Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Good Stuff in Your Kitchen

We were just walking around Kau Yuk Road after lunch and bumped into this gem of a store called Good Stuff in Your Kitchen.  What really caught our eyes were the walls and rows of beer.  They looked imported, which is always a nice thing!

The shop was a hodgepodge of a lot of things besides beer.  There were desserts in the front display with little macrons, lemon tarts, pear pies, muffins, and the like.  There were also muscat grapes at the bottom.

The outside of the shop was really beautifully laid out.  There were little shelves on both sides of the entrance that showed the stock of beer and teas that were inside.

The shop was quite small, but that's what you get with specialty stores.  This was actually the first time that I'd noticed this shop, so it must be a recent addition to Kau Yuk Road.

The beer selection reminded me of something out of World Market.  There were uniquely named beers, selections of fruit juices, milk, cheese and even salami all in one refrigerator.

At the entrance also, there were some pretty lovely looking Japanese melons that were going for a couple hundred dollars.

They also carried a selection of Tea Pigs tea bags, for anyone who is into this brand.

On the top shelves, there were also bits of pasta, sauces, pickles, and jams.

For being quite a small shop, I thought they had a really good selection of the most randomest of things.  I guess, they really did want to put as many Good Things for the Kitchen into this space.

In the end, we just picked up a lemon tart and a few macrons.  We had them for afternoon tea and it was pleasantly satisfying.  I'm not sure if I'll ever go back to this store with a driven purpose, but if I see it again, I might take another poke around and see what they have in stock.

But, what a pleasant surprise to find a shop like this in Yuen Long!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Mid-Autumn Festival

When I first moved to Hong Kong, I used to call this festival the Moon Cake Festival.  It's the time of year when we get loads of moon cakes from all our family and friends.  It's also the time when we, in turn give moon cakes out to family and friends.  It's like the vicious cycle of moon cake giving.  It's a great "giving" type of tradition, though…but I'm not that much of a traditional moon cake fan.  

However, a friend helped me to get some moon cakes which she said were one of the most delicious in all of Hong Kong:  The Peninsula's custard-filled moon cakes.

I gave these to my in-laws and they shared them with their family.  Before I handed them over, I thought I'd share some photos of what you get when you buy a box of moon cakes…especially the non-traditional ones.

By the way, the traditional moon cakes are lotus paste filled.  They also have at least one salty duck egg yolk in the center.  These moon cakes are quite heavy for me, but they are a treat when you start the Mid-Autumn Festival off with a little piece.  These moon cakes are mostly double the sized of the more modern moon cakes, come in a box of four, and are usually shared with an entire family.

Some of the newer moon cakes, like the iced (snowy) style of moon cakes are more bite-sized and individually packaged.

The Peninsula's moon cakes came in a beautiful chocolate colored box. When we opened the box, there seems to be four custard moon cakes in there.  In actuality, I only learned about this after the fact, you can remove the top layer and there are four more moon cakes below.

In total, for around $280 HKD, you can get 8 lovely little custard moon cakes.  I also got these pre-ordered through my friend, which was the best thing that I could ever had asked for.  Moon cake season is always so busy.  So, the hotels that make specialty moon cakes often have a limited number and when they are sold out…they are sold out.

My in-laws gave us one of the moon cakes, which I was quite thankful for because I wouldn't have really known how amazing they were in comparison to the traditional ones!

I really like how these are quite individualized.  It liked how this morsel was still able to be shared between my husband and myself.  It also loved how it was still as rich with loveliness as the first traditional moon cake I had this year.

TIP:  When I was chatting with my friend, she suggested popping these custard-filled moon cakes into the toaster oven for a few seconds.  Then the custard will get a bit melty and runny.  The goal is to have a beautifully warm, beautifully buttery, and beautifully oozing custardy moon cake to bite into.

I will try that next year!

***Photos of Yuen Long Park from last night's Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations!***

Friday, September 25, 2015

TST Cultural Center

It's that wonderful time of the year when I start thinking of booking tickets to see any of the new Fall performances…and then preparing myself to jump on tickets to see this year's rendition of The Nutcracker!

If you are looking to see a performance in the form of an orchestra, ballet, modern dance exhibition, theatrical play, or anything that falls under the arts, a great place to see what is coming up that month in Hong Kong is at the Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) Cultural Center.

You can also just go online, but seeing that I was in TST, I just went over to the Cultural Center to have a look.

TST Cultural Center's Box Office Info:
10 am - 9:30 pm

In the lower foyer of the Auditoria Building

Flyers and posters of all the upcoming events are displayed around the Box Office area.  There are also a lot of little previews that you can watch for such things as the upcoming musical concerts or the Hong Kong Ballet performances.

The main building (the Auditoria Building) is also a beautiful little tourist spot.  It faces Victoria Harbour, where a lot of people go to view the Hong Kong skyline, and sits right along the Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island.

Right now, since it is Mid-Autumn Festival season, there are huge lanterns displayed right in front of the Cultural Center's clock tower.  The lanterns light up around 6 pm, I believe.

So, if you are just wanting to find a nice place to hang out and people watch OR pick up some tickets to a show, the TST Cultural Center is a great place to spend an hour or so!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Assembling a Kite

When we first bought our kite, we thought it would be pretty simple to construct it.  We were totally stumped though and had to have one of the kite sellers help us to assemble our kite.  I thought it might be interesting to share how we put our kite together…

Since it is coming on Fall and the winds will be picking up soon (typhoon season!).

1.  Our kite kit came with our kite and a reel of string.

2.  The actual kite comes with three rods and the kite.  There are two black rods and one smaller white rod.  The black rods connect and span across the wings of our hawk kite.

3.  The kite has to be facing you!  So, when assembling the kite, the black rods (which you can connect to make one long black rod) span from one wing tip to the other. There are three little ribbons that the rod passes through, which you can see in the photo below.

4.  On both ends of the hawk's wings, there are two plastic stoppers for you to insert the ends of the black rod.

 5.  The result of inserting the black rod should be sort of like this (if you do have a kite similar to ours):

6.  The final white rod is meant to stabilize the tail of the hawk kite.  Here is where we flip our kite over to the back side (the side of the kite that faces away from us when we fly it) and insert it through the ribbon and stoppers.

7.  The final step is to connect the string to the front of the kite.  We were taught to just tie it to the center of the black rod.  We just double knotted it three or four times and that was it!

Some tips when flying a kite:
1.  Check the weather report for wind!

2.  Fly in an open area!

3.  If your reel of string has a string guider, use it so that the string doesn't get tangled!

4.  RUN to get the kite going!

5.  If the kite keeps falling…don't worry, that's all apart of the experience!


Monday, September 21, 2015

Kite Flying: Tai Tong

Over the weekend, we planned to head out to Tai Tong to have another go at flying our kite.  We checked the weather forecast and it said that the wind would be around 7 - 12 kilometers an hour.  I sort of figured that the winds might be a bit stronger on top of the mountains, which is sort of where Tai Tong is.  So, it seemed like pretty good weather for kite flying.

We caught the K66 bus from Kau Yuk Road and jumped off at the second to last bus stop (the one right before the terminal).

It's a nice little 10 minute walk (with slight incline) to the actual country park.  

Some awesome things we found along the way:

1.  A cluster of busy red ants...

2.  A wandering little green worm…

We just went as far as the BBQ area, to have lunch and also to have a go at flying our kite.

The wind was not at all constant.  I think we got a good 15 minutes of a pretty good breeze, but after that, there was a long period of just no wind.

So, we too the opportunity to sit in one of the gazebos and have lunch.

Another awesome thing that found my lunch whilst in Tai Tong:

3.  A bee who was hungry for some of my McCafe Ciabatta…

The BBQ area wasn't as crowded as it usually was.  I think it is because the weather is still quite hot.  But, usually, during the Fall, there are a lot more people up here having family barbecues or on school trips.

It was nice to have the entire area to ourselves…

There were small groups of dog lovers gathering and a few families dotted here and there…but it was such a nice pleasant day with few crowds!

Most people bring their barbecue things with them:  coal, lighters, sticks, etc….and food.  But, there is a little kiosk with drinks, toys, candies, and ice cream available.  The kiosk is also attached to one of two of the public restrooms that are in the BBQ area.

Popsicles (like the fabulous green bean one we bought below) were only 7 HKD, by the way.

It was a good weekend spent, even though there was only 15 minutes of kite flying...