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

Friday, 4 June 2010

Hong Kong Park and Dim sum @ Maxim's Palace

One of the great things we love about Hong Kong is that although it is a typical big city with crowded streets, traffic jams and high rises everywhere in sight, there are beautiful and spacious green public areas to be found in the midst of this concrete jungle. The Hong Kong Park in Central provides a lovely respite away from the buzz of Hong Kong, and this trip we found another reason to love this park even more: an excellent large children's playground!

The artificial lake in Hong Kong Park; and the boy and his dada on the slides at the Children's Playground:

There are many other facilities in the park, such as a greenhouse and a squash centre, but we only had time to visit the walk-through aviary which houses a collection of 800 birds from 100 species. We saw many pretty birds, and a few brilliantly coloured ones too. It was really nice inside the aviary - you wouldn't have guessed that you were actually in the middle of a huge city.

Entering the Edwarde Youde Aviary enclosure; and a bird feasting on banana:

Brilliantly-coloured birds perched on hanging feeders that kept rotating due to birds alighting and taking off so it was difficult to get a clear shot. Don't ask me what birds these are because I have no idea:

We had a dim sum lunch at Maxim's Palace at City Hall, which was one of the yumcha place suggested to us. The restaurant has a vast dining hall, and dim sum trolleys rotate around the hall with the waitresses hollering out the names of the dishes (there are signs on each cart in both Chinese and English indicating its contents). You can also order dishes off the menu, but that takes the spontaneity out of the experience, which is half the fun of yumcha dining. It's a very popular place, and it was very crowded even though it was a week day.

The massive dining hall at Maxim's Palace - and shown here is only half the room:

The food was average, and we were quite surprised at how pricey it was. Rob was not impressed with this meal, and he said that the dim sum we had at Fargara's on Discovery Bay was better (and he wasn't terribly impressed with that either). I'm not sure whether comparing dimsum-from-the-trolley and dimsum-prepared-to-order is like comparing apples and oranges, but I'm sure we can get better dimsum in Hong Kong for less, and it's only a matter of time before we find a favourite. We ate a lot, and I stopped taking photos after a while, but here are shots of some of the dishes.

Two types of bao (buns): Charsiew Bao (bbq pork bun) and Lotus Seed Bun - both were delicious; and Fried Squid, not crispy and crunchy enough for Rob and Honey, but I actually enjoyed this better than others I've had:

Phoenix Talons (aka chicken feet), which was pretty good; and Beef Balls, which I'd never before noticed is a popular dim sum dish:

Pastries: Egg Tarts and Taro Dumpling - both were delicious; and Dou Fu Fa (silky tofu with sweet ginger syrup), one of my favourite childhood foods:

Just as an aside, the delicious roast duck and charsiew (barbecue pork) that I featured in my first post for this Hong Kong trip is also from another Maxim's eatery, called Maxim's MX, at City Hall. It's also really popular with the lunch crowd, and you can get a pretty good variety of substantial meal options here.

There were two queues: one to order and pay at the cashier, and a second one to receive your food - both were quite long during the working lunch break; and our take-away orders of charsiew and roast duck which were infinitely better than the ones that Rob and Honey had the night before:

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