Hong Kong: an inspiring city

Cities have been a central part of the human civilizations; great cities are not just places where people live and work; they are where people interact, exchange ideas, and simply be inspired. Some are often mentioned in our age: New York, London, Barcelona, Tokyo, etc. We were in Hong Kong last week, and it is definitely an inspiring city.

Traveling means different things for different people; some like to see natural scenery, some like to go on shopping trips. For me, I want to visit cities to experience how people live. One way to do that is to have a cuisine tour; similar to what Anthony Bourdain did in his famous No Reservations show. Food is an essential part of our life, it tells a lot about who we are. The real good authentic food cannot be found in tourist spots or in restaurants; you have to go to where local people go. By doing that you emerge yourself in the city daily lives.

As fans of Anthony, we decided to track his route in Hong Kong and we are not disappointed. On the day we arrived, we went to Long Kee Noodle Shop Address: 100 something Hak Po Street, Mongkok. Notice that the address provided in various websites is wrong. People in that area do not speak English well, so we had a hard time to find the place; I recognized the place by spotting a big guy with tattoos. The food itself is just so so, nothing special; however walking around that area is interesting.

Our next stop was Tung Po Seafood Restaurant at 99 Java Road, North Point, Cookedfood Center. We had deep-fried mantis shrimp, black-ink squid balls with noodles, fish soups, and vegetables. fried shrimps are similar to what we have in Singapore but much fresher and lighter taste. Black-ink squid is interesting but fishy so some might not like it. Fish soups are very similar to the Vietnamese style: refreshing and simply delicious. The place is crowded, be prepare to wait 15′ to 20′. Price:100-150 HK per person.

We had so much fun at Lin Heung Teahouse at 60-164 Wellington Street, Central. No words can described the experiences there. It is sensational. The tea house is still run in the old traditional way. It super crowded; expect to wait up to 30 minutes for a seat, you actually have to find a table, standing next to it until a person leaves. We saw a lot tourists, but the place is still where locals hang out. Price is cheap; two of us had 6 plates of dim-sum and infinite flow of teas (there are two types: black and green) for only 75 HK dollars. We went to twice for lunch.

The next best restaurant is Four Seasons Clay Pot Restaurant. It was not easy to find the place. The restaurant is not on the Temple Street, Yaumatei; but it is actually on a parallel street near one end of the Temple street. Vietnamese will be happy to find their vegetable soups are very similar to ours. Besides the famous claypot rice, remember to try out Tung Choy (rau muong or kang kong); they have the best way to prepare Tung Choy I have seen in my life.

Drink: in Hong Kong I would recommend Blue Girl, fresh and light. The taste won’t go bitter after leaving open for a while. In Macau, you should try Macau Beer, it is just like Macau itself, an Asian city with European feel.

Don’t miss the horse racing in HK. We went to “Sha Tin”:http://www.sha-tin.com/ racecourse. The fun was not much about betting (even though we won twice) but more about the atmosphere. You can simply get a beer, lid up cigarettes, try your luck, and enjoy!

If you practice BJJ, you can drop by “HK Gracie Barra”:http://www.hongkongjujitsu.com/jujitsu.html , Herry Chan is a nice guy and a very good instructor. There are also other BJJ clubs around in HK.  Since I picked up BJJ, I try to visit clubs in other cities when traveling. A great way to get to know people.

Next time travelling, I will get an GPS navigation device, it can be frustrated sometimes as you lost the way around. HK is very dense city; a normal map does not show a lot of small streets and lanes. Not all streets and buildings are clearly labeled in English.

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