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Hong Kong for the Holidays

Hong Kong for the Holidays
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“Kung fu lives in everything we do. It lives in how we put on a jacket and how we take off a jacket. It lives in how we treat people. Everything is kung fu.” – Jackie Chan

Before getting to Hong Kong, a little update on my travel status:

As some of you may already know, about 4 months ago I decided to pack up my things and move to a tiny little island called Guam located in the middle of the Pacific ocean.  Most people thought I was crazy- and that may be partially true –  when I told them where I was going.    But my time in Singapore had come to an end and I was looking for another adventure.  I am an explorer at heart and as such I don’t stay in one place too long.  ONWARD!

A sample of island life

An opportunity that I couldn’t pass up presented itself and so I flew back to Washington D.C., moved out of my comfortable little apartment on U street, and headed west.  Wayyyy west.

While Guam is very isolated,  it’s close enough to all the East Asian countries that I can still do some traveling out here.   Asia is such a huge continent and I haven’t quite quenched my thirst for all it has to offer.

For my first trip in Guam,  I decided to hop from one island to the next and made my way to Hong Kong with a friend.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong was something else.   Immediately getting off the plane I felt like I was in this super high tech city from the future.   The first thing that stood out to me was the remarkable transit system and the skyline that rivals any city in the world.  There is a reason they call it Asia’s New York City.

NYC-esque

We escaped to Hong Kong to enjoy some good food and get away from the island life for a little bit.  We were not disappointed.

Hong Kong is famous for its Dim Sum, its street food, a bustling finance district, a lively night life, and a badass marital arts culture – all of which we explored.

Bruce Lee.

In a way, the food scene is similar to Singapore except it’s predominantly Chinese food.   Now before you place judgement on Chinese food,  yes I’m talking to my American brethren, remember that China is huge and has a wide spectrum of cuisine and Hong Kong surely has its own unique spin.  Hong Kong’s food is not even close to your Happy Garden Chinese place down the street.

Standard street food.

And of course, Hong Kong is a “Special Administrative Region” of the People’s Republic of China.   So China, but not really China… wink wink 😉

DIM SUM or #dingdingsmile 🙂

You can’t go to Hong Kong and not try the Dim Sum.   It’s what they are famous for.  There are hundreds of Michelin Star restaurants at every corner and you cannot really go wrong with any of them.   Dim sum literally means small plates and it’s usually served in a steamed basket or dumpling variety.  Dim sum could be anything from steamed vegetables to sesame balls.

I happen to love dim sum and my favorites are the shrimp dumplings and the barbecue pork buns or Cha Siu Bao.   I should probably know all the Cantonese dim sum names by now because I’ve eaten so much Dim Sum, but I usually just order everything on the menu so that way I can cover it all.

The best part about Dim Sum is that it is a meal AND an experience, meaning that it is usually eaten with a group of family and friends.  You don’t eat dim sum alone.  It’s meant to be shared and even two people isn’t really enough because you want to order as many of the dishes as possible.

Street Food and Duck

One of the most popular street foods in Hong Kong are the Curry fish balls skewers.  These things are everywhere.   And you can get them in practically every flavor or substances, from chicken, squid, tofu, or even pork.  But by far the most popular is the fish with a spicy curry.  You top these things off with a dab of a sweet teriyaki glaze and hmmm.  Hits the spot.

Fish balls do not taste fishy, more like dough with a hint of seafood taste.

We ate street food all day everyday.  Another local favorite is the fried squid tentacles and the Hong Kong noodles.  You really can’t mess up grilled squid and noodles but the street vendors take it up a notch in terms of flavors.

 

Chowing down on the street food like the locals

Turkey Day

We ended up spending Thanksgiving in Hong Kong and turkeys were hard to come by.  Instead we gave the Chinese duck a try.  Duck is very flavorful but also very fatty and oily.   The Chinese do a great roast duck but you cannot eat that much of it as it’s very greasy, unlike turkey.

All-in-all the street food and dim sum were my favorites and will definitely opt for turkey over duck next Thanksgiving.  Duck is good but I think I just need turkey on T-day.

Roast duck. Very good but no substitute for a gobbler.
And of course the Suckling Pig…. crispy and oh so good.
See ya Hong Kong! We had fun.

Manila

Heading out of Hong Kong we had a long layover in Manila.  I had never been to the Philippines but my travel buddy, Jason, had family there so we decided to venture out for a few hours.

In true Thanksgiving fashion we were treated by his family to a feast of every kind of seafood Filipino food imaginable while sitting right along the Manila Bay waterfront.  It was all delicious.   I really had no idea what I was eating but it seemed like everything was covered: fish, meats, rice, noodles, vegetables, fried stuff…

Not your typical Thanksgiving meal but it definitely had the same feeling with all the people, the really good food, and me being extremely full and content at the end.

A feast!

I will definitely be back to the P.I. to get some more Filipino meals in.  This was just a perfect way to end an already awesome trip.

My Hong Kong experience taught me a lot.  From the culture to the food, the markets and the day-to-day lives of everyday people,  Hong Kong left a good impression and I am grateful to have experienced its yin and yang.

But I also learned if you get the chance to go to Hong Kong, be ready for a culinary treat.

Our great Manila hosts. Made me feel like family.

 

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