hong kong siu mei

Siu mei shops can be found all over Hong Kong. These places specialize in Cantonese-style roasted meat – they have everything from plain steamed chicken to roasted goose. They also serve up a gamut of pork dishes – I’ve even seen an entire pig being displayed at one of these restaurants.

roasted meat hong kong

It was a rainy night when we stumbled upon one of the best siew mei (roasted meat) places in Hong Kong. We weren’t really hungry, we just wanted a place to sit down.

eating pigeon

We had spent the best part of the night browsing at Temple Street and I noticed this hole-in-the-wall place which is dirty, slightly dodgy, very loud, and thronged by locals.

lap mei

It serves waxed meat (lap mei) as well! I’m quite fond of the stuff so I decided to check it out.

hong kong local siu mei

The interior had a couple of tables and chairs thrown together and it’s full of old men. There’s definitely no English menu – it’s a place catering to locals. Perfect, that’s just the way I like it. :)

eating pigeon hong kong

Anyway, we ate about five meals a day while on vacation in Hong Kong so we decided to order a braised pigeon to share. The pigeon is served whole so you can see the small head and beak perpetually frozen in a mid-squawk of dismay. ;) It doesn’t have a lot of meat on it, but it’s very tasty. The meat is slightly tough but the flavor is excellent. I absolutely loved it.

braised pigeon

The lap cheong (waxed Cantonese sausages) in Hong Kong is pretty good too. The flavor is almost neutral. I know, that doesn’t sound very appetizing but it’s great! It’s not as salty as the usual lap cheong we get over here – this one is slightly sweet and has a good ratio of pork fat and meat.

hong kong siu yoke

I had worked up an appetite eating the pigeon so I ordered a plate of siu yoke as well. Besides, it was still raining outside and I got the distinct impression that you’re supposed to leave when you’re finished with your meal coz there were people waiting and the tables are shared. Heh.

siu yoke hong kong

Now, Hong Kong siu mei shops takes great pride in their product and although I was pretty full by then, I couldn’t resist eating it all. The siu yoke tends to lean towards the fatty side (smirk) and has a crispy layer of skin on top. You get the whole experience of crispy skin, fat and meat and it’s very tender and juicy – positively orgasmic when you eat it with the mustard it’s served with.

siu yoke takeaway

Hell, it was so good I ordered a portion to take away and eat in the hotel for supper.

temple street siu mei

I also noticed that they serve steamed fish with rice, which a lot of people ordered. It’s an unassuming shop specializing in roasted meat, waxed meat and the odd fish somewhere near the fringes of Temple Street. It’s one of the best discoveries we made in Hong Kong, totally loved the pigeon and siu yoke. I wish I had tried the fish though, it looked very promising.

eating siu mei

However, it wasn’t very cheap – the dinner and takeaway cost HKD 340 (about RM 142) for the two of us. You can’t say much about the presentation but it’s the best siu mei we had in Hong Kong and it was worth every single red cent. :)

Lan Kwai Fong – The Movie

lan kwai fong

We went to Lan Kwai Fong the very first night we arrived in HK. It was a Saturday and the place was packed – there were people cavorting on the streets, literally spilling out of the bars. What impressed me the most is despite the close quarters and loads of alcohol, I didn’t see any fights break out.

Dispel the gu wak jai (triad) movies you watched as a kid, man. Hong Kong is totally cosmopolitan now. smirk

telford plaza

Anyway, fast forward to a couple of days later. We woke up with no plans and it was decided that we’ll take the MTR and pick a random station and see what’s there. I reckon it’s a good way to explore HK so that’s exactly what we did. We ended up in the MTR that exits from Telford Plaza and into this futuristic looking cinema.

cinema hong hong

The cinema is built like an edged structure with different colors somehow transported in from the future. It was then then I declared I’m going to watch a movie…in Hong Kong. Hey, it’s one of the things you’ve gotta do when you’re there.

lan kwai fong movie

Watch a Hong Kong movie in Hong Kong. Tickets should be around HKD 50 (RM 20) per person. Expect HK schoolgirls in uniform sitting behind you.

hong kong cinema

We picked a local production called Lan Kwai Fong (although the Cantonese characters apparently says something else). I half expected to be bored coz I was never a huge fan of Hong Kong movies and the ex warned me that it has a very cliched storyline. Hell, if I didn’t know better I would have though she didn’t want to watch it. Heh.

hong kong movie

However Lan Kwai Fong (the movie) surprised me. The plot is very meh but the character development is something I can relate to. I see myself in one of them and my friends in most of the main and supporting cast. Definitely a must watch if you’re ever in HK.

mcl telford

Oh, you might want to visit Lan Kwai Fong first – I found that it increased my enjoyment of the movie tremendously, having been to the places in the movie. :)

che jai meen noodles

Che Jai Meen is one of the great hawker delights of Hong Kong. It’s literally translated as “small cart noodles” but commonly called peddler noodles.

small cart noodles

These wonderful push carts carries a mind boggling array everything from pork, eggs, veggies, beef, offal and of course, the all important fishball.

che jai meen

You choose the ingredients you want and it’s served up in a huge bowl with noodles and hearty beef-flavored broth.

che jai meen hong kong

This is one of the local delights that you just have to try out. I first saw it in a Stephen Chow movie. Heh. The shop that we went to has very limited seating but that’s part of the deal – it adds to the ambiance.

che jai meen hk

This is Jeanie’s bowl – it has a fish slices, meatballs, sausages, stomach and some vegetables. Each ingredient you choose adds to the total price of the dish.

che jai meen bowl

My very own che jai meen is much more opulent. I think I ticked half of the options that were available and would have gone for more if the cook had not stopped me and said it won’t fit into the bowl. You can barely see the noodles as it is. smirk

peddler noodles

It makes for a very hearty breakfast – the piping hot broth is flavored with a stock that tastes as if it’s been boiling for a long time. However, the beef balls is hands down the highlight of the che jai meen. The huge beef balls practically squirts its juices when you bite into it and it’s springy and chewy. Superb!

meen

Hong Kong does beef balls really well – it seems to be a cultural thing and a pride of the nation…but don’t quote me on that as I gleaned the information from Stephen Chow’s God of Cookery film. ;) However, it is one of the most delicious bowls of noodles I’ve ever tasted in my life – it ranks up there with the best!

che jai meen us

Don’t forget to order the beef balls when you’re eating from a humble che jai meen stall in Hong Kong – it’s delicious and probably one of the best you’ll taste in the world.

toothpick

…and if you’re up to it, you can do like the locals do and stick a toothpick in your mouth after the delicious che jai meen meal to clear any pesky debris sticking to your molars. I’ve never seen Jeanie use it before but she seems to have gone native during our trip there. smirk

Tim Hou Wan

Tim Ho Wan is reportedly the best dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and even the concierge at our hotel recommended the place when we asked where we can eat dim sum.

Tim Hou Wan queue

I was already dead set on eating here before I even got to HK. I finally convinced the ex to head down to Mongkok to check out Tim Hou Wan Dim Sum on our very last day there.

Tim Hou Wan kowloon

You see, the problem was that the concierge told us that it’s the best dim sum in Hong Kong but you might have to wait up to 3 hours. I have heard about the legendary waiting time but also about the equally impressive food so I really wanted to go.

Tim Hou Wan order

Tim Ho Wan has a lot of branches now but the original is in Mongkok. It is run by an ex Lung King Heen (a prestigious 3 Michelin star restaurant in Four Seasons Hotel) chef and the reason why it’s so popular with the locals is coz it’s cheap and delicious.

Tim Hou Wan HK

We waited for over an hour before we managed to get in – the menu is very limited and you choose what you want before you enter the restaurant. There’s a perpetual long queue in front of the dim sum shop. I think Tim Hou Wan has had some altercations with its neighbors coz everyone was told to keep within the confines and not stand in front of the shops beside it.

Tim Hou Wan dim sum

Anyway, we were finally seated in the extremely small and cramped dim sum restaurant. I love the ambiance though – it’s just people enjoying dim sum and you don’t feel pressured to leave (which I half expected).

har kow

Har Kow (Steamed Fresh Shrimp Dumplings) – HKD 22
I loved it! I always like har kow, it’s an order I judge each dim sum place by and Tim Ho Wan did not disappoint. The prawns are huge and juicy and the wrap is delicate and thin. It’s perfection!

chicken feet

Steamed Chicken Feet With Black Bean Sauce – HKD 14
I like how the chicken feet came out just right. Dim sum is cooked fresh in Tim Ho Wan and the black bean sauce complements the chicken feet nicely. It has a spicy note from the chillies too! Delicious.

pork knuckle

Braised Pig Knuckle in Sauce – HKD 15
Hmm…this was a major letdown. There’s more bone than meat or skin/fat and I’ve had much better braised pig knuckle in Malaysia. I would avoid this. It’s very meh.

pig liver chee cheong fan

Vermicelli Roll Stuffed with Pig’s Liver – HKD 16
OMG! This is like an orgasm in your mouth! It’s chee cheong fun, except it’s stuffed with pig liver.

pork liver chee cheong fun

Here’s what it looks like. Don’t be fooled by the simple presentation – the vermicelli roll wrapping is translucently thin and the pig liver is extremely creamy with a very rich mouth-feel. Highly recommended!

dim sum rice

Steamed Rice with Beef and Pan-fried Egg – HKD 17
This was a mistake. I wanted to have the lou mai kai but my ex accidentally ticked this one instead coz she thought it was lou mai kai in Cantonese.

rice beef egg

It was alright, but we didn’t come here to eat a rice dish.

lou mai kai

The actual lou mai kai (sticky glutenous rice) looks like this – unfortunately it’s our neighbors and we didn’t know them well enough to ask for a bite. ;)

famous bbq pork bun

Baked Bun with BBQ Pork – HKD 14
This is what Tim Hou Wan is famous for. It’s their signature dish – almost everyone I saw ordered at least one basket of this. There are three buns in a basket and it’s not enough!

crispy baked char siew pau

The bun is has a layer of crispy goodness and the rest is exquisitely soft and fluffy. I don’t know how they managed to achieve that texture complexity but it works very well. It’s basically a baked char siew pau but it’s so delicious that I was tempted to order more. The BBQ pork filling is sweet and savory, tender, done to perfection. I could eat this all year! You *have* to order this.

Tonic Medlar and Petal Cake

Tonic Medlar and Petal Cake – HKD 10
I don’t know what this is. The translation doesn’t even make sense but Jeanie told me that it’ll be delicious…and damn was she right!

goji berries chrysanthemum flowers dessert

It’s made with goji berries and Osmanthus flowers. Those are the only two things I could identify, but there’s a host of herbal goodies inside the jelly. You can taste the flowers and berries when you bite into the jelly – they’re whole and intact! It’s like drinking (eating?) tong shui that has been solidified into Jello. This chilled jelly is wonderful – a perfect ending to a near perfect meal.

dim sum hk

Tim Hou Wan Dim Sum Specialists might be a tad overrated but it’s still great dim sum at unbeatable prices. It only cost us HKD 112 (about RM 46) for two, inclusive of tea. The baked char siew bun is absolutely fabulous!

Tim Hou Wan Hong Kong

However, be prepared to wait to get into Tim Hou Wan in Mongkok – it’s usually about an hour, so it’s not too bad. Also, the tables are really small so if you order a lot of non-stackable items, you’ll have to eat them really fast, lest you invade another table’s space. :)

guns

I just love this shop. I found heaps of them in Hong Kong around Mongkok. They have exact replicas of most firearms – except these aren’t replicas per se. It uses 6 mm BB pellets loaded into a shell casing, which goes into your magazine. The Airsoft guns are remarkably realistic – you rack the slide back and a shell goes into the chamber. The pellet is released when you squeeze the trigger with a burst of propellant.

It’s made with stainless steel parts so it’s about as heavy as a real gun. I really like how these things work – they can be used as a prop or for paintball games, with a harder hit (steel BBs can kill a bird).

Unfortunately, you can’t get these things into Malaysia. The person told me he can break it down into three parts and I’ll have to take the risk in bringing them back. However, the largest part still looks like a piece from a firearm and replicas like these (realistic make, color, shape and to a certain extent – function) is not legal in Malaysia.

…and guess what? It just so happened that we were selected for secondary inspection at customs when we got out. It’s a good thing I didn’t buy it then. ;)

wonton mee hong kong

I guess if you’re pressed to name a dish that is representative of Hong Kong street food, the answer would be wanton mee (wonton noodles). I’ve had it several times during my recent trip to Hong Kong – it’s a very light meal with subtle notes – there are no overpowering flavors here.

wonton mee

The best wanton mee I had came piping hot with al dente noodles and a couple of wontons in a savory broth garnished with a healthy sprinkling of scallions (spring onions). Simple, but delicious.

wonton

It is interesting to note that the wontons in Hong Kong are made with prawns, with just a little bit of pork. It usually is made of pure pork over here and I much prefer the prawn wontons in HK.

wonton noodles

You’ll be very surprised at just how such a simple dish can taste fabulous. I was told that it’ll be difficult to find a place that serves bad wonton mee in Hong Kong and they were right! Just walk into any establishment in HK and you’ll find great wonton mee. :)

No, I don’t know why there’s a shirtless man behind me either.

hui lau shan hong kong

Hui Lai Shan is one of the extremely popular dessert chains around Hong Kong.

hui lau shan menu

There is basically no seating – it’s like the bubble tea establishments on the street, except this offers a new twist by having “healthy drinks”. You get a number when you order and you wait for your drink to be prepared at a side counter.

hui lau shan counter

The drinks are in the HKD 20+ range and there are heaps of options you can choose from, all with a local twist.

hui lau shan hk

I notice the trend is to have a local base with various fruits on top, such as the tongue twisting Glutinous Rice Balls in Mango Cubes & Coconut Juice with Red Bean.

hui lau shan healthy drink

I ordered from the Bird’s Nest and Honey Jelly Series – this is the popular E4 – Bird’s Nest & Honey Jelly in Mango & Coconut Juice for HKD 25 (about RM 10). I added HKD 3 for a larger 16 oz drink.

Birds Nest Honey Jelly Mango Coconut Juice

These drinks are surprisingly addictive. It tastes really good. The bird’s nest and honey jelly breaks apart into soft and slurp-able pieces when you stir it with the huge straw. The coconut milk (not juice as stated on the menu) goes very well with the mango pieces (that’s your daily dose of fruit right there) and jelly.

hui lau shan drink

It’s the perfect drink while walking around Hong Kong on a hot day. :)

eating stinky tofu

Stinky tofu is one of the great gastronomical items that Hong Kong does very well. It’s available from most street vendors and you just have to follow your nose to find this wicked delight.

hong kong street vendor

The smelly tofu in Hong Kong is astonishingly odoriferous. It smells really, really bad. It made me wince the first time I had it. The pungent stench is quite intense.

smelly tofu

This is what the innocent stinky tofu (called chao dau foo) looks like before it’s deep fried. Smelly tofu is basically marinated and fermented tofu, which produces the signature smell. I remember an old HK movie where a Caucasian complains about the smell, tries it and then becomes an ambassador of sorts, loudly proclaiming “This smells really bad but it tastes wonderful”.

stinky tofu hong kong

That was exactly how I felt. I’m not a big fan of tofu but I was eager to try stinky tofu in Hong Kong. I had it twice at two different street vendors. It’s usually eaten with long wood skewers straight from a paper bag. The smelly tofu costs around HKD 9 (RM 4) for two pieces and you can opt to have spicy hoisin sauce on it.

stinky tofu

Stinky tofu has a crumbly crust that smells strongly of ammonia. The odor is palpable – it smells like a public toilet that has not been cleaned for months! The intense aroma is matched by the equally breathtaking taste. Smelly tofu tastes like someone dusted the tofu pieces with dried urine.

It also makes for very messy eating as the entire thing is so greasy it dripped everywhere. However, the experience is very rewarding. Stinky tofu tastes like nothing else in the world. You can smell/taste the ammonia as you chew it and the crust is quite salty. It’s crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and best eaten piping hot on the street.

eating smelly tofu

You’ll have really bad breath for the rest of the day but it’s worth it! smirk

char chang teng

Cha Chang Teng (literally tea houses) is the equivalent of mamaks in Hong Kong. They’re everywhere and they cook up a fusion of East-meets-West cuisine. The waiters are loud, the place is packed and the locals all wind up eating there at some point or another.

chinese tea

You’ll be served with Chinese tea (complimentary) as soon as you sit down and since I can’t read Chinese, my ex patiently narrated the daily specials for me.

tea counter

I later found out that they have an English menu. It is a significantly abridged version of the Chinese menu, but it’s available.

char siew noodles

I went for a HKD 24 (RM 10) noodle dish which contains slices of char siew (barbecued meat), bak choy and pickled vegetables. It came in a thin broth but was surprisingly good. You can choose the noodles you want – I went for the ramen-like instant noodles.

pork macaroni

My ex had the bizarre macaroni meets pork slices in soup. It costs HKD 36 (RM 15) and comes with a side order of…

buttered toast

…buttered toast and a deep fried chicken wing.

people-eating-hk

I didn’t quite like her dish though. The macaroni fusion idea wasn’t executed very well. It sounds like an intriguing dish but it tasted rather bland.

tea house

However, I highly recommend their milk teas (nai cha). It’s brewed strong and tastes a little like our teh tarik minus the bubbles.

hong hong tea

There is a very popular evaporated milk brand called Black & White which they use liberally in their tea. The cup and saucer even comes with the brand of the above mentioned milk embossed on it.

hong kong food

I highly recommend going to a char chang teng when you’re in Hong Kong. The food can be hit and miss but you’ll have plenty of options – both inane and out-of-the-ballpark weird. There’s also something very appealing about the ambiance – the loud conversations, the shouted orders, the waiters jesting with you.

eating hong kong

It’s the definitive Hong Kong epicurean experience. You can’t get more local than this. :)

Posted: 9:12 PM Hong Kong time.

hong kong jockey club

Betting is legal in Hong Kong for certain sports like horse racing (not sure if this qualifies as a “sport” per se) and football. I passed by The Hong Kong Jockey Club with barely a look at it. I wasn’t really interested but my ex wanted to check out horse racing…

…which is apparently a religion here.

I got some tickets and saw there was a Manchester City football match going on. It was halfway though and I decided to put some moolah on it.

You can actually place your bets mid-game in Hong Kong. The odds change accordingly but you can still wager on a variety of situations. I couldn’t read a single word of Chinese and my ex didn’t know football so the people at The Hong Kong Jockey Club helped me to place my bets.

betting in hong kong

I went for score forecast and wanted HKD 200 (RM 83) on 1-0 to Manchester City (which is the current score) and another HKD 200 on 2-0.

The payout for 1-0 was 1.90 and it’s a staggering 3.05 for 2-0. Pretty fucking good odds considering they’re the home team and they’re already up 1 goal.

We went for dinner and headed back to check the final score. It was 2-0 to Manchester City.

That means you’ll get HKD 610 (about RM 254) for a HKD 200 bet.

Now, if the betting slips are correct and I managed to convey my wishes without the significant language barrier, I would have won HKD 200 (about RM 87), after deducting the loss of the bet placed on 1-0.

hkd20

Unfortunately, the stub for 2-0 was HKD 20 instead of HKD 200. It was missing that all important additional 0.

I wasn’t familiar with the currency so I didn’t check the change I got back when I handed over a HKD 1,000 bill (which is apparently very out of vogue due to counterfeiting concerns). I also neglected to check the betting slips.

FML, I ended up winning HKD 61 instead, from the HKD 20 bet. That means I had a NETT LOSS of HKD 159 (RM 66) when you take into account the HKD 200 I slapped down for 1-0.

Oh well, it was all in good fun. I’m not going back again. I just wanted the experience of betting in Hong Kong.

football betting hong kong

I still wish the communication mistake didn’t occur though. I’ll have won HKD 200 (RM 87) instead of losing HKD 159 (RM 66), which would nearly be enough…

…to take a cab to the airport. smirk

Seriously, cabs here are expensive. I just got back from Lan Kwai Fong early this morning for about HKD 120 in a taxi.

Posted: 8:20 PM Hong Kong time.

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