Hong Kong was a ‘nice’ stepping stone into China, a fusion between east and west.
Rumor has it that everyone speaks English in Hong Kong, this is probably true if you’re there to just do some shopping in the big malls or to visit the tourist hot spots. Our experience has been quite the contrary however. Navigating by metro and discovering the city by foot, we got to see a whole different side to Hong Kong.
Yum Char as we know it in New Zealand is busy but civilized (and may I add – reasonably hygienic), however we wanted an authentic Chinese breakfast experience. We weaved through small alley ways, passage ways and dark neon lit corridors of central Hong Kong, to get to the renown Lin Heung Tea House.
We must have looked like stunned mullets when we walked through the doors. Chaotic is an understatement – the small room was brimming with patrons squeezing between tightly knit tables, old ladies pushing steaming hot carts, waiters precariously hovering between the masses with hot teapots, splashing boiling water everywhere (sometimes into cups) and people casually reading the morning paper. Every seat in the place was taken and people who’ve just arrived were circling like vultures for any empty spaces. This place would be a hygiene inspector’s worst nightmare.
Two friendly gentlemen offered to share their table, from our shocked and awed facial expressions they must have realized we were ‘fresh off the boat’. They gave us a two word instruction – ‘self-service’ meaning: you have to clear your own table, get your own food and find your own tea. They graciously did all of that for us, leaving us the sole task of hunting down our food.
For my own entertainment, I sent Dave to get the food (confident his African hunting instincts would kick in), watching the only white boy compete against the sea of seasoned asian pros. Every dish was amazing but we have no idea what they were and probably best not to ask…
Stuffed and ready for the day, we bid our table friends adieu and headed to Kowloon. Traipsing around the city we stumbled across the Hong Kong Avenue of Comic Stars, a serene temple right in the middle of industrious Kowloon and the Flower & Bird market (if you work for the SPCA or part of an animal rights group – do not go here).