Typically, travelers (myself included) rarely want to spend precious PTO on going to the same destination. Every year, I dream about exploring new lands and places, meeting new people, and photographing new landscapes. I shun the idea of going to the same place too many times, I yearn for change, for newness— for the unfamiliar.
And while that wanderlust has not diminished, my most recent trip to Hong Kong has dramatically altered it. I’m able to truly see the beauty of traveling to the same place, often. I’ve learned that as I’ve changed throughout the years, so do my interests, subsequently altering my travel experiences, even if I’m heading to the same place. The changes within myself (and others) color my trips differently, so that each time I end up with a new painting.
The last time I was in Hong Kong was 2011. Back then, I was a pretty different person (although still love food). I wasn’t into photography and didn’t quite think of myself as a creative. Fast forward 4 years later— now I’m a photographer and see things and travel differently. My priorities for travel and what I want to see or do are all different. The only thing that’s the same? I gotta eat delicious and beautiful food ;). This time around, I really wanted to feel the heart of Hong Kong, and see interesting sights along with eating my face off.
We landed on a hazy Monday morning at 6am, and arrived in the city at 8am. Transportation from the the airport to Hong Kong island (and Kowloon for that matter) is amazingly easy. We simply hopped on the airport express, which runs about $14 one way, and it drops you off at several main MTR (their version of a subway) stations. We stayed in Soho, which is really close to the central Hong Kong station. We literally could’ve walked, but with our 4 gigantic luggages, we chose to take a short cab ride to our hotel. Cabs are also super cheap in Hong Kong. We dropped off our luggage and began exploring right away.
First stop, an authentic dai pai dong (大 牌 檔), which is an open-air food stall. It’s a little reminiscent of a modern day food truck. There’s no waiters, no fancy stuff here. You grab a seat where you can, someone takes your order, and you eat and then pay. It’s a no frills eat, but the eats are always delicious and cheap.
Sing Heung Yuen 勝香園 is famous is most known for their signature tomato soup, beef noodles and crispy lemon bun. Of course, we had to try the signature beef and tomato soup with ramen noodles. We also got the lemon crispy toast/bun and my favorite drink, milk tea.
What I like about the food is that it’s light and flavorful. The beef was also supremely tender, considering it was boiled. And they weren’t kidding when they called it lemon crispy toast. Look at it, it was amazingly crispy. Milk tea in Hong Kong is different than America. It’s not as sweet and it has a very strong tea flavor. Rarely does it come with boba/pearls. I like it a lot more– it’s more of a creamy tea vs. a dessert.
From people like me to businessman, the dai pai dongs attract all different types of people.
What better way to learn a city than to wander its streets? Hong Kong has many hidden gems, you never know what will be just around the corner. Being in Soho meant that we were in a prime exploring location, and could wander for miles with things to see.
Spotted the cutest little ice cream store! I added it on my list of to-try’s, but sadly didn’t make it back before I left.
Also in the area is Lan Fong Yuen 蘭芳園, famous for their milk tea (of course) and chicken cutlet over ramen. This time around, I just had the milk tea. Last time I was in Hong Kong, I was able to try their signature dish (below) and it did NOT disappoint.
Have you ever been to Hong Kong? What’s your favorite part?
Stay tuned for more of my Hong Kong travel diary!