My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: In a Nutshell

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: In a Nutshell

Hi everyone, and welcome to my last post for the Hong Kong Trilogy series!

Finally right? To be so honest with you guys, I have procrastinated so much because I had so much to say and planning this post was insane. I don’t want to over-write, but I also don’t want to under-write. Man, I feel like I put way too much pressure on myself I need to calm down.

Anyway, I’ll be talking about the top 3 things that I love about Hong Kong, as well as my reasons for them. If you don’t already know, Hong Kong is probably my favourite asian city because honestly, I love to eat, shop and eat on repeat (and excessively too if I might add) and I love cities which have the ‘NYC-state-of-mind’ vibes, and Hong Kong is honestly the asian version of New York. It’s a city that really never sleeps. I can look down from my hotel bedroom at 11pm and still see tons of cars driving past. Ok enough of my rambling, let’s get to it!

  1. The Food

Food… *inserts dreamy eyes*.

Hong Kong is known for being a food paradise. Wait… what am I talking about? OBVIOUSLY. Isn’t that what we all already know? Jeez Vanessa I need to stop stating the obvious. Ok I can honestly go on and on about the food in Hong Kong… but I shall not. I promised myself that I’ll only select 3 types of food that I love and move on.

Kam Wah Cafe: 47 Bute St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

I love this place so much, I can literally eat breakfast here everyday. Kam Wah Cafe is known in Hong Kong for its Polo buns, which are basically Pineapple buns. I initially thought it really had pineapple filling, but nope! These Polo buns (or Pineapple buns) are named ‘Pineapple buns’ because they resemble the shape of a pineapple.

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Pineapple Bun / Polo Bun 

I mean… yes I guess it does kind of look like a pineapple right? Anyway, you can eat this pineapple bun plain just like that, with just the butter sandwiched in between the bun, or you can eat it just like how I did, with the ham and yolk filling in it. It was the best thing ever. It tasted sweet (because of the crusted layer) yet savoury because of the ham and yolk. So if you’re someone who wants the best of both worlds, you got to try the pineapple bun!

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Polo Bun with Egg yolk and Ham filling, Egg tart and their peanut butter french toast

Besides the pineapple bun, I also ordered one egg tart (to try since it was highly raved about), and french toast with peanut butter filling. I loved the french toast too, it was so tasty and just great. It came with melted butter on the top, as seen from the picture above. It’s buttery, sweet, but then again the peanut butter wasn’t too sweet so it kind of evens out the sweetness making it just right. The egg tart wasn’t very good, was kind of disappointed because it was quite tasteless. It wasn’t buttery at all and neither was it sweet but that’s ok because it only costed me SGD $0.70 – $0.80 I reckon? The pineapple bun with just butter filling cost SGD $1.50 while the one with ham and yolk filling was around SGD $2.00+? I can’t remember. The peanut butter french toast was around SGD $2.70. Here’s the menu and some other random pictures I took of Kam Wah Cafe!

I definitely recommend this place because food is generally great, and service is fast. The staff is quite friendly and patient especially to us because we were tourists and the menu was in Chinese. So western travellers, beware! If you ever go there, perhaps google a picture of the food item you want and show it to the waiter/waitress, because that was what I did and they didn’t mind one bit. Also in Hong Kong, sharing seats is very common and it tends to get a little crowded if you don’t come earlier. Crowd starts to come in around 8am too. I’m going to rate this place for you guys as a reference point, and I give it an 8/10. I didn’t give 9 or 10 because I literally only tried 3 of their food items and the egg tart wasn’t great. But as of now, it would be an 8 for me. Perhaps when I go back there again, I’ll be able to try more of their food and give you a more accurate rating. Do take note the 8 mainly for the 3 food items I ordered, the staff and service.

Tim Ho Wan: IFC Mall MTR Shop 12A,, Central, Hong Kong

I am so sorry that I didn’t take much pictures for this, but the food was way too good I gobbled everything down before I could even snap proper photos. Tim Ho Wan is a 1-star michelin restaurant is one of the world’s cheapest michelin-star restaurant.

We ordered like crazy as you can see from the photo. I think my favourite dish was the BBQ pork buns. I love love love them. Sadly as I’ve mentioned above, I forgot to snap a picture of the pork buns up-close but here’s a picture of them in the Tim Ho Wan restaurant that I ate in, in Singapore.

The BBQ pork buns tasted really similar. But the ones in Hong Kong was bigger, and was way more ‘flat’ in shape. I think the crust was also a little sweeter in Hong Kong compared to the ones in Singapore. But filling-wise it tasted and was presented the same way. Serving wise was also the same.

The queue though, was insane. My family and I literally spent 40 minute queuing. But service and staff were good, and the food really made it up for the time spent waiting. We were given menus and were able to write down our order while waiting in line, so that was clever and wise of the staff. While waiting in line, my family and I even made friends with this Thai couple from Chiang Mai, who were around the late 40s to early 50s. The man studied in Singapore in the 1990s for College and has never been back to Singapore ever since which rang a huge bell for us because we were literally shouting ‘You must go back to Singapore one day because it has changed so much!’ I honestly love meeting fellow tourists in a foreign country. It kind of makes you feel like you’re not alone, and you’re all in this together – travellers got to stick together am I right?

Anyway, the other dim sum dishes like the sui mai and fried carrot cake were obviously delicious and they really tasted genuinely so fresh. I guess it’s also because Hong Kong is the king of dim sum so… of course it would taste just like Hong Kong *laughs*.

I would give Tim Ho Wan a 9/10. I love the food, ambience, staff and service. We only waited 10 minutes for our food. I guess it’s also because we were busy talking to the Thai couple, so it made the ‘wait’ for food much more bearable. (Yes, they were seated next to us too, what a coincidence!) Price point, it’s roughly about the same as Singapore’s pricing, but it tasted just a little better over in Hong Kong. (Maybe I am biased *giggles*)

I would definitely recommend you trying out Tim Ho Wan, especially if you’re flying to Hong Kong and don’t have Tim Ho Wan in your country. There are several Tim Ho Wan outlets all over Hong Kong too, so don’t worry and go to the nearest possible outlet if you can.

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Some of the more ‘well-known’ and easily accessible THW outlets in Hong Kong

Kee Hwa Bakery: Level B2, Langham Place, 8 Argyle Street, Mong Kok

Ok this last food item is a snack. It’s called “Dark Brown Sugar Chinese Sweet Crispies”.

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Dark Brown Sugar Chinese Sweet Crispies HKD $26 / SGD $4.70 per pack

This is like, the best thing ever. I kid you not. It is apparently a traditional Manchu delicacy. Manchu is basically an ethnic minority in China. Anyway, the crispies are sweet and crispy (duh as evident from ‘crispies’) and is made with flour, eggs, honey and syrup. There is a classic version with no dark sugar added, but I forgot to take a picture of it. It is HKD $25 which is SG $4.50, 20 cents cheaper. That’s less sweet of course BUT it still tastes good. Just in case you were wondering, I have a sweet tooth so I ended up buying the dark sugar version.

The pack can be broken up into 4 pieces of crispies, so it’s great for families to share within themselves. It’s very easy to bite and chew even though it is considered ‘crispy. I would highly recommend this if you have a sweet-tooth (like me) and if you just want something to munch on in between your meals. It is a great snack for travellers especially, and can be eaten on-the-go. The packaging makes it easy to open so that’s convenient for us travellers (I should use the word tourists instead but its alright) so we don’t need to carry a pair of scissors in our bag-pack. Also, there isn’t much fall out so you can just eat it without getting worried over whether or not the pieces will drop on your clothes or dirty the seat or floor. A huge yes and a big yay for me! I give it a 10/10!

Also Kee Hwa, the bakery that carries this food item can be found in many MTR stations and malls (like Langham Mall) so don’t worry, it can be easily ‘hunted down’ in Hong Kong! Make sure to buy 10 packs to bring home with you too! *winks*

2. The weather

Can I just start off by saying that Hong Kong has the best weather? Ok but for me, though Hong Kong has summer and it’s like 28-30 degrees during that season (oh hey, it’s summer now in Hong Kong by the way), I still don’t mind it because it’s cooler than Singapore. Singapore’s like averagely 32-35 degrees almost all year round so, no complaints Hong Kong… no complaints. And spring time is the best because it’s between 14 (when it rains) to 22 degrees! I went to Hong Kong in end March so it was about to turn into the summer season but the temperature was like 18 to 22 degrees. While I was in Hong Kong on the 26th of March, a Sunday (wow my memory skills are amazing), I can remember that it was colder than usual (15 degrees), because apparently there was some storm, causing the temperature to drop. But hey, 15 degrees is amazing. You can still wear a t-shirt and jeans out with sneakers on and not ‘freeze-to-death’! The weather in general is just right. Almost all year round, I can wear a leather jacket and not sweat BUT I can also wear a t-shirt and not freeze-to-death. It’s really a win-win situation, sign me up Hong Kong!

3. The Ambience

Ah… the city view.

I am a true-blue lover of Hong Kong. There I said it. It’s not so much of the food, the people or the weather. I think it’s really more of the ambience, the vibes I get when I’m in Hong Kong. It’s the second city that never sleeps, and it’s full of passion and beauty.

Though it’s an urban city, some of the buildings are really old and I guess that’s what I love about Hong Kong – the contrast, the concept of ‘old meets new’. It has a bit of everything and it makes the place so beautiful and I’ll forever be in awe.

I get a lot of questions, whether I’ll migrate to Hong Kong next time. I can’t give you guys an answer yet. I would however, probably want to work in Hong Kong for a year or two but to stay in Hong Kong… I can’t answer that just yet because I don’t know Hong Kong 100% yet. So far… I’ve only seen 50% of it and truth be told I do love it. So, to answer everyone’s question, I don’t know. But we shall see, because who knows?

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If you’re someone looking to get away from the stress and harsh realities of life in your home-country (like I was, after a tiring school semester), go to Hong Kong. Sure the streets are crowded, yeah the country is all about the hustle and bustle of city life, but there’s something about Hong Kong that turns the craziness of city life into something beautiful, something peaceful. You see the millions of people who walk past you, the way they talk, they way they rush from place to place…you get fascinated by how different yet similar we are. It also makes you realise how small you actually are. And just by standing at my hotel room’s window on the 29th floor, watching the world go by… makes me realise how the world has so much possibilities. It reminded me that my problems that I have in school, in life or whatever, are so small compared to this world. There’s really an entire world out there, just waiting for me to explore. Any second spent complaining or whining or being upset, is time wasted because look how much there is in the world. And to think of it, this is merely a tiny fraction of the world. So, stop wasting time and get out there into the world! Travel as much as you want, eat as much as you want and laugh as much as you want. Time spent not doing all these things, is time wasted.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, congratulations! I’ve officially come to the end of my Hong Kong Trilogy series. Writing this was an honour for me. It’s funny, because before visiting Hong Kong (for the second time in my life), I didn’t think I would find it peaceful, I mean Hong Kong is NO Bali, or Switzerland. It doesn’t have mountains for me to see or lakes for me to walk past. But somehow, somehow, I was still able to connect the dots and find my serenity in the streets of Hong Kong. And I hope that you will too.

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My mom and I at Mak’s Noodles at Ocean Terminal, Hong Kong

With love,

Vanessa

 

 

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My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: Cordis Hotel at Langham Place

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: Cordis Hotel at Langham Place

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Entrance of Cordis Hotel at Langham Place (Film Effect)

Hello, and welcome to the second part of my Hong Kong trip trilogy. If you made it this far, congrats! I hope my content will continue to keep you entertained and hopefully it makes you smile too.

In today’s post, I’m going to walk you through my thoughts about the hotel. As reflected on my post’s title, my family and I stayed in Cordis Hotel at Langham Place for 4 nights. Let’s get to it!

Location of Cordis & Nearby Food

The hotel used to be named “Langham Place Hotel” but it revamped in 2015 and it changed its name to Cordis. It is operated by Langham Hotels International.

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Lift Lobby
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The 2nd floor view, from the main lobby
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The main lobby

It is located at 555 Shanghai Street in Mong Kok. This really was a win for me because I always wanted to stay in Mong Kok. For those of you who don’t know, Mong Kok is like a very happening place in Hong Kong, it’s considered the ‘central’ area, since it’s situated on the red line of the Hong Kong’s MTR (MTR is their public train system). It is also 3 stops away from Tsium Sha Tsui! And it lies between Prince Edward station and Tsium Sha Tsui – all these locations are very ‘happening’ and are popular shopping districts. I won’t go so much about the other mtr stations, but the hotel itself is connected to Langham Mall (take the lift to the level 4 of Cordis hotel, if I remember correctly, walk past the concierge and there is a link bridge thing which connects the hotel to the mall, it literally is just a few metres away from your hotel room) which is a huge shopping mall with 50 over stores – H&M, Coach, Timberland, Hush Puppies, Pandora, Cath Kidson etc. For my Singaporean readers out there, Langham Mall is basically the “Raffles City” of Singapore. Food wise, there are so many options too but my family and I didn’t really go to Langham Mall to dine because we wanted to eat the street food and restaurants – which is what Hong Kong is famous for. But if you are curious, here is the mall’s directory which I managed to snap a picture of!

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Langham Mall’s directory

Additionally, opposite Langham Mall (like seriously across the street, the street is next to Coach) there is a huge SASA and Bourjois stall (Bourjois is like the Watsons plus Venus of Singapore all in one). These stalls sell mainly beauty things. You can find brands like Maybelline, Revlon, Loreal etc. The prices are about 10% cheaper than in Singapore but their sales are insane. I bought a Revlon lipstick for $12SGD! Singapore is selling at $19SGD. Insanity!

You’ll never grow hungry if you stay in Cordis, because not only is it connected to Langham Mall (which I already mentioned earlier) but, it’s also a 1 minute walk away from Chan Kee Roasted Goose restaurant! Chan Kee is one of the most popular place in Hong Kong for roasted Goose. Literally it is the best thing on earth. Chan Kee is located directly behind Cordis – the back alley of the hotel. The address: 427 Reclamation St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong. 

My family and I ordered the same thing during both of the times we ate there. Service was good too, but partly because it wasn’t crowded, so perhaps the staff were still able to manage. And yes, they provide english menus too, you just have to request for one from the waitress. So western travellers, don’t worry Chan Kee and I got you covered! For other details, I won’t go too much in-depth since this isn’t a food review.

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Roasted Goose, Chicken and Pork with sausages > HKD$198 / SGD$36 

Another amazing restaurant that is nearby Cordis, which roughly is about 5 minutes away (and yes it is just behind the hotel AGAIN), is Tsui Wah Restaurant. The address: 244 Portland St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Tsui Wah is very popular for tourists, because the staff are very friendly and will take the time to explain to tourists what is highly raved in the restaurant. They also have an english menu too which is great for westerners and Singaporeans who have 0 knowledge of the cantonese language… even chinese how embarrassing. Anyway, it is extremely common to find the restaurant (sometimes) packed with tourists.

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My mom with her shrimp and spinach dumplings w/ noodles in fish soup > HKD$34 / SGD$6.13
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Close up picture of what my mom ordered
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My fish balls and fish cake w/flat rice noodles in fish soup > HKD$35 / SGD$6.31
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Special Breakast Menu > HKD$36 / SGD$6.49
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I ordered the speciality breakfast in the end

Looks yummy yeah?

The best part is that it tastes as yummy as it looks, perhaps even better. You’ll definitely NEVER go hungry in Hong Kong, but Cordis just happens to be located right smack in these food places which is a huge plus point for tourists! For more food reviews, stay tuned for the next post where I talk about Hong Kong as a whole where there’s a mini food part!

Oh and just in case you need a reference as to where Cordis is, as mentioned earlier it’s nearest MTR is Mong Kok station. Mong Kok is linked underground, to Langham Mall’s basement, and Langham Mall is also linked to Cordis so its a win-win situation for all!

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Hong Kong’s MTR map, Mong Kok is the nearest station from Cordis 

Room

Ok… I have to admit, I was too excited and totally forgot to take a picture of my room. I only have a video of it! But since I’m not a premium wordpress subscriber, I don’t get the luxury of uploading videos. What I did was I uploaded the room tour on my youtube channel. I created this youtube channel just for this, so don’t worry I’m not like an active youtuber or anything like that.

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The view from my hotel room, on the 29th floor

I booked the “Family Trio Room” which is on the 29th floor. It was amazing I love the room so much. It’s 37m² which is considered a large room for Hong Kong’s standard. (Hong Kong rooms in general, or rather housing, is/are very small in case you didn’t know). Some of the key things about the room is their 40-inch television, marble-themed bathroom (which you can see in the video) and their complimentary smartphone (with 4G, fully paid by Cordis of course) which you can bring around with you wherever you go! How cool is that?

For the family trio, it’s HKD$2450 per night, which is SGD$441. I have to admit, because it is a 5-star luxury hotel, the prices are definitely on the higher end. One has to also take into consideration the location – Langham mall and Mong Kok MTR just minutes away, and popular food,shopping and beauty stalls nearby, again just minutes away, it is no wonder that the price will be slightly higher. Here is the Cordis hotel’s website, specifically the room that we booked for reference!

Amenities

Cordis has a total of 41 floors.

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In the lift, my room is on the 29th floor 

Cordis is known for this famous Michelin-starred Cantonese Restaurant called  “Ming Court”  that is on the 5th floor but unfortunately, we didn’t know we had to book a table several days in advance!!! So for people who want to try out Ming Court, remember to make a reservation first before even coming to Hong Kong.

The hotel’s gym, spa and swimming pool are on the 41st floor. Yes it is the highest floor!

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The pool on the 41st floor
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The women’s gym
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The general gym
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Walking through the spa rooms

I can’t really say much for the amenities, because my family and I didn’t use it at all. But from a “superficial” point of view, it is pretty cool and impressive. The pool was extremely beautiful, and the spa and gym were super overwhelming. Based on the appearance of them, they do live up to the standard of a luxury hotel.

Service

The service and staff in Cordis are amazing. When we checked into the hotel, the counter staff (Nicole Tang) was so polite, and was very initiative when it came to starting conversations. She asked us things like – was it our first time in Hong Kong, was it our first time in Cordis etc. And we weren’t first time travellers to Hong Kong, but it was the first time we stayed in Cordis, and Mong Kok in general so we were quite unfamiliar with the Mong Kok area. She then took out a map and wrote down all the places to eat and where to shop etc. How awesome is that? And she even pointed out that if we needed extra help, we could always call her or any of her staff to help us out! Thanks Nicole Tang!

Another impressive staff is this bellboy whom I forgot to get his name. During the morning of our second day, we were about to walk out of the hotel and he helped open the door for us and casually asked us how is our stay in Hong Kong going. We told him that we really wanted to eat beef noodles now – like right now (then) because my family and I had a sudden craving. And guess what! He immediately turned to his staff and said “I’ll be back in a while” and offered to bring us to this beef place right behind the hotel (yet again) that sell really delicious beef noodles. Can you believe it? He brought us all the way to the stall’s doorstep!

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What we had: beef noodles

And it was only HDK$25… and to highlight, this is BEEF BRISKET! How worth it right? Gosh, but seriously that bellboy’s service was A*. He really went the extra mile for us and we were insanely impressed.

And to top it off, the hotel staff always pressed the lift buttons for us. We can be in the lift lobby and when a hotel staff comes, they would ask which floor we were going to and pressed the button and the button inside the lift to the floor we want to go to. Like seriously?! THAT is the kind of service we get to enjoy!

Overall Thoughts

Ok, I will start with the price first. I think that $441 per night for a family trio room is expensive. Probably $300-$350 is alright but $441 is way too much. BUT I feel like the location, service and amenities make up for it. What a pity that I didn’t get to use the amenities but since I’m not really the gym-goer/spa-goer… then well I don’t regret it so much but the $441 does include the gym and pool usage so… maybe I do regret it. (HAHAHAHAH) Anyway as I was saying, the location is really the main deciding factor and it was what really won me over. My family and I saved a lot on transportation (MTR) (ps, we took a cab from the Hong Kong International Airport because we were lazy to drag out luggage through public transport) because Cordis had so much food and shopping, so we rarely needed to use the MTR to go anywhere. (other than Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay) I mean, MTR is quite affordable, but if you can save, even if its $1, how can you say no to that right? So in terms of location, we did save a lot on transportation and that kind of evens it out. Because you see, if I stayed in another hotel that doesn’t have that great a location then I would have spent more on transportation right? So… it depends, what your wants/needs/preferences when it comes to choosing a hotel.

Ultimately, this hotel isn’t for everyone. I’m honestly not a hotel snob, so staying in a 3 or 4 star hotel is fine for me. But if you’re someone who wants really a luxury experience, hotel staff who literally would do almost anything for you, and an AMAZING location… then sure go ahead! I would also advice you to make your money more worth it by using the gym and pool too. If you are someone who doesn’t mind staying in a less luxurious hotel, and do not mind the fact or possibility that you might not get the best hotel service in town then, Cordis might not be the hotel for you. If you don’t mind saving on accommodation, and spending the money on food and shopping, I recommend staying at Holiday Inn (which is located literally right smack within the shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui) because it’s generally a good hotel (4 star hotel, and I’ve stayed there back in 2010) and the location is equally as BOMB as this one! Service, room and amenities might not be THAT luxurious and perfect but it is stay-able!

Hopefully I am not deviating too much, but anyway…

Cordis gets a 9/10 for me because this is honestly one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in my entire life. The missing 1 point is for the price. It could be slightly less expensive…*frowns*.

Anyway, my hands are getting tired so this is it! Hope this review was entertaining enough and stay tuned for the last post of the Hong Kong Trilogy!

With love,

Vanessa