The was just a small portion of all the food that came our way!

The was just a small portion of all the food that came our way!

I experienced the “adventurous Hong Konger palate” first hand at a Chinese Hot Pot. First off, I’m very grateful to our host, (pictured below, left) who helped navigate the waters. It would have been impossible without his guidance! TIP: If you are in an Asian country and want to do this…be sure to get a local to go with you!

Our friends helped navigate the murky waters of hot pot dining. Hot Pot is a popular dining option in Hong Kong, usually more so in the “cold” winters of 70°F. A pot of boiling broth is brought to the table along with raw ingredients, which you then submerge in the broth until it is cooked to your liking. It was mostly DELICIOUS: mushroom, squid, chicken, crab, lamb, steak, oysters, corn, udon.

Other bits… (the rooster testicle, sea urchin, bone marrow, or pig’s skin perhaps?) were not so much to my liking – but a great, and very fun experience regardless! I weaseled out of eating the fish head. Unsurprisingly, that task fell on Conor who did a great job.

 

A bird checks me out at the market - looking for target practice?

A bird checks me out at the market - looking for target practice?

On a recent trip to the bird market I was awarded with a little present from a winged friend. A Chinese man informed me that this is good luck… hmmm interesting, I would think it is more bad luck to have a creature’s excrement plopped on my shoulder. I set out to google what exactly makes bird poop good luck. I found many resources saying that it is good luck… but no reason why. I guess even google has its limits…who comes up with this stuff anyway!? Sidetrack: During my quest for knowledge, I found this interesting article, oh jeez:

Bird Poop Facials

No thank you! I will pass on the bird poop facial – the plop on my shoulder was traumatizing enough. Does anyone know where that superstition comes from?

A typical site at the markets in Hong Kong

A typical site at the local food market

Hong Kong has a variety of markets to stumble on. There are fresh food markets with live fish, exotic fruits, roasted duck (with the head still on), and just about any animal and/or animal part you can imagine: eel, pig stomach, chicken feet, bull penis… you get the idea, Hong Kongers have adventurous palates. In addition to the lively food markets, there are clothing, jade, electronic, bird and even goldfish markets. I have yet to work up the courage to make a purchase from the food market, but I did pay a visit to some other places.

Armed with my “Hong Kong Walks” pamphlet, Conor and I were on our way during a lovely 102 degree Sunday afternoon. (FYI “Hong Kong Walks” can be picked up at any HK tourist board for free!)

Stop One – The Flower Market

A quick trip on the MTR and I was at the Prince Edward station where I headed out into the fish soup that is the summer air in HK. Two steps out of the station and I was already breaking a sweat. North on Sei Yee St, then west and we were at the flower market. This was a refreshing stop, but unfortunately far too busy for me to take any pictures… It was beautiful, orchids and peonys everywhere and such a breath of fresh air to walk through. Conor liked the banzai trees… When it’s NOT Sunday, I’ll head back there for some pics!

Stop 2 – The Bird Market

Please click this image to get a closer view

Being the Bird lover that I am, this was my favorite stop (despite being pooped on). It was not only a market to purchase birds, but also a place where people, old men mostly, hung out with their pets to take them for birdy walks. The bird market did not stink as I had predicted. Lots of whistling and squawking going on here…it was funny to hear parakeets and macaws speak in Chinese.

Birds snuggling at the market

Stop 3 – The Goldfish Market

A wall-o-fish

A wall-o-fish

This one was stinky! Don’t let the name deceive you, this market had any kind of fish you could think of. All stored in little plastic baggies, it seems like it would be quite a task to run one of these stalls without killing half the little fishes. One thing that always strikes me is that staggering amount of stuff in HK – no matter what it is: fish, birds, food, flowers – there is just soooo much of everything. It must be due to the incredible population density. Supply & demand, lots of people+tiny space = lots of stuff? I guess they must sell a lot or they wouldn’t be set up.

I was ready to head on down to the Jade and Lady Markets, but Conor was fed up with the heat and needed some a/c so we headed home for the day. Pleny of time to check out the other markets later!

An unofficial MJ memorial has popped up outside my apartment in Wanchai, Hong Kong. This is a hustle and blustle part of town, people do not typically stop on the streets.

Crowds gather to watch MJ in Wanchai, Hong Kong

Crowds gather to watch MJ in Wanchai, Hong Kong

Even with the media circus dying down, there are still at least 20 people outside this video store every time I pass it (much more during rush hours). The pic and video were taken at around 8pm.

After a whirlwind month, and 23 hours of travel, I finally arrive in Hong Kong… my first thought:

Can I go home now?

I’ve never been so far out of my element. Sure, I came here for a visit in Feb – but that had a time limitCould I turn around and go home… Sure, but where’s the adventure in that? It’s time to try something new and see where it leads me. Let the games begin (ding ding – round 1: Hong Kong – it’s a knock-out).