Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lamma Island Hong Kong

Today, we visited Lamma Island which is the 3rd largest island in the territory after Lantau and Hong Kong Island.  From Hong Kong Island, we caught the ferry from Central Pier No. 4 to Yung Shue Wan, had a seafood lunch then walked along the 'Family Trail' towards Hung Shing Ye Beach.  After, stopping at the beach to admire the view, we continued to Sok Kwu Wan Pier where we caught the ferry back to Hong Kong island.   Had a great time but not so sure that the trail is suitable for families as it is quite steep in parts!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Local Food Sampling Tour Hong Kong

On Monday 22 September 2008 I attended a Local Food Sampling Walking Tour of Hong Kong which was lots of fun. This tour was definitely for the adventurous and not for the squeamish so from my rough scribbles this is how the day went.

From Jordan Exit A we turned right, crossed Jordan Road then walked down Parkes Road. Our first stop was at the Australia Dairy Company, 47 Parkes Street, Jordan, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel: +852 2730 1356. This establishment has a reputation for the best scrambled eggs and steamed milk pudding in Hong Kong and at certain times of the day you will see people queuing out front eager to satiate their appetite. Don’t expect a warm and fuzzy welcome however, as with many Hong Kong restaurants the waiters also have a reputation for being rude but somewhat speedy with their service. Being an aussie through and through, I personally couldn’t see any relationship with the land of oz but giving them the benefit of the doubt maybe they used Australian milk? The prices of their food however indicated otherwise and I just hope that their products aren’t tainted with melamine? Although, we didn’t sample any food here I will certainly put this one on my ‘to do’ list at some time… just hope I live to tell the tale.

We continued down Parkes Road then turned right into Bowring Street. Here there were market stalls selling food, linen and clothing. We stopped at a local ‘jook’ (congee) shop (with butcher next door) - sorry, I don’t have the name as there was nothing English about this place - and sampled some Fish Slice Congee (Yue Peen Jook), Pork Congee (Sow Jook), Thousand Year Old Egg Congee and Zah Leung (Pear & Chinese Donut wrapped in Rice Noodles). Congee is like rice porridge and is extremely popular with the Chinese at breakfast. The fish and pork congee was absolutely delicious and had shredded ginger and spring onion sprinkled on top but I passed on the Thousand Year Old Egg Congee. Although, I’ve tried Thousand year old egg before there was a bit of the ‘yuk’ factor involved. Thousand year old eggs are black, have a rubbery texture and tend to stick to your chopsticks. As far as taste goes, well I’m not even going to go there! Zah Leung however was fabulous! It seemed to be sweet, salty, crisp but also soft all at the same time and was a delight to taste. Pear and Chinese donut are wrapped in a sheet of vermicelli rice noodle and served with either soy, plum or peanut sauce – yum!

We continued down Bowring Street (which cut through Woosung and Temple Street) then turned right into Shanghai Street and headed back towards Jordan Road. When we got to Jordan Road we turned left and continued to walk until we arrived at a Vegetarian Restaurant. Here we sampled ‘Loh por beng’ (wife cake made of winter melon paste) and ‘Fah seng hap to beng' (peanut almond biscuit). We crossed Jordan Road, sampled two types of tea i.e. ‘Tie Guan Yin tea’ and ‘Jasmine flower tea’ at a tea shop on the other side of the road then continued along Shanghai Street. From here we turned left into Nanking Street then continued along Reclamation Street.

Reclamation Street is very colourful and full of little street stalls selling fruit and vegetables and the like. It was along here that we stopped to sample dim sum at the Reclamation Street Cooked Food Market. Here we had Cha Siu Bau (Steamed Pork Buns), Steamed Meat Bun (a bit of a mixture) and Beef Balls with Bean Curd Skin to mention but a few for lunch along with Hong Kong style drinks - Lemon Tea, Yin Yeung (tea and coffee mix), and Hot Ginger Coke.

After lunch, we continued along Reclamation Street past the Yau Ma Tei Wet Market complex until we ended up in Kansu Street (near the Jade market). We turned right then continued along Kansu Street where we stopped at a local food vendor stall to sample 'Yue Daan' fish balls ('laht'spicy and 'ng-laht' non-spicy). Although, I’ve tried better fish balls, the spicy fish balls were better of the two. After sampling the fish balls we continued along Kansu Street then turned right into Woosung Street. On the corner of Kansu and Woosung Street there is a large dried seafood stall with everything that you can imagine – we tend to call them ‘stinky shops’ as they are a bit on the nose. As we walked along Woosung Street we saw Dai Pai Dongs (local hawker food stalls) and more restaurants including one called ‘The Curry House’ which is home to whole head goat curry!

Our next stop was at a Herbal Tea Shop on the corner of Woosung Street and Pak Hoi Street. Here we tried two sweet teas - 'foh mah yun' and 'ng fa cha', and also one bitter tea 'ya seh mei' (24 flavour tea). Although ‘bitter’ tea is supposed to be very good for you it really wasn’t my cup of tea! Excuse the pun. Much preferred the sweet sesame tea. Whilst sitting at this Herbal tea shop there was a very large copper vat out front. When we asked what was in the vat, much to our horror, we found out it was turtle soup! Up until now my only experience with turtle soup was singing the song from ‘Alice in Wonderland’:( Of particular note though, there is the Woosung Street Food Market across the road, with English menus and although very basic they serve up delicious stir fried prawns with lots of garlic and chilli. Make sure you visit this one as it really is worth while.

After our turtle soup experience we continued along Woosung Street then turned left into Nanking Street. By this stage we were too full but if you want to try great fish balls then the Aberdeen Fish Ball Co. is the place. From Nanking Street we turned right into Parkes Street and ended back at Jordan Road and at our last food sampling shop ‘Healthy Dessert’.
I am sure that every girl has a compartment in their tummy especially for dessert so we absolutely had to fit this one in. Here we had a yummy mango pomelo dessert with coconut milk which finished the tour perfectly! Would I do the tour again and/or be more adventurous with my food choices in Hong Kong – absolutely!

p.s check out the google map in my side bar for a better idea of places visited.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Winter Trends - Feathers, Fringe & Faux - 1930's Shanghai Revival Necklace

Feathers, Fringe & and Faux are huge on the runway this season so check out my 1930's Shanghai revival necklace in my Etsy shop. Just click on the link and get it quick as these are limited - I'm a one girl band! Too many things to design and not enough time!
Copyright © 2008 - 2009 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shanghai Calender Girls Palmolive Soap Advertisement

Yesterday, I found this beautiful reproduction postcard of two Shanghai calendar girls promoting Palmolive Soap.

Chinese Knotting Supplies at Sham Shui Po

On 27 October 2008 I met members of the Shrimp and Dragonfly Guild in Sham Shui Po to show them where to buy the best Chinese knotting supplies.

Sham Shui Po is an amazing place to visit and is a stark contrast to the glitz and glamour of the designer stores found in other parts of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Here you will find flea markets and streets solely devoted to fashion, fabric, beads, gems and/or accessories. Although, Sham Shui Po is one of the poorest areas of Hong Kong it is actually a fashion designer's dream. This place is a window into the textile industry in mainland China and every imaginable type of fabric, button and/or trim can be purchased here. Needless to say, we had a fabulous day. So to all those budding fashion designers… make sure you visit Sham Shui Po when you next visit Hong Kong.

For those in Hong Kong, Chinese knotting supplies can be purchased from the following suppliers on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong:
  • Tak Cheung Co. 124-126, G/G, Cheung Sha Wan Road, Tak Cheung Bldg, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
  • Nature’s Beauty, G/F, 148 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
  • Luen Fung Beads Co. G/F., 199 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
  • Fun Fun Imitation Jewellery Co 209 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
  • Lap Sun Gem Company 247 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
  • Mee Ngai Wah (HK)Ltd G/F, 289-291Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon

Copyright © 2008 - 2009 All Rights Reserved

Shenzhen Shopping Trip

On Friday 24 October 2008, I went to Shenzhen with some great friends and had a fantastic time.

If you are new to Hong Kong and aren’t familiar with Shenzhen then I recommend that you purchase a book called “Shop in Shenzhen - an insider’s guide” by Ellen McNally. It tells you everything you need to know as Lowu has so much to offer and everybody has different tastes.

If you go in the morning like we did, the MTR and KCR is very busy and it can be a struggle to get a seat. The best option in this case (if you live on the island) is to catch a bus to Hung Hom where you are pretty much guaranteed a seat. From Causeway Bay you can get tunnel bus (number 112) to Hung Hom Station (the 2nd stop of the KCR) or you can catch bus number 111, 104 or 115 from Des Vouex Road, Central (opposite HSBC). The Central buses also go through Queensway, Admiralty (opposite Pacific Place). Just make sure you press the bell as soon as the bus gets in the tunnel.

What can you get at Shenzhen? Well, you can get tailor made clothes, designer clothes, accessories, sunglasses, prescription glasses, manicures, pedicures, massages, curtains, bed-linen, paintings and Chinese folk craft to mention but a few. It is best to schedule your day before you go and get your tailoring and bed-linen organised first. Then you can look at bags and the like have lunch then maybe have a massage or a pedicure in the afternoon so that you can feel refreshed before heading back to Hong Kong.

Make sure you buy some Ba Bao Tea from the numerous tea shops scattered around Lowu as it is divine. Delicate flower petals with rock sugar - yum! Also visit Choi Dip Hin Restaurant on the 2nd Floor (below Taste) for great dim sum and the Ba Bao Tea. Dim sum at Choi Dip Hin Restaurant includes but is not limited to: Cha Siu Bao Beef Balls with bean curd skin (contains water chestnuts and coriander - yum!) Vegetarian vermicelli rolls Steamed egg buns (a fluffy bun with custard inside) Shrimp dumplings Vegetarian dumplings Fish cakes (lots of yummy spring onion in this one)

Mahjong Advanced Level

OMG… on 23 October 2008 it was my first lesson of Mahjong at the advanced level and it is sooooooo much more complicated! During the beginners course we were playing what was called chicken hands. Here we were able to get a set of 3 suits of any kind and/or consecutive runs e.g. 1, 2, 3 or 3, 4, 5 of any suit and a pair of eyes. At the advanced level, however, there are no more chicken hands but we are playing chicken style… confused? Yep, so was I.

Need a lot more practice which is hard since no expats really play this style nearby so will have to wait until next week by which time I will have probably forgotten what I learnt tonight. As I’m a bit of a spring chicken though I think I like chicken hands better. 

Shrimp and Dragonfly Guild of Hong Kong

On Wednesday 22 October 2008, I had a fabulous time getting together with a few of my friends at the Shrimp and Dragonfly Guild. We talked about lots of girls stuff, shopping, the best books (written in Chinese) and of course practiced our Chinese knots. We agreed to meet on a monthly basis so will try to keep you posted.

Did anyone get their fingers in a twist? Knot!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dumplingdesigns is also on Wordpress

dumplingdesigns also has a blog at http://dumplingdesigns.wordpress.com as I'm still deciding which is the best blog out of the two.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Keeping You in the Loop

Here is a preview of my Chinese Cinderella Pendant which is a work in progress.
Copyright © 2008 - 2009 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 19, 2008

dumplingdesigns Debut on Etsy - Chinese Knots with a Western Twist!

I am so excited that after a very busy week I have finally made my Chinese Knot jewelry debut on Etsy!

I have always made my own jewelry and have taken several courses in Hong Kong but since I receive so many comments on my designs I have decided to create my own range of jewelry. I love being spontaneous and particularly enjoy scouring Hong Kong for anything beautiful and unusual and love using materials such as rich velvets, beads, buttons, ribbon, fabric and anything else that has a hint of sparkle.

My jewelry is designed to be lots of fun and really bright and each necklace has my signature - at least one brightly colored button knot.

To find out more visit my Etsy shop at http://dumplingdesigns.Etsy.com

Copyright © 2008 - 2009 All Rights Reserved

Water Under the Bridge

There has been a lot of water under the bridge since I last posted my blog and unfortunately I haven't recorded much:( School holidays and many visits to Ocean Park have kept me a tad busy).

Anyway, since I posted last I have taken up Mahjong (Cantonese Style) at the YWCA with teacher Nancy and am having an absolute ball. Getting so good that I start the Advanced class week commencing 20 October 2008! For anyone who would like to purchase a Mahjong set, Nancy has recommended Ying Fat Cheung Mahjong Manufacturer located at room 104, 1/F, Waga Commercial Centre, 99 Wellington Street Central Hong Kong Tel: (852) 25443785 or 25455554 Fax (852) 25420045.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wing On Department Store Cooking Demo & Central Wet Market

On Friday 6 June 2008, went to Wing On Department store and came across a Chinese Cooking class demonstration. Although, the class was conducted in Cantonese a lady kindly translated some of the cooking techniques. Tried some Pork Spare Ribs cooked in Bean Sauce and Salted Plums which was absolutely delicious. Crystal sugar was placed in a pressure cooker and melted over the stove top then black bean sauce, smashed salted plums, Shaoxing rice wine and chopped pork spare ribs were added and pressure cooked for about 13 minutes. After the pork was cooked, the sauce was thickened with a little cornflour, water and soy sauce so as not to dilute the taste. The sauce was left to simmer for a couple of minutes then was served with assorted grains of steamed rice.

After this demonstration, I walked to the Peel Street wet market to buy some ginger, coriander, garlic and cabbage so that I could make some dumplings on the weekend. A huge clump of ginger, small bunch of coriander, 3 cloves of garlic and a white cabbage cost a total of $16 Hong Kong Dollars. Practiced some of my very limited Cantonese and was rewarded with lovely smiles from the vendors.

Continued on to Gage Street as I was on a mission to find out where I could buy dumpling wrappers, as I can't seem to find them in the Wellcome or Park'nShop supermarkets. Found a fresh noodle shop near a much visited fruit stall that I go to and bought a small bundle of wrappers for $3 Hong Kong Dollars.

After this, I then walked to Wellington Street to visit my favourite Chinese grocery store "Wing Woo". A little old man runs a store that looks at least 100 years old. There is a tiny song bird in a wooden cage hanging to the front of the shop and heshan sacks of rice piled high to the back of the shop. Green and red preserved vegetables are displayed in a bucket and assorted duck, chicken and quail eggs are displayed along the front of his shop. This shop is jam packed full of character and history and this is why I love it. Bought some black sweet vinegar to go with the dumplings and some chilli soy sauce for stir-frys.

Today, Saturday 7 June 2008 I made the dumplings and they turned out absolutely perfect except for the fact that I didn't buy enough dumpling wrappers. Now need to make another trip to get more so that I can use the rest of the meat filling.
Copyright © 2008 - 2009 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cat Street (Upper Lascar Row) & Hollywood Road

Took random photos of Cat Street (Upper Lascar Row) & Hollywood Road. Walked from Pottinger Street to Lyndhurst Terrrace then strolled along Hollywood Road past antique shops and Man Mo Temple. Spent time looking at the real and fake antiques which included clocks, jewellery, coins, statues, bone carvings and general bric a brac. Cat Street was once famous for seamen's lodging houses and brothels, and it was a hangout for criminals and the like.
Copyright © 2008 - 2009 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Canon Digital SLR

Attended a Canon Digital SLR course today to try and learn how to take fabulous shots using manual mode on the camera. The course was very informative and lots of fun. © Photos All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Aberdeen (Shek Pai Wan)

Today, I attended a tour led by Rehana Sheikh. Caught City Bus 260 from Admiralty to the first stop after the Aberdeen tunnel, waited for everyone to arrive, then crossed the road and caught another bus to the Aberdeen waterfront. Walked along the promenade towards the Ferry Piers and the Fish Market which was still under renovation.

Rehana provided us with the following information.

"...Named after the Earl of Aberdeen, secretary of state for the colonies in 1848. To the Chinese it is 'Heung Keung Tsai'.

Buses from Admiralty: 37A, 37B, 37X, 95C, 91, 90B, 40P, 72, 71. Just after passing the fly over on Wong Chuk Hang Road, press the bell in the bus and get off by an overhead pedestrian bridge.

Not much is left of the old Aberdeen other than a few temples, the graveyard, some herbalists and doctors. Even the fishing methods and boat designs have changed over time.

Stroll along the pier where the fishing trawlers in black and red are moored, side by side, with the fishing nets hanging on the sides. See the house-boats with a sleeping cat and tail wagging dog, home to many fishermen known as "Tanka" or boat people, who led a rough life being confined to these boats. They are now almost extinct.

You will see "sampans" little boats, either ferrying people for a few dollars or random merchandise around the harbour. You can bargain but the cost is usually $50 per person.

Across the narrow typhoon shelter is the fishing island of Ap Lie Chau 'Duck's Tongue Island' connected by a busy bridge and dense with high rise housing estates, the most well known being South Horizons. The Jumbo Floating restaurant, Marina Club, Aberdeen Boat Club are nearby.

Walk onwards and you will see ferries to Lamma and sitting out areas and the whole-sale fish market with the catch of the day. Trucks load up fresh fish twice a day and transport it to various restaurants and markets.

Veer away from the market on to the main road where buses ply routes to all parts of Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories.

Cross over on the overhead bridge to the hustling, bustling residential and commercial area with pet shops, bakeries, restaurants, temples, supermarkets, bus terminus, housing estates, sitting out areas, shopping arcades, post office, local doctors and herbalists. A graveyard covers the mountain nearby. Walk uphill from the main town area to th Aberdeen Country Park all the way to the Peak, Mid-Levels and Wanchai.

Suggested reading 'Egg Woman's Daughter, A Tanka Memoir' by Mary Chan Ma-Lai..." Copyright © 2008 - 2009 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nga Tsin Wai Village

According to "The List" publication Issue 67 April 1-15, 2008, Nga Tsin Wai Village is the last remaining walled village in Kowloon and dates back to 1352, near the end of the Song Dynasty. Had a fascinating time wandering around the little alley ways but feel incredibly sad that the village will be reduced in size to ten stone houses instead of being restored to its former glory. Copyright © 2008 - 2009 All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cheung Chau Bun Festival

Had a brilliant day at the Cheung Chau Bun Festival on Buddha's Birthday 12 May 2008 - although, it literally was a "bun fight" getting there and back. Waited for 2 hours in a narrow street in very humid conditions just to get a glimpse of the procession but it was absolutely worth it!
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