We did it! We finally left Australia and as I suspected, I left all my stresses behind. Stress about leaving home for 6 months, stress about my job (or even if I’ll have a job to come back to), and all the other anxieties that are normal when you are about to leave home. FINALLY the excitement of the adventure ahead was washing over me – as I suspected it would. Yay!! Yay!! Yay!!! I’ll be the first to admit I was a major stress head in the lead up to this trip.
After a near empty albeit delayed flight to Hong Kong, Zorba and I were feeling excited to have 16 hours in Hongkers whilst in transit to bella Roma. Our luggage was checked through all the way to Rome and it was exhilarating and liberating to walk out of the airport with only hand luggage. If only I could travel with nothing more than hand luggage all the time! In fact, that’s my mission for my next trip – hand luggage only, not 18.5kg of stuff that threatens to crush my vertebrae!
Hong Kong felt strange at first. At 10am, the streets, shopping malls, and trains were eerily quiet. Not that many people around which was the polar opposite of what we were expecting. I had already done some research into where we should eat, being the foodie I am, and we set out on foot to find Tim’s Kitchen. It was awarded one Michelin star had a great write up in Gourmet Traveller magazine and also in the Lonely Planet. After 30 mins of walking, Zorba’s hunger was starting to turn into grumpiness so I knew it was time to eat. We found Tim’s kitchen at 93 Jervois St, a narrow busy grotty kind of street. with very basic plain furniture, no adornings on the wall or interior design of any kind and only about seven tables seating a maximum of 40 – it was hard to believe this place had such a reputation.
We arrived right after opening time and had to share a table with other people, which seemed to be the norm. I ordered their signature dish, homestyle garoupar fish with choy sum, prawn balls with chilli and black bean, and fresh noodles with crab meat. The green tea was as cleansing as it was plentiful and everything we ate was delicious. At $30 for both of us, we were thrilled with our first Hong Kong food experience.
Zorba and I wanted to check out the technology shops, something Hong Kong is renowned for. The Chai Wan computer centre was beyond our wildest dreams – it was like a modern Middle Eastern Bazaar, squished into two levels of a low ceilinged old building. Hundreds of small shops were packed with every kind of computer and phone gadget you can think of. Walter, my dad, would have gone nuts in there! I wanted to buy everything, as per usual, but it was hard at first because we were so overwhelmed – didn’t know what to look at first! I did manage to buy a 320G portable hard driver for less than $80 – happy with that sensible purchase.
We also spent some time hanging out in the gardens, in a coffee shop, and avoiding the designer boutiques of which there are thousands.
For dinner I had reserved us into Yin Yang in the Wan Chai district, a teeny tiny world-class modern Cantonese restaurant that one Australian food writer described as ‘one of the best meals of my life’. It cost 10 times what lunch cost but was worth it. The owner / chef Margaret Xu grows her own organic produce and uses it to prepare unusual but extremely delectable delights. I can only describe her cooking style as “George Colombaris-esque’ – the elements of each dish had a twist that you would never expect: smoked abalone, honey in satin, soup without water (pigeon broth / juice), jellied vegetable and seafood stack, baby lobster with handmade noodles, and Chinese roasted baby suckling pig with kumquat relish. We washed 9 courses down with two bottles of organic NZ pinot noir from Urlar winery. Both of us were feeling extremely happy and in a celebratory mood and didn’t care that dinner cost us more than A$300.
We are dying to get off the packed flight from Hong Kong to Rome – less than two hours to go – COME ON!!!