Being lucky enough to say I have already visited Hong Kong twice before, I like to think I know exactly what to expect no matter what I may face in the bustling city. Whether it is the never-ending wave of people and cars, yelling and beeping at each other or the amazing lights, food and culture. I thought I had seen everything Hong Kong had to offer.
What I did not expect was to be led through a dining room next to the kitchen, another room filled with old Chinese men gambling around a table in a smoke-filled room with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths and a back alley with the carcases of suckling pigs all to get to a table for dinner. Needless to say, I started to worry the dodgy men, dead pigs and dark alley were definitely not comforting at all.
Hong Kong in ways has become a familiar home to me as my dad has travelled here back and forth for the past 21 years, though he may not speak the language he is definitely a local. As we walked through the world-famous Ladies Markets, stopping at every bag, wallet and sunglass stall in sight we quickly reached the end of the line.
A lot of people like to think shopping is easy, and to those who do, I challenge you to walk for kilometres in 35-degree heat with 85% humidity whilst haggling with stall owners to get the best deal on a fake Louis Vuitton bag. I can tell you straight away, you work up an appetite very quickly in that situation and will eat anything you get your hands on.
As Jordan, Bella, Tiana, Dad and myself stumbled across the hidden gem that was the restaurant, none of us really knew what to expect; was the food going to be edible? Were we going to make it out alive? Or were we about to have the best meal of the entire trip?
I can confirm that the first two questions were a yes, the food was indeed edible and we did make it out alive. However, with a week in Singapore knocking on our door, I prefer not to comment on whether it was the best meal of the trip (but I will keep you posted).
Coming on this trip I hoped that the 11 other students on the tour would learn to love Hong Kong as much as I do and be willing to try new things, like the food, and not be afraid of the sometimes off-putting sights and smells.
As we sat eating many local dishes, Bella asked my dad a question that was so obvious I was wondering why I had never asked him it before myself?
“What is it about Hong Kong, after all, these years, that keeps you coming back?”
“It’s places like these that keeps my love for Hong Kong alive,” he simply answered.