Hong Kong: Dinner on the Street

Today I took the MTR to Kam Sheung Road station to go visit Kam Tin village. Rough Guide said "take exit A, follow the signs ..." but there were no signs and they have no map of the area because it's the New Territories. I wandered around a bit, but had no luck: I admit I didn't try very hard and didn't ask anyone. It's a different world out there: three storey apartment buildings and quiet streets, amazing.

I went to Mong Kok Computer Centre, which was very similar to Golden Computer Centre and 298 - except smaller, less busy, and not as good. A bit disappointing. There was a store next door to it called "Toronto Sports."

If you follow me on a map today, you'll notice I'm bouncing all over: I gave the MTR and my Octopus card a good workout.

The name "Whampoa" has been visible to me every day I've been here. It's the end of one of the MTR lines relatively close to where I'm staying, and it's on my revision list for Rough Guides because that part of the line is a new addition. I found a guide online of offbeat stuff in Hong Kong, and Whampoa was on the list. It's the former shipyard, but it's now inland as ground has been reclaimed around it. Someone decided to honour this - by building a small mall that looks like a miniature cruise ship. I don't mean "vaguely boat-like," like the apartment building at Sheppard and Bayview in Toronto: I mean a large concrete boat. The area is otherwise relatively quiet (if you use a Hong Kong measuring stick), and the mall wouldn't even interest fans of malls, never mind me. But the "boat" was definitely entertaining.

photo: Ceci n'est pas un bateau (invoking Magritte). It's a mall.

A mall that looks exactly like a small cruise ship surrounded by apartments.

From there I went to Wan Chai MTR on the Island, to Central Plaza. It took me a few minutes to realize that the building I was looking for wasn't on Central Plaza, it is Central Plaza. Apparently the world's tallest building made of re-enforced concrete, the 46th floor is the interchange floor from the lower levels elevators to the upper levels elevators - and also an observation deck with glass all the way around (although it kind of feels like the entire building is made of elevators, as that's the only things facing onto the rather large floor space). The building is apparently locally referred to as "The Big Syringe" - it has four sides, but you can figure out the rest of its profile from that description. Most of the high spots I've been to in Hong Kong have been in Kowloon, facing the Island - the exception being The Peak, but what you mostly see from there is Kowloon. And I've spent a lot of evenings on the lovely 40th floor "Sky Garden" at the hotel (as now) - Kowloon looking toward the Island. At Central Plaza I got a very different view - right in the middle of the Island. Very cool indeed. Sadly, it was again fairly bad for photography: tinted glass with heavy reflections. I gave it a try anyway: we'll see how it comes out.

photo: The Central Plaza building

Looking straight up one side of a gold and silver slab of a building.

I returned to Upper Lascar and Hollywood to look at the entertaining if dubious antiques, now that most of the stores were open. From there I followed the Mid-level escalator down, peering into three small pedestrian alley markets.

I went to a Rough Guide-recommended restaurant called Chee Kei, but one look in the door told me that dinner there would most likely take every dollar of the $120HK I still had in my pocket, so I thought I'd better find a bank machine first. But by the time I got back to the hotel, used the internet to find a bank machine I had some faith in, and did some various other research ... I didn't go back. Instead, I went quite close by to "Mammy Pancake," one of the 23 Michelin-rated street food outlets in Hong Kong ( http://danielfooddiary.com/2015/11/07/michelinstreetfood/ ). This is a new thing for Michelin this year, apparently a tardy admission that HK takes its street food pretty seriously, and an acknowledgement that if they want to stay relevant they'd better get with the program. Or something like that. In any case, $16HK got me an original egg waffle (after a 10 minute wait and my number being posted on a screen), which is a bunch of small balls of waffley goodness in a hexagonal grid, folded up and stuffed into a bag not quite big enough for it. Tasty, although it didn't rock my world quite the way I thought Michelin-rated food ought to do. :-) Then I returned to the ever-popular snack vendor right around the corner from my hotel, and got myself a chicken skewer and a "beacon sausage" skewer (grand damage: $24 HK, or about $4CAN). Delicious.