Archive for the ‘Hong Kong’ Category

Hong Kong Skyline by night

Hong Kong Skyline by night

Hong Kong- a name that promises big city lights, good food, markets, bars, cafes… It is a very international place and due to its status within China as a special administrative region also different from mainland cities- Hong Kong remains firmly independent, with its own currency and immigration laws.

We spend 5 days in the city, wandering around the many suburbs, exploring markets, going on photo sessions around town and savoring excellent food all the while.

Hong Kong Street Scene

Hong Kong Street Scene / Double-Decker Tram

Our stay began on Hong Kong island, where we found a nice albeit expensive hostel (23 dollars for a 9 bed dorm!!!). It was a good base to check out downtown Hong Kong with its glitzy CBD full of designer shops, the birds-nest and ginseng streets (yes, full of shops specializing in the sale of birds-nest as an ingredient for famous Chinese birds-nest soup), Causeway Bay which turns into a sea of neon lights at night and further away suburbs which we reached by going for a ride in one of Hong Kong’s awesome double-Decker trams! They cost next to nothing an you have perfect views of the street life.

Hong Kong Local taking a nap

Hong Kong Local taking a nap

We came across our first proper red light district in a while again, went walking along the bay and through parks, admired the illuminated skyline at night and delved into the busy streets of Kowloon.

We had to move hostels after 3 days as ours was booked out and found ourselves in the notorious Chungking Mansions at the lower end of Nathan Road in Kowloon. Mansions may sound grand, the reality is quite different however. The mansions are a claustrophobic block of apartments and guesthouses, with cheap phone shops and curry eateries thrown into the two lower floors. It seems as if Hong Kongs entire Indian and African population lives at Chungking mansions. Our stay was definitely an experience in itself, especially when making our way down the dark and moldy staircase every day.

Located in lower Kowloon, it was however a perfect place to get a better idea of the whole area. We visited the goldfish street (full of pet shops, many of which sell fish in plastic bags filled with water that are hanging on display outside the shops). We also had a stroll along the many street markets and our fair share of street food nibbles.

Heavenly Chinese Roast Pork

Heavenly Chinese Roast Pork

Hong Kong is full of corner shops that sell snacks to take away, and they are mighty popular. The choice ranges from fish or squid-balls on sticks, sausages, pig intestines, so called stinky tofu (yes, it smells) and meatballs or corn on the cob. The picture becomes complete with a plethora of fruit drinks on offer as well as coconut or mango sago (a drink with sago pearls, they are little jelly like translucent balls).

Food proved to be an integral part of our stay anyways. We had our heart set on trying both the tasty and the weird, which saw us eating turtle jelly as well as Michelin star rated dim sums. The former is a very herbal flavored jelly that is supposedly good for your health but only bearable when pouring at least half a liter if honey over it, as it is insanely bitter. Nico finally tried chicken feet, after I had already had them in Thailand and Laos. We indulged in a Hong Kong style French Toast, a cardiac-arrest- affair of thick slices of toast deep fried with egg and butter and more butter poured over it in the end….

Turtle Jelly

Turtle Jelly

Chicken Feet

Chicken Feet

Eat 2 and you'll die: Hong Kong Style French Toast

Eat 2 and you’ll die: Hong Kong Style French Toast

Roast Duck

Roast Duck

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We tried various dumplings, steamed as well as fried and made our way to queue for dim sums that have indeed been awarded with a Michelin star- and yes, it was delicious. Soft pork buns, shrimp dumplings, fried green peppers, sticky rice wrapped in Banana leaves with a meat and mushroom filling, and chrysanthemum jelly for dessert. We’d definitely come back- and all of this at an affordable price. You’d spend more money on fast food back home. (there will be a separate article about the Michelin-star restaurant coming up soon)

Hong Kong at night

Hong Kong at night

We did enjoy our stay in Hong Kong. In a way, it is like many big Asian cities- lots of commerce, lots of business (and people seem to be in a symbiotic relationship with their smartphones and addicted to shopping), it is crowded and noisy and full of Laredo apartment blocks that all look like clones, but there is a mix of city and nature, with hills and beaches just outside the center. Definitely not a bad place to spend a few days and one that could be explored in more detail over a longer period of time!

Typical Hong Kong Street

Typical Hong Kong Street

Traditional Hong Kong....

Traditional Hong Kong….

.... vs. modern Hong Kong!

…. vs. modern Hong Kong!

Where else would you find a Flip Flop Vending Machine...

Where else would you find a Flip Flop Vending Machine…

 

 

...or an umbrella vending machine?!

…or an umbrella vending machine?!

 

 

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