Month: November 2014

Australia – Great Ocean Road drive

8 hours later we arrived in…Melbourne, Australia!!  Kind of a surreal moment when the captain announced our landing in the place I’ve been meaning to visit for the longest time.  Australia’s seasons are opposite what we have in Canada and despite the fact that it was Spring in October when we landed, the weather was quite chilly!  We had some lovely friends who were gracious enough to let us stay with them for our 4-day stop.  The Great Ocean Road drive was the first on our bucket list and it is essentially a long windy road built right next to the coast of Victoria so you get these amazing beach and mountain views as you cruise along.  Every beach was more beautiful than the next.  The waters were so crystal clear.  We drove a comfortable 3 hours of this scenic route from Melbourne to Apollo Bay.  By the way, Australians drive on the other side of the road… it was actually kind of trippy seeing cars coming from the other direction, but you get used …

Hong Kong [Part 6] Blue Butcher, Gardens, LKF, Dragon Dance

We spent our last day in Hong Kong hitting up all the places that remained on our bucket list.  We started the day off with brunch at the Blue Butcher.  The picture below should explain the name..don’t worry, it’s not real blood.  Apparently this place was extremely hard to book as people usually reserve up to a month in advance!  And for a good reason.  For a fixed price, they offer a buffet style selection of delicious salads all made form quality ingredients such as prosciutto, tuna steak, and beef.  They also have all-you-can-eat raw oysters, foie gras, and a waffle station.  This is just the first course by the way.  For my main, I had eggs benedict over a slab of crusty bread.  Other options included French Toast, half roast chicken, and burgers.  The 3-course meal finishes with dessert which was very delicious as well.  I would highly recommend Blue Butcher! After the heavy brunch, we walked around Hollywood road which is the oldest road in HK.  Lot’s little shops and such in the …

Hong Kong [Part 5] Wakeboarding, Laduree, High Tea, drinks at the Ritz Carlton

We started our day off bright and early (like 6:00am early) for wake boarding!  I’ve never tried it before, nor have I really done any sort of board sports before so I was pretty excited.  We drove to Tai Tam Bay to ride the waves with one of the most amazing scenic backdrops. The water was warm, the sun was gentle and the breeze was lovely.  Although I spent most of the session swallowing salt water from falling (haha) it was still so much fun and I can’t wait to try it again.       The wake boarding team 🙂 We were all so hungry and tired after wake boarding, this bowl of beef noodle soup with fish balls from On Lee really hit the spot. Afterwards we took it easy and walked around the city, this time we managed to wander into the heart of the protest zones.   I won a bet earlier with K and this box of Laduree macarons was my reward 🙂 such a pretty box!  Stopping by the Hilton …

Macau Day Trip: Senado Square, Casinos, Portugese Pork buns and Egg Tarts!

Macau is a small city located just an hour away from Hong Kong by water.  Deemed as the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau is a power house of massive casinos all dripping with high class luxury.  It was formerly a Portuguese colony so it’s very interesting to see the historic influence in the city.  You can very easily purchase tickets near the port in Sheung Wan in Hong Kong for a trip to Macau. There are 33 casinos in Macau with The Venetian being the largest in the world.  We’ll get to that later…   I found navigating Macau to be as confusing as trying to weave your way around the many small lanes in Venice – near impossible in my opinion.  That may have been contributed to the fact that we were trying to find our way around without a map!  We took lift from one of the bicycle cart guys…we just needed to get into Senado square. Senado Square is adorned with your typical shopping brands and also in every corner you can …

Hong Kong [Part 4]: The Peak, Royal Yacht Club, and lots of great city views

We started the day off exploring a bit of the city core around Central and Sheung Wan.  It’s really interesting seeing the different districts and how buildings suddenly merge from run down to corporate towers.  I think there’s so much character in these streets.  For lunch, we headed to a fairly remote area to dine in a very special restaurant located inside the 中華廚藝學院 (Hong Kong Culinary Academy).  What’s special about this place is that it is a training facility to groom students for a career in the hotel and catering industry.  The purpose of having guests dine at this training facility is to allow the students to get hands on experience dealing with clients.  As such, only lunch is available and there is very limited seating.  Dozens of students dotted the dining area with their manager hovering closely to ensure everything from pouring the tea to explaining the dishes was done correctly.   Guests were required to communicate purely in English to force the students to master the language.  It was a very interesting …

Hong Kong [Part 3] Lots of FOOD: Inakaya, Via Tokyo, Din Tai Fung

A blog post dedicated to food is pretty much mandatory considering that in order to immerse yourself in the full HK experience, you will have to come prepared with two stomachs.  We dined at the top of the tallest tower in HK (the International Commerce Center) at a Japanese restaurant called Inakaya.   It was a slightly hazy day, but the views were beautiful none the less.  From this angle, you can see the entire landscape of HK island.  We ordered a sushi set which comes with a selection of fresh fish, noodles, sashimi salad, and steamed egg.  Overall the food was on point, nothing mind blowing.  You are pretty much paying for the view here.  Other delicious finds include this Japanese custard bun of sorts.  I don’t remember the name of the place but it was inside Harbour City.  Perhaps it doesn’t look the most photogenic, but if you’re a green tea lover, then this is a must try.  Smooth velvety green tea custard encased in a steaming fluffy bun.  Afternoon coffee break with …

Hong Kong [Part 2] Repulse Bay, Yacht Club, Big Buddha, Ngong Ping 360

We started our morning with a stroll on Repulse Bay.  The mountains and buildings served as a beautiful backdrop to the relatively peaceful beach – apparently it’s usually full of people but has been quiet lately due to the protest (I suppose some positive things arise from public unrest).  These properties are some of the most expensive in HK. I mean… who would’t want to wake up to a view like this everyday?  The Kwan Yum Shrine is also located near the beach and offers a cultural place of interest for sightseeing.  We took a short boat ride over to one of the 3 club houses for members of the Royal Yacht Club for a drink (side note: we were not the members ;P my lovely aunt took us).  Unfortunately… the place wasn’t even open yet, but the views were spectacular and totally worth the trip.    The food is fantastic in HK, and the levels of dining also range from extremely luxurious to extremely casual and run down.  However, sometimes the best food is …

Hong Kong [Part 1] Eating boatloads of delicious food and performing surgery on Hairy Crabs

Despite being born and raised in Canada, every time I go back to Hong Kong to visit my family, it always feels like home.  Something about the fast paced lifestyle, the food, the culture… it just feels right.  This time I went with the bf and only had 10 days as opposed to my usual month long stay.  With such a tight timeline, everyday was packed with delicious food, glorious sight seeing, and lots of walking.  October offered comfortable weather conditions – dry wit temperatures hovering around mid to high 20’s.  Very comfortable compared to summers in Hong Kong!   After 16hours in the air, we arrived late at night and headed over to Tsui Wah for a quick midnight snack.  Tsui Wah (翠華集團) is a typical HK style cafe with multiple locations across HK island.  Warning: the Malaysian noodle soup was INSANELY spicy but the wonton soup was good, pretty standard. The next morning decided to go for a classic milk tea, sammy and macaroni soup breakfast at Hao Wah (豪華).  Again, pretty standard, …