Sometimes you get to go to Hong Kong..


Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong for four days. I went all by myself, and was able to make so many great discoveries.

I stayed on the Kowloon side, in the Tsim Sha Tsui area. I did an absolute ton of walking and exploring and really tried to find the most authentic food experiences possible. You know the kind of places tucked away in random alleys, with a clientele of only locals and a menu written fully in Chinese (no pictures). The kind of restaurants where I personally watched the disposable parka clad tourists flee moments after they blundered through the door. I would of course always be seated in the most remote alcove of the dining area, so to not disturb the regulars with my caveman hand gestures as I tried to order. The first dim sum restaurant I found in this category taught me a valuable lesson. Onceย I was seated, I was immediately tossed a large tea pot, tea cup, a separate pitcher of hot water, a large bowl, a small soup bowl, spoon, and chop sticks. Every single one of the dishes were filthy. After a few moments contemplating scratching the crust off with my fingernails, I noticed a distant table just being seated. They took the large bowl and began washing each of their utensils with the hot water from the pitcher. I was so happy I didn’t go with plan-A. Going to Hong Kong was full of some many cultural differences and small lessons like this. It was really energizing as well as eye-opening to have to relearn so many of the small things about daily life that I typically never even have to think about and can just do automatically.

This time of year the weather was just cool enough for a light jacket but due to its geographical location, there was fog everywhere and it really limited the visibility a lot. Although, in person it was a very cool effect, it did a number on my photos. This trip was a really great learning experience for myself considering I traveled alone. I’ve never been immersedย into so many small, yet visceral adventures in such a short time. I will outline a few of my experiences through the photos below. ๐Ÿ™‚ I took a lot of pictures so I’ll split them up into 3 very unorganized categories: Kowloon, Central, and Food.

KOWLOON

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The view from my rented room
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Central Plaza in the distance, 78 floors

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The Hong Kong Cultural Center

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Outside the Hong Kong Cultural Center
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Tsim Tsa Tsui Clock Tower
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“The Flying Frenchman”

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View of Hong Kong Central across Victoria Harbor

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2 International Finance Center, 2nd tallest building in Hong Kong, and at 90 floors it dominates the foggy skyline of Central Hong Kong

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A very popular food stand along the water front selling fried squid
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A common sight were the cranes and ongoing construction
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Signal Hill Garden, but it was more like climbing a mountain to get to the top
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Such a pleasant escape from all the cities hustle and bustle. I was the only person I saw in Signal Hill Garden.

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The view across the harbor from Signal Hill Gardem

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CENTRAL HONG KONG

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Bank of China Tower, 72 Floors. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of it at night, as it is on of the most recognizable sights of Hong Kong after dark
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Two International Finance Center hiding in the clouds

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Cheung Kong Center

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Another secluded park situated right in the middle of the busy downtown area
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St. John’s Cathedral

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Outside the Peak Tram train station

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The typical line in Honk Kong ๐Ÿ™‚

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Even with a visibility of zero from the peak, it was really a cool experience. Hopefully I can go back on a clear day ๐Ÿ™‚

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THE FOOD

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This was how I spotted my first meal in Hong Kong. Actually, I followed my nose to this boiling pot of beef
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Another beef pot in a window. A sure sign of good noodles. Every part of the cow is represented here
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I ate at this dim sum restaurant on Minden road three times
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Giant snail anyone?

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Literally the best Shuimai I have ever had. For those of you unfamiliar, this is a classic shrimp dumpling. They can consist of many different fillings like pork, vegetables, and squid.
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Xiaolongbao, or soup dumplings are served steaming hot. They are made in such a way that there is a liquid “soup” inside…ready to burn your tongue?
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Steamed pork bun, Cha sui bao. These come baked or steamed. Don’t forget to take the paper off of the bottom before you bite ๐Ÿ™‚

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Shrimp and ginger dumplings called, Har gow.
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It is the small differences that really made the food stand out. These turnip cakes had small pieces of smoked ham called Jinhua inside, and were served with a fermented bean sauce that I have never had before
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Sometimes not knowing a language is a good thing. I meant to order something completely different, but received these delicious baked red bean buns. No complaints ๐Ÿ™‚
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A cell phone picture of BBQ pork and marinated cucumbers. My hand gestures while ordering didn’t fail me this time.
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A menu with pictures!
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Remember to wash your dishes in the big bowl before you eat, haha.
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Late night shrimp dumpling noodles with hoisin and hot chicken broth on the side. Like many of the hole in the wall restaurants there were signs posted saying ‘no pictures’, oops.
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My last meal in Hong Kong, and very traditional. Pho.
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Being a British colony in the past, there are many traditional pubs around Hong Kong catering to the discerning tastes of its patrons. This may have been the best Ale I’ve ever discovered.

What and incredible trip! I learned so much about the areas I visited, that I can’t wait to bring friends with me next time to show them around to all the places I found! Even after all my issues with immigration, and visas, and airport drama I really enjoyed my time there (someone told me I could write a small book about that ‘airport adventure’. If you have a chance to visit Hong Kong, I highly recommend you do just that. Considering 50% of the worlds fortune 500 live in Hong Kong, ย it is a city that has anything money can buy. It isn’t just limited to the rich as I discovered, by avoiding the typical tourist locations (peak excluded) I was able to really experience Hong Kong culture and food in all of its raw energy.

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And just like that I’m back to the Philippines. And no fog in sight ๐Ÿ™‚

9 thoughts on “Sometimes you get to go to Hong Kong..”

  1. I loved reading about your adventure, Jonathan, and would love to hear more. It makes my heart happy to know you are fulfilling some of your life’s dreams. I knew travel would be something you would enjoy, when, as a young boy, you cried wanting to travel with me when I made my life changing trip to Russia – how I wish that would have been possible. But hey, sometimes you get to go to Russia and sometimes you get to go to Hong Kong. How wonderful is that?!! Love you – Mom

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  2. Looks like you had a good time, so awesome that you went! In one of the pictures you posted (the one in the tram), you can see someone taking a photo of you with their front facing camera.

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