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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hong Kong & Macau: We love SARs!

The last stop on the Tour De Asia with Nell and Meghan brought us to Hong Kong and Macau, officially two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China.  As we were paging through the guidebook on the plane, our seat mate from Hong Kong could not stop raving about how efficient we would find Hong Kong, and he was most definitely right on the mark.  I suppose that sometimes compared to Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia almost anything would seem efficient, but Hong Kong really knows how to keep things running smoothly.  It's hard to compare Hong Kong with the rest of the stops on the tour because it was so clean, big and modern - but it was one of my favorite stops along the way.

The first night our plane didn't get in until 9pm and by the time we got to our hostel it was almost 11 so we walked down the street to try and find some food and stumbled upon a restaurant called "Black & White" full of toothless waiters and a giant tank of fish that you could choose to eat for dinner if you'd like.  I played it safe with a bowl of noodles that the chef cut up with scissors, it was salty and had a strong taste of shrimp/seafood which I do not like at all so it ended up being my only disappointing meal during the 3 weeks - but from there all of our culinary experiences in Hong Kong would only go up.
We spent most of our time in Hong Kong walking around, taking the MRT (subway), eating dim sum, hanging out by the waterfront, shopping at all the markets (ladies, goldfish, bird, Temple Street, etc.), riding up the world's longest outdoor covered escalator, and dancing in the streets of Lan Kwai Fong. The first full day we also took the tram up to Victoria's Peak where we spent a few hours checking out the incredible views of the city's skyline by day, sunset and night.  We camped out with a few photographers who told us they were waiting for "the magic moment" just after the sunsets and before it gets too dark out - it definitely made for some beautiful photos!

We also took a day trip to Macau, another SAR, that is heavily influenced by its history as a colony of Portugal.  We checked out some of the architecture, the casinos that dominate much of Macau's economy, and had an amazing Portuguese feast at Fernando's Restaurant on Hac Sa or Black Sand Beach. Due to a long ferry ride and a really slow process at immigration, Macau was definitely not my favorite place, but I did get to add some passport stamps from my stopover there.

We finished off our time in Hong Kong with 3 of the most amazing meals I've eaten since leaving America.  The first stop was 208 Duecento Otto where a friend of a friend was the head chef, he took care of us all night and brought out some truly amazing Italian dishes that you cannot find in Thailand - bruschetta, fresh mozzarella, salami pizza, New York style cheesecake - it was heavenly! Our last day we decided we had to follow the New York Times recommendation and check out Tim Ho Wan for its dumplings.  Apparently, Tim Ho Wan is the world's cheapest Michelin Starred restaurant- in order to get a seat we had to come by the restaurant at 10 am to pick up a ticket that told us we would have a table in 2.5 hours, we then came back at the designated time and waited another hour to be seated, but it was well worth the wait.  The bbq pork buns and spinach dumplings were sooooo delicious! I want more. That night, we checked out the light show from the Kowloon side of Hong Kong before heading back to the island to meet up with one of Meghan's family friends for dinner at the "American Club" up on the 48th floor of a building on the Harbor.  With amazing views once again, we were treated to a meal of steak, Caesar salad, red wine and apple pie - once again all things you won't find in Thailand.  It was an amazing ending to a whirlwind trip through Asia, I'm so glad I'm about to hit the road again to explore the islands and Angkor Wat in Cambodia - traveling is truly an addiction!

1 comment:

  1. best meals of the trip !!! we need din tai fung and decuento in the USA!!!


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