5-8 July 2010
After only a two hour flight from Vietnam, The Gap Year Buddy and I landed in the Hong Kong heat to be met by one of our old school friends, who would be hosting us during our stay. After some reunion hugs and a brief train ride, we arrived in the city itself and were picked up by The HK Friend’s mum who took us to their home. We freshened up and headed out to dinner at Times Square in Causeway Bay, where there was a Toy Story themed display in celebration of the upcoming film.
Although this was only our first night, we were thrown in at the deep end when it came to dinner, with some casual duck’s tongue being on the order. I ended up dropping my piece on the floor and I didn’t make a second attempt. We also had “drunken chicken” (i.e. cold marinaded chicken) and some tasty noodles, fried fish and crispy fish, so overall, despite the duck’s tongue, it was a good start to the trip. We rounded off the night with cocktails and my first shisha experience at a place called Sahara in SoHo.
Our first activity the next morning was a visit to Stanley Market, stopping off at somewhere I think was a temple en route. It wasn’t quite the same as the Southeastern Asian markets we had visited in Malaysia and Vietnam (and also not as cheap) but I do love a good market and you could at least get some Asian souvenirs here, even if I couldn’t find the harem pants I had held out for.
It was then time for a Dim Sum lunch, which is essentially Chinese tapas dishes, for those who don’t know Dim Sum. In addition to some delicious spring rolls, steamed pork balls and shrimp, we mixed things up a little with some chicken’s feet. I think The HK Friend and her mum liked trying to freak us out.
After a bit of a rest back at the flat, we went out for something a bit less cultural: a screening of the third Twilight movie at a nearby cinema (thankfully it was in English with subtitles). Please don’t judge me. I readily acknowledge that the Twilight movies are not good films but that doesn’t make me love them any less. Plus there was caramel popcorn for us to fill up on.
Later, we headed out to Central (or maybe it was Causeway Bay, I forget) for even more food at The Burger Rooms. My cheesy curly fries certainly made up for the chicken feet and my bacon cheese burger was pretty good too. After a wander around Times Square, we stopped off at a bar in SoHo, where a live band was playing. The Gap Year Buddy requested they play American Pie – a request that ended in her being dragged up on stage to sing it. I just sat and watched whilst sipping my cocktail(s). Our party was joined by a couple of The HK Friend’s friends and our little group then headed off to a sports bar called The Wheel so that we could watch the latest World Cup match until we got too tired and went to bed.
The three of us spent a very tiring morning by the pool, trying to catch some rays (I refused to go home pasty after 3.5 months travelling – but I did have to admit defeat in the end) but decided we had to move when we became peckish. The HK Friend took us to a 24/7 breakfast place called the Flying Pan, where we found an actual English fry-up. I swear I could actually hear angels singing as I tucked in.
Once we’d had our fill of lying around doing nothing and eating, we caught the tram and headed up to The Peak. We wandered around the mall up there for a little while before collapsing at a table outside McDonald’s and just admiring the amazing views of the city below.
The next day, we ended up at the IFC centre for food (you’ve probably caught the theme of our trip by now: food, food and more food). Our meal this time included a feast of steamed pork buns, fried noodles, egg fried rice and fish – just to name a few. We spent a little time in the mall before hopping on the Star Ferry over to Kowloon, where we found a H&M for some more affordable shopping. When we were done, it was obviously now time for something else to eat. Again we were cultural and went for some local foods: curried fish balls (yum) and pig intestines (less yum). Actually, in all honesty, my intestines didn’t really have much flavour but my companions informed me that their’s tasted of sewage. For something slightly sweeter, we ended up in a restaurant that sold purely mango-themed dishes. I certainly got a couple of my five a day in that place.
We explored Mongkok market for a little while before founding a place which had novelty Japanese photobooths. None of us spoke Japanese so we just pressed buttons until we got what we wanted. We ended up with 10 pictures of us in various poses which we could then write over and add in cartoon images: a souvenir for life.
After all the photo-fun, we realised it had been simply ages since food has last passed our lips. We decided the perfect place was the Modern Toilet – a, you’ve guessed it, toilet themed restaurant. Mhmm, tasty. There were pipes, urinals and decorative toilet seats on the walls, the tables were sinks with a glass top and we sat on toilets. One corner was also designed to look like a shower room. The food was served in miniature loos and basins. It wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever had but, what the food lacked in taste, it made up for in sheer novelty-value and photo opportunities. The restaurant seemed to have run out of quite a bit of food, so sadly although we did have the option of unlimited cake and ice cream, the only flavours of ice cream were taro (a kind of purple potato thing), coffee (which I didn’t like at the time but, since my university days, necessity has made me into a coffee-fan) and sesame. We left the ice cream.
In hindsight, our time in Hong Kong was rapidly turning into eating with shopping breaks. We next ended up in another mall: the snazzy-looking 1881 Heritage, which was particularly pretty lit up in the dark. Next it was down to the waterfront by the clock tower, where we found a viewing deck from which we could take slightly blurred photographs of the skyline at night.
Read about the rest of my trip:
- Hong Kong Part Two: a night out, city views and palm reading
- Hong Kong Part Three: the Gold Coast, roast geese and a boat tour
- Hong Kong Part Four: a giant buddha and a last ladies’ night out