Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Winter journeys and foodfests in pictures

It was my first time to go to Tai O Fishing Village, touted by the HK Tourism Board as the "Venice" of the East (I wouldn't go so far as to compare it to Venice), with its homes on stilts and fishing boats. It's a tiny place but there are boats you can rent for HKD20/person and if you're lucky you can see the famous pink dolphins.

Dried fish parts: which parts, I have no idea. The vendor gestured that it was part of the belly. Oh how I wish I had a translator with me that day.

Other dried fruits of the sea: scallops and sea cucumbers.

A quiet lane leading to a sun-dappled seaside promenade of sorts. The picture of village life marred only by tourists and their cameras.

Ate hotpot at Yau Gwat Hei, a very popular resto. We ordered the specialty, wintermelon broth studded with shredded dried scallops and lotus seeds. Check out the size of that melon! Was the restaurant worth the hype? Definitely not! Service was lousy and the place was old and ill-maintained. Was the broth good? It looked good, but was decidedly bland. My pa makes the BEST hotpot broth ever.

We ordered pig's liver (generous portion), fishballs (very tasty and springy), Shanghai dumplings (average), baby bok choy (fresh and crunchy), enoki mushrooms, thinly sliced marbled beef (not the best), cuttlefish (tough and chewy), tofu and vermicelli.

the beef

the dumpling which Little boy loved

the broth simmering with the wintermelon flesh

Good Spring Company Limited, found on the corner of Stanley and Cochrane Streets in Central, sells herbs and herbal tea. After lunch office workers queue up for their requisite HKD5 cuppa which they say aids in digestion. After eating a cheap, oily and msg-laden lunch they need all the help they can get.

Pa was fascinated with the tea dispensers.

There's ginseng tea, sweet flower which I tried a long time ago, and the one with 24 bitter herbs which my intrepid father tried.

The man was oblivious to my camera. He must be used to it.

In Macau where everything is cheaper, even these skewered snacks were at least HKD3 less than their HK counterparts.

At Thai Basil in Pacific Place, we ordered the pumpkin custard with pandan ice cream. It was pleasantly cold (I thought it would be baked and warm), refreshingly sweet in a way only pumpkin can be.

An image of the other side: pandan ice cream (I wish they used a larger scoop). What are those pink and green strands you say? They tasted like cotton candy! Or should I say haystack candy?

Another dessert: sticky purple rice with mangoes, caramel, coconut cream and toasted coconut slivers which were a tad too jaw-breakingly crunchy.