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Picky Eater in Hong Kong

When travelling, you get giddy with excitement and eating is less of a priority. This is how I, as a picky-eater, survived four days in a foreign land where rice is in scarcity.

DAY 1

SOGO MALL – FRESH MART

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Pork noodles and dimsum with Meiji Choco Panda inside Sogo Mall.

Mindlessly, we fasted for 22 hours. Our first eating stop in Hong Kong on our first day here is at Fresh Mart inside Sogo Mall just a few yards outside our Chung King Mansion guesthouse. Noodles were tasty, I surprisingly liked it. Servings were big and good for sharing. At another stall, rice with curry dishes are available, too. I want rice but I don’t like curry so noodles and biscuits it is.

We bought bottled water and chocolates here for the day ahead.

PIZZA HUT

After looking for Marlyn’s toys in and around Time Square, we looked for a familiar restaurant. Pizza Hut has this “expensive” ambiance in the branch where we had our late lunch. The chocolate milk shake was good. The rest of our orders were fine but still had this pinch taste I cannot figure out and I don’t like. Some items in the menu are not available in the Philippines. That’s just what cute and that’s what we had fun trying.

CAFE DE CORAL

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Minced pork with egg on rice. The most expensive egg I had so far.

Beside Chung King Mansion (Tsim Sha Tsui) is a mall, whose second floor houses Café de Coral. The staffs from the cashier to the people who hand you your orders (you have to line up after payment) and the cleaners are not accommodating. Napakasusungit! It was like you’re really troubling them just by your mere existence. Considering that you are the customers! Weird. Bad. Mad. I’m not used to it. But hey, I’m travelling.

I paid 70HKD for an egg! I ordered minced pork and sunny-side up egg topped on to a bowl of rice with iced tea. I don’t like how the iced tea tasted. I don’t the viand and unfortunately since the minced pork was on top of the rice, the flavor already seeped through. I was left with just the egg.

Times like this, Maltesers saved me. I bought a pint for myself at Sogo Mall at around HKD90.

DAY 2

STARBUCKS

There is a branch near the Avenue of Stars. Actually there are braches nearer our hotel but since they were inside malls, they are still closed before 10AM.

Because of the prices of food in Hong Kong, Starbucks doesn’t feel like an unnecessary luxury. It’s in fact one of the most worth it for me (compared to a 70HKD egg) because prices are near to how items are priced in the Philippines.

I bought a Hong Kong mug here as a souvenir. In Manila, I’ll consider this a splurge but hey, I’m already here.

I had café latter and Choco Danish bread.Nicest breakfast to start our day to Lantau Island.

EATERIES AT LANTAU ISLAND

Before starting our climb to Big Buddha, we had our late lunch first. There are modest eateries on bus terminals. Mostly, what they offer are noodles. The vendor who assisted us isn’t Filipino but it’s nice that she already know simple phrases in our language. I had noodles with luncheon meat and black egg (dipped in tea then boiled) for HKD36. It was good and filling but their serving is just so big I didn’t finish the whole bowl. In these eateries, familiar brands of chips and junk foods can be bought for snacks.

Ngong Ping 360

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Mcdo serves yogurt as desert.

Near the MTR station is a mall where middle-priced items and stores can be found. There are lots of store outlets here according to Ate Tere. After having noodles and in search again for something familiar, we had dinner at McDonalds. The fries are the same back home, hallelujah! I thought even the fries will have that distinct taste. McDonalds serve Minute Maid orange juice, thank God, ‘cause I’ve not been drinking sodas for 2 years now. I think I brought home some Thai chili sauce in sachet as souvenir. We don’t have that in McDo here in Manila.

They also serve Nestle yogurt in Mcdo as one of the desserts. Cool!

DAY 3

I just grabbed a HKD9 meat floss bread in a bakery near the bus terminal on my way to Big Wave Beach. I’ll be on a hike so I prepared more water than food with me.

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Overlooking view of Pacific Coffee shop through glass walls.

Lunch following my Big Wave Adventure is Hong Kong Day inside Victoria Peak. Yang Chow here tasted so good, it started my love affair with it. There are convenience stores inside this mall so snacking was easy.

I had let time pass me by by strolling inside the mall and enjoying the view at the peak. I really targeted this Pacific Coffee shop with a great overlooking view of Hong Kong. I patiently waited for my turn to be seated. The view is just spectacular at night. Coffee was good, too. As a bonus, they have good and free wifi connection. Great place to unwind and rest. No pressure with time or anything. I love this trip.

Day 4

JAPANESE RESTAURANT – iSUARE

No need for breakfast. We had brunch in iSquare Building just across Chung King Mansion. Fortunately, we found here this Japanese restaurant with very yummy Japanese rice. Heaven. It’s a bit pricey but worth it. There are also some restaurants we were interested in but they refuse to accommodate us before 10-10:30AM.

This is our last stop in Hong Kong before we board again a ferry to Macau. Good picky-eater escapade ender.

I discovered new loves in my brief stay. For one, you’ll never know how great noodles tasted until noodles is all you’ve got, hehe. Two, yang chow, I’ll never view yang chow the same way again. I need to learn how to cook this. It looks easy but the one I tasted had this very subtle sweetness in it. I got to find that secret last ingredient less I’ll always want to be back in Hong Kong just for that rice.

Eating in Macau

Two things – egg tarts and meat jerky! That’s what I’ve been told. Never leave Macau without tasting these 2 delicacies.

LORD STOW’S GARDEN CAFE (COLOANE)

And so because we reached Macau Airport at 11:15AM, the first stop in my itinerary is lunch. I targeted to eat in the famed Lord Stow’s Garden Cafe in Coloane, Macau. With some research I found out that Lord Stow did the original recipe of egg tarts. There are other branches of Lord Stow in Macau but the oldest existing is in Coloane.

After collecting maps and several inqueries from the information center inside MFM, we rode Bus 26 Coloane (3.2HKD per person). Bus 26 takes a different route from Bus 26 Coloane, we were told, so be mindful. No sweat locating this cafe as terminal of this bus route is exactly at Lord Stow’s.

It was luchtime when we arrived so we had to wait to be seated. When the door opened and a staff asked us, “For how many?” I said, “Tatlo (three)” sensing that he is Filipino. He smiled and responded grinning, “Ah, tatlo.” He is indeed Filipino!

We overheard the table next to us speaking in Tagalog also. They are a group of religious man and women on retreat. They later invited us to their conversation as they also recognized us.

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Father John and the nuns on retreat. They were very gracious and made our first few hours in this foreign land felt like home.

Father John, the priest, seemed to be already living in Macau for a while. The Filipino waiter already knows him and jokes with him a lot. If I heard it right, he is assigned in St. Francis Xavier, our next stop. He made sure the rest of his company enjoys their lunch.

Servings in Lord Stow’s is good for sharing! I had half of my order taken out for merienda. Customarily, they serve hot water as “service water”.

The egg tarts were excellent! We didn’t expect it to not taste sweet as it smelled really nice and creamy. That made it all the more enjoyable, though. I especially liked the bread or crust which is flaky and comparable to Cebu’s otap. Worth it! It’s just Day 1 but I have all the intentions to bring this home to Bulacan for pasalubong. Egg tarts are best served hot and we don’t have microwave oven at home so Marlyn had this really great suggestion of buying one just for the egg tarts!

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This restaurant is hard to miss if you ride Bus 26 Coloane from Airport.

Please note that there are Lord Stow’s bakery somewhere in Binondo. Not sure if they have the egg tarts, though.

Maybe because we are still excited to start our tour, we didn’t have a very good appetite for the day. Our next meal was roughly 24 hours later in Hongkong. More of what happened between those meals in my other posts. (Turbojet Experience Link)

PASTELARIA KOI KEI (near SENADO SQUARE)

We came back to Macau, four days after. Upon checking in to our hotel near Senado Square, we started our stroll.

On our way to St. Paul Ruins and Senado Square, we passed by a lot of stores selling egg tarts and meat jerky but one store we were naturally attracted to is Pastelaria Koi Kei.

Unlike other stores, their meat jerky looked sanitary not to mention that everywhere we go, we see people with Pastelaria Koi Kei bags in their hands even during our first day in Macau. We got curious and me especially bought most of my pasalubongs from here.

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The cashier gave me free mooncake because of my purchase. Customer service is good by the way. Coming from not so hospitable experiences in Hongkong, I find Macau kinder to foreigners. They’ve got lots of free tastes, too!

RICE, PLEASE…

We have to try a restaurant which we think ordinary people in the area eat to casually. As they say, when you travel, you eat when you’re hungry and wherever convenient. In a corner, we found this restaurant which served rice meals! Hallelujah!

I rediscovered the glory of Yang Chow! I don’t know if it’s because it saved me from my 6 days of rice deprivation or it really is good especially when authentic. I’m craving for it until these days that I’m already back in Manila.

RESTAURANTS (VENETIAN MACAU)

There is a food court one level up from Venetian Macau’s Casino. They serve American and Asian food. Shops and kiosks, duty free chocolates also abound this hotel and casino. There is in fact a branch of Lord Stow’s inside where I bought Almond (MOP40) and Dark Chocolate Chips (MOP45) cookies.

Nothing special about this ice cream scoop except that it’s Haagen Dazs ice cream and that it was inside Venetian Macau! While paying for this, I keep on telling myself, “Don’t convert! Don’t convert!”, as this scoop was really pricey. Part of traveling like a local is thinking and spending like a local. So think in HKD and MOP not in PHP.

Fastfood is also a life saver. The patty tasted differently so I was fine with just the pancakes, potatoes and coffee. Creamer for Mcdonalds coffee is liquid unlike the customary powdered creamer in Manila. Wala lang, aliw lang. 🙂

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Admittedly, I’m not very adventurous when it comes to food. Even back here at home, I tend to choose home-cooked meals and Filipino dishes more than anything else. I also prefer the classic flavors of almost any food that I’m used to. Therefore, this post is useless if you’re looking for unique food finds in Macau. For the picky eaters like me who would rather starve than eat anything that irks me, this post is a survival guide.

Airport meal before boarding our flight back to Manila.

Sick and Sipping Soup at Pho Hoa

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Flank brisket tender and meatball pho

Rainy afternoon at 5PM. Two people with cough, cold and sinusitis ready to develop into full-blown flu. To go straight from work to home should be a good idea.  They decided a hot soup of ramen and freshly squeezed citrus drink should do better.

Pho Hoa- though I first thought it to be a Chinese restaurant, serving noodles with a store located near Luk Yen (a real Chinese restaurant)- is a casual dining Vietnamese restaurant. I heard nice reviews regarding it and it’s accessible inside a mall so we decided to give it a try.

We ordered a large bowl of one of their best sellers. The menu says its Pho nam, chin, gan, bo vien or flank brisket tender and meatball pho. The noodle is white and tasted differently from the usual yellow egg noodles. It tasted fine to me.

What I didn’t like so much is the beef. I t doesn’t tastle like beef at all to me because of its bland flavor, pale color and weird texture. Luk Yuen’s is so much better I my opinion.

What we loved is the freshly squeezed lemonade. It tasted just right and was very suitable with the cold we’ve been having.

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The lemonade we loved best.

We also later decided to order Goi tom buoi or pomelo shrimp salad. They serve orders pretty fast. This so much made up from the beef noodles with the great combination of the nuts with the crab meat and cucumber and their special dressing.

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Pomelo and prawn salad.

The servings are good for 2-3 persons and since our appetite weren’t that high that afternoon we had the left-over food packed for take out. They placed the food in plastic and brown paper bag which we thought would break when we were around five meters away from the store.

We decided to go back and ask for another paper bag when lo and behold! The waiter who assisted us handed me my digicam which I accidentally left on our table. It might be because of the flu or plain blind spot on my part because I checked our seats and table before leaving. Pho Hoa scored on customer service to me at that point.

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The free appetizer. Another score.