I told you I would be back with a series of different blog posts, so here is part one of many more to come. I actually started a part of this blog when I was in Hong Kong – it was the second day I was there and I was somewhat jet lagged. I was awake at 4:30 am and decided that I wanted to start on the Hong Kong blog…but never ended up finishing it. Now I’m back and ready to give you a snippet of the time we were in Hong Kong.
I thought stopover was the most appropriate word to describe the amount of time I was there because really that was what it was. So we wanted to get to China (click here to read a background of our trip) and as you can probably assume there were so many ways to get there. A lot of the options were pretty pricey and if you know anything about me, you’ll know that I have plane anxiety. I know, I know it’s weird that I love to travel but have plane anxiety. But hey, it’s true and I’ll go more into details about that and how I deal with all that on long flights (tips for all you people who are not big fans of being enclosed in a metal container up in the air for 16+ hours), but for the purpose of this blog this detail is critical because I am extremely picky in airline choices. So long story short, we decided to take Cathay Pacific (shoutout to one of the best airlines ever!) and well their home base is in Hong Kong! I could not say no to stopping by Hong Kong, even for a little bit. Also, I have family there so the choice was pretty simple. The only thing is, because of how our itinerary was planned out, we could only stay there for 2 days – so really, a stopover.
A couple of things to note:
- Shoutout to my aunt and uncle and their daughter who is like my cousin/long lost sister (Hi Auntie, Uncle & Elza!), who hosted us for the time we were there. They were super amazing, welcoming, accommodating, and I am SO glad that we started off our trip with family (travel tips to come in another post soon)!
- Sam, one of my besties and my partner in crime/travel buddy for the month, and I didn’t get to do a whole lot of sightseeing, just because we really didn’t have the time. You can do quite a bit in the amount of time we were there, but our schedule was pretty packed. I suggest staying there for a week if you want to go around and really see everything!
- Hong Kong, you guys do food well! I’ll get into a little bit more about some of the things we tried there, but man you will most definitely be satisfied coming here! And you also walk around a LOT, so whatever you eat you can walk off = more food.
Okay to the part I know you all want to read about – do I have any food recommendations/opinion on what to do when I’m in Hong Kong? Unfortunately I am FAR from being an expert in Hong Kong or any cities to be honest, but I can tell you what we did and what we thought!
Nan Lian Garden
So we saw picture of this place and knew we needed to stop by and visit! To visit, you need to go to the Diamond Hill MTR stop and take EXIT C. You can take any of the other exits and get there (which is what we originally did), but Exit C is the closest and least confusing exit to navigate to get to the garden. If you see a mall when you exit, you’re at the right place! This nunnery/garden is not large by any means, but it is beautiful and a hidden gem. There were barely anyone there, so we had a great time just leisurely walking through the entire place and take lots of beautiful pictures!
2. Ladies Market
My aunt suggested for us to check out the ladies market when I asked where would be the best place to get souvenirs and she hit the jackpot! If you’re looking to leisurely walk around, check out little trinkets, souvenirs, and such you need to visit this place. Sam and I ended up with quite a few things when we left for friends and family! It’s also pretty central, easy to get there by MTR (Get off at Mongkok station and it’s literally 5 minutes away) and there’s a bunch of things around if you want to go shopping, to eat, etc.
For more information: Ladies Market
3. Then just walking around, we rode the tram to see Hong Kong in a different way, and of course eat (see below). Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to see Victoria Peak or go to Disneyland, but again we were there for a very very short time!
Okay now FOOD:
- DIM SUM. For those who know me, you have probably heard me talk about dim sum at least once. I love it – it’s just so good and I love that a lot of the places we go to, they go around in little carts where you can pick out what you want to eat from those carts. For those of you who do not know what dim sum is, I have always compared it to spanish tapas. They are small portions of food that is steamed or fried or whatnot and served in little tiny steamed baskets/small plates. It is delicious and my family go get dim sum quite often in Canada, but dim sum in Hong Kong was something that I’ve been waiting for and my mouth is watering as I’m writing this right now. If you ask me what it is that makes it different between Toronto and Hong Kong, the honest answer is I have no idea. There are just some dishes that are just completely different and taste different, and some dishes that are similar (hello siumai and hargow) but still manages to taste different and better in Hong Kong. My aunt and uncle took me to a place in City Hall after church on a Sunday. It was mighty crowded, but it was mighty amazing. Unfortunately I cannot tell you how much each plate of food costs because my lovely aunt and uncle would not let me touch the bill, but all I have to say is y’all HAVE to try dim sum at least once when you’re there.
2. Okay because we are currently on the dim sum train, one of the most well known dim sum dishes around I would say other than siu mai and hargow would be the BBQ pork buns aka char siu bao. Speaking honestly to the bloggesphere, I am not particularly a huge fan of char siu bao, but ladies and gent I LOVED this char siu bao. I wish I took a picture, but I totally forgot because we did take out instead of eating at the restaurant. It’s so different than what you normally find at a dim sum restaurant here. You know how the normal BBQ pork bun is either that white type bun normally found at dim sum restaurants OR the other common one is the yellow-brownish type of soft bread stuffed with the BBQ pork? Well this bun is different, it’s like soft but has a tiny bit of a crunch (if that makes sense). The stuffed BBQ pork is also amazing. You just need to try it!
Where can you get this heavenly buns? Tim Ho Wan, the Michelin star restaurant. There are different branches of the restaurant – we went and did take out from the Central location. Note that it’s right in the Central station, in the lower level. If you can’t find it, I would just quickly stop by a shop and ask (we did that) and someone will direct you towards the right direction! From what I heard from people and also for reading blogs, this place gets super busy so make sure you get there earlier. We were there around 4/4:30 so it was not busy, so if you want a very late lunch or early dinner Also, we didn’t get a chance to try the other dim sum dishes, but I hear its also really great! So if you head over there and try the dim sum, let me know how the other dishes are!
3. Ever since my uncle told my sister and I about this giant soufflé that we need to try in Hong Kong, it’s always been on my HK food bucket list. And although our time in HK was very short, my aunt and uncle made sure that we stopped by this place!
Location: Tai Ping Koon
Behold my friends, the giant soufflé!
And if you can’t really tell how big that soufflé is, here’s another picture.
Yes, it’s literally bigger than my hand. It was huge, so make sure you come hungry or bring a couple of friends to share with. I was stuffed by the time we came here, so thank goodness there was a bunch of us there to share! Don’t get me wrong though, the soufflé was really great and if you are hungry I’m sure you and one other friend can devour it. When I showed my family the picture, they asked me what the soufflé taste like – and my answer is egg. The soufflé is basically a sweet egg-ish dish and it’s really great to eat with a side of Hong Kong style milk tea! The other thing we ate there was their chicken wings which if you know me, I’m a sucker for chicken wings. And these beauty were really really good, so make sure you get a plate when you’re there!
4. Although I tried some other yummy Chinese food, I’m going to end the food tour with one of my favourite meals in HK and my trip to Asia (yes it was that good). Let me tell you, I LOVE roast meat. Like love. The only problem is, I haven’t found a really good roast meat place in Toronto and GTA area (if you’re from around here and know of a good place, holler at me). But friends, if you are a lover of roast meat like me, Hong Kong is the place to go to satisfy your cravings.
We went to a restaurant called Tai Hing in Mongkok (I believe! Picture of what the place looks outside is below).
The place is pretty tiny and it gets super busy, so make sure you come either a little earlier or later to get a spot! We went around 11 and they were just finishing up with suckling pig. There wasn’t a lot of people then, but when we were leaving around 12-ish there was a line forming.
Okay first thing you need to get when you’re here is their Hong Kong style milk tea. It was so good that we ordered another one (to share because I was so stuffed). They are also clever about serving the tea – they put the cupe in a bowl of ice so the tea can be chilled without the ice diluting it!
Next, my uncle ordered this steam pork dish which honestly I don’t know the name, but I’ve had before. Amazing.
And then behold, we ordered roasted goose, chicken, suckling pig and BBQ pork. There are no words, it was just delicious and you need to come here if you come to Hong Kong! There are a lot of branches, so no excuses!
Thank you again to my wonderful aunt and uncle for hosting us! And HK, I will be back soon!