First meal in Hong Kong. Totally jetlagged and exhausted - need sustenance so congee with congealed pork blood (nutritious!) and fried Chinese donut was best :)
Getting ready to squeeze into the Wanchai subway.
Nathan Road on the Kowloon side - one the busiest major streets in Hong Kong.
This stretch of Nathan Road is full of jewelry stores; the gold and diamonds on display is blinding.
Heaven! Rows and rows of "salt-baked chicken!"
The chicken is buried in salt. For some reason, chicken always taste better in Asia. I suspect it's partly due to cooking method but largely due to the chickens being free range and freshly killed and not frozen for months.
Live chickens you can pick and have killed right there. Super fresh! I need to get an apartment with a kitchen the next time I'm in Hong Kong so I can actually take advantage of the poultry and produce market.
Due to their experience with SARS in 2003, Hong Kong has taken a lot more precautions for the swine flu. A lot of public places have signs like this.
Some of you know him as Nicholas Tse. My friend Nina thinks he's a heartthrob and insisted we stop and watch him shoot his movie. I was bored and cold. Nina, this picture is for you.
Food! Not bored anymore!
It was super cramped at this noodle shop (another one of my favorite chiu chow noodle shops) and we had to share a table with 2 other people. This is totally normal in Hong Kong especially during meal times.
Egg tart and hot milk tea - an Afternoon Tea favorite in Hong Kong. The tea was super strong!
A pawn shop turned historical site and English pub. Awesome!
Getting ready to "pawn" my stuff.
The Chinese words say "Dai Wo Pawn Shop."
Of course we had to go check out the pub. It's got foosball so yep, it's definitely English!
I need a drink.
Getting ready to pawn my Gphone for a drink. Desperate!
Photos of the pawn shop in various times.
Empty turtle shells to be made into powder for Guilinggao (aka Turtle Jello). It's supposedly good for your skin so take note ladies. But seriously, the widely available versions don't really have turtle powder; instead it's mostly herbal additives which is still good for you.
6:30am! Morning of Mei's wedding. I'm a very good multi-tasker as you can see that I'm blow-drying my hair and trying to eat congee.
Yes, never trust others to take a good photo of you :)
Morning Chinese Tea Ceremony for the bride's side of the family. I'm the tea set holder. Yes, it is an honor :)
After the bride and groom serves tea to the elders, the elders will give them a red envelope (with money in it) and sometimes jewelry too for the bride.
The bridesmaids and "sisters." Chinese weddings tend to have additional female members in the bridal party to help with the wedding and games and they are called "sisters."
The groomsmen and "brothers." So, Chinese weddings also tend to have additional men to help the groom out and they are called "brothers."
Me and Nina (the other bridesmaid)
Joe looks so happy! This photo is courtesy of one of the brothers, Eric.
Mei and Joe (aka Bride & Groom). The Chinese word here means Double Happiness.
Getting ready for the other tradition where a bridesmaid holds a red umbrella to shield the bride from evil spirits and help deliver the bride from her parent's home to her new family. In this case, we're sending Mei from a hotel room since her parent's home is in LA.
I don't have any photos from the Christian wedding ceremony but others were kind enough to share some with me :)
I practiced the "walking down the aisle" part many times because it should match the tempo of the wedding march music but I think I still messed up the beat when the moment came...too nervous.
The Hong Kong Country Club was a beautiful location. It's not easy to a location away from the city with an oceanview in Hong Kong.
The "War Room" (aka Bridal Room where I helped the bride changed dresses and touched up her make up many times throughout the reception).
Getting tea ready for the Evening Tea Ceremony. Each cup of tea has a red date to symbolize a sweet life because the date is sweet and a nut to symbolize a boy because the word "nut" in Cantonese sounds like the word "boy."
The Evening Tea Ceremony for the Groom's side of the family. Yes, I'm the tea holder again. Let's just say the groom has a lot of relatives :) My heels were killing me!
Mei & Joe giving tea to Joe's parents.
Mei and Joe giving tea to Joe's older brother and his wife.
Mei's bling bling for her Chinese Ceremony Dress. Lots of gold jewelry is common in Chinese Weddings.
I couldn't wait to change out of my bridesmaid dress so I could wear flats with my cocktail dress. My 3-inch heels were KILLING me!
The orchestra at the dinner reception.
I joined Mei & Joe in toasting their guests but that's not alcohol in my glass...it's tea :)
Ah, this almost killed me. Joe surprised Mei and serenaded her with a beautiful Chinese love song - 月亮代表我的心 - and he had his "brothers" hold up glow sticks, stars and the moon because the song mentions how the moon represents his heart. Sweet, huh?
Of course, Mei cried and she joined Joe in singing a part of the song.
Yes, the girls getting ready for the throwing of the bouquet.
I admit that I was surprised that the girls were very reserved. No one was jockeying for the bouquet or screaming for it. Are Hong Kong girls more reserved?
Yes, I dived for it - I'm not reserved :) I freely admit that I was the only one who screamed "throw it to me!" Hey, someone had to create some atmosphere! Heh, I was doing it for the sake of the bride.
Mei showing me where the bouquet hit the ceiling first before falling to the floor.
Yeah, I'm not letting go of that bouquet.
I didn't have a single drop of alcohol at the wedding so this is not my drunk face...just my happy face.
Post-wedding. I was exhausted but it's Hong Kong so food must be eaten! This is 3 kinds of steamed milk at Yee Shun (義順), the most famous and delicious milk dessert place in Hong Kong. What do we have here? Ginger Milk Pudding (薑汁撞奶), Double-Skin Milk Pudding (雙皮奶) and Egg Milk Pudding (燉蛋).
Head of the delicious "drunken pigeon." It's called "drunken pigeon" because it was marinated in wine. It was sooooo good.
Going in for the kill.
Somewhere in the Central neighborhood on the Hong Kong island side.
Tai Cheung (泰昌) in Central is my favorite egg tart (蛋撻) bakery in Hong Kong. Before the 1997 handover, it was also Governor Patton's favorite.
Made it just in time for the fresh batch!
There's almost always a queue outside of this bakery for the egg tarts.
There's a coffee shop a few stores up from the bakery - perfect place to enjoy a latte with your egg tart.
Nina was very happy that I brought her to Tai Cheung :)
I <3 egg tarts :)
Yes, I ate 3. I admit it.
I'm in Asia - the peace sign is a must!
Taking the Ngong Ping cable car to Lantau Island to visit the Po Lin Monastery and the giant Tian Tan Buddha.
Our cable car had a clear floor. I don't advise it if you're afraid of heights.
There's a hiking trail!
Amazing! People actually hike to the temple and buddha. It must take forever because our cable car ride took 20-25 minutes.
The ride was not only long; it was also very cold because the wind was coming in from the vents and windows. Cable car not recommended in very cold or very hot weather.
We're almost there! The Tian Tan Buddha is go gigantic we could see it from our cable car.
Yeah, it was really cold.
A nice vegetarian lunch at the Po Lin Monastery is a must if you're at Lantau Island.
Outside the vegetarian restaurant at the temple.
Po Lin Monastery
Go in and pray and check your fortune. Mine was so-so but maybe I wasn't asking correctly :P
Giant burning incense
There's a lot of stuff burning inside this giant urn. It's people's offerings to the gods.
Okay, time to work off that lunch and hike up those stairs.
View from the stairs.
The view backwards...yes, almost to the top.
The air quality at Lantau Island is A LOT better than the city center. You can actually see blue sky here.
The eyes of the buddha are done beautifully. Very serene.
On our way back to the cable cars, we saw a tented stand by the road selling "Dou Fu Fa" (aka Tofu Flower - 豆腐花) which is a very smooth tofu dessert. You'll find it at dim sum here in LA but the quality is subpar to this.
The tofu is made from a liquid that comes from stone-ground soybeans and additives are used to make the liquid congeal. It's not really the tofu you know from savory dishes. "Tofu Flower" is much, much smoother and more delicate.
That's brown sugar on top. Delish!
Nothing beats finding a mom and pop tented stand with delish eats on the side of the road.
The Bodhi Tree
Two days and the flowers were still alive...
But sadly, I had to leave it behind. Must leave for Tokyo!