We’re back! After 8 nights in Hong Kong it is so great to be home, we had a wonderful exhausting time and I am so thankful for having a weekend to recover, especially after our 2 hour flight delay last night where we sat on the plane waiting for clearance in order to take off!
One of our highlights (and equally low points) was the food, if your a foodie Hong Kong is definitely the place to visit, they have it all from street markets to Michelin Star dining, Dai Pai Dongs to American fast food joints; and yes we ate at them all!
The hotel we stayed at included 1 free breakfast, perfect if your solo traveling, however as a family of four having to pay for an extra 2 breakfasts (we just let Clio eat off our plates) at $15USD each we avoided it as much as possible. Luckily just around the corner was a small bakery which became our first port of call in the morning where we stocked up on walnut & blueberry bread, pineapple rolls and other yummy items and usually cost us no more than $5USD for all 4 of us, yeah! We would then walk to the nearest MTR station to eat our goodies, once we even found an exercise park got a perch and watched locals do Tai Chi!
Our first day was probably our best food day, we tried to beat it throughout the rest of the trip but sadly we didn’t succeed, although we had a lot of fun trying.
For lunch we ate the most delicious Dim Sum ever, it was Michelin Star good and even better was the price, possibly one of the cheapest Michelin Star meals you can buy; we ordered 9 dishes and were all stuffed! They were all good bar one (steamed bean curd skin roll filled with meat & vegetable) but our favorite was hands down the famed Tim Ho Wan Baked Bun with BBQ Pork. So how much did our amazing meal cost, including bottles of water it came to a total of 193 HKD ($25 USD). We liked this place so much we decided to try a different branch (in Hong Kong station) later in the week, again the food was delicious and cheap but the atmosphere just wasn’t the same as Tim Ho Wan in Shek Kip Mei.
That evening we devoured some traditional Chinese food at Temple Street Night Market, the girls knocked back some cold waters and tea while Matt & I enjoyed a cold beer and ate our schezwan chicken, seasonal vegetables and spring rolls. This moment was a highlight for me, it was the perfect end to a fun but busy and very hot day. I love that our girls are openminded enough when it comes to food to try new things, generally don’t complain about it and more often than not enjoy it.
One of our more expensive meals, but again extremely good, was at the Tai O Heritage Hotel. We hadn’t planned on eating here, but we didn’t think the kids would make the 20 minute walk back into Tai O village without food in their bellies. They don’t do kids meals or at least I didnt notice any, so we ordered the girls one serving of fish and chips, the fish was so fresh I almost wished I had ordered it for myself, that was until they brought out my Singapore style chicken curry, yum. Matt settled on the Nasi Goreng, he had no regrets!
Our more interesting food experiences came from the Dai Pai Dongs; a food stall built into a rickety hut crammed full of tables and stools. The first one we dined at was in Stanley and had it not been for the guide book telling me it was opposite the Stanley Municple building we probably would have missed it. Sei Yik is famous for its Hong Kong style french toast with kaya (coconut jam) spread. When we arrived in Stanley the rain started and everyone it seemed was seeking shelter. We hurried in Sei Yik and were completely overwhelmed with what to do, in the end the waitress (or even owner) found us a spot on a table sharing next to 2 other parties and we pulled up some stools. When it came to ordering we had no clue, we knew we wanted to try this HK style french toast, I mean who doesn’t like french toast, however we didn’t quite know how to go about it! In the end Matt just kept saying 2 of whatever the people next to us were ordering, we weren’t sure what we were going to end up with. Thankfully one piece of the french toast turned up and as it turns out 1 piece to share amongst the 4 of us was more than enough; deep fried (we think) and covered in loads of butter it is very rich. We left before any more arrived.
We are all undecided if we like the egg tarts that Tai Cheong Bakery is particularly well known for. Eden only likes the pastry, Matt was so/so but also commented that if they were offered to him he wouldn’t turn them down and while I ate mine I am not sure if I enjoyed it, it was, well, very eggy. Clio probably liked hers the best, even though it took her forever to actually eat it, she enjoyed touching it, looking at it, and anything else but as soon as we would get her to eat it she would get mad. In the end we took hers to our next stop, another Dai Pai Dang…
The next Dai Pai Dong experience went a lot smoother, we walked in, sat down and ordered from a menu with English translations. I had read about the city’s signature drink, yin yeung, and that it is said to be invented at Lan Fong Yuen, so that was what we ordered. Matt ordered his hot while I got mine cold. I didn’t try Matt’s but he tried mine and said he preferred it cold. So, what is yin yeung? here is a little poem I found by Leung Ping-kwan about it;
Coffee, Tea or Tea-Coffee?
Tea fragrant and strong, made from
five different blends, in cotton bags or legendary
stockings – tender, all-ecompassing, gathering –
brewed in hot water and poured into a teapot, its taste
varying subtly with the time in water steeped.
Can that fine art be maintained? Pour the tea
into a cup of coffee, will the aroma of one
interfere with, wash out the other? Or will the other
keep its flavor: roadside food stalls
streetwise and worldly from its daily stoves
mixed with a dash of daily gossips and good sense,
hard-working, a little sloppy…an indescribable taste.
I guess its a 70% tea/30% coffee mix. As a non coffee/tea drinker, I suggest visiting here earlier in the day. We did not and it took me forever to get to sleep that night, I blame my cup of yin yeung.
As for our least favorite meals, mine was without a doubt, McDonalds, which I am sad to say we ate at not once or twice but 3 times! This is kind of laughable since I despise McDonalds, I could easily go a year without eating it, and one thing I despise more than McDonalds is eating it on vacation. In our case it was kind of poor planning/research; the first two times were a case of not knowing where anything else was in the area and needing food ASAP. The third, well it was our last night in Hong Kong, we had minimal cash left so needed to go somewhere that would accept card as we didnt want to have to pull out a chunk of cash when we were leaving the next day. Matt ordered our food. They started serving us. Matt went to pay AND we were told they did not accept cards. When did McDonalds not accept cards! So Matt went on a mad hunt looking for an ATM, had success, and we all “enjoyed” our cold macca’s.
Matt’s least favorite meal, hands down was the pork cheek he ordered after he had originally ordered something off the menu with no price; in my mind that usually means it comes with a hefty price tag so he quickly changed it…to pork cheek?
Eden, however, loved it!
For us, traveling with littles often means we don’t stay out too late, we like to sort of keep a routine/normal bedtime as much as possible, although this holiday even that rule kind of went out the window with bedtime being as late as 9pm some nights. However if we had time on our side, Hong Kong is full of markets and street foods, I wished we could have discovered more than we did and if we ever return to HK I know we will for sure, or we will, at the very least, do more research so we dont eat at McDoanlds so much or ever!