Street Food / HK Fast Food – Hong Kong Part 1

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If you couldn’t already tell, I was super excited for to spend more than seven days in Hong Kong (without my dad, which makes things better (Am I a bad daughter?), hashtag sorrynotsorry!). I have NEVER been there and therefore was already thinking about all the blog entries I would be writing/posting after my visit.

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A month prior to landing in the city of great food (Chinese food right?) my parents would reminiscent about their childhood, the foods they ate and how it was prepared. Dad would remind me of how he went to the shops and got an order of steaming rice rolls (pictures below) and it would be given be in a plastic bag.

On my first day (the plane landed at 4:30 am local time (obviously it was TOO early) and so there was plenty of time to go and explore around (ever minute counts!!). My aunt and I had the opportunity to go and experience (it was mainly I) eating rice rolls from a plastic bag.. IN FACT, it was actually like my dad had described!

The rolls are cut up, placed in a dish on top of parchment paper, your choice of sauces are added (hoisin sauce and hot sauce), a sprinkling of white sesame and bagged up in a tiny plastic bag.
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There are plenty of street foods to choose from. I would almost assure you that you could probably find a vendor or two on any street (on the popular streets within HK); fishballs and animal innards are very popular.

Another Chinese staple is eating at fast food restaurants that serve Hong Kong style foods (aka cha cha teng). There is an assortment of foods ranging from instant noodles to macaroni and ham). If you’re craving a more western style dish, there is an assortment to choose from: eggs and toast, porridge and or coffee.

For this trip, I ate mostly what I wouldn’t eat back in Toronto, even if I were going to a cha cha teng.  My goal was to eat instant noodles (I’ve heard HK instant noodles are different compared to the ones at home), Chinese french toastegg tarts. Unfortunately, I didn’t have, not even a bite, of an egg tart (some cha cha tengs have a storefront bakery too).

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One of my highly recommended foods/ drinks to try is lemon tea. I was instantly in love with it and had to have it, if I weren’t drinking a red bean slush. I cannot really describe the difference in taste (mom claims HK lemon tea is not bitter), but surely 100 times better (I think the tea is less dense and the tea is not steeped for too long).

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Obviously there are PLENTY of cha cha tengs to choose from, but Cafe de Coral is pretty popular around the city centre. I really got my money’s worth. For $21 HKD, I got a red bean slush and a french toast. If I convert HKD to CAD (this is an estimation), it would be around  $4 CAD. A red bean slush is about ~$4 CAD and french toast is about ~$4. You get my point!

While roaming the street markets, we came across a random dessert/ steamed dumpling shop.

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I was sad that I didn’t have many opportunities to try egg waffles. I had a list (of five) of the most popular HK egg waffles and I only tried Mammy Pancake. I was surely disappointed as I was really looking forward to having the best egg waffles in the city. The waffles were crispy and fresh (not soggy), but there was really something missing. I thought it was too plain (no salt to balance out the sweetness). I really prefer the one at Pacific Mall instead.

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My mom would probably get mad at me if I didn’t include chestnuts in this post. When she was growing up, she would always smell roasted chestnuts from a far. She just, and still has, a sensitive nose for that. We literally had five (or more) bags of roasted chestnuts in HK. Crazy right? But not for my family. My brother, mom and I are huge fans of chestnuts. We used to cook them whenever we had our fireplace on, but not anymore.

We stopped by this couple’s random stall on the street every time they had chestnuts. $40 HKD for one pound of chestnuts. The couple also sells eggs and roasted sweet potato. They usually set up stall around Jordan Road and Nathan Road.

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There are certainly more street foods and fast foods items to mention, but I think I’ll end my post here.

Photos via Canon 70D.

Day 6- Seoul (Part 5)

Another day in Seoul means another day of eating. After Carmen got off from work, we went to the Hello Kitty Cafe for afternoon tea. I was in Hello Kitty heaven (squeals)!

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Carmen had a latte, I had a cold tea and we shared a slice of Oreo cake (I should attempt to recreate the Oreo cake, I’m not usually a big fan but it was delicious for my first try).

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After spending hours waiting in line to go up the Seoul Tower, we headed back to Myeongdong main street for some bubble tea and street food (that was our dinner).

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Carmen was photobombed (classic!). I can’t stop laughing about this.

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Please ignore the hair in the next photo. Carmen didn’t warn me that my hair was wack, it was windy that night (as you might have noticed!).

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Click here to check out my other photos from the Hello Kitty Cafe and the view from Seoul Tower.
P.S. Click here to check out Carmen’s (Seoul) travel blog.

Day 5- Seoul (Part 4)

First day of 2015 and we settled for brunch at Cafe Mamas.

IMG_6554The restaurant was warm and welcoming. We sat on the not so sunny side, a mistake I wish I hadn’t made. Because South Korea isn’t like North America with central heating, most restaurants and other areas can lack heating and I felt cold sometimes even in heated places (it was partly due to the fact that I chose a table near the washroom, where you had to exit the restaurant but was still inside a building that connected to Cafe Mamas. IMG_6548IMG_6550

We ordered and shared. We each had our own drink: fresh kale grape (me) and grape juice (Carmen). I never had grape juice, and isn’t like grocery store grape juice. The curry chicken was dry but the mushroom panini was hot and cheesy (definitely will be making the panini again!).

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This wall was full of the card stamps that the cafe gave out. Each order/ meal gets a stamp and after you’ve got all the stamps, I’m guessing you get a free something. This is a nice touch to the cafe, adding a family-friendly warm feeling. Oh and you can stamp your desired name on your stamp card.

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Street food.

After brunch, we went to Samcheongdong. This neighbourhood is filled with little cafes, eateries and boutiques. We stopped by this family restaurant. You could either order from the outside (where the two ladies are standing) or sit inside (there is no tipping in Korea :D ).

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We ordered sikhye (a Korean sweet rice drink), hot rice cakes and fish paste on a skewer.

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Then after waking a bit, we stopped by my cousin’s to go place to get hoddeok (Korean vegetable pancake with japchae).

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We randomly came across this couple making street food. I’m not sure what it is, but apparently Korean kids really love this treat, because it’s sweet. My cousin and I call it the sugar cookie. I’m sure there’s a Korea name to this sweet dessert.

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If all that food wasn’t enough for one day, we went to have sliced noodles at Myeongdong Kyoja for dinner.

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There are only three items on the menu; two types of noodles and dumplings. The kimchi was really spicy. (Click here to visit the restaurant website.) Because we ate so much food in just a short period of time, we decided to share a bowl of original noodles and the dumplings. It doesn’t look like much, but trust me, we had to carry our bellies home and I was complaining about how full I was on the way home (sorry Carmen!).

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IMG_6627Click here to see what I’ve been doing in Korea.
P.S. Check out Carmen’s travel blog here.