As some of you might or care know, I’m back from Hong Kong (nearly 2 weeks ago). I don’t know whether I should be excited or be impartial coming back to NYC but seeing my bed was probably the highlight of coming back home! And I suffered from jet lag for nearly a week. I never felt that awful in my entire life; not knowing whether or not I should be sleeping or working due to the 12-hour time difference.
I’m highlighting random bits of things I observed during my trip abroad (food and not food related) to give you a feel of what it’s like to be in Hong Kong, parts of China (cities I visited were Shenzhen and Zhuhai), and Macau.
You cannot drink their tap water. China and Hong Kong doesn’t purify their water like the United States. You might not want to drink their boiled tap water either. It tasted bitter and awfully metallic. Stick with bottled water, tea, coffee, or any bottled/canned drink if your body seeks hydration.
Napkins are rarely found in restaurants. Most of the restaurants I’ve been to don’t provide napkins. Some give you moist towelettes. Some don’t give you anything. It’s popular in Hong Kong and China to always have tissues at hand. I don’t know the exact reasons why they do this but I have a few theories about it.
Dim sum carts do not exist there. When I went to both Hong Kong and Zhuhai for dim sum, it’s only table service. In other words, you don’t see ladies wearing uniforms rolling around steam carts full of food; just waiters/waitresses carrying stacks of food to tables who ordered certain dishes. It does make a difference in terms of food quality – it’s so much fresher (it came out of the kitchen) and not oversteamed.
Dim sum rocks. Not exactly news to most of you but god, dim sum kicks ass in Hong Kong and China! Generally speaking, of course. Not all restaurants were great but most of them were definitely better than what I’ve eaten in NYC. Reasons why: fresher, tastier, cheaper (currency exchange rate), and some are creative (e.g. shu mai topped with abalone, cantaloupe pastries, etc.).
Almost daily trips to the market. My aunts (or their housekeepers) go to the market almost everyday to get fresh produce, fish, and meat since everything is available at a close distance and space (especially in Hong Kong) is limited.
In Hong Kong, there are certain streets and alleys that have local produce, meat and fish vendors. In Zhuhai, there are temporary hawkers that can only sell during the early morning hours because of legal issues not being able to sell off ones’ carts from certain hours of the day. Or one can get their produce and fish from a huge local market. Fish and seafood is relatively inexpensive in Zhuhai, as it is a small fishing city.
Not Food Related
Hong Kong is quite clean. Walking around Hong Kong’s streets, there’s no litter and I don’t see anyone spitting on the sidewalks. Hell, even the alleys that have food and produce stalls (see 2nd photo on the right), it isn’t dirty like NYC’s Chinatown.
Taxis are everywhere (and cheap) in Hong Kong. I have never taken so many taxi rides my entire life; practically once a day, if not more. Cab rides start at $18 HK (roughly a little less than $7 US) and increases at 60 cents HK per 1/2 km beyond the first 3 km.
Haggling is a common practice. Everyone (in China and Hong Kong) always try to get the best deal by discussing the price. Whether it’s for clothing or groceries, they always ask for a discount. I don’t have the guts and skills to do it yet but watching my aunts haggle it’s an art.
Bathrooms (in Shenzhen and most of Zhuhai) are in-ground. Don’t get what I mean? It’s latrine style toilets.
Fashion-related: Almost no one wears sky-high heels. Unless you’re a New Yorker like me and brave a day wearing a 4-3/4 inch stiletto heel for your cousin’s wedding. There’s too many mountains, hills, valleys, and stairs to be walking around such a shoe. Most women around here walk in a 3-incher at most.
Something on a personal note: I never seen so many CUTE KITTIES in my entire life! My aunt in Hong Kong owns 15 or so kittens and there’s 4 more on the way. I know it’s a little crazy. See a few below (be prepared to squeal):