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Three Ways to Eat Dim Sum in Hong Kong

Yum Cha dim sum, Hong Kong

Dim sum was my first foray into Chinese food, way back when I was still a fussy eater (can you believe I was ever anything but a never-ending stomach?!). It's bite-sized food filled with all sorts of delicious things; it's canap├ęs that have been souped up and they are generally more plentiful than the food you'd be served up on a silver platter, too.

It was the first traditional food I ate there during my first trip back in 2014, but each time I've been back, I go in for so much more. No matter what your budget or palate, there's a way for you to enjoy dim sum in Hong Kong:

Traditional Claypot Rice at Four Seasons, Hong Kong

Chicken and mushroom claypot rice

Hong Kong is a city that fascinates me in its juxtaposition of modern and traditional, and there's no expression that shows that any more clearly than in the variety of food available. I've had wonderful brunches in Hong Kong that epitomise western culture, and just like London, they love a food trend (the unicorn toastie was my particular favourite). But I always try and search out traditional meals in Hong Kong too, and claypot rice was a new one for me on my most recent visit.

Why Sheung Wan is My Favourite Area of Hong Kong

Skyscrapers in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

The first time I visited the Hong Kong, I stayed in Sheung Wan, but on my most recent trip I still gravitated back there. It's a vibrant mix of traditional Chinese culture and modern urban living, with some of Hong Kong's best restaurants and bars propped up there. Here's what you might find a day wandering around Sheung Wan:

Three Awesome and Affordable Places to Eat in Hong Kong

Chilli scrambled eggs, bacon and rocket

Hong Kong has strong elements of London's vibe, with food trends and brunch culture being alive and well. Each time I've been to Hong Kong I've been overwhelmed by where to eat, because generally, you can't really go wrong. However, you can end up overspending. It's not the cheapest place to visit, but it is exciting.

The Markets of Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Flower Market, Mong Kok

Once I've finished stifling giggles at the name of this area (yes, that's my level of humour), a day in Mong Kok is one of my favourite things to do in Hong Kong. The area is known for its shopping, and as I certainly don't have the cash to splash in HK's row-upon-row of designer stores, this is much more my sort of place. But it's not just fashion on offer, Mong Kok attracts tourists because it has a variety of markets to explore; some much more for browsing purposes than others!

The Islands of Hong Kong: a Photo Diary

Temple on Peng Chau island, Hong KongHaving been to Hong Kong in 2014, this time around I wanted to see more of the lesser explored areas that I hadn't taken advantage of previously. Sadly both times I've visited I haven't had great weather so I haven't been able to really make the most of the islands around Hong Kong, except for Lantau - the home of the giant seated Buddha that I fell in love with one my first trip.

Five Places to Explore in Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Lotus flower lanterns

My trip to Hong Kong this year was my second time in the city. I've already done a lot of the obvious tourist destinations and as my best friend lives there, I wanted to get to know the place a little better. I took to picking an MTR station at random and just walking; guide book in my bag, a local SIM card in my phone and camera prepped. Stepping off at Wan Chai, I picked a direction to walk in, hoped for the best

Unicorn Toasties at Kala Toast, Hong Kong

unicorn toastie hong kong

OK, I like a food craze. I've eaten a cronut, I've queued around the block for the latest burger joint and had a panic attack in a dining in the dark restaurant (smooth). When links about the unicorn toastie started doing the rounds it obviously caught my attention, but this time it wasn't in London. It was in Hong Kong and, lo and behold, so was I!

Metallic Knitwear, Pussy Bow Blouse

I'm wearing:
Leather jacket - Zara
Jumper - H&M
Blouse - Mong Kok Ladies Market
Shorts - Miss Selfridge
Boots - ASOS

I bought this blouse from Mong Kok Ladies Market in Hong Kong. I struggle with shirts and blouses because I always feel a bit frumpy in them, but I bought this specifically to wear under jumpers and dresses (although it does also have some rocking shoulder pads, so maybe one day!).

On a whim, I put it on under this gold jumper from H&M. I bought this a while ago when the Michael Kors original was all the rage, and it's done me well. Because of the close fit I can wear it with everything from jeans to skirts, but this time I wore it with shorts and black tights because let's face it, Spring hasn't quite sprung yet.

I wore this outfit to Dans le Noir, the restaurant I reviewed on Tuesday where diners eat in the dark. So really, it didn't matter what I wore out! Make sure you check out what I thought, it's really an experience not to be missed.

My First Trip to Hong Kong: a Summary

As I'm sure you're all very aware, I've spent three wonderful weeks in Australia and I knew that the thought of heading straight back to London would be too much to bear. To save myself from an uncomfortable bump back to reality, I stopped over for a week in Hong Kong before flying home. As it turns out, one of my best friends lives in HK so I was able to stay with her and explore too. As with my Australian posts I'll write up some of these explorations into more detail, but until then, here's what my time in Hong Kong consisted of (being written on the flight back to London, feeling very grumpy that I have to go back to the real world in the next 48 hours!):

Monday: I stayed in Sheung Wan which is very central and makes it easy to get everywhere very quickly. I took in my first temple, the small Man Mo temple and was instantly amazed by seeing something so different from anything I'd see in Europe. I then walked up to the Botanical and Zoological Gardens where there is a range of monkeys being held. It wasn't a very pleasant experience as I'm pretty sure the monkeys didn't have the room they needed and weren't very happy, so I headed off back down the hill to see some of the famous architecture. I gazed up at the Bank of China and went into the famous HSBC building, both of which tower above the streets below. I weaved in and out of the various streets in the Central area, including up Graham Street (famous for the wide array of fruits  and vegetables on offer) and the fishmongers of Lower Lascar Row (who have live fish right in front of you to pick from!). That evening I had my first genuine Chinese dim sum and drank my weight in green tea!

Tuesday: I ventured much further out of Central and headed to the 10,000 Buddhas Temple. I sweated up what felt like a million stairs in the boiling heat but it was so worth it - the gold gilded Buddhas were spectacular and the temple and pagodas at the top were like nothing I'd ever seen before. My temple excursions didn't stop there! I then went on to see Chi Lin Nunnery which was a beautiful building strikingly set right in front of looming residential skyscrapers, yet still surprisingly peaceful. Close by was Wong Tai Sin temple - probably the most famous temple in Hong Kong. Outside the street is lined with fortune tellers so I got my palm read! I then went to Apliu Street flea market. I didn't realise until my friend told me later, but that area of town is the poorest in Hong Kong. I was definitely the only western person in the area and the state of the apartments in the area should have signified it to me sooner. It was really eye opening. 

Wednesday: I finally made it up to Victoria Peak! Sadly the famous tram was having maintenance during my whole stay, so I took the bus up to the top. It was so staggering to see huge tower blocks still standing tall all over the mountain area and the views down to the city were very impressive. Once I was down I took the bus to Stanley, a seaside town in the south of Hong Kong. I saw the beautiful island beaches and then walked the promenade of Stanley next to its well known market area. Very calm. That evening I went to my first sky bar (the bars within the skyscrapers throughout the city that boast the best views around the city). Sadly the mist was bad that evening and we only saw over to Kowloon just before we left, but we did manage to catch the famous light show projected onto the skyscrapers on Kowloon but enjoyed by those on Hong Kong Island. 

Thursday: I headed up to the famous ladies market in Mong Kok to get my first glimpse of the famous fake designer goods so well associated with China. I could not believe the amount of imposter Mulberry, Michael Kors and Louis Vuitton bags there! It was full of British women loading up on whatever they could but I decided not to get anything. Instead I got some great oversized clutch bags and a cute pussy bow blouse - no designer names on them, but bargains nonetheless. I then headed to Kowloon promenade and walked the Avenue of Stars, culminating in a huge statue of Bruce Lee! I met my friend and we walked through to the Jordan area where Temple Street Night market is. We had dinner at a street side restaurant which I was a bit wary of at first but it was delicious!

Friday: I jumped on the MTR and went all the way to Tung Chung to get on the famous cable car (with a glass bottom!) to the village of Ngong Ping on Lantau Island where the famous bronze Buddha statue sits. It's the biggest seated bronze Buddha in the world and sits atop a hill looking serene and beautiful every vantage point. This was awesome in the truest sense of the word. As cheesy as it may sound, I felt really blessed to see something so impressive and imposing - it's really unlike anything I've ever seen. That evening we went for cocktails at a sky bar which was probably a mistake considering we had an early start in Saturday. 

Saturday: We went to Macau! Another country ticked off my list! We took the ferry to the strange country, previously owned by Portugal and it is without a doubt, the oddest place I've ever been in my life. My blonde friend was a tourist attraction in herself, with Chinese tourists taking her photo everywhere we went which was so weird. There wasn't a huge amount to see in the town although the architecture is very strange: European style but covered in Chinese writing and signs. Macau is obviously famous for its casinos and it's basically the Las Vegas of the east. We went to the Venetian and it was bizarre! The hotel was painted to look like Venice, with a river with gondolas on it floating through the centre! I was glad to get back to the relative sanity of Hong Kong after that!

And now here I am, sat on a plane home. I can't believe a month has gone and I'm headed back to London. Three hours in to a 12.5 hour flight so I've got plenty of time to get used to the idea of being back!
As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review