The best meal I had in Hong Kong was not even Chinese but Indian. When we stayed at Mirador Mansion, we always stopped by the next door Chung King Mansion because it was where money changers with good deals were at. I did not find the place scary as what most internet forums said but you’d get intimidated at first because the populace was 90% Indian and Arabic who were very insistent in asking if you already have a place to stay (which may be misinterpreted by others as harassment). The smell of the place was so strong, it’s like entering a spice store. One time, after changing our remaining US Dollars to HKD (because the rate is better compared with bringing Philippine peso), we roamed around the building in search for something to eat and we dropped by a store selling this aromatic-smelling food. Dams bought an order of what the vendor told us was called Biryani for 42 HKD with a can of Coke.
Biryani, I later learned, was a general term for rice-based foods made with different spices plus meat or vegetables. The one we had was colored yellow so I’m guessing the spice used was curry and the topping was chicken. The serving was large, Dams and I are hearty eaters but we did not finish one order. It was so good (and buying it from Indians gave us the feeling that the dish was authentic) we ate the meal while waiting for the elevator on our way back to the hostel. The chicken was juicy and though the food looked dry, it actually wasn’t. And ever since hanging out with Dai and Reyma and Abi who are very fond of spicy food, I have learned how to appreciate spicy as well.
It was spicy alright. Actually, a little too spicy that every bite was matched with a gulp of Coca-cola. Dam’s face was so red and we were sweating profusely while eating but we cannot help but take another spoonful. It was that good. Now my affinity to India increased. The only downside of the meal was that the smell lasts. We ate at around 2 pm but I could still taste the spice in my mouth (especially when I burp) at midnight even after brushing and chewing mints.
We went at the famed Ladies Night Market in Mongkok a couple of times during our stay. Once, we again decided to go our separate ways because we have different wants. I wanted to eat street food for dinner but I cannot even stay within 10 steps of the stall because the smell was so unpleasant. So Kirk, Dai, Edcel and I roamed around a little further until we came by this hole in the wall place which was packed with people. These two guys were the servers and the 22 posted meant that a bowl of their noodles costs 22 HKD.
I was given the task to order. I approached those guys and acted (because saying was useless) that we wanted to eat. I pointed at the noodles that were about to be served and the guy in gray pointed at the 22. I nodded my head. He said some incomprehensible words in Chinese and I thought I heard “beef” so I repeated beef a couple of times and he held out his thumbs up as a reply. Now we only had to wait for whatever was coming. Thank God it was beef and and it looked pretty okay and edible. Actions really speak louder than words.
The beef was perfectly tender and I did not mind it being sweet. Minimal effort was required to chew which was great because one thing I don’t like about beef is the toughness if cooked the wrong way. I don’t usually eat cartilage but I finished everything leaving only the fat. The soup was also good. I assume it was actual broth and not MSG. The noodles, oh my. My two criteria for noodles are thin and al dente and both were present so there’s nothing more I could ask for. You know the feeling when, after eating beef your hard palate feels greasy? None of that after this meal.
After the amazing noodles, Kirk and I decided to look for Mongkok Computer Center. He wanted to canvass for an iPad case and I needed a lens protector because a staff from one of the camera shops outside our hostel saw my camera and he was sincerely concerned with its condition — lots of scratches, no lens cover etc. We started looking for the place at around 9:00 pm. Since I suck at reading maps, we resorted to asking random people. Some stared at us like we were crazy while others sincere but unable to help because they didn’t know where the freaking building was. After an hour of walking and no success, we were dead tired (we came from Ocean Park before Mongkok).
Thank God for the lady wearing a long skirt because she was so kind she said we’d just have to follow her. When we were in some sort of a highway, she said we had to go on separate ways after pointing at a building to us communicating that that was what we were looking for. We excitedly went inside the first store on that building and crap, the lady, despite her good intentions, was wrong. Mongkok computer center is known for cheap electronic gadgets and this store was insanely expensive the price was 10% more than the actual Apple store. We asked the security guard if this was really Mongkok Computer Center and he answered no. He gave us another set of directions and said we should hurry because it closes at 11 pm, it was 10:30 and yes, we walked that long.
After following carefully the directions given by the guard, we found ourselves standing in front of the half-closed computer center. Do you want to know the worst part? It was located just 3 to 4 blocks straight ahead from where we ate the really delicious noodles and we walked 1 and half hours searching for the freaking place. This was the worst exhaustion and leg pain I had in the whole 8 days carrying my luggage up and down dozens of stairs felt like being on a walkalator. I assumed I already used up the energy from the delicious noodle and I felt sad when I realized it was no longer in my system (arte).
Every electronic gadget you can think of and its corresponding accessories are available inside and we appreciated that fact even when 75% of the stores were already closed and the remaining 25% were in the process of doing so. On the third floor we found a space with vendomachines of soda and chips. We needed sugar and fluids badly.
Octopus card was accepted by the machines. Upon knowing this, my mood, despite everything that transpired within the last hour, improved considerably. Kirk and I had a can of Coca-Cola each. When I picked up mine I was shocked and elated to find that it was ice cold. When I opened the can I swear the fizzle of the liquid inside was the sweetest sound. I took a gulp and my throat was so dry it stung at first. Then I took gulp after gulp of what I believe is the best soda I’ve had in my life.