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Monday, April 21, 2014

Hong Kong 2014 Trip Highlights!



Yaaaaay hooray for a long-desired trip to Hong Kong! Hong Kong is already my second home, as this trip is probably my 20th time there. I still can't speak in Cantonese, but thankfully my English and Mandarin skills somehow help me to get around. And in rare cases, my Japanese speaking skills also get me to talk to salesladies who can only speak in Cantonese and Japanese. 

We have relatives who live here which is one of the reasons why we visit the place often, aside from the fact that Hong Kong is just a lovely place if you live like a local. We're already waaaaay past the tourist stage and we live beyond Tsim Sha Tsui's Ocean Terminal and Causeway Bay's malls, though we still like to visit the said places. 

Here are some of the highlights of this trip! Some of the other highlights are in other posts and my beauty hauls will be reserved for later posts, so here's the general post first! 


Sham Shui Po
Sham Shui Po is a place virtually unheard of by Pinoy tourists, and I don't really wonder why-- it's not posh, it's where the locals thrive (so you'd either have to speak Mandarin or Cantonese to survive, English won't get you very far), and it's got things that other districts have more tourist-ey versions of.

First stop is Sham Shui Po's golden computer center. The place is brimming with Xbox and PlayStation games, USB's, power banks, phone accessories and virtually every digital cable you could think of. The prices are relatively cheaper compared to Philippine prices given that the quality is better than the usual CDR-king fare. The main reason we went here though was so that papa could get his hands on an iPhone sim card puncher.

Look at his face of victory. 

And the place is also brimming with billboards and ads for the latest games... This Diablo ad is as big as a car in real life. 


The next stop is Yam Cha in the area. We went to this place called the Pointed Star restaurant. We've been visiting this place for quite a long time now, to the point that we can remember the staff members' faces... 


They have good roast duck, and amusingly this is probably where the special siomai of archi came from... The only difference is that the quail egg is on top of the siomai and not inside it. 


We also went for the usual street food. When is comes to Hong Kong street food I prefer to buy them at Sham Shui Po because virtually all the sellers use the same formula and yet they're able to sell the food waaaaay cheaper here. This stall in specific is right across the entrance of Golden Computer Center, near MTR exit D2.


As with every trip, it's not complete without my favorite egg waffles. Here in Sham Shui Po they're HK$12 for two, while in Mong kok they could go up as HK$15 for just one piece. They're not as dense as waffles, as they fill the molds halfway and just flip and flip and flip to get the batter spread out evenly. They're crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. 

And this is another place near exit D2 called Hung Fai Cake shop. Mama loves their egg tarts and pastries and really makes an effort to visit this store each time we visit Hong Kong. 


Afterwards, mama walked into this Indian-Indonesian-Pakistani goods store and we saw all these pretty jewels and accessories for really good prices. I got myself a jewelry set and some hair accessories for bridal hairstyles. 


Mong Kok

And of course what's a trip without visiting relatives? We met up with our cousins and aunts and dined at Mong Kok. The place is called The Dining Room, and I think it hasn't been a year in Mong Kok since they opened their outlet. 

Here are some of the stuff we had for dinner! I especially loved the Xiao Long Bao. 



Prince Edward
The next day, we paid a visit to more of the stuff in Prince Edward, as in previous trips we have not yet explored this area so much. Technically this is the border between Mong Kok and Prince Edward as you'll be exiting the Prince Edward station and yet the places' addresses are listed under Mong Kok territory.

I missed Mister Softee! I usually have this every trip, and given how hot it is in the Philippines right now I remembered it even more. 



And this is the goldfish market. It's in Tung Choi street, corner Bute street. This is a whole stretch of road with stores selling virtually every animal you could think of. The name may be goldfish market, but in this area you can buy chinchillas, arowanas, scorpions, turtles, snakes, boas, bunnies, guinea pigs, and virtually every animal you could think of. 

I took caution in taking photos as I've read in the internet that there have been tourists who have been screamed at by store owners for taking photos... which is why I only took photos from afar and from what could be seen from the storefront as they prohibit picture taking inside the stores. Aside from owners not wanting people crowding the area and blocking off real buyers, there are also quite a lot of exotic animals that they're probably afraid that they may get prosecuted if it's made known that they sell such animals without proper papers... 




In the area is their flower market. Basically this is their posh and fragrant version of Dangwa, but with quite a lot more pizzazz. They have stores concentrating on fountains, gardening tools and supplies, and the flowers themselves come in a really wide variety. They also have more tasteful bouquets and arrangements... 






The bird market is a minute away from the flower market, so we also paid a visit. The birds were really beautiful because we're so used to seeing brown birds... they had birds of every color and shape, and they also had stores specializing in wooden cages, treats for birds (such as worms and grasshoppers sold in bags) and other bird care accessories. 








And this is my brother taking photos of the pigeons. Although it's blatantly written that feeding the birds is not allowed, some elderly men were still giving them feeds, which is why we were able to capture the birds this way. They would go to the ground to eat the feeds then fly back up to the walls when they got scared or when someone approached them. 

I also paid a visit to a cat cafe in this trip! There's just too many photos though that I'll be reserving the cat photos for another post. 






Causeway Bay

First thing on the itinerary in Causeway Bay is a visit to Asahiya bookstore! It's one of the hidden gems in Sogo, and I think this gets skipped by Pinoys because of the distracting sales in the lower floors. They have everything in Japanese books and publications air flown from Japan, in virtually all disciplines. They have manga, magazines, comics, books, and you can actually sit down to just read the books for free. You just have to ask the store clerks to assist you. However, I personally did buy some books in this trip.





We also paid a visit to Hysan place, and to my surprise I saw an innisfree outlet! I went crazy with shopping and have another post reserved for my innisfree haul alone... 


Turns out last Wednesday was my Chinese birthday and we had forgotten. Thankfully, we went to this fine dining restaurant called Amarino's and had a giant family feast. 



Tsim Sha Tsui

This is before we left Hong Kong. Years back everybody had to endure long bus rides from the hotel to the airport, but thanks to the airport express line, we can check in our luggage at the Kowloon Station then go shopping at Elements later on! The train ride is less than 20 minutes to the airport and is totally predictable which is why it's made traveling less of a hassle. 

And we always shop at Elements before leaving the city!


My favorite place is 360, their grocery. They have all sorts of dumplings and frozen foods and imported snacks at relatively good prices, which is why there's always a lot of people when we go to this place.



They also have all sorts of organic and eco friendly house cleaners and toiletries that probably can't be found anywhere else. 


Airport

Since Cathay Pacific is extremely horrible with food service (hello burritos and dry buns), we already filled ourselves up with food at the airport. Though there are Ajisen Ramen outlets in Manila, they don't have the Hokkaido scallop ramen, which is why I always make sure to have this ramen before leaving Hong Kong. 



And that's it for the highlights! Stay tuned for the other haul posts coming up! 



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