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: Cathay Pacific Flight Experience

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: Cathay Pacific Flight Experience

As promised, I’m finally getting down to documenting and blogging my entire Hong Kong trip. I cannot wait for this post to get out, because I love Hong Kong and would really want to share my travel with you!

This is the first part of my Hong Kong trilogy series. There are 3 parts (duh trilogy): Flight, Hotel and Hong Kong in general.

Flight Details

Ok, so this trip was very impromptu. We literally booked our flight and hotel 1 week 3 days before departure… *faints* (I KNOW RIGHT) My dad is very indecisive, so to him booking even 3 days before departure is the norm. But anyway, our family has always flown with SQ (Singapore Airlines) because it’s an amazing airline and seriously, it’s so safe and the cabin crew are amazing. However, SQ was almost fully booked. On top of that the air tickets were twice the usual range. And yes, I am speaking for all classes – economy, premium economy business, first and I’m pretty sure suites as well. A normal economy ticket to Hong Kong (that is if you book months in advance which is the norm anyway) is around $303-$350SGD. Premium Economy is around $700-$800SGD. Business class tickets range from $1500-$2000SGD tops. First Class and Suites are classes that I have 0 knowledge about, but you can always check the prices out here on SQ’s website. So this time for every class, the prices were x2 of the amount. Insane right? And excuse me, but $700SGD for an economy class ticket to HONG KONG? No way.

So, (very) bumped us (especially me since I’m such an airline snob which is so terrible) went to check our second airline option: Cathay Pacific. I have never flown Cathay Pacific before so I was a little skeptical. I actually sound like an airplane snob, but I think it’s just because my family always flew SQ so to me it was like, SQ set the standards for me. And… I kind of have like airplane anxiety (but it got better for me over the years) so for me the airline really does matter. Plus I watch way too much Air Crash Investigation documentaries when I was younger, as young as 13. So… *sighs at myself* But if I wasn’t this anxious every time before I fly, I would have just picked a budget airline. But then again, it depends. I’ll do another post comparing flying budget and international airlines in the months to come. But anyway, their prices were way cheaper, and for some reason more stable. It didn’t fluctuate as much even if you booked 1 month before, 1 week before or heck, even 1 day before! I guess this is really a great thing about Cathay. I’m not so sure if it differs for countries, but it just so happens that for Hong Kong, there wasn’t much difference. Anyway, it was about $400SGD for economy, so we decided what the heck let’s just go for economy!

My parents didn’t want any other airline so we just went for Cathay Pacific. My parents flew with them before when they went to Vancouver, Canada in June 2015 and they said it was not bad. I mean, last time I checked Cathay was one of the top 10 best airlines in the world, so why not? Our flight was scheduled on the 24th of March, Friday, 6.50am, Flight CX 650. Our departure date was the 28th of March, Tuesday, 1.50pm, CX 735.

Flight Experience

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On board an A350 plane, flight CX 650

Anyway, the flights were…decent. I have mixed reviews to be super honest with you.

Ok the crew were generally friendly and food was GREAT TO BE VERY HONEST. But, during my going-there flight (pardon my english) the crew were quite rude. They had really “upset-looking” faces. I mean, I don’t expect them to smile 24/7 but they really looked angry, pissed, as if they didn’t want to be on this flight. That didn’t bug me as much as the fact that we had to ASK for our travel declaration forms. I am going to compare this with SQ. SQ crew automatically issue out the forms during the beginning of the flight – around 1 to 2 hours into the flight. We thought this service would be the same for Cathay but nope… We waited till about 1 hour before landing (arrival) and decided something was up, and asked the crew for 3 forms. And guess what… the lady was so pissed off… or rather irritated. Ok I don’t want to seem like I am bashing the crew or airline but…that is questionable and I open up this post for judgement.

Next is the hot towel service. On SQ flights, hot towels are served to ALL classes before the plane takes off. But for Cathay, they only serve hot towels to premium economy, business and first class. Ok this sounds so petty but for someone who has flown SQ all her life, this is a rather ‘culture shock’ in that sense. I am too used to hot towels because it really moisturises and cleans my face. I love that warm feeling on my hands and face before take-off. Makes me feel cosy, and just warmed up. They didn’t have pillows too, you had to request for a pillow from the crew. And once again, SQ already has the pillow placed on your seat. And also, the crew didnt even serve us any drinks. Again, SQ crew would always walk around serving us either apple juice or orange juice. But on the flight… nope. Ok but those aren’t big issues so it’s fine.

Oh but there is an issue that really bugs me but it isn’t Cathay’s fault. Their entertainment service wasn’t as good as SQ’s in my opinion because Cathay had a lot Chinese/Cantonese shows and music which is normal because this is the Hong Kong national carrier. But because I don’t really speak Chinese neither do I have any knowledge of the cantonese language, I really was struggling to past my time on board. And this is Economy we are talking about not business, to sleep on board can be a hassle to many including myself. BUT luckily, I found this super amazing singer called “Roosevelt music”, he is like a german singer and makes like synth-pop/indie/electronic chill-wave music which I LOVE. Some of the other western artists I found were Bruno Mars, Fetty Wap and Jason Derulo. They didn’t even have Adele or Beyonce! But that’s okay, because Roosevelt saved my life. You can check out his music here! So for my western travellers out there, there might not be a whole bunch of entertainment choices for you to choose from.

On a more positive note, I have to compliment the crew who were on my return flight. They were SO MUCH BETTER. The steward was handsome (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA just had to point that out) and the crew for my cabin were generally really attentive to our needs. The stewardess serving our cabin, she had like short hair and was really pretty. I wished I got her name because she was really so kind, polite, and just great. Maybe I should email Cathay and compliment her. She was a junior crew, actually all of them were. It’s quite common for junior crew to be serving in economy anyway. The steward served us haagen dazs ice cream too (the mini ones) too, after our meals. And the crew ACTUALLY walked around and served us drinks, which was a stark difference from my previous Cathay flight. And they didn’t just do it once, but three times! I was really so full on board and would say that I am well taken care off by the cabin crew so two thumbs up for the crew onboard that flight. Yay, if ever this posts gets out internationally, thank you to the cabin crew of that flight! I felt as if the steward and stewardess serving my cabin were Singaporeans. They didn’t look like they were from Hong Kong and the english they spoke were super Singaporean. Ok maybe the steward is from Hong Kong but I am 100% sure the stewardess is a Singaporean. But doesn’t matter, they were great!

Overall thoughts?

Coming from an airline snob like me, because I really am one… I think personally I wouldn’t mind flying Cathay again. Truth be told, after the first flight to Hong Kong, I was like telling my parents I would never fly Cathay ever in my life because it was really such a ‘culture shock’ from SQ. But after the second flight back to Singapore, I really didn’t mind. The hot towels, travel declaration forms were small issues and petty ones. And I think my opinion of Cathay initially was very biased too, because this comes from a frequent SQ-flyer and SQ is really the top airline (other than Emirates). But of course the flight experience during my return flight really helped change my impression of Cathay, I love the crew on that flight (I said that 10 times already)!

Whether it is the “best airline of the world”, that is really subjective to the needs and wants of every individual passenger.

For things like entertainment, if you are someone who has difficulty sleeping on board (like me) or someone who needs to do something to not feel bored, and particularly if you are not Chinese/Cantonese then I think Cathay wouldn’t be the airline for you because their entertainment services aren’t the best out there. My parents were Cantonese, so they were able to appreciate and enjoy the Cantonese movies on board but for people like me, I am way too ‘westernised’ for those movies and I didn’t feel like I would like it. Music too, because I only listen to Hollywood songs. BUT, if you’re someone who can sleep anywhere and everywhere, and entertainment isn’t a priority for you on board then Cathay can be a possible airline for you.

Cathay ultimately provided the basics of what a passanger would NEED in a flight: a reasonable seat, food, drinks, some form of in-flight entertainment, toilets etc. But does it go the extra mile for passengers? To me, not at all.

Regarding the cabin crew service… ok how do I put this? Ok, It depends on your luck I guess. If you get a good crew, your flight is pretty much set. But if you get a bad crew, as bad as mine during the going-there flight then of course it wouldn’t be a pleasant flight experience. But I would really like to think that I’m just unlucky that I had a ‘bad crew’ on board serving me for that flight, because my parents took Cathay last time to Vancouver and mentioned the crew were actually great. A crew can really make or break your flight experience, so pray hard you get a decent crew!

Other than that, I think Cathay isn’t that bad, but neither is it that good. It can improve its services, especially its in-flight entertainment. Its a decent airline. For someone who has never flown before, or has never taken an international full fledged airline, you would probably find Cathay a great airline. But if you’ve already flown with big and famous airlines like SQ, Emirates, Ethiad then Cathay would probably miss the mark for you.

I would give Cathay a 7/10 for my reasons above. I do not mind flying with Cathay again for sure, if SQ is fully booked.

Hope this review was insightful and interesting, and thank you Cathay for quite a pleasant flight experience!

With love,

Vanessa