Now, one of the things I’ve been looking forward to in Hong Kong is yum cha. Back home, with our large Chinese population, Melbourne yum cha is widely available, its quality, excellent. I had fondly imagined that if Melbourne yum cha was “this good” that Hong Kong yum cha would surely blow my yum cha loving mind.
Trouble is, we’re having trouble finding any! I know! Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? We had more luck in London. Our “Where Chef’s Eat” restaurant mentions yum cha but when it goes into detail, it speaks of dishes that don’t include dim sum. I google “best yum cha in Hong Kong” and spot a familiar name: Hutong. Now I know their dim sum are excellent – they have a restaurant in Melbourne. And they made the list, so I reason I’m set. I word up Himself, make the booking and we’re off!
We leave early, making time for a more extensive tour of Kowloon Park. We start amongst comic book characters, ranging from the cute
The park is full of gardeners, trimming, weeding, even picking up individual leaves from paths. No wonder it’s in such good condition.
We pop into the central bird aviary, featuring an exotic array of international birds including African and Australian parrots, colourful macaws and these interesting bright green pigeons.
There’s a central lake full of koi, tiny turtles
and pink flamingos.
Interestingly, there are signs everywhere about not making contact with the birds, their feathers or excrement and if you do, to wash your hands very carefully. Clearly, thoughts of bird flu are not far from mind. I also see signs about mosquito bites and warnings for dengue fever and malaria. That’s a tougher one – it’s difficult to ward off a determined mozzie.
Eventually we wander to our lunch destination. It’s on the 28th floor, so the view’s spectacular. It’s fast becoming apparent that views are prized above virtually most everything here. And this one’s fabulous! With window seats we have a clear view across Victoria Harbour.
I’m practically purring. “Yum cha” I happily tell our waitress. And get a blank look in return. Oh dear. I counter her blank look with “dim sum?”. Ah, the penny’s dropped, she opens the menu to the dim sum selection…of 5 dim sum. It’s not what we had in mind. I want the carts, the steaming baskets, the cooking of three treasures at the table. She lets me down gently: “we have a set lunch menu” she says “or there’s al a carte”. Luckily the set menu looks very appealing. Himself is practically drooling. “Let’s settle in for a long lunch” says he, and so we do.
The food doesn’t disappoint. For starters we have crispy duck spring rolls,
poached chicken in a spicy Sichuan chilli sauce and thinly sliced pork belly with cucumber and garlic.
For mains, we select the braised king prawns: lobster sized prawns with soy and lemon grass,
black truffled chicken with Yunnan mushrooms
and black truffled fried rice with seafood and egg white.
I have a chilled mango pudding for dessert,
Himself has ice-cream, which is delicious, but boring to photograph.
Sadly, with tourism on the decline due to the protestors, we’re one of only a handful of tables. I was very tempted at one point to pull a Meg Ryan with a “I’ll have what she’s having” to the table of business men next to us. One of their dishes was an incredible looking pork belly, meltingly tender then crisped to a fine crackle, served with delicate rice pancakes. I’m salivating just writing about it. It was all I could do to stop myself from asking if I could photograph it…😂
A couple of hours later, we’re replete. Inexpensive it wasn’t and yum cha it wasn’t, but oh, so very delicious it was.
Trouble is, that relaxed by good food and wine, Himself is disinclined to do much else. We make a half hearted attempt to walk to the markets, but one’s closed (a night market) and the others are too far away. One thing that’s been a bit of a nuisance is that our local train station is closed – a victim of the protesters.
We do see in our travels, a few city rest parks, areas tucked away between the skyscrapers.
These are quite lovely, even though they’re plastered with public offence warnings (no smoking, hawking, feeding birds, littering, etc – it’s a long list, stiff penalities too).
And speaking of stiff, we also see rather interesting street stalls, selling all manner of sex toys (just who pops down to a street stall to get their freak on, I’m not exactly sure) and working girls loitering about. The girls are rather intriguing. Dressed and made up quite modestly, eyes cast shyly down, it’s only their collective placement and cool assessment of male passersby that gives them away. Their outfits wouldn’t look out of place in an office, meanwhile the only accessory missing from some of the runway collections I’ve seen this season, is a stripper pole. Go figure.
I’m also rather fascinating to see that buildings are scaffolded, not with steel, but with bamboo. Bamboo! Even many, many floors up. It’s quite extraordinary, the loads it takes. I can see its appeal though – it’s sustainable, light, easy to erect (not a sex pun, I promise) and dismantle and no doubt, cheap.
Having failed at the markets, we head back for what’s left of the afternoon.
There’s still cocktails to be had at the rooftop bar of our hotel. And you wouldn’t believe it (so I videoed it), but one of the building light shows features a bunny. Wait for him….
Isn’t he cute! Just for me, I’m sure. 🐾🐇♥️