Archive for the Prince Edward Category

Hong Kong – out and about in Kowloon

Posted in China, Hong Kong, Kowloon, Mongkok, Prince Edward, Tsim Sha Tsui with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2017 by gannet39

The first half of this post is mainly for my colleagues staying in Mongkok, the second half is for all the bits and pieces I have left over about south Kowloon.

Mongkok Streets

Our employer puts us up at the Royal Plaza Hotel at 193 Prince Edward Road West, Mongkok, www.royalplaza.com.hk. It’s an excellent hotel with great facilities including a big, well-equipped gym and a large outdoor swimming pool. The breakfast is fully comprehensive with plenty of choices and the restaurant has a good rep although I’ve never tried it. You even get a free mobile phone to use during your stay.

20161117_175751

The views of uptown Kowloon from my hotel window were great.

Good morning

 

In terms of logistics, the hotel so well located that you can be in Central within forty minutes (on foot followed by metro) or instead head out to the New Territories without having to travel through town. And it’s within walking distance of all the temptations of Mongkok.

Please click the Mongkok  link on the home page index to access reviews of all the eateries I’ve been to. Everywhere mentioned is on this Google map.

When heading south on the MTR to Central, the two nearest stations, Prince Edward and Mongkok, are equidistant from the hotel, but I prefer to go to Prince Edward as the station is much less hectic.

The Prince Edward station is also near the Sunshine Laundry at 44-62 Tai Nan Street, www.sunshinelaundry.com.hk (exit C2 of Prince Edward MTR) so you can pick up your dry cleaning after work (opening hours are 0800~2100). Dry cleaning one shirt cost me HK$17 as opposed to HK$90 to wash and another HK$68 to iron in the hotel! It can take 5 days for it to be ready though so some forward planning is required.

On the other hand, at the weekend, if you exit Mongkok station via exit B2 on Fife St, you get to witness all the madness on Sai Yeung Choi Street. Street performers take over between noon and 10pm on Saturday and Sunday when the area is made pedestrian only. Buskers, boppers, singers and various talent show hopefuls come together to create mind-boggling mayhem. It’s definitely a spectacle worth seeing.

For a taste of old Hong Kong, I recommend a walk along Reclamation Street.

It’s not a particularly pretty area but it’ll give you a good idea of how things used to be.

The area is ripe for redevelopment and probably won’t be around much longer.

On the subject of construction, it’s interesting to observe that builders  in Hong Kong always use bamboo scaffolding, even when constructing modern skyscrapers! Bamboo is much more flexible than metal scaffolding but I still wouldn’t like to be bouncing around on it at the top!

Next to the entrance of the Holiday Express on Dundas Street there’s an imitation of a Banksy stencil.

In the original the rioter is throwing a bunch of flowers but this has been replaced by a book in the Hong Kong version. The piece is a controversial comment on the authorities draconian response to the democracy demonstrators earlier in 2016.

Nearby Portland Street is also very atmospheric to walk around at night.

It’s Hong Kong’s red light district so it has a very seedy atmosphere but it’s relatively safe.

There’s a Snake Restaurant here but I never had the courage to go in by myself without knowing what to ask for.

I did a fair bit of shopping on my 2016 trip. I bought a new Samsung Galaxy S8 from a vendor at Sin Tat Plaza at 83 Argyle Street (Mongkok MTR exit D2). This shopping centre for phones was once notorious for rip-offs and fake models but has been (mostly) cleaned up in recent years.

My phone was £150 cheaper than at home but I later found out the charger socket was faulty, hence the price. It wasn’t a problem (I got a wireless charger) but if you want more security then go to Broadway or Fortress (branches all over). Buying products that have their own box is a way of making sure they are original. Reviews here.

Other than China, I don’t think I’ve been anywhere where people are so addicted to their phones. Hong Kongers seem to be constantly on their mobiles when they’re walking around.

I also got a suit made at Sam’s Tailor at Ground Floor, K&L Burlington Arcade 90-94C Nathan Rd, (Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Exit B1) www.samstailor.com. He’s the most famous tailor in town and Kylie Minogue, Gwen Stefani, Avril Levigne, Bjork, Roberta Flack, Celine Dion, Steffi Graf, Joan Collins, Naomi Campbell, Hilary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright, amongst others, have all been customers. You will run a gauntlet of other tailor touts on the way so you could compare prices but I didn’t bother. I’ve barely worn it but the suit fitted well despite being pretty cheap (around £200 as I recall).

I also got two pairs of reading glasses around the corner at Tai Kwong Optical, 22-28 Mody Road, taikwongoptical.com. The quality was good, prices were fair, and he had a good selection of frames. Small shops like this will give you a better price than the chains.

While you’re in the area you could drop in on the Avenue of Comic Stars over the road at Kowloon Park Drive, www.comicavenue.hk. Handy if you have kids to entertain but a bit silly otherwise.

Here are a few signs I came across that tickled me.

 

Walking around Hong Kong Island next!

Hong Kong – Chinese restaurants in Kowloon

Posted in China, Hong Kong, Kowloon, Mongkok, Prince Edward, Sham Shui Po with tags , , , , , , on November 23, 2017 by gannet39

I’ve put a lot of other Chinese restaurants into specific posts on dim sum, noodles and places with a view. However I’ve put the disparate places below together according to their geographical location in Kowloon. Here’s a quick index:

Tofu Dishes – Kung Wo Beancurd Factory (Elementary B+)
Traditional Desserts – Kwan Kee (Initial B)
Street Offal – Delicious Food (Initial B+)
Claypot Rice – Four Seasons (Elementary B)
Hakka Cuisine – Chuen Cheung Kui (Intermediate B)
Vegetarian Cuisine – M Garden (Intermediate B)
Peking Duck – Spring Deer (High Intermediate B)

They’re all on this Google map.

Aficionados, please don’t hang me for any comments you might feel are a bit negative, I’m still learning!

These first two places are accessed from MTR Sham Shui Po Station via Exit B2. The second place is on the street corner on your immediate right as you come up the stairs. The first place is also on the right, about half a block up Pei Ho Street.

Kung Wo Beancurd Factory (Elementary B+), G/F, 118 Pei Ho Street, Sham Shui Po

If it’s authenticity you’re after then this is the place! Mentioned in ‘1001 Restaurants You Must Experience Before You Die’, it’s well off the tourist track in Sham Shui Po, just to the north west of Mongkok, but definitely worth the trek for tofu lovers like myself.

Pei Ho Street has a busy street market so the front of the business sells directly to passing trade. You can also sit inside and eat.

From top right, I had the Deep Fried Tofu (B+), Curry Fish Ball (B), Deep Fried Golden Fish & Soya Cake (B) and the Tofu Pudding (B+).

I enjoyed the Deep Fried Tofu the most.

The cubes of tofu are topped with fish paste before frying.

I like it with a bit of sweet chilli sauce.

I also really enjoyed the Tofu Pudding (tofu fa) for which they are famous.

In HK it’s usually served while it’s still warm with a bit of sugar or ginger syrup on the top.

Room for a bit more pudding? Then head back towards the station to this place…

Kwan Kee Store (Initial B), Shop 10, 115-117 Fuk Wah Street, Sham Shui Po

This little corner shop is famous for Bowl Pudding (put chai ko) which they’ve been making since the 60s.

The puddings are made with glutinous rice flour, wheat starch and sugar, sometimes with the addition of red beans, and then steamed. I arrived a bit late in the evening so they only had the bean version left (B).

Back down to Mongkok for the next one…

Delicious Food (Initial B+), Shop 10, G/F, 30-32 Nullah Road, Prince Edward

Hong Kong is famous for its street food and this stall has a very good reputation.

In particular it’s a good spot to try Fried Pig Intestine.

I quite liked the contrast of the crunchy outside with the softer interior (B). Mustard, hoisin or plum sauce are good condiments to have with it.

I also tried their Stinky Tofu (left and right in the foreground in the pic below), another classic HK street food for which this stall is famous. The tofu is fermented in a brine of milk, vegetables, meat and/or seafood juices for several weeks, and then deep fried. As you can imagine the aroma is quite pungent but it tastes better (B) than it smells!

Four Seasons Claypot Rice (Elementary B), 50-52 Arthur St, Yau Ma Tei

Another famous Hong Kong food you should try is Claypot Rice. This place near Temple Street night market has such a good rep for it that it evolved from a street stall into an indoor restaurant. There’s nothing fancy about it, in fact the interior walls all appear to be shower curtains. It’s very popular so to avoid the long queues either arrive early at 5pm or late at 9pm.

I began with a couple of deep-fried Oyster Cakes, another much-favoured local delicacy (B).

When the hotpot arrives on the table, you should pour a bit of soya sauce on it, replace the lid and wait 3 or 4 minutes.

Then take out the toppings and give it a good stir.

I opted for the Sausage & Chicken Rice. I really liked the chicken and the rice (B+) but I couldn’t handle the sausage which to me had a very strong, almost chemical taste (D). I did try Chinese sausages in other places later and found them more palatable though so maybe I just don’t like the ones here. More research is needed.

Chuen Cheung Kui Restaurant (High Intermediate B), 33 Nelson Street, on the corner with Yim Po Fong Street, Mongkok

This is a very popular Hakka restaurant near the Royal Plaza Hotel. It’s one of those big Chinese restaurants with lots of round tables. There were a fair few people waiting when I went but I got in quite quickly as a lone diner, even got my own table.

The Hakka are a sub-group of the Han Chinese who are some of the earliest immigrants to the region. Hakka cuisine is characterized by an emphasis on texture and very simple flavouring. I tried a couple of Hakka classics here.

The Deep-Fried Fresh Milk was interesting (B).

And the Salt-Baked Chicken was quite nice too (B).

I would have liked to try more dishes but, with a plate of stir-fried greens, this was more than enough. Enlist some help when you come here if you can.

M Garden Vegetarian Restaurant (Intermediate B), 2/F, Omega Plaza, 32-34A, Dundas Street, Mongkok

I came here with my friend Kelvin who is a vegetarian. He’d been finding it quite hard to eat well on the mainland so I brought him to this popular spot for a tofu and vegetable feast. Generally veggie restaurants are quite hard to find in China but they do exist, mainly to service the large Buddhist community. The Happy Cow website is a good resource for finding them.

We tried quite a few things, some better than others. We really liked the ‘Deep-Fried Eggplant with Teriyaki Sauce’ which had just as much depth of flavour as any meat dish (A).

We coveted what the French couple on the next table were eating and ordered it ourselves by pointing as we couldn’t find it on the menu (show them my photo if you want to order it). I think it’s deep-fried tofu, although the translation mentions mung beans. This was our favourite (A+).

The ‘Golden-Fried Tofu’ was okay (B).

However the ‘Beijing Style Smoked Vegetarian Goose’ looked good but didn’t really cut it (C).

Kelvin liked the ‘Black Truffle Scramble’ (sautéed fresh milk with egg white and Italian black truffle), more than I did (C-). Truffles are always good but the marriage with broccoli didn’t work for me, especially visually. It does taste better than it looks though.

So some choices were a bit hit and miss but there are definitely some great dishes to be discovered here.

From November 2006:

Spring Deer (High Intermediate B), 1/F, 42 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Open 12-3pm and 6-11pm

Perhaps the most famous Peking duck restaurant in town, you have to reserve well in advance but may still have to wait a while, 30 mins in our case. The service is offhand, verging on the downright rude, in classic Chinese restaurant style (think Wong Kei, Soho) but the duck is very crispy.

Even more Chinese restaurants on Hong Kong Island next!

%d bloggers like this: