|Hong Kong – Seen from the Windstar Star Legend|
|United’s new Premier Economy seat. Lots of legroom, a nice leg/foot rest
and, soon, upgraded service and amenities.
|Mira Moon Premier Room|
|Delicious Clams in Fish Broth
Under Bridge Spicy Crab, Hong Kong
|Spicy Crab with fried garlic, chilies and spring onion
Under Bridge Spicy Crab, Hong Kong
Finally it was time! Melissa is a charming young woman who, as our day went on, opened up about how those she guides usually not being as open to Hong Kong cuisine as they say over emails. Between the different textures and tastes that are, er’ um, foreign to Westerners, she usually adjusts her suggestions to accommodate the less adventurous. Melissa quickly agreed that I was open for tasting anything and that I really appreciated the nuances of Hong Kong cuisine; something I was totally unaware of before our culinary journey which spanned about five hours!
|Zhejian Heen place setting|
We started at the top of the culinary mountain: Zhejiang Heen, an fairly elegant repeat Michelin Star restaurant. As it was early we were its first customers of the day, so the place was eerily quiet to start, but just as the night before, large tables of noisy lunchtime patrons soon started to fill the restaurant. I quickly learned (fumbled) that fine dining in Hong Kong is a bit different from, say, New York. Rather than dining more communally, one uses the plain chopsticks and metal spoon to move food from the serving dishes to your personal ones. Then you use the formal chopsticks and china spoon to eat. My many prior experiences were one set of each…and GO!
We started with traditional Chinese pickles, followed by a twist on san choy bow (chicken with pine nuts wrapped in a very light rice cake rather than lettuce leaves), smoked eggs (a new favorite!), the best hot and sour soup I have ever had (literally had the texture of liquid silk with very subtle and complex flavors) and finishing up with soup dumplings with a far more delicate and complex flavors than those I had in Taipei, Taiwan,
|San Choy Bow|
Apparently the yolks create some textural issues for many Westerners. I found them delicous
|Hot and Sour Soup|
Melissa decided that since I was a bit more adventurous and engaged than the normal Western tourist, as an excellent guide should be perceptive enough to see and do, she ditched the planned Uber to our next venue. Instead we walked, briefly visiting a traditional shopping street remaining squeezed in between the modern buildings and then hopped on a tram (locally called a Ding Ding) for more of a tour of Hong Kong.
|Hong Kong’s local tram or Ding Ding|
From an ancient building turned into a not so good restaurant to a modern building constructed to look like it is being hugged by koalas to the world’s longest escalator – all shown while sitting atop a very old tram – it was an enjoyable respite and something I suggest those with some time try out.
After disembarking the Ding Ding (which cost only HK$2.60 or US$0.33 a person) I saw one of the last remaining actual street food venues. The government is pushing out these businesses, first by limiting the license transfer to family members and then further limiting them to the owner’s children…if at all. The good news is that while the venues may change, the “street food” as a culinary experience is alive and well!
It was then time to try some local beverages. My choice was some sort of fruit drink or an herbal concoction. With Melissa telling me that most Western clients cannot even stand the smell of the herbal drink, no less drink it, you know which one I tried! I actually found it OK; not that I would run out and drink it everyday. I do have to admit that half a cup was a sufficient experience!
|Yat Lok Restaurant|
Next up: Yat Lok; another Michelin noted restaurant, but quite a different experience. We were seated right next to the kitchen in this frenetic restaurant famous for its roast goose and pork. You can order either with rice or noodles, so we opted for Pork with rice and Roast Goose with noodles. I honestly cannot explain how delicious and tender each was. While the goose’s crispy skin was incredible, what baffled me was how the fat became rich and texturally luscious but not fatty. The pork was incredibly tender, unlike any I have had before.
|Roast Goose with Noodles and Spring Onion|
|Roast Goose’s crispy skin and delicious noodles that absorbed the soup’s flavors. Yum!!!|
|The most beautiful and delicious Roast Pork ever! Definitely a secret sauce.|
We had the first of the day’s two milk teas to accompany our meal. It was surprisingly similar to the ice coffee I enjoyed in Corfu, Greece.
It was a short walk to our next culinary experience: Dumplings at Dumpling Yuan; a favorite of both locals and ex-pats.
I watched the owner make dozens of dumpling as we waited for our order.
And then it was time for steamed pork dumplings and fried mutton dumplings. The fried ones were a favorite of mine. And, by the way, it was time for a Tsingtao beer.
|Steamed Pork Dumplings|
|Fried Mutton Dumplings|
Me being me, I noticed a shop across the street that specialized in Wonton Soup. And so, after our dumplings, we crossed the street and entered Max’s Noodles where I watched two men making shrimp wantons at breakneck speed…and then had a delicious and light shrimp wonton soup.
|Making Shrimp Wontons|
|Seriously good Shrimp Wonton Soup|
Not done, we then headed to a small street food area where we were “getting sweet” signalling that my culinary adventure was coming to a close. We arrived at a small shop for Pineapple Bun (named for the texture and color of the bun; not because it has pineapple in it), Hong Kong French Toast and a really good milk tea.
We then make one last stop for sugar cane and sour plum drinks at Kung Lee Sugar Cane Drink
before doing a bit of more historic sightseeing
|This sign struck me as the “typical” old school Hong Kong business
that sells everything and sends it everywhere
“Maverick, you screw up just this much and I promise you, you will be
flying a plane full of rubber dog s__t out of Hong Kong!”
|An interesting coffee shop that only uses antique coffee cups|
With a very full stomach, a far better understanding of the culinary scene, and therefore, Hong Kong, it was time to end this adventure, grab a taxi back to the Mira Moon to grab my bags and then an Uber to the Windstar Star Legend where I will overnight in Hong Kong.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss booking your own Windstar Cruise, give me a call, drop me an email or send me a Facebook message!
US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)
UK: 020 8133 3450
AUS: (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 530 562 9232