Visiting Hong Kong for a Week in January
We arrived around 1am and got to our AirBnb near Jordan Station around 2:30am. (Be sure to use my AirBnb code for $35 off your first trip!) We were starving and decided to get our Hong Kong eating-fest on early by stopping at Tsui Wah, a chain here in Hong Kong that is a 24 hour restaurant serving all kinds of Hong Kong favorites. You can get scrambled eggs and toast or you can get fishball soup. From rice to noodles to bread, they have all the carbs!! After some soup, we went to sleep only to wake up in a few hours to eat more (you’ll notice a trend to this trip!)
The first morning, we headed across the street to the Australia Dairy Company where a long line out the door was waiting for us. We decided to wait, and I’m so glad we did because the line moves fast and we were only there maybe 5 minutes before we were at a table. We both had scrambled eggs and toast and Kurt got the macaroni and ham soup that is a common dish in these parts.
After eating our fill, we walked down towards Tsim Sha Tsui to check out the Chungking Mansion. Chungking Express was a movie we had bonded over when we first met so it was great to see it again in person. While we didn’t stay inside long, it was fun to walk through it.
We reached the tip of the peninsula and got on the Star Ferry towards Central. The Star Ferry is incredible fast, comes often, and is really cheap so what’s not to love! Plus, you get a great view of the harbor. Don’t bother running down the gangplank when the gate opens if you’re worried about getting a window seat, its hard to run out of them! Take it slow and you’ll still get a nice view :)
We wanted a little snack at the Lin Heung Tea House, but unfortunately the man who sat us down gave us an item without us asking for it saying it was a fish ball. We tried it and both of us had upset stomachs for the next two days. The other items were delicious and I’m so sad that my sweet dim sum betrayed me! The atmosphere was really fun though, and I’m willing to give it another chance and will be sure to say no to things I don’t want to eat.
After drinking a ton of tea to help our stomachs, we got on the Mid Level Escalators and walked west to Man Mo Temple. From there we window shopped and then checked out the booths in Upper Lascar Row Antique Street. The first twenty stalls or so all have the same junk (aka, not antiques!!) and don’t allow you to take photos, but the further east you go the more legit the stalls are (and thus, they allow photographs) I got a cheap bracelet and then requested another tea break.
We stopped at a nearby teahouse called teakha, and the staff were so, so lovely. I had a pot of jasmine while Kurt tried the coffee/tea mixture that I had had before in Singapore. It’s too sweet for me but he enjoyed it and we were able to sit outside and enjoy the spring-like weather until our tummies were ready for more food.
Kurt had a looong list of places he wanted to try and on the top of the list was a simple noodle place called Kau Kee. I’m really not a fan of dried noodles in Hong Kong but I took one for the team in this case. I had the dry noodles with oyster sauce and boiled bok choy and Kurt got some kind of beef noodle soup. It’s quite a famous place so there was a line out the door again, but it moved pretty quickly too so we were seated in no time.
We ended up walking over 26,000 steps that day and at this point we were feeling it. We stopped into a location of Happy Foot, a chain of spas here in Hong Kong. We got a 50 minute foot massage that was much needed and we felt like we were walking on clouds for the rest of the day!
The next morning I took advantage of the great bakeries in the area and got a pineapple bun for breakfast at Bakery King, then watched Kurt eat his precious Chashu Rice from a small vendor that is apparently growing famous in the foodie community but is still relatively unknown!
With full tummies, we sat in Mido Cafe for a while drinking coffee (lemon coffee, in Kurt’s case) then hit the markets in the area.
Our first stop was the Jade Market where I bought a (probably overpriced and potentially not even real jade) necklace that brings me a lot of happiness so I could care less haha! You can definitely haggle here and we brought the price down from $120 ($15USD) to $80 (about $10USD) and we really should have asked for even less. Then we walked up to the Fruit Wholesale Market and Goldfish Market.
For lunch we stopped at King’s Lodge which is a little pricey, but their Mapa Tofu was absolutely amazing and they have vegetarian dumplings! Don’t even get me started on their scallion pancake because omg. I was totally full but Kurt got an apple pie from Pie & Tart and I regretted not getting one after I had a bite :)
We checked out the Hong Kong Science Museum which had a really cool exhibit on a scroll detailing the Silk Road but the rest of the museum was mostly for kids. We walked around for the rest of the day without doing much and went to be early for a busy day ahead of us.
We originally planned to go to a vegetarian restaurant near our AirBnb, but when we got there the vibe was very strange. The owner wasn’t friendly and as far as I could tell, the menu wasn’t even vegetarian so we left. On the way there we had passed another place that looked much nicer (and even cheaper!) so we went in. I’m so glad we did!
Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant was filled with locals and had tons of options I had never dreamed of. They used meat substitutes for everything so I was able to have sweet and sour “pork” that even Kurt enjoyed! We loaded up on eggplant too and it was absolutely delicious. Everyone around us had brought their own to-go containers and I wish we had too because there was no way we could finish the large servings. I was so sad to leave the eggplant :’(
We took the ferry over to Central again and thought about going up to Victoria’s Peak. The line was too long and Kurt wasn’t interested enough (I had already been so I didn’t need to go again) so we decided to explore Hong Kong Park instead. It was the perfect weather and lots of activities, like the Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware, are totally free!
We took the tram over to the The Blue House and Paisano’s Pizza (close to New York style but still a little too thick) and moseyed around until we were too tired to keep walking. We went back to the AirBnb for a nap, then went out to Tsim Sha Tsui again for a very late dinner.
I tried Beyond Meat for the first time at The Butchers Club and then rolled my way to the Temple Street Night Market where we browsed all the souvenirs (a lot was junk but it was still fun to look) and went home empty handed.
We started the next day really early and grabbed coffee at The Coffee Academics where Kurt did some work and I read my book until lunch time. He really wanted to try proper Sichuan food and heard that Yu Sichuan Noodles was a good choice. I had a mushroom noodle soup (that I think was chicken broth…) and he had some spicy concoction that was not my style at all. I only had a small taste but it almost reminded me of star anise which I can’t stand. He enjoyed it though, and the women working there were really kind.
We didn’t have anything we really wanted to do so we sat in Victoria Park for a while just people watching and enjoying the weather. We slowly made our way back to Central and grabbed oolong tea ice cream at TenRen’s Tea and then headed back home.
We ended the night at Butler Cocktail Bar, a really lovely place on the 5th floor of a small building in Tsim Sha Tsui. The two bar tenders were really nice and I even found a new cocktail I like! I’m always a vodka + fruit juice kind of girl but I tried a Charlie Chaplin and was pleasantly surprised. They even make crazy custom drinks and will make you something new if you tell them what you like (they’ll surprise you!) It was a nice way to wind down and I slept hard that night.
The next morning we visited Western Market and the surrounding area.
Just next to the Western Market is a small street called Chop Alley/Man Wa Lane. This is lined with booths selling traditional seals/stamps. In Korea they use stamps like these all the time for official documents but I never had one. We decided to make two and I’m so happy with the result! We drew veeeery rough drafts of what we wanted, picked out our topper (they’re all different prices!) and the woman interpreted what we wanted. It actually took about 4 hours for them to make it so we stopped by BB Waffle for some egg waffle and ice cream and then explored the Sai Ying Pun area.
After picking up our stamps and paying about $60USD for them (we justified this by saying we’d keep them forever and this was really our only souvenir from the trip) we headed to Central to see the Blood Super Moon and then went home.
Continuing our series of lazy days, we woke up around 10am for the matinee at Broadway Cinematheque, an arthouse theatre in Mong Kok. We then took a long bus ride to Hong Kong Island to see the Duddell Street Gas Lamps and stop at Starbucks. Now, before you roll your eyes at us going to Starbucks, hear me out! This one is really unique because half of it looks like a traditional Starbucks you’d see anywhere on earth, but the back half is completely transformed into a traditional Hong Kong cafe (similar to Mido Cafe) including the menu! You can get pineapple buns, parfaits, and more just like you could at any small shop in Tsim Sha Tsui.
We didn’t get anything there but it was nice to check it out (and use their clean bathroom!)
We laid out in the sun at the Hong Kong Botanical Gardens and then headed to Times Square to meet up with an old friend for coffee.
The rest of the trip was just revisiting the places we enjoyed and taking the Star Ferry one last time :’)