hong Kong.

After withdrawing cash (pfft cash, WeChat is so much better), we purchased metro tickets and then caught the train to our hotel in Hong Kong. After about 40 minutes (including one metro line change) we arrived at our hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui.

We checked into our rather petite hotel (complete with frosted bath glass sliding bathroom doors) I hopped into bed and Scott went out to explore. He returned about an hour later with various liquids including yakult. He ventured out again a little later while I remained in bed.

That evening I was feeling a little better so we headed to one of the nearby malls to have some dinner. We settled on a Vietnamese restaurant. The food was quite good, though not as nice as the Vietnamese food on Victoria Street in Richmond near our house.

The following morning I was (thankfully) feeling much better so we set off towards Sham Shui Po. Sham Shui Po is an area of Kowloon which is densely populated and known for street markets. Last time I was in Hong Kong I had done a food tour through this area so knew it was lively.

We caught the train a couple of stops and then emerged onto the streets. We walked through the food market until we got distracted by a shop selling various steamed dumplings. We grabbed a table and sat down for breakfast. We ordered some steamed buns, shu mai dumplings and some steamed chicken rolls. Scott enjoyed the buns and the dumplings but I wasn't particularly impressed by the weird square looking cubes of 'chicken' (or more likely, strange parts of chicken processed in some way) so didn't try them.

After Scott was finished eating we headed back out onto the street in search of pineapple buns. These soft buns don't actually contain pineapple but are named for the sugary crust on top which looks kind of like a pineapple. I grabbed a bun from a bakery and ate it while we continued our walk.

We eventually made our way to a produce market. I couldn't stomach a walk through the meat level yet so we caught the escalators up and wandered around the vegetable and chicken level (live chickens waiting to be slaughtered) before heading back out onto the streets.

From the market we decided to walk to Mong Kong to visit the Flower Market and the Bird Market. After about a 20 minute walk we arrived.

The Flower Market is actually more like a street lined in florists / nurseries. It's definitely one of the better smelling streets we've encountered overseas. We spent some time checking out the stops. I found a cute little indoor pot in the shape of a black cat which I wanted. I left it on the shelf while I looked around for a different plate to put underneath the pot. Meanwhile my nemesis picked up the pot and started looking for a plant to put in it. As she looked like she was going to buy it I left the shop (plotting her death) and we continued along the street.

As we got towards the end of the street I decided to head back to check out whether my nemesis had bought the pot. Thankfully she must have reconsidered at the last moment as it was back on the shelf. I am not the proud owner of a cute little black cat shaped indoor pot.

Happy that I didn't have to spend my afternoon finding ways to 'disappear' my nemesis, we made our way to the Bird Market. The market was fairly depressing; birds in cages which are far too small, some looking quite traumatised.

From the Bird Market we made our way to a restaurant I had visited last time I was in Hong Kong. One Dim Sum is a Michellin star yum cha restaurant which is popular with locals and tourists. We joined the queue and were handed a menu and order form. By the time we'd completed our order our table was ready so we headed inside.

Not long after we sat down our food started to arrive. We had some chicken buns, pork buns, deep fried pork filled mystery items and some vegetable dumplings. The food was delicious and very good value.

After lunch we headed into one of the malls in Mong Kok to have a look around. We then caught the train back to our hotel to relax for a while.

That evening we walked to the waterfront to check out the view of the amazing Hong Kong skyline and watch the sunset. We eavesdropped on two Americans; the guy was clearly trying to impress the girl he was with by telling her stories about his drunken escapades and trying to make his life experiences sound more profound than they were.

After watching the sunset we checked out a few malls before setting out to find some dinner. It can be difficult to find a restaurant in Hong Kong because many of the good restaurants are hidden in malls or upstairs so aren't necessarily visible from the street.

Midway through our search we stumbled across Cheung Hing Kee, a Michelin star street stall which sells Shanghai style pork buns. Scott couldn't resist so ordered a serve and fell in love with them while he ate.

From Scott's new favourite shop we made our way back to the area around our hotel and into a mall. We came across a branch of Din Tai Fung, a Michelin star Taiwanese chain we had visited before in numerous other cities. We grabbed a table and ordered a serve of their chicken xiao long bao (my favourite dumplings in the world, sadly unavailable at the Melbourne branch) and some egg fried rice. The food was delicious as always and we left feeling quite satisfied.

The following morning we returned to Cheung Hing Kee so that Scott could have his pork buns for breakfast. We then made our way to the ferry terminal and hopped on the ferry heading to Central on Hong Kong Island. The ferry isn't the quickest way to cross the stretch of water between Kowloon and Hong Kong Islands, but it is probably the most novel and definitely the most scenic.

After we crossed to Hong Kong Island we set off, past the typhoon damage, in search of Hing Kee which is famous for Hong Kong style french toast. If we hadn't been looking for it we would have walked straight past the shopfront as it was nothing special at all.

After grabbing a table we ordered a serve of the french toast with condensed milk and butter as well as a Hong Kong style iced milk tea and lemon ice tea. The french toast was unbelievably delicious; I'm sure my arteries appreciated it. Feeling satisfied we set off to explore the streets.

We made our way to the Central-Mid-Levels escalator. At 800m long the Central-Mid-Levels escalator is the longest outdoor escalator in the world. It's actually a series of covered escalators which make their way up Hong Kong Island. The escalators are a good way to see some of Hong Kong islands shops, restaurants, bars and apartments.

Once we reached the top we made our way back down the stairs. We stopped at a real estate agent to check out the property listings (>1mil AUD for a studio apartment or >5mil AUD for an average looking dark 3 bedroom apartment anyone?).

We visited a mall and checked out a rather fancy supermarket which was a fairly stark contrast to the market in Sham Shui Po we'd visited the day before. Scott bought an onigiri to snack on before we made our way to the waterfront.

We sat by the water checking out the view and people watching for a little while before continuing on to the Maritime Museum.

The Maritime Museum was really interesting. The exhibits talked about the history and technology of the maritime industry in China with a focus on its importance in Hong Kong. The display glossed over the opium wars (particularly the number of Chinese addicted to opium which they purchased from the British). My favourite story was a display about a Chinese ship which was purchased by the British (in defiance of a rule which prohibited Chinese ships being sold to foreigners). The ship was staffed by 30 to 40 Chinese people who apparently weren't told where the ship would be sailing. They were apparently surprised when the arrived in New York instead of another part of China...

From the Maritime Museum we headed back to the mall to buy some more onigiri before walking to the Peak Tram. While we were waiting in the queue we thought that one of the other people queuing looked like one of my friends from university Tessa. We decided that it couldn't be her as she was supposed to be in Geneva, but then she called out my name. Small world.

While we waited in the queue we chatted to Tessa who was in Hong Kong for a conference with some colleagues and had the afternoon off. We eventually boarded the tram and began the journey up the hill.

Constructed in 1888, the Peak Tram is a funicular tram which takes tourists (and allegedly locals though I'm suspicious of this) up the steep mountain to Victoria Peak. The gradient of the track varies between 4 to 27 degrees. The views from the tram are fantastic.

After we reached the top we made our way through the mall and headed to a cafe to have a drink and wait until it was a little closer to sunset time. Eventually we made our way to Ngong Ping 360 which is a viewing deck at the top of the mall. We admired the views and watched the sunset.

After sunset we made our way back through the mall (stopping briefly while Tessa's colleagues purchased souvenirs) and then joined the queue to catch the tram down. We employed our mainland elbows, which were well seasoned after almost three weeks surrounded by people not familiar with queuing, to 'encourage' some tourists from the mainland to not push in. The lady seemed particularly shocked by the situation..

From the tram we made our way to a Vietnamese restaurant which had been recommended to one of Tessa's colleagues by her friend who used to live in Hong Kong. The restaurant was full so we grabbed some plastic stools and ordered some drinks while we waited.

Once our table was ready we headed inside and ordered. Scott and I shared a ginger chicken stew and a chicken salad. The food was nice but it was incredibly over priced. I don't think we'll ever have Vietnamese food as expensive as that again.

After dinner we found a (quieter) bar to have a drink, but after sitting down and looking at the prices ($10 for a soft drink or small beer) we decided to visit the famous bar called 7-11. We purchased some drinks and then caught the train to Kowloon to sit by the water admiring the view of Hong Kong island whilst enjoying our drinks.

After a great and unexpected night we parted ways with Tessa and her colleagues at about 12:30am and walked back to our hotel.

After a sleep in we spent our final full day in Hong Kong exploring the malls. To ensure we had enough energy we headed to Din Tai Fung for breakfast. We ordered noodles with spring onions, two serves of chicken xiao long bao, a vegetable bun and roast pork over egg fried rice. The food was delicious and we were both happy and full by the time we'd finished.

After breakfast our first destination was a computer mall in Mong Kok. It took us about an hour to walk to the mall including the last 20 minutes which were spent fending off vendors in the Ladies Market. The mall was far smaller than expected so we finished looking around pretty quickly.

From there we caught a double decker bus from Mong Kok to Hong Kong Island (so that we could check out the streets along the way). We then headed into SOGO mall but, after walking around for a while, decided that we didn't want to purchase anything as they had their winter stock.

We headed out of the mall and hopped on one of the super cute little trams which run on Hong Kong island. We rode the tram for a while before heading to a train station to catch the train back to our hotel to relax for a while.

On the way home we stopped to pick up an egg waffle from Mammy Pancake, a famous little street stall with a Michelin star. The lady working there must know her product is good because people certainly don't go there for the service!

That night for dinner we had a reservation at Tim Lung Heen, a two Michelin star restaurant located on the 102nd floor of the Ritz Carlton. It took us about 45 minutes to walk to the restaurant from our hotel as there is no direct route.

On arrival we were seated at a table by the window with an amazing view. After admiring the view for a while we ordered. We chose BBQ pork, steamed chicken with preserved vegetables, wok-fried minced pigeon and Chinese chives served with fresh lettuce and Steamed Hakata eggplant with Termite mushroom in spicy sauce as well as a glass of wine and a beer.

The food was delicious and the service was fantastic. After we had finished our meal the staff took some photos of us and then showed us to a private room with views towards Hong Kong island.

The following morning we headed to the Australia Dairy Company, an incredibly popular breakfast / brunch spot. After queuing for about 20 minutes our table (shared with two other people) was ready. I ordered a french toast and we both had an ice milk tea. The french toast was delicious, but was served with golden syrup instead of condensed milk so wasn't quite as good as the one from Hing Kee.

We then walked through Kowloon Park and made our way to Cheung Hing Kee so Scott could get his last fix before we headed home.

Scott headed back to the hotel while I went to check out a mall. Unfortunately most of the stores were still closed (as it was before 11) so I decided to return later. I made a brief stop at Sasa (makeup store) before meeting Scott back at our hotel.

We packed up our room, checked out and left our bags at the hotel before heading out for a walk. We explored the malls near our hotel before deciding it was time for lunch.

For lunch we chose Social Place, a restaurant which is famous for its cute looking dishes. We ordered some truffle shitake buns, noodles with spring onion, chicken buns and chicken with chillies (actually more like chillies with chicken). The food was super cute and also delicious. Our favourite looking dish was the mushroom buns.

After we'd finished we ordered a dessert tasting plate which came with a cookies and cream pot, 'birds nest' (actually mysterious purple liquid with rice noodles in it) and some little wafer balls filled with custard shaped to look like a plum / berry. The desserts were nice but looked better than they tasted.

After lunch we walked around the streets taking photos before making our way back to our hotel to pick up our bags and head to the airport. We caught the metro to Central station. We checked in at the station and then boarded the express train to the airport.

On arrival at the airport we returned our Octopus cards before heading to the Qantas lounge for cocktails and a shower. Our flight departed on time and we were scheduled to land a little early.

After an uneventful flight our pilot aborted our first landing in Melbourne just before we touched down (they said something about a plane on the runway being a little too close for comfort). Eventually we landed safely, disembarked and went through immigration (one try for me, three for Scott). Our bags finally arrived (why is Melbourne airport so slow?!); we collected them and hopped into our taxi.

Our cats greeted us when we walked through the door (were they happy to see us because they'd missed us or because they wanted breakfast or both?).

We had a fantastic trip to China. We definitely enjoyed it more this time than last time. The food was better and it was nice to get out of the big cities so we could enjoy some of the spectacular scenery China has to offer.


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15th October 2018

Sorry you got sick
If food is thinking about going bad I get sick. I feel your pain. You've recovered nicely and sampled some wonderful foods and explored some interesting places. This is still a location we would like to go.
3rd February 2019

Wow awesome trip

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