Eating Outdoor Street Food Indoors

On Monday night we tried Tung Po (東寶小館), one of the more popular “restaurants” around here. Back in the day Hong Kong had a lot of food stalls out in the open (大牌檔, “dai pai dong“); I remember eating under a tarp in one of these places when I was a kid. Due to sanitation issues and legislation, there aren’t really any outdoor food stalls in Hong Kong anymore, and a lot of these food stalls have moved indoors to “cooked food centres” usually located near or above wet markets. I don’t know if Tung Po used to be outdoors, but they are at the Java Road Cooked Food Centre now helping people relive the good old days.

An Old Tradition
Clean before you eat
Tonight's Menu
Tonight’s Menu
Napkin, Sir?
Napkin, Sir?
Beer in a Bowl
Beer in a Bowl
Water Convolvulus
Water Convolvulus
Pork Knuckle
Pork Knuckle
Razor Clams
Razor Clams
Shrimp and Egg Yolk Dust
Shrimp and Egg Yolk Dust
Ice Bucket
Ice Bucket

WTF McDonald’s commercial

I’ve been watching the same commercials all night, and one that really caught my attention was one advertising 24-hour McDonald’s restaurants in Hong Kong. The commercial shows a bunch of happy young people at McDonald’s late at night, making silly poses for their camera. But what are they doing? One of them is putting onion rings on his face, around his eyes. Another is sticking french fries under his glasses, simulating tears. The third is rubbing french fries all over her upper lip. My wife said that since it’s a 24-hour McDonald’s, the people in the commercial must be drunk. Yes, they must be drunk, that’s why they’re rubbing greasy food all over themselves.

The sad part is, I’m thinking about ordering McDonald’s some time.

Homecooked meal, 5-27-12

We enjoyed a much needed home-cooked meal this past weekend, courtesy of my aunt and uncle. When traveling, pretty much the only option for dining is to eat out, and it’s nice to be able to stay in for dinner every so often.

Recent Hong Kong Meals

A super gallery containing tons of photos from our recent meals!

Sega Mega Drive Original Box

I was at my aunt’s and she brought out this Sega Mega Drive box thinking that it was originally mine (it wasn’t, it was my cousin’s). Talk about WOW. When I was a kid, the Mega Drive was like the holy grail to me. I had a North American Sega Genesis and I loved it, of course, but there was this notion that all things Japan were better, more exotic. I still remember buying my first imported Mega Drive game, Devil’s Crash MD for $75, which was a lot to ask for from my mother back then (most Genesis games were in the $49 range). I’ll never forget that day, because it was the day of the Oakland Hills fire. We were indoors most of the day and when we came back out with my new game in hand, the sky was orange, and we were in San Francisco! Anyhow, here are photos I snapped of the box.

Sega Mega Drive Original Box

Sega Mega Drive Original Box

Sega Mega Drive Original Box

Sega Mega Drive Original Box

Sega Mega Drive Original Box

Sega Mega Drive Original Box

Tonight’s Dinners

Tonight we did takeout for dinner again, sampling a couple of styles of iconic Hong Kong food: street food, and the “rice box” (飯盒).

One Week Recap

So, it’s been a week since we’ve arrived in Hong Kong. Here’s a recap of some of the things we’ve done.

We have gradually acclimated to the time change, waking up on our first morning at 2 AM, then 4, then 5, and this morning at 9. The timestamps on this blog are hardcoded to Pacific time, but if you do the math (+15 hours), you’ll find that some of the posts have been made just before the sun comes up.

12-18-13 Update: timestamps are now in local time for historical accuracy.

Empty Streets
In the early morn, the streets are quiet and empty
The Sun is Coming
Just before sunrise
The Sun is Here
20 minutes later

We have spent a lot of time with family, both living and dead. Last Friday we went to visit my aunt in her final resting place, a columbarium located up on a peaceful and quiet hillside. We burned offerings of incense, currency, and clothing, and also shared a McDonald’s meal, one of her favorites. It’s pretty nice up there, and I’d be so lucky to stay there when I’m dead.

Wild Bananas
Wild bananas in the jungle on the way up the hill
Pagoda
A pagoda and temple complex in the distance
Distant
The city seems so far away from up here
Burning Offerings
Burning offerings to my dearly departed aunt
Red
Another one of the beautiful sights on the way up

Speaking of meals, we have been eating at various restaurants, as well as eating many times at one of my favorite restaurants. We’ve stayed in and eaten stuff we bought from the supermarket. We’ve even had a home-cooked meal, thanks to my aunt and uncle. Below are just some samples of what we’ve had. Be sure to check out the food galleries for more.

Minute Steak Breakfast
By far we’ve eaten at Cafe de Coral the most
Cup Noodles
Cup noodles have their place when you don’t feel like going out
Hamachi
Japanese
Homecookin'
Can’t eat out too much, gotta have some homecookin’ once in awhile
Razor Clams
Razor Clams in Black Bean Sauce
Cafe Sua Da
Cafe Sua Da, made with Trung Nguyen no less

We have definitely stayed in our hotel a lot. As I said before, we’re not really tourists anymore, and we get tired walking around in the heat and humidity and the big crowds. We’re trying to live it like it’s going to be when we settle here, live it like it was when we were at home in Oakland, live like the homebodies that we are. I have said so many times before; all I need is my laptop and an internet connection. Well, I have that here, and I have air conditioning, and I have a pretty good view of what’s going on outside. Have a look:

Sunset
A view of the sunset from our hotel room
Sunset = Traffic
Sunset means end of workday, which means traffic
Cold Fog
It looks like a cold fog, but it’s actually hot outside
The Dog Days of Pre-Summer
The dog days of pre-summer
Towering Menace
The ICC towers above all in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a beautiful place. When I look at the sunset behind the skyscrapers, I let out a sigh at how beautiful it looks. When I see the ferries, boats, and ships slowly cruising across the harbor, I feel completely at ease. Like everywhere else, however, Hong Kong has its downsides. Pollution. Crowds. Weather. Eventually, it’s going to be a matter of deciding which downsides we can live with, and which upsides we can’t live without. For now, it’s only been a week, and we’re going to continue enjoying ourselves.

WD Elements 1 TB USB 3.0 Hard Drive

I got my first USB 3.0 drive yesterday, a Western Digital “Elements” 1 TB 2.5-inch model. The Toshiba 640 gig that I brought along started making some weird noises, so I figured I’d better be safe than sorry. I’ve been transferring files over to the WD and so far, so good. Note that the USB 3.0 interface probably doesn’t make much difference for this type of drive, which is probably a 5400 RPM model.

The model is WDBPCK0010BBK-PESN, which appears to be an Australian version and varies slightly from the WDBPCK0010BBK-NESN offering on Amazon.com. The Amazon model is also called WD Elements “SE”. Maybe there’s a faster drive in that one.

I paid HKD$880, or about USD$113. Not too bad, and it has a 3 year warranty as well!

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase.

Urban Jungle Wildlife

Despite being known as a concrete jungle, Hong Kong has its share of wildlife. Here are just a few of the creatures we encountered yesterday.