Eating in Hong Kong: language barrier, chain restos, and Tim Ho Wan

When you’re traveling and you encounter a menu where you can’t understand single thing, do you a) make an attempt to communicate with the server with only four words you know of the local language , b) point at something in the menu and hope you don’t order something heinous, or c) try your luck in another restaurant with English translations in the menu? I’ve done all three: a) if I am feeling adventurous and , b) if I’m feeling extremely adventurous and c) when exhaustion dictates the need for something familiar and the the only adventure I want to have that day is figuring out the train route.

A common window display

Golden roasted goodness in one of the windows of a restaurant in TST in Hong Kong

In the trip to Hong Kong, a place where good food is abundant, I found myself making all three decisions. In the mornings, when P and I are eager to start our day and before we meet with our friends, we wake up early and explore the nearby streets on our own from where we were staying.

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From Andy Warhol’s pop art to Sheung Wan’s street corners

Whenever my husband and I travel, while I make sense of train or bus routes from the airport to where we’re staying, I can always count on him to appear beside me with a handful of useful maps and brochures gathered from the information counters. Outside the Hong Kong International Airport, while we waited for the bus (see other ways to get to and from HKIA below)  he began showing me his latest stash–one of which was a brochure to an Andy Warhol exhibit at the Hong Kong Museum of Art.

Time for some Warhol

Time for some Warhol. Outside the Hong Kong Museum of Art

We were traveling with another couple and made the mental note to find the time to see it. And on our third day in Hong Kong, before we met up with friends, we spent our Friday morning ooh-ing, ahh-ing, and gazing at Warhol’s works. Later on, I was ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the street corners of Sheung Wan. Continue reading

Turning touristy in Hong Kong

I should have bought a shirt. You know, the one with the “I <heart> HK.” I should have gone years ago but Hong Kong’s reputation for being a shopping mecca discouraged me. (I’m not really big on shopping. I’ll spend hours inside a mall because I’m looking for something in particular not because I’m just hoping to find something that catches my eye. So, I always thought, what else was I going to do in Hong Kong?)

Victoria Harbor...

The Hong Kong skyline from the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. I couldn’t get enough of this view.

Turns out–hello, ignorant tourist– that there are a lot of other things to do in Hong Kong besides shopping: gawking at the lights show in Victoria Harbour, going up the Peak to gawk at the Hong Kong skyline some more, walking along the Avenue of the Stars, taking the Star Ferry, going to Disneyland, eating dimsum, pork buns and egg tarts, going to a night market, going to a neighborhood flea market, going to a temple, taking the Star Ferry all over again, and just going around the narrow neon-lit streets. Mostly touristy things I know, but I still enjoyed every minute of it.

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