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    Tuesday, July 01, 2014

    Went on a trip to Hong Kong with Vanessa & Waihan from 8 - 12 May. Jasmine was supposed to come with us too, but she couldn't make it at the last minute :( And so, it happened that the remaining 3 of us are shorties shawties (LOLOL) hence our hashtag for the trip was #三个小矮人香港之旅.

    Took a midnight flight to HK! Ugh, Scoot has such bad flight timings, I guess that is why they are a budget airline. I didn't really sleep well, but I guess the excitement in me provided the energy for the entire day!

    8 May, Thursday
    We took a bus to our hotel (Nathan Hotel), left our luggage at the lobby since we were too early for check-in, and then left to start our first day of adventure! We wanted to start off the entire trip by having dim sum at Tim Ho Wan at the Fuk Wing Street outlet in Sham Shui Po, but we walked for quite a while but could not locate the shop despite having a map! So, we just settled for a random cha caan teng which food was just average ._.

    Standard cha caan teng fare -  macaroni soup, eggs, HK milk tea.

    And then after having breakfast, we walked in the correct direction and found Tim Ho Wan! We were too full anyway, so we just bought the charsiew buns for take out.

    Went shopping at Cheung Sha Wan fashion street, but it was still rather early and many shops were not open yet. I think if more shops were open, we would have bought more stuff!

    From Sham Shui Po, we took the MTR to Lai Chi Kok. We went to the wholesale shopping center, but did not buy much clothes as they only wanted to sell to wholesalers. Here, I learnt one of the most heartbreaking Cantonese phrases - mo leng sau 无零售, which means no retail.

    Then, we headed to Central, on a quest to find a new art space called PMQ.

    It was a steep uphill all the way, so thankfully they built an extremely long sheltered escalator/travellator walkway!

    It was raining and gloomy every single day during our trip there. After enduring 4 days of rain and heavy winds, my umbrella finally gave way. *sad sobs*

    When we reached PMQ, we realised that they were not fully open yet. Most of the shop/exhibit spaces were still empty and the entire place still smelled like construction.  I guess we're hipper than hipsters because the hipster place wasn't even fully open yet.

    The escalators were only one-way (upwards), so we walked all the way down on the steep slopes. I was rather afraid and kept holding onto the handrails!

    And then, we headed to Tai Cheong Bakery, which was also located in Central and we had to pass by it while walking down towards the MTR station.

    Tai Cheong Bakery is famous for their egg tarts!

    Van holding a mini pot of gold and buttery happiness.

    When we popped it into our mouths, we all stayed silent for a moment because IT. WAS. SO. DELICIOUS. We were all going, "WOWWWW this is so good!" They were the best egg tarts I've ever tasted in my life! The filling was silky and soft, ready to flow down your throat; while the crust was buttery and sweet (some may find it too sweet). Van commented that we weren't eating the egg tarts, we were actually inhaling them. We also bought the sugar puffs, but those tasted horrible. I can't understand how the bakery can sell pastries that are at 2 different ends of the tastiness spectrum, lol.

    Walking along one of the underground linkways in Central MTR which was lined with art exhibits.

    Next, we went to take the famous Peak Tram!

    Inside the peak tram, which went up steep slopes!

    I was staring intently at the ropeways, trying to understand how the peak tram worked, haha.

    Unfortunately, the weather condition was rather misty and foggy, so we did not get to see the beautiful HK skyline. We also had a hard time scampering from building to building due to the stronger winds and rain atop the hill.

    Lastly, we went to IFC Mall because it was rather new and I thought there would be things for us to shop.

    Turns out, it's actually more of a finance and commercial hub, and all the shops inside were luxury high end brands.

    The only food there we could afford was McDonald's, which we ate for dinner. I made them promise me that it would be our only meal of McDonald's, because if we ate more than a meal of fast food in the land of awesome food, 我会对不起自己。

    We were all so amused by the individual cubicle-styled seating in the McDonalds! I guess it's more for those working adults who have to rush through their meals alone. How lonely...

    9 May, Friday
    Woke up early to have dim sum for breakfast! We asked the hotel receptionist for any recommendations, and she told us about Cheers Restaurant that was right beside our hotel.

    We ordered 9 items, and got laughed at by the elderly folk that was seated at the adjacent table. I realised that the old people in HK order their own individual food (like their own plate of rice etc.) and have their own checks, but they sit together to eat, chat, and read newspapers. No wonder they thought that we over-ordered.

    But! We managed to eat everything except for the 流沙包 which we had it packed up and ate it while we were shopping ^^

    First, we headed to Diamond Hill to visit Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery.

    We agreed that Diamond Hill MTR station was one of the prettiest MTR stations we went to!

    At the entrance of Nan Lian Garden. Chi Lin Nunnery is linked to the gardens, and both are free of charge.

    The whole place was very well-kept, no litter was seen, and the shrubs and trees were all beautifully groomed. There was a very peaceful and calm mood.

    Here at the nunnery, the volunteer guard explained to us in much detail about the place and Buddhism, which was very insightful and interesting.

    One thing that I like noticing in temples is the pattern of the roof corners and door knockers. They are always intricately designed.

    Then, we headed to Plaza Hollywood, which was a shopping mall.

    I finally got to try the Godiva soft serve ice cream, which Fei always eats, lol. It was full of chocolatey goodness, which is totally different from those cheap disgusting diluted soft-serve ice cream! At around S$7 a pop, it's not cheap but I'd say that it is something that you must try! (When I was in HK, the Sg Godiva shops did not start selling them yet.)

    Next, we headed to the shopping heaven, Mongkok!

    As expected, Argyle Center and New Town Mall was were all the cheap shopping was located at. However, the quality of the clothes are not fantastic (probably because they are imported from China), but for it's cheap price, I think the clothes are quite worth it!

    Take a look at our haul, hahaha!

    Ate mango dessert at the famous Hui Lau Shan, and I must say that their standard has dropped considerably. Not only was it expensive, the quality and taste is unjustifiable for the high price.

    Then, we went to Tsim Sha Tsui, and visited the Avenue of Stars. Out of the many handprints on the ground, I only knew the more famous ones.

    We also waited for the Symphony Light Show to start at 8PM, which was sadly quite a disappointment. We had no idea what was going on the entire time, since the lights were not synchronised with the music, and everything was happening at the same time, so we did not know where to look.

    The HK skyline is definitely beautiful,

    but truthfully, we think they need to improve on their light show.

    Headed to a chain shop cha caan teng for dinner. 大家乐 has a sister rival shop, but this chain is the bigger and more popular one that can be found in many places.

    My favourite beef brisket noodle! When I first visited HK years ago when I was a kid, I ate this every single day (and almost for every meal). I was totally obsessed with it! The flavourful broth, Q noodles, and tender beef cubes. How much I have missed you! T_T

    Had to take a photo mimicing Junho & Jun. K's poses in the subway ad because we kept seeing it everywhere, haha! Gekting, this is for you! :*

    10 May, Saturday
    Started off the day with a good breakfast at the famous Nathan Congee & Noodle shop which was just at the street beside our hotel!

    The congee were all superb despite the fish slices still having some bones in them, but the pig liver was delicious! Totally unlike the weird-tasting ones in Sg, I guess there is really a difference between freshly slaughtered pork vs frozen innards. The you tiao was also fried well and did not stink of overnight oil.

    Took the MTR to Tung Chung station.

    Where we transferred to the cable car that would bring us to Ngong Ping!

    When buying the cable car tickets, we wanted to buy one way only because we thought of walking down the mountain. The lady told us it would take 4+ hours to walk down, LOL. But we still bought one way tickets because we planned to take a bus back.

    It is quite a long ride, but you get to see beautiful sea and mountain scenery!

    This is the route if you want to walk to the mountain. I am so glad that the lady discouraged us, LOL. People who we saw walking were all well-prepared and wore hiking gear, unlike us, hahaha!

    Finally reached Ngong Ping Village! ^^

    The 268 steps that we climbed to reach the giant Buddha that sat atop the mountain.

    It was super windy so our hair and ponchos were flying everywhere. I'm so glad we brought ponchos because umbrellas were totally useless with the horizontal raindrops, so we used both umbrellas and ponchos.

    Most people would eat at the vegetarian restaurant, which menu comes in a set and the price per person is fixed. As someone who loves vegetarian food, I can tell you that this is probably the worst vegetarian meal I have ever eaten in my life. And it was very expensive too T_T I cannot believe I paid for such disgusting food. Please don't ever opt to eat there if you visit Ngong Ping.

    As it was raining heavily, I felt that taking a bus down the winding mountain roads would not be safe (this is just my opinion, I have never taken the bus in Ngong Ping before so please dont misunderstand me!), so we decided to take the cable car back. We paid more for 2 one way tickets per person rather than a round trip ticket, but it was okay because one of it was free ;)

    Headed back to the crowded Mongkok area, where we walked around the entire area, covering the Ladies' Street as well.

    Goldfish street, where rows of shops sell goldfishes in plastic bags.

    Then, we went to Van's favourite place, the thrift store called Mee & Gee!

    Happy Van popping them tags

    WH and I were just chilling on random piles of clothes because we spent a few hours there waiting for Van to sift through racks and racks of clothes, haha.

    Banksy-esque graffiti that we chanced upon in one of the alleys.

    Roasted goose meat is one of the famous HK delicacies, so I read online that Chan Kee Roasted Goose is one of the most popular roasted goose restaurant.

    Sad to say, we all agreed that it was quite disappointing and did not meet our expectations at all. It tasted average, not outstanding or anything like that :/

    11 May, Sunday
    We woke up later than usual because it was quite a free and leisurely day that was less-packed than the previous days.

    Had breakfast at another popular cha caan teng called Kamwah Cafe, which is famous for its polo buns and pork chop buns.

    Unfortunately, there is no fried food till later, so we did not get to try the pork chop buns. But the polo bun was very crispy and fragrant! I ordered the wrong one to share because I forgot about the butter ._. but it still tasted good without the butter!

    On our way to Mongkok East MTR station, where the other branch of Tai Cheong Bakery is located at. Yes, the egg tarts are so good that we ate them everyday, and even bought some back to Singapore.

    We felt that we did not do enough shopping, so we shopped at Mongkok again, covered the entire building again, and bought more stuff!

    Since it was a Sunday, it was the rest day for many domestic workers in HK, similar to Sg. Probably because it was raining, all of them were gathered at the linkways in Mongkok, spread out their picnic mats and shared the food they prepared earlier.

    We bought local baked goods to bring back as souvenirs! I bought my family's favourite 老婆饼 from Hang Heung Cake Shop, which imo tastes better than the other famous Wing Wah Cake Shop. Only downside to HHCS's wife biscuit is that they are not individually packed and comes packed together in a box, so they have to be consumed quickly; as opposed to WWCS's wife bisuit that is individually sealed and can probably last for a longer time, and also look better as gifts.

    Van's friends were in HK as well, so she arranged for a dinner with them. Van had earlier found that Muji had a cafe in Causeway (Muji stores in Sg only sell the products, they don't come with a cafe), so we met her friends there.

    Depending on your choice, you get to choose 3 or 4 dishes from their display shelf. It is kind of like Sg's economical rice/菜饭.

    While the price was a bit expensive, the food was delicious and it was a cool experience! :)

    12 June, Monday
    Our flight was early at around 6AM, so we checked out at 4AM and took a taxi because it was raining, so it would be inconvenient if we took a bus. I cleared all my small change when I paid the taxi driver by giving him around HKD$80 worth of coins :P

    There were not much breakfast choices so early in the morning, and there was only McDonalds open. Even so, Van queued for 1 hour just to get her food.

    I really wanted to eat condensed milk buns before I left HK, so I waited for this shop to open.

    I am grateful for Sg's efficiency (which some people say is too fast-paced), but when you are hungry, sleepy, and rushing for a plane, you definitely do not want the staff members to be taking their own sweet time while preparing to open the store, to open the store 15 minutes later than indicated and when taking and serving your order.

    And so, we concluded our wonderful HK trip by eating Tai Cheong egg tarts on the plane. (you see, I told you they were so fantastic that we couldn't stop eating them.)

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