Once I get the list of things we have done and eaten, I'll upload an album on facebook with everything. This is just a preview (Day 1 and Day 2 from the last post barely cover anything!) but here are the past two days. Day 3: Big Buddha, The Peak, first time foods: snake, thousand year old egg, mangosteen, rambutan, and more
Starting the day off right with the best Hong Kong Egg Tart, then a local bakery chestnut bun.
We went on a cable car to see Big Buddha. They made a new "crystal" one with a glass bottom so you can see below for the whole ride. Then up the stairs...
The line for the tram to go up to The Peak was crazy. People are so aggressive, and it doesn't really help to be small! Whether from TST (last post) or from above, Hong Kong really does have the best skyline in the world. I haven't travelled that much, but lots of people who have think it's the best and I can't imagine any better.
Wonton noodles, then congee with thousand year old egg and fish. The egg yolk has the aftertaste of brie cheese, which I love (as a member of the cheese club in college), but it was unexpected!
Snake soup. It looked kind of like eel, but more lean. The soup had shiitake and orange peel in it, surprisingly refreshing.
Mango, coconut, aloe vera drink to wash it all down.
Day 4: Temple, Nunnery, Mong Kok, first time foods: red wax apple, creamy shark fin soup with fish belly, squab, more various animal parts, turtle shell jelly, and more
Red bean bun! I'm obsessed with fluffy bread here. The local, non-chain bakeries are better than the chain ones so far. Those have more interesting, limited edition type flavors, but the local ones that probably wouldn't pass any health safety tests in the states taste better. Same with the food! The fancy places are delicious, but some of the best food is from all the tiny alleyway places that look like kitchens with buckets of dirty dishes, raw ingredients, bugs, and who knows what else in plain view. I'm grateful that I somehow have a strong stomach and I don't get food poisoning, even when I've shared food with friends who got food poisoning from the food we had eaten.
The temple and nunnery: I love how you can see the high rise buildings right behind the traditional buildings. I heard Beijing is the same but even more all over. I want to see it!
The Buddhas and bodhisattvas were much more interesting than ever before because I finally know what I'm looking at and understand a lot of the symbolism because of the Buddhist imagery in Japanese Christianity paper I was working on for months. It makes sense how because of the limitations in language, the similarities in symbolism, figures, and worship made (Catholic) Christianity and Buddhism look so similar to the Japanese when it was introduced hundreds of years ago. [I finished the paper so ask me more if you're interested.]
This is how you pose when there's someone right behind you that you need to block to get a photo, pretty good right? You can barely see her behind me through my left side and left arm.
Clams, Hong Kong style sweet and sour beef (not even close to Panda Express sweet and sour haha), and garlic green vegetables followed. Then the turtle shell jelly, supposed to be good for your skin? Before you say "ew that's gross," think about where gelatin comes from!
This coconut was probably one of my favorite things, besides the octopus tentacle skewer and chow fun. It was so sweet and refreshing! Then my least favorite, animal insides (tripe, intestine, gizzard, liver, I don't remember what else)... It's so rare for me to not like something that I think I just haven't had it prepared in a way that I would like it more, but the more I keep trying it the more I think maybe it's possible that I really just don't like it.
I didn't try this one, just took a photo. I have had pig's ear before with my brother in the states (not at an asian place!) but the snout didn't look too appetizing.
For dinner: We got squab (baby pigeon), scallop with noodles, shark fin soup, and vegetables with garlic. Sander, who has had whole squab many times before: "So you know how to eat this right?" Me: "No, the head's still on it! I have a hard time pulling off the head when it comes on shrimp!" Those protruding shrimp eyeballs creep me out. Lucky me, the poor bird had no visible eyeballs left, but Sander still kindly ripped off the head for me.
I see plastic gloves, a whole bird, a wet wipe, a bowl of hot lemon water, a box of tissue...I can guess how this is supposed to go. There's no chance of eating lady-like recently, from pulling off octopus tentacles on a skewer with your teeth to nibbling off meat from a detached squab wing.
Some inbetween: waiting for the MTR (subway), shopping at one of the 30+ malls, learning how to wear one of these knit hats from fashionista Sander.
I'm wearing Sander out trying to learn Cantonese and messing up attempting to use it all day long. The similarities with Japanese kanji help, but the 12 tones still drive me crazy. As I've been looking at people around me, I keep asking about the culture, values, and etiquette of people here. It's different than what I know and interesting to find out more about materialism, that's the same as the states and Japan but looks different here, family life, manners, etc.
I can't believe tomorrow is already my last full day! The taste of garlic and who knows what else lingers as I get ready for bed, but I'm excited for a new day and new flavors tomorrow.