Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bye Hong Kong!

We had the opportunity to go for a steamboat dinner in Tsim Tsa Tsui the night before we flew back to Malaysia. Hubby's friend, a Hong Kong resident, has been to Malaysia numerous times and will always meet up with hubby. When hubby told him that we would be going to Hong Kong, he had been in touch with hubby prior to our trip to make arrangement to meet up.

So, he set up a steamboat dinner gathering for us together with his wife and brother. Chanel and family joined us as well.

We scheduled to meet at 7pm that night in Tsim Tsa Tsui MTR station and then walked over to the restaurant. We ate until the restaurant was about to close at around 10.30pm.

Hubby's place has made booking at this steamboat restaurant called Son Tung Kee Restaurant in Tsim Tsa Tsui even before we went to Hong Kong. I love their appetiser which is fried fish skin. It was very crispy like keropok. They started serving the condiments which we were to add in heaps to a bowl. There were finely chopped chilli, celery, parsley, garlic and sauce. Hubby's friend has booked us a private room which we had just to ourselves.
There were lots of thinly sliced beef which we dipped into the hot soup. The raw dishes kept coming and coming. There were dumplings, fish paste tauhu, scallops, huge oysters, fish and some sort of sea stuffs which expands to a rather big size after cooked in the soup. The sweet corn came in last and they were extremely sweet that we ate quite a lot of it even though we were already full. The soup has century eggs in it. Something quite different.

There were orders for a big plate of a rather big fish, all sliced up for the steamboat and a plate of scallops.

This is what I ate. A scallop. Some sea creature which hubby said is some sort of "spare parts" (internal organs) from some seashell of some sort. It was kinda chewy, and not too bad actually. But the thought of eating something unknown kind of makes me stop eating another piece. There was another parts from another kind of sea creature which was a little harder to chew with rougher texture. Eryn didn't like hers, so I ate two pieces. Again, it didn't taste bad, just that I have no inkling to what that was. 

See the huge scallop? It's bigger than my soup spoon. We ate more sliced beef and fish paste tauhu than anything else. Oh, and lots of vegetables too. The dumpling doesn't look like the ones we have over here, so that was a little different for me too.

I love the beef, sweet corn and the sugarcane juice the most. Brendan enjoyed dipping the beef in the soup more than eating the food while Eryn loved her sweet corn and chocolate pudding dessert.

We wanted to go dutch but hubby's friend has already made early payment and treated us to this sumptuous meal. Some of us have to wear out jackets to eat as it was really freezing cold in the room. Why did they turn on the air-con in full blast? Brrrr......

This is actually our breakfast at Citygate on the day we were to leave for the airport.

We went to Citygate to do some last minute shopping as the factory outlets there were having some sale. Hubby got a real good bargain for two pairs of Puma shoes at HKD549. I wished I have more time to shop for clothes.

Hubby is now eyeing to visit Hong Kong again for their major sale, just two of us, for a short shopping trip. Now, that question is "IF" we ever go there again. Hubby's friend had already sent a message to hubs a day after we were back in Malaysia to ask us when we can meet up in Hong Kong again.

Kids waiting at the departure hall in Hong Kong International airport.

Brendan and Eryn enjoying the MAS kids' meal on the plane. Brendan was so engrossed in his games while Eryn was laughing away watching Spy Kids and some cartoons.
It's nice to be back to Malaysia. Now, back to life. Doing the mountain pile of laundry was crazy. I had to go for 6 rounds of it. The holiday was fun. The after-effect is not.

It was a great time we had. It was real fun to travel with another family too. Chanel, it was a pleasure to have a holiday with you.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

HK : Stanley Market and The Peak

Stanley Market and Victoria Peak are both located in Hong Kong Island. We initially scheduled to go to these two places together on the same day, but due to Mongkok street markets not opened early in the morning, we push our Stanley Market visit earlier. It was good also in a way, as we would not have to rush for our trip to Victoria Peak.

Stanley Market is a nice place for a stroll and for shopping of little souveniors. There seems to be a lot of expatriates chilling out at the restaurants and at the market here.

There are ample spaces for kids to run about. We see little mat salleh kids playing football and skateboarding around the area. The area is full with buzz. There is actually nothing much to do but it is a good place to just chill out, have a cup of coffee and enjoy the nice sea view. There are lots of knick knacks in the stalls located in Stanley Market for those who are keen to buy stuffs back as gifts.

Since we didn't do much shopping around, we spent quite some time at the waterfront while waiting for Chanel and family. We love the fresh air here.

A view from the waterfront where we were hanging out.

Apparently, this place is considered slightly middle to upper class and there are lots of villas and high-end condos as you travel along the long and windy road from Central bus terminus to Stanley Market. The seaview is simply breathtaking.

One of the bus route we took from our double decker bus. Tall buildings are everywhere around us.

The lower portion of our double decker bus. The buses here are very clean, so unlike in Malaysia. In fact, the public toilets are also very clean. You don't see wet floors and rubbish in the toilet or on the MTR and buses. Punctuality is a norm and bus schedules are always on the dot.

MTR stations are always packed with people. From Skycity Marriott, we took the hotel shuttle to Tung Chung MTR, and thereafter to Hong Kong Station MTR. From there, we walked over to the connecting link to Central MTR and to the Central Exchange bus terminus. Everything is so systematic and you don't have to worry about being a stranger in this unfamiliar territory. MTR and bus bus signages, signboards on bus stops gives you clear directions.

You don't have to worry about getting lost in Hong Kong. However, I have to say that the people from the mainland can be quite a rude lot. Young or old, they talk very loudly and pay no heed to manners by lining up in queues in MTR, buses and especially in queueing up for rides in Disneyland and Ocean Park. They'll push you and cut you just to be in front regardless of who you are. That is one part I just don't seem to understand. We even came across a family stealing strollers in Disneyland Park and chuck them aside when they don't need it.
Chanel had to experiece this herself as we go hunting for her stroller. We later found it in another place.
We maintain our Victoria Peak itinerary for the last full day we were in Hong Kong. We were supposed to take a bus but found out that we can actually walk via Chater Garden to the Peak Tram Lower Terminus from Central MTR station exit towards Admiralty via Hong Kong Park.

We walked through Chater Garden, stopping by to use the toilet and enjoy the garden view. There were some sort of some foreign Filipino domestic workers gathering there. As it was a Sunday, we believe they were out on their off day,strolling and hanging out in the park and catching up with friends. You see some group playing cards, some games, or simply just chatting away or hooked up on the internet.

Eryn wanted a photo with the beautiful flowers in Chater Garden and so, she smiled for the camera.

Down at the Peak Tram Lower Terminus, the queue was rather long. I think it took us around 20-30 minutes. The sun was quite glaring on this day and so, the kids went to hide under the shade just beside the water fountain.

The water feature is beautiful. It can at least entertain us for a while while waiting to purchase tickets. If you're visiting Madame Tussaud, it would be good if you get the package deal for Sky Pass, The Sky Terrace and Madame Tussaud.  Otherwise, buying the entry tickets separately when you're up at The Peak, will be a little bit more expensive.
After getting our Peak tram sky passes, it takes another 20 minutes or so, queueing up to board the tram. We have to wait for the third round due to the huge crowd. The Peak tram is one of the world's oldest funicular railways.

It's a rather steep climb up The Peak in the tram. If you're going up hill, be sure to choose to sit on the right hand side as you may get to see some nice views along the way.

A big heart-shaped deco at The Sky Terrace, the highest 360 degrees vewing terrace in Hong Kong. We're about 1,300 feet above sea level!

There are actually two heart-shaped deco! A pink and a purple one. So sweet!!

The kids love the windy place here. The panaromic view of Hong Kong is simply marvellous.

Going back down the building filled with lots of shops and cafes.

The love panaromic view brings some sort of a wonderful feeling.

From another angle, we can actually see a harbour somewhere near Kowloon area.

The Peak Tower is the iconic landmark in Hong Kong. Apparentely, it is the most stylish architectural icon with a dazzling array of restaurants, shopss and the viewing terrace.

The garden outside The Peak Galleria is a fun place for dogs. We saw a big group of pet owners and their dogs on their special outing.

Do take note that eating, drinking and smoking is not allowed in the tram or in any public transports in Hong Kong or you'll get a hefty fine.

We get to see alot of double decker rail trams around this area. We didn't get a chance to hop on one though.
You'll need approximately half a day at The Peak and half a day in Stanley Market if you plan to visit these two places.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hong Kong : Mongkok, Avenue of Stars

We went to Mongkok early in the morning but most of the street markets are only opened in the afternoon onwards. So, we detoured to Stanley Market on our 4th day and came back to Mongkok street market the following day.

Anyway, this post will be focusing on the Avenue of Stars at Tsim Tsa Tsui area and on Mongkok, spreaded over two days in scattered visits. More photos ahead.

The Avenue of Stars is located at the Tsim Tsa Tsui waterfront at Victoria Harbour. It looks very much like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but here it gives acknowledgement to the Hong Kong movie industry.
The famed bronze statue of Bruce Lee. We walked from the statuette in search of Bruce Lee's statue and along the way we see lots of plaques embedded on the floor with the famous celebrities' hand prints and names on them.

Cuttlefish snack before dinner. It's very tasty!

Met up with Jazz and her kids to go for dinner in Tsim Tsa Tsui. We decided on Avenue of Stars as the meeting point. Here, the kids posed with their kungfu panda poses at the Avenue Of Stars. They clicked on very well upon meeting.
We walked back to the food court in Sogo to have dinner. Since there were no place to sit and we didn't want to wait too long for an empty table, we decided to 'tapao' food to bring back to the deck at the Avenue of Stars to eat while waiting for the Symphony of Lights show to start. And while the hungry kids are waiting, they sat down on the floor in the food court and have their story-telling and i-pod sessions.
The Symphony of Lights was kinda of boring and the kids were feeling rather restless. Faythe and Brendan starting chatting all the way right after dinner until the end of the show, not into the laser lights show at all. The breeze here is rather strong. I felt kind of cold while everyone seems to be enjoying the cold air.

View across the river at the Avenue of Stars. The night scene is just so nice. Some of the buildings actually have beautiful, Christmassy light decos on them. I think that's somewhere in Central across the river.
The night scene taken from another angle.
After Symphony of Lights, we headed to Mongkok by MTR to have dessert! We went for the yummilicious steamed milk in Yee Shun Milk Company. In the MTR, we quickly take the opportunity to take a group photos with the mummies and kids. What a funny sight, scrambling to get those active kids together on the MTR for this shot.

Mmmm........ I love the steamed milk with ginger juice. I'm salivating just thinking about it. Brendan opt for the plain steamed milk which is equally yummy. Taste just like fresh cow milk. Eryn went for their steamed egg which is also very nice. I really love this place. If you're a milk lover like me and kids, do make time to go for this. Thank you, Jazz, for the dessert treat.
There is a wide range of dessert and food at the Yee Shun Milk Company. The ones we had were highly recommended by Jazz.

Outside view of Yee Shun Milk Company taken in the morning. We were there quite early and came across this place while we were walking around in Mongkok for breakfast. I've done some research and read about this place and was dying to try the steamed milk there. However, luck wasn't on our side as the place was only opened at 11am. No regrets though, cos we actually went back there for supper. Yum! Yum!

Backtrack a bit. For breakfast, we wanted to have breakfast in Kam Wah cafe but it was kind of packed. I've read that this place is famous for their polo bun. Since we didn't want to wait too long, we decided to take-away some buns and egg tarts to eat.

There are lots of things to see in Mongkok. There's a street for electrical items, a street for all the toilet stuffs, a street for food, a street for sports equipments, women clothings, toys, snacks, etc. Basically, it's like a one stop shopping area. We didn't really buy anything much but do hope to be back again during the big sale to really shop properly some day.

There's something about Hong Kong and beef noodles. The beef noodles here are just simply delicious. The texture of the beef, the wantan noodles and the soup are somehow perfect. Hubby loves the beef noodles a lot that we ate this 3 times during our whole stay in Hong Kong. I love the beef tendon and the kids will go for the beef balls.

The bill for one of our lunch for the three bowls of beef noodles.

A typical scene around Mongkok area. The streets are filled with lots of signboards, lots of people and tons and tons of things to see. Be careful with your belonging and kids as the crowd at Mongkok can be quite congested.

There seems to be a long queue for this "kai dan zhai" aka little egg waffle. We decided to join in the queue to see what's so special about this. We didn't try to "kai zhai dan" but opt for the waffle pancake which is really delicious. The kids wanted more. This little stall is located somewhere in Mongkok opposite Gala Place.

I saw lots of people standing beside a van and decided to "kepo" and take a look at what is happening. People are surrounding this pretty lady to take photos with her and to get her autograph. I took a photo and asked hubby's Hong Kong friends (who we were to meet for dinner on our last night during this trip) who was this lady. It's funny to hear that none of hubby's 3 friends know her. Anyone knows who she is?

This shot is taken the following night at the clock tower near the Kowloon Public Pier at Tsim Tsa Tsui.


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