A Long, Hot and Sticky Summer With A Fun End That Was Still Hot and Sticky

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThings have finally returned to what is now normal for us in Hong Kong. After five weeks of geographical separation (for Steve and me), three weeks of touring Kam around China, Vietnam and Hong Kong and typhoon Usagi, Steve left for his regular commute to Shenzhen and I settled down to plow through the hundres of photos taken over the summer.

It has been a very hot summer. During the month of August andwhile I was in the US, Steve reported very wet and humid weather. It continued to be hot and humid in September, but we did not have near the reported rain. As much as I wanted to, we had headed out every morning only to return sweat-drenched and thankful for air conditioning.

We did not waste any time when Kam arrived and set out to tackle a fairly long list of activites: Disneyland; Danang, Vietnam; egg tarts; Hue, Vietnam; Celestial Lady Pagoda on the picturesque Perfume River in Hue; vegetarian lunch with the monk; ghost city of Vietnam; visit to schools in Vietnam; sunrise at China Beach; Long’s coffee; a visit to “my school” for Lantern Festival; Ocean Park roller coasters; pandas, egg tarts; monkeys; Sham Shui Po; the Great Wall; Forbidden City; the best breakfast ever in Vietnam for $1.75 USD; Lama Temple; egg tarts; planes; trains; taxis; great Chinese food in Beijing; watching a “foreigner” eat a roasted spider;shopping in Lo Wu; Dum Sum lunch; meeting the all the ladies; mahjong; winning in Macau; eating as much as we could; a trip to The Peak; Star Ferry; hydro ferry ;Fernando’s; really bad air in Beijing; Ozone bar on the 118th floor; Peking Duck; Tiananmen Square; the gate of heavely peace; finding Kam’s “favorite restaurant in the world”.

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Near Sham Shui Po in Kowloon Monkeys in the trees

Near Sham Shui Po in Kowloon Monkeys in the trees

 

Panda at Ocean Park

Panda at Ocean Park

By the way, egg tarts were a hugh hit with Kam. She ate them in several places, including the elevator. Her verdict on who has the best…..Tai Cheong Bakery on Lyndhurst Terrace in Hong Kong. She picked them for the buttery crust. I prefer the egg tarts from Macau at Margaret e Nata alley cafe. I love the flaky crust and the carmelized custard top.

Kam's favorite egg tarts from Tai Cheong Bakery

Kam’s favorite egg tarts from Tai Cheong Bakery

Enjoying egg tarts and OJ at Margaret e Nata cafe in Macau

Enjoying egg tarts and OJ at Margaret e Nata cafe in Macau

On the 7th Level of Celestial Lady Pagoda, Vietnam

On the 7th Level of Celestial Lady Pagoda, Vietnam

The photo above shows Kam in the window of the 7th Level at the Celestial Lady Pagoda. This was a rare treat for a vistor. We were allowed to climb all seven levels of the pagoda. the top was about 2X3 feet with this small window. It was a very lucky experience for us thanks to our friend Duong in Vietnam and the kindness and interest of the senior monk. We also were invited to lunch.

 

 

Wok Wednesdays

I was really happy to see this dish on the list of upcoming recipes. Having been to Macau several times in the last six months, I am in love with the merging of Chinese and Portuguese flavors. I wrote about our first visit to Macau in March of this year if you are interested.

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I really loved this dish. Just like the Burmese chicken, I love the layers of flavor. Usually not a big fan of coconut milk in most recipes, however, I was pleased with and the creaminess that it provided for the sauce. I used smoked paprika instead of sweet and was very happy with the flavoring there. And unlike the the basmati rice from last recipe, I found it easy to obtain Spanish chorizo. I opted for the mild, but I am sorry that I did. I would have liked it a bit spicer, but the cured meat complimented the chicken well.  Surely we will enjoy this dish again.

If you want to try making this dish and many other wonderful stir-fry recipes, check out Grace Young’s Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge and join Wok Wednesdays which can be found on Facebook or at http://wokwednesdays.wordpress.com/

 

The ruins of St. Paul World Heritage Site

The ruins of St. Paul Macau

 

 

Visitors!

“Nothing says Easter like a trip to the monkey park!” Our first visitors to Hong Kong left just one week ago today. Jim and Marcia returned to Boise, ID wearing the special badge as our “first visitors to Hong Kong.” Put that in your Foursquare stats! They came with just one request, and that was to visit Kam Shan County Park in the New Territories to see the wild monkeys roaming freely. Easy enough, and we planned to fit it in on Easter Sunday.

Drinks at Sugar- Mar 2013

We made many a memory that week (besides visiting the monkey park). Starting with the fact that the Lyons arrived on the stormiest night we have had since our arrival in Hong Kong.  Thankfully, the storm paused long enough for them to make a safe and on-time arrival. The storm resumed later that night with pounding rain and so much lightning and thunder that the sky was white with light. Even though Hong Kong is experiencing an uncharacterically cool and wet March, we had many a moment of nice and dry times which made for an enjoyable week weather-wise.

At the  Ruins of St. Paul Church, Macau

At the Ruins of St. Paul Church, Macau

I did my research before Jim and Marcia arrived and came up with a pretty comprehensive plan. The List of everything we wanted to show, experience and eat was aggressive, and we managed to check off  a “Lyon’s share” of the items. Highlights included: the city-bus ride to Stanley; turbo jet ferry to Macau; the Ruins of St. Paul’s Church; rain and more rain; The Museum of Macau; a bright colored parade of umbrellas; a visit to our favorite Macau bakery; dim sum at the Lung Wah Tea House; taxi ride to Hac Sa beach; dinner at Fernando’s (accentuated by being inside to watch a gully-washer of a storm while we stayed warm and dry and well fed); a ride on the Star Ferry; rain and more rain; bus ride to the monkey park; Easter Sunday stroll through the monkey park; Easter supper at The Pawn; a visit to the Hong Kong film archive; a movie, A Fishy Tail, presented during the Hong Kong Film Festival; drinks at Sugar; dinner at Feast; breakfast buffet Hong Kong style (with wi-fi password) at the YWCA Garden Inn restaurant; checking in on Foursquare and Instagram; numerous photo ops; pursuit of the free wi- fi; walking through the Hong Kong Zoological Park and the Botanical Gardens; a trip on the Tram to The Peak; shopping for gifts; beef brisket noodles; a walk on The Peak trail; reading The Hungary Ghosts; wok-stir-fried dinner at our flat; visiting temples and cemeteries during Ching Ming; spiral incense; ash in the air from the burned offerings; spying a dog in Chuck Taylor’s; martinis; gin and tonics; Jenny Bakery cookies; Walled-City Park of Kowloon; a visit to the bird market; a visit to the flower market; navigating subways, taxi’s, buses, trails and hills. We even managed a nap or two in the midst of all this.

How about a pig knuckle or two? Dim Sum at Long Wah Tea House, Macau

How about a pig knuckle or two? Dim Sum at Long Wah Tea House, Macau

Bringing out the incense coils at Kun Iam Temple, Macau

Bringing out the incense coils at Kun Iam Temple, Macau

Marcia and Monkey- Mar 2013

“Say Cheese,” but don’t get any ideas. We don’t have any cheese! I’m not staring!!!

Our Monkey Friend- Mar 2013

 

Umbrellas of Macau- Mar 2013

Not icicles, just a good Macau gully washer.

Not icicles, just a good Macau gully washer.

 

Come out of the rain!

Come out of the rain! At Fernando’s.

What a delightful week it was. We so enjoyed showing off our new/temporary hometown. We are to so lucky to have such good friends that are willing to make the long journey to visit AND to bring a suitcase full of our requested US goods.Thanks Jim and Marcia! Thanks for the great memories. Thanks for being such great visitors! Thanks for your friendship; We love you guys! We loved the monkey park too!

 

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.