I kid you not, I was literally looking at flights back to Hong Kong about an hour after we landed at home. I will never get tired of this place because everything is just so convenient and overall comforting in the sense that it reminds me of childhood vacations.
First thing’s first, if you plan on traveling to Hong Kong any time soon, do download the app, OpenRice – it’s basically their equivalent of Yelp. You won’t see a whole lot on Yelp if you want to find the good, non-touristy spots in Hong Kong because they simply just don’t use it. I, too, will be linking some of the mentioned eateries to their OpenRice pages if I haven’t written a review for it on Yelp already. I will indicate where my review is available with an asterisk (*).
The next thing you should consider is getting an Octopus card (八達通). When I say that things are convenient in Hong Kong, things are extremely convenient in Hong Kong. The Octopus card is their primary form of payment as it’s practically accepted everywhere. It’s basically a prepaid card that you can tap to pay with for anything and everything from a ride on the MTR to a carton of Vitasoy. The tourist card is conveniently sold at 7-Eleven and Circle K stores everywhere in HK so be sure to get one and load it up before you start your adventure.
We landed at around 6:30PM and made our way out to our hotel in Causeway Bay (銅鑼灣). The Lanson Place was a very nice boutique hotel with friendly staff and it is super clean. Our hotel was conveniently located about a three-minutes walk from the MTR station and a few malls and there was an abundance of eateries scattered all around the area. After checking in and getting into a fresh change of clothes, we took the MTR out to Kennedy Town (堅尼地城). The MTR in Hong Kong is probably the cleanest form of public transportation I’ve ever been in, it is extremely efficient and always on time. BART can really use a few pointers from them. We settled for Szechuan food and had a late dinner at Twelve Flavors (十二味)* which was a great way to get our tastebuds running after our 14 hour flight. After that, we took the MTR back towards Causeway Bay for some dessert at Ming Kee (明記甜品). It was really just your standard HK desserts menu, nothing really popped out at me so my friend and I opted to share a grass jelly with fresh fruit. Fruits in HK are amazingly sweet and actually fresh. We ended the night semi-early (about 12:00AM) with a quick stop at 7-Eleven for some snacks and drinks before getting back to our room.
Not so much as jet lag but we only managed to get about four hours of sleep in having waking up at about 5:00AM and not being able to fall back asleep as we were super stoked to go out and roam. Of course, nothing opens this early especially in HK so we just laid in bed for a few more hours until our other friends woke up. We ventured out to Australia Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司)* located in Jordan (佐敦) to meet up our friends for breakfast at around 9:00AM. Contrary to all of the negative responses for the service dished out here, we actually had quite a pleasant experience. Click the link to read my brutally honest review. Now, as I’ve mentioned, nothing opens this early so after breakfast, we walked around the Kowloon (九龍) area and basically tried to kill time until shops started opening up. We stumbled upon Ming Wah Bakery (明華餅家), which happened to have been on one of our friends’ bucket list so we got a siu beng (燒餅) and it did not disappoint. Super chewy and delicious and it’s definitely one of my all-time favorites. After that, we parted ways with our friends as they had to catch a train to Guangzhou so we went back to Causeway Bay to walk around the malls a bit before taking the Ding Ding Trolley (叮叮車) to North Point (北角) for some late lunch. Chop Chop (食神叉燒)* was recommended by another friend though they did mention that it was overpriced for what it is. To me, it was worth every penny. The food was just so good! It’s your not-so-average average chop shop, I can’t think of any other way to put it. You have to try it yourself! The rest of the afternoon was basically free-for-all so we went out to Central (中環) and poked around the shops at the IFC Mall a bit before meeting up our friend (mentioned above) for dinner. We went out to Ap Lei Chau (鴨脷洲) for some fish noodle soup at 漁港艇仔粉*. Please excuse the lack of an English name because this place simply did not have one. Best fish noodle soup I’ve ever had and I’m not kidding when I say I’d go out of my way to go back here because there’s not a whole lot going on in Ap Lei Chau if I’m honest. We concluded the night with another stop at 7-Eleven for more snacks and drinks. 7-Eleven in HK honestly has some pretty amazing snacks, even their sandwiches are ten times better than the ones here in the U.S. and they have jumbo size Vitasoy!
This just wasn’t my day. It was one of the hotter days – also the calm before the storm – and my body was just not having it. Literally everything I ate came back up within ten minutes. I mean, I’m not missing those calories but it was just really inconvenient. We started the day with breakfast from McDonald’s at about 7:00AM (don’t judge, McDonald’s everywhere else in the world is better than the U.S.). The Mr. brought back a sausage and egg macaroni soup and milk tea for me while he ate a hash brown and had a coffee for himself. We were actually waiting on friends who were flying in this morning so we bummed around the room until they were ready to meet us up. They came by our room at about 8:30AM so the Mr. went down with them to pick up their Octopus cards and something light to munch on. Fortunately for me, they returned with curry fish balls and steamed rice crepes (豬腸粉), yum! We went out to meet another friend up around 10:30AM to grab some coffee at the Starbucks Reserve in Lee Gardens before heading over to Hysan Place to wait over an hour for some damn fluffy pancakes at Flipper’s*. Verdict: Not worth the wait, at all. After brunch, we shopped around a little bit in Hysan Place and SOGO before going out to Central for some delicious roast goose at Yung Kee (鏞記酒家). Now this, I kind of wish I didn’t throw back up because it was so good but I just couldn’t hold any food down today because of the weather. My entire chest area just basically felt like it was caving in the whole day and I felt like I was constantly getting motion sickness. We were brought up to the second floor and at first, our friend joked that we were probably getting seated in the “foreigners” section because why else would we be asked to go to the second floor when there were spaces available on the first floor? Joke was not a joke, as it appears, we were indeed seated with several other tables of foreigners. I didn’t mind as it was perfectly air conditioned and our table was conveniently near a restroom for my inconvenient needs. After lunch, we took the ferry out to Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀) with the intention of eating at Chuk Yuen Seafood Restaurant for dinner but my body got the best of me. I was feeling super nauseous at this point and our friends whom’ve just flown in were beginning to experience jet lag. Dinner was cancelled after waiting for about thirty minutes and we just went back to our hotel, where I found my appetite and lost the nausea under the very cooling temperature of the air conditioning in the room. The Mr. went back down to 7-Eleven to pick up some food for the night as we hadn’t had dinner and we basically just chilled and watched TV.
If you thought my Saturday was bad, wait until you read this. Typhoon Mangosteen (Mangkhut) interestingly named “山竹” (“mangosteen” in Chinese) came in over night and shut down most places in Hong Kong as it climbed to a Signal 10 (T10) typhoon. The Mr. went down to 7-Eleven early to pick up food for the day as everything is closed at T8 with the exception of a few large chains. We basically spent the whole day in the hotel as there was no place to go because it would just be stupid AF to go outside in that weather unless you really need something. The weather calmed down a bit around 6:00PM and some places opened back up so the Mr. went out to get dinner because we ate everything we had by noon. The closest restaurant really knew how to do business because they literally charged double the amount for everything that night and nobody could do anything about it. It really was either you eat or you don’t. Seeing that there was not much to do, we went to bed at 8:00PM and rested up for the next day.
The aftermath of the typhoon was fallen trees and broken glass everywhere. Cooler weather today than all the other days with the passing of Mangosteen. A light breeze consistently flowed through the air, making it a super comfortable day to roam around. We started our day in North Point, took the MTR out to Mong Kok, and then walked our way into Tsim Sha Tsui. It was basically a bucket list day so here we go:
Capital Cafe (華星冰室)
– Peanut Butter & Condensed Milk Toast
– Hot Ovaltine
A light breakfast at a classic “cha chaan teng” (茶餐廳) – HK style cafe – to start our very early day. I don’t even like peanut butter but this was great!
Chop Chop (AGAIN!)
– Four Treasures Rice
It was so good that we came back for round two. The “Four Treasures” are half a salted egg, red sausage, and “chef’s choice” of two roasts at the chop station. Really yummy and comforting.
Queen Sophie (酥妃皇后)
– Egg tart
Was informed that this place usually has a really long line but fortunately for us, there was only one person waiting when we passed by so we dropped in to grab an egg tart. A flaky pastry crust is my personal preference as opposed to a classic tart crust and this spot really nailed it.
Kam Wah Cafe (金華冰廳)
– Pineapple Bun
– Pineapple Bun with Butter
– Pork Chop Sandwich
– Fried Chicken Wings
– Egg Tart
– Grass Jelly with Coconut Milk
No, I did not eat everything by myself. There were four of us so we each got one single bite of everything. I opted out of the pineapple bun with butter and pork chop sandwich because they’re just too heavy for my liking. My drink was delicious though! I definitely like the crust at Queen Sophie across the street better but the custard in Kam Wah’s egg tarts is more satisfying.
Ladies’ Market / Tung Choi Street (女人街/通菜街)
A must-see if you’re in Mong Kok (旺角). It may all be knock-off luxury brands and useless knick-knacks but the experience of walking through these couple of blocks of compact stalls is definitely worth your time. Learn to haggle for cheap t-shirts and souvenirs here. Take it as immersing yourself into the culture without having to visit the wet market.
Yee Shun Dairy Company (港澳義順牛奶公司)
– Cold Steamed Milk
– Cold Steamed Milk with Red Beans
– Almond Flavored Fresh Milk
The cold steamed milks were super custardy yet light at the same time. I much prefer the plain one over the one with red beans. The almond fresh milk was delicious too! The almond flavor was not too overpowering and really brings out the freshness of the milk.
Food stall at the corner across from iSQUARE
– Curry Fish Balls
– Fried Squid
Nothing special. Curry fish balls aren’t what they used to be in HK. This stall was purely spicy but it got the job done I guess.
Decent sized mall though practically nothing compared to IFC and Harbour City. We popped into Log-On, where I picked up a cute little anello backpack, very happy!
Chuk Yuen Seafood Restaurant (竹園海鮮飯店)*
– Steamed Shrimp with Soy
– Salt and Pepper Mantis Shrimp
– Princess Clam
– Fried Spare Ribs and Lotus Root
We actually came back here to try to have dinner again since we missed it the first time. My review says it all. Several of the items we wanted were not available due to the typhoon from the previous day. At least they had mantis shrimp!
We had breakfast at Jade Garden (翠園) before heading out to Central to start the day. The dim sum here was decent and the restaurant was pretty nice. It was our last full day here so what better way to handle it than to do some touristy stuff? Our first stop was Victoria’s Peak so we took the tram to the top from Central. We fail at being tourists obviously as we didn’t know you had to pay a separate admission fee for the sky terrace after paying the already stupid pricey tram fee to go to the top. We opted out of paying the sky terrace fee because, there’s plenty of photos of the same exact view online anyway (hah!). We did, however, visit several of the lower points to snap some pictures with trees in the way but that’s okay – it was a great way to get some fresh air. Afterward, we took the tram back down and then headed over to the Court of Final Appeal (終審法院) because the “Goddess of Justice” has been featured in most court/lawyers-related TVB shows that I’ve watched while growing up so I had to go and see it in person. Let’s just say that TVB has successfully fooled me for the past 20-something years because this entire time, I’ve been expecting to see a gigantic statue on the ground or something so you can imagine my surprise when the Mr. pointed out this tiny little figure sitting on top of the building. Either way, I was still happy that I finally got to see it in person. We were pretty tired and hungry at this point so we decided to take the regular ferry out to Cheung Chau (長洲) to check it out and have lunch there. The ride was what felt like an hour (we noted to take the fast ferry when returning). Cheung Chau is quite the experience as it is almost completely opposite from Hong Kong in terms of lifestyle. Everything and everyone was just so chill here – almost tranquil – nobody was in a rush to go anywhere or do anything – much more quiet than the bustling you find in HK. We walked through the alleys for about half an hour before we settled back down at the Sea Dragon King “dai pai dong” (海龍王海鮮大排檔) out by the water. Dai pai dong dining is something you should definitely experience while in the Hong Kong area. It’s basically messy outdoor dining and the food is pretty much as fresh as it gets, just be sure to carry wet wipes. After our adventurous lunch, we took the fast ferry back to IFC to walk off our food babies at City Super (nicer and pricier version of Whole Foods with more impressive items). Before we knew it, it was nearing dinner time so we took the ferry, again, out to Harbour City to check it out before walking over to Cloudland Chinese Cuisine (雲來軒)*. Best. Meal. Ever. I’m so glad we came here for our “last meal” because it was so worth it. In my review, you will find that I mentioned the chef’s mastered skills at elevating your simple, everyday ingredients. Things may sound basic on the menu but your tastebuds will thank you (and me) once you try it out for yourself. Make sure you make a reservation, no walk-ins! After bidding farewell to our friends, we made a quick stop at Europa Tea Foundry (木街二) for our one and only boba-type drink (only because the line was stupid long at Tiger Sugar next door). While I can respect an establishment’s persistence in having patrons taste their items the way that they’d like them to taste them, I found it extremely odd that they pretty much denied all requests to adjust the drinks (everything from level of sugar to level of ice and even being denied boba!). Not too sure how that works out for people in HK but it sure didn’t fly with our friends. I ordered their “limited edition” lemon-lime tea. It was basically just a lemon tea, as basic as it gets.
It was our last morning here (oh no!) and we met up with a friend who joined us for breakfast after we checked out from the hotel. We dropped into Man Wah Cafe (文華冰廳) for a ham and egg sandwich for myself and a macaroni soup for the Mr. The service was relatively slow, which the waiter did advise us of as we sat down – not sure if it’s because someone called out sick or not but that’s okay. Food took a while to come out with one of the items being forgotten likely due to the shared-table system. Overall, the food was pretty good. We went out to Central with our friend to check-in our luggage at the Airport Express counter (this is super convenient if you have time to kill but don’t want to lug around all your bags, your bags will go straight to cargo from here and land when you do!). We walked around the mall a bit and grabbed a coffee before boarding the train to HKG.
This isn’t so much as a “travel guide” but more like my day-to-day recording throughout my trip. I didn’t mention every single thing we did because that would just be an extremely long read. I hope this helps with your travel planning at the least. Hong Kong will always have a dear place in my heart as it holds a lot of memories and has some of the best food in the world in my opinion. Everything is really convenient and the busy lifestyle is right up my alley. I probably wouldn’t ever relocate purely because of the weather but I’d definitely visit again and again. *Starts looking at flights.*
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