The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Markets and Mid-levels (Hong Kong)

Although our latest trip to Hong Kong was not a pleasure trip, I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours of non-grocery-related shopping. Some would argue that there's always room for shopping even on a business trip, but I actually need to know where the good shopping areas are. I'm not much of a shopper myself, but my sister is, and shortly after her afternoon arrival a couple of days after us, we headed over to the famous Ladies' Market in Mongkok. This market street is not just for the ladies, and you can find all sorts of things that you don't really need. It was fun bargaining (for stuff we need, of course), but we also did plenty of walking-away when the price wasn't low enough for our liking. This is one crowded space that is really not toddler-friendly, so we were grateful to hubby for babysitting back at the Mandarin Oriental.

Greeted by the mass of shoppers as we came out of Exit D3 of Mongkok subway near Tung Choi Street; and the claustrophobic space of the Ladies Market (I borrowed sister's dSLR to take these shots):

The following day, as part of the real reason why we were in Hong Kong, we went to check out Mid-levels which is a pricey residential area on Hong Kong Island. We walked from our hotel to the bottom of the famously long outdoor escalator system that runs over 800m from Central into Mid-levels. We arrived just after 10am, and found that the escalator was still on its downhill run (daily between 6am and 10:30am to cater to the peak flow into Central).

Central-Midlevels escalator on its daily morning descent

My sister mentioned she was hungry (someone had skipped breakfast), so we wandered around the area underneath the escalator in search for food. We struck gold not far away from the foot of the escalators, where there were food stalls just setting up for business, a number of small roadside eateries already running from the wee morning hours serving hungry customers like my sister, and a crowded area of fruit and veg vendors.

Checking out the area for food; and a wet market at the end of the street:

My sister settled on a small eatery that served a variety of congee and other breakfast items and snacks. She was craving the century egg congee (which I already had the opportunity to eat two days prior), and this particular eatery makes a pretty good one - good enough for her to re-visit for another congee breakfast the following morning. The staff seemed pretty pleased to have foreigner presence, because there aren't many foreigners who would be game enough to eat at a street-side eatery in Hong Kong. My sister got a bowl of Preserved Egg and Pork Congee with a side of You char kway (aka you tiao and Chinese doughnut). We also ordered a savoury glutinous rice dumpling, but we don't know what the filling was. I liked it, but it was a little plain for hubby and my sister.

A bowl of century egg and pork congee with you char kway; and the glutinous rice dumpling:

A lovely sight of greasy fried doughs, which brought up nostalgic memories of my childhood in Malaysia because these snacks were some of my favourite food. The guy tending the fryer at this eatery saw the cameras, and cheerfully held out the latest batch out of the fryer for us to get a good shot of:

Fueled to keep going for awhile, we started up the escalator right up to Mid-levels. There were many shops and restaurants hugging the length of the escalator, and pedestrians have the option to hop off and take the stairs to the desired location.

The going-up escalator; and the stairs running alongside with many shops, restaurants and cafes to drop by:

Indeed, the Mid-levels is a pricey place to live in. We landed the opportunity to view some residential apartments, and that's a lot of money to give up just to rent a tiny space. Nice views from a couple of the apartments though.

The skyline view from one of the apartments we viewed:

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