If I’m entirely honest, we didn’t care for Hong Kong at first. We were jet-lagged and grumpy and fighting like cats and dogs and it seemed like just another big city.
And, most importantly, our first three meals were terrible. I know, I know, we were probably stupid to have Vietnamese as our first meal. But, one of us was going to kill the other one if we didn’t eat soon (I will leave it to your imagination to guess who was going to kill who…) and Vietnamese was the first thing we found. But you can’t blame us for our second choice. We went to a Michelin starred restaurant for dim sum. We ordered what everyone said was “the” dish — buns with barbecued pork — plus a variety of other items. And left highly disappointed. (Note: don’t believe the hype about Tim Ho Wan….It is cheap but I’m pretty sure you can get better dim sum in Chicago….). So, for our third choice we went with our old standby — pizza. Which was (1) outrageously expensive and (2) unbelievably bad. And, the waitstaff were completely nonplussed when the biggest roach I have ever seen crawled out from the bottom of the table and walked across my arm. In fact, their only response was “oh, we haven’t seen one that big in awhile.”
We were about ready to write off Hong Kong…
But then something happened to make us fall in love with Hong Kong. What kind of miracle could possibly do that? Two words: soup dumplings. Yep, you heard it here first. Soup dumplings made Hong Kong for us. We had read that Paradise Dynasty had one of the top 5 soup dumplings in all of Hong Kong. Some people even claimed they were better than Din Tai Fung. (You may remember us raving about Din Tai Fung when we were in Singapore. Robert thinks Din Tai Fung’s dumplings were better, but I think Paradise Dynasty’s dumplings were better — the primary difference was the thickness of the wrapper). We started with the sampler platter.
Don’t they look delicious? The flavors were original, ginseng, foie gras, black truffle, cheesy, crab roe, garlic and Szechuan. Robert got all of these except the garlic — I never pass up garlic. Not to fear, we also ordered a basket of the original and I got my fair share of those (read that as I got all of those…). And we also ordered pan fried pork dumplings, garlic marinated Japanese cucumber, and hand-pulled noodles in pork broth with chicken. And we finished every last bit of it. It was like the sun had come out for the first time in years and the sky was full of rainbows and unicorns. Yes, it truly was that good.
In fact, it was so good we went right back the next day and ordered more soup dumplings (garlic and original this time), more pan fried pork dumplings, more cucumber, and more hand-pulled noodles but this time in dan dan sauce (a peanut and sesame sauce). But, this time, just for good measure, we also ordered fried chicken with chilis, fried green beans with pork and fried pork in black bean sauce. And we nearly finished everything.
So, what else did we do in Hong Kong besides eat soup dumplings?
Well, Robert ate squid on a stick from a street food vendor.
I ate egg waffles from a street food vendor. I think they have that name because of the shape — they didn’t taste any more egg-like than regular waffles.
We both ate real French macaroons. Yum….
We wandered around Hong Kong park where we saw pretty views.
And an art project. These guys are all over the city. Mainly on the roofs of buildings. Apparently, some people have mistaken them for jumpers….
We wandered through the aviary where we saw lots of cool birds.
We saw this guy just hanging out in Hong Kong park.
We strolled down goldfish street, where vendors sell a ton of different fish and aquarium supplies. The fish are all packaged up in plastic bags. We felt kind of bad for them.
We walked down bird street, where all kinds of birds are for sale. (But we didn’t get any good photos).
We strolled down flower street where we saw amazing orchids. Some of the orchids were on sale for as little as $5.
We wandered through the zoological and botanical gardens. The zoological gardens were quite sad, as the animals were in small enclosures and looked bored to tears. But we saw some amazing orchids in the botanical gardens. How cool is this guy?
We rode a ding ding (a trolley).
And we rode the ferry. It was a shame it wasn’t a clearer day.
Robert geeked out at a Star Wars exhibit.
And we (ok, ok, fine, I) enjoyed the Christmas decorations.
In short, we decided that we actually do like Hong Kong.