After a great day touring the Hong Kong markets, we were beginning to salivate for our Hong Kong dimsum experience the following morning. But, before morning, we still had dinner to look forward to!
Camie and I headed to the HackHorizon mentor event at Metta California Tower near the Central MTR stop (2 stops on my line).
Here, the HackHorizon event team hosted a mixer for the mentors to get to know one another prior to the event commencing for participants the following day. We spent a few hours networking and drinking, and found ourselves ravenous afterwards. Some of the locals, namely Duane from Regal Hotels and Bosco from MTR, recommended Tsui Wah – a mid-scale mainland Chinese restaurant chain that would give us a good variety for a good price.
We started with some Boba.
We we added in some pork noodles and ox tongue. The pork noodles were super greasy and the ox tongue tasted exactly like tongue – both of us had a serious texture problem with it.
So maybe this restaurant wasn’t a hit for us, but we knew our morning outing of Hong Kong dimsum wouldn’t disappoint. Here’s me excited for it:
OK so with dinner behind us and crashing out for the night well in hand, I had some Hong Kong dimsum dreams which powered me through until I again found myself near the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR stop waiting for our dimsum guide (this stop was even one stop closer to me than the one the previous day). I had luckily arranged for a late checkout so all I had to do was roll out of bed, onto the MTR, and into the restaurant 🙂
Here’s the restaurant we ended up at by 1015AM after a short walk.
We started dimsum with the guide instructing the waitress in Mandarin on what to bring us, starting with a little bowl of hot water. The guide explained this was actually to rinse out our eating bowl with (because people like to prove it was clean) – a bit of a tradition now, even though technically useless. Then came the green tea. Then came the dimsum, starting with dumplings, bao buns, egg rolls, chewy bread, and more. The highlight for me was the soup dumplings.
We had a few other nice people in our Hong Kong dimsum group including a family from Japan and another solo American. We all enjoyed being hand-held through the experience, the diversity of the meal (20 different things were brought to us to try), and the fact that the guide chose a restaurant that locals typically frequent that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. We were the only foreigners in the restaurant.
My least favorite thing was probably the meat and fish balls (below) and the dessert, which was kind of like a gelatinous pudding.
Here’s a picture of Camie and me full and happy after overeating.
After that Hong Kong dimsum foood rogy for $26 per person, I MTR’d it back to the Conrad Hilton and packed up. I decided to be a little adventurous for the afternoon. Prior to checking in to the Regal Oriental Hotel in Kowloon where the HackHorizon participants would be staying that evening, I grabbed and Uber an headed to Victoria Peak. The weather was a little bit shit, but I was hoping that by the time we got to the top, the view would clear.
It was an interesting experience, because I needed to communicate to the Uber driver that the first stop was Victoria Peak, and the second stop was the Regal Oriental Hotel. I needed the service of the bellman to help explain this. The Uber driver seemed to understand.
He first drove me up to Victoria Peak, but didn’t really know where to go for the view, so we ended up wasting about 30 minutes just trying to find the proper spot. It also entailed me getting out a few times and walking down some random footpaths that looked promising, only to have fences or walls at the end completely obstructing the view. We ended up going back down the mountain slightly to the touristy mall area were a local who spoke English was the best place to go (I was getting desperate so I asked). The Uber driver waited for me a few blocks away with my bag.
I got up to the top of the tower, which annoyingly took 10 minutes to reach by taking a number of escalators, only to find that it was a steep fee to get to the very top. Frustratingly, I left my wallet in the Uber. So, I ended up taking the best shots I could from inside. The weather did clear and the shots turned out all right, but still very hazy (pollution levels were extremely high).
On the way down, the Uber driver called Uber and explained the situation, asking them to change the end destination manually to the Regal Oriental. It took about 20 minutes for them to do this (I could not do it because I didn’t have Wi-Fi). I could tell at this point the Uber driver was pretty annoyed with me and I’m sure my rating suffered from this trip. Lesson learned – probably should have just gotten a taxi.
It took another 30 minutes to get to the hotel, and I arrived around 5PM. I found Camie immediately and we both tried to check-in at the front desk, but were told we needed to go to the special group check-in on floor 3. This is where it became a cluster. Apparently, we weren’t allowed to check-in yet because all the reservations were under the HackHorizon organizers, who were not planning to bring the group to check-in to the hotel until 11PM. We had to reach the organizers to put them in touch with the front desk to approve our check-in, which did eventually happen. The second Snafu was that the organizers put Camie and I in the same room. This was not OK with us, since we were there for a business trip. I had to purchase a separate room, which did not get paid for by the event was a little disappointing. The rooms were modest but clean and comfortable.
All in all the process took about an hour, and so by the time I was in my room I had to hustle to shower and meet Camie downstairs so that we had enough time to grab a taxi. We took the taxi to the MTR, which we then used to get back over to the other side of the river and kick-off the HackHorizon event at WeWork at 7PM. You can read more about the HackHorizon event itself on the Travelport blog I wrote here.
The highlight of the day was absolutely the Hong Kong dimsum experience – so glad I did that!