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

Hmongtown Marketplace: Shopping


On Tuesday I posted a brief writeup of our recent lunch at Hmongtown Marketplace in St. Paul. Lunch was only part of our visit. We spent as much time after the meal walking around the market and buying vegetables etc. If you’ve never been to Hmongtown Marketplace, you should know that the market sections are by far the largest part of the space. The larger part of the market is indoors, in two large warehouses/sheds that sit on either side of a central outdoor space. This outdoor space has stalls selling clothes and cds/dvds and also a large green market. During the height of the growing season, this green market is filled with produce sellers (there’s also live poultry available); currently, it is filled with vendors selling vegetable and plant starters—and if you’re a home gardener, you should go check them out this weekend. There’s also a green market indoors all year around, and this part of the market is already on the go. In other words, you don’t need to wait another month to go vegetable/fruit shopping here. Go now.  Continue reading

Borough Market: Shopping (London)


We’ve been in London just over six weeks now. We’ve barely done any hardcore touristy stuff yet. This is not because we are too cool to do hardcore touristy stuff; it’s because we figured we were going to be here three months and so didn’t need to rush to do any touristy stuff. Well, now there’s only another five weeks and change to go and despite living literally steps away from Westminster Abbey, and passing it every day on the way to the tube station, we haven’t yet gone in. Soon we will go in. But first on Friday we took the kids to Tower Bridge and walked back some of the way along the Thames. And when it came time to figure out lunch, we were right by the Borough Market in Southwark (right by London Bridge)—which is yet another iconic London site that we’d been meaning to but hadn’t yet managed to visit. Well, now we have and I have come back with a very large and somewhat haphazard gallery of images that will hopefully convince you to visit Borough Market whether you’re here for twelve weeks or twelve days. (Well, actually I’ve come back with two large and somewhat haphazard galleries of images, but the second will follow in a week or so.)  Continue reading

Jean-Talon Market, Pt. 2 (Montreal)

La Boite aux Huîtres
Here is the second part of my report on Montreal’s excellent Jean-Talon Market from my recent trip to Montreal. The first part covered produce and those food establishments we did not eat at. This report focuses on the few places we did eat at. I will repeat my caveat from the first report: I am not pretending to offer anything approaching a comprehensive or educated guide to Jean-Talon Market. I’ve been there once; we wandered and ate fairly randomly; I took pictures at some places and not at most of the others (this was also random, except I took photographs everywhere we ate). I’ve probably left out many of the most iconic vendors and we probably failed to eat some of the most popular foods at the market. So it goes. I hope to be back again in Montreal in a couple of years (I really love this city) and will try again then. In the meantime please consider this (and the first part) an insufficient but sincere advertisement for Jean-Talon Market: if you go to Montreal, go there.  Continue reading

Jean-Talon Market, Pt. 1 (Montreal)

Jean-Talon: Mushrooms
We were recently in Montreal for a few days. It was a wonderful trip despite the grey weather (and a nightmarish travel day to end it after we missed our early morning nonstop flight back to Minneapolis). We hung out with some old friends who work there, walked around the city and saw a couple of really good exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts (one on Toulouse-Lautrec and another on Robert Mapplethorpe). And we ate some very good food. When it comes to food in the French vein, traditional and contemporary, there is probably no better city in North America than Montreal. There certainly isn’t a better city for bakeries and patisseries. I’m going to start my report though not with a bakery or a restaurant but with a visit we made on the morning of our second day there to the famous Jean-Talon market. In case you don’t know, Montreal has a number of public markets that combine traditional farmers’ markets with restaurants/food stands and various purveyors of cheese, pastry, meat, fish etc. And Jean-Talon is the most renowned of these markets.  Continue reading