Patrick's Hong Kong Experience

Find out about the real Hong Kong, through a detailed and interesting travelogue.

Gage Street

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Gage Street is a short, lively street that starts at the intersection of Cochrane Street and Lyndhurst Terrace, and ends at Aberdeen Street. The street was named after Sir William Gage, an admiral in the Royal Navy who fought in the French Revolutionary Wars.

Gage Street Street Sign

The Gage Street street sign at the intersection of Cochrane Street and Lyndhurst Terrace.

The street is lined with an assortment of noodle shops, meat markets and fresh fruit and vegetable stalls. There are also quite a few open air cafe-style restaurants along the street, known to locals as dai-pai-dongs. Dai-pai-dongs are an essential part of Hong Kong’s culture, but are dying out, as the Food and Hygiene Department of Hong Kong are not issuing any more new dai-pai-dong licenses, and also because rental fees in Hong Kong are increasing rapidly.

Lan Fong Yuen Dai Pai Dong

Lan Fong Yuen – one of the better known dai-pai-dongs in Gage Street. Credits to “Gourmet Traveller 88”.

It is also a shopping hotspot for locals who live around the area. Local shoppers go to the street’s markets on a daily basis to buy their daily groceries. The Park N’ Shop at the top end of the street seemed relatively out of business compared to the bustling fruit, vegetable and meat stalls!

Meat market in Gage Street

Stall selling fresh cuts of pork.

Shop keeper tends to vegetables - Gage Street

Shopkeeper preparing vegetables for sale.

Gage Street is also home to many critically-acclaimed local restaurants. One of them is Dragon Restaurant, a restaurant that specializes in barbecued meats. Anthony Bourdain visited the restaurant while on his Hong Kong tour, and after tasting the suckling pig, remarked that “This is as close to God as you’re going to get”.

Dragon Restaurant - Gage Street

A variety of different “char siu” (barbecued meat) for sale.

To sum up, Gage Street is definitely a piece of well-preserved history within a modern, sophisticated metropolis. Having already operated for over a hundred years, it is still a vibrant and lively street.


Written by patrickcampbellhk

January 9, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Mido Cafe

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A part of local Hong Kong life are the cha-chan-tengs or “tea food halls”. They are basically small diners, that serve a unique blend of Western and Chinese cuisine. The food is usually very simple, e.g. Instant Noodles w/ canned Luncheon Pork, and is also very cheap.

Cha chaan teng

Exterior of Mido Cafe with daily specials displayed outside the cafe.

Mido Cafe is one of Hong Kong’s authentic cha chaan tengs, and has been around for around six decades. During lunch hour, the cafe is packed with busy commuters, so we went there at around eleven o’clock.

Mido Cafe's interior

The restaurant had a great retro atmosphere, and was covered floor to ceiling with tiles of an array of dazzling colours.

Mido Cafe

The menu, showing the many dishes on offer for reasonable prices.

After asking the waiter for recommendations, we all ordered Ice Lemon Teas ($12 each) as drinks. Ice Lemon Tea is a popular drink amongst all Hong Kongers, young and old. It is tangy and refreshing, and really cools you down. We then decided on eating the daily special, Stir Fried Kale and Squid ($60), followed by Yeung Chow Fried Rice ($30), and Sweet Corn and Chicken Soup ($17 for small portion).

All the food was prepared and cooked in roughly ten minutes.


Iced Lemon Tea.

Sweet Corn and Chicken Soup

Sweet Corn and Chicken Soup.

The Sweet Corn and Chicken Soup was thick and creamy with a hot and sour taste. It was definitely a great pick, and of excellent value for money.

Yeung Chow Fried Rice

Yeung Chow Fried Rice.

Yeung Chow Fried Rice is probably one of the simplest dishes in local Hong Kong cuisine, but it is also the most popular. The variation of Yeung Chow Fried Rice I had was basically a mixture of fresh prawns, pork, scrambled eggs, ham and rice.

Stir Fried Kale with Squid

Stir-fried Kale and Squid.

The blend of crunchy, fresh kale and the succulent squid creates a perfect dish. The whole plate was gone in seconds!

French Toast HK Style

French Toast.

For dessert, we decided to order the daily special, “Western Style French Toast”. Overall, there was a good balance between the rich honey taste and the eggy flavour, but I did feel that the French Toast was a bit on the greasy side.

For dessert, we decided to order the daily special, “Westen Style French Toast”.

Mido Cafe Kitchen

Kitchen, where the food is prepared.

In conclusion, if you want to experience the real Hong Kong life, the cha chaan tengs are a part you cannot miss!

Written by patrickcampbellhk

December 8, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Jade Market

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Jade Market

A view of the market’s many stalls.

In Chinese culture, jade symbolizes beauty and purity. That’s why it has been traded so widely throughout various Asian countries such as Burma, China, Singapore and Malaysia.

The Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei is one of the most iconic sites in Hong Kong. Four hundred vendors selling jade products, predominantly from Myanmar, are crammed into this small indoor bazaar. Apart from jade, pearls and other precious stones from the South East Asian region can also be bought.

Man polishing piece of jade

Man polishing piece of jade with a toothbrush.

The Jade Market wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be; in fact, when I was walking down the aisles I noticed that some vendors had signs hanging down in front of their stalls saying, “We are out of business! Please help us by buying jade necklace, special price starting from $10”. The stall keepers tried to advertise their jade products to me by shouting random phrases like, “Good price”, “high quality” and “very beautiful!”. There was obviously a very competitive atmosphere here, as all of the vendors were trying their very best to attract my attention.

Jade for sale

The massive array of jade products stunned me. There was literally everything you could imagine on sale – in jade. Jade necklaces, jade keyrings, jade paperweights, jade busts, jade statuettes; you name it. Also, everything was CHEAP! However, I had learnt from the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s website ( that most of the jade was dyed, to ‘enhance the colour’. So, at the end of the day, you get what you pay for!

Written by patrickcampbellhk

December 4, 2010 at 7:50 PM

Peng Chau

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View of a group of typical Peng Chau houses.

Peng Chau is a small island, known for its famous fresh seafood, and the relaxed, laid back local lifestyle. The main attractions of Peng Chau are Finger Hill, the tallest point of the island, which offers stunning views of Peng Chau and the surrounding islands, and the town centre, with stores selling seafood, traditional Chinese furniture and fresh fruit and vegetables.

We travelled on the Kai To Ferry – an old, dilapidated boat – to Peng Chau, and arrived in the town centre. The bustling town centre was full of local shoppers, buying their daily groceries from the wet market and stores selling dried fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, and assortments of meat.

I had a stroll around a store which was already a decade old (according to the shop keeper), which sold traditional Chinese furniture, and was famous throughout all of Hong Kong for authentic, antique furniture. There was a large variety of interesting furniture; from Ming Dynasty dining chairs, to carved elephant heads, to Tibetan style drawers. I bought a small wooden name card holder with engravings of lucky Chinese sayings for my Dad, at a very reasonable price of $30.

It was getting hot, so we decided to grab a cold drink at a local café/restaurant. After navigating around the town centre, we settled on a small corner café in the town square, where we had refreshing Hong Kong-style Iced Lemon Teas. The town square was very peaceful, with elderly people sitting on plastic chairs under the trees chatting, and the calm, sea breeze blowing across the piazza.

Overall, it was a great experience to be able to gain a little insight into the simple lifestyle of Peng Chau’s residents.

Written by patrickcampbellhk

November 14, 2010 at 1:54 PM