Decode: Adventure

Decode: Adventure: Hong Kong Day #1

Decode Adventure

I have an irrational fear of plane take-offs.

Which is rather ironic since I do want to travel around (given if I have the resources). I do however, have an irrational love of plane landings but that’s beside the point.

Just to fill everyone in on the plane talk, I went to Hong Kong last week. So this series of posts will cover the 5 days of Hong Kong, commentary-style (I hope).

Day #1

Got up at five. In the morning. Told myself that I could sleep on the plane so I dragged myself out and about before we all left the house at half past five.

So a check-in and a toasted ham and cheese sandwich later, we barely made it to the plane (Trust me, they were already waiting for the last few people to board by the time we reached).

Aunt and youngest cousin take a quick pose before we board the plane.

We were flying on Hong Kong Airlines, which was cool enough (their cabin crew learn Wing Chun as a requirement). Strangely, the take-offs for this trip didn’t freak me out all that much so all was well.

Three hours later, we landed in Hong Kong International Airport. The first thing I said was, “Hong Kong Drama Airport!!! (Referring to TVB’s Serial – Triumph in the Skies)”

I love this sign. I actually think we should put this in our MRT stations and stuff.
Arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport

One thing I did like about the flight was that we were told our luggage belt even before we got off the plane. So no wandering, getting lost or lagging behind – which was BOUND to happen when we travelled in such a big group.

-FAST FORWARD TO THE HOTEL-

We stayed at Harbour Plaza Resort Hotel (the same hotel from TVB Serial – The Revolving Doors of Vengeance), which was near Tin Shui Wai, the western side of the New Territories. All was fine and dandy until we went to check into our rooms – apparently only one of our four rooms were ready. Pfft.

Front Sign.
Staircase up to the dim sum restaurant.
View from our room.

So this was the first meal we ate, off the record.

Pity they don’t have this in Singapore anymore.

Putting the fact that it’s instant food aside, this instant “bowl noodle” is superbly good! It doesn’t have that MSG taste that kinda makes you want to puke out your soup and the beef that was packed with these noodles was REAL beef.

According to the aunt it used to be sold in Singapore but now it’s only available in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Awww man.

We went to the shopping plaza downstairs later to join the rest for Wanton Noodles.

Let me sidetrack here and explain the reason behind the bold. Before I left Singapore, I made a list of food that needed to be eaten in Hong Kong or it’ll be as good as not going. So yes, Wanton Noodles was down pretty fast.

To be honest, ‘til this point, I never really thought much about Hong Kong apart from the fact that everyone speaks Cantonese. Even the hotel we were staying in looked very much like Sengkang. Or Tampines for the matter, I’m not even sure.

Even the MTR stations looked very much like a larger, longer version of Bishan MRT.

Look familiar peeps? Tin Shui Wai MTR station.

Until we reached Yuen Long.

The Streets of Yuen Long.

Crowded as it seemed, we attributed it to the fact that it was a Saturday. The streets were full and the air was dusty (not helping my sinus then) but it finally felt like I was in Hong Kong.

Wing Wah was one of the places we managed to have a pit stop at. If it sounds familiar, it’s because it’s one of the companies that comes to Singapore to sell mooncakes and other Hong Kong snacks during the mid-autumn season.

If there was one thing about the neighbourhood/ market stores like I really loved about Hong Kong – their size. Not just the whole “space” concept but the way they place their goods – the perishables like bak gua (jerky) and bao (buns made with Hong Kong flour with filling) out in front with the dried snacks stacked like CNY hampers at the back. A very emporium-like fashion.

The entrance to Wing Wah at Yuen Long.
Wing Wah’s Interior.

You can’t really find a store like that in Singapore these days, especially with many of them becoming really clinical in their display.

The next stop was one of the markets in the Yuen Long area. Now, most people who have gone to Hong Kong and really travelled around and stuff would know that Yuen Long is known for its seafood markets.

One of the stalls in front of the Seafood Market we went to.

Very much like Singaporean markets on the outset but it stops there. I didn’t really go in because the dust on the outside was making my sinus misbehave so I didn’t want to go round sneezing on fish.

But the intel that I got was that apart from all these fresh produce and stuff, this market had oysters (huge ones, apparently) on display and tanks big enough for the live fish to actually swim in. So it’s isn’t very surprising why people would flock here just for the seafood.

Heck, if we had pots and pans I would’ve asked if we could get tiger prawns and stuff to grill them in our kitchenette. (Yes, we had one in our room)

Random picture of the kitchenette in our room.

Taking a detour from the fish market, we turned to the open market street where we found this:

KAI DAN ZAI OMGOSH ARGHH!!!!

Kai Dan Zai a.k.a. Eggettes as seen in Hong Kong dramas, variety shows and what not everywhere as the street snack of many Hong Kongers. This guy was also selling freshly squeezed Sugar Cane Juice that came out of the machine ice cold.

A really neat trick I learnt from this guy was the process of fanning/ cooling the Eggettes shortly after they come out of the grill – to prevent condensation, especially in the paper pack he put them in.

The trick did work though, the Eggettes came out soft and chewy in the centre, crispy on the outside.

Put Zai Ko a.k.a. Rice Pudding with Red Bean

That wasn’t it though, Grandma bought Put Zai Ko a.k.a. Rice Pudding!!! If there was one thing I really wanted to try in Hong Kong, it was this Rice Pudding cooked in a cup with red bean. I tried it first in Malacca and wanted to try the original in Hong Kong ever since.

Not as fantastic as the Eggettes (I think because of the excess dryness from the red bean), but we did attribute it to the fact that the Eggettes were given to us fresh from the grill. Sadly we didn’t get to find any other street stalls selling this Rice Pudding, would have really loved to try another one just to compare.

So that was pretty much the first day. The first two days in Hong Kong were mostly of walking through markets and the local areas to try everything and everything, but all this would have been exponentially more expensive if not for this beauty:

The Octopus card is the one in front. In case the letters get blurry.

The Hong Kong equivalent to the ez-link, the Octopus Card, was our ticket to the MTR and the Light Rail (our equivalent to the Feeder bus; only that it’s on trams).

And thus, I shall leave you with that. So stay tuned for the rest of the Hong Kong trip!

Sneak Peek: Fa Yuen (Garden) Street and Ladies Street next week!

 

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