When I travel, I act like I've never traveled before. I know this sounds funny, but every other day whether I'm working or hanging with friends, I plan plan plan...organize, try to be on top of things, and sometimes wear the 'know it all, everything is under control' hat, haha. Then you hand me a suitcase and a plane ticket, throw a map of whichever city, I have this blank face and seriously start breaking sweats...especially if I'm traveling alone.
Hong Kong was one of those cities.
I purposely scheduled a 24 hour layover in HK from Seoul to Chicago, so that I can drop by and say a quick hello. Good friends Tom & Jen who have lived there for a year, and know that city like no other, gave me a thorough tutuorial and literally marked a map with all the food spots that I needed to check out. When Tom handed me his old 'Time Out Hong Kong' book, I was like oh no, I'll be fine without it. Uh, if I left that book in Seoul, I don't know where the heck I would have ended up. Not only did they draw a detailed food map, but also hooked me up with their good friend/blogger Charmaine Mok for an evening out! So during the day while I was looking really good as a lost traveler around town, and eating like it's no one's business (literally every hour), Charmaine was too gracious to pick me up from my hotel in the evening, take me on the tram, and make our way to get claypot in Sheung Wan! I so didn't know what I was getting myself into...
The markets on Gage and Graham Streets.
The famous 'Mak's noodles' on Wing Kut street, yum! The guy on the right poked out to be in my photo. I think he knew I wasn't from his hood, haha.
Love these cute trams!!!
Ok, if you are not an egg tart fan for whatever reason, you will be an instant convert if you have try one in HK! The one from Tai Cheong bakery (in Central on Lindhurst Terrace) that friends swear by, was insane. I wish I could just smuggle these in to the states!
Streets of Hong Kong near Hollywood Rd.
Cute halmoni (grandmother in Korean) passing out papers near metro. I was a bit sad seeing this.
Claypot at this amazing spot near Sheung Wan-'Kwan Gei' (263 Queen's Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong).
I thought it was so funny that everyone washes their dishes at the table before eating!
Not a huge shellfish fan, but these clams were ridiculous!
The spread before the damage...claypots remind me of Korean dolsut bibimbop (stone pot bibimbop where the rice gets crispy on the bottom). Except HK style-each claypot comes with one particular meat or veggie over rice.
First time trying this fried shrimp+fried garlic dish. If I was alone at the table and you handed me a bowl of rice, this would have been gone in 5 minutes flat. But of course I had to share with others that night, haha.
10 of us at this table. Looked small at first, but amazed how we all fit comfortably! Asian style, haha.
Trying to do the 'Korean pose'-with Nicole, Charmaine and Cherry! Loved meeting these girls because eating good food seems to be their number one priority! Food lovers attract other food lovers.
Traditional Cantonese desserts at Yuen Kee (32 Centre St, G/F Hong Kong). I have to admit I wasn't a huge fan, but it was an interesting experience.
Had to end my trip with Tsui-wah's haianese chicken rice at the airport. It was too good!
A few notes for those visiting for the first time:
-Travel with lots of change, as this is necessary for metro and tram rides.
-Carry a good map with you.
-Do your homework!!! There are tons of great HK based bloggers, they seem to know their way around better than travel guides.
-If you're sensitive with pollution, I highly recommend you bring one of those face masks that covers your mouth. Even though Seoul doesn't have the best air, I caught myself coughing a lot while I was in HK.
-You can definitely bargain while shopping! When I was antiquing, my 'Korean ajumma' side started to shine and folks looked at me like 'where are you from?'
-Don't eat before you get there (as my friend Jen has suggested I do), as the food is awesome and cheap! If you're like me, you'll be eating every 30 minutes to an hour!
This trip was way too short. Actually, it was such a tease! Didn't have time to do the ferry ride, visit temples or museums, missed out on the shopping and the markets...but will have to go back for a proper visit! Thank you Tom & Jen, Charmaine Mok, Nicole Monks, and Cherry Smart for showing this lost Seoulite around town, and sharing your love of food! (click on their names to check out their amazing blogs/tweets!). Meeting great folks on this trip has made all the difference~
Until next time...