My posts on my adventures in Hong Kong will come in no particular order, and in no sensible flow. I’m going to cover things from that which is production related to the obscure and mundane. Primarily because, when preparing for my trip I relied on blogs, travel message boards and ex-pat message boards. Hopefully these posts will help if one of you visits HK.
One of the questions people ask me (constantly) is what I am eating. I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian, and I am not an adventurous diner. It has to be easily visually identifiable or I won’t eat it. In addition, I don’t eat spicy foods, foods heavy in sauce, or anything that might cause me heartburn or any other “issue”. My eating habits are pretty regular and I like to keep my system running smoothly. And, I’m terribly afraid of getting sick while traveling because the last thing I want is to be holed up in a hotel room.
Having said that, my diet has been pretty western since I’ve been here. Some people (I won’t name names) think that going to Asia means eating fried cat, octopus, frog, or another animal. Or they have visuals of street markets with cooked chickens hanging from string (yes, those do exist). A lot of people have a stereotype of the food as dirty. I’ve heard some of the most ignorant
warnings comments, and this is from a lot of people whose food I wouldn’t personally eat back home :)
Dining has not been a problem. I’m staying at a hotel, which is above a shopping mall (Pacific Place) that is connected to 2 other shopping centres (Admiralty Centre and Queesnway Plaza). There are great restaurants and quick food places here, very easily accessible. I have eaten stuff I could and would eat at home, for less money. I know I’m missing out by not trying the local cuisine, but remember, I’m not an adventurous diner.
The thing that amazes me the most about Hong Kong is that, for a city that attracts as much tourism as it does, it’s not expensive. Granted, good lodging will cost you, but it’s cheaper than NYC, but the transportation and dining are all less expensive than what we normally have in touristy areas of the US.
For example, I got lunch at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center (sauteed Chinese style mixed vegetables) for $20 HKD ($2.60 US/CDN). The other meals were around $35-42 HKD. At MAGIC, you got a crappy $5 ($39 HK) lunch, if you could get that, and the rest of the food was $8 and up ($62 HK), without beverage.
In the MTR stations (and probably above ground, I don’t know), there is a chain of quick to-go food places called Pret A Manger. Pret specializes in all natural, healthy food, ready to go. My first trip, I got half of a hummus and sweet corn sandwich (on wheat bread with organic mixed greens) for $24 HKD, a great bite to eat to get me through the day. Today I went and for $108 HKD ($14 US/CDN) I purchased another one of those half sandwiches, a pink guava and red grape juice, a greek salad and a hot roasted vegetable and brown rice (but it reminds me of red dice) wrap, on a whole wheat tortilla. I ate the wrap for dinner, the salad is actually for breakfast and I’m taking the sandwich with me to eat while I am out and about.
I wish we had Pret at home. They have some in NYC, but I bet the prices are “New York prices.”
Last night while walking around, I stumbled upon this Park N Shop store. I’m not even sure if you actually park a car and shop, or what the park refers to. But it was a miniature sized supermarket (what an oxymoron, huh), with everything from fresh fruit and seafood to towels. Yes, towels. All in an amazingly small space. Probably the size of a medium sized Kinkos. They have tiny shopping carts, not a whole lot bigger than the kid sized grocery carts some stores in the USA have. And they have these really small thingies that allow you to place 1 or 2 hand baskets (regular grocery store hand baskets) so that you can push your hand basket around.
So, this is the amazing part, I took a photo of my goodies that I purchased for $25.70 HKD. The crazy part is the socks were $8.90HKD so the food itself cost me a whopping $2.16 in USD.
One of the best things about Hong Kong is the Octopus Card. Pick one up at the airport, and you can use it for transportation, for purchases at places like Pret, Starbucks, and many other restaurants and a bunch of other stuff. It’s extremely convenient.