My Best Meals in Hong Kong


Oh yes! I love good food! It is a true pleasure even if I don’t consider myself a foodie. Maybe because I don’t eat out that often (and I’m a finicky eater). I love finding good places to eat when I travel. I don’t have a criteria on how to find good places to eat. Sometimes I do it by seeing if a place is crowded (and checking the menu posted outside). Other times I have asked staff at my hostel or hotel. I get info from online too. And of course, I use TripAdvisor. I have heard some people say that the latter is not always an indicator of how good or authentic a place is. I disagree – especially in Hong Kong. I found one place via TripAdvisor that are known for their pineapple buns. Since it was so busy I was seated with a local couple and ended up learning a bit about life there. I had a good breakfast and even better conversation with locals. Sounds authentic to me. 

So where were my favourite places? Check it out:

Kai Kee NoodlesG/F., 15C Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
I wanted to try noodles for breakfast but didn’t know where in my neighbourhood to go. I had walked past one place that looked busy but the menu didn’t entirely appeal to me. So I checked Trip Advisor and this place came up. A small yet busy place with no real decor (in fact not fancy at all) though the food was good.  The waitress recommended the shrimp dumplings with noodles. She said it was Hong Kong style. They did not disappoint. So tasty. The serving size was good and the price was right. I also ordered hot milk tea. It was a bit bitter but manageable. I went back on my last day and tried the noodles with fried pork. It was good but the shrimp dumplings were much better.

 

TAP The Ale ProjectG/F, No. 15 Hak Po St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, China
I found out about this place from an article by The Culture Trip naming some places to find craft beer in Hong Kong. It was a happenin’ place. I was seated at a long community table and ended up chatting with some ex-pats from Italy and Scotland. They suggested the Coriander Burger.  This burger was AMAZING. I like burgers but don’t love them but I loved this burger. Wanna know why? Because it was cooked medium rare or just a bit more – so juicy and flavourful! The meat was slightly pink, came on a fresh bun with cheese,  a garlic mayo sauce and deep fried cilantro (coriander)! Deep fried cilantro! Who’d of thought that would add to the overall experience. And add that I had a great hoppy Heroes Beer Company’s Cereusly IPA and it was one of the best meals I had in Hong Kong! I do recommend this place (if well-cooked burgers are your thing then maybe order something else or ask them to cook it longer). And the service was great. They checked in on me and made some beer suggestions too as I also had a flight of beers. 

One Dim SumShop 1 & 2, G/F, No. 15 Playing Field Road, Prince Edward, Hong Kong, China
After spending the morning in Mong Kok perusing the Goldfish, Bird, and Flower Markets I was hangry….uh hungry. The crowds in the street market were getting to me and I knew I needed to get some food in my belly. I didn’t know where to go so I used TripAdvisor again. The first place that popped up was One Dim Sum which I had marked previously as a place to try. It was close so I made my way there. As the reviews stated, there was a line up, however since I was dining solo I only waited about 15 minutes. I know dim sum is often a group affair but I was going for it anyway! I’m glad I did. It was so good and I was so stuffed. Even chatted a bit with the father and young son seated across from me.

Kam Wah Cafe – 47 Bute Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, China
Another place I found on TripAdvisor. I was heading to Mong Kok to check out the markets mentioned above. I wanted to try another place for breakfast so I did a search and this place popped up. Many reviews suggested going here for their pineapple buns. I though might as well and made my way there. It was busy and honestly I was a bit intimidated at first. I looked around for a seat but nothing so a waitress (rather brusquely) ushered me to a corner booth with couple sitting across from me. We smiled politely and I perused the menu (which was in both English and Cantonese). I eventually asked them about the buns. They spoke English very well and they agreed that the pineapple buns were very good. They flagged down the waitress and ordered for me. We had a good conversation and I learned a bit about Hong Kong. The bun was good as was the hot milk tea.

N1 Coffee & CoShop G, No. 34 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
My first food place on this trip. Again I used TripAdvisor. It was in my neighbourhood even though I walked past it a few times since I’m horrible at directions and I was jet lagged. The decor of this place was so cute. I just loved it. Order at the counter and they bring it to you. It was later in the morning so I opted for a sandwich to go with my tea. The ingredients were fresh and the tea was good quality.

I can’t finish this post without mentioning some of the bars/pubs that had some amazing local craft beer. Both of the places below I learned about from the Culture Trip article I mention above. 

The Roundhouse TaproomNo. 62 Peel St, Central, Hong Kong, China
How can I not like a place that carries at local BC beer?! Actually Roundhouse has a decent variety of local and imported craft beers. This time around I tried a Japanese craft beer. 

Kowloon Taproom No. 24 – 38 Ashley Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
The bonus part of this pub is that it was only about a 5 – 10 minute walk from my hostel. In addition to have a great selection of local beers it was accessible too. I went 3 times!! I liked the atmosphere as it was rather chill. The food was standard pub fare and the service was good. I miss it.

 

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top Five – My Hong Kong Favs


Still relishing in my Hong Kong travel memories I have decided to post a Top Five of  my favourite places/things about Hong Kong:

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Incense coils at Man Mo Temple

  1. Mo Temple
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    Koi Pond at Nan Lian Gardens

  2. Nan Lian Garden
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    Orchids at the Mong Kok Flower Market

  3. Mong Kok Flower Market
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    Big Buddha on Lantau Island

  4. Lantau Island
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    Craft Beer!

  5. Craft Beer (Everywhere) – The craft beer scene in Hong Kong is great! Many many places serving local brews. I made a point of checking out a places everyday.  Heroes Cereusly IPA was my favourite.

Notable mentions:

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Star Ferry

  1. Star Ferry
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    The view of Hong Kong from Ozone Bar on the 118th floor

  2. Ozone Bar at The Ritz-Carleton – Asia’s highest bar at 118 floors. I had to check it out. I liked it. Thoroughly modern with some great views it was a good way to enjoy a drink.
  3. MTR(throughout Hong Kong) – Can you actually love a subway system? If so then I love the MTR. It is by far the most efficient subway system I have ever used. The stations are big and signs are clearly marked. The place is busy but runs smoothly. And loading and paying for items well beyond your fare with the Octopus Card is the best!
  4. Food(Everywhere) – Need I say more? Hong Kong is a food mecca! Local and worldwide cuisines abound. I will be making a post soon about my favourite foods and food places.

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

Everything I Was Ever Told About Hong Kong Was A Lie!


Everything I was ever told about Hong Kong was a lie!!!!

Yes you read that correctly. I was lied to! LIED TO! 

Alright, melodrama aside – I wasn’t lied to, however, what I was told over the years by many is not the Hong Kong that I discovered through both research and on my recent memorable trip. Some of the things that were relayed to me were along these lines:

  1. There is not much to do in Hong Kong 
  2. It’s just urban sprawl, nothing but a concrete jungle
  3. You can see everything in 2 days 
  4. It has great designer shopping and fabulous food but that’s about it
  5. Everything is super expensive
  6. It’s so crowded, so many people (okay – that one is true though things run quite smoothly in Hong Kong it seems)

Hearing this is what that had me overlooking Hong Kong as a destination. Until recently I viewed it as place where I would pass through, staying only a few days while en route to another destination. It wasn’t until I decided to go away for a week in February that I even decided to look at it. I wanted to go somewhere that I could explore in a week without feeling like I was missing out on going elsewhere in the country.  A week in Japan seemed to rushed. Same with Cambodia. Maybe a European city? Nope. Not in mid-winter. And no resort sun destinations where I would inevitably have to fork over extra money for a single supplement, punishment for travelling solo. So on a whim I looked at some YouTube videos about Hong Kong as it met my initial criteria. I was surprised! There were many activities and sights that piqued my interest. I did further research and realized I was misinformed! I decided that Hong Kong was my next destination!!

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Hong Kong’s skyline at night – Photo taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

So let’s address these misleading ideas that I had. Please note that this is based on my experience in Hong Kong.  I know others have different accounts and some have similar ones.  I will make another post of many of these places that I visited in a future post.

  1. There is not much to do in Hong KongNot true!! Museums, theme parks (Disney, Ocean Park), nightlife, hiking, markets, shopping, temples, discovering street art, sensational views, wandering neighbourhoods, dining, historical sites. So much!
  2. It’s just urban sprawl, nothing but a concrete junglePartly true! Hong Kong is a big city with a population of almost 7.5 million. It has a numerous skyscrapers, buildings of all types, an impressive public transit system, and all of this in an approximately 1, 100 sq km / 424 sq mile area
    1. What you may not know is that 40% of Hong Kong is parks and nature reserves. There are areas where you do not feel like you are in a city. Hong Kong is comprised of numerous islands with a substantial area that is separated from mainland China simply by the border. Not all of it is developed. Hiking and walking has become quite popular with several trails set up for all levels and nature is close by.
  3. You can see everything in 2 days No, you  can’t! You can see many of the major sights in 2 days especially if you plan well. But to see and do more you do need extra time. I had 6 full days and I did not see everything I had hoped to (I also went to neighbouring Macau for a day trip so more like 5 days)
  4. It has great designer shopping and fabulous food but that’s about itThere is more!! So much more. Yes, Hong Kong is a shopping haven and has even better food of every style of cuisine. No doubt about it yet there is so much more to this city.  Explore more! Isn’t that what travel is about? =)
  5. Everything is super expensiveMostly true! Hotels, designer shopping, drinks, some food, some tours and entrance fees can add up very quickly. Very quickly. Though there are hacks and ways to save money. Hostels are comparable to Europe though far less expensive than hotels. I don’t know about AirBnB or other options but worth a look. Shopping at markets is cheaper and you can find knock offs there too. Street food and some ‘mom and pop’ restaurants are more affordable and very tasty. The MTR (subway system) is inexpensive and runs like a well-oiled machine. I love the MTR! Star Ferry is even cheaper!
  6. It’s so crowded, so many peopleTrue! Very true though I put it on the list because despite the sheer density of the place I found it to run quite smoothly. Yes, traffic is heavy but which large city is it not? The MTR was crowded but it got me where I needed to go with great ease. Walking around I noticed places well marked. If I got lost it was due to my own horrible (and I mean horrible) sense of direction. If you can get used to being bumped into strictly due to the sheer volume of people then you can manage Hong Kong. And taking advantage of Skip The Line tickets and arriving EARLY can get you to the major sites with relative ease (otherwise expect to wait). 
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Nature along Lantau Island’s Wisdom Path and Lantau Trail – photo taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

I have to say that Hong Kong did not disappoint. I was excited to see what I had learned in my research and discover on my own as well. Soon, after telling people about my forthcoming trip I was given some useful tips. Some by fellow travellers, others by expats. Bonus! I found it to be a city that was so easy to travel in. I know I’ll go back there as it still holds places that are undiscovered for me. 

Oh and guess what? There is a growing and tasty craft beer scene! Yay!! Good beer!

Hong Kong Highlights


Hello from Hong Kong. I’ve been here four nights and have a precious two more left. This has been a trip like no other. Two hours before leaving to come here, after clearing security at Vancouver, I received some very worrisome news. Needless to say trying to enjoy myself was weighed down with concern. Though the newness of this destination proved to be a good distraction albeit slightly tainted. Fortunately the best possible outcome occurred and I have relaxed and enjoyed this world class city. And for someone who is not fond of hot humid weather coming here in winter has proven to a bonus for me. I had hoped it would have been sunny as in weeks prior but the clouds decided to stay. The rain fortunately has been staved off.

Once at home I will write about my impressions of Hong Kong. In meantime, here are some photos of my time here.

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders the World

View from Victoria Harbour

View of Victoria Harbour (Kowloon side)

Victoria Harbour

 

From Victoria Peak

View from the Sky Deck at Victoria Peak – a stunning view despite the clouds

Incense burning at Man Mo Temple

Offerings of incense at Man Mo Temple

Incense coils at Man Mo Temple

These are coils of incense hanging from the ceiling at Man Mo Temple

Crystal bottom cable car enroute to Lantau Island

Glass bottom cable car taking me up to the Big Buddha on Lantau Island

Arch at Lantau Island

Archway by Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island

Big Buddha on Lantau Island

The Big Buddha on Lantau Island

Temple at Po Lin Monastery

One of several temples at Po Lin Monastery

Clock Tower

The Clock Tower at Victoria Harbour (Kowloon side)

Star Ferry - a longtime icon of Hong Kong

Star Ferry – I took a harbour tour with them

Trams a.k.a Ding Dings

I took a ride on one of Hong Kong’s tram cars – referred to as Ding Ding’s by the locals

Pottinger Street

Pottinger Street

Market stalls in Mong Kok neighbourhood

Fa Yuen Street Market in Mong Kok neighbourhood

Fish for sale at the Goldfish Market

Goldfish for sale at the Goldfish Market in Mong Kok 

One stall of numerous ones at the Flower Market

Mandarin plants for sale at the Flower Market in Mong Kok

 

Bruce Lee statue at the Garden of the Stars

Bruce Lee! One of the statues at the Garden of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui neighbourhood

 

Tomorrow I am off to Macau!