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Motormouth From Ipoh

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hong Kong/Macau 2008 - Rude-o-Macanese? (PART 1)

So starts the beginning of a long, long story .....

From Malaysia with Love .... To Macau, hostility reigns supreme?!

Air Asia was running a low fare promo back in July, with fares from LCCT, Kuala Lumpur to Macau from RM30 onwards (of course, you can NEVER believe the fare advertised, as they exclude the fuel surcharge and airport tax ... gimmicky & misleading, as usual). But still, total two-way fare including everything amounted to RM350 per person only. Yup, dirt cheap for a 4 hours flight in a cramped-to-the-maximum cabin, with leg space smaller than most express buses. But I ain't complaining, as back then RM350 can probably get you on a domestic flight only.

From Ipoh to LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) we departed on a Yoyo Express Bus from Bercham, Ipoh, directly to our destination. RM42 for one-way, but RM80 for two-ways. Arriving roughly 2 hours before flight departure, we had lunch at LCCT's Food Garden, a food court serving reasonably-priced dishes. A plate of nasi lemak with sambal anchovies, and fried chicken cost RM5.50 only. A steal, considering this being airport food after all.

Air Asia expanded their in-flight menu, but the cheapest food (eg. roti canai, roti jala) will set you back at RM5-6 each, while nasi lemak, nasi briyani and nasi goreng will cost you RM8-9. And the cheapest drink being a bottle of mineral water for RM4 doesn't help much either, as you're restricted from carrying your own bottle of water on board.

Anyway, one major advantage of taking Air Asia flights (other than the price) is punctuality. Credit must be given where it's due, and Air Asia earned its stripes as their flights are seldom delayed. Ours arrived exactly as scheduled, at around 5.30pm in Macau International Airport. I expected cloudy and rainy weather as it's autumn after all. But was dismayed to notice the hazy surrounding, and hot & humid weather.

Forlorn weather aside, the extremely rude custom officer (a plump Chinese guy wearing specs by the name of Chong) was disheartening, evoking anger at the most inappropriate time. But of course, no one's gonna spoil MY getaway, and I retaliated sarcastically. =P

Then things started to get worse. Realizing we did not have any small change for bus fare, we decided to change some notes at the Foreign Exchange counter, but failed. The moderately rude lady flicked us off. The bank was closed (it was 6pm, after all). I approached the information counter, but the generally rude lady was happily chatting on the phone. Fortunately, a friendlier-than-the-others lady manning a tour booth was kind enough to change some coins for us. Thank goodness ... Remember, GET SOME SMALL CHANGE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE IN MACAU, IF YOU PLAN TO TAKE THE BUS.

Then we took the Airport Bus (AP1) to the ferry terminal for MOP$3.30 (RM1.50) each + MOP$3.00 (RM1.35) for each baggage you're carrying. At the ferry terminal, we changed to bus number 3 (or 3A) to Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro (known as Sun Ma Lou in Chinese), one of the main road in Macau peninsula.

Classical decor of San Va Hotel, with a hauntingly ancient setting

We booked our 'hotel' online before we embarked on our journey. Hotels in Macau are pretty pricey, and the cheaper ones either you've to book through phone, or walk-in, as they do not cater to internet booking. But San Va Hospideria at Rua de Felicidade was different. The rate was cheap, at only MOP$120/room for two (non-peak period), but we paid MOP$220 (RM99) as that weekend was Mid-Autumn Festival, therefore an additional MOP$100 was required as surcharge. Still cheap, right?

But beware ... if you're going during summer, or hot weather, be prepared to sweat it out. The place was hot, humid & stuffy, but clean and screamed nostalgia in every sense of the word. No attached bathrooms, but instead two shared bathrooms for all the occupants. And you get free-flow supply of drinking water. Had it not been the extremely hot condition, we wouldn't have lamented and suffered for 2 nights straight.

Cheong Kei Noodles at No. 68, Rua de Felicidade

After a soothing, cold shower, we went for a late dinner downstairs. Cheong Kei Noodles is situated a few shops away from our San Va Hotel, and was our stop for dinner.

Clockwise from top left : Har Ji Meen (Dry Shrimp Roe Noodles), Sui Kow Meen (Noodles with Dumplings), Mace Balls Noodles, and Beef Brisket Noodles

All's forgiven when the dinner passed with flying colours. Somehow the noodles served in Hong Kong and Macau is slightly different from our wantan noodles. Thinner strands, but springy (QQ) texture scored well in our books. But the portion at Cheong Kei was surprisingly small, in comparison to most of Hong Kong's offerings. Their signature dish? The Har Ji Meen and their Mace Balls (Ling Yu). Total = MOP$63 (RM28.35).

The lively atmosphere at Largo de Senado (Senado Square)

Notice the Haagen Dazs outlet? Their ice-cream is nearly double the price of M'sia's ...

As it was the night before Mid-Autumn Festival (the 15th of the 8th month in Lunar calendar), we strolled around Largo de Senado, or Senado Square, savouring the sights, and embraced the sea of people hanging around the area. But the hotter than Malaysian weather was unforgiving. So, we went for desserts at Leitaria I Son, or Yishun Milk Company, as it is widely recognized in Hong Kong.

Look for the COW @ Leitaria I Son (Yishun)

Double Steamed Milk Custard (MOP$16/RM7.20) and Steamed Egg Custard (MOP$12/RM5.40)

Double Steamed Milk Custard with Red Beans (MOP$18/RM8.10)

Yishun is famous for its long,long standing history of serving 'Siong Pei Lai', or Double Steamed Milk Custard, a delicacy loved by the Chinese in Hong Kong and Macau. Why we do not have one here in Malaysia? I still do not know. But Yishun's steamed milk and egg custards are in a class of their own. Very smooth, you can have them cold or hot. A MUST-TRY in Macau.

One thing to notice though, if you're preparing to share the food, you're in for a shock. Those not ordering anything will have to pay a minimal sum (around MOP$10) for taking up their seats. The 4 of us were forced to order at least 3 items. Not only inMacau, but in most cafe and restaurants in Hong Kong as well. Guess space's a highly prized possession?

The long, and deserted path back to our 'ovens' ...

After supper, we were trudging along the path back to San Va, braving the heat and the fatigue ... Til the morning comes, Good Night ....


Min said...

Hey, nice photos you took. Last time I also went to Cheong Kei Noodles near Sanva, I really miss their noddles, very Q. As for Sanva 'hotel', that time when we went, the weather was cool, so still okay for us la~ and just for one night only~

Kent Fo said...

double steamed milk custard with red bean!!!! yummy!!! macau really full with nice food arh~~~


JeromeFo 令狐冲 said...

Lovely pics!
Till now i haven't been to HK/ Macau ><
Post more picss orrrh!
I want to see =)

Anonymous said...

The Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration was surprisingly lacklustre and quiet as compared to Malaysia whr it is celebrated with full force!Maybe it's due to the fact that nearly 80% of the population are christian kot... =P

Allie said...

I also ate the Dry Shrimp Roe Noodles and Mace Balls Noodles when I was in Macau last 3 weeks.

Can't wait for your Part 2. I'll be updating mine soon too.

Ethan W. said...

Wow, the noodles look amazingly good... And so do the desserts! I'm hungry now...

It is truly a place of hospitality :D I wish I could go there now haha

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... double steamed milk custard with red beans.. A must-try... waiting for the chance~~ :)

faster upload more pic la... =P

Shell (貝殼) said...

wah...the double Steamed Milk Custard looks nice^^
give me 1 bowl plssssssssss

J2Kfm said...

min : yeahloh, had it been cooler, we would've enjoyed our stay. the place was nice, very classic, and all amenities present. but the airflow was too stagnant and humid.

kentfo : yeah, the desserts are attractive.

jeromefo : haha, brothers in arms? commenting one after another? :)

mboy : and we crazily booked in hopes of joining inthe celebration. hehe ...

allie : pls do so! :) in macau, we din go much places though. it was terribly hot.

ethan : erm, not hospitality, actually more to hostility. =P

kca : ok ok, I;m trying my best! hehe ... and where's Sabah's pics?

weiqi said...

looking forward for your Hong Kong post =D

mycroft said...

wa... think the nice food make up for the rude entry?
how to u find all the food in the beginning? travel by travelogues/books or preparing by studyin tru internet?

sc said...

ooohhh, please share more! am going next month, so more tips (and pricing) please! thanks!

backStreetGluttons said...

as you must be aware macau is a gambling den and a gangster state some many years ago ! with still a dozen or so sinister casinos. and of course oriental Asian rudeness n superstition and false modesty is a way of life and legendary internationally

so rudeness may be a survival instinct of this rough place LOL !

macau we believe you shud treat the place like a backpackers haven beside the noisy majong chiplets, with the occassional sammy chung bravado

Anonymous said...

Welcome back. Those stuff sure doesn't available here.. too bad. Ergh, the rude ppl... should I plan to go?

Rebecca Saw said...

the last i was there i experienced rudeness as well n it continued even over in HK! i thought it was just me! So i guess they are just not "educated" by their gov to treat their countries' guests nicely!
however the situation sure is different inside the casino. money talks yeh?

Rebecca Saw said...

ahhh.. steamed milk custard.. did u managed to get the recipe??? hehe

J2Kfm said...

shell : I'll be glad to, if only it can be 'ta-pau' ...

weiqi : HK post coming soon, I promise. :)

mycroft : erm, we prepared beforehand. got find Internet, backpackers guide, got Lonely Planet etc. we separate the tasks, one find accomodation, one find transportation, one find food.

sc : you're most welcomed. I'll be glad to share all. hope I sempat finish all b4 u depart.

BSG : sammy chung??!!! sammi cheng I know. hehe ... I din expect that kind of hostility at the custom itself ma. made me proud of our tanahair.

jason : GO! but put HK as priority, macau second. I'd say.

rebecca :hahah, they have a century of history and you think I'd dare to ask for a recipe? =P
hehe ... somemore the friendliness meter at Macau is bordering at zero level.

Ciki said...

excellent post.. you must have laboured over it.. but love's labour eh? lol. love the street shots.. really dig the grittiness of it!

J2Kfm said...

cumi & ciki : thanks! sorting the pics took forever. but worth it, as it functions as my own journal of the trip for future reference as well.

soo sean said...

I will be going to Macau and Hong Kong soon, in 3 weeks time. Hope to read your posts before I depart. :)

Raynebow said...

Nice pics and report! Can't wait to read about the rest of your trip! :)

aka Pureglutton

Allie said...

I agree with you that macau is terrribly hot! I got tanned and now I'm 2 tone darker than I was suppose to be.

J2Kfm said...

soo sean : sure. and hopefully you'll enjoy your trip as much as I did. :)

raynebow : thanks! that is, IF the subsequent posts do not bore you all. haha ...

allie : yeah! I'm tanned as well. but I'm glad, at least the typhoon did not arrive on time. immagine this week I'm there... shudder.

Precious Pea said...

Yes, i agree AirAsia is getting more punctual nowadays.

After looking at your photos, i so so so miss Macau. Counting down the days to my next Macau trip.

Anonymous said...

i want to try the sui kow meen, double steamed milk custard and steamed egg custard! looks so delicious and yummy!

J2Kfm said...

Precious Pea : yeahloh, not bad eh? I still remembered my MAS flight from JB to KL was delayed for THREE whole hours. but due to bad weather lah.

allenooi : go on ... do try them, hahaha ... I'm sure there's at least ONE shop in KL selling those? no?

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