Monday, October 29, 2007

Chinese Cooking

I cooked my first Chinese meal. Before leaving the US I bought three Chinese/Asian cookbooks. On Sunday, I made the first meal: Spicy Grilled Squid (fish) with Warm Greens accompanied by rice. It exceeded my expectations. We bought the produce in the market, but got the fish in the grocery store. I am still scared to buy fish in the market, since the fish are sold whole, and I have no idea how each type of fish tastes.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


On Friday evening, we went to a Gore social event called Artjamming. It was a similar concept to paint-your-own-pottery. Each person could make their own painting. Artjamming provided the space, easels, paint, brushes, aprons, etc. It was very enjoyable for both of us.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

Halloween seems to be very popular in Hong Kong. I am collecting pictures to post next week. In a near-by mall, they had a "pumpkin patch" set up in the middle of the mall. It was actually growing pumpkins. It seemed to be an educational thing for children. It struck me as odd, but cool. Land is so scarce here, most children have probably never seen a farm.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

First Dinner

On Monday, I cooked dinner for the first time in two months--it tasted great. I made bean burritos and went to several different stores to find all the ingredients. Mexican foods are difficult to find here so this meal probably cost three times what it would in the US. I did use some of the produce from the wet market. Even though I love to cook, we will certainly eat out quite a bit here. Many Chinese don't cook. They work long hours, and if you go to local Chinese style restaurants, the food is no more expensive than eating at home. Noodle soup with veges and some meat is a very popular meal and only costs about $2.00.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Wet Market

Today I shopped at the wet market for the first time; very cool experience. The wet market is where locals buy most of their food, especially produce and meat. The markets are usually in the street and sometimes in a warehouse. There are small stands for each vendor. Often the produce is in the street and butchers on the sidewalks, as well as, seafood stalls where everything is live in tanks. Some stalls sell dried products, fresh tofu, fresh bean sprouts, nuts, and flowers. It is a very different way of shopping than in the US, and it can be very intimidating and creepy. There are lots of fruits and vegetables that I have never seen before and have no idea how they are prepared. Nothing is refrigerated, including meat and eggs. Some stalls have live chickens and birds, and I have seen cages of live turtles and frogs. Even though shopping in the wet market is 'different', in many ways I think it is better. Everything is extremely fresh, because the Chinese insist on great quality, and you are closer to your food--it's genuine.

I went to the Yau Ma Tei market which is very close to our house. Here is what I bought all for just under $8.00:

scallions, 1 bunch
cilantro, 1 small bunch
grape tomatoes, about a pint
limes, 2 small
apples, 4 big Fuji
garlic, 3 heads
onions, 2 yellow
cucumber, 1 huge
peppers, 2 (not sure what kind, was hoping for jalapeno--these are bigger)
peppers, 1 small pack of hot red chilies
lemons, 3
corn, 2 ears
carrots, 3 huge
plums, 2 huge
I only bought produce today--need get more nerve to buy flesh.

Here are some pictures I took in the Central market, not the one where I shopped today. It is hard to take pictures because you feel intrusive and very touristy, but it will give you an idea. I plan to take pictures of things that I have no idea what they are.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fun in Lan Kwai Fong

Last Sunday, we went to a street carnival in Lan Kwai Fong which is the party street where all the bars and clubs are. This area is very western. The carnival mimicked Mardi Gras with street performers, drinking, and food. I'm sure it was extremely crowed on Saturday night. We took some fun pictures.

(Edit: The picture of Erik is deceiving. He is standing on the sidewalk and the other people are in the street. It is true that he is taller than most, but this picture gives him and additional 8 inches or so.)


This is the night view from our apartment. It is truly unbelievable.

Monday, October 15, 2007


I apologize for not posting this week. Things have been really hectic with trying to set up the apartment. Dealing with vendors, contractors, and delivery people is hard enough in the US let alone when you add in a language barrier and cultural differences. Monday night will be the first night we sleep in the apartment. We still lack a refrigerator as it is being repaired, so we will be eating fruit and peanut butter bread for breakfast. The sofa arrives on Wednesday. We do have a bed, table with two chairs (other two have an issue), TV with cable, and Internet, so we are making progress. All-in-all, the place is shaping up and we have a lot unpacked. I am giving myself until December 1 to make it perfect. I'll post some pictures of the night view as soon as I bring the camera to the apartment. Stay tuned for several posts this week to make up for my abscence last week.

Monday, October 8, 2007

New Home

On Friday, we got the keys to our apartment, which was an amazing feeling after the long wait. We are super happy with our choice for so many reasons. When we chose this apartment, there was a lot of construction taking place around it, and we were told the plan was to create shopping, proposed to be complete by January. However, we thought there is no way it would be done soon because everything was a mess and in the beginning stages. When we got the keys, the shopping mall was open! It is beautiful and has a great supermarket with lots of western food and prepared food, similar to Whole Foods or Food Source. The mall even has an ice rink. It was so exciting to know we had this awesome place virtually in the basement of our building. I am so happy!

Our building is one of several apartment towers all surrounding a subway station. The station is underground, as is the shopping mall. Above ground, there is lots of greenery, plants, and a fountain. In the final stages are some restaurants and bars, two of which are already open. The whole area is called West Kowloon and is all reclaimed land, meaning it was only water a few years ago.

Even though we are above the subway station, it is for a line that we won't use as frequently as the red line. We can walk to the Jordan station (red line) in less than 20 minutes. Jordan is a cool area, because it is local, Chinese style. It will be fun exploring the small restaurants and shops along Jordan road. It is nice that we will be close to both cheap, local stuff, as well as, high-end, western style things.

On Saturday, we received our shipment of stuff from the US. We were happy to find our things in good condition, since they have been waiting in some black hole for the past few weeks. Two Chinese movers unloaded our stuff, one of whom was very jolly. When the jolly guy entered our apartment, he gasped at the view and said, "This is my dream!" He raved about the apartment the whole time he was there and asked to unpack our stuff so he could stay longer, saying, "I could stay here for 50 years." It really emphasized how genuinely lucky we are to have this experience and this wonderful apartment, one that we could never afford on our own, at least not at this moment.

Our first night in the apartment will be Oct. 13. I will post pictures once everything is together, but it will be awhile considering our TV stand won't be ready until Nov. 20, since it is being custom made.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Good News/Bad News

Good news: we got our apartment!!! We get the keys on Friday!

Bad news: our tenants for our home must move out!

Up one house, down one house.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

October 1 National Day

Monday, October 1, was a national holiday in Hong Kong and one of the three times a year when there are fireworks in the harbour. The Chinese invented fireworks over 2,000 years ago. The display was amazing especially because the fireworks are reflected off the water and windows of the buildings. We tried to go to the Tsim Sha Tsui harbour front to watch them but it was so crowded we couldn't even get down there. The roads around TST were closed for traffic and were filled with pedestrians, as you can see in the pictures. So we came back to the hotel and watched the show from the roof, which was a great vantage point. Once in our apartment, we'll have an excellent view of the next fireworks display on Chinese New Year. It was a fun night.