Day Three in Hong Kong: Markets and McDonald’s.

Day 3 started off with a trip to the grocery store just around the corner from the hotel. We weren’t willing to relive the Great Breakfast Hunt from the day before, so we loaded up on fresh fruit (including pears and strawberries, something we haven’t had in ages) and other staples, including Cadbury Flakes, Dan’s favorite (woo hoo, thanks again, British influence!) Pricier than we were used to yet again, but cheaper than if we decided to try and eat out each morning. 

strawberries

You know you’ve been missing strawberries when your son artistically photographs them.

We continued our “market” theme by heading to Mong Kok, home to tons of outdoor markets and camera and electronics shops. It’s hard to make a concrete plan, so many little shops and offshoots grab your attention as you wander, this is one area where I highly suggest keeping a map on hand, just to keep track of where you’ve already been. We took the MTR to the Mong Kok station and wandered to Sim City Camera Shop on Shan Tung Street, just off Nathan Road. Sim City is a multilevel mall with tons of camera vendors, selling new and used gear. If you’re in search of a bargain and are OK with buying second hand gear, this is where to go.

From there we headed north, east, west, OK, I’m really not sure exactly which direction we were going, I just know we serpentined a few times. When lunchtime rolled around, we again found ourselves in the same conundrum as to where to eat. There are a ton of restaurants in Mong Kok, and apparently all good, since they were all packed. There was a Thai restaurant that looked amazing, but Andrew vetoed it. “We didn’t come to Hong Kong to eat Thai food!” We passed a noodle shop with somewhat appealing pictures on the outside, I can’t tell you the name (any translators out there?) but here it is:

restaurant

Sorry for the hot photobomber…she looks how we felt most days. Cooler than home, but still steamy. 

An English menu was posted outside (hallelujah!), which was the deciding factor for us. And, I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but it was super yummy. The place was full too, but still had a few empty seats. The guys got noodle bowls and I got grilled portobello with melted cheese. Dan asked, “That’s all you’re getting?” Yep, my five year portobello fast was broken, and it was fantastic. So if you find this…place…I recommend it!

We walked back into the market area and hit the Ladies Market, which yes, sounds far more scandalous than it actually is. The market is comprised of rows of stalls offering stuff that ladies want I guess. Andrew and I found some cute leather journals that we paid more for than we probably should have, but the salesgirl was pregnant and I felt bad aggressively haggling with a pregnant lady. Other than that, there were cheap shoes, cheap clothes, toys, souvenirs, cheap electronics, it was basically kitschy tourist heaven. Andrew found “real” bow ties, meaning not pre-tied clip ons, something he’s been looking for. He got his suit and bow ties, so he’s pretty much set for life. And I’m not even going to mention that our 17 year old son found more stuff at the Ladies Market than we did. Oh wait, I think I just did. Sorry Andrew. 

bowties

Real bow ties at last!

bowties2

These were *not* the bow ties we were looking for. The reason? They’re clip on. That’s really the only reason. Other than that, pure class.

igrow

And then there’s this…the iGrow Hair Growth System. All for the low low price of HK$4888, about $630 USD. I don’t know what’s going on with the sad pillow next to it, maybe it’s to comfort you after discover your $630 investment didn’t work? I do like that it’s tagged as a “gift”, it’s something I’d really love to receive.

After the Ladies Market, we wandered through the fish market (lots of fish in plastic bags), a “real” fish market (which was the kind of culture I had been sort of missing), past shops selling roasted duck, and then the flower market. I wandered around, drawn in by the gorgeous bouquets and incredible orchids that I’m ashamed to say trump our “famous” orchids by a landslide. It was a quick wander though, would you believe my tired guys weren’t into the flowers as much as I was?!

meatshop

Ducks, chickens, and other large meaty critters for sale.

fishmarket

Inside the fish market, even with the “traditional” feel, it was clean, smelled good, and wasn’t crowded. It might sound weird, but this was one of the highlights of my day, I love markets! 

dried

Dried fish stuff…with tentacles and bonus suction cups. Intriguing.

orchids

Loved all the orchids!

Once the sun went down we hit Temple Street Night Market, which is hyped as one of the best markets in town. I gotta say, I wasn’t very impressed. Sorry guys. We have some great night markets here, so maybe we’ve been spoiled. Bottom line, there were restaurants and more booths selling the same kitsch as the Ladies Market. It was still cool to check out, I’m far from sorry we went. And, as long as your saleslady isn’t pregnant, haggle away, and don’t back down. The few things we picked up we got for about half the asking price. The quicker you walk away, the faster the price drops.

temple

teapots

Tons of cute tea sets, all brightly painted.

Even with rows of restaurants, none of the food really caught our eye. Andrew spotted a little corner stall selling dim sum, steamed buns, etc. We rolled the dice again with the steamed buns, since we couldn’t ask what was inside. You know…when you’re out of your element, and out of your comfort zone, just take a risk. Don’t go all ugly tourist, no matter how frustrated you are. Just go with it, and think of the stories you’ll have to share later. In this case, the buns were just herb sprinkled bread. We bought dinner for the three of us for under $5 USD. Score! I think Andrew was pretty proud of himself for finding the cheap eats.

temple2

Some of the restaurants we didn’t eat at. Next trip!

So, about that McDonald’s in Admiralty! The taxi stand back to our hotel was across the street from it. As we waited for a taxi, we wanted ice cream. So, over we went, and we were blown away. This is no ordinary McD’s. Electronic ordering and payment is an option, create your own burgers, a salad bar, ambient lighting and a classy atmosphere. Turns out, we had stumbled upon a “McDonald’s Next”, a new concept restaurant they’re playing with and I gotta say, it seems to be working. Dare I say…I’m lovin’ it. I went in for a 50 cent ice cream cone, but couldn’t ignore the Ovaltine Waffle Sundae. I was so verklempt I didn’t even ask the price. I ordered it price unseen…turns out it, just like our entire dinner, it cost $5. I’m not sure it was “worth it”, but it was dang delicious. Checking this place out was worth the $5 in itself, or at least I’ll keep telling myself that. It was a very cool, serendipitous experience to finish off a very long day!

mcdonalds

Admiralty McDonald’s “Next”. Worth the stop!

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