Friday, November 28, 2014

Biking Yuen Long #2

When most people think of Hong Kong, they see Victoria Harbour and all those beautiful skyscrapers that line it.  I wanted to share some of the New Territories with you all.

The New Territories is where I live.  It's quite a train ride out of the heart of the city, but it is so spacious and luscious with greenery.

I thought it would be nice to share a bit of what we saw whilst riding around on our bikes.  

***Wonderful Finds Along Our Bike Ride***

1.  I love how people reuse materials out here.  Below, there is a huge complex that was reconstructed out of freight boxes.

2.  Along the hillsides, you can see that there are some burial grounds resting in the sunshine.

3.  Here is a lovely monument to the red and green taxis.

4.  Below, another beautiful example of reusing materials.  Who knew rust could be so unbelievably lovely!

5.  Out in the New Territories, there are still a lot of villages that are intact.  Finding them so remote is amazing.  

6.  The ride out here makes me feel like I'm not really in Hong Kong anymore.  It could be the village houses?  It could be the fact that everyone drives here?  It could be the telephone polls, which I FEEL ARE SO RARE to see these days?

7.  Lastly, we spotted a clay pig at someone's driveway.  I wondered if it was a feng shui thing.

Most of the outskirts of the Yuen Long area are industrial spaces.  There are a lot of villages out here as well, but most places seem to be construction machinery places, auto part places, and the like.  It's really interesting to see a different part of Hong Kong.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Temple Under a Big Tree

Have you ever biked out along a road, not knowing where you were going, but suddenly discover something so awesome and amazing?

That's what happened this week.  

My husband and I were out biking around Yuen Long.  We were riding along the road and discovered the Temple Under a Big Tree (Tai Shue Ha Tin Hau Temple a.k.a. 百年榕樹護蔭).

The temple can be found along Tai Shu Ha Road East.  

It's a fully functioning Tin Hau Temple.  Fun Fact:  Hong Kong, an incredibly long time ago, used to be comprised of fishing villages.  Because most families made their livelihoods fishing, they prayed to the goddess of the seas, Tin Hau, for protection.

The temple was named as such because of the huge banyan tree that sits in the courtyard.  There is a lovely rest area that runs long the base of the tree.  It's a beautiful place to sit, reflect, and people watch.

Fun Fact:  This basin (pictured below) can be found along the fence that blocks off the banyan tree.  The sign above the basin read:  Turn Your Luck Around Wash.  Supposedly, if you rub both sides of the basin with your hands, then splash some water on hands, then you will have good luck.

Reading up on this place online, the suggested way to reach this temple is by catching mini bus 73 from Tai Tong Road (which is in the middle of Yuen Long town).

Riding away from this temple that afternoon was sort of bittersweet.  It's like a mirage in a desert.  It just sprang up on us and it was truly a lovely surprise.  I wonder if I'll ever happen upon it again.

I really love finding Tin Hau temples around this City.  There are said to be over 100 temples dotted along different districts.  I'm glad to have been to some really touristy ones as well as some really local ones (like those of Yuen Long area).

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hiking Tai Tong Nature Trail

Right in my "backyard" is a huge area called Tai Tong.  There are so many nature trails blazed all over the area.  There are hikes that are for beginners and also some pretty advanced trails (which I have yet to work my way up to).

Over the weekend, we decided on starting it easy.  We selected the Tai Tong Nature Trail as our first trail of the season.

How to get here:
1.  From Long Ping MRT Station, Take Exit B
2.  Walk down to the street level and along the highway
3.  The K66 Bus Stop (going to Tai Tong) is right next to the Pizza Hut Delivery place
4.  Hop onto K66 and get off at Tai Tong Shan Road
5.  Walk up Tai Tong Shan Road and you will hit the hiking trail posts (seen below)

From Long Ping MTR Station, I think it might take a good 30 minutes to get to this sign post (below).

The Tai Tong Nature Trail is actually found right next to the Tai Tong BBQ Area.  The BBQ Area is a great place to use the restroom before heading out.  It is also a great place to stretch, check out the trail on the map, and fill up on water.

Overall, the trail is pretty flat, easy to follow, and has a bunch of informative signs.  It's a great place to take kids and even walk  your dog.

Along this trail, there was also a little stream that we followed for a bit.  It took us across a little stone bridge and also along new terrain.

Another wonderful thing about our hike was finding red ants.  I feel like I haven't seen ants for ages…because I do live in the city.  But, they look angry!

Also, you can tell that Fall has really come to Hong Kong.  The leaves are changing and scattered along the paths.  It's wonderful that the weather is finally cool!

Pretty soon, the RED LEAVES of Tai Tong are going to be in full force (photo below).  I suspect that loads of hikers and plant lovers will be crowding the trails of Tai Tong in the coming weeks!

Photo taken last year!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Eats Week: Back at The Flying Pan

Last night, we went back to The Flying Pan, but the one in Central this time.

This place definitely is a place that I find my husband and I craving for every so often.  I think it is that partial diner feel that we love so much.  It's also the great selection of food and the even greater tasting dishes that are served.

The Central location is a lot smaller than the Wan Chai one.

The Flying Pan (Central) Info:
G/F 9 Old Bailey Street
24 Hour dining!!!

The Flying Pan is open 24 hours a day, so when you get a late night craving, you can count on this place.

We got our usual, incredibly small orange juices (though we upgraded one of ours to a medium).

I love the shirts that the staff wear.  It reminds me of pub quizzes, when you can win the bar's t-shirt as a prize.  Quirky.

I got the Ranchero Eggs, which was sunny side up eggs on a tortilla topped with jalapeños, cheese, tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream.

My husband got the Golden Sunset Burger with Cheese.

With our bellies filled with warm goodness, we continue giving this place Our Four Thumbs Up!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Eats Week: Bread n Butter Cafe @ PMQ

Bread n Butter is a lovely little shop that often sells lovely little dresses, cardigans, and flats.  Low and behold, they also have a cafe at the PMQ:  Showcase by Bread N Butter.

There is an indoor and veranda/terrace seating area, where we chose to sit.  The theme of the restaurant was a little bit French, a little bit white-birdcage-y, and a little bit colonial.  

Tea offered - Twinnings (We got Earl Grey)

Small but mighty afternoon tea set


Scones with jam and butter

Dessert tray

My favorite dessert - fruit tart

The Review:
1.  Presentation (3 out of 5)  It was simple.  It was clean.  There was no fuss. 

2.  Taste (3 out of 5)  The crepe was a bit dry, the cheesecake was all right, and the tea was what I drink on the daily.  The scones were average.  You can't go wrong with a scone!  The food was just average.  It was good.  It filled my stomach on this afternoon.

3.  Service (5 out of 5)  I said it once and I'll say it again, "I love when the staff just leave you to your chatting!"  The service at the cash register was so nice.  When the staff set down our tea set, the just smiled, showed us where to fetch our utensils, and said, "Enjoy!"  Then they left us to  our chatting for hours.  That's superb service in my book.

4.  Atmosphere (5 out of 5)  We went on a week day for afternoon tea.  It was beautifully quiet and empty.  Plus, sitting outside was a lovely experience, so calming!  I loved the atmosphere a lot!  Plus, there were pillows on the couch that I was sitting on, which made it feel so comfortable and relaxing to sit for hours.

5.  Return-ability (5 out of 5)  This place is so affordable, so quick, and so easy.  I'd definitely come back more regularly than some other afternoon tea places that I've been to.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Eats Week: The Story of Milk Tea

Sort of recently, an Old Hong Kong Canteen opened up at the Long Ping MTR Station (Exit B).  It's called The Story of Milk Tea.  

Walking into this little place feels like walking into some guys' Hong Kong FILM obsessed living room.  There is a DVD collection right at the door along with a couple film paraphernalia - Check out some of the awesome movie posters.

I've been to this place a few times and can vouch for its decent food.  The menu is pretty much like every other canteen, but somehow better.  I think it is because the decor helps out with the eating experience.

The easiest thing for me to order is the set meal.  It comes with:

1.  Thick noodles, strips of ham, and corn in a nice soup
2.  Thick toast, eggs, and a piece of luncheon meat
3.  A drink of choice (milk tea, coffee, lemon tea, or lemon water)

We also got one of the specials:
1.  Pineapple bun "burger" stuffed with an egg

This was actually quite a lovely combo!

One of the first times we went to The Story of Milk Tea, we also tried their iced chocolate.  It was pretty delicious…can't ever go wrong with chocolate!

 Over the past few weeks, the canteen has brought out a menu with photos, which makes my life a lot easier!

Today, I went back to The Story of Milk Tea, which made me want to share this place because I'm pretty confident that I'm gonna be a return customer.  And our order of the morning:

1.  Toast drenched in butter and condensed milk
2.  Thick toast, hot dog, and a side of eggs
3.  The House Special (a type of spiced chicken wing)

Today's meal was as good as my other meals here.  The spiced chicken was something new.  I am not sure what it was actually made of, but I did some some star of anise in the mix. 

The prices are reasonable, the ambience is quirky, and it's so close to the MTR!