Thursday, December 17, 2015

Visiting Hong Kong, Part 1

In October, I met up with David in Hong Kong for a week of eating and adventures.

I flew in with the remnants of a typhoon. Hong Kong was under a Level 3 wind/storm alert, but I had no idea when I landed. After 20+ hours of travel, all I wanted to do was get off that plane. David met me at the airport and I got my first experience with the awesome MTR rail system. Did you know that 4.6 million people use the MTR system every day? That's the population of Houston! (Thanks, Wikipedia!)  We were almost separated at the airport station (I was a little slow on the uptake when the train started beeping and the door started to close!), but the train doors are luckily fitted with force or location feedback and opened up again. :) Thank you, safety engineers! We switched trains in central and headed to our hotel in Times Square. After dumping off my bags, we met up with some friends at Joy Hing for some amazing roasted meat! Joy Hing is definitely a hole in the wall and was super refreshing after hours and hours of travel. I unfortunately didn't take photos of everything I ate... But, it was the perfect way to start off our foodcation. :)

We did round out the evening with this lovely bananas foster/creme brulee/espresso tastiness..

I have a temperamental appetite when it comes to breakfast. I have always lost interest within a week or less when faced with bagels, oatmeal, cereal, granola, etc. I'm sure it is because I was raised with noodles and congee for breakfast (read: savory + soup -- my favorite!). The congee, cruller, and hot soymilk are classic items in a Chinese breakfast.

Chinese Breakfast

We visited a chain of mango dessert shops many times (as mango is David's favorite fruit... despite his allergic reaction to the oils in the skin). Unfortunately, we were so focused on stuffing our faces at the mango shops that I didn't get any photos. However, we did stop in at a dessert shop in Times Square where I had a very lovely longan ice dessert and David had.... something that wasn't a longan ice. :) 
Longan Ice

So the malls in Hong Kong are ridiculous. They make the most high end malls in Houston look shabby. From what we learned from a friend who lives in Hong Kong, the shopping is there for the tourists who mostly consist of people from mainland China. Approximately one in three people are visitors -- that explains ALL of the suitcases on the trains and in the streets. Anyway, even though we couldn't afford anything in the malls, the food courts and restaurants inside were excellent. The meal below was a pretty tasty treat with some "dirty Chinese" comfort items: pan fried dumplings and hot and sour soup. 

Food Court Food

One of my favorite breakfasts was the Hong Kong style hot and sour noodles. It seemed to be flavored with pickled vegetables, a tasty meat stock, and topped with fish ball material wrapped in bean curd. Mmmmm!!!! Screw cereal -- give me this every morning! 

Hot and Sour Noodles

One of my new favorite dumplings are Shanghai style soup dumplings. The set below (plus chinese chive dumplings) was from a restaurant in a mall in Kowloon. Very delicious!


We also enjoyed some bowls of ramen in the IFC mall. These were very interesting because the miso had been smoked to a very dark color, almost charred. It was a different flavor profile, but still prefer a more classic shoyu or tonkotsu. :) 

Charred Ramen

Finally, one of the biggest draws for us was the opportunity to visit the cheapest Michelin star restaurants in the world. I had not heard of this international rating system until we were preparing for the trip, but embraced it whole heartedly when I found out that it was well within monetary reach for average people like us in Hong Kong. One stop was at Kam's Roast Goose in Wai Chan. I had been toying with the idea of purchasing a goose and roasting one for Christmas for about 4 years, but could not bring myself to shell out the cash for one. I'm glad I was able to sample it from a restaurant. It is not unlike duck in flavor if you ask me. It was certainly tasty, but would prefer duck, chicken, or pork over the goose. 

Roasted Beast

Roasted Goose

Our very favorite meal (which happened three times over the week) was the dim sum at Tim Ho Wan. It was hand's down the best dim sum I've ever had. David particularly enjoyed the baked char siu baos. One of the great parts about these three meals is that we stuffed our faces and walked out with a $17 bill. From what we understand, it is the cheapest Michelin star meal you can get in the world. 

Dim Sum

Though we ate quite a bit of food, we did not gain any weight or feel bloated at all. It is because of all of the walking that we did to get around the city. I'm sure that we walked at least five miles a day, if not ten on the longer ones. The next post will go into more detail of our adventures outside of going from meal to meal. :)