I love Hong Kong. But I really miss Singapore. Day four in this bustling, crowded, and fascinating city, and I’m all ready to return back “home”. As much as I enjoy all the shopping and social energy here, I still cannot help but feel lost, both literally and metaphorically, in this vivacious city.
But still, I think years after I leave this place, I would still be thinking about the several things I will miss about Hong Kong.
I will miss the fast, efficient, and clean transportation in Hong Kong.
I will miss the nightlife, the shops and crowds that stride the streets late at night.
I will miss the myriads of interesting Japanese snacks available. This is a cream-filled cookie roll from a Japanese brand:
And melon-filled chocolates:
And okonomiyaki-flavored potato chips:
Cheese sausages (which really tastes like imitation crabmeat, actually):
However, I will not miss getting lost in the streets. I cannot tell you how many times Jing Wen and I shuffled through the streets for hours until we finally realized the shop we were looking for was right in front of us! Like this one:
This is Mido Cafe. We had heard good things about this cafe, so we traveled to Yau Ma Tei for lunch, which just about a mile away from our hotel in Mong Kok.
Mido Cafe is well-known for its baked pork chop rice, and was recommended by a Hong Kong friend of mine. Its interior was really old-style, exactly like the olden cafes in the sixties.
Unfortunately, we got lost and by the time we found this place, we were cranky, hungry, and flustered. So hot and ruffled were we, that we totally forgot what we came here for. We really had baked pork chop rice in mind, but absent-mindedly ordered something else instead.
I ordered the vegetarian curry with rice (HKD$38 or USD$4.87):
Observe! Do you see the grease floating on top? This dish tasted good, but the texture was a bit like sipping red oil.
I was definitely disconcerted by the greasiness of this dish, but the flavors made up for it. I can’t say it’s the best curry I’ve tasted, but it was rich, intense, and pungent, just the way Singaporean curries are. I ate up all the veggies first, and then poured the curry over my rice.
Actually, I was really proud of myself as I ate this dish. Remember the ghastly Golden Pillow about a year back? This dish was practically about the same, only worse, because it was served with white rice, my least favorite food. Thinking back, the Golden Pillow wasn’t really that bad. I was just freaked out by the combination of grease and white carbs at that time.
Jing Wen’s shrimp ball curry with rice was a lot less greasy than mine (HKD$60 or USD$7.69):
It came with two large juicy prawns, and the curry flavor was more like a Japanese curry: sweet, thick, and mild.
To be honest, after this meal, I felt rather sick. My stomach started boiling from the grease and heat of the curry, so I had to immediately down some diet soda to calm it down.
I won’t miss the greasy food in Hong Kong, for sure. But I will definitely miss the awesome bakeries here! I picked up three more baked goods for tonight. First, the famous bolo bao (pineapple bun):
Milk bun, or as they call it, Mexico bun (though they don’t really taste like the Conchas I’ve tried from a real Mexican bakery). This is a milk bun crusted with a custardy sugar topping:
And steamed honey cake. My favorite! It has a texture like marshmallows!:
I LOVE Hong Kong bakeries. They have such lovely baked goods. Some are more expensive though, so I could only observe, not buy. Like this box of various donuts:
Or this box of cookies and tarts:
And this scumptious looking “Ferrero Rocher” Danish!!
Jing Wen and I walked around Mong Kok aimlessly again, stopping at whatever shop hit our fancy. You can never get bored in Hong Kong, what with all the different shops to visit! Especially the grocery stores…
I’ll miss the interesting food stores in Hong Kong:
And Jing Wen will miss the beverage section the most:
She drinks 4-5 cartons of iced tea a day! And at least one bubble tea:
This is taro-flavored bubble tea. We asked for low-sugar, so this was just the right touch of sweetness for me. Just a word of advice: They usually don’t ask, but you can adjust your bubble tea to your choice of sweetness level. And as I’ve mentioned, there are more than the black tapioca pearls to choose from!
Speaking of beverages, I’ll miss Hong Kong’s McDonald’s.
Don’t smirk at me, but Hong Kong’s McCafes are freaking awesome. No wonder it is always packed!
Their beverages look so gourmet, too…:
Why is it that though McDonald’s is an American thing, America’s McDonald’s is always the worst in the world? Sigh.
Another thing I will miss about Hong Kong is the vibrant street food scene:
It’s always such a pleasure to see people enjoy their food, even if they are munching on something disgusting like pig tails and beef intestines.
The street food is mostly all fried stuff, though. Just a head’s up. And they sit out wilting and soaking up grease for hours:
But. If you’re gonna indulge in fried foods, might as well be good Hong Kong street food. In my personal opinion, stay away from the above foods. And remember those god-awful fishballs and siew mai?
But not every Hong Kong street food is disgusting (Again, this is just my personal opinion!). Take these french fries for example:
They come doused in your choice of sauce. They are freshly fried, and made from fresh-cut potatoes, so can be slightly bland…but that’s where the sauce comes in!
We chose honey mustard, but there is also wasabi, nacho, bolognese, salad dressing, meat curry, spicy meat sauce, etc.
It’s a tiny bit expensive in Hong Kong standards at HKD$10 (or USD$1.28) for a tiny cup, but worth it!
Another fried food you have to try in Hong Kong is their stinky tofu!
You don’t have to go out of your way to look for this putrid deep-fried block of tofu. Their odor draws (or repels) you in! This was on my must-try list for Hong Kong, and I was happy to sink my teeth into the crispy tofu skin. The insides are delightfully warm and custardy, with a sour taste from the fermentation. Google it. The description may make it sound unappealing, but it is quite the delicacy to Hongkies and Taiwanese.
I will miss the dedication and diligence of Hongkongers as well. These are a group of people who never seems to just sit down and rest, no matter what age. You can see old ladies and men marching in the streets carrying heavy objects, and even my hotel room is being cleaned daily by an elderly lady.
Nor do you see the disabled throwing a pity party. Check this out:
This guy uses his toes to paint the most beautiful calligraphy. He drew quite the crowd!
As much as I find them a pain to read, I have to admit that Chinese writing is gorgeous.
I don’t think I’ll miss the roasted duck and pork hanging in display windows though:
I’m not sure about the Hongkongers…but is this supposed to be tantalizing? Because it doesn’t really look so appealing to me. Roast duck and pig suckling was actually in my “must-try” list for Hong Kong, but tonight, I just felt sick thinking about eating any more greasy and heavy items.
There is definitely such a thing as too much indulgence. My body was screaming for fruits and vegetables! By the end of the day, all Jing Wen and I wanted was a huge bowl of salad greens and fresh fruits. But that wasn’t really an option without spending big bucks in a western restaurant, or cooking at home, so we just looked for wherever sold vegetables and light, clean dishes:
This was the place we landed. San Lung, a traditional Hong Kong restaurant.
It was clean, bright, and within our budget. Perfect for us!
I ordered the Pork Dumpling and King Mushroom Wanton noodle soup (HKD$27, or USD$3.46):
This might be the BEST thing I’ve had in Hong Kong so far, no lie. The soup was clean, the wantons juicy, and the noodles all chewy and slurpalicious.
I loved that they gave me a big quantity of mushrooms. Who needs meat when you’ve got meaty, savory mushrooms like these?
Well, unless the meat is encased in a thin wanton dumpling wrapper, of course. Mmm…
Hee, I had such a big grin on my face, and became so ho-ho jolly that Jing Wen joked, “You really love this, don’t you? Look at you, so happy! We should feed you this every night when you get cranky.”
Unfortunately, Jing Wen did not share my enthusiasm for her dish. She ordered the Braised Noodle with Shrimp Wanton and Shrimp Roe (HKD$34 or USD$4.36):
Lovely wantons and vegetables in soup…
And a whole plate of braised wanton noodles, flecked with shrimp roe!
Jing Wen is not a big fan of salty, bold flavors, so the saltiness of this dish did not sit well with her. But I thought they were great. I think Jing Wen has just been too spoiled with the better food in Singapore, while I’ve really missed good wanton noodles!
On the side, Jing Wen and I shared a plate of stir-fried kailan vegetables with oyster sauce (HKD$10 or USD$1.28):
It’s unfortunate that I don’t have a kitchen here, because the variety of vegetables in Hong Kong is fabulous. Fresh, fabulous greens which taste awesome however way you cook it.
I think my cravings for vegetables have been 50% satisfied with this. I can’t wait to return to Singapore to stuff myself with all the vegetables and fruits I want. Funny how your idea of indulgence changes when you go overseas.
And thus ends the Hong Kong trip series. Thanks for sticking with me throughout this adventure. I’m leaving Hong Kong tomorrow to return to Singapore. I arrive in Singapore at midnight tomorrow, so I probably won’t be blogging. If I am, please tell me to go to bed immediately, because I wake up early for church the next day.
Until then, I bid you adieu…or as they say in Cantonese: “Zoi Gin!”
Question of the Day: Let’s pretend…that you’re in Hong Kong with us! What would you want to do first? And by do, I mean eat, of course.
P.S. A commenter just noticed me that the term “Hongkies” is actually derogatory! I did not realize this…I’m really sorry if I offended anyone. I’ll refer Hong Kong people as HongKongers from now on!