Instagramming 6

27 April 2012

Time for my latest Instagram post! I love that it's now available on Android, so many inspiring feeds to check out. Instagram is still the best way of documenting my days here. So here we go - hello to April in HK! 
At the beginning of the month it was Ching Ming Festival (Ancestors Day) which explains the brightly coloured paper which are part of some traditional Buddhist rituals. Mango and Yuzu sago which was a complimentary dessert after our weekly dim sum. Bright dragon fruit, I've always loved the vibrancy of this fruit but always disappointed with the bland flavour. Hot Lemon Tea, perfect after a filling meal! Old 70s Chinese cookbooks I discovered at home - how to make char siu buns, egg tarts and pineapple buns, yum! The happiest piggy bank that I ever did see! Chiu Chow style dim sum and some amazing baby oyster congee. My usual view when I'm in one of the infamous red HK Taxis- traveling over from HK Island over to Kowloon side at the weekend.
You might notice a distinct lack of food pics from this point onwards as this is when the detox started! I am done with the detox on Tuesday which is ace as it's a holiday! Woop. Anyway lots of architecture. The first pic is a building I always see and the 'green' sections change colour from red to blue! Next is another picture taken after work from a footbridge of the local area around Wan Chai. A pic from the weekend before the detox showing Taro Bubble Tea and some Piggy buns (Toasted buns with butter and Condensed milk- totally yum). A photo of the local area near where we live on HK Island and then some colourful milk cartons! I hung out in Monki looking for new things to buy and left with a new t-shirt and a necklace, of course I'll show you guys soon! The weather here seems to be on par with the UK, Thunderstorms and rain aplenty apart from the fact it's about 28c here and super humid. Giant Hello Kitty Pez in a shopping mall in Causeway Bay, what's not to love? A random picture taken from my bus stop after work one day.
There are so many Asian make up brands that I still want to buy. I'm not usually one for Jill Stuart and it's overly princessy make up packaging (but I suppose it IS cute) and I'm not sure I will be buying from them again as this lipstick is pretty but super sheer which is such a shame- I so want to love it! (I'm looking forward to sharing some of the make up I have bought over here with you guys at some point!). A photo of me in the lift at work. A dinner of grilled Shishamo (Dor chun yu in Cantonese - one of my favourite things ever!) along with my grandma's nutritious Chinese soup. Next...another view of the traffic after work and a super busy Causeway Bay of probably the busiest crossing in all of HK.
ig 6 cWeekends are for chilling out and traveling about on the MTR (but I hate getting the MTR on a Sun, too many people!). Supermarket shopping again with brightly coloured packaging of familiar cereals...but all in Chinese. One more photo of me in the lift at work and then finally the X.O. sauce (shrimp/chilli/garlic based sauce which is well known in Asia) that my grandma bought for me because she knows I love the stuff- so much that I included it twice in this last collage haha (oops!). I can't wait to bring it home and eat it with dumplings, noodles and rice dishes!

I'm so happy it's the weekend! I only have two more days of work left in Hong Kong and also just a few more days left on this detox. After that, I will no doubt miss the routine of work but I will LOVE having a few weeks to catch up with friends and family, eating all my favourite foods before I have to catch that pesky flight back home. Even during my first few weeks in HK, I had dreams where I had caught a flight home early for some reason or other and I woke up relieved that I was still very much firmly in HK.

Honestly? I would REALLY quite like to stay here.


A Certain Shade of Green

21 April 2012

Hi Guys! I've finally found my shopping mojo in Hong Kong which is about time since it's almost 2 months into my stay here (one more month left!). It seems that they're mostly green purchases (the colour rather than the ethical kind unfortunately) which were all bought after work one evening when I visited Kwai Chung Plaza (open from 2.30-10pm) and picked up a few things. Kwai Chung Plaza is located opposite Kwai Fong MTR and is a little out of the way from my usual haunts but it's nice to be back in this chaotic and random mall which is full of street food, phone shops, a SaSa outlet, dentists, Chinese doctors as well as clothes shops. The picture below is a shot of the lowest level which is the most markety of them all so probably not the best example but it gives you an idea of how crazy/random this place is.
Kwai Chung
Aside from the markety type shops there are a myriad of boutiques which are all maze-like and retracing your steps to a shop you saw earlier is no easy feat. I visited last summer with my sister (mentioned here) but only picked up some Instax film back then. This time, I discovered that among the cheap, poor quality shops there are a few places which stock better quality clothes from Japan/Korea. Perfectly suited to the part of me that is a sucker for prints, collars and girly styles.The best floors are the highest levels 3 and 4 which are similar to the usual malls in Causeway Bay/TST/Mong Kok but er...a little less orderly.
 Dress (HK-Kwai Fong), Cardi (M&S) Collar (HK) Bag (HK- Kwai Fong) Shoes (Zara)
Ahh terrible picture quality I know, my little camera really struggles with the lighting in HK but you get the gist with the dress. The high rise apartments here have little natural light and is overlooked by skyscrapers and other residential buildings. A part of me quite misses the clearer air, clearer skies and lack of skyscrapers in the UK...but only a little! It pretty much sucks to take outfit photos indoors here so I've taken some slightly better detail shots below. 
I really love the print and the detail on this dress which was totally worth all the rummaging around the shops. Especially how the pleats are a little more sparse at the bottom, creating a bit of a flare to the skirt. I wore the above outfit to work on Friday which is our dress down day- I usually opt for jeans but I HAD to wear my new dress which is smart enough for normal work wear. Such a pretty colour and cost me $279/£22. Not too shabby.
I managed to take some outdoor shots in a spot my family and I always pass when we have Dim Sum in the Tai Koo area. Not that my outfit is anything special but I wanted to show you the new bag I bought which is also from Kwai Chung Plaza.
Cardi (Topshop) T-shirt (Monki) Jeans (BDG) Earrings (GoGo Philip)
My bag is a bit of a fast fashion fix and it was a meager $199 which is about £15. It's not going to last me forever but I really liked the colour and size and well, it was pretty cheap!
The mall is FAR cheaper than the malls at Causeway Bay/TST which is probably reflected in the fact that it's located further out from popular shopping locations. I mentioned last Summer about the very local vibe about the place and that it's a bit hit and miss. However it's worth a visit if you have time and patience to navigate around the mall and ignore all the cheapy boutiques. You're unlikely to leave this mall empty handed even if it's just a street snack of Siu Mai on skewers (yummm) and  a cup of Taiwanese bitter melon juice (so tempted to try this) it's definitely better to visit on a week day as it gets busy during after work hours and I personally wouldn't choose to visit at the weekend. I had a much better experience this time compared to my last visit and I am definitely making a return visit at some point. I would quite like another pretty dress!
SDC12069Lastly, these umbrellas aren't mine unfortunately but they're pretty darn cute. They're random purchases my Aunt bought today at Apita (Japanese dept. store) as cute gifts for other people. The frog design is pretty adorable and their little faces are guaranteed to make you smile!


Japanese Desserts? Yes please!

16 April 2012

One thing I miss on my current detox are desserts! I have quite the sweet tooth (don't we all?) and last weekend I met up with one of my friends from uni who lives in HK. I'm so glad I have friends in this city and it was such a lovely catch up since I only saw this particular friend very briefly last Summer. She introduced me to Misukiya (瀰月屋) which just so happens to be in Woodhouse Mall (活方) that is an up and coming Japanese hub of eateries and fashion. I particuarly like Zacca Freeq which is a gadget shop full of random Japanese items from mini handbag cases for your camera to Hello Kitty teddys that dance along to your iPod. Random but fun to browse.

While it's nice to check out the clothing brands that are available in the mall that I recognise straight out of Vivi magazine, the clothes here are a tad on the expensive side (let's face it, all Japanese brands are expensive, for example anything by Emoda/Murua/Spiral Girl are priced towards the £100 price point). I didn't spot anything that was quite 'me' but it is a haven for Gyaru fashion brands and other trendy Japanese brands. Anyway I digress, this post is about dessert and I'm glad to say that the food at Misukiya was definitely easier on the purse strings! 
SDC12050 SDC12045The decor was simple but I loved the retro inspired posters and props that could be seen. I also love that absolutely everyone in HK takes pictures of food. My friend and I and the people around us were avidly taking pics of their food orders. My family have all learned to wait patiently while I snap away routinely at each dish. Sorry guys!
SDC12049 Time for food pics! We had Mitarashi dango with red bean paste. Essentially it's little mochis that have been glazed in sugar and placed on skewers. Dipped in some roasted sesame seeds and Azuki bean paste (red bean), it makes a pretty tasty and fun snack. Definitely a good call but also easy enough to make at home. I reckon they're not too dissimilar to Tong Yuen that we make on occasion at home. I also had a Green tea with Hokkaido milk and roasted brown rice. The most amazing and filling drink ever.
SDC12036 We were also recommended to try their Apple pie which takes 20 minutes upon ordering before it's ready. It's a whole apple wrapped in puff pastry and finished off with a dollop of custard in the middle. It was pretty good, looked amazing when it came out and was delicious. Though the Mitarashi Dango was definitely the more unique of the two!
SDC12043 SDC12051 Next time I visit, I might sit, or rather kneel outside at these tables. We chose not to as my friend and I had lots to catch up on and we didn't know how long we would have to kneel there! This place is definitely worth a visit even if it's for a quick snack and a browse around the shops. It's located next to the infamous Chung King Mansions in TST (famous for it's er...high crime rate) and opposite iSquare shopping mall at 26-44 Nathan Road.
Staying with the Japanese theme, one of my favourite things is Taiyaki which is filled with vanilla ice cream and red bean paste. While this isn't quite authentic (it's a cheap version from the local supermarket) I love eating these Japanese 'ice cream sandwiches' just because they remind me vividly of the animes that I religiously watched as a child where Taiyaki featured often enough for me to link the real thing to child hood memories. All were tireless recorded on VHS in Hong Kong by my lovely grandparents and posted back to the UK. Sailor Moon, Dr Slump, Super Pig were among some of my favourite Cantonese dubbed animes. Oh the memories!

Sooo back to the detox, I've never dieted/detoxed before so joining in this healthy eating detox routine with my family for the next few weeks has proved challenging! I definitely miss all the local food, from the freshly baked Chinese buns, the milk tea and all the various eateries I pass on the way to and from work. Still, we've already planned to have a Korean BBQ, Hot Pot and really good sushi when we're done...


It's all about the Cakery

09 April 2012

It's been a pretty awesome Easter weekend, catching up friends and some quality family time which mostly consisted of eating out/eating in and generally involving a lot of cake. Before I indulge you all with some cake pictures, let's begin with an outfit post!
Dress (Laurustinus) Cardigan (Oasis) Bag (Vivienne Westwood) Belt (Accessorize) Shoes (Zara)
I really love this dress which was bought last Summer in HK from a shop which has sadly closed down now. Rent in HK is stupidly high and the turnover for shops/restaurants is ridiculous. This dress could be described as a mullet dress but I hate that description. Mullets of the hair variety have never been pretty but I beg to differ when it comes to dresses and skirts. I particularly love this and it's swishy-ness. Some random girl stopped me while I was waiting to cross the road to tell me how pretty it was. Sometimes little things can really make your day!

Other things that make my day are meeting bloggers, even better when they become friends! Just like that time I met Nic from Bang Bang She Shoots a few weeks ago, Sam from Sam is Home is one that I've been reading for a while now and I can definitely confirm she is as lovely in person as she comes across on the blog. Her blog is always so well written and she also has some awesome camera skills.

Sam introduced me to the Tai Hang area which I realised is a super short 10 minute walk from where I live on HK island. I'm definitely lucky that I live in such a convenient area. Tai Hang is super trendy (lots of hipsters as Sam pointed out) where it's experienced a bit of a regeneration and so the rent for shop spaces is still relatively cheap. There is a lovely community vibe about the area which is reflected in some restaurants keeping things like menus for neighbouring dessert shops for their customers.
Aside from blogging, one of our mutual passions involve Cake, so naturally we had dessert in an awesome little Cafe that just so happened to be one that my family had also been raving on about. Let me introduce you to C'est la B which is the Tai Hang branch of Mrs B's Cakery located in HK's Central district.
Me and Sam looking ridiculously happy with our cakes.SDC12015
We were pretty happy catching up and eating our little cakes, thanks Sam for being awesome company! The Raspberry and Lychee cake was a definite winner. Cheap they were not (HK$50/£4 each) but they were a delight for the senses. So much so, I decided to buy three more as a surprise treat for my family. Taro, Banana and Red Bean flavour.
Oh how I miss those cakes already! I've been eating a ridiculous amount since I've been in HK (about 6 weeks now!) and I am going on a detox diet on Tues which means no carbs and very little in the way of sugar. I think I may struggle since HK food is freaking awesome and I know I will be torturing myself with more upcoming food/cake posts!


Instagramming 5

03 April 2012

Oops, it's been a long 7 days since my last post and finally this Instagram post is up which has really built up since my last one! I have quite a few days off this week as it's Ching Ming festival (Ancestors day) tomorrow and then it's the long Easter weekend, so hopefully I will be able to blog more because I have SO many food pics that I need to show you guys! 
IG5 AHong Kong is really warming up at the moment. This hazy photo was taken when it was about 28c with crazy high humidity. Though, it's nice to cool down on the evenings with a bit of our favourite desserts from our local dessert shop! Mine was the Black Sesame but it wasn't as good as I remember from last year but I'll be sure to order something else next time, perhaps the Mango Sago that my family chose!
IG5 B The news here is all about HK politics at the moment and my family spend many an evening shouting insults at the TV. I was surprised when I found out that the elections are decided by 2,500 election committee members rather than the citizens of HK. Certainly different to the system back home in the UK and protests are rife. Less serious issues involve an amazing sushi dinner with a friend, us two girls had our fill of sushi/sashimi that was seemingly never ending. All you can eat Sushi in HK is awesome. Working in HK is going pretty well, it's definitely a different experience and I haven't spoken English for a little while now which is a bit odd! At work, I am a neat freak and I organise my highlighters just so and have some random Japanese sweets to keep me going during the day!
IG5 C Here are a few pics from my brief Macau trip. These cakes were taken at the Ferry terminal where I couldn't help but take a snap of these adorable bunny cakes. I certainly miss that hotel we stayed at in Macau, if you're not a fan of lemon grass than this place is a place to avoid. The whole place smells of it and all the bath products are scented the same too. Heavenly!
Another picture of the backstreets of Macau where we stocked up on the usual Macaunese baked goods. I love seeing all the souvenirs including this pic of Preserved Salted Fish. I think it's pretty much a staple in all Chinese homes, we have a jar full of them at home!
Freshly baked Almond cookies. My dad loves these and my uncle bought a box and they have safely arrived in one piece back in the UK! On the evening, we had dinner at the Hotel and their Thai restaurant was gorgeously decorated. Soon enough though, I was back sitting at my desk at work. Though, work in HK is certainly far more Chinese...as I like to drink Chrysanthemum tea and eat Mango Mochi.
I always walk past this fruit store on the way home. The owner sure knows how to present things as the fruits are perfectly placed and colours contrast so well! I also had dinner again at the 60s HK dining experience that is The Goldfinch Restaurant. I better dig out my photos from last year, as I really do love this place. The food is decently priced (but not mind blowing) and very retro, but more than anything, it's the authentic old fashioned interior and the elderly men at the door who point you to your seat. These men I assume, are the long time owners of the place who have seen it survive through several decades and made it into cinema history in the shape of Wong Kar Wai's films.
Hong Kong is truly a city of contrasts. With traditional sitting alongside the more contemporary. I absolutely adore the HK skyline and it's skyscrapers...I haven't yet taken a snap over at TST but I'm venturing over this weekend so I'll be sure to get a decent shot of the skyline.
On Sunday I returned to the Shangri La hotel where I had their buffet in one of the restaurants, Cafe Too. I'll be sure to post up more pics as the food is always good here. A tad expensive but it's a place I rather like! On the way home, I spotted this super long set of stairs up to apartments. I'm sure there is a lift somewhere but imagine having to WALK all the way up those after a long tiring day!
IG5 I Lastly, we are of course in the land of 24/7 dim sum (but I'm not that crazy) and ate a normal time on Sunday with my family. As much as I love having yum cha at home in the UK, there is nothing that beats having it in HK. Though making sui gao (literally water dumplings) at home is definitely EVEN better where the whole family chips in. I'll hopefully be sharing a recipe and more pics soon. The pictures of the Maneki Neko (Japanese lucky cat) were a random find in a shop today. The cats are almost always sat near a till in shops to bring good fortune but they make cute little gifts too! 

Wow this turned into a pretty long post but I hope you guys have been enjoying my HK entries!

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