Hong Kong Travel: Kowloon, Central, and Shopping

We started off our last day in Hong Kong pretty late. The early morning till late at night walking had really taken a toll and we didn't drag ourselves out of the hotel until 12ish. We'd been given a really great last day itinerary by Stephen the day before, but we were too tired to do another intense day of sightseeing. It was our last chance to do any shopping before we left so we devoted the day to grabbing any Hong Kong souvenirs. Before any shopping though we needed to eat and I couldn't leave Hong Kong without going to Mido Cafe.   

I've been to a lot of cafes in the last few years and Mido Cafe is one of the top. The atmosphere is perfect. It's very retro 1960s Hong Kong. I wish I could go back with a cute vintage dress instead of the shorts and shirt I had one. We order the french toast with peanut butter, brisket tomato noodle soup, and yuanyang, milk tea mixed with coffee. Hong Kong french toast is crazy. It's basically a peanut butter sandwich fried like french toast and served with syrup, condensed milk, or honey. We loved it so much I made it at home right after we got back. I still dream of the tomato soup. It was so rich and creamy and filled with fall apart brisket pieces. We had to drag ourselves away or we would have stayed there till our very late flight. We didn't take any photos of the place (what were we thinking?), but check out my friend Kathryn's blog for some really beautiful photos of the place. 

One of my goals for this trip was to buy a wok and steamer baskets. I had an address of a place that was supposed to sell hand hammered cast iron woks, but it never appeared to be opened. We walked up and down the area known as Shanghai Street looking for our dream wok. This area is filled with every kitchen item anyone would ever need. A lot of it was stuff I could easily buy in Japan, but it was a fraction of the price. I found a pack of chopsticks for around $15 dollars. We had bought those exact chopsticks in Taiwan for about $15 pair. We hunted for more than an hour to find the right wok. There were a lot of iron ones that were rusted and I didn't feel confident enough to get rid of the rust and season them properly again. We finally settled on a stainless steal one for about $14 dollars from a store in the area. I wish I had taken a picture of the storefront for you! If you want a wok, just search Shanghai Street and you will find one. We picked up some steamer baskets, but we should have bought them in Japan. They were about the same price and I really don't love the ones we got from there. 

We popped into a Tin Hau Temple while we were walking around. This temple of the Water Goddess Tin Hau had these fat pink coils of incense that were hung on the ceiling. People would buy one and hang them in the temple for blessing. They slow burned and the ash was caught in the brass colored trays. I was obsessed. I kept thinking of one my favorite books Till We Have Faces and the description of Ungit's temple. It felt dark, smokey, and otherworldly. 

Stephen had recommended a place to get wonton noodles for lunch called Mak Man Kee 麥文記 near Jordan station. It was in the vicinity of Mido and Shanghai Street so we popped over there to grab a bowl. There were two wonton restaurants with nearly identical names right next to each other. We went into the first one and realized it was the wrong restaurant - haaaa. I got the shrimp wonton noodles and it was still great! Definitely go to one of those restaurants if you're in the Jordan area. 

One of our last shopping stops in that area was Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium. It's right around the corner from the Mak Man Kee. Yes this place was probably overpriced. Yes, it's a touristy store. However, it has all the Chinese products you want to buy under one roof and when you're short on time, that's a blessing. The place is huge with something like 7 floors. I got a beautiful embroidered green silk purse, red embroidered silk slippers ( I got obsessed when I saw them on In the Mood for Love), and the most delicious jasmine pearl tea. Nothing we bought was outrageously priced. I left feeling pretty satisfied. 

In my opinion, Kowloon is the best area if you want atmosphere. We spent a while just walking around absorbing all the smells and sights. We found a bakery and stuffed our faces with pineapple buns and egg tarts. There's a large Indian population in Hong Kong so when I saw an Indian hair salon I went in to get my eyebrows threaded for something like $3. I snapped a pretty low quality photo of it on my way out, but use it keep a look out if you're in the Jordan area and want to get your face threaded. 

One of our last stops of the day was all the way back near Central. Earlier in our trip, Josh and I went to The Fitting Room by Grana to order some clothes by Grana. They're an online company with only a few places worldwide to actually try on their clothes. You try the clothes on there and order them on the computer. You can have them shipped to you in the store if you aren't one of the lucky countries that Grana ships to. Shipping was fast. It was like a day or two at most. This was basically the start of a long and intense love affair with the company. In my searches for things to do in Hong Kong I came across A Pair and Spare which is a big supporter of Grana. Her Hong Kong guides are great too so check those out when you're planning your vacation! 

We stopped at Man Mo Temple on the way back from Grana. There were no lights except for a few dozen lanterns hanging from poles in the middle of the room. There were bamboo poles everywhere due to the construction. It was a bit rundown and a bit mysterious. 

We rode one of the double decker trams till the end of the line for no other reason except we wanted to ride one. We finished off our trip at a random place near Central station that served roasted goose. I think it was Yat Lok after looking at this woman's pictures, but I don't remember it being that much. I got the goose with rice and Josh got the goose noodle soup. They were both mind-blowing, but we agreed that the goose with rice was better. Guys I had never had goose before. It's not a thing in the the US, but I can't understand why. It was so succulent and juicy and roastyyyy. 

We took the Hong Kong Express back to the airport. It was really easy to get a refund for our Octopus cards. Most of the stores in the airport are open late so I stopped off at a drugstore to pick up Colgate toothbrushes and toothpaste because Japanese toothpaste and toothbrushes are garbage compared to American brands. I saw there was a Popeyes in the airport and got super excited because Popeyes is basically my childhood. Guys DO NOT EAT AT THE POPEYES AT HONG KONG AIRPORT. It was cold and bad. I felt so sick after eating it AND the last thing I put in my mouth in Hong Kong was bad. We didn't finish the food we ordered it was so bad.

I've said this in other posts, but we left Hong Kong feeling bittersweet. We fell hard for that city that someone had described as a metropolitan fishing village. We put a decent amount of research on how to move there and while didn't happen this year it's still in the cards. While we'd always miss Japan, I think we could be very happy in Hong Kong. 

Have you ever fallen hard for another city or country you've visited?  Let me know in the comments below! 

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