This is Facinating to Me – Construction and Refurbishment

There is one thing about Hong Kong you can count on; no matter where you go in the city, there is some type of construction or refurbishment taking place. Just outside our building there is a skyscraper under construction. Luckily, it is not too noisy and it is not directly in our view.

Building under construction outside Jing Tai Garden

Building under construction outside Jing Tai Garden

And just up the street, there is a building being refurbished.

Remodel visable from our balcony at Jing Tai Garden

Remodel visible from our balcony at Jing Tai Garden

For refirbishment on the a building of any size or shape, an outer skeleton of bamboo is erected. It is then shrouded in a mesh-type fabric. Yes…..bamboo!

Recently in the South China Morning Post, an article appeared titled High-Wire Kings of the Last Frontier describing the men and the process for erecting these bamboo structures. It is an ancient trade and also a form of art. “It takes strength, skill and, most importantly, intellect to be a bamboo artist, erecting intricate webs of sky-high walls and platforms strong enough to hold a legion of construction workers.”

A load of bamboo waiting for construction of outer skeleton.

A load of bamboo on Queen Road being used for construction of outer skeleton.

Bamboo going up the outside of a building on Shelley Street.

Bamboo going up the outside of a building on Shelley Street.

The bamboo is lashed together with a strap material. The men that build these structures are highly trained by fellow workers on site and over a period of years. They start measuring and cutting the bamboo and work up to designing the overall structure. In the past, these men were not educated for the job in any other way than by on-the-job experience. It is a surprisingly low accident rate and the use of bamboo, if it were to fall, does not cause as much damage as steel Usually, you must know someone already in the profession to get in and start training.. Starting salaries are around HK$350 (US$44.00) per day. Experienced hands make around  HK$10,000 (US$1,265) per month according to the South China Post article.

Workers assembling the outer structure on Wyndham Street.

Workers assembling the outer structure on Wyndham Street.

Men crawl around on the structure, working on the construction or the refurbisment. If the building is just getting a facelift or painting, then the business remains open during the process. The scaffolding is constructed around doorways and signs.

This building is probably over 20 stories tall.

This building is easily over 20 storys tall.

shrouded building 2

The days may be numbered for this profession and use of bamboo. Availibility of bamboo worldwide has increased, making it difficult to get bamboo supplies; and new governmental regulations now require new workers to complete a year-long course in a classroom and not through on-the-job training. It is less appealing to new trainees.

 

Wok Wednesdays – Stir-Fried Carrots with Chicken and Mushrooms

The recipe for this dish came from Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge by Grace Young page 134.

This is an excellent dish and easy to do. Like most wok recipes, your preparation is key to success. I used the dried mushrooms, and they definitely brought texture and added flavor to the dish.

Stir-Fried Chicken with Carrots and Mushrooms

Stir-Fried Chicken with Carrots and Mushrooms

The julienne of the carrots took a bit of time, but the technique that Grace describes in the book is great for getting the job done. In Hong Kong, we have monster-sized carrots. Even the imported carrots from Australia are huge. They are about 2.5 inches in diameter. I was put off by them at first, but tried them for this dish and they are very sweet and tender. The opposite of what I thought they would be.

Carrots just added to the wok

Carrots just added to the wok

The dried mushrooms are expensive, but I think it is worth the added cost. In Hong Kong they are in every wet market and medicinal shop. I opted to buy the middle price range. I was very happy with the flavor. The odor is strong on them, both dry and wet. The only problem I had was that there were a few that did not soften as much as the others. I think I will try to use boiling water next time.

Dried Chinese mushrooms

Dried Chinese mushrooms

Highly recommend this dish and use the dried mushrooms if you can. If you have kids, they will love eating the carrots.

 

 

More Things I Love

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Travel is easy from Hong Kong

Oyster pancakes at the outdoor restaurant at Temple Street night market

Mahjong

Macau

Almond cookies from the great little bakery by Red Market in Macau

Red doors and window shutters

Laundry hanging outside

Wokking on Wednesdays

I can now give accurate directions to foreigners traveling in Hong Kong!

Never running out of things to do or explore

Macau – First Trip

I had pretty much made up my mind that I was in no great hurry to visit Macau. Known as the “Las Vegas” of Asia, I had no desire to experience. But, after talking with a friend here in Hong Kong about the fun she and her husband had in Macau and being that it is just a 60-minute ferry ride away, we decided to give it a visit.
Boy, was I wrong about Macau! It is a great place to visit, and you never have to set foot in a casino. The architecture is interesting, there are a bunch of World Heritage sites to visit and the food is outstanding! This is a place we will visit again, and we will bring our guests.

The ruins of St. Paul World Heritage Site

The ruins of St. Paul World Heritage Site

Old and new at Monte Fort and Macau Museum

Old and new at Monte Fort and Macau Museum

The Macau museum sits a little to the east of the runins of St Paul’s church. It is on the top of Monte Fortress. It is a beautifully organized and interesting museum explaining the history, folk art and customs of the Chinese in Macau. Also it is a World Heritage Site.

Red door of a private home.

Red door of a private home.

This private home sits near to the ruins of St. Paul tucked just in along the small streets that line the side of the hill. We met the gentelman that lived here. He was coming home with a big bunch of flowers in his arm.

Door on Rua da Felicidade

Door on Rua da Felicidade

The Rua da Felicidade is a gorgeous street with all white-washed buildings and red doors and shutters on windows.Once the red light district of Macau, it is now full of bubble tea shops and small restaurants. Kind of an “eat street” of Macau. Get there early in the a.m. for photos of all the red and white. Return later in the day for excellent noodle dishes.

Rua da Felicidade

Rua da Felicidade

A trip to Macau can easily turn into a food fest. There is incredible Portuguese food. East meets west bakeries and tea houses.

Fabulous bakery to the side of the Red Market

Fabulous bakery to the side of the Red Market

This bakery is run by a husband and wife team. They crank out the cookies to locals. We spotted the cookie counter tucked in just to the side of the red market. I had to take a photo and we bought a cookie too. We returned three more times for almond cookies, sesame cookies and savory peanut clusters. The locals were flocking here and assuring us that these were the best cookies in Macau. I believe them! Also, the photos that came from this visit are some of my favorites. There is no English name I can give for the place. We even asked the staff at the hotel and they were at a loss. The closest I can get is Wong Fong Kee.

Steve enjoys a cookie from the bakery.

Steve enjoys a cookie from the bakery.

For lunch, we took at taxi out to Hac Sa beach in the village of Coloane to Restaurante Fernando. Recommended by several people, we were not disappointed. This is an established Portuguese restaurant favored by locals and toursts alike.

BBQ sea bass with an incredible herb sauce that you pour over. Delicious!

BBQ sea bass with an incredible herb sauce that you pour over. Delicious!

Steve found us a gem of a hotel.  Pousada de Mong Ha  is an educational hotel at The Institute for Tourism located on the hillside of a former 19th century Portuguese fortress. It has lovely views and wooded gardens and excellent rooms and serivce. It is an easy bus ride on the #12 bus or taxi ride from the ferry pier.

 

The front porch of Posauda de Mong Ha

The front porch of Posauda de Mong Ha

We still did not get to do everything that we wanted to do. Next time….egg tarts, pandas, the village of Coloane and more.

Stir-Fried Chili Scallops

Stir-fried chili scallops

Stir-fried chili scallops

This recipe is from the wonderful book Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge by Grace Young page 154

I really enjoyed this dish. Very colorful and flavorful with the chili bean sauce. I was a little unhappy with the sear on the scallops. Next time, I would do them in batches and higher up in the wok to escape the water that deveolped. The scallops, although not seared as much, were not overcooked and very tender. The bok choy cooked wonderfully. I would make this dish again.