The View from the Street (Hong Kong, December 2018)


Maybe you thought my previous slideshows of Hong Kong food markets (here and here) and so forth were excessive and uninteresting. In that case you will really love this slideshow of pictures I took on the streets over the rest of my week-long trip. There are more than 100 of them and none of them are of subjects of any broader significance other than the fact that they caught my (untalented) eye. One of the things I was really struck by in Hong Kong is the verticality of the city. Given the premium on land, buildings go up very tall and very narrow—rather vertiginously so in many cases. One of my favourites is an unremarkable building in Central which is just about a room thick (it’s the not only one of its kind that I saw). I also really like to take pictures of posters and ads on walls and that’s another major genre below. Also featured are the Ladies Market in Mong Kok and other markets and street scenes in Central. I’m putting these up for now without any captions—I’m in Bombay and busy taking unnecessary pictures here too; if any of these interest you, come back later to see what they’re of and where they’re from.  Continue reading

Tsim Chai Kee + Mak’s Noodle (Hong Kong, December 2018)

I leave Hong Kong today and so it’s time to finally post my first food report. I’ve been eating like a maniac ever since I arrived—literally, since I arrived: the first thing I did at the airport was eat dumplings at Crystal Jade. As I’m traveling alone on this trip—and as my friends in Hong Kong have busy lives—most of my meals during the days have been eaten solo. And one of the genres that I have been hitting up a lot is one that we could not really do as a family on our last trip in 2016: small establishments that dish out variations on noodle soup and wontons. It’s hard with a family because you invariably have to queue up, then you get seated at very cramped tables, probably with strangers and you’re expected to order and eat quickly, pay and fuck right off so the line can keep moving. With small kids all of this is a challenge. On my own though it’s been very easy.   Continue reading

Roadside Fruit and Veg in Hong Kong (December 2018)


On Sunday I posted a slideshow of images taken on walks around my hotel on my first day in Hong Kong. This may have led you to believe that there would be a separate report for every day after that as well. But when not in meetings, I’ve spent most of my time walking around the city and taking photographs rather than posting them to the blog. But as they pile up in my folders I remember that I’m not yet done posting reports on my trip to Scotland in the summer; and so faced with the prospect of reporting on this trip for the next two years, I’m going to try to speed it up a bit. Accordingly, here is a slideshow of pictures of fruit and veg taken at roadside markets and stalls. Hopefully this will mollify the vegetarians among my readers who may have found the meat pictures in the previous Hong Kong post to be a bit much.  Continue reading

Hong Kong, Day 1 (December 2018)


After an exhausting day of travel that included flight delays and damaged baggage before I even got on my 15 hour flight from LAX, I finally arrived at Hong Kong on Saturday morning, feeling a bit like damaged goods myself. And extra surly as—unlike in 2016—I’m here by myself this time; and unlike some people, I do not like traveling alone.

I was greeted by a massive, snaking line at immigration but it moved surprisingly quickly. Emerging with my suitcase (thankfully not beat up further), I made a beeline for Crystal Jade and applied some excellent dumplings to my exhaustion. Then aboard the Airport Express train to Hong Kong Station and a quick cab ride to my friend’s home up in the Mid-Levels, to wait out the time till my check-in at the hotel. Drank some masala chai, called my hotel—who were kind enough to give me an early check-in—and cabbed down to Central, to Wellington St. It was lunch time and so setting my bags down, I ventured forth.  Continue reading

Lung King Heen (Hong Kong)

Lung King Heen:
Well, it’s been over two months since we got back to Minnesota from Hong Kong and here finally is my last meal report. This was our last restaurant meal there and in terms of reputation this was the biggest one of them all: under head chef Chan Yan-Tak, Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons holds three Michelin stars, the only Chinese restaurant in the world with that distinction, and is on most people’s short list of the best Cantonese restaurants in the world.

We’d not originally planned to eat there—I had Fook Lam Moon on my radar instead for high-end Cantonese—but as a result of our fabulous dim sum meal at Lei Garden (also in the International Finance Center where the Four Seasons is located) we ended up there for weekday lunch. Let me explain. Continue reading

Qi – House of Sichuan (Hong Kong)

mapo-tofu
Eating Sichuan food in Hong Kong is probably a bit like eating Mexican food in New York but we couldn’t resist. All the Cantonese food we’d eaten so far on the trip had been so superior to their analogues in the US that it didn’t seem unlikely that the Sichuan food would be too. Then there was the fact that stray dishes with Sichuan flavours that we’d eaten at early meals at Crystal Jade and Lei Garden had been very good indeed. And so we swapped out our original plan of eating a Shanghainese dinner with a reservation at Qi – House of Sichuan, a very well-reviewed restaurant that recently picked up a Michelin star. Even if it wasn’t likely to be as good as eating Sichuan food in Sichuan, we figured it would give our favourites in the San Gabriel Valley a run for their money. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way.  Continue reading

Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop (Hong Kong)

Tasty Congee: House Specialty Wonton Noodles in Soup
After a week off I’m back to reports on our meals in Hong Kong in late January and early February. This is the home stretch—only two more after this, probably. I’m also back in the IFC mall. This was our third meal there and we came back again the next day for an outstanding lunch at Lung King Heen. This, however, was a meal at the far end of the spectrum from Lung King Heen. Which is to say not that it was cheap (though much cheaper than Lung King Heen or even Lei Garden) but that it features very basic Cantonese comfort food: the setting, as befits the IFC location, was also very comfortable indeed; this is no Yat LokContinue reading

Under Bridge Spicy Crab (Hong Kong)

Under Bridge Spicy Crab: Claw
After three reports on excellent Cantonese outings in Hong Kong I now come to the first of two slightly underwhelming meals. As it happens we came to the meal for pretty much the same reason that this review comes when it does: as a break. It was our second night in Hong Kong and we’d already eaten four meals in a row that featured relatively mild flavours, excellent though they were (at Crystal Jade, Yat Lok, Crystal Jade again and at Lei Garden), and had another similar lunch planned for the next day. And so for our second dinner we decided we’d do a meal centered on more robust fare. We couldn’t get into any of the better-reviewed Sichuan places on short notice (though we did get into one of those the next night—more on that next week) but were able to snag a table at one of the three locations of Under Bridge Spicy Crab in the Wan Chai neighbourhood. Herewith our experience.  Continue reading

Lei Garden, Dim Sum (Hong Kong)

Lei Garden: Xiao Long Bao

My friends and enemies alike in Minnesota are sick of hearing how much better dim sum in the San Gabriel Valley is than dim sum in the Twin Cities. Well, I can now report that the better dim sum in Hong Kong is to a place like Sea Harbour in the SGV as Sea Harbour is to anything in Minnesota: several levels beyond. The basis for this claim is a mindbogglingly good meal we had a few Saturdays ago at Lei Garden in the International Finance Center in Hong Kong. We’d wanted to eat at least one fancy dim sum meal and Lei Garden, with its Michelin star, was our pick.   Continue reading

Dumplings and Noodles at Crystal Jade (Hong Kong)

Crystal Jade:

A sign you’ve married well: you get off a redeye flight from New Delhi to Hong Kong with two small children in tow and suggest to your partner that the first thing you do is sit down at the airport location of Crystal Jade for some dumplings and noodles and she excitedly agrees. This, by the way, is something all visitors arriving in Hong Kong should do, whatever the time of day. You’ve got to get your trip off to an auspicious start. Of course, it’s not like this will be your only opportunity to eat at Crystal Jade. The Singapore-based chain has >100 branches in Asia (and a couple in San Francisco too, apparently) and Hong Kong has 21 of them.   Continue reading

Roast Goose at Yat Lok (Hong Kong)

Yat Lok
I still have a couple of meal reports from our recent trip to Delhi to come but I thought I would start on our Hong Kong meals as well. We stopped in Hong Kong our way back from Delhi. We were supposed to be staying with friends but due to a family emergency we only ended up staying in their house—they were back in India while we were there. We had a lot of eating planned with them but managed quite well on our own. Hong Kong is one of those cities where, if you like Chinese food, it is kind of difficult to not eat well. It helped though that I was armed with a lot of recommendations. We ate across the price spectrum while we were there, and one of the very best meals was one of the cheapest and certainly the simplest: at Yat Lok on Stanley Street in the Central district.  Continue reading