I had congee for breakfast. Southern China is known for congee and HK is apparently known for dim sum so I knew I needed to try it while I was here.
This is pork intestine congee. It was good although the intestines are so chewy so it takes forever to actually chew them.
I have been relatively open to trying new foods but I still have some reservations. There’s a ton of food besides Chinese though. There’s significant Japanese, Korean, French, Italian, Indian, and Turkish populations so there’s some really good international food.
I stopped at this more upscale chain called Teawood. They had a lunch special where you get an appetizer, entree, rice/noodle dish, and a drink for 69 HKD or around 9 USD.
I got Taiwanese style ribs, Taiwanese minced meat over rice, and the appetizer tray had this duck thing, a soy sauce marinated egg, and this bean sprout thing. The ribs and rice were great. I didn’t like the duck though. It was my first time having duck.
I went to the Kowloon Walled City Park which was another very quiet park in the middle of the city.
This part of the city was much more local though and seemed to be more family-oriented since there were lots of school and children’s playgrounds in the area.
I really like checking out parks and just walking around the city when I travel because I just like to see how people live. I like seeing all the business people have their conversations in the subways and kids going home from school and stopping in the 7-11 to get snacks. I think it just reminds me that this is just a place where people do everyday things just like back home and I’m just another person.
I went to this breakfast place called Australian Dairy Co. It has nothing really to do with Australian dairy, it’s just like a popular local breakfast place. A local told me it was a must-do here. Anyway I got there pretty much right as it opened at 7:30 and it was already busy and full.
They have a set breakfast meal that includes with macaroni with ham, amazing thick fluffy toast, fried eggs/scrambled eggs, and milk tea/coffee. Such a good breakfast. This is just the macaroni since eggs and toast look like eggs and toast.
I also went to this Turkish kebab place and got the chicken doner with chips. It was delicious. I may be tempted to say it’s the best thing I’ve had in Hong Kong thus far.
The chef brought out this mushroom soup at first and I was worried that they got my order wrong but it was on the house. I think it was because I was the only one in the restaurant and it was dinner time. A couple of other people came in but they got takeout so I’m thinking they also don’t get people who dine in too often.
I mostly went here because I was craving chips but didn’t want to just go to McDonald’s and it was well worth it.
I got this spicy beef pepper rice dish at a food court in one of the malls. I just wandered into the mall and was hungry and this looked good. It had really good seasoning and wasn’t greasy or heavy compared to most food court food in the US.
Pan fried pepper pork buns. Really good.
Sichuan 担担面 (dàndàn miàn)
I hiked Lantau mountain. It’s the second tallest mountain in Hong Kong.
It ends at this village called Ngong Ping. It’s famous for the big buddha statue.
I didn’t actually see the buddha up close because I didn’t want to walk up any more steps than I already had.
There’s also cows that just hang out there.
I cried on the way to the summit. Partially because I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, my stomach hadn’t been feeling well so all I had eaten were Digestive biscuits, and I could see the sunburn on my arm forming tiny blisters even though I kept putting on sunscreen.
But also I had about 2 and a half hours to myself to just think and I was reflecting on something my roommate had told me two nights earlier (this is my roommate who has the baby). I explained to her my adoption, which took a while to explain through translation apps. She thought I was adopted by Chinese people at first and then I had to explain that my parents are white and she asked if the reason I was going to China was to see my parents and I said no. I showed her the word abandon and that seemed to put all the pieces together.
She asked me what I would ask them if I saw them and I said what I said to Thomas in Bali when he asked me that. I would just ask and hope they are happy, healthy, and well. Thomas wondered why I didn’t want to ask them “why” and my roommate questioned the same. It’s because it’s done. It already happened and I’m sure it wasn’t an easy choice. I’ve had a privileged and good life so I would just want to know if their life has been good.
My roommate said I had 孝, xiào, filial piety. And she wanted to say more but her vocabulary was kind of preventing her from elaborating but she just kept repeating “You are good. You are a good daughter. Do you understand? A good girl.” She was talking about me being a good daughter to my biological parents. Yes, she knew the context. She was saying that despite my adoption and them leaving me, I was still a good daughter to them.
So as I was hiking up Lantau I was thinking about her words and Thomas’. Their conversations were such a change from the questions I have had from travelers on this trip that, in short, are usually repetitive, insensitive to my parents (both adopted and biological), or invasive.
I was used to conversations that questioned if I considered my parents my parents. I was used to people questioning whether I was really Chinese. I was used to people asking if it feels weird to be around so many Chinese people when I grew up with white people. I’m used to people asking if it’s weird to have white parents. Used to people bringing up all these “crazy” adoption stories they have heard online and “what if you have an unknown sibling or you aren’t even Chinese, you’re Vietnamese or something.” I was just used to people who didn’t actually care.
I was also crying because I was thinking about what if my biological parents aren’t happy, well, or healthy and I’ve lived this really good life and they’ve lived a very hard life. A life that was already hard, having to leave their three day old daughter, but just continued to be harder. These thoughts I guess have been surfacing because Jiujiang is approaching.
So I was crying because I wasn’t used to these kinds of conversations and wasn’t expecting this empathy. I was crying because I know I will never meet my biological parents so I will never know if they are at least okay. And I was crying because I will always have to answer these questions and I’m already tired of them.
And I was crying because I was hungry, hot, and tired.
I’ll miss Hong Kong. I’ve felt the most comfortable here out of the places I’ve been to.
It’s been the nicest city I’ve been in thus far. Modern, clean, organized. I’ve seen more Teslas than any other kind of car. And cars aren’t common here, it’s mostly buses and taxis because owning a car is really only for the rich and expats. The public transportation is by far the best I’ve ever experienced. Metros run every 2 minutes, buses run every 10 minutes, the city is so small you can walk from one end to the other in an hour.
I’m in Kowloon which is maybe like Brooklyn in comparison to NYC. Central would be Manhattan with its upscale people and upscale businesses. I don’t like Central very much, it feels too posh and too touristy. It’s also quite a bit more expensive. All the expats I’ve run into in Central also seem to mostly stay in Central which is a shame because Kowloon is more interesting. Central feels like every big city with its designer shops and typical restaurants. Kowloon has the night markets that sell fish that’s still alive, raw meat, fresh fruits and veggies. I like seeing locals bantering with each other loudly in the streets and sitting on plastic stools. I like seeing tiny restaurants that look unassuming having long queues of excited people. I like seeing old painted apartment buildings and you can tell people live in them.
I went to Kowloon park today and ran into a bouldering competition and a Kung Full showcase. I went to a smaller park today and there was a public safety fair with fire trucks and police men demonstrating to kids safety techniques.
It seems like there’s always something interesting happening.
Later in the day, I was walking in Mong Kok, a popular shopping area and it was packed with street singers.
And I went to Central to get this ice cream that is apparently really good.
The waffle was filled with apple pie pieces and it had vanilla and salted caramel ice cream with cinnamon apple bits. Nothing special but still tasted good.
Later in the night, I walked by the Comfort Women statues.
I know part of the reason I like Hong Kong is because it’s very Western. Most everything has English alongside it and the facilities are all Western style. I’m prepared for China to be a lot harder to get around and a lot harder to culturally adjust to.
I may not have access to this blog or most Western sites in China. If I don’t have access, then it won’t be until the end of February when I’m in Korea until I post again. If I do have access, then I’ll post as usual.
Next stop is Jiujiang for just a few days.