Saturday, June 30, 2012


Typhoon Doksuri, the first level 8 typhoon to hit Hong Kong this year, has just swept through.  Of course it happened on a Friday night / Saturday of a three day weekend.  If it had happened on a weekday all banks, offices, schools, etc. would have shut down.

From the Hong Kong observatory site:

The No. 8 Northeast Gale or Storm Signal is in force.
This means that winds with mean speeds of 63 kilometres per hour or more are expected from the northeast quarter.
At 11 p.m., Tropical Storm Doksuri was centred about 100 kilometres south-southeast of Hong Kong Observatory (near 21.4 degrees north 114.4 degrees east) and is forecast to move west-northwest at about 30 kilometres per hour moving closer to the Pearl River Estuary.
Under the influence of Doksuri, local winds continued to strengthen, reaching gale force in Hong Kong. On the present forecast track, Dorksuri will be closest to Hong Kong in the next few hours, passing within 100 km to the south-southwest.
Since there are rough seas, you are advised to stay away from the shoreline and not engage in water sports.
In the past hour, the maximum sustained winds recorded at Tate's Cairn and Waglan Island were 90 and 89 kilometres per hour respectively.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Bygone Era

Yesterday morning I arranged to meet a co-worker that was in town from the Shanghai office for "yum cha" at Luk Yu Teahouse, a charming, old tea house and dim sum restaurant.  Founded in the 1930s, it has retained all of the remnants of its former glory by refusing to change anything about itself - not the decor nor the food.  It is Hong Kong's oldest dim sum establishment and one of its most famous.

I have been wanting to try Luk Yu for a while - it first caught my attention because the store front's wood paneling and plant-filled upper verandah looked so old-school.  It is also close to my office, so I have had ample opportunity to mosey by and peer inside.  Old ceilings fans swirling from the high ceilings, abundant teak and rosewood furnishings, and waiters in traditional white jackets and loose black pants all conjure up an era long past.

Courtesy of TripAdvisor
As the first floor of the establishment is unofficially reserved for long-time customers and the rich and famous, we were ushered to the second floor where we perched on a rosewood table and chair set to enjoy our morning repast.  We had a most enjoyable jasmine tea, a disarmingly delicate brew that still packed a strong caffeine punch, laced with the fragrant aroma and lightly sweet taste that I so love.    The food was brought around by waiters carrying metal trays looped around their necks.  The trays contained various goodies hidden within steamed baskets.  We had to ask them to open the baskets so we could peer into each one, as aside from the traditional "har gao" and "xiu mai"  we did not know the terms of any of the other dishes.  We ended up consuming a fair number of dishes (five, to be exact - it's disarming, it seems like small portions but they are very filling!), then lingering to slowly finish up our last morsels and to sip our tea.

The bill was a bit hefty, but everything was very tasty and I look forward to going back.

Courtesy of Asia Tatler Dining

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Back in HK

Yikes! I have been woefully neglecting my blog, abandoning it to instead catch up with friends and family and, well, New York City!  But, after a heinously delayed flight on Saturday/Sunday, resulting in a total travel time of just a shade over 24 hours, I am back in good ole' Hong Kong.

Last I left off on the blog, we were heading to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for Michael's brother's wedding.  The Outer Banks are stunning -- a stark combination of endless blue sky, powder white sands and scruffy, bleached sea grass set on a wisp of an island.  At some points of the drive, the towering dunes are the only barrier between the ocean that gulps and roars on the left, and the sound that ripples and murmurs on the right.  The mere fact that the Outer Banks exist, despite seeming impossible odds, seems like a miracle.  It inspires marvel.

How to describe the atmosphere?  It's quiet, it's tranquil, and suddenly things that seem of utmost importance reduce to a gentle murmur and instead you find yourself observing the sunlight dapple the water, sniffing the salty tang of the dock, and feeling the breeze play with your hair.  I could not bring myself to go on the internet or check email while I was there.

The rented house, Sea Dream
The dock off the back of the house
Our inlet
We would take the boat out the channel to the sound - I went tubing!
We attended an impressively orchestrated rehearsal dinner (so much food!), a wedding ceremony held at a gem of a church, and a reception at the very unique Kitty Hawk Pier:

91 pound roast pig

Oh, lest you think I am done, I am only getting to the very best part.  The seafood!  I ate half a dozen crabs by myself (and because everyone is so friendly and kind, half a dozen actually meant seven crabs).  I also ate an entire pound of the freshest, briniest mussels I've ever had.  It was my first time cooking mussels but they turned out beeeeautifully (if I say so myself).

Before.  Steamed and packed like jewels in a  little cardboard box.  Lots o' seasoning!
Mid-way.   I couldn't be bothered to clean my hands again.
Mid-way.  I couldn't be bothered to take a photo until I'd popped a bunch into my greedy gullet.
My consumption before I remembered to take a picture.
The trip was such good times - except for the really long drive and the vicious mosquito bites.  But now that it has been nearly two weeks and my painful, oozing, swollen bites have been reduced to scabs, I have my rosy tinted perspective back.  (Still kind of reeling from the drive though.)  What would be the fun if the Outer Banks were easy to get to, though?  It would surely take away from the beauty and contemplation of such a special place.

Monday, June 11, 2012


The lack of posts this last week was due to a hectic combination of work (lots of it!) and the usual madness of trying to cram in all of my packing and errands before heading out to New York.  For some reason it always feels more hectic to me when I'm leaving for the airport during the day - even if it's during the day Friday instead of at night on Thursday, which theoretically gives me more time to pack.

The flight to New York wasn't too crowded, but I had a terrible headache that started at hour 3 - which was really quite awful considering we had another 13 hours to go.  Michael and I co-opted the exit aisle and stretched out, then settled in for a long night / morning of movies and meals.  My headache-turned-monster-migraine led me to skip my usual frenzy of devouring as many new releases and shows as possible.  I only watched "The Safe Room" (which to my disappointment starred Ryan Reynolds - really??)

We then went to my sister's commencement ceremonies at Dartmouth - the weather cooperated beautifully, with every variation of green in the abundant grasses and trees, set against a dazzlingly clear blue sky. During much of the ride up, I could only marvel at how wide the highways were, and how much space there was everywhere.  Expanses!  Visiting a college campus teeming with eager and excited graduating seniors (and staying in the dorms) had me reminiscing about my own college experience.  I couldn't help but relive my own feelings at that tumultuous time, and then marvel at how much my little sister had grown, and how quickly time had passed.

Next, our trip to the outer banks of North Carolina.  Lots o' driving, coming right up.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Swinging at Balls

On Sunday, we went to Citylinks, a bar/club with golf simulators and lounge area.  I've never really played, so was picturing myself up there swinging mightily and missing the ball... and that was exactly what happened.  There may have been a point (or five) during the rounds when I stamped my foot in frustration. Thank goodness no one else was there!

Flower Market

Saturday was an action packed errand-day: we began in Mongkok to check out barstools for our dining area, then headed to the flower market, which was abustle, then shopped the sports and Adidas/Reebok outlets in Hung Hom.  The barstools turned out to be shockingly expensive and the outlets were disappointing.  Of all of our errands, we only succeeded at the flower market.  But it was such a smashing success that it made standing on our feet for 7 hours scurrying all over Hong Kong worth it!  Here is our new acquisition.  It stands just a shade taller than Michael.  Isn't it beautiful?

We also picked up some healthy flowering plants that we have added to our windowsill - more pictures of that will come once we have made the area more aesthetically pleasing.

Although only about two streets long, the flower market contains a lot of stores, selling anything and everything from bonsai to cactus to fresh cut flowers to fruit trees.  More items than I expected were outdoor plants.  Some snaps below.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Le Boudoir

Last night, Michael and I met up with a couple to get a few drinks at Le Boudoir, a little bar decked in opulent swaths of  marble, velvet and brocade, exactly as you would expect to find in any French salon of the 1800s.  The dripping chandeliers and recessed nooks struck the perfect chord of scandalous ill-repute.  I ordered a passion-fruit martini, kicked back, and soaked in my surroundings.  The place was delicious in all respects!
courtesy of HK Asia-City
*note: the picture makes the place look ablaze in light, but actually the chandeliers were very dim.