gustatory exploits · itchy feet cravings

Reminiscing Hong Kong

Twice, I went to Hong Kong at a time the Chinese are celebrating their Chinese New Year.  My first foray was work-related but despite a hectic schedule I enjoyed a three-hour shopping in Mongkok, walking down TST (Tsim Sha Tsui), riding a double-deck bus and watching the CNY along TST. A good view of the Harbor City and a ferry ride to the other side also gave us that giddy feel. Plus, the scrumptious Chinese food, so close to home really made me want to come back for more.

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I returned to HK the next year, mom in tow and enjoying it as a vacation! With the few things I learned during my first trip, we explored HK by walking and commuting. I gave myself a pat in the back for never relying on any package tours; I knew just a good map would do anyway. And that four-day vacation we had gave us a chance to be kids again and unwind to the max!

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I loved our time at Ocean Park HK. Compared to HK Disneyland, the entrance fee is less expensive but there are more attractions here. We visited both actually and had the time of our lives…

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It was really an exhilarating trip, I’d very much like to experience again…

But sadly,I don’t think that would happen in the next few years. The recent spat between President Benigno Aquino III and Chinese leaders which stemmed over the former’s refusal to make a formal public apology over a bungled hostage crisis in Manila has made me and other Filipino travelers have second-thoughts. We may not have been included by HK’s sanction to freeze the visa-free policy of Philippine government officials, but still one can’t help feel affected by these developments.

What I am fearing right now, is the plight of our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) living and working themselves out to help their families back home. Twice, during my trip here, I encountered OFWs who graciously helped us during our brief stay.

I was hoping this issue would be resolved faster. However, I doubt this word war is about to die soon now that Aquino has challenged head-on Beijing’s posture on the matter. There may be other potential cities and countries that we can travel to, but HK will always be a favorite destination of any ordinary Pinoy. And so I hope, we all do pray, this matter can be resolved without resulting to any more bickering on both sides.

But even if I didn’t get to visit HK again, I enjoyed celebrating the CNY at home with my favorite Chinese rice cake that’s always popular during CNY–Tikoy!

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Nian gao in Cantonese, this sticky rice cake is a favorite dish each NY as it symbolizes closer family ties. There are plenty of recipes on how to cook tikoy, but I prefer the classic recipe by just cutting that whole white rubbery glob into pieces and dunking it in lightly beaten egg before frying.

 

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