Hello Hong Kong! Tap Mun (Grass Island) New Territories, Hong Kong 香港塔門一日遊

As I mentioned last week, I was in Hong Kong during the first part of August for some professional development workshops.  At the end of the workshop, the coordinators arranged for us to take a field trip out to Tap Mun (also known as Grass Island). Tap Mun (塔門) is located in the northeastern part of Hong Kong territory.  It’s an island that is 1.69 km in size, and consists of gentle rolling hills and grasslands.  The island is only accessible by ferry, and the workshop organizers were kind enough to charter one for our large group (of around 100 people or so).

We arrived at Tap Mun and one of our first sights was of the port, and some small fishing boats.

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Hello Melbourne!: Mörk Chocolate Brew House (and the best brownies, ever)

Information: Mörk Chocolate Brew House  150 Errol Street, North Melbourne| Phone: (03) 9328 1386| Hours:  Tuesday to Saturday 8am–5pm, Sunday, 9am–5pm |Website: morkchocolate.com.au

One of my top travel activities is researching local ingredients for favorite recipes.  So, in addition to our leisurely brunch at Auction Rooms, our day also included a stop in Mörk Chocolate Brew House, located nearby on Errol Street.   Mörk (which means “dark” in Swedish) is  best known for their ethically sourced hot chocolate in Melbourne.

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Hello Seoul! Dore Dore’s Rainbow Cake (彩虹蛋糕)

I take a really relaxed approach to food on trips.  But one item that was on my wish list of foods to try while I was in Seoul was the rainbow cake at Dore Dore.  I originally thought the cafe was located in Sinsia-dong, but I simply couldn’t find it. I gave up after walking up and down the street three times.

Fortunately for me, my aunt found a branch of Dore Dore at the basement level of the Hyundai City Outlets.

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The cake was just as beautiful as I imagined. Six different colors, layered with pristine white whipped cream. It’s actually called “Precious Cake,” but in my mind, it will always and forever be referred to as “Rainbow Cake.”

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Hello Seoul! The Food (百吃不膩的韓國拌飯及小菜)

As much as I love food, I surprisingly don’t plan too much about where, or what to eat. I arrive with a general idea in mind, and just prefer to be spontaneous.  In Korea, I knew I wanted to eat plenty of bibimbap (mixed rice), kimchee, and try as many different types of banchan (side dishes) that I could lay my hands on.

雖然我對飲食很重視, 但每次出國的時候其實不會特別規劃要去那一家餐廳。一半的原因是因為我是路痴, 所以想去的餐廳不一定找的到! 另外一半是因為我想很隨性的看到那個好吃的, 或是令我好奇的餐廳就跑進去試一試。 這次去首爾也就沒特別安排什麼~只想說, 想吃泡菜,大碗的拌飯,烤肉, 及試一試各式各樣的小菜。

回家之後, 回想這次的旅程,感覺很滿足每一個願望都有達成! (而且發覺我的食量真的很驚人~平常只吃半碗飯的我, 既然在韓國可以吃兩三倍的份!)

I took the 7 am flight, and by the time we landed in Incheon Airport, I was starving. So the first meal I had in Seoul was at the airport.  It was my first bibimbap, and it tasted ok.  My first impression is that it was saltier than I expected. But it was a decent meal and left me feeling energized to brave the airport bus terminal.

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Hello Seoul! Exploring the Mart

In Asia, convenience stores are an essential part of our daily lives.  So, I always take my friends from overseas to convenience stores in  Taiwan, so they can ogle the vast selection of products, and experience an important part of local culture.  One friend asked me, “how is it that you’re not late for work everyday, when you have so many decision to make?”  Good question!

I also love going into convenience stores during my travels, just to see all the different items. On my first day in Seoul, I arrived in a state of exhaustion. (Note to self, don’t take the 7 am flight, because that means you have to wake up at 3 am and that pretty much wipes you out for the rest of the day),  Luckily for me, there was a Mart near the place I was staying for me to explore.

The Mart was very small, but it didn’t stop me from spending almost a half an hour in there exploring all that it had to offer, much to the amusement of the two aunties that were working there.

One food item that was on my list of things to try was the banana milk.  I absolutely adore the shape of the bottle, because it looks so cute and friendly to me.  The banana milk is available in Taiwan, but it comes in a regular juice box, which is probably why I’ve never been tempted to try it before.

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Hello Hong Kong! My Travel Tips

I always want to know two things before taking a trip: what do I need to pack?” and “what should I wear?” In this post, I thought I would share with you some personal travel tips I’ve picked up during my trips to Hong Kong these past 2 years.  I’ll make some quick comments on what to wear, what to bring with you when you’re out and about, and about where to stay.

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Hello Hong Kong! My Favorite Foods

During one particularly tedious day at work, a message popped up on my phone saying “Hong Kong, this weekend, yes or no?”   After glancing at the teetering stack of papers on my desk, my first impulse was to say no.  Just then, my office phone rang, and in the process of picking it up, I (accidentally) knocked the entire stack onto the floor.  Right then and there, I took that to be a sign from the universe, and messaged back “YES!”  So that’s how this spontaneous trip to Hong Kong came to be.

It’s not really in my personality to take spur of the moment trips. During my previous trips, I would always make meticulous plans about what to do.  This time, I just went with the flow, and was pleasantly surprised at how most of the trip unfolded.  For this trip, I’ll do a quick series of posts on my favorite eats, and some travel tips I’ve picked up along the way, and what to do if you don’t feel like shopping.

I realized that whenever I go to Hong Kong, I tend to eat a lot of the same things, because I love them, and because they don’t taste the same anywhere else. I’ve included my top 4 food items, and number 5 as a bonus tip.

Number 1: Hong Kong Style Milk Tea 

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Hello Hong Kong! Up in the Air for Breakfast at Cafe Grey Deluxe

Information: Cafe Grey Deluxe| Address: Level 49, The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong | Phone: +852-3968-1106| Email: info@cafegreyhk.com

A few weeks ago, I was lucky to have a short holiday in Hong Kong.  Unlike my previous trip, where I had planned every detail down to the last microsecond, this time I was much more relaxed (ok, to be completely honest, aside from booking the hotel in advance, I was basically doing research for the trip on my way to the airport).  But since the main point of the trip was for relaxation, I kept reminding myself not to get too worked up about anything and to just go with the flow.  You might be wondering, why choose Hong Kong for a relaxing experience?  Wouldn’t a more serene location be a more obvious choice?  There is method to my madness. One reason that I chose Hong Kong was that it’s incredibly convenient. It’s only about an hour and a half away by plane, and public transportation is incredibly convenient once you are on the ground. Those two factors are ingredients for a relaxing vacation already.  And you can find little pockets of serenity in Hong Kong too! Last time, my little slice of peace and tranquility was while wandering around Lugard Road.  This time, it was breakfast on the 49th floor of the Upper House, at Cafe Grey Deluxe.

I arrived quite early in the morning, and the entire place was empty, save for a few business meetings here and there.  I felt a even stronger sense of being “in holiday mode” when I overheard some of the wheeling and dealing going on in those meetings!

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