I am back in the states! We flew into NY late last night and will be visiting for a week.
More on the trip to India soon.
In the mean time, I thought I’d share the adventures we managed to cram in during our layover in Hong Kong…
I am beginning to think that sometimes a short trip is the best trip. When I have limited time to explore a place – like I did last summer in Brussels, or like I did a few summers ago when I spent a weekend in Paris – I find I am more efficient and can quickly get a satisfying impressionistic taste of a place. On this trip, we had 5 hours in Hong Kong.
Our first–non-negotiable–stop was to Din Tai Fung. My husband fell in love with their xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings) on a trip he took in 2008 to Taiwan, and introduced me to their paper thin, yet tender morsels of steamed vegetarian dumplings when he was living in (and I was visiting) Sydney. The closest Din Tai Fung branches to us are in LA and Seattle (what gives, Din Tai Fung? Come grace us with your presence in San Francisco!), and we visit every opportunity we have. A common feature of all the branches is a window into the kitchen, so you can watch your dumplings being prepared.
We ordered our usual dumplings, some preserved greens with bean curd paper, and tea.
For dessert, we sampled steamed taro dumplings. Usually I am a huge fan of the light coconutty taste of taro, but these came off a bit bland.
Overall, however, the meal was sumptuous, and punctual, as usual. Also they have an anthropomorphized statue of a dumpling out front.
Next, we went on a quest. When I travel to a new city, I like to choose a particular item to find, as a point of reference or anchor of sorts. In London it was cream tea, in Brussels it was chocolate. We didn’t have time for a full-fledged Quest for the Best on this trip, but after a quick search of prior Hong Kong bakery reviews, we set out to find a very highly regarded butter cookie.
As is hoped for on such a quest, we serendipitously stumbled upon a sprawling urban market en route. Meat hung from tenterhooks, ready to be sliced.
Papayas were stacked alongside pineapples and tangerines.
Fish, fresh out of water, flopped on ice.
In India, we had been looking for a pair of tiny elephant statues to bring home, but my husband spotted them out of the corner of his eye in this cluttered market stall in Hong Kong. Despite negotiating the price down by 25 Hong Kong Dollars, we still got gouged, I am fairly certain.
At least the elephants will come home attached to an interesting story.
After securing a few tins of cookies at Tai Cheong (the jury is still out, I have yet to unpack them), we decided to make one more stop before returning to the airport. I had read that not far was a temple dedicated (in part) to the gods of literature. As someone who loves literature, I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute. We meandered over to Man Mo.
We scaled a seemingly quotidian staircase off the Antique Street, walked through the temple gates, to behold
We didn’t stay long because Man Mo was thick with smoke. Just long enough to admire the incense cones and giant lanterns.
Then we hopped on the express subway back to the airport, picked up boxes of lo mein and boiled Chinese broccoli for dinner, and boarded the plane.
So long, Hong Kong. Until next time!