On our third day in Hong Kong, we stopped pretending to be rich and checked out of the extravagant InterContinental HK. With moving into the more affordable Hyatt Regency, which was just a few blocks away, the touristy part of our HK itinerary began.
First we walked through the Avenue of Stars, which was the HK version of Hollywood Walk of Fame. Even though I had seen a lot more Hollywood movies, I probably could name as many HK actors as I could American ones. It was very exciting to see the palm prints of my childhood favorites like Jackie Chan and Stephen Chow, and all-time stars like Andy Lau and Tony Leung.
Tony Leung, one of my favorite actors.
Bruce Lee wasn’t around to leave a palm print, so they made a whole statue of him instead.
Chilling by the morning harbour.
Then we walked to Kowloon Park. Reminding us of the New York Central Park, this was a well-designed piece of nature in the middle of a concrete jungle. Other than the typical park stuff like trees and grass and benches, it’s also got an aviary, several gardens, plenty of ponds, sculptures, water fountains, etc.
Nevertheless, it was a park, and perhaps the least touristy of all places on our itinerary. The reason for visiting? The Kowloon Park was home to the Avenue of Comic Stars – another walk of fame, but dedicated to the print entertainment instead of moving pictures. Instead of just names and palm prints, though, this short avenue was full of 3D interpretations of what had otherwise only been on paper. They picked a most well-known comic book character from each author’s works and created a sculpture out of it. This project was completed only a few years ago, and I was really happy to see it. Not that I need to prove my inner geek or anything, but I recognized a much larger percentage of names and faces here, than I did on the Avenue of (Movie) Stars.
… looked like mochis
步驚雲 from 風雲, arguably the most famous work in the HK comic history. Its epic story had been turned into two movies, a TV series, two PC games, one online game, a novel, and plenty of merchandise. The series began when I was in elementary school, reached its all-time high during junior high, and the story had not ended even now! It had shamelessly dragged on worse than Detective Conan.
At the southeast corner of the park was a mosque, and today was Sunday. Tons of what we presumed to be Indonesian workers gathered here, either right before or after service, hanging out in the plaza or picnicking in the park. It was pretty cool to see. Most places of worship in the US must’ve had enough private grounds for the believers to hangout, away from the public view. Even in crowded cities like San Fran or New York, such gatherings were not commonplace.
After a dim sum brunch, which we found on a random street, we headed toward Hong Kong Island for the very first time. Quite a few people had told us about the Star Ferry – one that was rated by many to be among the world’s most beautiful ferries – so we walked to the pier. Interestingly enough, taking the ferry across the harbour cost much less than taking the MTR, opposite of what one’d expect from the NY/SF experiences.
Xuan Xuan’s first boat ride ever. And it was the most awesome boat ride in the world!
The eastern half of the HK Island, from the Star Ferry
We arrived at Central. Until we hopped on another ferry to head back to TST, we didn’t touch the street once. Spent the whole time indoors or on foot bridges, within the interconnected IFC-IFC Mall-Hong Kong Station complex. Note: IFC 2 was the tallest building on the HK Island, where Batman kidnapped the bad guy via plane in The Dark Knight. Underneath it was yet another mall where we could afford absolutely nothing (gosh getting tired of these rich people already). The frustrating yet thought-provoking experience was that, within these buildings, many elevators did not stop at all floors… i.e. some may stop at the ground and B1 levels, while others go all the way to B3 but skip B1. I imagined it helping with the traffic flow, though we had a lot of trouble as tourists just trying to figure out where to go.
And “where to go” was the Tim Ho Wan within Hong Kong Station. This was the legendary dim sum restaurant that consistently won a Michelin Star, from its opening in 2009 for 4-5 years in a row. It was also known as the world’s cheapest Michelin meal. With that reputation, of course we did not expect the restaurant to have immediately available seating upon our arrival…
I estimated our wait time for a table here to be 700 hours.
An alternate view of this madness.
Guess we weren’t the only ones who read about it online. Oh well, no biggies because they also provided take-out service, with plenty of people sitting on the floor to eat. I was happy to follow suit. Hong hesitated a bit until we pulled out the River Safari (Singapore) map as a floor map. Done! It was not only the world’s cheapest Michelin-Starred meal, it was a Michelin meal eaten on the floor in a train station! Beat that dining experience!!!
Only took 15 minutes for our order of Michelin dim sum to go in a plastic bag.
I call this the true food test. When you’re in a high-end restaurant with fancy decors, perfumes, and music, your taste buds can easily be tricked into thinking its got the same good treatment. However, when you sit on a hard cold floor and the food still tastes good, you know that’s the real deal,
I wasn’t enough of a foodie to really care about Michelin Stars, and my previous experiences (Ding Tai Fung from Taipei, and One Market in SF) were both of limited satisfaction. On top of that, I didn’t even like dim sum except for a few particular items… but I must say that the stuff here was darn good. And we paid as much as today’s dim sum breakfast! Can’t possibly get cheaper than that!
No joke about this. The best 糯米雞 sticky rice with chicken I had ever had.
The International Commerce Center in West Kowloon was the tallest building in all of Hong Kong.
After nap time, it was getting dark and we went north to Mong Kok. Walked through Ladies’ Market, found some dinner, got some dessert, walked through Temple Street Night Market, and got more dessert. It was a more local and down-to-earth kind of evening, and probably how we’d kill time if we lived in Hong Kong.
Steamed milk with lotus seeds, and the exact change to pay for it
The significance of this Yau Ma Tei police station was that Zhang Ziyi blew it up in Rush Hour 2
Some sort of mango sago dessert. And me (tired, with a baby on my back) reading from my notebook.