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Motormouth From Ipoh

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hong Kong/Macau 2008 - Dimsum @ Central, Golden Bauhinia Square & Hoi Kee Roasted Meats

Continuation from Day Four in Hong Kong ...

Jostle/elbow/smackdown your way down the escalators if you have to !!!
Day five of our journey started rather early, but unexpectedly caught up in the "traffic" at MTR stations. Yup, the rush hours in Hong Kong is exactly like in the movies/dramas, and KL's frantic rush for the trains is beginning to resemble HK's BP-raising ordeal.
Remember, if you're merely out for a leisure stroll, or early breakfast, avoid the rush hours (before 9am) as much as possible. Unless of course, you wish to embrace or bask in the hectic ongoings at the station. But do stand aside, the stampede's pretty unforgiving.

Central @ Hong Kong Island

The slopes are crazy at Central, you're practically climbing and descending "hills" on the same road ... Look at the guy pushing the cart uphill. SLOW depicts his speed, obviously.

Yung Kee Restaurant @ Wellington St, Central - Most famous for roasted goose in HK, though over-priced

LIN HEUNG TEA HOUSE @ Wellington Street, Central

But credits to Hong Kong's MTR system, as though the endless queues of people (specifically the blue collars) is slightly daunting, the wait for the trains was mere minutes, as the frequency is pretty impressive. Bet KL's Putra line (or Kelana Jaya line?) can learn a thing or two. A trip from MTR Mongkok to MTR Central cost HKD13.50/RM6 per way.

Central is THE business district in Hong Kong. No frills, no specific tourist spots, all buildings and roads. OK, except from Lan Kwai Fong (we'll get to this much later) and some restaurants on Wellington Street, where we were heading to for our breakfast.

The place was packed to the brim on a weekday's morning

Not exactly a tourist's stop for good ol' dimsum, but more like a hearty breakfast joint for the locales and backpackers. Or at least that was what the chatty and friendly uncle at our table had us believed. The crowd leaned more towards the elderly bracket, whom enjoyed their cuppa tea coupled with morsels of dumplings, and char siew pau (BBQ pork buns). And almost half of the patrons at the place were reading the daily papers while sipping on their choice of brewed Chinese tea. And tough chance on finding an entirely empty table for your own, unless you're coming a big group. Even the four of us had to share with another 2 individuals. But there's the fun in mingling with the locales, no? :)

Clockwise from top left : Cheong Fun (Rolled Rice Noodle with Minced Meat), Ma Lai Ko (Layered Sponge Cake with Molasses), and the Lotus Paste with Egg Yolk Bun

Clockwise from top left : Siew Mai (Pork Dumplings), Har Kau (Prawn Dumplings), Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork Bun) and Ham Sui Kok (Crispy Rice Flour Dumplings with Minced meat)

Some may have the impression that dim sum in Hong Kong is VERY pricey, and high-end. But in fact, it's not. Unless you're having yours in high-end dimsum joints, or in hotels. And what's more, the quality of the dim sum is top-notch, as you're getting REAL meat and LARGE prawns in every bite, rather than chewing on flour and whatnots. The portion's bigger as well, and dainty's definitely not a word commonly used to describe the dim sum here.

But of course, as the ladies (aunties) with carts come passing by, you HAVE to get their attention or better yet, bring your order card and self-serve, as courtesy's a bit lacking in this part of the town. Most of the popular items run out pretty fast, and you'll have to either brace the wait for them, OR seek consolation with something else.

One of their signature item, Zhu Tou Mai, literally translated to Pig's Stomach Dumplings

Uncle recommended some of their best offerings, and as soon as the Zhu Tou Mai were available, we grabbed one without thinking twice. Though may sound gross on paper, but the pork fillings, 'covered' by the pieces of pig's stomach are good stuff, as the stomach was clean, rather sweet, and delivered quite a bite. The pork fillings is the same as the Siew Mai's, so no complaints.

Total for four = HKD140/RM63. Quite reasonable, for the satisfying spread.

Location : Lin Heung Tea House @ 160-164, Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong.

Taking the Tram to Wan Chai for only HKD2/RM0.90 per way

One minor gripe about Central though, the slopes on the roads are taxing. And if you're not one who can 'tahan' all the climbing and descending, better get a taxi. Plus the hotter than ideal weather, we were already sweating so early in the day. After breakfast, we took a tram to reach Wan Chai. Trams are popular as they're cheaper than buses and MTR, but only serve certain routes on the island. A flat rate of only HKD2/RM0.90 per ride, to get to anywhere at all.

Wan Chai district on Hong Kong Island - Finally seeing some GREENS!!!

And MORE greens???!!! @ Victoria Park, in Causeway Bay

The Golden Bauhinia statue at Golden Bauhinia Square @ Wan Chai North

If you're a fan of TVB dramas, you would've seen some of the landmarks around here

We alighted from the tram at Wan Chai, and walked a short distance to Golden Bauhinia Square. OK, so it was NOT that short, but somehow the distance was tormenting in a way, aggravated by the hot and humid weather. From the square, you'll be able to see Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront at the opposite end, a reciprocal position from the Avenue of Stars.

After the brief visit, we were seeking refuge at the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre nearby, for some much-desired rest and air-cond. Coincidentally, the Hong Kong Jewel + Watch Fair was being held, a vibrant event with enthusiasts from all over the world taking part.

Then came the worst mistake of the day. From the Wan Chai ferry pier, we took bus No. 18 to reach Causeway Bay (supposedly) which is a stop away. But we overshot our destination and realised we alighted somewhere near Victoria Park, a distance away from Times Square.

On most days, walking through a park with lush greeneries and perfectly-paved walkways brings to mind a sense of recreation and relaxation. But to imagine dragging our carcasses through the park in the scorching sun, shadowed only by the haze, the experience was nevertheless, memorable. But there WERE people jogging and exercising in that weather, at that moment. Gee, guess Hongkies love their sun, no? =P

TIMES SQUARE @ Causeway Bay

Even on a weekday's afternoon, the crowd at shopping complexes are by no means thin

By hook or by crook, we MUST reach Times Square. Or at least that was motivating us to move on. After tremendous effort and determination (plus a stop at IKEA for a breath of, erm, cool air?), we managed to reach the populated spot at Causeway Bay.

We were game for anything at all for lunch, and to imagine having lunch in any restaurants in the fully air-conditioned Times Square, we were drooling (at the prospect of soothing our sore bodies and limbs, not at the food). But surprisingly, there are not many dining options in that complex. And mostly pricey counterparts of your average Chinese restaurants and cafes. Shucks. So we trudged on ...

BOWRINGTON ROAD COOKED FOOD CENTRE @ Bowrington Rd (duh)

Morbid scenes at the market at Bowrington Rd

A short walk to Bowrington Road revealed the still buzzing with activities Bowrington wet market. And it was indeed a feast for the eyes (and senses) seeing all the commotion at the market, and the variety of seafood on displau, some not recognizable and not readily available back home.

Coincidentally, some were caught up in a fuss over the butchering of a GIANT fish, named "Sou Mei" in Chinese. (Translation?) The murder was disheartening, as two men were struggling with the larger-than-average fish with a hump on its head. But nosy me got up close and witnessed the slaughtering with glee. Ahem, I meant with sympathy.

HOI KEE Roastie Specialist at Bowrington @ No. 3, Cooked Food Centre, Bowrington Road Market on 21, Bowrington Road, Causeway Bay

Finding this stall was tougher than we imagined. You have to walk into the market, take a lift to second floor, in order to reach a food court-like area. Once there, our doubts was gone as the crowd was reassuring. There are many other stalls operating at the same area. And the whole food court has air-conditioning, no sweat.

The chicken, the roast pork and the Char Siew

Recommended by a blogger, ChaXiuBao, we decided to go for something the locales would eat for lunch on most days, rather than tourist-traps in high end restaurants and hotels.

The rice with roasted cuts are priced at HKD25/RM11.25 per plate. But before you flinch at the price, rest assured the portion and the quality is deserving of praises. Definitely meant for sharing, we regretted ordering a portion each, as either rice is VERY cheap in HK, OR they're feeding bulls with those gigantic portions. The Roasted Pork was crispy and delicious, while the Char Siew was equally good, if not better. Succulent meat with a sweet marinade, I can pig out on these anyday. The chicken was not to my liking though. Or maybe I prefer my steamed chicken to be cooked 100%, rather than staring at some bloody bone marrow.

Curry Lamb Noodles - The recommended item from Cha Xiu Bao

The curry lamb noodles at HKD22/RM9.90 was my main aim to this place. The lamb briskets were generous, chunks after chunks served in a puddle of oily curry gravy. Had it not been so oily, I would've enjoyed it more. But nevertheless, the flat, springy noodles made up for the losses. A satisfying bowl of noodles, nonetheless.

Next Post : THE PEAK

14 comments:

cariso said...

Wah...that Zhu Tou Mai really caught my attention. Does any local dim house here selling "zhu tou mai"?

mimid3vils said...

the lotus paste bun with egg yolk too? Like eating mooncake lor :P

JeromeFo 令狐冲 said...

Wow...
im like watching HK drama series!
Nice review again*
Can see clearly the City itself.

allenooi said...

really eat a lot wor..... but all the price was reasonable! sure have a great fun in hk!

JENCOOKS said...

That's a good coverage of HKG..no wonder u are tired, lots of walking and I find hardly any place to sit down to rest the feet. That poor fish with the meanie chopper -awful. Actually Time Square vicinity you can find some interesting food like some dai pai tong.

J2Kfm said...

cariso : i not so sure bout local dimsum outlets selling those, but Ipoh's sure do not have them.

mimid3vils : yeah! in fact such irony that it was right after mid-autumn fest.

jeromefo : sadly, we did not bump into any stars at all.

allenooi : we had impressions of over-priced food, but instead, the meals are reasonably-priced and portion's generous.

jencooks : oh really? we initially thought even fast food in shopping complexes will do, but instead went out to bowrington.

CUMI & CIKI said...

love the fact that the skyscrapers are so modern.. whilst some buildings are so old and crumbly! They have it all !

CK Lam said...

The Zhu Tou Mai looks great. I have not come across in Penang. Can see no touch...haha. It was nice of you to show us.

J2Kfm said...

cumi & ciki : yeah, just like our good old KL. :)

ck lam : haha, yeah. I doubt the ones here can do one as fresh and tasty. pig's stomach commonly eaten here reeks of a stale flavour.

Palohchai said...

hi.. nice looking at ur HK pic.. I just came back from HK-Macau also.. lol..

MAy I know ur MSN contact email? Would like to chat with u.. thanks

Palohchai said...

yea.. my email is caeser96@hotmail.com

J2Kfm said...

palohchai : added you. :)
just came back from HK? were you caught up in the typhoon?

kampungboycitygal said...

eh is this lin heong lou originated from the infamous lin heong lou in guangzhou?

J2Kfm said...

Lin Heung Lou? I've no idea. infamous for?