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My Hong Kong

If you are like me, a culture vulture who loves pretending to be a local whenever you go, then this is the list for you. I don’t want to start this list with generic titles like “10 things to do in Hong Kong” or “20 food you must eat in Hong Kong” because I would like to think that I’m way cooler than that.  Anyway, if you are a fan of Wong Kar Wai or a foodie or in search of not-so-average-things-to-do-in-Hong-Kong, please read on. 

1.       Only go to Chungking Mansion for the Indian food
Seriously, don’t even think about staying in there. I inspected one of the “guest house” and I swear it is simply inhuman not to mention ergonomically unfitted for an adult to stay there. Go instead to the fourteenth floor and treat yourself with a ridiculously good Indian food. Despite the fact that it looks like a brothel, the restaurant serves a really good Northern Indian cuisine. 

2.       Start your day with scramble eggs and a bowl of noodle soup
This is the one of the weirdest mash-up of East and West if I ever see one. However I found the experience to be strangely soothing. Watching how the locals start their days grumpily in their neighborhood cha chaan teng while I’m in my holiday is simply priceless.

3.       A bowl of congee a day keeps the doctor away
Do me a favour and head to Mongkok. Find the Fa Yuen Street Market and head up to the third floor where you will find one of the best rice congee in town. Mui Kee Congee is the name. Make sure you leave some space for their superb raw fish marinated in sesame oil.

4.       Do what the Hong Kongers do: wash your chopsticks with your hot tea
If you wonder why that empty bowl is on your table, now you know. Fight the professed bacteria with free hot tea.

5.       Buy everything with Octopus card
I wish we have Octopus back home. I managed to go around with the MTR, buy beer, clothes and discounted movie tickets with the mighty Octopus.

6.       End your day with a cup of hot herbal tea
Freshly brewed with Chinese herbs and plants, the dark potions will cure you from flu, digestive problem and even, hangover. They even made it to the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. 
7.       Broadway Cinematheque & Kubrick
Watch indie film with fellow movie buffs who patiently sit inside the theater until the credit title is finished AND an adjoining cafe and bookshop that sells books, journals and magazines from all over the world. Need I to say more? 

8.       Create your own Chinese stamp name
Go to Temple Street Market and find the only man who still makes the dying art of Chinese stamp name. You just need to wait for one hour and voila, your name in Mandarin to be stamped at your will. Mine means “dependable” and “prosperous” (fingers crossed!)

9.       Eslite, heaven for book and vegetable eating people
The Taiwanese book emporium is the stuff bookish people like me only can dream of. Unlike the one in Taiwan that opens for 24hours, the Causeway Bay branch only open until 2AM. They mix Mandarin and English books, but I think it is one part of the fun. Be sure to check out their in-house vegetarian restaurant that serves a life-changing Mushroom Steak. 

10.   Cross the strait at exactly 8pm with the ferry
That way you won’t be one of those people I see blitzing away from the Kowloon promenade. You get a better view from the ferry, if you sit on your right hand side when you enter the vintage ferry. The sailors wear cute uniforms, by the way. 

11.   Don’t stand on the left hand side of the escalator
Or you’ll get unfriendly grump from the hurrying locals. 

12.   M’goi  is the magic word
It means thank you, but also ‘excuse me’ when you want to ask a favor or call a waiter.

13.   Service? What service?!
Go to South East Asian countries to receive an Asian hospitality. In Hong Kong, you can consider yourself absolutely lucky if they even smile at you. 

14.   Explore Kowloon
Calling all Wong Kar Wai fans, explore this area and feel what it likes to be a character from his movie. I absolutely adore the area around Temple Street at night. There are prostitutes, jockey club where a bunch of old men are shouting obscenities at the horse race on TV, tiny alleys, moms-and-pops-shop that sells everything and pastry shop.

15.   Free work out, walk up to the Central
I pictured a bunch of nuns singing “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” whenever I have to climb up the steep hill of Lan Kwai Foong. So much for wearing sexy heels for a night out. 

16.   Again, how many zero?
If you happen to pass a property office with its characteristic apartment listing, take out your phone and multiply those exorbitant property prices with your currency. You thought the property prices at your city is high? Think again.

17.   Pineapple Bun
Once you have a bite of DimDimSum’s Pinneaple Bun with its crusty pineapple layer on top and real, juicy pineapple cubes inside the bun, your life will never be the same.

18.   PMQ
It used to be the official housing for married police officers and their family. Now it is a design Mecca filled with creative products, cafe, workshop and offices. I spent half a day there, ended up broke but very, very happy.

19.   Check-in your luggage at Kowloon MTR
If your flight leaves at night and your hotel can’t extend your check-out time, fret not. Find your way to the Kowloon Station, drop your bag at the airlines check-in counter and spend your remaining stay luggage free. 

20.   Wife’s Cake
Because it’s flaky on the outside and moist in the inside. 

21.   I Put a Spell on You
I happened to pass a bridge where I heard the most stupefying sound. Further investigation reveals that sound was a shaman putting a curse on someone’s through stamping his or her name with sandal. Hard. Seriously. They did it out there in the open, with deity shrines and incense sticks. My local friend told me they typically use this unique spiritual rite as part of the plot in soap operas to murder a spiteful mother-in-law. 

22.   Visit neighboring island
And see what the Hong Kong urbanites inflicted upon “the villagers”, much like what Jakartans do to the people of Bandung. 

23.   Don’t go to Macau if you don’t know how to gamble
You will just stare like an idiot whenever someone wins because you had no idea why.

24.   Instead, go to Macau for the egg tarts.
It is THAT good. Totally worth the ferry ride. 

25.   You will find that using selfie stick is not that shameful after all
Because almost every freakin people use it. Hell, you might even decide that you’re going to buy one before you leave the country. Thankfully, I passed the test. 

26.   Eat the damn good pork
I urge you, no I beseech you to eat the pork. Hong Kong was one of the best pork eating frenzy experience I’ve ever had in my life.

This is my Hong Kong. Now go and enjoy yours!

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