The second day in Hong Kong, our goal was simple: eat until we died. Spoiler alert: mission accomplished.
We had a dim sum breakfast at the JW Marriott while we planned out our day. Over shu mai and fried rice, we picked out our itinerary. Surely walking a half mile between restaurants will be enough to keep us hungry! Thus fortified with carbs and delusion, we set off.
Partly to sightsee and partly to wait for restaurants to let us in, we went to Victoria Harbour. It was a perfect November day—sunny but not too warm, with a life-saving breeze that kept the humidity at bay. We weren’t the only ones who took advantage of the weather: we watched kindergartners in matching outfits dancing (I died), very fit people jogging, and even fitter personal trainers instructing their clients. We took out the drone and admired the truly enormous skyline.
LOOK AT THIS SUPER AWESOME VIDEO EVEN THOUGH IT KIND OF SPOILS THE SURPRISE OF WHAT WE DID THE NEXT DAY
It had been like an hour, so of course we were hungry. We walked into the Central/Mid-Levels Escalator district via several overpasses and high-end shopping malls, and despite GPS being COMPLETELY UNHELPFUL in between all the high rises, found our way to noodles. Specifically, Mak’s Noodles.
Mak’s Noodles’ exterior and Mak’s actual noodles
I have to be honest, we didn’t pick this place after too much thought. It was highly rated on Yelp and the line wasn’t too long. Although the restaurant was small, the line moved really fast. We found out why once we got seated: everyone shares tables. Plus it takes approximately six seconds for the noodles to cook. We also found out why most people in the restaurant were white: Anthony Bourdain had visited. I got the dumpling noodle soup, Rick got the brisket and wonton soup. Both were good, but neither of us got the “OMG crazy best food ever” feels. Not that that stopped us from cleaning our bowls. (The couple across from us at one point, from Dallas, ate two bites of their food and left. They were on a similar bingeing journey, but I think it also says something about the food.)
After noodles, we needed to walk at least two blocks before eating again. Spoiler alert: we didn’t. Just around the corner, there were beautiful, glistening, crispy animals hanging in the window. We couldn’t not go in to Lin Wo Roasted Pork Restaurant.
How could you not eat here?
Even though it’s a pork restaurant, we ordered birds. Duck and goose, to be precise. Honestly, guys, it would have made more sense that AB enjoyed himself here: a few tables, no spoken English (though thankfully an English menu), just good, fast food. Crispy goose and divine duck, piled on beds of steamed rice and kale. Here is where we hurt ourselves.
Duck, duck, goose
In search of a nap, we wandered back to the hotel (through another dozen high-end malls—seriously, I don’t know how the ladies fit into their Prada when everything here tastes so good) to regroup. But fear not: more food was to come.
After much-needed caffeine, we set back out to do a junk cruise. Again, I know that locals and frequent visitors alike may rail against this as a tourist trap, but we had a few things going for us: 1, it was not the night light-show cruise; 2, it was off-season and had a total of seven guests onboard; and 3, the weather was divine.
So we wandered back down to the harbor, and after passing a family seriously devoted to karaoke, set sail on the Duk Ling.
The boat ride was perfect. Timed for sunset, it was peaceful and warm, and the white wine was drinkable. MOST IMPORTANTLY, the funniest joke in the world was given to us (maybe accidentally). The boat is called the Duk Ling, and as our tour guide imparted to us, “Duk Ling” magically translates to “baby duck” in English. We laughed so hard we cried.
Perfect sunset weather
While it isn’t named for ducks in Cantonese or Mandarin, the Duk Ling may be the only remaining antique Chinese sailing junk still operating in Hong Kong. It’s for tourists, certainly, but if you’re lucky enough to get 45 minutes essentially alone on the water, it’s worth the price. In fact, just before we disembarked, the boat picked up across the harbor in TST. As 30 more people got on, we were very aware of how lucky we were.
Shot of boat rival Aqualuna (to which I kept yelling, Hey, Aqualung!) against the skyline
Fear not: after the boat ride, we set out for more food. This time we went to a place that was recommended by local friends and also a rando on the airplane. It sounded like another white-kid ironic tourist trap: Ho Lee Fook.
We had our doubts. I’m all for word play, but this seemed like asking for bad service and high prices. Then the hipster décor had us prepared for good service and high prices. Which we got. But we also got great food. Surprisingly great.
Dinner was hipster dark, so we didn’t take pics of the food (I will literally die before I use a flash to take a picture of my meal) but we had the deep-fried prawn toast, the peanut-butter and lamb dan dan noodles, and the wok veggies. It was all good, but the savory shitake mushrooms in the veggies were on another level. The service was great and we didn’t have to share a table with strangers, so we can highly recommend this place to anyone young enough to see in the dark.
And then we died. The end.
(I kid. Day III to come soon.)