Hong Kong Adventures – In Search of Food and Fun

by FI Fighter on November 14, 2016

in Hong Kong, Travel Updates

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When it comes to blog posts, I’ll be the first to admit that lately I’ve been spending a lot of time and effort focusing on precious metals mining stocks more than anything else… But not to lose sight of the fact that this website should be primarily focused on early FI, I’ve remained cognizant and aware of the need for me to eventually get back to my roots…

It has been awhile, and I don’t think I’ve posted a travel update since my adventures in Japan back in September…

What’s happened since?

Well, I flew back to Hong Kong at the beginning of October, and shortly after that, I began a 21 day water fast… For the purpose of this post, I won’t get into any of those details, but what that essentially means is that I went 21 days without eating food (the ONLY thing that I consumed during this time was water)… I have my own reasons for this type of “medicine” or “therapy”, but again, no need to dive into that here (please consult a professional healthcare provider, or licensed professional if you would like to learn more about water fasting)… Long story short, I feel great now (totally rejuvenated), and have been spending the last 3 weeks or so immersed in playing “catch up” and exploring more and more of Hong Kong…

When it comes to planning, man, I don’t believe in any of that… By and large, I prefer to live life unscripted and I’m a “go with the flow” type of guy…

Basically, it works out like this — Every other day, I wake up early (6:00 AM), and hit up Google Maps… and usually Yelp as well… I try and look for things that might interest me and work out a rough idea of which parts of HK I will be adventuring off to that day… Once I’ve got an outline in my head, I eat breakfast, and then head out the door, with no intentions of returning back home until after sunset…

Here’s the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) map of HK, for anyone interested.

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Eventually, by the time I’m ready to return to California and the states, I will have explored this entire map (that’s the plan anyway)…

Currently, I’m making every effort possible to go through this map, landing at each train station, and walking around aimlessly, trying to connect the dots, piece by piece (I usually put my phone on “Airplane Mode” when I’m out and I do my best NOT to rely on Google Maps!)… For example, the other day I took take the train from where I live (Tuen Mun) and exited off at the Tsim Sha Tsui station… From there, I walked all the way up to Mong Kok station, via Nathan Road… Anything that looked remotely interesting to me, I made sure to stop and smell the roses… During this whole process, I got to form a much better understanding and grip of how the HK stations and geography are all connected…

I dunno, perhaps many people don’t like to travel like this… but I do, and it’s my life so I’m just gonna keep doing the things that make me happy… I love to indulge in wanderlust and get lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life… You know, eat at the “hole in the wall” restaurants, people watch, try weird, esoteric things that weren’t familiar to me back home, make new friends, etc…

International Commerce Centre (ICC)

Last week, I decided I wanted to explore Kowloon station, since I had never been there before, and I had heard that HK’s tallest building, the International Commerce Centre (ICC) could be found there…

The ICC, a commercial skyscraper erected in 2010, stands 108 stories high, or more precisely 484 m (1,588 ft).

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When I arrived at the ICC, I thought, “What the hey, might as go up top to the observatory and check out the view.

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Check out this cool digital rendering of the ICC skyscraper that you can “create” using your smartphone, the free downloadable Sky 100 app, and by pointing your smartphone’s camera at the yellow circle on the floor.

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Technology, you only continue to amaze me!

Moving along…

Much of the joy of being in early FI is that I can pretty much do whatever I want, whenever I want…

And the best part — I get to go through life at my own pace… As fast or as slow as I see fit, without anyone to answer to!

Some views from up top…

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It was a cloudy day, probably not the best for pictures, but whatever…

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The Bruce Lee statue found at the southern tip of Tsim Sha Tsui is sadly not present at the moment (that entire area is under construction so the statue has been relocated elsewhere, for now), but I thought this was pretty cool to see at the observatory deck…

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Kitchen J

Typically, after spending a few hours of wandering around town, I work up quite a healthy appetite…

Sometimes, I’m in the mood for pasta, so I hit up a place like Kitchen J… C’mon, with a name like that, it’s gotta be good, right!?!

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Here’s what I ordered…

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Unfortunately, in this case, the advertisement looked better than the finished product… The pasta was too oily for my liking, and I’ve had better in HK, so I won’t be going back here again…

Butao Ramen

As readers may be well aware, when I was in Japan in September, I was literally eating ramen like everyday… Yup, I’m quite the ramen lover, and since I’ve been back in HK, I’ve been doing my best to uncover the best shops out here, with hopes that I can find something that is somewhat comparable to the delicious offerings so readily available in places like Tokyo.

Yelp tells me that Butao Ramen, found in both HK Island and in Tsim Sha Tsui are pretty legit, so on a bright, sunny day, I decided to go and check it out.

There are lots of soup base options to choose from… Butao, Black King, Red King, and Green King

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I went with Butao, or the “original” offering…

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Pretty good, but like many ramen shops in Asia, the portions are massively undersized… As is typical for me, I had to order 2 bowls of “extra noodles” on the side, to make it worth my while… After 3 servings of ramen noodles, I still left the restaurant pretty hungry…

But all in all, I had a positive experience and will most likely return here in the future… If I had to compare, I’d say that I still prefer Ichiran, which is a Japanese chain that has 2 shops in HK (Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay)… Conveniently enough, the Ichiran located in Tsim Sha Tsui, is just about a 5 minute walk from Butao.

Ichiran Ramen

Yes, I’ve had Ichiran at both HK locations, but I prefer the one over in Tsim Sha Tsui… Maybe it was just the luck of the draw, but I thought the Causeway Bay (HK Island) restaurant’s ramen was a little bit too salty, and the meat was less “meaty” and more fatty… The seating over at the Tsim Sha Tsui location is better too, since they have both booth and table options.

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In any case, if I’m going to be a food snob about it, in all honestly, both locations in HK aren’t up to par with what you’ll find in Japan (e.g. Tokyo, Osaka, etc.)… I was just in Japan a few months ago, and must have visited Ichiran about 5 times while I was there, so that whole “native experience” is still very fresh in my mind (taste buds)…

The HK rendition of the Japanese classic isn’t bad at all, but point blank, it’s not quite up to stuff to the original…

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

Yesterday, I woke up and told myself I wanted to explore the “New Territories” region of HK, where I’m located… In a given week, I usually spend like 80% of my time in Kowloon and HK Island, so you could say I wanted to mix it up a bit and try something different…

Again, not to sound like a broken record, but I’m in early FI… Why not?

So, I hopped onto the 506 bus, got off at Tuen Mun station, and transferred to the 263 bus, which takes you all the way to Sha Tin station.

From there, it’s about a 20 minute walk to the monastery… It’s pretty neat too, since the monastery is situated up in the mountains, so there’s a nice little hike uphill that you need to trek in order to get there…

But along the way, you’ll start making some very interesting observations…

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Umm, yeah… They don’t call it Ten Thousand Buddhas for no reason!

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It’s quite a sight to behold, and in all my life, this monastery has got to be the most incredible one that I’ve visited…

The view from the top is also quite spectacular.

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Even the vegetarian cafe is on point, and the food was delicious!

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Home Square

When I was finished with my visit to the monastery, I stopped by the nearby shopping mall, Home Square.

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Hard not to notice that Starbucks as you’re walking up to the entrance…

So, what the hey…

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Not to be a hater again, but the Matcha Frappuccino in HK can’t compete with the version they’ve got in Japan…

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No, it certainly is NOT the cream and extra toppings (shown above) that make the Japanese version better… This particular image just so happens to be the ONLY one I have of a Matcha Frappuccino from Japan, but I usually order it without the cream… So yes, comparing “apples-to-apples”, the Japanese version still reigns supreme over the HK version, in my book…

The Sha Tin IKEA menu, haha.

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Tai Cheong Bakery

I try not to rely on Yelp too often, but sometimes I do, just to see what people are fussing over… And when it comes to egg tarts (dan tat), Tai Cheong Bakery (the one in HK Island near Central) is super popular…

On my way back home from Sha Tin, I got off at Tuen Mun station, and headed on over to TMT Plaza to finally give it a whirl…

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I’m not a big desserts guy, but sometimes curiosity gets the cat…

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Since it was after 6:00 PM, Tai Cheong Bakery had a “buy 2 get 1 free” special…

I also added some chicken pies to my order…

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OK, instant regret there… I couldn’t even finish 1/2 of a SINGLE chicken pie… although I did manage to finish one egg tart (dan tat)…

Bottom line — I’m not 18 anymore, and really shouldn’t be messing around with fatty desserts like this… I really didn’t overindulge here, but even from my small sampling, I walked away feeling bloated and pretty disgusted…

No, don’t get me wrong, the pastries weren’t bad at all, but my body has just gotten to the point where it pretty much rejects this kind of food… Like, I think just 1-2 bites is sufficient for me to get my fill…

But in terms of taste, the egg tart (dan tat) was quite good and flavorful… To be perfectly honest, it tasted more or less similar to what you can get most everywhere else, so I wouldn’t necessarily wait in line endlessly for one of these… As for the chicken pie, ehh, I dunno, it wasn’t much of a memorable experience for me…

But like most things in life, you win some and you lose some… You never know unless you try, though!

But speaking of winning, here are some of my best food finds in HK so far…

King of Coconut

HK is super hot and humid in the summer… Even now, in the fall season, it’s pretty darn warm most of the time… And if you’re in a super crowded area like Mong Kok? Trust me, you’re gonna want a refreshing beverage in your hand…

Enter King of Coconut, which is found on Dundas St (just walk down Nathan Rd and make a right if you are coming from Tsim Sha Tsui, or a left if you’re coming from Mong Kok).

Look for the “Fresh Coconut Juice” sign…

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The secret ingredient — Evaporated milk.

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So darn refreshing when you need it most! Next time, I’ll see if I can get it with less ice though… Too much ice really dilutes the flavor as you’re finishing up the drink…

Regardless, I don’t think there’s anything that hits the spot better than coconut milk during a hot, humid, unbearably SCORCHING day…

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Tim Ho Wan

I’m not much of a dim sum guy (too oily for my tastes), but Tim Ho Wan (another Yelp favorite) has some pretty legit pork buns (char siu bao)…

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I can’t really handle too many egg tarts (dan tat), but man oh man, can I finish off a good number of pork buns (char siu bao)! Obviously, dim sum ain’t healthy either, but for some reason, I can stomach more of this stuff…

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Oh, and the glutinous rice with chicken (lo mai gai), or sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf (lo mai gai), as it is often referred to is also quite good…

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Tai Hoi Fruit and Juice

Moving back to coconuts and refreshing beverages again, here’s another gem that I’ve uncovered that is found is Tsuen Wan, directly across from the shopping mall that is adjacent to Tsuen wan station.

Whenever I need to hop aboard the Central train (red line), I make sure to stopby here first for some much needed liquid fuel…

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They also serve up fresh sugarcane here as well!

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In this particular instance, I lock and loaded up with two bottles — one sugarcane and one coconut.

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I’m a much bigger fan of coconut milk than I am of sugarcane water, which I think is too sweet for me… What I like about the coconut milk here is that it’s pre-made and already chilling in the fridge by the time you are ready to order… So, they don’t add ice, and you can ask them to leave out any added sugar…

Tai Hoi is also a little bit cheaper than King of Coconut, so it’s kind of become my de facto place to go for coconut milk in HK…

Granted, I’m still actively exploring, so who really knows what I will uncover next?!?

Cafe Bistro

Lastly, I will conclude this update and give a shout out to Christian, a HK local and reader of this blog, who introduced me to Cafe Bistro, found within walking distance from Jordan station.

Cafe Bistro is a western inspired restaurant, and so far I’ve only tried their salmon pasta, but man is that dish plenty tasty!

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When I was water fasting, for whatever reason, I really started to have cravings for this pasta dish… It’s a bit creamy and on the heavier side of things, but man, it sure hits the spot when you want something good and filling!

Summary

Well, that’s all for this latest update… So, although I’ve tended to write an awful lot about precious metals and mining stocks, make no mistake about it, I’m still trying to enjoy life to the fullest and I’m doing my best to take advantage of my wonderful new scenery…

Yes, mining stocks are on my mind and I have a strong passion for investing and deep value… But even though I spend my late nights (10:30 PM local time is when the NYSE opens) fixated on the markets and their movements, the majority of my day is really spent out and about somewhere random in HK… Like, I might dedicate 3-4 hours each day towards investing, but I’m easily spending 7-10 hours actually embracing life, and NOT operating in the confines of a cubicle!

Right now, I’m more enthused about exploring than perhaps I have ever been before in my life… Pretty soon, I will also be starting the next leg of my adventures, as I’m beginning to iron out the details to visit a few more countries in the upcoming months…

Perhaps like Japan, I’ll go visit somewhere new for about a month and then re-settle back in HK for 2-3 months… Later, rinse, repeat…

Hard to say, really… After all, my life is unscripted now… just the way I like it.

With all that said, by no means am I bored with HK at all! I’m still loving my time here and I’m looking forward to discovering many, many, many more new and exciting things.

 

This post-FI journey is just getting started!

 

Fight On!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kp138 November 15, 2016 at 12:19 am

Great post about your travels! I was in HK a couple weeks ago, but just for a short visit.

Has there been any updates regarding Birimian’s JORC?

Reply

2 FI Fighter November 29, 2016 at 1:37 am

kp,

Yes, Birimian released the initial JORC a few weeks back. You can find it on there website…

http://www.birimiangold.com/pdfs/MaidenResourceAtGoulaminaConfirmsLithiumDeposit27Oct16.pdf

15.5Mt at 1.48% Li2O
for 229,000 tonnes contained lithia

Reply

3 weenie November 15, 2016 at 2:43 am

Really enjoyed this post – as mentioned, I go to HK all the time but you’ve already explored much much more of the place than I have! These days, I only really travel up and down the Island (blue) MTR line as that’s where most of my family live.

I love your ‘unscripted’ travelling as it’s been a long time since I have been able to do that myself in HK.

I’m over there for Christmas and as I don’t have to rush back to work (since I’m being laid off), I’ll extend my trip for a few weeks.

Might be I’ll squeeze in some unscripted days too in between all the family stuff!

Keep the updates coming!

Reply

4 FI Fighter November 29, 2016 at 1:38 am

Weenie,

Haha, yeah I’m trying to make the most of my time here, and that means: explore, explore, explore! 🙂

That’s awesome that you’ll be in HK soon! It’s a wonderful country and I’ve been loving my time here so far.

The Unscripted Life is the best!!!

All the best!

Reply

5 Tawcan November 15, 2016 at 10:33 am

Oh man, that looks totally awesome. I need to try to spend a few more days in HK next time I go there. I’ve been staying 1 night in HK before flying back to Canada for business trips.

Reply

6 FI Fighter November 29, 2016 at 1:39 am

Tawcan,

Haha, let me know if you end up back here again buddy. Next time around, I’ll make sure we get to meet up and grab some coffee/lunch.

All the best!

Reply

7 Pauline November 19, 2016 at 7:34 pm

Looks like a blast! Are you coming back to the U.S. for the holidays? Put Central America on the list next 🙂

Reply

8 FI Fighter November 29, 2016 at 1:40 am

Pauline,

I’ll most likely not come back to the US until tax season early 2017… Haha, yup, I’m looking forward to exploring Central America in the future as well!

Hope you’re doing well and still enjoying early FI! 🙂

Take care!

Reply

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